In this article, we will be going through an HVLP vs LVLP for you to understand everything in detail about the two of them. After reading this article you will be fully capable of differentiating the HVLP and the LVLP spray guns, what they do, their benefits, their potential drawbacks, and so on.
You will not have to ask for anybody’s guidance after that. You will be a master of your own. Sounds perfect right? And why wouldn’t it? Nobody wants to run after experts just to have them blow you away or con hundreds of dollars from you.
Why this article? It is because I am about to explain everything from scratch in simple plain English. So, if you are an absolute beginner and don’t know much about the technical jargon related to this topic then no problem. This guide is all that you have been looking for all along.
We’ll start with simple definitions that set them both apart and then slowly and gradually move towards more complex differences between the two. And in the end, I would be answering a few frequently asked questions for further clarity. So, let’s dig right into it!
HVLP vs LVLP Spray Gun Comparison
What Does An HVLP Do?
An HVLP stands for High Volume Low Pressure. Let’s begin with explaining the meaning of the name and what it reflects. By high volume it means that an HVLP spray gun requires a large volume of air to atomize the paint, you may even require an air compressor.
Whereas, low pressure infers the fact that it creates a very low pressure within the spray gun. An HVLP spray gun is best known for its cost savings. The low pressure with which it sprays lowers the risk of double coating. Hence, it is an ideal option to work with expensive kinds of paints.
However, it also has a few drawbacks. For instance, the low pressure with which it atomizes the paints is not good enough or powerful enough to atomize heavier coatings like Zinc and epoxies. So for that, you will have to look for a conventional spray gun. Moreover, an HVLP spray gun is also a very expensive type of spray gun and costs around two hundred to three hundred dollars more than a similar conventional spray gun.
An LVLP spray gun stands for Low Volume Low Pressure. In comparison to an HVLP spray gun, an LVLP spray gun can work on a very low volume of air and also produces a very low pressure within the spray gun system. Moreover, you will definitely need an air compressor to go with an LVLP spray gun otherwise it would be difficult to run it.
However, you will have to be very careful while buying an air compressor and make sure that it is compatible with the model of the spray gun you have. Otherwise, you might end up damaging your spray gun beyond repair.
An HVLP spray gun is perfect for perfectionists and professionals. It gives the smoothest and the neatest finishing you will ever come across. Furthermore, it has a smaller nozzle fan which means that it is easier to control. Hence, the risk of overcoating is greatly reduced.
However, due to the smaller fan, it is much slower in getting the work done. Besides, it is only good for spraying thin materials and lighter coatings. The low air volume and low-pressure buildup are not ideal conditions for atomizing heavier coatings.
If you ask me, this question is technically incorrect. The reason is, that both the HVLP and the LVLP spray guns are two very fine spray gun types. They both have their own advantages and disadvantages. In fact, they are both made for different purposes. So, it all depends upon you and your needs, which one you like best.
As I mentioned before, an HVLP spray gun has a much larger fan and gives faster and greater coverage in a lot less time. It is ideally used for spraying paint on furniture and walls. You may also spray shelves and cabinets with it.
However, an LVLP is incapable of atomizing heavier coatings, hence it can only work with lighter coatings such as single-stage enamel. The most ideal function for an LVLP is spray painting cars. The minute paint atoms give a very smooth shine to the surface and perfect finishing touch. But, just keep in mind that an LVLP has a much narrower air fan and gives a slower-paced coverage.
So, to get the same amount of work done you will have to spend more time on it. In any case, you will be able to work with greater precision in a much more controlled way than that of an HVLP spray gun.
If the nature of your work requires accuracy and precision then an LVLP is the ideal type of spray gun for you. It gives the finest finishing you will ever come across. Moreover, the low pressure with which the coatings are atomized and sprayed is much easier to control.
However, you will not be able to coat thicker materials with it. So, for that, you will need an HVLP spray gun. An LVLP is an ideal option for you if you want to spray clear coats, varnishes, and lacquers. However, you can not spray latex with a spray gun even after you thin it.
An HVLP spray gun is a more powerful tool that can be used for spraying thick liquids than that used in LVLP spray guns. For instance, you can use it for spraying latex paint which, if you remember, you can not spray using an LVLP spray gun.
However, an HVLP spray gun also has its own limitations in terms of its capability to amortize thicker paints such as acrylic, zinc, and epoxies. It gives you a smooth and even coating that looks absolutely stunning to the eye.
Using an HVLP spray gun can reduce the overhead costs as well because it wastes a lot less paint in over spraying. It means that you can work with more expensive types of paints using an HVLP spray without having to pay too much.
Besides, it also takes up a lot less preparation time. But, an HVLP spray gun has a very thin spray fan which means that it is rather slow in getting the work done. You will have to spend more time covering up the same area with paint using an HVLP spray gun than using any other spray gun.
There is a huge difference between the viscosity of the paint used in HVLP and LVLP spray guns. From the above information, you must have understood this difference but to further clarify this confusion I am writing a separate paragraph on this.
In an LVLP spray gun, the viscosity of the paint should be very low otherwise, the paint will not be amortized even if you use a separate compressor. This is the reason why you should only use lightweight low viscosity coatings in an LVLP spray gun.
On the other hand, the paints used in HVLP spray guns are slightly more viscous than those used in LVLP spray guns. This is because the HVLP spray gun takes up a high volume of air to get more paint droplets to amortize.
So, you can use all those paint types that can not be used in LVLP spray guns, for example, Latex. However, it does not pack enough power to coat heavier paints such as Zinc and Epoxies so for that you will have to get a conventional spray gun.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you spray a car with an LVLP spray gun?
Yes, you can definitely spray a car with an HVLP spray gun. In fact, it is the most ideal option. And the LVLP spray gun is easier to control due to its slower pace. You can work with great precision and efficiency using an LVLP spray gun. Besides, it is not just the cars that can be painted using an LVLP spray gun, you can also spray paint snowmobiles, motorcycles, scooters, boats, bikes, etc. So, the options for the use of an HVLP spray gun are vast. However, you can also use an HVLP spray gun as well for this purpose in case you don’t have an LVLP spray gun.
Are LVLP spray guns Good?
Yes, an LVLP spray gun is hands down one of the best spray guns you will ever come across. They have multiple uses and are a lot less expensive than an HVLP spray gun. Besides, it is even more economical than an HVLP spray gun because it has a lower chance of getting defective. Plus, it has very low maintenance costs and a longer life span. So, it is an ideal option for beginners who are still trying to get a hang of what to do and how to handle a spray painting job. If you are a beginner and can’t seem to understand where to begin then an LVLP spray gun is your cue.
What is the advantage of an HVLP spray gun?
An HVLP spray gun is much faster to work with than an LVLP spray gun. It has a much lower overcoating ratio. So, you can easily work with more expensive kinds of pain using an HVLP spray gun. Furthermore, it can atomize thicker paints like latex and thinned acrylics within seconds. So, in some cases, an HVLP would be an ideal option. However, that does not mean that you can ignore the benefits posed by an LVLP spray gun.
Do HVLP paint sprayers need an air compressor?
The answer to this question depends upon the type of work you intend to do with an HVLP spray gun. For instance, if you want to do small DIY projects at home then an air compressor might not be required and you can easily work without a compressor. However, for larger projects, you will definitely need a large air compressor. Otherwise, you may end up getting your work delayed or your spray gun damaged beyond repair.
Concluding HVLP and LVLP Spray Gun
So, this was all from my side. I hope you found all this information very useful and super easy to understand. I tried my best to not use any technical jargon and hence used up my entire English vocabulary in the process. If you look at this topic from afar, there are only a few pointers to remember and you are good to go.
First, you must not use high-viscosity fluids with an LVLP spray gun. Second, you must not use heavier coatings with an HVLP spray gun. And third, HVLP and LVLP spray guns can not be used interchangeably. Everything else is just explanatory.
Hi, I am Pete Fagerlin, carpenter by profession and working on different DIY projects is my passion. For more than a decade, it’s been my weekend hobby to dig into different tools for my favorite DIY projects which helped me to become knowledgeable about different DIY tools. With a combination of my profession and passion, I am here to collaborate with Adam Wilson to share my DIY tools knowledge with the MechanicsGear readers.