Matt is a professional painter and freelance writer, sharing his knowledge, house-painting tips, and product reviews.
Why Rent A Paint Sprayer?
Tedious projects like fence staining, or painting cabinet doors, are best accomplished with the use of a sprayer. The amount of time spraying saves is well worth the minor learning curve and low rental cost.
The cost to buy a sprayer varies greatly, but most aren't cheap. A Graco 490 sprayer costs as much as $1,400, while a lesser quality Wagner sprayer from the home improvement store costs much less. Unless you plan to use the machine frequently, a rental is the best option.
A rental at the paint store usually costs between $25 and $100 per day, depending where you live. My paint store charges $75 per day for a quality Graco or Titan unit. Learning how to set up the machine and spray is easy. You can practice on a piece of cardboard until you get a feel for the spray gun and material output.
Choose the Right Paint Sprayer
The most common sprayer available for rent is an airless. These are either the high boy style with two wheels, or the low boy that must be carried. Both units perform the same. A sprayer on wheels is what I use, but these do use more space. If you have a small car, a wheeled sprayer might not fit. Some stores also rent HVLP sprayers, but these are best for smaller projects, not production work. An airless sprayer is best for big projects like staining a fence, siding, walls, ceilings and shutters.
A rental usually comes equipped with one spray tip, but the included tip might not be the appropriate size needed for your painting project. The tip size needed for spraying the siding on a house will be different than the tip size needed for spraying cabinet doors, or base board trim. The tip size depends on the material and surface being sprayed. Read the label on the can for the recommended spray tip size. Once you determine the appropriate tip size needed, buy the proper size at the paint store, or ask the clerk if he has a spare you can use instead.
Most paint stores rent Graco, or Titan, spray equipment. Both are great. If your local paint store happens to rent Graco spray equipment, the 390, 490 or 495 models can handle any spray project around the house. I own a Graco 495 and it's lasted many years. You can also use fine finish tips with an airless sprayer for projects like kitchen cabinets.
Airless or HVLP?
Airless paint sprayers atomize paint into small droplets using extreme pressure. The pressure output is called PSI (pounds per square inch). Most airless spray paint machines deliver 3,000 PSI. These machines are suitable for production work. Nobody wants to stain one acre of fencing with a brush and roller. You can spray the whole fence and be done in one day with an airless.
Over-spray can be controlled by turning the pressure control down and using a smaller tip size. Setting the pressure too high, or using an over-sized, blown out spray tip, will cause excessive over-spray.
The HVLP sprayer (high volume, low pressure) is different than an airless sprayer. The HVLP sprayer, or cup sprayer, uses a separate air compressor to deliver air at a low pressure through the spray gun, creating a softer spray mist and less over-spray. Only rent an HVLP sprayer for jobs demanding a fine finish (cabinets, furniture, lacquer).