How Does HVLP Spray Gun Work?

HVLP spray guns are the most commonly used guns now a day. Most professional painters choose these guns to spray paint particularly to finish the final coat.

These guns are significantly appropriate for painting both exterior and interior surfaces because they can provide excellent coverage without producing any type of overspray and noise.

These guns generally use a separate air compressor. During work, this air compressor keeps the paint and air power away from each other. When they meet outside the nozzle, the paint is atomized and then spread on the surface in a smooth and even way.

HVLP paint guns are special devices used to spray paint at a little pressure that can be controlled easily. No other tools of painting can achieve such a smooth and consistent paint finish.

So the professionals and newbies both like these guns more than other spray guns available on the market. But most of them don’t know how an HVLP spray gun works.

Operating Principles Of HVLP Spray Gun

The machines always work on some particular principles about which the users often don’t know. They just know to use the machine.


That’s why when the painters talk about the operating system/ principles of HVLP spray guns they usually think about how hard is it to use an HVLP spray gun. So in this article, you will read about the ways, these spray guns work.

#1. Harmony Of Different Components

The painters must understand the harmony of the different components of the spray guns. How do these parts link with one another and work collectively? Here look at them differently.

  • #1: The HVLP spray guns are the latest technology so they are very efficient than the other old technology.
  • #2: The fluid guns pressurize fluid to flow out through a very small hole.
  • #3: The siphon guns pass airflow through a reservoir making low pressure which can suck paint and then split into little particles. These particles exit from the opening of the gun.
  • #4: The gravity-feed spray guns have the fluid reservoir placed on the top of the gun. The fluid comes down with gravity force and combines with an exiting jet of very high speed.

#2. Process Of Atomization

To understand the operating principle of the HVLP spray gun, you should learn about the process of atomization. The paint is available in the form of liquid, the paint sprayer changes this liquid into thousands of tiny droplets with the pressure of air.

These atomized droplets of paint spread on the surface and stick there in a smooth and even way. After drying, they look shining with a fine finish.

#3. Setting Air Pressure

The HVLP spray gun works properly at 30 psi to 50 psi inlet air pressure.  This is the recommended level of air pressure for these guns.

If you use more air pressure, the gun will atomize the paint more than usual which will cause overspray. Sometimes atomization can cause orange peel due to dry soon.

#4. Setting Fan

The fan in HVLP spray guns usually determines the spray pattern. If you use a wide fan, it will decrease the amount of material which means spraying the same surface twice to achieve the desired result of a smooth finish.

#5. Setting Paint Flow

When using an HVLP spray gun for spraying paint, try to adjust the paint flow which depends on the type of paint used. If you have set it right, let it run at the same setting until you change the air cap.

#6. Setting Air Cap

In the operating system of the HVLP spray gun, the air cap setting is very important and the last component that determines the working of the gun.

There are many holes drilled with much accuracy which produce the unique pattern of paint on the surface. When the air enters these holes, it atomizes the paint and makes different patterns.

#7. Setting The Thickness of Material

How does a spray gun work when the material is thick enough to pass through the nozzle? The HVLP spray gun works better when the paint is diluted properly getting the right consistency.

If the paint is thick, or thin it mixes water or oil according to the quality of the paint. The performance of an HVLP spray gun depends largely on the right thickness level.


Keeping in view the operating principles of the HVLP spray gun, always check the following things.

  • Recognize the harmony of different components of the spray guns
  • Make the right adjustment to air pressure, fan, and fluid
  • Tighten the air cap, nozzle, and hose pipe properly
  • Take all self-protective measures like glasses, gloves, shoes, masks, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Get A Smooth Finish With An HVLP Spray Gun?

First apply a coat of primer, when it dries up, sand it lightly to make it ready for the next coat. Spray a second coat you will get a smooth finish.

Does The Paint Change Its Color By Thinning?

No, thinning paint does not affect the color if consistency remains, but you have to apply more coats.

How Can I Thin Paint For The HVLP Spray Gun?

Add 10 percent water and mix it thoroughly. If the paint gets the right consistency, it’s ok, but if it is still thick, add some more water and mix it again. More thinning can reduce the quality of the paint covering a surface.

Which Parts Of The HVLP Spray Guns Play A Vital Role In Their Working?

The nozzle, fan, air compressor, fluid tank, hose pipe, and needle are the important parts of the HVLP spray guns which play a vital role in its working principles.


HVLP spray guns are widely preferred by painters and professionals in the painting industry due to their effectiveness. To ensure maximum benefits and proper usage, it is crucial for painters to have a clear understanding of how HVLP spray guns work.

Key factors such as air pressure, fluid control, fan setting, and viscosity level play a pivotal role in the operation of these spray guns. Painters must familiarize themselves with these aspects in order to use HVLP spray guns efficiently and achieve optimal results.

Additional Questions

What are the disadvantages of HVLP spray gun?

One significant drawback of the HVLP (High Volume Low Pressure) spray gun is its inability to handle highly viscous paints due to its design for thin coatings which ensures a quality low pressure spray. Another disadvantage is the high cost associated with HVLP spray guns, stemming from their exceptional coverage quality. As professional painting professionals, we do find the investment worth it, but it can be a deterrent for those on a tight budget.

Can you use an HVLP spray gun with a regular compressor?

Yes, an HVLP spray gun can be used with a regular compressor, however, it does require a substantial amount of air. To avoid performance issues, it is highly recommended to use a compressor that is a bit larger than your standard DIY home use compressor. Based on years of experience in the painting industry, a compressor that has 2 1⁄2 to 3 HP motor with a tank capacity of about 75 liters or 20 gallons is suitable for a full range of finishing products.

Do HVLP sprayers need an air compressor?

Absolutely! HVLP spray guns are generally designed to atomize paint by using a substantial amount of air, making the selection of an air compressor with the right capacity an important requirement. The air compressor supplies the continuous pressure necessary for the gun to provide the soft spray HVLP guns are known for.

How does an HVLP spray system differ from a conventional spray gun?

The primary difference between an HVLP spray system and a conventional spray gun comes down to the issue of overspray. HVLP sprays guns were designed to curb the overspray problem found in air spray guns. While air spray guns atomize liquids using high pressure, HVLP spray guns gently spray liquids using a significantly reduced air pressure, about 0.05 to 0.1 MPa or 7 – 14 psi. This distinction was achieved through years of expertise and advancements in the painting tools industry.

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