Last Updated: August 14, 2020
Most painting jobs today regardless of scope can benefit from one or more layers of primer. However, not all spray guns are created equal, and in fact, you are better off having a dedicated primer spray gun aside from what you use to apply paint. But which one do you choose?
Assuming that your primer selection (water-based, oil, all-purpose) is compatible with the paint you want to use, your spray gun must perform as expected. Therefore, opt for a quality primer sprayer that lets you complete the task without hiccups and undue stress.
To assist in your decision-making process, we have taken a closer look at our 5 favorite primer spray guns. A word to the wise before proceeding, though: paint guns and primer guns are not all alike.
|Best Overall||DeVilbiss FLG-678||
|Best Value||Neiko 31216A||
When you think of the Graco 17D889, what should come in your mind is the best handheld airless paint sprayer on this list. This handheld device is very suitable for both interior and exterior painting projects, making it our topic pick for the list. This model uses compressed air and spraying technique to help carry out a neat and professional style of painting. With a firm design grip, this device has a sensitive trigger which changes spraying speed depending on the amount of pressure applied to it.
The spraying tools are easy to clean and can be reused as much as needed. With a pressure point of 1500 PSI, this device falls in the category of the recommended spraying condition so this makes the Graco 17D889 perfect for a smooth painting finish and it’s almost mild application helps prevent over spraying.
This paint sprayer is integrated with vacuum valve technology to help you paint in any direction or angle that you need to, preventing leakage. It has a stainless steel pump which allows you to use thicker paint substances at high velocity and can hold up to 42 Oz of paint.
DeVilbiss 802343 StartingLine HVLP Gravity Spray Gun Kit(“DeVilbiss 802343”) is also a good option for primer application. Although labelled as an automotive primer, the two-gun system can be used in tandem for a variety of tasks, large and small.
Priming flexibility comes from having two 20 oz. cups as well as a standard cleaning brush, wrench, and air adjusting valve with gauge. Its instructions specify 30 PSI inlet pressure to deliver 10 PSI air cap pressure at 13 CFM air volume.
Of the four other primer sprayers reviewed here, the DeVilbiss 802343 was the DeVilbiss FLG-678’s closest competitor. It didn’t receive our top recommendation, because of some cup leakage issues and less overall durability than the DeVilbiss FLG-678.
The Neiko brand out of China and Taiwan raises skepticism in people who wonder if it’s worth looking at a “cheap” primer sprayer. Does the Neiko 31216A HVLP Gravity Feed Air Spray Gun (“Neiko 31216A”) pass the smell test?
Offered with four separate nozzle sizes (1.3, 1.5. 1.7, 2.0mm), the Neiko 31216A has built-in HVLP technology with precision valve knobs for optimum primer application. The gun set matches most competitors in its class with a lidded 600cc aluminum cup, metal-air regulator (gauge), a cleaning brush and wrench.
Neiko products are offered through a vast network in the U.S.A. and elsewhere. It does get our “Best for the Money” tag. However, consumers should be aware of its limitations.
Does the Astro Pneumatics Spray Gun with Cup (“Astro 4008”) work a primer spray gun? You may have read some Astro reviews as a paint sprayer, so is anything different here?
Construction is simple with two major parts (air valve, gun with red-handled 1.8mm nozzle). It offers wide pattern spraying, as well as a metallic one-quart dripless cup.
The Astro 4008’s shortcomings start with its size. Light and with a small footprint, it is dwarfed by its competitors. Also, you’ll need a 3 hp compressor that provides an operating pressure of 50-60 psi. A reason why faint spray patterns are a common complaint.
Our conclusion is that apart from small, specialized work, the Astro 4008 is not well suited for primer application.
The TCP Global Brand Professional Gravity Feed HVLP Spray Gun (“TCP G6600-25”) promotes an impressive array of features expected of a quality primer gun, i.e., a large 2.5mm spray tip, a 1l aluminum cup, air regulator, a consistent spray pattern, etc.
Unfortunately, the TCP G6600-25 is not built for the long haul. Weak paint atomization, brittle components and mismatched parts with original shipping are among common product issues. Way too problematic with so many superior and comparable options available.
Extended warranties don’t make sense for such an inexpensive product. So, unless you are prepared to haggle and negotiate through parts mishaps, stay away from this model.
The best, practical advice is to keep primer guns and paint spray guns separate. This is a given for automotive paint body shops where finishing and detailing are part of regular activity. However, it is also recommended for DIYers and hobbyists on one-time jobs, because it simplifies operation and clarifies preparation and clean-up duties in each case.
There are specific things to consider when buying the primer spray gun for your needs. Desirable features include:
With primer application, perhaps more so than with paints, it’s important to perform at different speeds, thicknesses and spray patterns.
If possible, go for models that do not have to be opened up completely and flushed after every use. You will also benefit if your primer sprayer can be attached to a garden hose.
Most primer sprayers are relatively light, but it’s still important to find one that you’re comfortable handling for 10-15 minutes at a time. Portable sprayers (backpack, wheeled) become more desirable with bigger projects.
If you plan on making a considerable investment in your guns, consider the manufacturer-approved liquids that can extend their lives. They can help prevent rust, corrosion and sticking (nozzle tips).
How important is it for you to control your primer gun use? Ask your dealer or customer representative how easy it is to manage flow rate, pressure and pattern width.
A standard one-year warranty is sufficient for one-time use, especially if you are considering one of the cheaper primer guns in the market. Even a 30-day guarantee may be enough if you plan immediate use and can pinpoint product deficiencies on the spot.
Professional use of more expensive models may call for an extended warranty, although its cost may also be put towards a second sprayer (or the steak dinner to celebrate your completed job!).
Even in today’s globalized economy, citizens still take pride in using products made close to home. In the primer sprayer category, it’s hard to distinguish “Made in U.S.A.” from other origins. However, if you are willing to forgo initial price savings, you can find something to your liking.
The DeVilbiss FLG-678 is our review winner, with the Neiko 31216A taking the spot as “best for the money”. All five sprayers reviewed are distinct, with performance and reliability ultimately deciding the final order.
Before choosing a primer sprayer, it’s important to figure out which features are important to you. It’s not only the highest-rated (or most expensive) model that may be to your liking, so judge the price/value trade-off for yourself.
We hope that our top picks and buyer’s guide will help you in your search. Best of luck!
David Janus is the founder and CEO of Paint Sprayer Magazine. He has over two decades of experience in the spray paint industry and still enjoys writing about new products and technologies.
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