The world of spray guns can get confusing fast, take HVLP spray gun vs conventional spray gun. What are the differences between a conventional spray gun and an HVLP spray gun? Well luckily for you, I have all of the answers, keep on reading to find out!

Conventional Spray Guns

This is the spray gun that we are all familiar with, hence the name. Compressed air is used to create high pressure which forces the paint out of a nozzle and onto the painted surface.

Higher-pressure conventional spray guns will atomize the paint more which results in a smoother and overall better paint finish.

One of the main issues with conventional spray guns is that they waste a lot of paint. Because the paint is atomized and blasted out a lot of it ends up missing the surface you are trying to paint.

This paint can end up everywhere, which is not good for your cleanup efforts or for the environment as paints contain volatile organic compounds. It is also not good for your wallet as paint sprayers can end up wasting up to 70% of your paint depending on the sprayer!

HVLP Spray Guns

So how do HVLP spray guns differ from conventional types? Well the HVLP stands for High Volume Low Pressure so immediately this gives us some clues as to the differences between these two sprayer types.

With an HVLP spray gun, a lot of air is used to send paint out towards your desired target but at a much lower pressure than a regular spray gun, this means that more paint hits the intended surface so less paint is wasted.

HVLP Spray Gun Vs Conventional Spray Gun

So let’s get to the head-to-head and really see the differences between these two types of paint sprayers.

Air Pressure

As I mentioned earlier this is one area where these two types of paint sprayers vary greatly. An HVLP paint sprayer uses low pressure to force out the paint, this limits wastage meaning you use a lot less paint with an HVLP spray gun vs conventional spray gun.

A conventional sprayer, on the other hand, uses high air pressure to paint with, this often leads to a lot of paint missing the target and instead being aerosolized in the air and in the end becoming wasted.

Spray Finish

When it comes to spray finish you usually achieve a better finish with a conventional sprayer and if you think about the method of application between the two paint sprayers then this makes a lot of sense.

A conventional paint sprayer is spraying a very fine atomized mist, you can easily see how this will give a good finish.

On the other hand, an HVLP paint sprayer sprays the paint in much larger droplets which can sometimes lead to a blotchy finish if you aren’t too careful.

Transfer Efficiency

Transfer efficiency just relates to the amount of paint that makes it to the intended target, as you should now already know, HVLP sprayers have a much higher transfer efficiency than conventional paint sprayers.

VOC Release

Paint contains VOCs which stand for Volatile Organic Compounds, these are compounds in the paint that are harmful to the environment. Modern paints contain much fewer of these compounds than older paints did, however, they are still there.

Solvent-based paints usually have more VOCs than water-based paints so the type of paint you use also plays a part here as well as the sprayer you use.

Because conventional sprayers aerosolize the paint and also have a lot of waste then you are sending these VOCs into the air which isn’t good for anyone, and because conventional sprayers waste more paint than HVLP sprayers they also put more of these VOCs into the environment.

Which Spray Gun To Buy?

HVLP sprayers are harder to use and require a more experienced operator to achieve a good finish with, however, once you are up to speed with them you can achieve a great finish and also save a lot of money in paint costs.

Another factor is the paint that you will be spraying, conventional sprayers tend to fare better with thicker paints than HVLP sprayers do.


So HVLP spray gun vs conventional spray gun really comes down to the amount of pressure used to spray the paint and therefore the wastage. HVLP sprayers use less pressure and therefore less paint but need a lot more experience to get a really good finish with than conventional sprayers.