Great for paint

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Review by Vrtigo1 posted 05-08-2012 01:35 AM 8933 views 3 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Great for paint No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

Let me start out by saying that I am pretty new to spray finishes of any kind. I recently built some MDF shelves and got about half way through the first coat of primer on the first shelf when I remembered how much I hate painting. So I tried to get the wife to do it, then when I realized that wasn’t going to happen I set about finding a faster/easier method.

I have an Earlex HVLP system, but from the 1 or 2 times I’ve tried to use it to spray paint I’ve found the process frustrating. I talked to the maintenance guy at work and he recommended this spray gun. He sold me when he said “for $15 even if you hate it you can throw it away and write the cost off as a learning experience”.

The first thing I sprayed through it was some Kilz oil-based primer. I thinned it a bit with Floetrol (the Floetrol instructions say to follow the thinning instructions on the paint can, but there were none so I just added enough to get it to a consistency that I thought would work well). As soon as I started spraying I immediately noticed how much better it was working then my previous attempts at spraying paint with my Earlex. Granted I was using the needle that came with the Earlex (I think it’s a 2.0mm), so I was using the wrong size needle, but the Earlex needles are pretty expensive so I didn’t want to buy the larger one because I wasn’t sure it would make it work that much better. Anyway, with the Earlex very little paint would come out so it took a long time to get coverage, and even when I did the coat wouldn’t be very even. This gun is completely the opposite. You control how much paint comes out by how far you pull the trigger and I had no problem getting enough paint to come out. The shelves I was painting were approx 4’ x 2’ x 6” and I primed each one in about 10-15 minutes.

Next I sprayed some cheap Glidden water based paint from Home Depot. The sprayer says it sprays “most oil based paints” but I didn’t have any problems at all spraying this water based paint. Again, each shelf took about 10-15 minutes.

I have a 60 gallon compressor and from what I recall, it turned on to fill itself back up every 3-5 minutes. If you have a pancake compressor or anything smaller than about a 20 gallon tank, I’d say that your compressor may be running non-stop.

Cleanup is my least favorite part about spraying anything, but this sprayer cleans up pretty well. Nothing particularly difficult.

Overall, I’m really impressed with the quality of this spray gun considering the price. I haven’t used it for anything other than paint, but I think this will be my go to paint gun from now on and if it breaks, I’ll be buying another one. For the price, even if it breaks after one or two jobs it keeps me away from the paint brush which is a win in my book.

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434 posts in 3850 days

15 comments so far

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218 posts in 4364 days

#1 posted 05-08-2012 02:42 AM

I have one made by a different company but looks exactly the same but blue. I bet they all came from the same Chinese factory. But anyway it’s great! Totally turned me onto the world of HVLP. I spray shellac and water-based poly with it. I was finally able to achieve that flawlessly smooth finish I always wanted before!

View BigFoot Products Canada's profile

BigFoot Products Canada

711 posts in 4251 days

#2 posted 05-08-2012 03:07 AM

I looked at that gun on HF.. You can’t beat the price. I’ve decided to buy the Two Pack HVLP that are now on sale for $49.99.. the ones with the purple handles. They had GREAT REVIEWS for cheap guns.
I’m having a friend pick them up tommorow for me because he is going to the USA..
I also own an HVLP system.. the Turbinaire. I modified a hose connector to adapt to the 1/4” intake on the guns and connect to the HVLP hose, so that I can use them with my system and not have to use a compressor. I also drilled out the intake nipple on another 1/4” gun that I purchased recently and doubled the air intake hole size. I plan to do the same on the two new one’s.
HVLP guns for our systems are real pricey.. but not if you do this modification.

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Craftsman on the lake

3475 posts in 4296 days

#3 posted 05-08-2012 05:51 AM

I have an inexpensive husky from Lowes… and a 60 gal. compressor that works well as an hvlp device. I expected water based poly to go through it well recently I built some screen doors and decided to us Spar varnish… it’s think gooey stuff. Damn it it didn’t spray nicely. I’m sold on hvlp and it seems that pretty much any gun might produce good results.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View rockindavan's profile


299 posts in 3494 days

#4 posted 05-08-2012 08:02 AM

I have had this gun for 4 years and is quite the HF gem. I have sprayed latex, lacquer, oil based paint and milk paint, all with exceptional results as long as you thin properly. I would recommend the gun with a pressure regulator on the bottom; at the time I bought it, there was a model without it also.

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Big Ben

87 posts in 3749 days

#5 posted 05-08-2012 12:06 PM

I just bought one of these guns last month and was pleased with how easy it was to use. It is my first sprayer and I sprayed latex paint on some shelving. Looking forward to seeing how it handles water-based and lacquer.

View dhazelton's profile


2839 posts in 3155 days

#6 posted 05-08-2012 02:44 PM

@ the laser guy – make sure your friend opens the packages and examines the guns. I bought one and got all set to spray something and took the gun out of the box – it was an obvious return as the housing was broken and a spider had nested inside the box. I was not a happy camper.

View pintodeluxe's profile


6207 posts in 3672 days

#7 posted 05-08-2012 03:53 PM

I like the gravity feed HVLP guns in general. I have had good luck with the Woodriver and Porter Cable models as well. 1.5 mm tip for lacquer and shellac, 2.0 mm tip for paint seems to work well.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View stan3443's profile


301 posts in 3134 days

#8 posted 05-08-2012 03:58 PM

have the same gun ,have sprayed gallons and gallons of paint and poly .great results clean up 5 minutes

-- If your not supposed to have hair on your face......why does it grow their

View gblock66's profile


58 posts in 3765 days

#9 posted 05-09-2012 11:07 PM

I bought the same gun from HF for $9.99 . .I had recently bought a Rockwell/Delta 6” Jointer which I stripped, cleaned and then painted with that gun. I matched the factory color at Sherwin Williams and bought a quart of oil base enamel, mixed 12 oz. and thinned it with a cap full of thinner. . .That gun is awesome . .4 full coats easy to use adjusting the pressure and air/paint flow . . . I recommend it hands down . . .

View Earlextech's profile


1162 posts in 3549 days

#10 posted 05-10-2012 05:12 PM

This is a great little gun, I own one myself.
But I feel the need to correct a couple of misconceptions about HVLP.
First of all the HF gun is not HVLP, it states in the manual that it requires 43 psi. Anything over 10 psi is not HVLP.
Second, true HVLP eliminates some of the inherent problems with compressed air. There is no need to eliminate moisture or oily contamination from the air line because it doesn’t exist. Also, overspray is cut down to about 7% or less. This HF gun @ 35psi operates at about 30% overspray.
Third, and then I’ll get off my soapbox, HVLP is more compact, doesn’t wear on your big compressor and with practice gives just as good a finish as any system out there.
One more thing, sorry, latex paint is not designed to be sprayed, nor should it be used as a furniture finish. There, now I’m done.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

View shipwright's profile


8583 posts in 3656 days

#11 posted 05-11-2012 02:33 PM

I bought one of these for my AZ shop to reduce my spray can expenditures. I liked it so much that I bought the full sized one as well and another touch up gun to bring home to BC with me. I got them all for $9.99 each. One thing I’ve learned about Harbour Freight is that they have a wide range of “sale prices” and only by monitoring the flyers and emails over a period of time do you get to recognize the “real lowest price” These guns are excellent value at twice the price.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View Bryan_M's profile


46 posts in 3902 days

#12 posted 05-12-2012 04:18 AM

If you watch American Restoration you will see them use what looks to be this same spray gun. And their stuff seems to come out amazing so I’m assuming its a decent sprayer. I have one too but I don’t have a compressor that will work with it. I got it on sale for ten bucks or something so I couldn’t pass it up.

View Sarit's profile


552 posts in 3998 days

#13 posted 05-14-2012 08:40 PM

Since the Earlextech felt compelled to correct you, I think its fair that I may correct some of his misconceptions too.
(Pardon my hubris)
He’s correct in saying that HVLP means you cannot have over 10psi, but he is incorrect that the psi limit is measured at the hose/gun connection. The limit is actually at the air cap (the funny looking nozzle). So while you can have 43 psi at the gun, the gun will reduce the pressure down to 10 psi at the air cap making it a true HVLP gun.

In fact, there is a whole classification of these compressor driven HVLP guns, and they are called HVLP conversion guns. So granted that the HF gun reduces pressure to 10 psi at the aircap, it is a true HVLP conversion gun. This is in contrast to turbine based HVLP systems like the Earlex and the Turbinare which produces the 10 psi at the turbine and doesn’t need to reduce the pressure inside the gun.

Like Earlextech pointed out, they do suffer from poorer air quality, however that can be remedied with various filter/driers at additional cost. I use a disposable dryer/filter from HF on mine, but I hear they don’t last very long.

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1162 posts in 3549 days

#14 posted 05-14-2012 09:36 PM

Thanks for correcting my correction. The HF gun is whats called an “air restricted HVLP” which means that it does exactly what you said, cuts down on the air flow simply by making the air passages smaller.
Another type of gun is the “conversion HVLP”. This gun would have a secondary regulator at the gun handle that would reduce the psi down towards (but hardly ever acheiving) 10 psi.
“True HVLP” always comes with it’s own turbine and large air passages in the gun so that the high cfm/ low psi can atomize your finishes with minimal overspray.
My HF gun has much more overspray than my true HVLP.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

View BerBer5985's profile


445 posts in 3279 days

#15 posted 09-19-2012 08:26 PM

I tried the Harbor Freight HVLP Spray System and it’s a decent package for the price, but I wasn’t thrilled with the result the first time out. I had bought this gun about a year ago and it sat in the box unused and I figured I’d bust it out and give it a try and damn if it didn’t work perfectly. I thought it was easier to set up and layed down a better finish with less waste than the HVLP system did. It worked fine with my 20 gallon oil lube compressor, compressor ran a fair amount, but no pressure drop that I could tell on the little air valve with gauge I bought to go with it. I liked it so much, I bought the Husky HVLP gun for comparison sake. I have never sprayed before I really like these HVLP guns. Out of the box, the Husky feels more substantial and a little beter build quality, but I’m anxious to see if it can lay down the acrylic enamel paint thinned like this cheap harbor freight gun did.

-- Greg, Owner, Quality Carpet One,

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