Surprising performance for a cheap spray gun

  • Advertise with us
Review by CueballRosendaul posted 09-11-2012 02:34 PM 9522 views 5 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Surprising performance for a cheap spray gun Surprising performance for a cheap spray gun Surprising performance for a cheap spray gun Click the pictures to enlarge them

Several months ago, I bought this hopper type spray gun at Harbor Freight. I intended to use it to finish a batch of unfinished oak furniture we bought, but I chickened out and finished it all by hand because I didn’t trust this sprayer. Normally sells for $20, I think I paid $16 on sale.

I don’t have a high capacity compressor, just a small 3.7 SCFM shown in the last picture, but this little gun didn’t care. It would never work to paint a house or fence, but to have in the shop for the 200 wine bottle stands I just made was awesome. The compressor hardly ran, and I had the pressure turned down to about 45PSI. The spray pattern was adjustable, the air pressure was adjustable at the bottom of the gun, and the volume of paint was adjustable. There was a small drip that came down the trigger from somewhere once in a while, but I was spraying watered down clear poly. It was a very even mist of finish, no thick spots or glops, and the first 50% of the trigger pull is just air, then gets heavier as you pull the trigger the rest of the way. If I did happen to lay on a thick spot, I could just go back to it and hold the trigger slightly to give it some air to dry the finish before it started to run.

One thing I did replace before starting was the O ring at the bottom of the hopper jug. The original one was all out of shape and made of a very rigid material, so I just grabbed an appropriate rubber O ring from my plumbing box. It also did not come with a little bristle brush to clean the nozzles. Before I use it next time, I’m going to figure out some type of stand to set it on when not in use and filling the hopper. The directions say “have an assistant hold the spray gun steady while filling the hopper” as if we all have a trunk monkey hanging around the shop to do our bidding. There is a little hook at the top, but with the hopper full, it tips over backwards.

UPDATE: When I was finishing my last project, I wanted to make a stand for the sprayer. Simple three board setup with the top one having a 3” diameter hole cut to hold the cup. At some point when I’m painting something a decent color, I’ll knock the corners off and give it a few coats of paint.

Here’s a link to it on, but cheaper if you have access to a Harbor Freight Store.

A note about the compressor. It’s loud but works great and is just the right size to still be portable. When you’re done reading this review, go empty the water from your compressor and check the oil. When’s the last time you did that? You’ll also notice the FlexZilla hose. LOVE IT. I saw a hardwood flooring installer using one of these and knew I had to have one. stays super flexible all the time, even when it’s freezing cold, also has NO MEMORY at all.

-- Matt CueBall Rosendaul. I don't think I've ever had a cup of coffee that didn't have cat hair or sawdust in it.

View CueballRosendaul's profile


484 posts in 3028 days

20 comments so far

View PopsShopGa's profile


10 posts in 2971 days

#1 posted 09-11-2012 03:02 PM

Matt – I have used this particular spray gun for several years. I know that Harbor Freight stuff is cheap and sometimes cheaply built, but this gun just keeps working and working. The only thing I don’t like about it is the plastic cup. I have replaced it with a metal one.

-- Fred Wilson / Pops Shop /

View a1Jim's profile


118143 posts in 4465 days

#2 posted 09-11-2012 03:11 PM

thanks for the review ,I have been buying HF spray guns .They are a great buy and perform well.


View TheOldTimer's profile


226 posts in 3974 days

#3 posted 09-11-2012 05:39 PM

I have had mine for years also and they are my turn to spray gun. I just wish Harbor Freight would offer different nozzle sizes for the gun. Mine has a 1.5mm nozzle and I would like to have a 2.0 and a 1.0 nozzle for more versitility.

-- TheOldTimer,Chandler Arizona

View Tennessee's profile


2901 posts in 3402 days

#4 posted 09-11-2012 06:41 PM

I wondered about this when it went on sale for $10 recently, so I popped for one. Glad to see it is well liked. I’ll be using it soon with lacquer.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View b2rtch's profile


4920 posts in 3936 days

#5 posted 09-11-2012 06:47 PM

I bought the set of 2 about a year ago, they work very well.

-- Bert

View BerBer5985's profile


445 posts in 3308 days

#6 posted 09-11-2012 07:14 PM

I have the same gun at home and I’ve yet to try it at all, other than spraying water. Seemed to work great for that. I actually bought the HVLP spray system they sell and a few extra cups from rockler to make cleanup easy and I’ve been pleased with the quality vs price of that system. I’m going to have to try that gun too and see which one creates the best finish. Thanks for review!

-- Greg, Owner, Quality Carpet One,

View Sailor's profile


543 posts in 4153 days

#7 posted 09-11-2012 08:07 PM

Cool, thanks for the review!

I bought the same gun last week since I’ve heard great things about it and it’s cheap. I have yet to use it though but I really appreciate your tidbits of information.

The stand you mentioned is something I’m going to need since I don’t have a monkey in my shop either….

-- Dothan, Alabama Check out my woodworking blog! Also my Youtube Channel's Facebook page

View stan3443's profile


301 posts in 3163 days

#8 posted 09-12-2012 01:58 AM

harber freight sells a stand to hold it wile you fill the cup.have had that gun for awile have run gallons of finish through it

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

View Mark Davisson's profile

Mark Davisson

598 posts in 4205 days

#9 posted 09-12-2012 09:29 AM

These are currently on sale for $14.99. And you can print a 20% off coupon from their website, making it $12.

Their stand for it is $9.99.

-- I'm selfless because it feels so good!

View NiteWalker's profile


2741 posts in 3465 days

#10 posted 09-12-2012 11:12 AM

Great review. :)
That’s a great price for the gun, hard to beat.
I have the flexzilla hose too and love it. It’s great.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Richard's profile


1943 posts in 3578 days

#11 posted 09-12-2012 04:44 PM

I wonder if my 6 Gal HF comperssor with 2.5 SCFM 90 PSI, 3.4 SCFM 40 PSI
will work with this? The gun shows needing 6 SCFM but if you are getting it to work with 3.7 I just might give it a try.

View NiteWalker's profile


2741 posts in 3465 days

#12 posted 09-12-2012 07:02 PM

It will work fine as long as your projects aren’t too big and you give the compressor time to catch up.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Richard's profile


1943 posts in 3578 days

#13 posted 09-12-2012 10:29 PM

Thanks NiteWalker , the projects will be pretty small just some small jewerly boxes and maybe a few wine bottle holders.

And I like your Line of —He who dies with the most tools… dies with the emptiest wallet. —aint that the truth , I could have found a cheaper hobby but I like this one.

View pintodeluxe's profile


6214 posts in 3701 days

#14 posted 09-13-2012 05:54 PM

Looks almost identical to my Woodriver and Porter cable guns (which both work great).
Glad to hear you found a keeper.

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

View dbhost's profile


5777 posts in 4120 days

#15 posted 09-13-2012 06:14 PM

Thanks for the review. I have the HF conventional gun and am not entirely satisfied with its performance compared to my Husky branded Campbell Hausfeld built gun… Been thinking about one these HF guns for knock about work (spraying latex paint when I want to get the thing done in a hurry…)

I am not all that crazy about the plastic hopper either. HF sells a nice aluminum one as an add on on the cheap…

Heck at the sale price for this thing, it would be worth it to buy two!

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

showing 1 through 15 of 20 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics