Yet another HVLP post

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by Mark posted 03-29-2018 12:01 PM 1134 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Mark's profile


58 posts in 1087 days

03-29-2018 12:01 PM

Hello all!

I’m looking to upgrade from my Harbor Freight HVLP. It has served me well but just does not atomize the finish enough or create an even enough spray pattern. It has done what I paid for however, and is a good stepping stone.

I generally am happy to make two purchases along the way to my ‘for life’ tool. In this instance, i don’t have the budget for a $1k+ system, and am happy to spend $300-$600 for a system that’ll serve me well for 3-5 years.

I spray mostly solvent based lacquer or water based polys (like General Finishes). I wipe on most of my oil based polys. I’d also like to be able to spray paint on cabinets and sheet goods.

I’m looking at the Earlex 5500 ($300) and Fuji Semi-Pro 2 ($425). The Mini-Mite 3 ($650) is tempting but I don’t want to overdo it. Could I afford it? Sure, but it’ll eat into my budget for the next upgrade (mmm, dual head drum sander..)

I also have to take into account the cost of extra needle/air cap sets.

I’m leaning toward the Semi-Pro 2. It’s a good price and I can grab the upgraded kit for $600 which includes the flexible hose, additional needle sets etc.

Is there anyone here who faced the same dilemma and is glad/regretful of their choice?

Thanks all

8 replies so far

View BurlyBob's profile


7728 posts in 3076 days

#1 posted 03-29-2018 02:35 PM

Earlier this year I picked up that Earlex 6000 from Highland. They had a pretty good sale on it. I sprayed my kitchen cabinet job with it and the only complaint is that in my small cramped are the air hose got in the way from time to time. The end result was fantastic looking cabinets. It’s real user friendly and this was my first attempt at spraying anything. I use shellac for the first coat and 3 with a water based poly.

View onoitsmatt's profile


446 posts in 1987 days

#2 posted 03-29-2018 03:18 PM

+1 to consider the Earlex 6003. It’s a 3 stage and can be had on sale for about $450. It’s normally $500.

-- Matt - Phoenix, AZ

View d38's profile


142 posts in 1073 days

#3 posted 03-29-2018 04:59 PM

I picked up an Earlex 6003 at the Kansas City wood working show a couple months ago.
Only sprayed water with it so far (just to play with it and ensure lid sealed well on the can).
Wagner customer service will help you with issues (one of the Wagner reps was at the show demoing them).
One Fuji retailer I emailed for info said the Mini-Mite 3 is his choice over the Semi-Pro for water based top coats—the 3 stage spays it better.

View Mark's profile


58 posts in 1087 days

#4 posted 03-29-2018 05:13 PM

Ah, thanks everyone for bringing that Earlex 6003 to my attention. I was leaning there from what has been said here, and he fact it’s 3 stage, but I’m really put off by the lack of online reviews. The Fuji on Amazon has a seriously solid following.

View firefighterontheside's profile


21131 posts in 2667 days

#5 posted 03-29-2018 06:04 PM

I have had the 5500 for about 4 years. It has performed very well at spraying everything but latex paint. It’s not made for that. I have sprayed waterbased finishes, oil based stain, lacquer, oil based paint and waterborne tinted lacquer. It has done well with all of those products. You do have to get the 1.5 needle for finishing as it usually only comes with the 2.0. I highly recommend it, but have no experience with any other guns.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View Mark's profile


58 posts in 1087 days

#6 posted 03-29-2018 06:35 PM

Thanks everyone. I ordered the Earlex 6003. It was ~$506 + tax on Amazon, but Rockler had a pretty killer deal of $449 + free $15 cleaning kit. $20 shipping but no taxes.

I believe it also comes with two nozzles, as opposed to Fuji’s one. So I feel pretty good about it.

Thanks for the tips everyone.

View SweetTea's profile


477 posts in 1470 days

#7 posted 03-30-2018 12:57 PM

Does anyone know if the Earlex 6003 or the Mini-Mite-3 can spray latex paint?

Also, is white tinted lacquer easier to spray with a 2-stage or 3-stage compared to latex paint? I know that a 2 stage won’t spray latex very well due to the thickness of latex, but is white tinted lacquer thinner or easier to spray compared to latex?

View 01ntrain's profile


259 posts in 1881 days

#8 posted 03-30-2018 01:38 PM

Tinted white lacquer is pretty thin, so it will be fine in the 2-stage systems.

The 6003 and the MM are 3 stage systems, so they should spray latex, with minimal thinning. I have a Semi-Pro 2 and plan to spray latex with it, but it will be more higher-end paints like the hybrid alkyds. I hear good things about PPG Breakthrough, as well…..

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

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