HVLP VS. LVLP Spray Guns

There is a large variety of different types of spray guns available for painters, professionals, and newbies. They almost look the same and work on the same principles with a little bit of difference. But what suits you depends on your project’s nature and needs.

The work nature of expert painters and professionals is quite different from the work nature and needs of beginners. So choosing the right gun for your job is a hectic task even for experienced DIYers.

When the guns are similar in name and different in output, how you select the right one between HVLP vs. LVLP spray guns is a very tricky question. You need to know the difference between the nature and functions of both guns.

This article will provide you with all information regarding the difference between HVLP vs. LVLP spray guns, and help you to decide the right one for your work.

What Is HVLP Spray Gun?

This (High Volume Low Pressure) gun is a commonly used spray gun among all users. It can produce high-volume output at low pressure.

It has been designed in a way that even beginners and inexperienced DIYers can use easily.


The HVLP needs a large powerful compressor than LVLP. It wastes less paint and saves your money. It is an environmentally friendly spray gun that creates a fine finish.

It can handle thicker material at higher transfer efficiency. It is also useful for both small and large projects.

What Is LVLP Spray Gun?

The LVLP (low volume low pressure) spray gun is a new type of gun used for painting.

It is very an outstanding gun for spraying thin materials such as clear coats, lacquers, thin satins, and varnish.

It needs low pressure to work so a small compressor can supply enough airflow to this gun.


LVLP guns usually use 10 PSI or less but they can create an excellent finish with greater transfer efficiency. It wastes less material than HVLP.

It is a very fast spraying machine used for big projects but it doesn’t do well with thick paints. It is very popular with professional users and experienced DIYers.


Although these two guns have some prominent differences, they have many similarities also.

  • #1: HVLP & LVLP Spray Guns have small fan patterns useful for the slow application process.
  • #2: Both these guns offer a very nice finish coat from a diversity of materials.
  • #3: They are efficient for paint transfer; LVLP is just a little more efficient.
  • #4: Both spray guns can spray most of the materials at the pressure and viscosity once set correctly.
Sr. NoHVLP (High volume low pressure)LVLP (Low volume low pressure.)
Transfer efficiencybetterGood
Size of air compressorBiggerSmaller
Painting Fan widthAdjustableSmaller fan width
Air volume12-30 CFM4-18 CFM
Air pressure35-60 PSI08-30 PSI
Best forRegular DIYers and beginnersExperienced DIYers and professional users.

Difference Between HVLP & LVLP Spray Guns

The main difference between Hvlp and Lvlp is that both HVLP & LVLP Spray Guns are good tools for spraying paint, but, in some areas, LVLP is better than HVLP and in other areas, HVLP is better than LVLP.

Let’s find the differences to understand them well and decide the best for your work.

#1. Difference In Pressure

Pressure refers to the size of the compressor which provides appropriate air for the gun for working well.

  • #1: HVLP spray gun uses more pressure to spray paint while the LVLP spray gun uses less pressure.
  • #2: HVLP spray gun requires 40-60 PSI to work while the LVLP spray gun requires 10-30 PSI to spray well.
  • #3: The HVLP spray gun needs a more powerful air compressor while the LVLP spray gun needs a less powerful air compressor.

#2. The Difference In Transfer Efficiency

Transfer efficiency refers to paint sprayed on the surface or the calculation of paint sprayed in percentage as how much paint goes into the air and how much is sprayed well on the surface.

  • #1: The success of smooth and even spraying depends on the transfer efficiency of your gun. If your spray gun doesn’t waste paint, it can protect your environment and is considered better than the other.
  • #2: The transfer efficiency of the HVLP spray guns is 60-70% which is more than LVLP. So HVLP gun is generally used indoors as it sprays little paint flying into the air.
  • #3: Further, transfer efficiency varies from modal to modal as different types of spray guns are used for painting.

#3. Speed Difference

Whether you are a beginner or professional, you always try to complete your project sooner and faster. So the speed of the gun also affects your selection of gun

  • #1: HVLP spray guns have large air holes and use more pressure, so they are faster than LVLP.
  • #2: Due to higher transfer efficiency, HVLP covers a large surface faster than LVLP.
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#4. The Difference In Fan Pattern

  • #1: There is also a prominent difference between HVLP spray guns and LVLP spray guns regarding the width of the fan pattern.
  • #2: It largely affects the overall performance and using these guns with ease.
  • #3: The HVLP spray gun has a larger fan pattern than the LVLP gun is usually between 8 and 10 inches.
  • #4: The LVLP spray gun has a smaller fan pattern which causes more painting time and affects the quality of the paint finish.

#5. Difference Between Using Spray Guns

There is another important difference of using between HVLP spray guns and LVLP spray guns. Some users can use HVLP easily while others can’t. All this depends on the skill and experience of the user.

  • #1: As HVLP spray guns have been used for a long time, so all painters, professionals, and even beginners know this spray gun well. You may find better tech support and training about this gun.
  • #2: While the LVLP spray gun is a new one on the market, most users haven’t used this gun. So you may not find better tech support and training about LVLP spray guns.
  • #3: When you decide to buy a gun suitable for your work, you always focus on the easy use and proper tech repairing facility available in the market.

#6. The Difference In The Paint Type You Want To Use

If you test the paint type, both the guns are equal; they can spray any type of paint if you have the correct tip size, paint well mixed, and have sufficient air volume.

#7. Difference Between Cost/Price

Both HVLP spray guns and LVLP spray guns are found on the market in different models, brands, sizes, and prices.

  • #1: If you buy a spray gun for a small project, and you are a beginner, you normally need a gun of lower quality; it can be easily available at a low price
  • #2: If you want to buy a spray gun for larger projects and you are an expert painter or professional, you need a good quality gun; it will be expensive.
  • #3: You can get both HVLP and LVLP spray guns between $100 (lower quality) and $500 (top quality)

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Safety Measures Necessary While HVLP And LVLP Spray Guns?

Yes, it is very necessary to take safety measures using HVLP and LVLP spray guns. Because the elements or chemicals used in paint preparation are mostly very toxic. These elements can affect your eyes, lungs, and skin.

What Are The Possible Safeties Which Can Be Taken Using HVLP And LVLP Spray Guns?

There are many safety tips that can be taken while using HVLP and LVLP spray guns.

  • #1: Wear glasses to cover the eyes
  • #2: Wear caps to cover head
  • #3: Wear fully-covered shoes
  • #4: Wear gloves to cover your hands and a mask to cover the mouth
  • #5: Avoid flammable material

Is Mixing The Material/paint Necessary Before Filling It In Spray Guns?

Yes, all the paints prepared in factories have much viscosity. They are always thinned to spray well using HVLP and LVLP spray guns.

The mixing process depends on the type of paint; because water-based paints and oil-based paints are thinned differently.

How Can I Enhance The Life Of My HVLP Spray Gun?

It is very easy to increase the life of your spray gun. Taking proper care, cleaning regularly after every use, using and changing proper nozzles and needles, and avoiding jerking the trigger can enhance the life of a spray gun.

Final Words

Both HVLP spray guns and LVLP spray guns are high-quality guns in the painting industry. They have some similarities and differences as well.

It deepens on the user’s preferences, whatever surface he wants to spray, whatever paint he wants to use, or what type of project he wants to complete.

If you are a beginner having little experience and want to complete indoor projects, use an HVLP spray gun, it will better help you.

But if you are an expert and want to complete larger projects, use the LVLP spray gun which is far more perfect and fit for you as they have less waste ratio.

John Smith

John Smith is a professional artist and painter with over 10 years of experience using spray guns in his artwork. He has been featured in various exhibitions and galleries throughout the United States and Europe. He is also a passionate educator, having taught painting techniques and spray gun usage to art students at the university level. In addition, he has authored several books on painting and is a regular contributor to art magazines.

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