Best sprayer for polyurethane

By Mego Kimani •  Updated: 06/06/23 •  6 min read

Spray finishing is widely regarded as a superior method for achieving exquisite finishes. It offers a range of possibilities that cannot be replicated flawlessly through other application techniques. If you’re a novice in the world of spray finishing and are currently searching for a reliable polyurethane sprayer, you’ve come to the perfect resource. With my extensive experience in spraying finishes, I am committed to providing you with comprehensive guidance to ensure a well-informed purchase. Additionally, I will recommend some of the top-rated sprayers available in the market today. Together, we will explore the essential factors to consider and empower you to make a solid investment in your spray-finishing endeavors.


Choosing the right system

If your compressor is in good working condition, opt for an HVLP gun. For a compressor that generates 7-8 cfm or more at 40psi, a full-size siphon or gravity gun should suffice. However, if you have a smaller compressor or a pancake compressor that produces around 4 cfm at 40 psi, a gravity detail gun will be suitable. Nonetheless, such a small system can handle polyurethanes and stains but is inadequate for thick paints.

Ensure that the gun you purchase matches or is lower than the compressor’s cfm rating. A difference of plus or minus 1cfm is acceptable. If you don’t have a compressor or if it lacks sufficient power, then you’re a candidate for a turbine system.

fuji turbine

Choosing a turbine system offers several advantages. Firstly, they are highly portable, and everything required is included in the system. Additionally, the learning curve for setting up and using a turbine system is much shorter.

On the other hand, compression-driven conversion guns provide better value for your money. The top-tier conversion guns are half the price of an entry-level turbine unit.

Pros and Cons of Different Sprayer Types:

It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of different sprayer types commonly used for polyurethane finishes:

  1. HVLP Guns: HVLP (High Volume Low Pressure) guns are popular for their efficiency and reduced overspray. They provide excellent control and are suitable for detailed work. However, they require a separate air compressor.
  2. Airless Sprayers: Airless sprayers offer high pressure for a fast and even application. They are ideal for larger projects and thick materials but may generate more overspray compared to HVLP guns.
  3. Turbine Systems: Turbine systems are portable, all-in-one solutions that include a turbine, hose, and gun. They offer versatility and ease of use, making them a great option for beginners. However, they may have limited pressure capabilities for heavy coatings.

Best spray gun for polyurethane

Master Elite PRO-33 Series
$149.99

The Master Elite PRO 33 series offers a top-tier gravity-fed gun that excels in both performance and durability. Whether you're working with waterborne or solvent-based finishes, this versatile gun delivers outstanding results. Designed to be accessible to all, it provides an excellent entry-level option without compromising on quality. While being budget-friendly, the Master Elite PRO 33 series boasts a premium construction that ensures long-lasting reliability.

Included with this gun are a set of interchangeable nozzles, allowing you to effortlessly switch between different finishes. With this feature, you can easily customize your application to suit your specific needs, providing added versatility and convenience.

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Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a hobbyist, the Master Elite PRO 33 series is a dependable choice that combines exceptional performance, affordability, and flexibility. This is not only a gun for polyurethane only. It’s a good thing to think long-term when purchasing a finishing gun.

Graco-Sharpe HVLP Spray Gun
$149.74

The Graco-Sharpe HVLP Spray Gun is an exceptional choice for a finishing gun. Its 1.8 mm tip performs admirably with water-based polyurethane, showcasing its versatility. The gun's air control capabilities surpass those of its counterparts, delivering superior performance. Its lightweight design ensures comfortable handling, while its excellent automation allows for precise adjustments of both air and fluid. The gun's effortless cleaning and disassembly further enhance its usability. Lastly, its chrome finish adds a touch of elegance, making it visually appealing.

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Best budget pick sprayer for polyurethane

DEWALT HVLP Spray Gun
$70.79

The Dewalt gun is a budget-friendly option that offers commendable quality. Despite its attractive price, it doesn't compromise on performance. The gun's construction is solid, providing a durable and sturdy feel. Its smooth operation at 15-30 psi ensures reliable performance. Although the unit is somewhat heavy, it contributes to its overall robustness. Additionally, the gun's highly polished finish adds a touch of sophistication, reflecting Dewalt's commitment to producing well-crafted products.

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04/14/2024 07:03 am GMT

Factors to consider when pick a spray gun for polyurethane

  1. Air Pressure Requirements: Different spray guns require different air pressure levels to operate optimally. Ensure that your compressor can provide the necessary air pressure to meet the gun’s requirements. Consult the manufacturer’s guidelines or specifications for the recommended air pressure range.
  2. Material Compatibility: Verify that the spray gun you choose is compatible with polyurethane finishes. Polyurethane can have different viscosities, so it is important to select a spray gun that can handle the specific type and viscosity of the polyurethane you will be spraying.
  3. Ease of Use and Ergonomics: Consider the overall design and ergonomics of the spray gun. Look for features such as adjustable controls, comfortable grip, and easy trigger operation. A user-friendly spray gun will make your spraying tasks more comfortable and efficient.
  4. Durability and Build Quality: Opt for a spray gun that is constructed with high-quality materials and has a reputation for durability. Look for features like stainless steel or corrosion-resistant components to ensure long-lasting performance.
  5. Maintenance and Cleaning: Consider the ease of maintenance and cleaning for the spray gun. Look for features such as quick disassembly, removable parts, and accessibility for thorough cleaning. A spray gun that is easy to clean and maintain will ensure consistent performance and longevity.
  6. Budget: Determine your budget range and explore spray guns within that range. While it is important to invest in a quality spray gun, there are options available at various price points that can provide satisfactory results.

Gun set up for polyurethane

Gun TypeNozzle Size Range
Gravity Gun1.5mm – 1.9mm
Pressure Cup1.0mm – 1.3mm
Siphon Cup1.9mm – 2.5mm

Please note that these sizes are general recommendations and may vary depending on the specific application and manufacturer’s guidelines.

Accessories

Regardless of the system or gun you choose, there are certain accessories that are essential for your convenience. Some accessories can be homemade, while others are affordable and highly recommended for purchase.

One important accessory is a cleaning kit, which typically includes small brushes and wires specifically designed for cleaning the gun. Investing in a cleaning kit is highly beneficial as it helps maintain the gun’s performance and prolong its lifespan. Despite being reasonably priced, a cleaning kit is worth every penny.

If you opt for a gravity gun, which is a popular choice as I have previously recommended, you will also need a stand to hold the gun upright while filling it or when it’s not in use. Many gravity guns come with swing-away holders for strainers, making it even more convenient to handle and store the gun.

Accessories

If you plan to work with oil finishes, air filters play a vital role in achieving optimal results. Specifically, when using oil-based polyurethane, it is crucial to have an air filter in place. The purpose of an air filter is to effectively remove moisture from the air, preventing it from negatively impacting your finish.

Moisture can potentially ruin the quality of your oil-based polyurethane finish, leading to uneven application, streaks, or other undesirable effects. By using an air filter, you can ensure that the air being used during the spraying process is clean and free from moisture.

Not sure what finish to use on your next project? Check out how to pick a finish in our guide on Woodworking finishes

Summary: Best sprayer for polyurethane

Selecting the best sprayer for polyurethane finishes is essential to achieve professional-level results. Consider factors such as compressor capacity, sprayer type, and your specific requirements. We have explored top HVLP guns as viable options. In addition to the Master Elite PRO-33 Series and Graco-Sharpe HVLP Spray Gun, the Fuji Spray Semi-PRO 2 – HVLP Spray System is another recommended choice. Remember to follow proper spraying techniques and perform regular maintenance to ensure long-lasting performance. With these insights, you can confidently invest in a sprayer that suits your needs and achieve remarkable polyurethane finishes.

Mego Kimani

Hi there, my name is Mego Kimani, and I am the owner of Woodmeter, a website dedicated to wood finishing. At Woodmeter, we offer a comprehensive resource for woodworkers and DIY enthusiasts, providing information on everything from achieving the perfect finish to product recommendations and technique guides. Our goal is to empower our community with the knowledge they need to create beautiful, long-lasting finishes on their projects, no matter their skill level or experience.