The best automotive paint gun for beginners can help you refresh your car, RV or motorcycle without breaking the bank.
So many options exist in this category, from premium high priced models to multiple gun kits for conquering clear, base and primers.
Budget models let even frugal DIYers get into the market without breaking the bank. So, what is a good car spray gun for beginners?
After our tests, the 5 paint guns below really stood out as the best beginner automotive spray guns.
Best Automotive Paint Gun for Beginners Quick Chart
Best Automotive Paint Gun for Beginners
Premium Pro Model
Beginners get a real leg up when they invest in a quality LVLP spray gun from IWATA.
It satisfies a ton of Our requirements to be one of the best automotive paint guns for beginners. It has easy to adjust fan and fluid controls knobs accessible on the back of the gun, it's lightweight, and ergonomically designed.
The price? Well, its a premium gun so expect to pay more. But what you get are leveled up results that blow your mind. The LPH400 comes with a 1.4mm tip and is specially designed to outperform other guns when laying down clear coat.
If you plan on buying multiple guns for different materials, the LPH400 can be your clear coat workhorse. For an LVLP, the atomizing PSI is pretty high at 16 PSI. Most LVLPs atomize paint at around 10 PSI.
The LV4 aircap it comes with chews up air pretty good, so you'll need a decent sized compressor to run this unit. The results will be worth it, we promise.
This unit is so damn quiet, it sounds like a whisper when it's laying down clear. We were so impressed. Wrist fatigue is a thing of the past with the ergonomically designed handle that fit so great in our hand.
It's lightweight quality build (0.86lbs) means it's one of the lightest spray guns on the market. The IWATA LPH400 will work hard for you if you treat it right.
Not included is the 1 quart cup. For you newbs out there, this is pretty standard for a pro level gun.
You can customize it with whatever cup suits your projects: smaller cups for detailing or painting motorcycles, larger cups for painting vehicles, RVs, panels etc.
We love everything about this IWATA LVLP.
Runner Up: Best Automotive Paint Gun for Beginners
Even though you're a beginner, you don't have to settle for less than stellar results. The FinishLine will provide you with a professional finish.
This spray gun is called a gravity feed gun because the paint cup in on the top. The paint is fed into the gun by using gravity rather than being fed or pulled into it.
The HVLP is because the paint is atomized at a high volume but sprayed with relatively low pressure, resulting in a softer finish.
The three included nozzle sizes mean you can use it for multiple applications instead of buying 3 different guns. You can manage your painting budget without settling for less than the best equipment.
At around half the price of our premium models, this FinishLine lays down smooth. It gets the job done right for the hobbyists out there.
You'll love what this model can do.
The FLG670 is a bit of an air hog on the job, requiring 13 CFM at 23 PSI, so this might be challenging for you depending on your air compressor set up. Check your compressors output before purchasing this gun.
It comes with a decent size 900cc or almost 1 quart cup so you'll be able to spray for longer without having to refill your paint cup.
The FinishLine atomizes paint well, resulting in minimal overspray. The minimum recommended hose is 5/16 inches, but we found that we got better results by stepping up to at least a 3/8 inch hose.
The DeVilbiss FinishLine and DeVilbiss products in general, are some of the best automotive paint guns for beginners available.
The only issue during testing was that the original tip of the gun is on soooo tight! While DeVilbiss gives you a tool to use to take it off, it's not good enough.
We had to carefully use a wrench with gentle constant pressure. Once you've gotten it off, the wrench tool works every time.
We found the results on the job to be uniform and of high quality. The FLG670 can also spray thinned latex, so maybe, you can also paint those cabinets or that wall next home improvement season.
If you need the FinishLine manual, click this link up for a copy.
These HVLP gravity feed guns lay down a coat of primer pretty well. If you’re new to painting or automotive car spraying, this set will get the job done.
The DeVilbiss Auto Paint/Priming Set comes with nozzle size 1.3mm, 1.5mm and 1.8mm. We like this spray gun kit for cars because it comes with multiple guns, three different tips, and it's DeVilbiss quality.
The price is pretty good too.
Just like the FinishLine, these paint guns do require high air volume to get the job done. You’ll be running your compressor at a minimum 12-13 CFM.
The regulator isn’t the best quality so we recommend connecting a different regulator before you start spraying.
Always clean your guns before using to make sure all the gunk from manufacturing is removed, or it can restrict air flow.
Try upgrading to the DeVilbiss DeKups system for this gun set and wow yourself with the performance you get for such a good price.
Budget Friendly Beginner Spray Gun Kit for Cars
This gravity feed spray gun kit comes with multiple automotive paint guns, allowing you to do detail work and regular old touch ups. Sometimes just one spray gun isn't enough to meet your needs. This is particularly true if you're doing some automotive work, top coats, or touch-ups.
Instead of spending your time cleaning up after each step of the job, consider an investment into this TCP Global HVLP Spray Gun Set.
Equipped with stainless steel needles and nozzles, you'll have full adjustment over your spray patterns, air pressure, and fluid coverage for consistent results.
The operating pressure range for this TCP global paint gun set are 29-50 PSI, which most compressors can handle pretty easily.
Nozzle size on these HVLP sprayers range from 1.0mm to 1.8mm making this set perfect for many paint jobs.
The CFM requirements range from 3.5 to 7.1, which again most compressors are able to handle. This means you can keep painting until you're finished with a project instead of being forced to wait for the compressor to catch up.
We found the surface ratio of paint to atmosphere to be about 70/30, whereas other HVLP designs can be as high as 90/10.
You should expect to use a little more paint than you might anticipate. You can create professional results, however, you have to keep a close eye on your fan control. It isn't as precise as we'd like it to be.
Overall the experience was pretty good. Cleaning up was the one negative we encountered with these guns.
Make the cleaning process a bit easier too with TCP's 20 piece cleaning kit.
Ultra Budget: Best Automotive Paint Gun for Beginners
We recommend this gun if you're a beginner because it's a) cheap and b) works pretty well.
This LVLP from SprayIt is perfect for automotive painting if you're on a slim budget. For around 45$, you get a pretty good gun to get started on your DIY.
The quality of the gun and the finish of the paint really surprised us during testing considering its price point. It's not show room quality, but it's not crap either.
The 20oz cup is about 600cc meaning it's better suited for smaller projects and/or detail work. Pressure regulator glass face sometimes arrives cracked due to oddly shaped packing inside the case.
Obviously when you buy a cheaper gun, you get knobs etc that are made of aluminum (or plastic parts) that and can easily break or get cross threaded.
The kit comes with two cleaning brushes that are essential in making sure every bit of the material is out of your sprayer.
Easy to clean and takes about 5-10 minutes.
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Best Automotive Paint Gun for Beginners: Buyer’s Guide
Painting your car is easier than you think. With a bit of practice on your spray technique you can lay down base, paint and clear coat almost as good as a professional. Almost.
Someone once said “Fail to plan, plan to fail” and that is 110% true about painting your car. There are certain things that, as a beginner, you need to know when choosing automotive paint guns.
Know your project requirements and then you can know which paint spray gun for beginners will take your project through to completion.
But First Things First: Painting Masks
You 110% need a paint mask respirator if you're using a sprayer to paint.
Paint sprayers atomize paint, which means they mix the paint with air to turn it into tiny airborne particles that smash onto your project.
If you're not wearing a mask, these paint particles will get into your lungs and screw up your breathing and health.
We tested and reviewed a ton of paint respirator masks to help you get started.
What are the Different Types of Spray Guns for Cars?
HVLP Spray Guns
HVLP stands for “High Volume Low Pressure.”
This spray paint gun uses a high volume of air to break up the paint for spraying.
The end result is a “paint mist” which reduces your overspray, but makes it difficult to cover large surfaces rapidly.
An HVLP paint spray gun is good at keeping overspray to a minimum.
You will need an air compressor with an HVLP unless you buy a turbine system.
HVLP doesn't provide the best finish. Also, they might not be able to spray everything from base to clear and undercoats.
Gravity Feed Sprayers
Our Recommended Type of Automotive Paint Gun for Beginners
Gravity Feed Spray Guns are called that because the cup in on the top of the spray gun feeding the paint into the gun.
They require less air pressure meaning they have less overspray so you save money on paint. They come as HVLP gravity feed or LVLP.
The low pressure also allows you to have more control over the spray and delivers a soft finish. We love the results delivered on clear coat.
Make sure your gun can spray at weird angles and upside down before purchasing.
Siphon feed sprayers suck the paint up from a canister instead of having it fed directly to the nozzle through a cup.
For this reason, it's not the recommended option for an automotive paint gun.
Siphon feed increases the chances of air getting into the lines and resulting in splatter – not something you want to see when applying a top coat.
Not Recommended for Painting Cars
Our Recommended Type of Automotive Paint Gun for Beginners for Clear Coat and Single Stage Enamels.
LVLP means low volume, low pressure.
They work at a lower pressure than even HVLP, at around 10 PSI or less.
Because of the low pressure they lay down a soft finish, perfect for clear coats. It also minimizes overspray (paint waste), saving you cashola on paint.
LVLP's don't require much experience to use them.
This is not the best automotive paint gun for beginners.
An airless sprayer requires more technical skill to use. They use higher pressure than other types of sprayers to atomize paint.
This means you'll have more paint pollution in your area, increasing your paint cost by up to 1.5x over using a gravity feed or HVLP sprayer.
The trade off is, airless sprayers get large jobs done much faster than our recommended gravity feed style guns.
Not Recommended for Painting Cars
What is Your Project? What is your Project Size?
What are you painting? A whole car? A panel? Just touching up some spots? Or maybe you’re painting your motorcycle or RV? What sorts of projects do you normally take on? Answering these questions will help you pick the right spray gun for your jobs.
Features to Look for in the Best Automotive Paint Gun for Beginners
Tip/Nozzle Size and Your Project Planning
Depending on the answers to the above questions, you might find you need an automotive paint gun that has interchangeable tips, or a kit that comes with multiple guns for base, clear and primers.
Cup size is also a factor here. Smaller cups would be OK for detailing or painting a motorcycle, but if you’ve got big projects to work through you’re going to need to get a gun with a cup that holds more paint.
What do you need to Spray?
Different materials need different sized tips. For laying down a smooth coat of primer, which is thicker, you will need a 1.8 - 2.5mm tip. Clear coat is applied with smaller tips because its thinner, so you’re looking for a 1.3 to a 1.4mm.
If you have to spray many different types of materials, get a gun with interchangeable tips or a paint spray gun kit. Most Pro use what is called a “dedicated gun”.
That means they buy separate guns that only spray clear coat or primer and base. This does put more strain on your budget as a beginner, but there are many benefits to using separate guns for clear coat.
Hose Length and Your Project Size
Your sprayer, unless cordless and airless (which we don’t recommend as the best automotive spray gun for beginners), will be attached to your compressor by a hose.
That hose will need to be long enough to reach all of the areas of your project. Then, you don’t have to stop in the middle of your painting to move your sprayer and compressor set up.
Gallons per Minute and Annual Recommended Use
Gallons per minute or GPM isn’t a standard thing across sprayer brands. It does give you a good idea if the sprayer you’re looking at can keep up if you’re mainly spraying large projects like RV’s or buses.
Annual recommended use isn't going to be a big problem is you’re a hobbyist and not spraying everyday.
Painters that plan on kicking it up a notch and spraying regularly need to make sure the sprayer they choose offers high enough annual gallon use.
You don’t want to push so much paint through your sprayer that it needs to be rebuilt or replaced super soon. Contact the manufacturer for 100% confirmation of the recommended amount.
Do You Have an Adequate Air Compressor?
If your compressor doesn’t push out enough air pressure or PSI, it won't supply the SCFMs needed for your sprayer. You will have to take breaks as the air compressor catches up and fills up with air again. Starting and stopping your painting will affect the results in a negative way.
It’s not something you should deal with as a beginner when you’re perfecting your technique and style.
CFMs Demystified (Cubic Feet/Minute)
CFM stands for cubic feet per minute. It’s a measure of the flow rate of air pushed out by a compressor. All spray guns, unless airless or turbine systems, will need a compressor to paint.
Each gun has a minimum required operating CFM that they need so the paint is pushed to the nozzle and then atomized properly. This is super important.
You have to match up the CFMs required on your sprayer with the operating CFMs generated by your compressor. If the CFM’s are too weak, your paint won’t be atomized properly, if it sprays at all.
Make sure to check that your compressor is heavy duty enough for your sprayer. When in doubt, contact the manufacturer.
Ease of Use
The best automotive paint gun for beginners should help you get great results. Of course, it’s not going to do the painting for you!
What we mean is the sprayer should be lightweight. It should be designed ergonomically so that it fits into your hand nicely.
All of these things reduce wrist and arm fatigue so you can get more done and increase the quality of your results.
All of the spray guns for beginners that we recommend above come with high levels of adjustability. You can really dial in your results by changing your spray pattern and fan width instead of buying multiple sprayers.
Always, always always, strain any materials you are putting through your sprayer! We can't stress this enough. The last thing you want is random foreign objects getting into your tip and clogging it or ruining your paint job.
What to Budget for the Best Automotive Paint Gun for Beginners
You can grab paint guns for beginners in each price range. Ultra budget models that still deliver results like the SprayIT LVLP gun above start at around 30-50$.
Internal parts on these cheaper models are not as high quality or long lasting as the more expensive Iwata guns.
Also, the atomization is lacking meaning you may end up spending more on paint, with globs of paint on your project and more sanding after your done spraying.
The mid range items like the DeVilbiss FinishLine and the Auto Paint/Priming Kit include better parts, engineered results and customer service.
Head into the higher end price range and you’ll be getting highly engineered guns geared towards Pros, which maximize atomization and create perfect results with the right technique.
The best automotive paint gun for beginners can help build your confidence while you develop your technique.
Finding a spray gun that delivers awesome results is possible within any price range. Get spraying today!