Best Paint for a Spray Gun

Paint for a spray gun used to be expensive and difficult to find. Is it necessary to purchase specialized paint for a spray gun?

Modern latex paint contains a series of new synthetic resins that are compatible with water. So yes, you can thin paint with water!

But, what sprayer paint will provide you with the consistent and professional results you require?

best paint for a spray gun
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Best Paint for a Spray Gun Quick Chart

Modern latex paint can be applied in a variety of environments and is offered in several different color options. That makes it possible to use an airless gun with your paint, sometimes without the need to thin it. 

Paint for a Spray Gun: Our Reviews of the Best Paint Brands

Best Interior Paint for a Spray Gun

#1. Rust-Oleum

best paint for a spray gun
  • Covers up to 120 sq ft and dries to touch in 30 minutes
  • Flat finish minimizes surface imperfections
  • Low odor, resist chips
  • Perfect for a Paint Sprayer

Editor and Consumer Choice for Best Paint for Walls

This ultra-cover premium latex paint is perfect for indoor and outdoor projects. The durability is excellent, even on a single coat. It works on metal, wood, masonry, and even unglazed ceramic.  It’s rated as the best paint for interior walls, hands down.

More than a dozen colors are available to complete the perfect look as well. It is a water-based acrylic formula, so drying times are fast and spraying capabilities are consistently good.

This paint is low odor so you don’t have to worry about excessive fumes or odors when painting indoors. And because its latex based, clean up is a breeze. It has a flat finish and the paint coverage is consistent on many paint surfaces including wood, drywall, and ceramic. Like most paints, make sure you mix this paint well and strain it before spraying.

If you’re looking for a paint option that can give you a fresh look for a fair price, you’ll want to pick up a can or two of this stuff for your next project.

#2. Majic Paint

  • 250 sq ft/gallon
  • Dries to touch in 30 mins
  • 1 or 5 gallon sizes

If you have an extensive exterior project that needs to be completed, then this is the paint for you. Available in 1-gallon and 5-gallon sizes, there are three color choices available, brown, white and black.

The paint dries outside in 30 minutes if the temperature and moisture requirements are met. That means fewer bugs and debris in your paint, allowing for a flawless look.

Majic Paint is intended for barns and fences, though virtually any exterior surface is compatible. It will cover about 250 square feet per gallon and works well on wood, brick and metal surfaces.

#3. Valspar 5 Gallon Paint

  • Latex Fast Drying
  • Interior Use
  • Low odor/Low VOC
  • Good hiding and touch ups

If you need to repaint a bunch of rooms, a rental, or maybe ceilings, this 5 gallon Valspar Paint is great for your sprayer. his paint offers a consistent finish when spraying.

This contractor grade latex paint is fast drying and can even be tinted, if you need it in a color other than white.  The latex formula lasts longer than most other paints out there. The only downside is that it’s made specifically for interior use only.

#4. Valspar Porch and Floor

  • For concrete, porches, floors, stairs
  • Odorless
  • Covers 400 sq ft

This paint from Valspar covers well and dries quicker than expected.  It gives floors tough, long lasting protection. 

It’s made to use on prepared concrete, wood, porches, basement floors, stairs, primed metal.  The Valspar website says to not use it on exterior wood decks, which is a bit confusing since aren’t porch and deck the same thing?  If that’s what your planning on doing, we recommend giving them a call to clarify. 

This nearly odorless formula applies so easily, you’ll have your project completed in no time.   

You will get virtually no sheen from this paint finish.   

1 gallon covers approximately 400 sq feet. 

#5. True Value 5 Gallon Flat White

  • Fast Drying
  • Low VOCs
  • Flat Finish
  • Ceiling Paint

True Value Interior flat white provides quick and efficient coverage and the finished paint cleans up nicely. 

Made in the USA, this latex based paint dries super quick and has low VOC’s.   

The finish is flat and it’s made to use on your interior walls and ceilings.  Remember to strain your paint before spraying.  Most spray guns will require you to thin this latex paint before spraying because the viscosity is quite thick.   This paint is rated specifically for interior painting only.  

The finish is flat and it’s made to use on your interior walls and ceilings.  Remember to strain your paint before spraying. 

#6. Kilz

paint for a spray gun
  • Tough Paint
  • Low luster enamel
  • Acrylic Latex

This porch and patio paint option gives you a better overall protection level for your exterior surfaces.  Kilz is a low-luster enamel paint, coating your wood or concrete porch or patio to prevent scuffing, cracking, or peeling.

You can apply Kilz indoors to certain floors or wall surfaces with its acrylic latex composition. It can be applied to any previously painted or primed surfaces and is completely compatible with airless sprayers that meet certain specifications. his paint takes longer to dry that most others so plan accordingly.

If you need tough paint, this is what you’ll want.

#7. Valspar Latex Enamel Paint

latex enamel paint for a spray gun
  • 12 colors available
  • Latex Enamel
  • Good for wood and metal

So is Valspar good paint?  Well, this latex enamel paint dries to a nice glossy finish that is surprisingly tough. It works well for wood and metal, in addition to your interior walls if you wish. This paint finish is durable.

Can size availability ranges from a half-pint to a full gallon. 12 different color options are also available. As an added bonus, spills with this paint are super easy to clean up.

You can use this paint for interior and exterior projects.

All you need is soap and water and the mess will become history. It does an excellent job of covering up blemishes while providing a nice shine to almost any project.

#8. Old Village

  • 25 colors
  • Satin Finish
  • 1 pint only cans

This acrylic latex paint is mixed in 25 different colors with a water base, giving you plenty of options for your finishing work. It is a paint option that is better for trim work and carpentry than it is for walls.

When it dries, the satin sheen that is produced helps to replicate a number of different historic finishes. It is a way to give your home an updated look that is still timeless, especially when you’ve got a top-quality paint sprayer helping you out.

Sizing is in 1-pint options only, so take that into consideration as you price out your paint options.

#9. Kilz Masonry Paint

  • For bricks, drywall, stucco
  • Thicker than other paints
  • Covers 250-400 sq ft

This mildew resistant paint from Kilz is designed to look natural while accentuating your textured surfaces.  Use it on brisk, drywall, and stucco.   

This paint is self priming and can be brushed, rolled or sprayed on.  It will be thicker than other paints so use a larger tip on your spray gun and be ready to thin this paint prior to spraying. 

It offers excellent hiding properties and is water resistant.  Kilz can be used on exterior and interior surfaces.  Ensure your surfaces are free from dust, chalk, oil and all other foreign things. 

1 gallon will cover 250-400 square feet, depending on your surface texture. 

Available in multiple colors, we highly recommend this paint. 

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Can You Use Any Paint in a Spray Gun?

No. So what paint do you use in a spray gun?

The most common materials people spray are oil primers and paints, latex paints, and stains.  It all depends on the type of sprayer you have, your sprayer tips/nozzles and the PSI it uses to lay down your paint as to whether or not you can spray a certain type of paint.

Not all paint sprayers are equipped with the tips/nozzles or PSI to spray all these materials with good results.  For example, airless sprayer spray latex and thicker materials like primers and undercoats easily.  The high PSI means they aren’t really the best for spraying thinner materials like stains.

An HVLP paint sprayer can spray latex and primers, but you’ll need to thin them down enough so they can be sprayed.  HVLP sprays thinner paint mediums like stains well.

What Kind of Paint for a Spray Gun is Best?

We recommend you choose a paint that you can thin, produces a consistent and smooth finish, and of course, your sprayer has to be able to spray it, thinned or unthinned. We like Rustoleum paint for spraying walls and doing interior projects.

Which kind of paint you choose depends on the project you’re painting, your lifestyles and your goals. High traffic areas that see alot of wear and tear could use a paint rated for durability, longevity and that are easy to clean. Cabinets would be best sprayed with an enamel base. Walls, depending on the light and area of your home, can be done in a semi gloss, eggshell or a gloss paint.

What is Latex Paint?

When buying paint, you will notice that most cans, even the ones that say acrylic, will also be labelled as latex.  This can be confusing.

The term latex seems to be applied to most paints (acrylic, vinyl acrylic etc.) because they are water based.  If you are looking for 100% acrylic or an acrylic vinyl blend for your project, expect to pay more than with regular latex paint.

Latex paint does not contain latex from the rubber plant. The term ‘latex’ in the paint world refers to the binding agent in the paint.  Folks that are allergic to latex, don’t have to worry about latex paint!

Latex is a water based paint and the terms acrylic and latex are sometimes used interchangeably.  Water based means that the color or pigment of the paint is carried by water instead of oil.  

Thankfully, latex paint have a short drying time and are easy to clean.

Unlike other kinds of paint, latex paint has minimal odor and less chemicals called VOC’s* are in the air while you’re painting and as the paint dries.

*VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compound.  These compounds become gases and vapors and come out of the paint when you are painting and as it dries. 

If you can, always purchase low VOC paint and if you can’t, wear a mask while working and ALWAYS work in a well ventilated area.  You can even purchase environmentally friendly paint now.  Fantastic!

Features to Look for in the Best Paint for a Spray Gun

Features of the Best Paint for a Spray Gun
Low VOCs
Fast Drying
Can be thinned
Easy to Clean
Stain, grease, dirt resistant
Long Lasting

Low VOCs

According to, low VOC refers to volatile organic compounds that are not harmful to the environment and humans. It mostly refers to paints and other products that have a very low or zero VOC, e.g. sealants, adhesives and cleaners. Low VOCs are good for both the environment and living organisms.

Fast Drying

The faster it dries, the faster you can do that second coat and the faster you can finish your projects, simple as that.


Make sure your paint can be thinned by reading the can, you may need to thin it before spraying. Don’t forget to stir your paint thoroughly with a paint mixer drill attachment so that its completely mixed before starting.

Easy to Clean

You want a paint that is easy to clean once you’ve painted your surface so you can remove dirt, grime and fingerprints. Some paints are specially formulated to be stain, grease and dirt resistant. Read the can and make sure the paint you buy works for your project.

Long Lasting

Some paints and paint brands last longer than other, with deep rich colors. Make sure you’re grabbing a paint that has staying power.

How to Thin Paint for a Spray Gun

If your latex paint is too thick, then it will clog the nozzle of your paint sprayer. That creates a massive mess behind the trigger and can even ruin your equipment.  This WILL happen if you’re using an HVLP Vs an Airless paint sprayer.

Thankfully, there is an easy process available to thin latex paint for spraying, so it meets the standards that the manufacturer expects.

So, how do you thin paint for spraying? Can you thin paint with water? The answer is yes and…

It’s easier than you think!

Be sure to grab the following materials before getting started.

How to Mix Paint for a Spray Gun in 4 Easy Steps

Thinning paint for a latex spray gun is a simple process that anyone can do.  Once you’re ready to get to work, you’ll want to follow these steps.

#1. Pour all of your paint into the bucket that you intend to use for that day.

#2. Add ½ cup of water to the paint for every gallon of paint that was placed in the bucket.

#3. Mix the paint and water thoroughly with a clean stirring stick.

#4. Check the consistency of your paint by running it through the funnel.

Consistent Paint for a Spray Gun

If the paint is able to flow freely through the funnel, then you have the correct consistency for your paint sprayer.

Should the paint clog up in the funnel, then add another 1/8 cup of water to the paint/water mixture in the 5-gallon bucket for every gallon of paint used.

Then thoroughly mix the paint with another clean stir stick.

Continue this process, adding 1/8 cup per gallon of paint, as necessary until the paint flows freely through the funnel.

If your latex paint is still not thin enough for your spray gun, add small amounts of water and mix the paint until you reach the right consistency for spraying.

Once water is added to latex paint, the characteristics of the paint will change. The color may be lighter or darker and the drying time may be different. Thinner paint typically requires 3-4 coats for complete coverage and a desired finished, compared to 1-2 coats of standard latex paint.

Best Paint for a Spray Gun: Interior Paint Types

Latex paints are the most common type of paint for spray guns today.  The combination of cost, shelf life, and longevity of quality make it one of the best paints available.

There are other types of indoor paint that will also work with a spray gun if they are thinned to the correct consistency.

Here are the most common options available right now.

  • Vinyl Paint. This type of paint is a combination of water and plastic. That makes it lightweight, glossy, and sometimes waterproof or weatherproof. It is easy to clean and maintains its luster for a long time.
  • Alkyd. Heavier than vinyl and made from polyester and fatty acids. It should be used on wooden surfaces, like door trim. Some types are excellent for painting ceilings as well.
  • Lacquer. This paint type requires a lot of work, but it also provides a long-lasting experience. It prevents oil or dirt from damaging the surface it is on. Spray Lacquer also requires 4-7 coats and you must sand after each coat you apply for best results.
  • Enamel. Enamel vs latex: the difference is that enamel provides a much tougher surface than latex which increases durability in a high trafficked area. A good option here is to add a layer of enamel over a layer of latex.   Perfect for kitchen or bathroom cabinets.
  • Acrylic. If you need instant results, go with this paint type. It works well on all surfaces, especially if you want more of a matte finish.

Acrylic Vs Latex Paint

How do you choose the best paint for a spray gun to get awesome results?  Depends on your project and the end results you are looking for.  There are times where an acrylic paint would be more suitable than a latex paint.  

If you have a project that will experience big differences in temperature such as your house exterior, maybe even your kitchen or fence, an acrylic paint may be better for you.  

Latex paints would be perfect for a high trafficked area with alot of wear and tear and that needs to be cleaned frequently.

Chemical basedWater based
Good for ExteriorLonger Lasting
Used mostly for art projects Costs less than acrylic
Requires paint thinner to removeDries faster than acrylic

Why Choose Latex Paint? 

Latex paint, which is water based, is easier to work with than oil based paints.  You can thin it with water, eliminating any paint thinning chemicals. 

Although, the trade off is that latex paint isn’t as durable in your high trafficked areas or furniture.  Latex works amazing on walls and ceilings, but something that sees a lot of action, like doors or trim, should be painted with oil based paint.  Latex dries faster than oil paint and comes in a wide variety of finishes. 

Latex paint also doesn’t put off as many VOC’s as oil based, and they come in super low VOC formulas. 

What Can You Use Latex Paint On? 

Latex paint works awesome to cover up old latex or flat oil based paints.  You can use it on most anything, including unprimed surfaces.  We don’t recommend using it on metal or wood; the water in the paint can cause issues like rust or warp the wood grain. 

Can You Use Acrylic Paint in a Spray Gun?

Yes.  Since acrylic paint is thick, you would need to thin your paint before spraying with an HVLP.  If you’ve got an airless paint gun, then you can most likely spray acrylic paint unthinned because of the high PSI that airless guns use to apply paint.  

How Much to Budget for the Best Indoor Paint?

Most latex paints that are suitable for a spray gun range in price from about $20 per gallon to over $60 per gallon. Certain specialty paints may run even higher than this.

Be careful about shopping for interior latex paint if you intend to use a spray gun. Several paint manufacturers have started combining primer and latex together for faster user application.

These are difficult to use because the thinning process changes the characteristics of the paint.

Different paint types have their own unique pricing structures as well. Acrylic paints tend to be the cheapest, while lacquer and enamel tend to be on the upper end of the pricing scale.

Oil Vs Latex Paint

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Can I Use Oil Based Paint in a Spray Gun?

Yes.  Typically, most sprayers can spray oil based paints.  BUT, since oil based paints are a bit thicker, you will need to thin them to spray in most sprayers like HVLP.  Airless spray guns will conquer your oil based paint job without any thinning required.

Fast Paint Facts

How Long Does it take Paint to Dry?

If you are eager to get your project finished, you might make the mistake of trying to complete the second coat before the first coat of paint has dried.  So, how long should you let paint dry between coats?

It depends on a few factors: how you applied the paint, what type of paint, if you live in a dry or high humidity area, and whether it was exterior or indoor paint. 

Paint Dry Time Basic Guideline

How long does interior paint take to dry?  You should wait a minimum of 2 – 4 hours for paint to dry before a second coat of paint if you are brushing/rolling it on.  Paint Spraying your paint means you can check it in an hour.

Regardless of how you applied the paint, avoid rubbing or putting pressure on the newly painted area.

Those of you that live in high humidity areas will need to wait longer, up to 24 hours to be safe.  Use your judgement based on the interior paint type that you used for your project.

How Long for Spray Paint to Dry?

Typically, when applying spray paint, the layer of paint is thinner than when you brush or roll it on.   If you are using thin latex paint for spraying, your dry times will be less than if you brushed/rolled it on.  

This means you can paint more surfaces faster with your sprayer than the alternatives.  We recommend waiting an hour and testing your newly painted surface in a hidden area.  If it’s dry, you are ready for your second coat!

Latex Paint Dry Time

Most of us use latex paint regularly.  Latex paint dries relatively quickly compared to chalk paint and oil based paints.  This is because latex paint is water based and some brands are even labelled “fast drying”.  

So, how long does it take for latex paint to dry?  Follow our basic guideline of 2-4 hours and test the newly painted surface in a hidden area.

How Long is Paint Good For?

So, how long does paint last in a can ?  Well, that depends on several things.  

If the can has been opened, what type of environment are you keeping your can (heated garage, cold basement), if you live in a high humidity area versus a low humidity environment, and what type of paint it is.

Depending on the level of humidity, your paint can dry up much faster in a can that has been opened.  Not only that, low humidity levels can change the color and finish of the paint!  

We recommend testing it in a hidden area or on a piece of cardboard and allowing it to dry before beginning to paint an entire wall.

Learned this the hard way and had to repaint an entire bathroom! 

According to Consumer Reports, depending on the type of paint, can last for years or go bad in months. Water based paints are especially finicky.  

The best thing to do is to a) label the paint with the date of when you opened and used it and b) check the consistency of the paint for a rubberlike surface or if it’s become thick and doesn’t stay properly blended for 10-15 minutes after mixing.

Can I Use Exterior Paint Indoors?

You can use any paint anywhere, but it is recommended that you use indoor paint only on your indoor surfaces. 

Why?  Not only will your results not be what you expected if you use exterior paint indoors, but indoor paints are specifically formulated for indoor wear and tear.

They allow you to scrub and clean them and they resist staining.  Indoor paints are low VOC, meaning they emit much less chemicals into the air while you are painting, while the paint is drying, and afterwards.

Exterior paints are designed to battle the outdoor elements and resist fading and mildew.  They are great at resisting humidity and UV exposure. 

The only instance we can recommend an exterior paint indoors, is for a very high humidity bathroom.  Even then you can find indoor paint that will resist humidity and mildew.

Can I Use Latex over Oil Paint?

Painting latex over oil paint requires special preparation to make sure that the water based latex paint bonds with the oil paint.  

Without proper prep technique, you could end up with cracking and flaking paint!  To do the job right the first time, we do suggest using oil based paint instead of water based. 

If you insist on using latex over oil paint, the following steps should be taken to create a good base for the latex paint to stick to.  According to

  1. Degloss the oil base paint with fine grit sandpaper until the surface is a bit gritty  
  2. Wipe with a lint free cloth 
  3. Use a strong cleaner such as TSP to clean the surface 
  4. Wipe down with water and let air dry
  5. Apply a bonding primer.  You may have to do this twice if you still see stains after the 1st coat
  6. Apply two coats of paint 
  7. Admire your results!  

Most Popular Paint Finishes

The two most popular paint finishes by far are semi gloss and eggshell.  Semi gloss is mainly used on trim, doors, closet doors, hallways, cabinets and any other high trafficked area in your home.  It durable and clean up nicely.

Eggshell Paint is used on walls and it does a great job of hiding imperfections.  Learn more about whether you should use semi gloss Vs eggshell on your next DIY project.

Best Paint for Trim: Oil or Latex?

The best answer here is, what type of paint suits your lifestyle? I prefer to use latex paint because it is Low VOC/low odor, dries quickly and is super easy to clean up. All of those hand and fingerprints, marks from pets, will be easy to wipe off if you’ve painted your trim with latex.

What Paint Works Best on Wood?

If you’re painting bare wood, you’re going to want to block any tannins and also smooth out the surface of the wood before applying your top coat. I recommend an oil based primer or a latex bonding primer that says is blocks wood tannins, especially if you’re painting cedar or redwood.


The best paint for spray guns will help you be able to quickly finish your projects without compromising your finish. Pick up your preferred paint today, then get to work tomorrow.

Quick FAQs: Best Paint for a Spray Gun

What is the best quality paint for a spray gun?

Rustoleum: this ultra-cover premium latex paint is perfect for indoor and outdoor projects.

Do you need specific paint for a spray gun?

Paint sprayers use the same paint you would use if you were using a brush or roller. Latex and thicker paints need to be thinned before spraying.

How long is paint good for?

That Depends if the can has been opened, what type of environment are you keeping your can (heated garage, cold basement), if you live in a high humidity area versus a low humidity environment, and what type of paint it is.

How Long Does it take Paint to Dry?

It depends on a few factors: how you applied the paint, what type of paint, if you live in a dry or high humidity area, and whether it was exterior or indoor paint. 

How Long for Spray Paint to Dry?

1-2 hours.