Serving the Commercial Painting Market

titan 440 commercial paint sprayer

7 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Sprayer

in Application Techniques

In the market for an airless sprayer? Chris Noto, Director of Professional Products at Titan, recommends asking yourself these seven questions before you buy:

1. For what types of jobs will the airless sprayer be used?

Think about the kind of work you do, and consider the size of your current and future crew. Be prepared by choosing a sprayer that can meet your needs now, and also supports your business growth plans.

2. What types of coatings do you typically use?

The weight of the coating you use is key to choosing the right airless sprayer and components. Here’s a general breakdown:

  • Light to medium weight coatings: stain, lacquer, enamel, oil, latex.
  • Medium to heavy weight coatings: primers, block filler, elastomeric.

3. What tip sizes do you need?

Generally speaking, smaller tips are used for light to medium weight coatings like stains and lacquers, and larger tips for heavy coatings like primers and block fillers.

You’ll want to understand the three-digit tip numbering system used by tip manufacturers. Take a common 517 tip. The first digit (5) doubled plus 2 is the approximate spray pattern, e.g. 5 x 2 = 10 + 2 is a 10- to 12-inch spray pattern. The second two digits (17) represent the size of the orifice (opening) in thousands of an inch. The orifice regulates the volume of paint, so the larger the number is, the more paint passes through the tip.

Because paint is abrasive, over time the tip’s orifice gets larger, which increases flow rates and decreases the fan pattern width. For this reason, it’s smart to buy a paint sprayer that’s 10 to 20 percent more powerful than the tip you plan to use.

chart of sprayer size calculations

4. How many guns will you need?

Larger commercial contractors may want several crew members siphoning off the same coatings reservoir, requiring multiple guns – and larger sprayers.

Whatever your situation, make sure your sprayer can accommodate the number of guns you’ll need.

5. What power source is right for you?

Airless sprayers are available in gas, electric or pneumatic models. Some sprayers have the capability of being converted from electric to gas, giving you options. Think about your projects and job sites to decide what’s best for you.

6. How many gallons will you spray in a week?

Before choosing a sprayer, you’ll need to estimate your weekly volume. See the chart below for general guidelines for latex paint (keep in mind that thicker coatings have different requirements).

Tip: Buy a sprayer that’s a step or two above your volume requirements now and in the future. An undersized sprayer will cost you more in frustration, repairs and downtime, eventually eroding any possible savings on the purchase price.

7. What are your hose length requirements?

Hose length is important because the longer the hose, the more the friction. Your sprayer needs to support the farthest lengths you’ll need between the unit and the gun. Gravity also enters into the equation if you’re elevating hoses two or more stories.

For guidance on hoses, it’s best to talk to your Sherwin-Williams rep about your specific needs.


This article was originally published in the Winter 2016 issue of the Sherwin-Williams CommercialPro newsletter. Get more business-building tips and info on products, services, discounts and project solutions on the Sherwin-Williams contractor website.

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