Best Spray Gun For DIY Car Restoration

Article by Mark Trotta

Back in the day, all you needed to paint a car was a spray gun, an air compressor and a hose long enough to reach around your car.

automotive spray gun selection

Automotive painting has changed dramatically in the last 30 years. The paint on modern cars will last for decades, but along with that is a much more sophisticated way of applying it.

Choosing A Spray Gun

In today's market, there are hundreds of spray guns out there, and they all look like real paint guns. But buyer beware - looks can be deceiving. Not only do cheap prices go hand in hand with low quality, they also go hand in hand with bad customer service after the sale.


Below are three automotive spray guns worth considering:

Devilbiss HVLP Finishline

The DeVilbiss Finishline is a high quality HVLP Gravity Feed Paint Gun. Features include anodized internal passages (making it easy to clean), and precision machined air cap and fluid nozzles.

DeVilbiss Finishline HVLP Gravity Feed Paint Gun

Shop: DeVilbiss Finishline Paint Gun

The DeVilbiss Finishline comes with a plastic cup and 1.3mm air nozzle.

Accuspray Paint Gun

Accuspray, now owned by 3M, offers a spray gun kit that gives you all you need to get started with automotive refinishing.

The Accuspray Paint Gun Kit includes a spray gun, four nozzles (1.2mm, 1.3mm, 1.4mm, 1.8mm), and a plastic paint cup and collar. You also get five disposable lids (four with 200-micron filter, one with 125-micron filter), five disposable liners, a mix ratio insert and sealing plugs.

The Accuspray gun requires 10 CFM with a minimum 5-hp motor compressor.

Accuspray Paint Spray Gun System

Shop: Accuspray Paint Spray Gun Kit

The best part of the Accuspray kit is the PPS disposable cup system. A disposable liner gets placed inside the re-usable paint cup. After mixing the paint, you snap on the disposable lid (with built-in filter), then attach the locking collar. These few steps beforehand save a lot of clean-up time after the paintings done.

Best Budget Paint Gun

For those on a tight budget, check out TCP Global's gravity feed HVLP spray gun. Included is an air regulator that mounts to the gun and a 1000cc (one litre) aluminum cup.

HVLP Gravity Feed Paint Gun

Shop: TCP Global HVLP Spray Gun

Several size nozzles are available for the TCP spray gun, and you'll probably need more than the 2.0mm tip that's included. If you have any issues, this company has a pretty good track record of answering emails, as well as good customer service ratings.


The Importance Of A Proper Size Compressor

A paint gun has a much higher duty cycle than other air tools, more than impact wrenches and air ratchets. Because the amount of air needed is much higher, a smaller compressor will be running longer and building up more heat, which leads to moisture and condensation in the air lines.

best garage air compressor

Read: Selecting a Garage Air Compressor

Water Filter

Nothing ruins a paint job as much as moisture in the air lines. You need to make sure that any condensation or moisture in the air line stays out of the paint gun.

In addition to a proper-size air compressor, a good water filter is very important. Preferably, you should have a wall-mounted filter, and a secondary filter on the spray gun itself.


Spray Gun Filters

There are two common styles of spray gun filters. Both attach to the paint gun where the air hose enters. The less expensive is the plastic ball-style, which are disposable and work pretty well.

Automotive Paint Gun Filter

Shop: ATD Spray Gun Filter

The desiccant style dryer/filter allows the painter to see when it is about to fill with moisture.

Desiccant Filter For Paint Gun

Shop: Motor Guard Desiccant Dryer Filter


Pros And Cons Of A Paint Turbine System

If you've never painted a car before, an HVLP turbine system has a big advantage; there's no re-learn from a conventional spray system. There's also no worry about moisture or condensation, as it produces warm, dry air.

The big negative of a spray turbine system is the cost. However, if you're planning on painting several vehicles, the cost would be offset each time you used it.

best spray gun for DIY car restoration

Read: Best HVLP System For Automotive


Notes and Misc

Always filter the paint before putting it in your spray gun.

Set the air pressure with the trigger fully pulled in.

Water-Based Paints

Spraying water-based automotive paint requires specialty guns which have stainless steel and plastic internal parts, making them corrosion resistant. A conventional spray gun used with water-based paint will work, but if not cleaned thoroughly will corrode internally.

paint a car yourself


Related Articles:

Paint Stripping By Hand

Car Painting Tips And Techniques