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Hvlp or airless? Which one is best for cabinet refinishing

Updated: Jul 5, 2023

Painting contractors have various tools and techniques available to them, but when it comes to spray equipment, two of the most popular methods for cabinet refinishing are High Volume Low Pressure (HVLP), and Airless spraying. Both methods have advantages and disadvantages, and the right choice depends on the job's needs.














HVLP is a low-pressure, high-volume spraying technique that reduces over-spraying and produces a more consistent finish. HVLP systems use a turbine or compressor to deliver a high volume of air mixed with paint, creating a fine mist that is easier to control and provides better coverage. This makes HVLP an excellent choice for fine finishes and delicate work, such as cabinet refinishing.

One of the most significant advantages of using HVLP for cabinet refinishing is its ability to reduce wasted paint. Because the HVLP system delivers paint at lower pressure, there is less overspray, and the fine mist of paint is less likely to cause drips and runs. This means that more paint goes directly onto the cabinet surface, which can result in a more even and uniform finish.

Another advantage of using HVLP for cabinet refinishing is that it is generally easier to clean up after the job is done. HVLP systems produce less overspray than airless systems, meaning there is less overspray to clean up.


Disadvantages of HVLP

It can be challenging for beginners to grasp the intricacies of the system. Achieving optimal spray patterns and atomization requires practice and experience.


Additionally, HVLP systems fed by compressed air require a larger air compressor to generate the necessary air pressure and volume for effective operation. This can increase the overall cost of the system, especially if you don't already have a suitable compressor.


Moreover, HVLP systems may not be suitable for all types of coatings or materials. Some coatings, such as high-viscosity or heavy-bodied materials, may not atomize properly with HVLP systems, leading to uneven or inadequate coverage. In such cases, alternative spray systems may be more suitable.


Airless Advantages

Airless spraying is a high-pressure technique often used for large-scale projects, such as commercial building construction. Airless spraying forces paint through a small tip at high pressure, creating a thicker and more robust spray pattern. This makes airless spraying an excellent choice for large surfaces but is not as well suited for fine finishes and delicate work, such as cabinet refinishing.


One of the most significant advantages of airless spraying is that it is faster than HVLP. Because the airless system delivers paint more quickly, it is possible to cover large areas in a short amount of time, which can reduce the time required to complete a cabinet refinishing job.


Airless is also much easier to operate when compared to HVLP. The simple design and heavy duty construction make a pump system a great option for those with limited experience.


Airless disadvantages


When working with airless spray equipment, it's crucial to prioritize safety to protect yourself and others. Airless operates at High pressures and can cause injury to yourself or those around you

  • Follow the manufacturer's guidelines: Read and understand the equipment's operating manual thoroughly. Adhere to the recommended pressure ranges and other safety instructions provided by the manufacturer.

  • Regular equipment inspection: Before each use, inspect the spray gun, hoses, fittings, and other components for any signs of wear, damage, or leakage. Replace or repair any faulty parts promptly to maintain equipment integrity.

  • Pressure relief: After each use and before maintenance or cleaning, release the pressure from the system by activating the gun's trigger lock and bleeding the pressure from the hose.

Another disadvantage of airless spray equipment is Overspray. It is true that airless spraying tends to produce more overspray compared to other spray systems. The high-pressure atomization creates a wider spray pattern, resulting in more paint being dispersed into the surrounding environment. This can lead to increased material waste and clean up after the job is done. The higher volume of overspray and the need to flush long pressure hoses can make the cleanup process more time-consuming and require more effort. It is important to properly handle and dispose of the excess paint and take necessary precautions to protect the working area.


If we can help you better understand the option between HVLP and Airless, Please reach out, and we would be happy to talk in greater detail.


Fine Finish Supply

(866) 304-8640

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