{my paint sprayer} and a long story to go with it…

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One of the most emailed questions i get besides laundry room questions is about what i use to paint furniture – brush or gun.

Well….the answer is…a GUN!!!

Let me tell you a little story (and its a long story, so if you don’t care then just come back in a couple of days for my craft room post, it has prettier pics!). 

I had a gun that i have been using for about a year or so.  It sprayed well, it was easy to use, it could take a beating, and it was cheap – so when it was time to replace it, it wouldn’t clean out my bank account.   By the way, i got the gun at Lowes for between $50-$60.

Old gun


So, although this gun was working ok, i was looking to upgrade.  Mostly because i used this gun with my 22 gallon air compressor, and while most pieces i painted it worked fine, some pieces that i painted, the air compressor just couldn’t keep up.  So, it was a little frustrating not having consistent air flow to the gun.

My air compressor


Well, one night i was painting and my gun tip was leaking.  I cleaned it out…didn’t work…i lubed it… didn’t work…i read the instruction manual (ughh)…didn’t work…i cried out of frustration….still didn’t work.  My conclusion (and after doing a little research) was that the needle needed to be replaced.  A replacement needle was almost as much as the gun!! 

So, i figured now was as good as time as any to upgrade.  I researched… A LOT.. and then some more….I was sooooo confused!  Everyone has different opinions, I would go to all these online forums and read for hours on paint guns. 

I needed a gun and needed one fast so i decided to go with the only turbine HVLP gun that was carried locally and that they kept in stock.  I bought an Earlex HV5000 for $300 (on sale).  I was super excited as it had very good reviews, came home got it all set up and started painting.  The gun took a good hour at least to get it tuned just right – that was a bummer.  I don’t have hours to adjust knobs around.  I liked how the gun sprayed, but it was heavy – like i had to hold it with 2 hands heavy, you cant spray furniture with two hands on the gun.  There is no way that i could have kept that gun and been happy with it long term– especially for spending a lot of money for it and it not being what i thought it was going to work like.

So the gun went back to the store.  What was i going to do now?!  I went back and bought another Kobalt gun but, i didn’t want that gun, i wanted to upgrade, but i was so confused by all of the choices and every ones opinions!!  It seriously made me cry – yes i cried over a paint gun!!  Its not like this is just something that i do here and there on the weekends – i am trying to get somewhere with it.  See what i am saying??

Then, i decided to try a conversion HVLP gun.  Supposedly they are supposed to be just fine with my size of air compressor – you can even have a smaller compressor and they are supposed to keep up.   I tried it – didn’t like it.  Back to the store it went. 

Well, i had been chatting back and forth with the ever so knowledgeable Christa from Stories of a House.  I told her my sad story and she had recommended the Graco 7.0 fine finish spray gun – its what she has been using and loves it so. 

But, the gun was pricey ($780, and then $60 for different needle sizes, and you will need at least 2 of them).  Luckily my husband loved me that week and let me buy it :)

I got the gun about a week and half later, used it within 2 days and started crying again – not out of frustration or sadness this time – but out of pure freaking EXCITEMENT!!!   This gun is THE BEST!  I cant even tell Christa enough how much i seriously love her for recommending this gun!  It is so easy to use with its one knob air adjustment and that you can just flip the switch on the machine and its ready to go (not like waiting for the compressor to fill up).  Its also so easy to clean – takes about 5 minutes.  I also love how it has consistent power – sprays so fast and even.

My new baby!!


The unit itself is larger than what i expected, i put a paint can next to it for the pics so you can see the size comparison.  It also has a really long hose so you can get around pretty easy.  It sounds like a vacuum when its running – so not bad, not bad at all :)



This is the link from where i purchased my gun http://store.spraymallstore.com/grhv7for20.html

***I did speak to a couple people, and they say that if you are spraying latex you should go to a five stage unit (the one i bought is a 3 stage), but with Christas recommendation and other people in online forums i decided to go with this one – and i couldn’t be happier.  Since i bought it i have sprayed about 10 pieces and its working awesome***

Anyways, that’s my story – don’t laugh at me for crying about a broken paint gun or the two that i didn’t like  (my husband already laughed at me, believe me)!!  When you spend most of your free time painting and are making money from selling your painted pieces – you want something that is going to be consistent, good quality, easy to use/clean and most of all produce a good quality finish.  From the furniture i sold just this weekend, i pretty much paid it off :)

And, you have to go over to Christas blog, Stories of a House – she has some serious talent and her pieces are awesome (she sells them too if you are in Arizona, her furniture blog is The Restoration Shoppe).  She is very knowledgeable – she must read a lot or something?!?  Tell her i said hi!!  :)

Up next, my craft room

36 replies
  1. Katie
    Katie says:

    I have been looking for a paint gun, but right now we can't fork out that kind of money. But I will definitely save up for it! Thanks

  2. Jenny
    Jenny says:

    What a great story and I can completely understand your frustration. My paint gun died and I am going to investigate your recommendations. So glad to hear that you made some good sales to pay for it. Happy days indeed! ;-)

  3. Christa @ Stories of a House
    Christa @ Stories of a House says:

    Hahaha, I forgot how upset you were when your gun broke. Looking back you have to have a laugh about it! At least you have a great machine because of it. I can't believe you sprayed 10 pieces already. I need to get my act in gear!

  4. Patrice
    Patrice says:

    Loved this post – I have the same sprayer as well. This was the first sprayer I ever bought and ever used as I was finishing a huge library unit. Christa was a huge help to me getting to know my sprayer….I now LOVE LOVE LOVE it and couldn't have done the job with the sprayer and Christa!!! lol

  5. Sarah @ Stella&Gray
    Sarah @ Stella&Gray says:

    That gun looks pretty boss girl :)
    I'm quite certain I would be frolicking through my house painting random things as I went by…


  6. Holly Austin
    Holly Austin says:

    ooh, I've been wanting a paint gun FOREVER but can't see spending that type of money just yet. Maybe I'll get the Kobalt gun until I can justify spending the extra moolah!

  7. Crystal
    Crystal says:

    I've always wanted a paint gun…I just don't think I'm ready yet!! I can completly sympathize with your story….I too cry over frustration and when I'm happy. My husband makes fun of me too!!! Maybe it's a man thing!! lol

  8. Beachbrights
    Beachbrights says:

    Thank you for the time you put into this post. I have been wanting to purchase a spray gun but I need a larger compressor..yada-yada…

    This information is awesome.

    You are appreciated!!

  9. Blissful Craziness
    Blissful Craziness says:

    So I have a question…do you still need a compressor with the one you ended up buying? Thanks for the great info!

  10. Kim @ Second Time Furniture
    Kim @ Second Time Furniture says:

    Hi! I just popped over from Christa's! She and I have been having the same conversations, it sounds like! I've been thinking about buying the 7.0 as Christa had recommended and your post pretty much sealed the deal~especially the part about how quiet it is. I've been thinking maybe I should just get an attachment for my husband's air compressor, but that thing is SO loud!! Glad you love it so much!
    Kim :)

  11. Lori @ Projects Plenty
    Lori @ Projects Plenty says:

    I also just popped over from Christa's. I'm getting ready to refinish my son's bedroom furniture and you have me just about sold on getting the 7.0. (I am going to have to do some research in regard to your reference of using a 3 stage versus a 5 stage machine when spraying latex). Thanks for the post!


  12. ashptrsn
    ashptrsn says:

    so have you found that painting with latex works ok with the 3.0? the 5.0 is a lot more money, but if you can get away with latex and 3.0 let me know!!! I paint a lot of furniture and am interested in investing in a good sprayer, but I paint pretty much everything with latex paint.

  13. Rebekah
    Rebekah says:

    I have the same question as "Blissful Craziness"…do you still need the big red air compressor with the new gun or is that big box attached to it the new compressor that goes with it?

  14. Sawdust and Paperscraps
    Sawdust and Paperscraps says:

    Ahh the never ending question…what gun is right for me. Someone linked this to me on my facebook page because I'm looking for a new gun. I'm so frustrated because I already spent $500 on an HVLP but I hate that I have to adjust 2 knobs one for air flow and one for product flow and when you adjust one you have to adjust the other too and which way to adjust the second one after you adjust the first one!?!?!? Ahhhhh! Maybe I'll look at this one. Although it's a little more than I want to spend…again. Thanks for sharing and I cry about broken tools all the time!
    :-) Sandra

    • Joy
      Joy says:

      I bought this same item new about 4 1/2 years ago to paint a fence that goes all arunod my property (because if I had to roll or brush the paint, I’d still be doing it). It worked great, and since then I’ve used it to paint the exterior of a 1,200 square foot rental house, a 720-square foot storage shed, countless shutters for my house, louvered interior doors, wood furniture the list goes on. At least three of my friends have borrowed it for their home projects, and they also were pleased with the job and ease of use. It starts to spit little paint blobs when the canister is getting empty, but I just keep a paintbrush handy to brush those out and keep on spraying. I think it is definitely a great value for the money, lends itself to all kinds of home projects, crafts, and tasks, and I will buy another one in a heartbeat when mine dies. If you take the time to clean it thoroughly after each use, lubricate the piston & spring regularly, and thin out your paint (I generally mix 15 20% water to make latex paint thinner so it sprays more effectively), I think you will also achieve great results and enjoy this product for a long time. Though nobody enjoys painting these Power Sprayers definitely make it easier and it takes a lot less time!

      • Sausha @ {Sweet Pickins}
        Sausha @ {Sweet Pickins} says:

        what are you talking about – i LOVE painting, especially with a sprayer!! :) But, you are SOOO right, the paint sprayer is awesome and so handy to have around!!

  15. Sara
    Sara says:

    THANK YOU so much for this post!! I have been sourcing out and researching sprayers for the last few weeks and have been unable to make the right purchase until now!! Much appreciated! I can’t wait to start spraying:)

  16. Ansley @ VivaciouslyVintage.com
    Ansley @ VivaciouslyVintage.com says:

    OMG I’m having paint gun frustrations tonight. I bought a Graco Truecoat. Finally cracked it open…and it was already used! I went to bring it back and of course they hassled me about it! I get another – the same kind. Go home and it’s a pain! I see why that jerk returned it! I guess I’m just used to the ease of spray paint. Use and toss. There must be an easier way than all that clean up after…I mean – what do you do with all that paint water anyhow? I’m considering returning it and getting a compressor with a different gun that I read good reviews about…supposedly even sprays ASCP! :) Glad you finally found one that makes you happy!

  17. heidi
    heidi says:

    thanks so much for sharing your search process. i am just starting out refinishing furniture and have been using oil based paints w-brush and have learned a lot about what does NOT work along the way. anyhow i am very interested in spray guns, as it seems they may cut my work time in 1/2. b/c i am starting out i can’t quite justify purchasing the graco (one day) ;) but i might try out the kobalt you started out with, but was wondering if you could offer any advice in regards to an air compressor? i know you mentioned the one you used was a 22 gal, but that it couldn’t keep up…. suggestions? thanks!

    • Sausha @ {Sweet Pickins}
      Sausha @ {Sweet Pickins} says:

      i think you should check into getting a HVLP gun rather than the kobalt. You can use a smaller compressor as the HVLP guns dont require as much air. If you have a wood connection in your area, they have a good HVLP gun for around $30

  18. Tony
    Tony says:

    It has been 1.5 years since you got your Graco HVLP sprayer. Do you have any regrets? Any recommendations if you were going to purchase it again? Would you go with the same model? Thank you

  19. Jessica
    Jessica says:

    Just curious, do you still spray out in the garage when it is cold outside? I handpaint inside and really want to start spraying but afraid that the pieces will not dry so fast.

    • Sausha @ {Sweet Pickins}
      Sausha @ {Sweet Pickins} says:

      i do still spray out in the garage, but ours is now heated. You not only have to worry about things drying slowly, but you can also have adhesion problems when you paint furniture that is cold – sometimes your paint can separate or bubble.

  20. Regina
    Regina says:

    As Tony asked, I too would like to know if you are still in love with this sprayer. Also can you tell me more about how this product functions? For instance does it connect to an air compressor? Did you purchase the additional “procomp” pack? Have you any reccomendations for which tip sizes to purchase? How much paint did it take to cover the white armoire in the picture? I understand there is a bit of waste when using sprayers so I am just curious to how much waste I would actually be looking at. I really enjoy looking at your blog and wonder if you have any videos, in particular one you have made about this sprayer? I am not a professional painter by any stretch of the imagination, I do however build furniture. So I am looking for something to make painting my projects more bearable. :)

    Any more information you can give on the function of this sprayer would be much appreciated!!

    Great blog and beautiful work.

    • Sausha @ {Sweet Pickins}
      Sausha @ {Sweet Pickins} says:

      yes!! Chalk paint sprays really well – almost better than latex. Milk paint on the other hand can not be sprayed in my experience

    • Sausha @ {Sweet Pickins}
      Sausha @ {Sweet Pickins} says:

      the overspray is not that bad. I wouldnt not protect the things around it, but you could get away without spraying in a booth and be ok

  21. Adam Griffiths
    Adam Griffiths says:

    Thanks sharing this information about paint sprayer. I do a small amount of DIY stuff and am looking for something like this. Other than the time for cleanup I will seriously look at this now.


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