Chosing The Right Spray Tip
Advice on Tip Selection and Tip Wear
The following information should help you understand why spray tips are so important, how to determine which tip to use depending on the spray application along with general information on tip wear.
Using the appropriate tip reduces overspray and provides more control. This means you can save money and complete your painting project faster when you use the right tip for the job.
- What Tip Sizes Will You Need?
- Spray Tip Selection
- How To Choose the Right Airless Spray Tip
- Spraying Surface Determines Spray Pattern Width
- Tip Size Must Be Within Sprayer Performance Capability
- Sprayable Coating Determines Hole Size
- Understanding Tip Wear
What Tip Sizes Will You Need?
The coating (paint) thickness being applied determines the minimum tip hole size required. Heavier coatings require larger tip hole sizes. General coating classifications provide a good guideline for tip hole size needed.
Sherwin-Williams® provides spray tip recommendations for their products. Refer to the “application” section of paint container label. It is important that you select a model that can support the tip size(s) you need.
Spray Tip Selection
Using a good-quality spray tip that is appropriately sized for your painting project is critical to achieving good spraying results. The spray tip controls the amount of material (paint) applied and the area the spray pattern will cover. A range of tip sizes classified by both hole size and spray pattern width can be used, based on these factors:
- Surface being sprayed
- Sprayer’s ability to support the tip hole size
How To Choose the Right Airless Spray Tip
The last 3 digits provide important tip information: Double the first digit for the approximate spray pattern width
(e.g. 5x2=10 inches)
The last two digits indicate the tip hole size in thousandths (e.g. 0.015 inch)
Select tip hole size for your coating.
Spraying Surface Determines Spray Pattern Width
For narrow or smaller surfaces (cabinets, fences, railings), a spray pattern width of 6 or 8 inches is usually the best choice. Narrower widths provide sharper definition and more control.
For large surfaces (ceilings/walls), a wider spray pattern of 10 to 12 inches is your best choice to cover large areas more quickly.
Tip Size Must Be Within Sprayer Performance Capability
A key difference in sprayers is the maximum tip size they can support. Choose your sprayer based on the coating types you’ll be spraying, and make sure the largest tip (hole size) you plan to use is within the maximum tip size range the sprayer can support.
It is always best to have a machine with more capacity. For example, if you plan to use a .015 tip frequently, your sprayer’s capacity should be one tip hole size larger (.017 tip). This allows for tip wear, which causes the tip hole size to increase.
Sprayable Coating Determines Hole Size
Determine which spray tip size to use by the thickness of your coating.
Spray tips are labeled by their hole size in thousandths of an inch.
- Larger tip sizes are for heavier coatings
- Larger tip size increases production rate/speed
- Tip size cannot exceed sprayer max tip size specified
Understanding Tip Wear
Choosing the right spray tip is essential for ensuring a quality finish -- no matter which coating material is being sprayed. However, spray tips will wear with normal use.
It’s important to replace a tip when it gets worn to ensure a precise spray pattern, maximum productivity and quality finish. When a tip wears, the orifice size increases and the fan width decreases.
This causes more paint to hit a smaller area, which wastes paint and slows productivity.
Tip life varies by coating, so if a tip is worn, replace it. Extend tip life by spraying at the lowest pressure that breaks up the coating into a complete spray pattern (atomize).
Do not increase the pump pressure; it only wastes paint and causes unnecessary pump component wear.