How To Use Harbor Freight HVLP Spray Gun?

Harbor Freight store sells some great quality entry-level tools that are perfect for beginners to try out. With a paint spray gun, you can get a surface finish that is smooth as silk. But the process may be a bit intimidating for beginners.

So, if you find yourself wondering how to use harbor freight HVLP spray gun, this article contains the answers to all of your queries. Without further ado, let’s get started!

Basics of Harbor Freight HVLP Spray Gun

To learn how to use harbor freight paint sprayer, you need to understand the basic functions first. That is what you will find in our guide. Keep reading to learn more-

Parts of the Gun

The gun will come with a cup, a nozzle, a fan control, a paint volume control, an air volume control, an air inlet, and a needle. Refer to the instruction manual to know the location of these parts.

  • Needle

If you take apart the gun to figure out how to clean an HVLP spray gun, you will find a long metal part that is called the needle. The needle size can vary, such as 1.4 needles or 1.8 needles. Use the larger one, in this example, the 1.8, for thicker paints.

And, the smaller ones, the 1.4 in this example, should be used for thinner paints.

  • Pressure Control

Adjusting the gun’s pressure is one of the very first things you will need to do when using a Harbor Freight spray gun. The compress regulator’s opening should give enough pressure to your gun.

Set the pressure to the needed level, and then pull the trigger of the gun. Be careful to keep the valve located at the handle’s bottom when you do this.

Then, slowly open the valve little by little up until when the air volume stays the same. Knowing the right air volume is intuitive, as you have to listen to the gun and decide depending on the noise level.

  • Fan Control

At the back of the HVLP spray gun, you will find a knob that controls the diameter at which the gun sprays out fluids. The further back you open it, the bigger the diameter will spray out. Since you are a beginner, we would recommend keeping the knob open till 2-3 counts only.

You can test the output to a random surface. When you first turn the trigger, only air will come out. After a while, the paint will start spraying. Hold the gun 6-8 inches away from the surface and use the trigger to spray. Then adjust the fan control until you reach your desired diameter of spraying.

  • Fluid Volume Control

There is another knob at the back of the gun that controls the volume of fluid that sprays out. This should be done with the trigger still on. You know exactly how much paint is being sprayed out.

At the right volume, paint should not run when you sweep the gun in any direction to paint over an area. Check the instruction manual to learn about motions you can begin with.

How Does the Harbor Freight HVLP Spray Gun Works?

Now, we’re moving on to the technical aspects. When you turn on the trigger, paint comes to the nozzle from the inside, and air reaches the nozzle from the air inlet. They mix at the nozzle, and the paint turns into little droplets as they fly out of it.

These droplets eventually hit the surface you are painting and form little drops of paint on the surface. Eventually, these drops connect up and become one smooth, silky surface.

How to Use Harbor Freight Spray Gun?

Here’s the step-by-step process for you;

Step 1: Filling with Paint

Fill the paint cup with your chosen paint. You can use a disposable paint filter or a funnel for this. If your paint has chunks in it, a filter is advised. After filling it, attach the cup to the gun.

Step 2: Getting a Test Surface

For the next three steps, you will need a test surface to check the spray before it is ready for the actual object you want to paint. Set a test surface up.

Step 3: Determining Air Pressure

Adjust the air pressure first. If you have too little pressure, crank it up. And if the pressure is too high, the paint will spray everywhere. Get to the comfortable middle ground.

Step 4: Determining Fan Control

After that, adjust the fan control. The topmost knob is used for this purpose. Switch the orientation of the fan according to the type of paint you are using. If the knob is all the way in, you can make get lines or dots of paint.

And if the knob is all the way out, you will get a wide panel of coverage. Choose the control depending on what you are painting – smaller areas or a big panel.

Step 5: Determining Paint Volume

Now, adjust the paint volume. The knob below the fan control is the paint volume one. This makes space for the needle to back out, which creates space for the paint inside the gun. The further you screw the knob out, the more room will be created for the paint.

Screw the knob out little by little until you get opaque coverage.

Step 6: Painting

Your paint gun is ready to paint now! Use it to paint over the area you had planned to earlier. Happy painting!


What do I do if the paint droplets are way too large?

This means your air pressure is too low. Increase it a little and check.

I want to paint a small object. How can I adjust the gun for that?

Make sure the fan control knob is all the way in before getting started. This will ensure a smaller spray coverage, which is perfect for painting small objects.

What to do if I am not getting enough coverage of the paint in one go?

This happens when too little paint is allowed out of the gun. Lessen the restriction of the needle by screwing the paint volume knob out. You should be able to get more paint coverage that way.


So, that covers everything related to using harbor freight paint guns. We hope we have been able to help you with using the spray gun as a beginner. Cheers!

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