Q: I’ve read numerous reports on spraying and evaluations of sprayers, but never about electric spray guns. Is there some reason they are never mentioned? Is there a limit on the types of material they can handle? I have a Wagner 320 sprayer and have had considerable success with it with paints, but I’ve never used it to spray finishing products.
A: I can’t say whether anyone has ever evaluated them, but you hit the nail on the head when you asked about materials they can handle. Those guns are primarily designed to spray paint. While they certainly can spray clear finishes, most would not do well in a head-to-head test where finish quality was the prime consideration.
The primary reason is that they produce larger finish droplets. We generally prefer very fine droplet atomization for high-quality finishing with clear coatings, but that’s usually less of an issue when painting garage doors than it is when finishing fine furniture.
In addition, paints are formulated in a way that allows them to flow out adequately even with rough application tools, such as rollers and electric pump spray guns. Still, since you already have the gun, you should certainly try spraying other materials through it and see how you like the results. You might be pleasantly surprised.