The Ultimate Guide to Paint Spray Tips & Sizing Charts

When choosing paint spray tips, it’s important to choose the right size based on the paint or coating that is being applied. For a light coating, a smaller tip is necessary, while heavier coatings require a larger spray tip.

Most of the time, the manufacturer of your paint spray gun will provide insight into the best type of product on a product specification sheet.

Understanding Spray Tip Numbers

When choosing a spray tip, select the size based on the tip rating for the sprayer you are using. This is necessary to ensure the sprayer can handle the tip you wish to use.

Spray Tip Construction

The spray tip on a paint spray gun is available in various sizes. The purpose of this is to create a different spray width or spray pattern. The tip also controls the flow rate of the spray coming from it. Within the paint sprayer, the pump itself produces pressure. The pressure from the paint sprayer works against the hole in the paint sprayer tip, and the amount of pressure and size of the hole ultimately determine how the paint comes out of the tip.

Most of the time, spray tips will have the following components:

  • Handle: Typically, a plastic handle features an arrow which represents where the paint will come from when applied.
  • Barrel: Most tips will also have a stainless-steel cylindrical barrel.
  • Tip: The tip itself is usually a tungsten carbide tip.
  • Number: The handle of the tip will have a three-digit number that will also provide insight into the spray angle, the width of the fan of spray coming from it, and the size of the hole.

You may have an airless spray tip that will feature a set of letters. This may be used to describe the features of the system, such as “LP” representing low pressure.

Spray Tip Seats and Gaskets

When purchasing a spray tip, it will most likely come with a new seat and gasket. According to the manufacturer’s directions, these components should be added to the spray tip. The spray tip seat and the gasket are typically placed within the spray tip guard. Once you have this put together, it will then allow you to place it into the bottom of the spray tip.

Identifying Graco Spray Tips by Colours

One way to determine which paint spray tip to use is through a colour-coded system. This can be a quick reference that is helpful when you do not have a lot of time to determine which option to use.

  • Black and blue tips are typically general-use tips
  • Green tips are for fine finishes or low-pressure tips
  • Yellow tips are usually for pavement striping or may be used for field marking
  • Gray tips are typically for high-pressure use as well as heavy coatings and texture

Spray Tip Sizes

Be sure to focus first on the manufacturer's recommendations over other factors. Most spray tips will have a third-digit number or code to identify them. Here is a look at this code:

  • The first number is the width of a fan the tip will create when it is sprayed at 12 inches (multiply the number there by 2)
  • The next two numbers are the orifice size of the tip itself. This is described in thousandths of an inch. This will provide insight into how much paint, stain, or other material will leave the spray tip.

Common Application Airless Spray Tip Guide

It is important to purchase and use what the paint spray gun recommends from the manufacturer above any other recommendations.

  • Lacquer products - .009 to .013
  • Stain products - .009 to .013
  • Oil-based paint products - .013 to .015
  • Latex paint products - .015 to .019
  • Heavy latex products - .021 to .025
  • Smooth elastomeric products - .021 to .025
  • Elastomeric and block filler products - .025 to .035

Spray Tip Life Span & Replacing Spray Tips

Over time, all types of spray tips will eventually need to be replaced, as these are some of the most likely parts to wear down. However, how often that occurs is dependent on the type of material used within it, including the abrasiveness of the material.

For latex products, you may notice them start to wear down at around 40 to 50 gallons, whereas stains may last longer. Taking the time to choose the right tip and using it properly can help to ensure the overall functionality of the system.

At Bolair, our team of experts understands the importance of investing in quality products when searching for the best possible results. Contact a member of our team today to get started on your paint spray project.