If you want to paint something, you will originally have a certain number of options of how to apply your paint. In order to get a decent finish, you will need to follow some rules and recommendations. For example, it’s not recommended to paint cars with any other methods but with paint guns connected to adjustable compressors with pressure control.
But what if your project doesn’t have those recommendations? Should you choose an airbrush or just opt for spray paint? Today we are going to discuss all the major pros and cons of airbrushes and spray paints so that you could quickly choose a proper option for you.
So, today we’ll be discussing such things:
- What are the main pros and cons of spray paint?
- What are the main pros and cons of airbrushes for painting?
- Different methods to apply paint with spray or airbrush.
- Some precautions to consider before painting.
- How to achieve the best results when painting anything?
Let’s get started!
Spray paint – an all-purpose option or just the cheapest way?
Some people will say that spray paint is the best invention in the world of painting. You may have heard about some masters who paint cars with spray paint and do it professionally. We don’t believe those myths as we know what it takes to paint a car properly, but we don’t want to say that spray paint is useless. It obviously has some advantages to be considered.
Here are some of them:
- Spray paint is really affordable. The spray can with a decent paint in it may cost as little as $10 or $15 which is a really affordable price.
- The choice is unbelievable. All companies producing paint now offer spray cans because customers love them.
- No need for additional equipment. You may just shake your can a little and start painting – as easy as that. No compressors, paint guns, or hoses are needed.
- Easy-to-use solution. Everyone can paint with a spray paint can. Well, you aren’t likely to do it professionally starting with your first can, but it’s really easy to learn.
- Decent shelf life. You don’t need to spend some time and effort to seal that can – it stays sealed without any problems on your side.
After reading these pros, you may think that spray paint is the best thing in the world. But it’s not that all-purpose as you might have thought. The cans with spray paint have strong limitations that sometimes make them a bad idea to buy.
Here are some of the main disadvantages:
- lack of settings – you will just spray your paint as it is;
- bad for small areas – you will need proper preparation;
- uncontrollable pressure – not every surface can be painted;
- sometimes they are not so convenient to use;
- a lot of paint is wasted during the process of painting;
- a lot of drips and runs occur in the process.
As you see, we have found more disadvantages than advantages. And this shows that spray paint is not the best option in the world. Although you can paint literally anything using the spray can, you will need to consider these drawbacks next time you are standing in a shop and choosing the paint type to buy.
Airbrush paint – what’s good and bad?
Airbrush is a device that stands somewhere between a spray can and a paint gun. It’s used to professionally paint some small areas. For example, airbrushes are used by artists when they paint pictures on cars. You may have seen those marvelous cars with stunning pictures on their hoods, doors, or other parts. These are made with airbrushes.
So, here are the main advantages of an airbrush:
- possibility to adjust the paint spraying type and pattern;
- adjustable pressure using your compressor;
- a single instrument for primers and paints of any type;
- suits all types of painting including tiny spots with easier preparation;
- very convenient to use once you get used to it;
- professional painting instruments that can paint anything you want.
If you need to paint something really important, you may use your airbrush instead of a spray can. But if it’s a technical part of your project that isn’t going to be seen much, you may use your spray can.
We tried to find all the minuses of airbrushes to make it fair:
- you will need to clean it each time after use;
- difficult to use if you don’t know how to paint with it;
- many types of airbrushes are available – you will need a couple of them;
- the price is an issue to consider, they can be quite pricey;
- better protective equipment is needed.
Airbrushes will spray paint with bigger pressure, that’s why you will need better protection to avoid inhaling some paint while working. Actually, we don’t recommend working without special equipment even if you are using simple spray cans. All kinds of paint are dangerous if you inhale them when spraying.
What else should you know about spray cans and airbrushes?
In most cases, when you use a spray can paint, you will need to satisfy your needs within a certain range of colors. Even if you have a thousand options, you aren’t likely to find exactly the shade you need. But when you are using your airbrush, you may buy just a can of paint that will be prepared according to your needs. Modern shops offer paint choice and mix to satisfy all your needs.
Also, spray cans usually have much lower pressure. They are going to cause more paint runs and more waste. In the long run, using airbrushes is more economical for you. But of course, it makes sense to buy an airbrush in that case only when you work under your projects all the time. If you make one project a year, it’s insane to buy all that pricey equipment to let it stand in your garage or workshop for ages.
We believe that airbrushes are a better way to paint anything in almost all cases. But if you aren’t going to use it regularly, better forget about buying an airbrush along with a compressor and other equipment. Just find a spray can paint that will satisfy your needs.
Common rules for spraying paints
It’s very important to follow the simple rules so that your paint can cure and form a decent finish. You will need to read some more information on how to use a certain instrument you have. Otherwise, you will only have some problems after finishing the project. Please bear in mind that if you choose an instrument that you have never used before, find some test surface to conduct experiments and try painting with your new instrument.
Here are some rules you will need to consider:
- Always use primers. No matter what way to spray the paint you choose, you should always use appropriate primers. If you don’t, your paint may look bad and even cheap off after some time.
- Use several coats. At least three thin coats are needed no matter what kind of paint you use. Make the coats very thin so that you don’t get runs all over your project.
- Clearcoat is needed. After you are done with all the planned coats of base paint, you will need to use clear coat. It’s a special finish that will make your project look better, shine, and also stay beautiful for a longer time.
- Immediate repair is better than sanding after application. If you see a paint run on your surface, it’s much better to try and repair it quickly than to wait until the paint cures.
- Curing time and conditions should be considered for each type of paint. Read instructions and follow them to make your paint harden as it should.
- Buffing works well in those cases only when you know what you do.
After the project is ready and the paint has cured, you may buff your paint. But make sure you use proper materials and instruments for this. Many people will buff all paint types with a certain type of paste and a certain type of instrument. But all kinds of paint are different and they need appropriate ways of buffing for best results.
If you are about to choose an appropriate type of painting, you may go for spray cans or airbrushes. We recommend spray cans for your hobby while airbrushes and paint guns should be considered professional instruments for expert use only. It’s not a wise idea to invest in airbrush and compressor equipment if you just need to paint one project. It will even be cheaper to have it painted by professionals.
But if you are ready to invest in the equipment, you will be rewarded with better quality, more settings, wonderful flexibility of your painting instruments. Just keep in mind that you will still have to follow some strict rules to make your project look really nice.