6 Best Sprayers for Polyurethane

By MWB-Team •  Updated: 08/30/23 • 

If you’re looking to get a smooth polyurethane finish, using a sprayer to apply it is the best option. Apart from getting a smooth brush stroke-free finish, you can also speed up the project and save time. In this article, we review the best spray guns you can use with polyurethane. We also have a buying guide to help you make an informed decision and use a polyurethane sprayer. For finishing cabinets or furniture, check out our best paint sprayers.

Our Best Sprayers for Polyurethane

Best Overall Sprayer for Polyurethane

1. HomeRight HVLP Paint Sprayer

HomeRight HVLP Paint Sprayer

This Sprayer is good for anyone looking to get started in spraying finishes. So many good things about it outweigh some of its disadvantages. It also has different customization settings and can easily spray different types of finishes.

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This HomeRight HVLP sprayer is a great option for any DIY homeowner looking to spray polyurethane. The sprayer is lightweight and well-built, but most of it is plastic. It is a plug-and-go sprayer, so you’ll only need a power outlet to get it working. However, the power cord is a little short, which makes it a must to have an extension cord when using it.

When it comes to the actual spraying, the HomeRight HVLP Sprayer does a good job. With the three tips included, you can spray not only polyurethane but also primers, varnish, stains, and sealers. You can also choose to spray horizontally, vertically, or round. A control knob also allows you to control the output of a finish when spraying.

Although it sprays thicker finishes, you can notice some orange peel or slight texture as the finish dries. However, it sprayed slightly thinned water-based polyurethane so well and left a smooth finish. Also, watch out for overspray, and make sure to cover anything you’re not looking to cover up in the paint. Other than that, it’s aim and spray!

Cheaper and Budget-Friendly

2. Astro Pneumatic Tool 4008

Astro Pneumatic Tool 4008 Spray Gun

The Astro Pneumatic 4008 is a cheap spray gun you can check out that has amazing results. Make sure you have the right compressor for the best performance. Although high-end models have distinct advantages, this is a good bang for the buck.

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In the market of spray guns, with most coming in at hundreds of dollars, the Astro Pneumatic Tool 4008 is an amazing deal for its price. It is very well built and has a nice weight that is not too heavy. It is also easy to set up and use. However, check your compressor specs to ensure it will work with this spray gun.

The Astro Pneumatic 4008 is a powerful spray gun when used with the right compressor. It can shoot different finishes, including poly. Because of its power, you don’t need to thin poly as you would do with other spray guns. It also performs well with heavy coats, a common weak spot for siphon guns.

Overall, the Astro Pneumatic 4008 is a good budget-friendly spray gun you can get if you already have a compressor to go with it. It performs well and has a good adjustment, atomization, and spray pattern.

A Good Starting Spray Gun

3. Campbell Hausfeld HVLP Spray Gun

Campbell Hausfeld HVLP Spray Gun

This is a cheap spray gun that sprays even thicker finishes like poly and paint. It is well built, save for the plastic cup, and its performance is good. Overall, it is a good product, and we recommend it to anyone getting started.

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If you’re looking for a good spray gun to start shooting polyurethane, the Campbell Hausfeld HVLP Spray Gun is a cheaper option you can check out. The spray gun is well-built and lightweight because of the plastic cup. However, this also makes it less durable as compared to an aluminum or metal cup.

When it comes to performance, for the price you get this for, you can’t beat it. It won’t perform like an expensive spray gun, but it does a good job. It is gravity-feed and works well for spraying polyurethane for a professional finish. You can also spray paint, stain, lacquer, etc., with the spray gun.

Overall, apart from the plastic cup, we have no issues with this spray gun. Its performance is good for the price and can be a great starter choice for a beginner. It is easy to set up and shoots even thicker finishes like poly. Clean-up was also easy, just as the pleasure to use it.

High-End Sprayer System

4. Fuji Spray 2202 Semi-PRO 2

Fuji 2202 Semi-PRO 2 HVLP Spray System

The Fuji 2202 Semi-Pro is a great product. It has a solid build, and the finish comes out perfectly. It sprays materials nicely, and we had no issues trying different finishes. Overall, We would have no reservations about recommending this to a friend.

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We’ve tried different sprayers from Graco, Wagner, and even Harbor Freight. However, the Fuji Spray 2202 Semi-Pro 2 is one of the best out there. It is very sturdy, with more metal parts than plastic, and feels very durable. The unit strikes a very good balance between features, durability, and cost.

For any serious DIYer, hobby sprayer, or professional, the Fuji sprayer is quite versatile. It will perfectly handle polyurethane, and down the line, if you choose to spray other finishes like lacquer, paint, or stains, it will do that without a problem. With the sprayer, you can adjust it in several ways, plus the 25ft hose gives you better flexibility when working on larger projects.

This is a great product, and you’ll be pleased with the results. However, it would have been great to see some additional tips. It is still one of the best sprayers you can get that works with different finishes.

Best of the Rest

5. Wagner Spraytech 520008

Wagner Spraytech 520008

The Wagner is an easy-to-use paint sprayer that works great for painting or staining. It can stake on slightly thicker finishes like polyurethane and thinner stains and finishes. 

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The Wagner Spraytech 520008 is another lightweight paint sprayer that you can use to spray polyurethane. Like most paint sprayers in this list, the sprayer setup was simple. For thicker paints, thinning is a must, and we also recommend thinning polyurethane for the best results.

The adjustment of the polyurethane sprayer works well and does not get clogged when properly cleaned. Most of the parts are made of plastic, which makes the sprayer feel inexpensive and cheap. However, it still feels sturdy and should be good when taken care of and stored properly.

The plastic liquid cup of the sprayer is 1.5 quart, which is good to ensure you go on spraying with minimum interruptions. Apart from the cleaning part of the sprayer, which is a problem with most sprayers, the Spraytech 520008 is a good sprayer. Overall, we’re happy with the product and the results it delivers.

6. Graco Ultra Cordless Airless Sprayer

Graco Cordless Airless Paint Sprayer

This is a good sprayer if you're looking for a cordless sprayer that works with different finishes, including polyurethane. It's powerful and works well with thicker finishes without thinning. Overall, this is a good sprayer to have in hand.

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If you’re looking for a cordless sprayer that you can use to work with polyurethane, nothing beats the Graco Ultra Cordless Airless. The machine is awesome, and it’s easy to set up. Cleaning it up is also okay compared to most sprayers out there.

For spraying, the Graco cordless sprayer has variable power settings for different materials you’ll work with. It does not clog up even when working with thick liquids like polyurethane. There are no cords to deal with, which makes it a good tool for spraying cabinets.

The only downside to this sprayer is the bottle. It only holds a little finish, and you’ll reload often. However, this is a good tool for a DIYer looking for a faster way to spray polyurethane and other finishes.

Polyurethane Spray Gun Buying Guide

Types of Spray Guns

When it comes to choosing the type of spray gun to use, there are three types we’d advise you to check out. These are compressor, HVLP, and Wireless.

Compressor sprayers are the traditional ones that have a hose that connects to a source of compressed air. They are also called pneumatic, and they tend to be the most affordable option, like our affordable pick the Astro Pneumatic Tool 4008. However, with compressors or pneumatic sprayers, you’ll require a properly sized compressor. They are the easiest to use for beginners and great for smaller projects like cabinets or furniture.

Holding The Astro Pneumatic Tool 4008 Spray Gun

Holding The Astro Pneumatic Tool 4008 Spray Gun

HVLP, or High-Velocity Low-Pressure sprayers, are another type of spraying system. Unlike compressor or pneumatic systems, HVLP spray finishes at a low pressure, which makes finishes stick to the surface, creating a smoother finish. They also waste less paint but will typically cost more.

Airless sprayers work by using an electric pump at high pressure as opposed to a compressor. They are good for larger areas and can easily handle thicker paints and finishes with ease. However, they are more expensive and can be a little messy to work with. They are great for spraying decks, lattices, exterior surfaces, and other larger projects.

Water-Based vs. Oil-Based Polyurethane

Polyurethane leaves behind a beautiful, smooth, and glossy finish when sprayed. There are two types of polyurethane, and both serve the same purpose. However, each has its differences that you should consider when spraying.

First, both oil- and water-based polyurethane look different. Oil-based polyurethane is yellowish, while water-based is whitish or milky. As they dry, oil-based poly gets an amber hue that darkens over time, and water-based poly gets clearer.

The drying time when spraying these two types of polyurethane is different. For oil-based poly, the drying time is between five and 12 hours, while water-based poly only takes two hours or less before you can recoat. If you’re in a hurry, spraying water-based poly is the way to go.

Fuji Spray 2202 Semi-PRO 2 - HVLP Spray System

Fuji Spray 2202 Semi-PRO 2 – HVLP Spray System

The toxicity and VOC content level are other things to watch out for when spraying polyurethane. Both water-based and oil-based polyurethane have VOCs. However, oil-based poly has more. The toxicity is heightened to another level when sprayed compared to brushing. When spraying both types of polyurethane, have the proper gear, be in a ventilated area, and keep children and pets away when spraying.

Cleaning up is a must after spraying polyurethane to keep the spray gun in good condition. For water-based poly, cleaning up is easier because you can use water or a cleaning solvent. However, for oil-based poly, you’ll need mineral spirits, which have a higher degree of difficulty and will also take more time.

Thinning Polyurethane to Spray

Many HVLP and airless sprayers can efficiently spray polyurethane. However, sometimes you’ll need to thin polyurethane is necessary. Because polyurethane is a thicker finish, you may need to use a thinner to reduce the viscosity so it can be sprayed well.

To decide if polyurethane, you’ll need to thin polyurethane, first load, and spray without thinning. You’re good to go if it sprays well and leaves a smooth finish. However, if it shows problems like orange peel, you’ll need to thin the polyurethane.

If you need to thin polyurethane, check for the appropriate list of thinners for your product. Thinning will also vary depending on different factors, but you’ll usually require 10% or more thinned polyurethane for spraying.

Steps to Spray Polyurethane

Brushing vs. Spraying Polyurethane

For most people, applying polyurethane to a surface usually involves using a brush. That is an affordable option and great for smaller projects. However, brushing can be time intensive and leave undesired results, such as brush marks. Spraying is the way to go if you want a professional and smooth finish.

Spraying is also good for harder-to-reach areas, such as cabinets and vertical and oddly-shaped surfaces. For larger projects, spraying is also faster, and you’ll be done in no time. However, remember you might have a learning curve before you can handle a spray gun and spray properly.

If you’re on a budget, brushing is a cheaper option. However, if you’re looking to get better results, spraying is better. Beware of you’ll use more paint if you choose to spray because of the loss of paint due to overspray. If you’re debating between brushing and spraying kitchen cabinets, check out this informative guide on brushing vs spraying kitchen cabinets.


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