HVLP is a spray paint industry abbreviation for high volume low pressure and describes air spray guns that use a high volume of air at low pressure to atomise the paint being sprayed.
Certain marketing may lead many to believe that HVLP is a new technology. In reality HVLP paint spray guns have been available for a very long time.
Many many years ago certain household vacuum cleaners were sold with a paint spray gun attachment which in reality was a HVLP paint spray gun and a company called CIG sold a HVLP turbine system called the Little Beaver which was the same principle as the many HVLP turbine paint spray systems that are marketed by various companies today.
High-volume low-pressure HVLP paint spray guns became mandatory in some areas in an effort by authorities to reduce emissions.
Certain paint spray gun manufacturers claim that although HVLP spray guns may have better transfer efficiency than conventional air paint spray guns the finish quality is inferior.
Coupled with the potential inferior finishing capability compared to other paint spray systems, HVLP spray guns usually cost much more to acquire than the cost of high quality conventional air paint spray guns.
HVLP paint spray guns also require much larger volumes of air to operate. This means that much larger industrial air compressors are required which are usually out of reach of most home users due to power requirements and the cost of ownership of air compressors in this output category.
The HVLP paint spray guns larger compressed air requirement is also a negative for business where industrial air compressor size is available through increased cost to supply the increased air consumption.
A way around the requirement of large air compressors to supply the required volume of compressed air to high-volume low-pressure paint spray guns is to use a device called a turbine which in effect is the same as the vacuum cleaner or the Little Beaver from years ago.
HVLP turbine paint sprayers are very handy due to their portability. HVLP turbine paint sprayers usually only require a regular household mains power outlet.
HVLP turbine paint sprayers are restricted to usually only 60 feet or 10 m of hose between the air generating turbine and the HVLP paint spray gun. Over spray in the air is drawn back into the high-volume low-pressure turbine and caught by the filters. These filters require regular replacement and if left blocked further use of the unit can cause the high-volume low-pressure turbine to fail.
Similar transfer efficiency to HVLP can be achieved using LVLP (low-volume low-pressure) paint spray guns or compliant spray guns without the huge volume of compressed air requirement.