Paint sprayers are a convenient tool to use for a variety of different DIY projects, which includes using a sprayer for cabinets. They’re great for so many different projects; however, what you’re able to do depends on the size of the tip your sprayer is equipped with. If the tips you have available won’t work, you might need to find a different size.
If you’re asking “what do the numbers mean on a paint sprayer tip?”, you might need a lesson on how to find the right paint sprayer tip size for your project. This article contains a paint sprayer tip size chart and other important information within the following sections:
- Paint sprayer tip sizes and numbers explained
- Paint sprayer tip size charts
- Are paint sprayer tips universal?
- Steps to choosing a spray tip size based on your job
- How to choose the right spray tip size infographic
Before we explore what tip sizes to use, let’s dive into the meaning behind the paint sprayer tip size numbers.
If you have yet to find a quality paint sprayer, check out our guide to the best HVLP paint sprayers.
Paint sprayer tip sizes and numbers explained
Paint sprayer tip numbers can be easily understood by separating the first digit from the last two. The first number, when multiplied by 2, represents the fan width when spraying an object from a distance of 12 inches, while the last two numbers represent the orifice size in thousands of an inch.
For example, a paint sprayer tip of 515 would have a fan width of 10 inches (5 x 2 = 10) and an orifice of 0.015 inch (15 / 1000 = 0.015).
The orifice is the part of a spray tip where the atomization of material occurs. The listed orifice size is used to indicate the flow of fluid through the tip.
To help illustrate, here’s a paint sprayer tip chart using some of the most common tip sizes:
When determining the fan width, you multiply by 2 if you’re working with imperial measurements. Those working with the metric system should multiply by 5 instead.
For example, a paint sprayer tip of 515 would have a fan width of 25 centimeters (5 x 5 = 25).
Paint sprayer tip size charts
When deciding which paint sprayer tip size you need, you’ll need to narrow down your choices based on the material you’re working with. The thicker the material, the higher the orifice size will need to be. From there, you can determine how much fan width you’d like based on the available tip sizes. If you’re unsure what size to look for, consulting a paint sprayer tip chart is a great way to explore potential options.
Spray tip size chart: material to orifice
This first spray tip chart can help you determine the orifice size needed (last two digits of your tip size) based on the material you plan to use for you project:
We can combine that information with compatible fan widths to determine which tip size number to look for.
Spray tip size chart: material to fan width
This second paint sprayer tip size chart can help you determine what numbers to look for based on the material you plan to use crossed with the options for fan widths:
It’s important to note that your options for available spray tip sizes might differ as products are updated and released.
Are paint sprayer tips universal?
For those asking if paint sprayer tips are universal, the answer is no. While the tip size is the same, the issue is with the size and design of each brand's spray guards and barrel widths. Spray tips can only be used interchangeably if their design is compatible with multiple brands and/or models.
If you are hoping to use interchangeable tips with multiple sprayers, you will need to determine if any tips exist that are compatible with the sprayer models you intend to use or purchase sprayers that will allow you to use the same tips.
Steps to choosing a spray tip size based on your job
Even with an understanding of how tip sizes work, you might still be wondering which paint sprayer tip to use for your project. Fortunately, there are only a few questions you need to ask yourself to figure that out. This section will help you choose the right spray tip size for the job by covering the decision making process and the three questions you need to ask yourself in detail.
1. Identify your paint or stain thickness
Firstly, you need to ask yourself how thick the material is that you plan on using. Thin materials will need an orifice between 0.009 to 0.013 of an inch (tip size number X09 to X13), while thicker materials will require a flow between 0.021 to 0.025 of an inch (tip size number X21 to X25). If you’re unsure of the thickness of your material, see the table below:
2. Determine the size of your project
Once you’ve determined the orifice size needed, you can narrow down your search based on the fan width. You should still have a couple options at this point, so ask yourself how large your project is and how much surface you’d like to cover as you spray. If your project is small to medium sized, choose the smaller option. If your project is larger, go with the larger fan width. If you’re unsure of the size of your project, see the table below for some examples:
As an example of how you’d make your decision, if your choices are a 415 or 515 tip, choose the 415 for an 8-inch fan width to cover less surface, or the 515 tip for a 10-inch fan width to cover more surface.
3. Find a tip size that works for your job
Based on the chart below, these are the spray tips that are compatible with each of the paint types and job sizes you chose from above:
4. Confirm the spray tip is supported by your sprayer
After choosing the size you’d like to use, all that’s left is to determine which of your remaining options are compatible with your paint sprayer brand and model. Be sure to review the tip’s packaging if you’re shopping in-store or do additional research online to confirm the tip will work with your sprayer before you make your purchase.
How to choose the right spray tip size infographic
Follow along with these steps to find the right spray tip for your job size.
Now that paint sprayer tips have been explained, you’re ready to explore what’s available for your next DIY project. However, if you think you’d rather go the professional route instead, the City Painters are here to help. Contact us here or give us a call to get a free quote for your project.