5 Best Sprayers For Deck Stain: Reviewed, Rated & Compared

I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer not to spend my days painting or rolling my deck the traditional ways. It’s far easier to spray the deck stain and get back to enjoying my outdoor parties instead.

Many people don’t use the best deck stain sprayer because they aren’t sure how or they don’t know what to buy.

I’m here to help with both! Let’s talk about how to stain a deck using a sprayer and which one is the best deck stain sprayer to buy.

Why are Sprayers a Good Choice for Staining Decks?

Speed

It’s easy to accomplish your desk staining in a fraction of the time as when you paint or roll it. Instead of spending your time doing manual labor, it’s preferable to prepare the materials in a sprayer and get the job done.

Quality Finish

When you brush or roll the stain, you are often left with brush marks and uneven thickness. With a deck stain sprayer, it’s easier to accomplish a professional look. Just use the proper procedures to ensure a quality finish that’s even and beautiful.

Easier To Use

Most people find that spraying with a machine is far more comfortable than having to brush or roll the stain on. You can stand the entire time, instead of getting on your hands and knees. Setup and cleanup is also a breeze, allowing you to quickly get back to what you love doing the most.


Man spraying outside deck with wagner paint sprayer

Which Type of Spray Gun is Best for Staining?

There are two types of sprayers and both have reasons they might be the best for staining.

Airless

Airless paint sprayers operate with the help of a piston that pressurizes the material and then squeezes it out the nozzle. An airless sprayer works best on large, flat surfaces. That’s why many people use them for decks. Look at an airless deck sprayer as an alternative to a roller.

They are more powerful than an HVLP machine, but only have a transfer rate of about 50 percent. This means that a lot of product goes elsewhere into the air and adjacent surfaces instead of where you want it.

While this might be the fastest way to accomplish the task, it also costs more money because of the extra product used. 

HVLP

With an HVLP sprayer, the air comes from a compressor and atomizes the stain. HVLP stands for high volume, low pressure. They are best used for smaller, more detailed oriented projects. That’s what makes them an excellent alternative to a paint brush.

It’s still possible to use an HVLP sprayer on a deck, but it might take more time. If you have a small deck, it will work well. Another reason to use the HVLP version is if you are worried about cost. The sprayer has less wasted material than an airless version because of the adjustability.

While the project might take you longer, an HVLP sprayer is the way to go for smaller decks or when you don’t want to waste any stain. 


What to Look For In a Paint Sprayer for Decks?

Trusted Brand

You don’t want to purchase just any paint sprayer when working on your deck. Sure, there are models out there for a small price, but how long will they really last you? Invest in a high-quality brand like Graco or Wagner and you’ll get many more years out of your unit.

Maneuverability

An essential part of spraying the deck is having the ability to move around freely. Look for a unit that is portable and features a long-reaching hose so you can cover the deck with ease. You don’t want to keep moving your unit around to get the work done.

Power

If you want to get the job done fast, then you need a high-powered sprayer. Keep in mind that the higher you go in power, the more the price goes up as well. It’s also likely that overspray becomes a larger issue with higher powered machines. Pay attention to the PSI rating, horsepower and how many gallons are used per minute to make your determination.

Adjustable Pressure

It’s best to purchase a sprayer that offers adjustable pressure control. This allows you to slow down the flow of stain when needed or speed it up when detail isn’t a concern. With an adjustable spray painter, you’ll have more versatility to use it on other projects as well.

Tip Size

Stains are thinner materials, so it’s important that you have a small tip size. Normally a .011 – 0.13 would work best. If your machine doesn’t come with that size, then you need to see about getting additional tips. It’s always best to price accessories and add-ons before purchasing a sprayer so you know what you’re getting into.

Tip Extension

You need this to spray surfaces that are further away. If you don’t want to bend over while spraying your deck, then a tip extension is a must. A 10-inch appears to be the most popular option, but up to 30-inch is used for deck applications. Just avoid going over 36 inches.


5 Best Deck Stain Sprayers Reviewed


1. Graco Magnum 262800 X5 Stand Airless Paint Sprayer

Graco Magnum 262800 X5 Stand Airless Paint...
  • CONTROL PAINT FLOW: Fully adjustable pressure...
  • SPRAY PAINT UNTHINNED: Stainless Steel Piston...
  • SPRAY DIRECTLY FROM PAINT BUCKET: Flexible...
  • SPRAY MORE PROJECTS EACH YEAR: Annual use...

This fully adjustable paint sprayer allows you maximum control while spraying the deck and other projects. It features a stainless steel piston pump for maximum durability. Use the flexible suction tube to spray right from your one to five-gallon bucket instead of mixing materials.

Then, when you are finished, use your garden hose with the PowerFlush adaptor for simple cleanup. This unit supports a hose as long as 75-feet, so you are sure to reach all of your deck without an issue. Plus, the RAC IV SwitchTip allows you to reverse it if a clog occurs so there’s no downtime. 

Pros

  • Fully adjustable
  • Durable
  • Sprays from bucket
  • Easy cleanup
  • Includes the RAC IV SwitchTip for clogs

Cons

  • Slightly expensive for home use
  • Suffers from overspray

2. Earlex HV5500 Spray Station, 650 Watt, 13' Hose

On Sale Today
Earlex HV5500 HVLP Spray Station Paint...
  • SEMI-PRO PAINT SPRAYER: The Earlex Spray...
  • ACHIEVE THE PERFECT FINISH: The professional...
  • ADJUSTABLE SETTINGS: This HVLP paint spraying...
  • USE WITH A VARIETY OF MATERIALS: Use the 5500...

This professional spray gun might look different than most, but it’s a great option for home or professional use. The powerful 650-watt turbine allows you to complete your projects quickly while still maintaining a quality finish. The easy adjustments enable patterns ranging from 1-inch through 12-inch.

There’s also a convenient handle to make portability simple. With the 13-foot hose and 5.5-foot power cord, you might find yourself limited slightly on maneuverability, but most people haven’t seen it to be an issue. Included with the sprayer is a 2.0mm stainless steel tip. This isn’t just a great sprayer for stains, but also thinned latex lacquers, oils, sealants, varnishes, shellacs, enamels and acrylics.

Pros

  • Easy to adjust
  • Provides professional finish
  • Convenient handle for portability
  • Sprays many materials
  • Powerful

Cons

  • Not a long cord
  • Pricey

3. Graco Magnum 262805 X7 Cart Airless Paint Sprayer

Graco Magnum 262805 X7 Cart Airless Paint...
  • CONTROL PAINT FLOW: Fully adjustable pressure...
  • SPRAY PAINT UNTHINNED: Stainless Steel Piston...
  • SPRAY DIRECTLY FROM PAINT BUCKET: Flexible...
  • FAST AND EASY CLEAN-UP: PowerFlush Adapter...

If you have a large deck or plan to use your sprayer professionally, you might consider the Magnum X7. This adjustable option gives you all the control you need to get the job done right. With its stainless steel piston pump, you can spray many materials, some unthinned.

Use the flexible suction tube and pull the material directly from its paint bucket. This reduces your preparation. Then, connect the PowerFlush Adaptor to your garden hose and clean it out easily. You can connect up to 100-feet of paint hose if you need to reach distant areas.

This is ideal for reaching the second or third story of your house. Just like the smaller Graco, this unit comes with a RAC IV SwitchTip so you don’t have to worry about the nozzle getting clogged.

Pros

  • Professional machine
  • Lots of control
  • Supports up to 100 feet of hose
  • Sprays many materials
  • Easy to clean up

Cons

  • Might be too much machine for a homeowner
  • Suffers from overspray

4. Wagner 0518050 Control Spray Double Duty Paint Sprayer

On Sale Today
Wagner Spraytech 0518050 Control Spray Double...
  • Superior Performing HVLP Spray Gun: This HVLP...
  • Three Spray Patterns: Turn the air cap to...
  • Perfect Flow Every Time: Adjust the material...
  • Use With a Variety of Materials: Applies thin...

This budget-friendly paint sprayer is ideal for smaller spaces. It features a two-stage turbine that’s perfect for creating fine finishes indoors or outdoors. It sprays a maximum of 4.9 fl. oz. per minute and you can easily adjust the air cap to three varying positions for a unique spray pattern.

With this sprayer, you can apply thin materials like sealers, varnishes, lacquers and sealers with ease. It’s also possible to spray latex paint if thinned properly. With this sprayer comes two material cups. The one-quart is a perfect size for small interior jobs while the 1-1/2 quart cup is best for larger exterior work.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • Works indoors and outdoors
  • Sprays all thin materials
  • Comes with two cups
  • Adjustable spraying patterns

Cons

  • Might take some time to spray larger decks
  • Cups needs refilled often

5. Wagner 0518080 Control Spray Max HVLP Paint Sprayer

Wagner Spraytech 0518080 Control Spray Max...
  • HVLP PAINT SPRAYER: The Control Spray Max...
  • GREAT FOR ANY PROJECT: Perfect for priming,...
  • USE WITH A WIDE VARIETY OF MATERIALS:...
  • ADJUSTABLE SETTINGS: Customize your paint...

For a more professional option in the Wagner line of paint sprayers, this Control Spray Max might be what you’re looking for. It offers variable air pressure control and three varying spray patterns. There’s also a 20-foot hose so you can easily reach further while working on the deck.

The professional grade metal cup is perfect for holding your materials. Plus, this unit easily sprays sealers, interior latex and stains. This unit also uses two air filters that protect the finish from dust. Use the 1-quart metal cup for smaller jobs and the 1-1/2 quart plastic cup for staining the deck and fences.

Pros

  • Variable air pressures
  • Several spray patterns
  • Sprays all thin materials
  • Comes with 20-foot long hose
  • Includes air filters

Cons

  • Noisy
  • Applies slowly

How to Stain a Deck – Beginners Guide

Before You Spray

If the deck has peeling or cracked stain, you need to remove that first. If it’s dirty or covered with mold, make sure pressure wash it before application. Then, allow it to dry for a day or two before moving forward.
Sweep off any debris that’s accumulated on the deck. Cover your nearby areas with plastic sheeting to protect from overspray. Prepare your paint sprayer with the stain materials as directed by the manufacturer.

Spraying Stain

Hold your sprayer about six to twelve inches from the surface and apply. Make sure you move back and forth consistently plus you want to overlap the area by 50% at each pass.

Allow the first coating of stain to dry completely. Then, you can add a second coat to the deck with the same instructions. Make sure you stay off the deck for a couple of days as the stain completely dries.

Cleanup

Then, it’s time to clean your sprayer. Follow the manufacturer’s suggestions and make sure everything is clean before packing it away. It’s also important that you allow all the components to dry.

Don’t forget to remove the surrounding plastic and any painter’s tape you put on the deck. All that’s left to do is enjoy your fine work. Once you are done doing the deck, you might want to paint some other exterior areas of the home. Make sure you have the best paint sprayer for exterior painting.


Other Options for Sealing a Deck
(If You Like More Work)

If you aren’t sure that spraying is for you, there are other alternatives. You can roll on the paint with a roller or use a brush instead. Both of these require a lot more manual labor and don’t produce the same professional results that a paint sprayer does.

On the flip side, they do cost less money, but is it worth it?


Maintenance & Storage of Stain Sprayers

Maintaining and storing your stain sprayer is no different from any other sprayer. You still need to clean the sprayer and gun assembly after every use. If you haven’t used an oil-based stain, you can flush with a garden hose (if there is a hose attachment). Otherwise, you will need to follow your manufacturer’s instructions for proper cleaning of the specific model you have.

Once cleaned, you will have to reassemble the machine, and you have the perfect opportunity to do your routine maintenance. Check the filters and screens, all seals and o-rings, and ensure there aren’t any cracks or holes in your tubing and hoses.

You should also check your tips, tip guards, and trigger lock. Replace the tips and guards if needed and make sure the trigger lock functions properly. Once maintenance is completed, you can store your sprayer for the offseason.

Make sure the storage area is cool and dry. If you are worried about dust and debris, use a drop cloth or tarp to cover the machine and make sure you always store your sprayer in an upright position.


Tools & Materials for Staining Decks

When you set out to stain your deck, you will need your stain and sprayer, of course. However, there are other tools and materials you may want to consider bringing along for the job.

  • Painter’s tape and plastic sheeting. While your deck may be large enough to require a sprayer, there may be portions of the deck or the surrounding area you need to cover or tape off.
  • Shoe covers. Deck stain doesn’t wash out very well, and getting on the bottoms of your shoes can lead to messes inside your home you don’t need. Using shoe covers will help prevent tracking stain around.
  • Heat gun. If you are removing old stain or paint from the deck surface, a heat gun and scraper will come in handy to make the job quicker.
  • Stool. If you have railings and latticework on the deck that needs to be painted, using a stool to sit on while you do the detailed work will save your knees and back from strain and injury.
  • Extension wand. Since you will be staining your deck using a downward motion, it might make the job easier to use an extension wand for your gun, so you don’t have to hunch over as much.
  • Roller cart or extension cord. Depending on the type of sprayer you choose, you may need to put the machine on a rolling cart to help in portability. Other models may need a heavy-duty rated extension cord to reach a nearby outlet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I apply deck stain with a garden sprayer?

Yes, most deck stains can be applied with a garden sprayer. If the application guidelines state you can use a brush or roller, then you can also use a garden sprayer. However, you will also need to brush or roll the stain to get an even coating. A lot of stains also contain more colors and solids that will clog a sprayer nozzle. Make sure your stain can be thinned (most can be thinned by 1 cup thinner per gallon). If you notice clogs in the nozzle, try thinning the stain.


What sprayer size tip should I use to stain decks?

For staining decks, even with a sprayer, you will still need to use a brush or roller. Because the stains contain more solids than regular paints, using a sprayer will apply the bulk of the stain tot eh deck surface. From there, you will need to back brush or roll the stain to even it out. For this reason, you should use the largest tip possible. At a minimum, a 0.017 tip, such as those used for primers and thicker paints, is advised.


What is the best sprayer for semi-transparent deck stain?

Any of the sprayers in our Best Of list in this article will do wonders with semi-transparent deck stain. If you aren’t happy with those choices, look for the Graco Magnum ProX7, or any of the models in the Fuji T-series, such as the Fuji T-75G Q4 Platinum.


What is the best sprayer for oil-based deck stain?

Oil-based deck stains are a little thicker than latex or transparent stains, so you will need a machine that can handle thicker paints. The Graco Magnum X5 from our Best Of list from above is ideal for these types of applications.


Conclusion

Now you’ve seen the best deck stain sprayers for painting. The choice is yours which one is going to be ideal for your needs.

Think about all the projects you want to complete before making that purchase. This ensures you get something versatile that will help you finish all your DIY tasks. When you’re all done, it might just look like you’ve got a new house.


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