What Airless Tip?

What Airless Tip?

If you’re a painter and you haven’t heard about our online courses available via our websites, then you should definitely check them out. Over time, we’re working on building a library of courses, so that hopefully there will be something for everyone to check out. Learn and build the skills to make you a faster and more efficient painter! Our most recent course is the Exterior Painting Systems & Processes Course, which dives into everything related to exterior repaints, including marketing a painting company, how to prep a jobsite, and the step-by-step process to painting the house. 

The information you’ll find in this blog post and in this video, is pulled straight from the course - where you’ll find content that is more in-depth and informative than anything we’ve ever posted on our YouTube channel - and we’ve posted over 1700 videos! So, if you think you can benefit from learning some more about exterior painting, then check out this course!

Now, when doing exterior repaints, we’re almost always using an airless sprayer. After all, airless spraying is the fastest way to apply paint. If you can apply paint fast and get the job done quicker, then you’ll be onto the next job and making more money before you know it. One of the features of an airless sprayer is tips - and there are a lot of options of tips out there. There’s several leading manufacturers of production and fine finish tips, plus a million fan widths and orifice sizes. So, how do you choose what’s right for you? 

Tip sizes

First, it might be helpful to understand how airless tip sizing works. For example, you might be looking at a 310 tip. The sizing is divided into the 1st, and 2nd two digits. The first number in the size is going to be your fan width. You take whatever the first number is, double it, and then that is the fan width coming out of the tip at 12 inches from the surface. So, a 310 tip has a 6 inch fan width. 

The second two digits refer to the orifice size - so the actual size of the hole that the paint is coming out of, in thousandths of an inch, commonly shortened to mils or thou. So a 310 has a 0.0010 inch orifice size. Larger numbers will mean larger orifice sizes. You can change how much overspray you’re throwing out by using a smaller tip, but you want to make sure that you also have enough paint coming out to quickly cover your surface with the appropriate mil thickness. 

So, if for any reason, you want less or more paint depending on the surface or product you’re spraying, experiment with going up or down a tip size. I used to use a 619 tip, but felt like I was moving too fast, so I went down to a 515 which is now one of the only two tips I use. 515 is a great all-around tip to control overspray and to teach people how to spray using an airless sprayer. In general, it throws out a good amount of paint. I use this tip to paint the body and garage doors. 

The other tip I use is a 310 fine finish tip - usually to paint front doors and gutters. A 310 fine finish tip gives better atomization and control to have a better finish for these super smooth surfaces. There will be smaller droplets which will lay out the paint better, and not too heavy. A 3 inch width is a good size for gutters and the edges of doors, and we usually use this to quickly spray the downspouts as well. 

On new construction, we might be using something like a 1221 tip, which is going to be spraying a considerable amount of product out. In new construction, you’re not usually worrying about overspray as much because all the homes are being built in empty dirty lots. No one’s living there yet, and none of the nearby houses have been painted either, so there’s not as much of a liability for overspray. With a 1221 tip, you can paint extremely fast. With exterior repaints, you definitely wouldn’t want to be using that big of a tip due to other nearby homes and an increased liability risk. 

Length of usage

How long does the average airless spray tip last? For a fine finish tip, it’s going to be about twenty gallons before the tip is blown and out and useless. With a production tip, you’re going to be able to use it to spray about 60-80 gallons. The more you use a tip, the larger the orifice size is going to get. All of the paint moving through the tip super quickly is going to start sanding down the opening, changing the size and spray pattern of the tip. Studies have been done that show that when using a 515 tip, within 20 gallons being sprayed through it, it will be a 517 tip. 

An airless spray tip usually has an oval spray pattern, but as the orifice enlargens it will become more circular. Thus, the droplets will get larger and the atomization will not be as efficient as it was when you first started using the tip. This happens pretty quickly with spray tips, so you should be replacing them pretty often. 

The tips I use

Titan/Bedford 515 Production Tip

  • Body

Titan HEA 619/517 Tip

  • Interior ceilings
  • Interior walls 

TriTech 310 Fine Finish Tip

  • Interior & exterior trim
  • Gutters
  • Side man doors


HEA stands for high-efficiency airless, and it refers to a type of airless tip that runs at low pressure. These tips are Titan’s spray technology that are optimized to run all architectural paints and coatings at 1000 PSI, and will decrease overspray by up to 55%. While I’m usually a fan of Titan’s airless spray tips, I’m not a fan of the industry’s overall trend towards low-pressure tips. People are increasingly worried about overspray, but I’ve noticed that these low pressure tips have larger overspray droplets. I’ve been spraying overhead before and had droplets of paint fall onto me. You’re just running the risk of overspray getting on walkways, driveways, plants, etc. Learn how to properly control overspray, and that will be better than using a lower pressure airless spray tip. I will say, HEA tips are great for interior painting with proper precautions, and they have a really nice feathered fan look to them versus production tips which have a sharp edge. Interior ceilings are where I’m going to use HEA tips. 

These tips are a green color, but don’t mistake them with Graco’s green fine finish tips - these are very different. Make sure you’re looking at the labeling on every tip you grab to make sure you know what pressure’s you’ll need to be spraying at, and what to expect when you turn on that sprayer and start!

Graco Rac X LP

Graco also has options for low pressure tips. In my opinion, I believe that they used to be leading the industry with their tips, but low pressure tips are not my favorite. These tips feature SmartTip Technology with exclusive internal tip geometry to spray at lower pressure, give you up to 50% less overspray, and double the life of the tip, plus they have at least thirty available sizes. They also have fine finish low pressure tips, which I have tried and when I did, the paint came out with a more eggshell-like finish. It didn’t deliver on a glassy finish - the atomization wasn’t breaking the paint fine enough. On an exterior, definitely stay away from low pressure tips. 


Right now, TriTech is making the best fine finish tips out there - they’re my absolute favorite. These spray tips are the highest quality and longest lasting fine finish tips on the market right now. A made in the USA product, they manufacture their own tungsten carbide in house, making these extremely durable and last longer than the competition. Runs up to 5000 PSI! These fit in TriTech, Titan, and Bedford guards. If you want a fine finish, you have to go with TriTech. 


Bedford isn’t one of the bigger names in airless spray tip production - they’ve just started manufacturing them. Most of what they make is replacement parts for sprayers, repair kits, and repacking kits. Bedford’s production tips last just as long as others and create just as good of a finish, but at a lower cost. So, if you’re looking for more budget-friendly airless tips, then Bedford can be a good option for you. They also make fine finish tips - I don’t use them, not because there’s anything wrong with them, but only because I prefer using Tritech’s over any other fine finish tips. 

If you want to learn more about airless spraying and exterior repaints, then check out our online Exterior Painting Systems and Processes Course, and of course we have a playlist on YouTube dedicated to teaching you all about airless spray tips. 

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