The tips for airless paint sprayers can be the difference between a sloppy or a professional finish.
From controlling for overspray, to patterning, and to managing pressure, airless sprayer tips control the ultimate finish and outcome of any spray project.
Some of the leading industry tools used by professionals are the Graco spray tips. With their engineered design, Graco tips produce high-quality sprays but also make it easy for DIYers and novice painters to produce the same level of quality with their projects.
But to understand why Graco tips are superior, it’s necessary first to understand a few things about airless spray tips in general.
Titan vs Graco
Without a doubt, the two biggest names in the airless spray industry are Titan and Graco. Both companies produce wide selections of various paint sprayers, including airless paint sprayers and tips, and they both have dominated the paint sprayer industry for decades.
Titan, as well as Graco, produces a large variety of sprayers, and there is certainly debate on which is the better brand to use, whether for residential, commercial, or industrial projects. On average, Titan tends to run a bit higher when it comes to prices.
Despite the higher pricing, however, the Graco is usually the preferred brand among industry professionals. A quick look at a professional painters’ forum will show that user reviews tend to favor the Graco paint sprayers for reliability, consistency, and producing higher pressure.
If there’s one expert advice to listen to for choosing the best Graco airless paint sprayer, it’s the people who use the hardware for professional purposes on a day-to-day basis. For the pros, Graco sprayers are the top choice.
Before discussing airless sprayer tips, it might help to clarify what an airless sprayer is. An airless sprayer is a paint sprayer that, as you might have guessed, does not use air when atomizing the paint.
Instead, the sprayer pumps the paint at extremely high pressures through a small orifice. The result is either a clean, crisp line or a fan spray. The different effects—the line or the fan—depend on the type of tip used to modify the airless sprayer.
Types of Tips
The sprayer tips are where the component of the sprayer that controls everything from pressure, volume of output, and the surface area that the spray covers. With the best sprayer tips, one can also reduce the amount of clean-up to deal with after the project is wrapped up.
The most common type of sprayer tip is the standard tip because it is the most versatile for a variety of projects and covers the largest amount of area in a given amount of time. Other tips, like the fine finish tip or the HEA tips, are specialized and suited to specific types of projects.
When choosing sprayer tips, it helps to know the type of paint that will be used and the object or surface being painted. With the right tip, it’s possible to eliminate fuzzy or messy sprays and produce clean sprays every time, whether it’s a straight line or a full fan of paint.
This category covers a range of sprayer tips, from tips that spray full fans to tips that produce stripes. Standard tips can be used to spray latex, lacquers, oils, acrylics, mastics, and much more. Used by professionals for residential, commercial and industrial projects, standard tips are great for spraying on the foundational layers, thick layers, and larger surface areas. Different orifice sizes can be used to change the amount of paint and coverage space that the standard tip produces.
Fine Finish Tip:
As the name implies, a fine finish tip produces a finer spray, perfect for spraying smaller surface areas and adding a final finish to a project. With a fine finish tip, the atomization, or breaking up of the paint, is smaller, which allows the tip to produce a misty spray. The design of the tip allows for smaller atomization by putting the paint through the atomization process twice. In addition, a fine finish tip reduces the pressure, which means less paint is coming out with each spray. The lighter spray projects paint with softer edges, so that with the final result, it’s not obvious where one spray starts and the next begins.
The High Efficiency Airless (HEA) tips – TR1 tips are able to produce the same output and spray as the standard tips but have the added advantage of reduced pressure. Reduced pressure means there is less overspray, and some of the leading HEA tips can cut down on overspray by as much as 50%. The reduced pressure also extends the tip life because there is less force being pushed through the tip, which in time wears any tip down. Lower pressures can extend the tip life by as much as double.
Even with these categories of tip types, there is still a great amount of variety and versatility. Whether it’s a small, home project or a large-scale, industrial renovation, different tip types are essential to getting the job done the right way. But knowing the tip types is only the first part. To find out what other information is necessary to know before using an airless sprayer, read on and discover tip codes, guards, and orifices.
Reading Tip Codes
When looking at the different types of tips, it also helps to know how to read the tip codes. Every tip will have a set of letters and numbers on it, and this tells you the type of tip, the fan size, and the orifice size. One of the Graco fine finish tips can serve as a good example: Graco RAC X FF LP SwitchTips.
The Graco FF LP switch tip has these letters and numbers on the tip: FF LP 518. The letters are shorthand for the type of tip: fine finish, low pressure.
The first number in the 3-digit code indicates the fan size. For a fan size of 5, one can double the number and estimate that at 12 inches away, the tip will produce a 10″ fan.
The second set of numbers, 18, measures the orifice size. The orifice size determines how much paint in gallons is pressurized and put out through the tip. The measurement is read as thousandths, so in this case, the orifice size is 18-thousandths, or .018.
Different pumps are designed with a maximum tip size, so reading the tip codes is essential to getting the right equipment.
Types of Tip Guards
Tip guards prevent the sprayer from being positioned too close to the surface being painted. A tip guard fits onto the housing unit for the sprayer and is what the tip itself connects to. The types of tip guards to use depend on the type of tip being used. With Graco, many of the tip guards fit multiple tip types, making it easy to use one guard for a range of tips.
The RAC X guards, for instance, can fit the Graco RAC X (LTX), fine finish (FFLP), and Wide RAC (WR) tips. But Graco also produces specialized guards, such as the Graco HD for heavy-duty sprayers and tips. The HD tip guard has a more robust structure, stronger seal, and withstands greater amounts of pressure.
Orifice Sizes and Spray Patterns
In addition to the tip types, the orifice sizes of sprayer tips affect the type of spray that will come out. The orifice, or the small hole in the tip itself, determines how much paint the sprayer is able to project. As discussed above, the orifice size is labeled on the tip with the last two numbers, which measure the gallons of paint that comes out in thousandths. As a general rule, it is good to remember that the lower the number, the finer the finish. So, a tip with an orifice size of 9, or .009, will produce a finer spray than a tip with an orifice size of 25, or .025. Different orifice sizes are suited to different types of paint. Thinner materials go with smaller orifice sizes, while thicker materials are best used with larger orifice sizes. Orifice sizes can vary from as small as .009 all the way up to .039, so knowing which orifice sizes go with which materials eliminates quite a bit of trial-and-error.
The breakdown below shows which orifice sizes complement different materials.
Thin Materials: .009 – .013
- Clear Coat Lacquer, .009 – .011
- Varnish, below low VOC, .009 – .011
- Shellac, .009 – .013
- Transparent Stain, .011 – .013
- Water Sealers, .011 – .013
Medium Materials: .012 – .019
- Water borne Lacquer, .012 – .014
- Clear Acrylics, .012 – .014
- 100% Acrylic for Interior, Latex, .013 – .015
- Oil-based Enamels
- Polyurethane, .013 – .015
- Solid Stain, .013 – .015
- Low VOC varnish, .013 – .015
- Interior Latex, .013 – .017
- Primer Latex, .015 – .017
- Exterior Latex, .015 – .019
- Primer Oils, .017 – .019
Thicker Materials: .021 – .025
- Elastomerics, smooth only, .021 – .025
- Heavy Latex, .021 – .025
Heavy Materials: .025 – .039
- Elastomerics, .025 – .039
- Block Fillers, .025 – .039
It’s a good idea to keep track of which materials are necessary for a project and to ensure that the right tips are available and in use. Using the wrong material and tip, such as putting a heavy latex through a tip with a smaller orifice, can lead to disastrous results. At the very least, the material can clog the tip, which will stop production altogether. At worst, the heavy material could exert too much force into the tip, leading to messy overflow, a damaged and useless tip, and wasted time and energy.
Graco RAC X SwitchTips
With all this information about spray tips, it’s time now to turn to some of the most versatile, reliable, and all around high-quality spray tips on the market: the Graco RAC X SwitchTips. The Graco RAC X SwitchTips are a line of sprayer tips that the company produces. The RAC stands for reverse-a-clean, which refers to the capability of these tips to clear clogs. The RAC tips are engineered with spray-reversing technology that is simply built into the tip. To clear a clog, users must simply twist the tip and reverse the spray flow. The reversed flow will use pressure to push the clog back into the sprayer housing and leave a cleared-out tip. The X in the name of this line of tips probably stands for X number of possibilities, and there are many possible tips with this line.
There are currently 7 different types of tips in the line of RAC switch tips:
- RAC X Latex
- RAC Fine Finish Low Pressure FF LP SwitchTips
- RAC IV
- RAC V
- RAC X WideRAC
- RAC LineLazer
- RAC Heavy Duty
Each of the RAC tips has its own unique specifications that make them more suited to some projects than others. But even within a tip type, there is quite a bit of versatility with the wide selections of orifice sizes and several options for fan sizes.
The various tips also might have specific tip guards that they fit with, so that is something to look for when shopping for airless sprayer tips. But Graco makes it easy to switch to other tips by making some of the tip guards able to fit multiple tip types.
Overall, the Graco RAC X SwitchTips are some of the longest-lasting and versatile equipment on the market. From fine finishes for cabinets to thick fans for building exteriors, the line of RAC switch tips has a tip for every project. Read on to get the specifics of each of the RAC switch tips to find out what they offer.
Graco RAC X
The most versatile of the tips, the Graco RAC X were originally designed for latex paint but can also spray stains, lacquers, acrylics, and enamels. The perfect tool for all residential, commercial, and industrial projects, the RAC X produces wider spray patterns for longer durations. A wider spray pattern cuts down on the number of passes required to cover an area, meaning that both time and paint can be saved with the RAC X tip.
The RAC X fits a 7/8″ threaded sprayer and has a locking tab that locks the tip in place, meaning no wobbling during sprays and no leakage from the line. All the RAC X switch tips come with Graco’s One-Seal, which means no additional tools are needed to install the tip.
The RAC X is designed for use with the Graco RAC X guard, which fits the Graco RAC X (LTX), the fine finish, and Wide RAC tips.
- Versatile for latex paints—latex, acrylics, lacquers, stains, enamels
- Wider spray pattern
- Long spray time
- High-quality finish
- Residential, commercial, and industrial uses
- One-Seal for easy installation
- Use with RAC X guard
- Fits 7/8” threads
- Easy to clean
- Reverse a clean technology to clear clogs
- Tip color: blue
Graco RAC X FFLP SwitchTips
A revolutionary item in the tips industry, the Graco RAC X fine finish low pressure FF LP switchtips reduce overspray and pressure while extending the tip life.
Spray with the FFLP is reduced by up to 50%, which in turn doubles the tip life. The lower pressure cuts down on overspray and makes it easier to clean up. The FFLP features Graco’s patented SmartTip technology, which controls pressure for a more even finish. It eliminates pressure fluctuations by reducing the amount of energy required to atomize the paint, meaning that no matter the pressure being applied, a steady and even finish comes out every time.
The FFLP switch tips from Graco are available in seven different orifice sizes: .008, .010, .012, .014, .016, .018, and .020. With versatility in orifice sizes, the FFLP switch tips are perfect for anything from finishing cabinets to covering large surfaces and producing high-volume sprays.
The FFLPs can be used with lacquers, urethanes, and varnishes. With the FFLP switch tips, one can get a higher-quality finish for any project, from cabinets, to woodworking, to metals, and other projects that require a fine finish.
- Reduced pressure up to 50%
- 2x the tip life
- Easy clean-up
- SmartTip technology for finer finish
- No pressure fluctuation
- Use with lacquers, urethanes, varnishes, stains
- For fine finish projects like cabinets, woodworking, and metals
- RAC technology clears clogs
- Tip color: green
Graco RAC IV SwitchTips
The classic airless sprayer tip and one of the tips that established the Graco airless sprayers as the leading products in the industry, the RAC IV tips are still in wide use today. For the most part, the RAC IV tips are used with the Graco Magnum and other residential, home-use airless sprayers.
Suitable for residential and professional projects, the RAC IV features the same reverse-a-clean technology that helps to clear clogs, and the one-seal functionality that makes it easy for homeowners to install without any other tools.
The RAC IVs work great with a variety of materials, from latex and acrylics, to stains, polyurethanes, varnishes, and primers that are latex-based. The RAC IV fits with the RAC V guards. The selection of orifice sizes is smaller than the other tips in the RAC X SwitchTips line, but the RAC IV is still a reliable tool that is perfect for smaller jobs on residential and professional projects.
- Durable and reliable
- Clears clogs easily with reverse-a-clean technology
- One-seal means no other tools needed
- Use with acrylics, latex, primers, polyurethanes, varnishes and stains
- Tips with fan sizes from 6-14” sprayTip color: black
- Tip color: black
Graco RAC V SwitchTips
With the widest selection of orifice sizes, it’s no wonder the Graco RAC V switch tips are the most commonly use items industry-wide. For many years, Graco made the RAC V the standard tip for all their sprayers because of their remarkable versatility, reliability, and durability.
Suitable for residential, commercial and industrial uses, on interiors and exteriors, the orifice sizes for the RAC V switch tips range from .007 – .065, and they can produce spray fans anywhere from as focused as 2″ and cover areas as wide as 20″ in one spray.
The RAC V tips work best with latex, oil-based paints, varnishes, enamels, and solid coatings. It fits the RAC V guard.
- #1 sold on the market and most commonly used
- Versatile with numerous orifice sizes
- For residential, commercial, and industrial use
- Use on interiors and exteriors
- Fan range from 2” – 20”
- Works with latex, enamels, oil-bases, varnishes, solid coatings
- One-seal for easy fitting
- Clean clogs fast with reverse-a-clean technology
- Tip color: black
Graco WideRAC X SwitchTips
The preferred choice for professionals working on commercial and industrial projects, the WideRAC is a must-have for covering large surface areas. Their efficiency and high-production save professional painters time and money.
The WideRAC switch tips can cover twice the amount of area, which cuts down on the amount of spray time by half. The wide switch tips can cover a fan area of 24″ while producing a consistent pressure that makes for an even spray every time.
Because the WideRAC switch tips are made to cover large areas, they also require larger sprayers. These tips fit with the regular RAC X blue guards.
- Preferred by professionals for construction, commercial, and industrial projects
- Large spray fan of 24”
- High volume output with even pressure
- Cuts down on spraying time by one half
- Covers double the area as a standard tip
- Fits with RAC X guards
- Clean clogs with RAC technology
- Easy installation with One-Seal
- Tip color: blue
Graco RAC LineLazer
The line lazer switch tip eliminates pesky fuzzy lines and produces a clean line every time. Engineered for professional striping jobs, industry pros use the Graco RAC LineLazer for striping anything from parking lots and pavement, to roads, warehouses, crosswalks, athletic fields, and more.
The LineLazer switch tips work best with either thin alkyd paints or heavy water-based paints, both of which are used for striping in traffic zones and industrial settings. It can produce a spray fan size ranging anywhere from 2″ to 12″.
Like the other RAC switch tips, the LineLazer features One-Seal fitting to eliminate the need for other tools, and the RAC technology that makes it easy to reverse spray flow and clear clogs quickly. The LineLazer fits the RAC V guard.
- For professional striping in traffic, construction, industrial zones, and more
- Clean lines, no blurred edges
- Use with alkyd or water-based heavy paints
- 2” to 12” fan size
- Fits RAC V guard
- One-Seal for easy install
- RAC technology for clog removal
- Tip color: yellow
Graco RAC Heavy Duty Switch Tip
Another industry-favorite for those working in construction and industrial settings, the Graco RAC Heavy Duty switch tip will get the job done when using heavy materials. The HD switch tip can handle any material you throw at it, including high solid coatings and fibrous paints. It’s stable engineering also makes it reliable for situations where vibration is an issue and could lead to the tip coming loose if it were any other, lower-quality tip. The HD switch tips are necessary gear for working on bridges, roofing, steel projects, and farms.
With a twist lever that is more durable and extra thick, the HD switch tip can always screw on evenly and firmly, even with paint coating the threading. Orifice sizes range from .007 to .081, and the HD tip can produce a fan size of 2″ to 20″. It features spray-reversing technology to get clogs out in tough situations where stepping away from a project is not as easy.
- Very heavy duty
- For construction and industrial projects
- Handles heavy materials like fibrous or solid coatings
- Secure screw on means it won’t come loose
- Durable twist lever
- Wide selection of orifice sizes
- RAC technology cleans out clogs
- Fits HD RAC tip guard
- Tip color: grey
Airless Sprayer Tips
The airless sprayer tips available on the market today make it easy for users to find a sprayer tip for any type of project. Whether it’s putting the finishing touches on a DIY cabinet project, or spraying large buildings for commercial renovations, or rendering a professional paint job for a steel bridge, there are numerous situations that call for specific sprayer tips. With knowledge of tip codes, it’s easy to navigate the large market of sprayer tips and understand exactly what fan size and volume of output to expect from any given tip. Understanding the orifice size and how it affects the pressure and rate at which paint comes out of the sprayer housing helps to extend the life of the tip for as long as possible and to ensure that the project at hand gets the right amount of pressurized paint.
For their versatility, reliability, engineered design, and overall quality, it’s not hard to see why Graco airless sprayer tips continue to be the preferred choice for professionals and experts in the residential, commercial, and industrial painting sectors.
Graco’s line of RAC X SwitchTips makes it especially convenient to clear clogs out of the sprayer while on the job, when taking the time to clean out a tip is not always easy to do. From standard, to fine finish tips, to heavy duting and striping tips, Graco offers a full range of spray tips that are suitable for both beginners and industry veterans to use.