Both the SATA and Iwata reps stressed that the majority of gun cost is tied up in the air cap and fluid tip. “The quality of the machining [in those parts] is much better. They use higher-quality raw materials, too,” Morrison tells us. Mark Hebbeler, Anest Iwata’s in-house PR guy added, “We use friction-fit sealing surfaces rather than O-rings or gaskets, which eventually deteriorate from exposure to solvents.”
Also, compare the fluid tips and air caps in these pictures with the ones in the less expensive guns. The air passages are much more precisely drilled, and there are more of them. This improves the efficiency of the gun. The liquid paint is atomized by compressed air here at the tip, forming what’s known as the fan—the spray pattern generated by the gun. The more completely the paint is atomized, and the more uniform the atomized paint is distributed within the pattern, the more efficient the gun is. It can cover more area more completely with less overspray, allowing the user to paint more cars with less material. All that machining adds up to an expensive spray gun, but in a high-volume shop, these guns can pay for themselves in a matter of months because of time and materials saved.
How They Work
Mascar’s Juvenal Manriquez did all the spraying for this test. He personally likes his SATAjet 3000 but was eager to try the new stuff, spraying a couple of coats of both base and clear with the Supernova and SATAjet 4000. Both offered excellent coverage, but Manriquez said the SATA felt more comfortable, likely because that’s what he’s familiar with.
Price Range: $200 to $350
There are a lot of guns available from a number of manufacturers in this price range, but the Concours gun by Eastwood happens to be the only one with which we have personal experience. Eastwood developed this spray gun a couple of years ago specifically for the home enthusiast. It operates on 29 psi at the inlet but only consumes 4 cubic feet of air per minute, meaning you don’t need a big air compressor to use it. The Concours has stainless internals and a machined brass fluid tip and air cap. The air passages, while not as fine as the SATA or Iwata, are more carefully laid out than the inexpensive guns we’ve used. Eastwood recently lowered the price to less than $200, too.
How It Worked
“It’s OK,” Manriquez says. As you can see in the picture, the Concours gun didn’t atomize the clear as well as the expensive guns did, depositing the paint on the car in bigger droplets than the Iwata and SATA guns. This is not necessarily a bad thing, however, and a decent painter can adjust his technique to accommodate. We’d recommend any gun at this price level to our readers.