You can spend plenty of dough on an HVLP (high volume low pressure) spray system, so I was surprised to see the price on the Earlex HVLP 3000. At $120, it looked like it might be too good to be true. Now that I've run lots of finish through the unit, I'm impressed. I covered the gamut with this unit, spraying solvent-based shellac, lacquer, and polyurethane, as well as water-based polyurethane. Low viscosity products, like shellac and some water-based polys, will spray better if you get a needle kit specifically designed for them. This adds $25 to the price. The Earlex 3000 does have some compromises compared to higher-end units. Airflow is either on or off, not adjustable. This means you can't finesse the droplet size as the finish comes out of the gun, which can affect the look of the finished product. And at 9-ft. 6-in., the hose is quite short. I nearly pulled the turbine off my bench when I stretched the hose too far. Overall I was able to get a reasonably good finish from the Earlex 3000. It wasn't perfect, but spraying a finish is much quicker than brushing. If you're interested in trying out HVLP finishes, this unit is a good starting point.
Earlex,(888) 783-2612, www.earlex.com, Earlex HVLP 3000, $120. Thin Finish needle kit, HVACC10R, $24.99.