From the softness of suede to the coarseness of sand, texture, though hard to define, can be the very sensation you associate something with. One of the best ways to add texture to a building project you’re working on is with a texture gun. Three of the most common types of texture that are applied to drywall include popcorn, knockdown, and orange peel. Popcorn is typically applied to ceilings and has a puffy look akin to popcorn or cottage cheese. While popcorn ceilings aren’t as popular as they once were, they do have the benefit of providing sound blocking, hence their formal name: acoustic ceilings. Orange peel has a gently bumpy texture like the outside of an orange. Knockdown has a smoother appearance with patches of texture.
Texture guns are not incredibly complex or difficult to use, but they do require some care. They’re messy, so it’s important to cover everything you can’t remove from the room with drop cloths. The most important thing is to follow the mixing instructions to get the proportions right. The first step is to mix the drywall compound with water. It has to be well mixed in order to prevent clumping. After filling the hopper (the conical bucket on top of the spray gun) with the mixture, you can adjust the nozzle to your desired texture setting. In addition to the mixture and texture gun, you’ll also need an air compressor to supply power to the tool.
Texture guns, frequently called hopper guns, vary widely by price. You may not want to invest in a top of the line one for a small project, but you also wouldn’t want to use a lower-powered texture gun to do an entire building. That’s why we’ve rounded up some options that vary by size and price, so you can find the right one for the job you’re doing. Read on for our picks.
1. Wagner Spraytech Texture Paint Sprayer
This option from Wagner is one of the more expensive ones on this list, but it has one major feature that will save you money and trouble in the long run. The built-in turbine on the back of the unit eliminates the need for a separate air compressor, which is great news, whether or not you already own a compressor. Even if you already have one, this unit will save you the trouble of having to make sure the air hose is long enough. Other features include a 1-gallon hopper that is adjustable and a comfortable armrest that doubles as an upright stand for the unit.
Pros: Built-in turbine means no air compressor is needed. The large hopper holds one gallon of mixture. Included nozzles allow you to easily switch between popcorn, orange peel, and knock-down.
Cons: Somewhat expensive.
2. Hiltex Pneumatic Air Texture Spray Gun
Like most of the options on this list, this compact and affordable texture gun requires the attachment of an air compressor. There are several beneficial features that make it easier to use and result in more even results. The trigger features a locking mechanism to ensure an even coat and reduce hand fatigue, and the brass and metal components help extend the lifespan of the tool. The hopper holds 5 liters (1.3 gallons). There are three nozzles included, which you can swap out to achieve the desired effect, whether it’s popcorn, orange peel, or knockdown.
Pros: Generous 1.3 gallon hopper size, comes with three different nozzles (4mm, 6mm, and 8mm). Locking trigger for even results and to reduce hand fatigue.
Cons: No instructions included with the unit.
3. Super buy 1.45 Gallon Air Spray Gun
This texture gun is affordable, lightweight, and comes with several handy accessories. The hopper is listed as being able to hold 1.45 gallons, reducing the number of times you’ll have to refill. The large hopper also has a jug-style handle for easier control. Three different nozzles are included, so you can choose the one that best suits the job you’re doing. The handle has a textured, coated grip for extended comfort.
Pros: Affordable. Hopper holds has an ergonomic handle for stability and comfort.
Cons: No trigger lock.
4. ZENY Air Hopper Spray Gun 1.5 Gallon
This option from ZENY comes with a hopper that has a 1.45-gallon capacity. It’s one of the largest hoppers on this list, but this spray gun and hopper are among the most affordable. Included with the spray gun and hopper are three interchangeable nozzles, so you can choose the one that works best for the project you’re working on. The nozzles are 4mm, 5mm, and 6mm.
Pros: Affordable. Has a large 1.45-gallon hopper with a milk-jug style handle. Three nozzles are included.
Cons: Air hose valve could be better made.
5. Al’s Liner ALS-SG2 Professional Series Pneumatic Air Texture Spray Gun
This option from Al’s Liner comes with a 1.25-gallon hopper and various nozzles. The tool is made out of metal and features brass components, making it more durable than some spray guns that are made out of plastic. The hopper features a large milk-jug style handle, making it easier to hold without it tipping. The spray gun is also advertised as being able to be used for other purposes, such as spraying truck-bed liner, pool deck sealants, and other kinds of materials.
Pros: Made out of durable metal components, large hopper with a comfortable grip.
Cons: Similar guns may be cheaper.