Spray tanning is often considered a safer alternative to sunbathing or tanning beds that expose your skin to UV rays. We review eight of the best self spray tan machines. The best machines should have a small capacity cup, be lightweight, and ear-friendly.
Self Spray Tan Machines: Guide & FAQ
Before we look at our top eight, we want to share some tips for your search.
Types of Self Spray Tan Systems
There are a plethora of spray tan guns available on the market today. Not all are suitable for home use, though. Below we explore three common types and their respective pros and cons:
High Volume Low Pressure (HVLP) Systems
The most common system is the high volume low-pressure guns, or HVLP for short. These machines are fantastic both for use at home, in the salon, or mobile businesses.
HVLP spray tan machines usually have a wattage anywhere between 400W to 700W. They’re lightweight and easy to use.
This system also doesn’t waste tanning solution, like others tend to do. HVLP guns resist leaking and minimize overspray by only allowing a small amount of liquid within the cup. It differs between brands, but it’s generally around two to six ounces.
Unfortunately, they can be very noisy to operate. Although some ear-friendly options are available, many users compare them to a jet.
Airbrush systems are a professional method mostly used by tanning salons. There are multiple machines available, but the most common are those using a compressor.
Airbrush tanning machines are more affordable than HVLP, and they make a lot less noise. They work well at high pressure, delivering a larger amount of tanning solution.
However, airbrushes aren’t easy to master and can lead to overspray and waste of product if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Low Volume Low Pressure (LVLP) Systems
Low volume low pressure (LVLP) spray tan machines run on a turbine-driven motor, which forces the solution through the gun. It then distributes the product in a mist across the skin.
The difference between LVLP and HVLP is that this system operates at a much lower pressure. Unfortunately, they’re often noisier due to the additional fans near the turbine.
Another drawback is that an LVLP tanning gun requires a steady hand and some skill. Otherwise, it creates an uneven application. Still, many home users prefer this system due to the adjustable flow and lower air pressure.
Choosing the Best Self Spray Tan Machine
Below are a couple of elements to look for in the best self spray tan machine:
When spray tanning an average-sized person, you’ll apply roughly two ounces of tanning solution—one-ounce per side. Thus, it only makes sense that the spray gun should have a capacity of at least two ounces.
There are spray guns capable of holding much more than this. However, for home use, it’s best to go with a lower capacity, minimizing product waste and preventing leaking.
2. Spray Pattern
Spray patterns are how the tanning solution exits the machine. It is crucial to find a middle between broad and narrow. Let’s explain:
A spray gun pattern of anything less than two inches will take you forever to apply as its span is relatively small. On the other hand, a broad pattern of anything over six inches can lead to overspray. This is where the product misses the skin and instead settles on surrounding surfaces, wasting solution.
Instead, you want to find a harmonious balance between the two allowing you to apply the tan without wasting time or product. A good middle is between two to six inches.
Some spray tan guns allow for adjustments, which is perfect if you’re new to spray tanning.
3. Weight and Portability
Spray tan guns come in different sizes, and which one you choose depends on how you’re planning on using it.
If you only want to use it at home to touch up your tan, then portability and weight aren’t significant issues.
For those looking to bring it with them on trips or to potential clients, you need one that’s light and easy to store. Many portable spray guns weigh less than 6 pounds, and they usually come with a carry bag.
Some self spray tan machines are super noisy, making it impossible to hear what’s going on around you. If you’re merely using it at home, a loud turbine might not be a concern—except if you have neighbors close by.
5. Tan Sessions Per Day
Manufacturers rate the machines according to how many sessions they can do per day. For instance, light, medium, or heavy use.
Heavy use machines can do anything from 20 to 40 sessions in one day. Light use will only do a few.
Overworking a machine can put additional strain on the motor, impacting its performance and longevity. If you’re the only one working it, a light use spray gun is fine.
How Spray Tan Machines Work
Spray tan machines aren’t as complicated as they may sound. They rely on a motor-powered fan that combines the liquid pigment—tanning solution—with air. As you activate the trigger, it releases the product in a fine mist form.
As the solution touches the skin, the pigment darkens, thanks to a chemical called Dihydroxyacetone, or DHA. This is a colorless substance, which interacts with the amino acids on your skin. Upon contact, it becomes several shades darker.
When you apply the spray, always keep the nozzle roughly five to six inches away to avoid overdoing it. Then angle the machine according to the curves of your body to create a more natural look.
It’s also an excellent idea to exfoliate every day for three days before you’re going to apply the spray tan. This removes dead skin cells, giving you a smoother, more even look.
Best Self Spray Tan Machines: Our Top 8 Picks
Below is our choice for the best self spray tan machine.
1. Best Overall: Norvell Sunless Kit Machine
- Lightweight spray-tan kit that’s easy to bring on the road.
- Comes with three Norvell Tanning Solutions.
- Includes a lightweight shoulder strap for portability.
- You have adjustable spray patterns.
- Quiet motor—almost like a hair dryer.
The M-1000 HVLP spray system from Norvell is a top-selling tan machine, explicitly designed for Norvell’s Premium Solutions. It’s a professional-grade kit that you can bring with you to clients or a friend’s house to get your tan on.
You’ll get the M-1000 turbine motor, the M-Series HVLP spray gun, 10-foot quick connect-disconnect hose, and a standard electrical cord. There’s also a repair kit, a manual, and a shoulder strap, making it easy to transport.
The airbrush offers different spray settings, helping you apply an even layer of the solution throughout your body. You can also use the machine almost anywhere without being a nuance, thanks to the quiet motor.
Included are also three of Norvell’s Tanning Solutions in three various finishes: Dark, Venetian, and Cosmo Lite.
The brand boasts that all formulations are without parabens, sulfates, phthalates, GMO’s, synthetic fragrance, among others. Instead, they comprise a blend of antioxidants and vitamins, boosting your skin’s absorption of the solution without turning orange.
However, it doesn’t include a tent. So ensure you get one before using the spray machine to avoid a spray tan mess.
2. Best Professional Machine: MaxiMist Evolution Pro Spray Tan System
- Adjustable spray patterns and flow.
- Detailed instructions included.
- Vegan tanning solutions in the package.
- A large tanning tent to contain the mess.
- Super quiet operation.
The MaxiMist Pro Series spray gun consists of a stainless steel tip and needle, suitable for salons and home use.
You can adjust the flow and pattern, depending on whether you want it vertical or horizontal, and what finish you’d like. There’s even an airbrush setting allowing you to touch up mistakes and reach difficult areas.
It’s a breeze to shift between the various settings. At the front, you have a switch that you turn to the other side, depending on which configuration you need. Included are also instructions.
The turbine comes with a one-year warranty, and it’s suitable for over 25 applications per day. In the kit, you’ll also receive three extra 8-ounce cups with lids, additional cup gaskets, an air tube, and spray gun lube.
You also get three vegan tanning solutions, providing different finishes, ranging from light to dark. The products are gluten and paraben-free, formulated by Tampa Bay Tan.
3. Best Mobile Kit: MaxiMist Lite Plus HVLP Sunless Spray Tanning KIT
- Weighs only 5 pounds, which is lighter than most other kits.
- Includes a lightweight carry bag.
- Comes with a tent and three tanning solutions.
- Allows for pattern and flow adjustments.
- Broad cup base for stability, keeping the machine steady when not in the hand.
Another option that makes tanning on-the-go a little easier is this kit from MaxiMist. Similarly to the Norvell earlier, it’s lightweight and effortless to bring with you, whether for home use or professional.
The package includes the MaxiMist Lite Plus HVLP tanning machine. It offers a robust 300-watt turbine with a German-engineered nozzle. This system works to apply a fine mist with a minimal chance of overspray, suggesting it’s suitable for beginners.
A great feature is the spray nozzle. It allows for vertical and horizontal patterns as well as flow adjustments. There’s also a non-stick needle included, enabling for a clog-free performance.
The spray gun cups boast a conical design with a broad base, enhancing solution pickup and stability when you put it down.
Unlike the Norvell, MaxiMist provides you with a professional-grade, fabric tent, keeping the mess contained. It even comes with an oversized carry bag, making it easy to transport your new spray tan kit.
Like the Norvell, you’ll receive three tanning solutions that are all 100 percent vegan. Be warned that the machine can drip if you fill it to the brim.
4. Best Budget Machine: Bronze Tan Professional Spray Tan Machine
- Airbrush application, providing a smooth, even finish.
- Instruction manual included with a step-by-step guide.
- Easy to take apart and clean.
- Wide base cup, offering stability.
If your budget is tight and you merely need the spray gun, you may find that the Bronze Tan machine is the best option.
It’s an HVLP airbrush tan machine gun, offering a smooth, airbrushed finish on the skin with every application. If you’re new to spray tanning, the brand includes a how-to guide, making it a breeze to use.
The professional spray machine weighs roughly 6 pounds, suggesting it’s effortless to tow with you. Following use, you can take it apart for easy cleaning, preventing future build-ups.
Bronze Tan also includes a money-back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied. Be aware that this spray gun doesn’t come with tanning solutions, a tent, or a carry bag.
5. Quietest Spray Gun: Fuji Mini Tan M Model System Spray Tan
- It features noise reduction covers for the filters.
- Cool-running motor, enabling it to last longer.
- Lightweight and portable kit.
- Durable metal applicator and stainless steel components.
- Adjustable spray patterns.
Loud motors aren’t fun to deal with, whether you’re home alone or with your girlfriends. Fortunately, the Fuji MiniTan features a quiet turbine technology, consisting of noise reduction covers around the filters. As it runs, it draws in air through the rear slots, disrupting direct sound paths.
Another great feature is the heat dissipation box. It allows the motor to run at a cooler temperature, improving its longevity—the turbine comes with a 24-month warranty. For the fluid compartment, you have stainless steel, ensuring durability.
The lightweight motor is easy to bring with you, and the adjustable nozzle is straightforward to use.
6. Best Package: Aura Allure Spray Tanning Machine System
- An all-inclusive kit.
- A lightweight motor, making it easy to carry with you.
- Long and flexible 11.5-foot hose.
- Satin spray nozzle, providing fine atomization.
- Ingenious filtration minimizes the chances of overspray.
Not all packages are of decent quality and even worth a look, but the Aura Allure spray tanning machine system seems to be a hit with users.
The kit provides you with everything you need. This includes the spray kit, tent, disposable hair clips, tanning sandals, and a collection of Sjolie tanning solutions.
We like the long 11.5-foot hose as it’s flexible yet durable, and it provides you with a long range to move around. The spray machine features a whisper-quiet motor, and it comes with a gun holder, keeping it secure even while moving the unit.
The machine sports a glossy black finish with a broad metallic band wrapping the sides. It’s a professional, luxurious appearance compared to the plain black turbines.
Another fantastic feature is the satin nozzle technology. It provides one of the finest atomizations for a velvety finish and optimal coverage.
The nozzle also resists product waste, thanks to its filtration system. Any overspray flows behind the side panel and back into the filter underneath.
With that said, you need to adjust your settings every time you use the machine. It would’ve been better if it remembered your previous configuration.
7. Best for Newbies: Belloccio Premium T75 Sunless HVLP Turbine Spray Machine
- The machine includes a two-year warranty, the longest on our list.
- Comes with access to an online video on how to use the unit and apply the solution.
- Consists of a 9-foot flexible hose.
- Carry handle on the machine.
- It features four Simple Tan tanning solutions.
When you first venture into the self-spray-tan-sphere, it can seem intimidating—after all, no one wants to look orange. So having comprehensive instructions close at hand helps. The Belloccio spray tan machine offers free access to its online Getting Started Guide, making it an excellent choice if this is your first self-tan rodeo.
There are five segments in the video, about 24 minutes total of instructions, helping you get started. The spray tan system is suitable for home and professional use.
Included in the package is the Belloccio Turbo Tan T75 Professional HVLP machine. It runs at about 110 to 120 volts and comes with a 9-foot air hose, which is fully flexible.
You have a carry handle on the turbine, allowing you to bring it closer to the one getting sprayed. The machine is quite heavy, though, weighing approximately 15 pounds, so it isn’t one that you carry with you everywhere.
You also receive four tanning solutions providing four various finishes, ranging from fair and olive to a deep bronze.
One thing to consider is that the machine requires frequent cleaning. Otherwise, the nozzle becomes clogged quite quickly, decreasing its performance.
8. Honorable Mention: Naked Sun Fascination Spray Tanning Machine Kit
- A comprehensive package with all the starter essentials.
- The machine has an easy one-button operation.
- Sleek, professional design.
- Removable filter that’s a breeze to clean.
- Suitable for home and professional use.
The Naked Sun Fascination is an excellent choice if you’re looking to touch up your tan from home. It’s another all-inclusive package, providing you with everything from a tent, disposable hair clips, adhesive spa soles, and several Sjolie tanning solutions.
A great thing about this system is the portability and sleekness. It’s all black and ultra-compact, enabling you to bring it on the road if needed.
The HVLP turbine is powerful enough for professional users, yet it’s easy to operate, requiring only a simple push of a button. It has a direct air intake and a removable filter, making it effortless to clean.
You also get some of the best sunless tanning solutions from Sjolie. In all, you’ll receive six products, helping you get the perfect tan. All are free of parabens, fragrances, and erythrulose to avoid turning your skin orange.
The spa soles for your feet are easy to attach thanks to the skin-friendly adhesive. It peels effortlessly from your soles and is quick to dispose of.
Be warned that the cups may leak if you apply too much solution, leaving a mess on the floor.
A self spray tan machine is a fantastic solution to preserving a sun-kissed look all year round—it might even be safer than actual sunbathing.
Spray tanning from home is surprisingly easy, as long as you have the right equipment, like the best self spray tan machine. We reviewed eight great options, such as the Norvell Sunless Kit Machine and the MaxiMist Evolution Pro Spray Tan System.
During your search, make sure you consider which type to use—HVLP and LVLP are best. Then look at the cup capacity, noise, and spray patterns, and choose which suits your needs the best.