Whether or not it’s summer, sunkissed tan skin looks great. With a spray tan machine, you don’t really need to be in the sun for long hours and risk photodamage to your skin. Not everyone is blessed with caramel or tan skin, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get tanned at all.
Yes, some skin tones get tanned more easily but with the help of the best spray tan machine, even those with skin shades that don’t tan so easily can get that gorgeous tan. Unlike tanning in the sun, you can control the level of tan you get with a gadget like a tanning spray gun.
The MaxiMist Lite Plus is the best spray tan machine, so it’s my top pick. It’s a lightweight, advanced, and reliable tanning machine that can be used at home or even at a salon. It comes with all the accessories you need, including some spray tan solutions. It has a high-quality gun with a sturdy nozzle that will last a long time.
- MaxiMist produces a wide range of spray tanning machines with quality construction, accessories, and detailed manual.
- Norvell Oasis is the best affordable spray tan machine, suitable for beginners and occasional users.
- Spray tan machines spray (mist) a tanning solution onto the skin with the help of a spray gun.
- Spray tanning is very popular for quick tanning that is safe from the potential harms of UV radiation.
- There are two types of spray tan guns: HVLP and LVLP. The HVLP is more popular and highly recommended.
- When looking for a spray tan machine, pay attention to cup size, nozzle feed type, spray adjustment, maintenance, and ease of use.
What is a Spray Tan Machine?
A spray tan machine sprays a bronzer on the skin evenly to cover the outer layer of the skin. There are several different types of tan spray machines, including tanning booths you find at salons, where you can stand in a booth and be sprayed by nozzles.
Other types of spray tan machines include spray tan guns and airbrush tan spray guns. Spray tan guns typically are of two types: High Volume Low Pressure (HVLP) or Low Volume Low Pressure (LVLP).
The HVLP tan spray guns are the most common and offer quick tanning. Since these spray guns use more solutions paired with a powerful turbine, they provide even better coverage. Some guns can get the job done in just five minutes.
The LVLP tan spray guns are similar to HVLP, except they require more precision because of low volume spraying. As a result, these spray tan machines take longer.
How Does it Work?
Your skin has many layers that react differently to produce that bronze, caramel shade. The uppermost layer gets tanned when it absorbs UV radiation (UVA rays). It also gets thick in response to the radiation.
The second layer can absorb UVB rays which penetrate deeper. This layer produces melanin in response to UV radiation, causing the skin to get darker.
The self-tanning solution spray guns use only impacts the upper layer of the skin and turn it tan. These solutions typically contain sugar which reacts with the skin’s amino acids to produce a darker pigment via melanin. So it’s a more natural process and safe from the harm caused by the sun’s rays.
The time it takes for the tan to be more visible varies, but, in general, it takes several hours. More importantly, this tan cannot be washed off, unlike certain artificial spray tans. It only goes away when skin cells rejuvenate, which can take days.
10 Best Spray Tan Machines
With tanning such a popular skin trend, there are countless spray tanning machines in the market, each claiming to be the best. So to make things easier for you, I have picked the best and that too for different categories, so you can find something that meets your needs and budget.
1. MaxiMist Lite Plus Spray Tanning Kit – Best Overall
The MaxiMist Lite Plus is the best spray tan machine as it’s a complete tanning kit solution with all the things you could ask for. It’s an HVLP spray tan gun with a powerful motor. With a German-engineered nozzle, this gun gets the job done evenly and quickly. It adjusts for horizontal and vertical applications.
The kit includes a wide range of accessories besides the spray gun. It comes with a spray tan tent made of heavy fabric and an oversized carrying bag to travel with the spray tanning kit. The spare parts are also included. You get three 5-oz cups and two lids.
The kit shops with Tampa Bay Tanning Products, which are vegan and quality. However, you can use any brand tanning solution.
It’s powered by a 300 watts turbine and requires 110 Volts only to operate. The air hose is 6.5 ft. long. Also, the non-stick needle of the spray gun doesn’t get buildups or clogs like those cheap machines.
While it’s designed for at-home and on-the-go use, it’s on par with the professional spray tan machines that salons use, which is why I think it’s the best.
- Innovative nozzle design
- Easy to use
- Accessories and spare parts included
- Lightweight and portable
- At a high setting, it uses a lot of solution
- Tent setup not convenient
2. Fuji Spray Sunless 2100 studioTan Spray Tan System – Best Professional Spray Tan Machine
Whether you’re looking for a premium at-home spray tan gun or a professional machine for the salon, the Fuji Spray 2100 studioTan system is the answer.
The spray gun is made of metal, whereas the fluid compartments are made of stainless steel. The highlight of the machine is its control knob that lets you adjust the spray stream. Furthermore, it has a built-in cooling system that prevents the powerful turbine from overheating.
Another advantageous feature is the noise reduction cover, which makes the machine relatively quieter. Also, like most professional spray tan machines, this one comes with a long, sturdy hose.
Even though it’s a high-end model, it’s designed to be portable and lightweight. Since it’s a professional one for salons, you can use it for multiple sessions and different purposes. From just touchups to full-blown whole-body tanning jobs, the two-stage turbine and heat dissipation system support such operations.
That said, it’s similar to an airbrush, which means it takes some time to make the whole-body application. I’d say you need at least half an hour initially before you get the hang of the machine.
- Professional results
- High-quality built
- Meets safety standards
- Heat dissipation box
- Time-consuming operation
3. Norvell Sunless Kit – Best for Beginners
The Norvell Sunless Kit is an affordable and all-inclusive spray tanning system that comes with three Norvell Tanning Handheld solutions (8 oz each). The machine is pretty compact and user-friendly, which makes it ideal for someone trying to tan with a spray gun for the first time.
Additionally, the package includes Norvell Training Program, which is basically a comprehensive guide on sunless tanning with spray machines. There’s plenty of information to learn about the perfect tanning method and customization. That, for me, is a big plus!
The nozzle on the machine is removable and easy to clean. It sprays the mist quite evenly, and the results, according to many users, are pretty good.
It is an HVLP spray gun, one of many that Norvell makes, but this one is their best-selling and for a good reason.
Another thing worth mentioning is the design of the gun. They made the base stable so it can be placed upright while you take a break from spraying.
Since it’s a single-unit system with everything attached permanently except the nozzle, that does give it a bit more weight than some of the other spray guns on the list.
- User-friendly design
- Detailed user manual
- Natural-looking results
- Good value
- A bit heavy
- Not quiet
4. Norvell Oasis Spray Tan Machine – Best Budget Spray Tan Machine
If you’re looking for an affordable spray tan machine for home use, there’s nothing better than the Oasis Tan Machine by Norvell. It’s a lightweight, portable spray gun that gets the job done quickly and easily.
It looks like a blow-dry machine and similarly has very few components, unlike those professional machines that have many parts. Plus, it comes with a Norvell Cosmo tanning solution, but you can use any other brand too.
Similar to the more expensive Norvell Sunless Kit, this one also has a removable nozzle. So you clean it easily to prevent clogs and buildups. Again, this one also has a stable base to keep it upright on a flat surface while in use.
The needle (in the FlexiMyst spray head) is made of stainless steel, which is corrosion-resistant. That kind of construction at this price point is simply great.
You can customize the results by setting the knob at the level you want.
- High-quality spray head
- Easy to use
- Takes a day to show results
5. MaxiMist Allure Xena Sunless Spray Tanning System – Best HVLP Spray Tan System
The MaxiMist Allure Xena Sunless Spray Tanning System is another great spray tan machine from the brand. It’s good for both salon use and home use, but it’s perhaps more suited for professional use as it can handle 25 jobs in a day.
The spray head features a Teflon needle, which is not a common material for spray gun nozzles. However, the company claims it’s clog-free and does a great job of spraying mist evenly and effectively. And besides, it’s German-engineered, and that’s saying something!
You can control the amount of spray with the control dial. The package includes two Tampa Bay tanning solutions to start with.
Moreover, the machine has multiple safety standard certifications, so that’s a relief. And if that wasn’t enough, it also comes with a 2-year warranty on the motor.
The spray gun can achieve both vertical and horizontal patterns. It gives the control in your hand so you can get the kind of results you want. And with time, you’ll get better at using it.
- Quiet operation (72 dB)
- Quality nozzle and spray head
- Hose handle
- Spare parts included
- Mostly made of plastic
- Has a learning curve
6. Existing Beauty Bronze Tan Professional Spray Tan Machine – Best Airbrush Tanning Machine
The Bronze Tan Professional Spray Tan Machine is an HVLP airbrush tanning machine that comes at a reasonable price tag. While it’s not the most popular spray tan kit, I found its design to be modern and user-friendly.
The airbrush tanning spray head gives out even mist that gets the job done. But remember, how well it turns out also depends on the tanning solution you use. This one doesn’t come with any as such, so you use it with your preferred brand from the get-go.
The long flexible hose will make your life easier when tanning for a long duration, which is common with airbrush tanning. The spray gun itself is incredibly lightweight, which makes it easier to maneuver. You can consult the user manual to set it up for the first time and use it.
It’s a pretty basic model as there aren’t many accessories included, so those you’ll need to buy separately. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing because then you can invest in quality stuff like a tent to use the machine in. That said, the brand does make its own tanning solution and tent, sold separately, of course.
- Great value
- Lightweight and mobile design
- Tanning training guide
- Money-back guarantee
- No accessories included
- Requires frequent cleaning
7. Naked Sun Fascination Spray Tanning Machine – Best Lightweight Spray Tanning Machine
The Naked Sun Fascination Spray Tan Machine is a simple, compact, and lightweight machine, perfect for home users. The machine has a built-in handle, long hose, and easy-to-use gun, all of which add convenience to the whole process.
What I find the best about this is that it has noise reduction features which are usually common in more high-end spray guns for tanning. Also, the needle in the nozzle is made of metal, so that’s another high-quality component in the machine.
The company claims the nozzle doesn’t require much cleaning, but I would still recommend cleaning it every now and then just to be safe.
The overspray is not a problem, so your tanning solution won’t go to waste. Also, the solution cup holds enough quantity of the solution, so you won’t have to add more mid-tanning.
It’s also incredibly easy to use with just a single button operation. However, it doesn’t offer adjustment of the fine mist spray like some other models I have talked about. But that’s understandable given the price tag.
- Easy to work with
- Portable design
- Sturdy hose
- One-button operation
- Not much customization or spray control
8. Bellocchio Turbo Tan Spray Tanning System – Best Spray Tan Machine with Accessories
The Belloccio Turbo Tan Spray Tan System is named pretty aptly as it’s complete tanning set with all the accessories included. Besides the spray gun, you have a set of four tanning solutions, a tent, and 10 disposable hair nets, bras, panties, foot pads, and nose plugs.
The spray gun is an HPLV gun made of plastic. However, the nozzle is made of steel, so it’s sturdy and long-lasting. Interestingly, instead of giving you a manual with instructions and guides, the company gives you a link to free tutorials. I like this idea a lot, as many of us find visual instructions better.
What I also like is the tanning solutions by Bellocchio, as they are effective and contain skin-nourishing vitamins and antioxidants. So when you run out of these four, you can order more from the brand or use any other.
This whole tan spray system comes at a surprisingly low price, so it’s budget-friendly. That makes it ideal for people who don’t use their tanning machine very often and therefore don’t want to spend a lot of money on it.
- Lightweight spray gun
- Many accessories
- Easy to use
- Great value
- Machine not very durable
9. MaxiMist Ultra Pro Spray Tan System – Best Heavy-Duty Spray Tanning Machine
The MaxiMist Ultra Pro Spray Tan System is a heavy-duty, professional solution that offers over 50 applications in a day. So it’s an ideal solution for a busy salon that gets many clients for tanning.
The machine is pretty advanced as it features a two-stage turbine and heat relay system that keeps the machine cool even on repeated applications. Furthermore, it comes with a generously long 12 ft. hose, which, again, is ideal for a salon setting.
Since it’s MaxiMist, you can be sure about the quality as the brand has established itself as a leader in the tanning industry. Plus, the turbine has a 2-year warranty, and the product meets the most common safety standards.
And if all that’s not enough, there are a lot of extra accessories and spare parts that further add value, even though it’s a pricey product. You get things like an extra air tube, needle spring, cup gaskets, duck bill assembly, etc.
The package also includes two spray tanning solutions from the brand, but you can use the machine with any solution you prefer.
Lastly, what’s the most beneficial thing about this machine is that it gets the job done in minutes.
- High-quality construction
- Extras and accessories
- Adjustable airflow
- Overheating protection
- Not for home use
10. MaxiMist Evolution Pro Spray Tanning System – Best Salon Tanning Machine
My last pick is the MaxiMist Evolution Pro Tanning gun machine which is another great product from the brand for tanning salons. Think of it as something between MaxiMist Lite and MaxiMist Ultra Pro. While it’s lightweight and portable like the former, it comes with many accessories and a powerful turbine like the latter.
The HVLP turbine motor is two-stage with noise dampeners that keep the noise down. I’m talking as low as 53 dB (lower setting).
The spray gun and the unit weigh just 7 lbs which are pretty lightweight. So if you’re looking for something portable for your salon that perhaps you can also carry to homes, this is it.
The spray gun itself is pretty advanced with all the controls located on board, so you can change settings and adjust them as you go. You can also use the airbrush mode if you want to airbrush the spray tanning solution.
There is a lot of control with this thing, which is important for professional users because you want to get the tanning job done fast but also to get it right.
- Tent and other accessories
- Easy to maneuver and control
- One-year warranty
- Adjustment of spray
How to Choose a Spray Tan Machine?
A spray tan machine can cost hundreds of dollars, which means you have to pay attention to the little things when choosing one. If you’re looking for the best spray tan machine, here’s what you should look out for:
Feed refers to the tanning solution feed as in how it’s fed to the spray nozzle. As such, this is not a significant consideration but is worth knowing. There are two types of spray feeds in tanning guns: siphon and gravity.
The siphon feed uses air suction to move the fluid to the nozzle, whereas the gravity feed, as the name suggests, employs gravity. The former has the cup at the bottom while the latter has the cup at the top so as for the gravity to pull down the solution and feed it to the nozzle.
Siphon feeds are more common, and you’ll find them on most of the machines I have recommended. There are two reasons why they are better. First, they use smaller cup sizes, which results in a lighter weight. Secondly, the cup being at the bottom doesn’t obstruct the view.
That’s not to say that gravity feed is useless. It also has its pros, as it offers more maneuverability.
When I say size and capacity, I don’t really mean the size of the gun or the whole machine, but the size and capacity of the cup that holds the tanning solution. The cup sizes vary by model, but you’ll find most at-home tanning machines have 8 oz cups, which is ample for multiple full-body applications.
If you’re just going to use the spray tan gun at home, even a capacity of 2 oz is good enough. This amount should give full-body coverage easily.
The spray capacity should be commensurate with your use. For instance, if you’re buying for a salon, you obviously need a bigger cup size so that you don’t have to refill the solution again and again.
Easy to Clean
Believe it or not, cleaning some tanning machines can be a nightmare. There can be buildup in the nozzle that ultimately clogs it and renders it useless unless cleaned. So the easier to clean a spray gun, particularly its nozzle, is, the better it is.
But if you want it to be less messy, to begin with, go for the low-pressure machines. These don’t have the overspray problem.
Similarly, it would be easier to clean a spray tan machine that can be disassembled. That way, you can easily clean individual parts and maintain the machine well.
Not all spray tan machines offer this feature! Nozzle adjustment or spray adjustment can offer more control and variety in the spray pattern. With an adjustable nozzle, you can control the amount of spray, which comes in handy when you just want to do some touchups on an already tanned skin.
This can also help with a more even coverage. So if you’re looking for good results, go with the machine that offers nozzle adjustment.
Tips on Spray Tanning
Now that you know everything there is to buy your next spray tan kit, here are some tips for spray tanning:
- Prepare your skin before applying tanning solution (wax, exfoliate, and moisturize)
- Cover your hair, eyes, and even your palms.
- Keep the spray gun at least two inches away from the skin.
- Start from the bottom and work your way up.
- Use the spray tanning machine in a well-ventilated space.
- Don’t shower for at least eight hours after the spray.
- Wear loose clothes for a while after the tan has dried.
A spray tanning machine can help you get that bronze glow all over your body. While there are many options out there, HVLP spray tan guns are the best for both at-home and professional use. Furthermore, with advanced features like spray adjustment and heat dissipation, you can get even better results. MaxiMist is the most popular brand for spray tanning, and for a good reason. They offer a variety of products suitable for different tanning needs. The MaxiMist Lite Plus is my top pick, while for professional use, I recommend the MaxiMist Ultra Pro or Fuji Spray Sunless 2100. These two are more advanced with higher capacity and ease of use, ideal for salons.