These tools have the spray tip mounted on the end of a short extension or a longer pole, which allows the painter to reach areas without the need of scaffolding or trestles; they are particularly useful for ceilings, especially above stairs, where they allow the painter to spray upwards without being directly under the spray head. They are also very effective when working from movable platforms. The spray tip should be mounted on a swivel to allow the spray fan to be directed as close as possible at right angles to the surface.
- Models range from thin gun extensions of up to 60 cms long to sturdy poles of up to 150 cms long. Spray poles are available in various lengths that can be screwed together to obtain the right length for the job. Although any length can be obtained, the longest practical length is about 3 metres.
- The paint flow is controlled by the trigger of a gun at the bottom of the pole, usually an in-line type.
- Spitting is reduced by positioning the paint valve just behind the spray tip, ie at the outer end of the pole, or by incorporating a shut off valve.
- Some pole guns have a cable system to control the paint valve mounted on the outer end of the pole, the paint is not carried inside the pole, so they are telescopic and light in weight, with a combined spray tip and paint valve, so they do not spit and have a low recoil. They are excellent for quality work but are not as robust as a fixed pole system.
- A most recent development is a spray swivel head that incorporates a back pressure valve, somewhat like a diesel injector, that cuts off the paint to prevent a spit. This can be installed on the end of a fixed pole with an in-line gun to control the paint flow, at the other end.
- A spray pole-gun can also be made up from a normal airless hand-gun mounted on an Outrigger which is a pole with a special clamp to hold the airless gun and a cable operated trigger pull. Whilst this arrangement keeps the paint spit to the same as a normal airless gun, the disadvantage is that the resulting pole-gun head is fairly top-heavy, so this type should only be used for work of short duration.