View Full Version : Need an airless Sprayer

Tom Winship
11-17-2011, 8:38 PM
Any recommendations on an airless sprayer for small jobs? Have to build several hunting blinds which will be painted inside and out. Will use latex paint. Can anyone comment on the Wagner's (not the handheld, but the $100-$150 range units?
Thanks in advance

Jim Koepke
11-17-2011, 8:45 PM
I have a Wagner that I am happy with. Painted a house with it very quickly.

Have used it a few times. It is the hand held model.


Tom Winship
11-17-2011, 8:56 PM
Thanks, Jim. I owned one about 30 years ago and wasn't very happy with it. Of course, most things have improved. I haven't.

Rich Engelhardt
11-18-2011, 5:36 AM
I currently have one of the Wagner Paint Crew airless units. I bought it a few years ago to spray ~ 300 feet of fence on both sides.
Having sold airless (Graco and CH and Wagner) for a lot of years prior to that, I didn't expect much from the $199.00 Paint Crew - other than to make it through the fence job.

I was surprised about a year and a half later, when I dragged it out again, that it still worked.

Those low end Wagners use a diaphram type pump. A flexible membrane draws material in, then forces it out through a small orifice into the hose. That small orifice can clog and stop the pump from working. Usually that happens when the material has had a chance to set up - ie - between uses.
It takes a lot of flushing to clear the pump. No doubt you're familiar with washing out brushes and rollers and how they seem to "show color" forever.
That's a characteristic of "latex" paints. Like shellac can be drawn out (thinned) to infinity, so can "latex" paint be drawn out to infinity with water.
Short answer - no matter how well you think you've cleaned it - there's still going to be enough left to stop the pump eventually.

The other style pump - which Graco uses - is a positive displacment. It's a piston inside a cylinder. It draws material in through the bottom ball check valve on the up stroke, then on the down stroke, the bottom ball check closes and the upper ball check opens via the flow of material to let it pass.
Since there's no small orifice - that type is better able to resist clogging. It's also a closed system, which means that material once inside the pump/hose won't set up.
@ least not in a reasonable amount of time. Store it for a few years & it'll cause problems.

The positive displacment systems also off the advantage of being able to rebuild them. You just take them apart and replace the leather throat and piston packings and the upper and lower balls. The seats for the balls are case hardened and won't wear. The balls aren't case hardened and will sacrifice themselves instead of the seats.
Paint is extremely abrasive.

The one big disadvantage of the cheaper Graco units is that they don't sleeve the cylinders. IIRC, a few of them also can't be rebuilt w/new packings.
The better and larger units - like the King, President and Bulldog all have case hardened sleeves in the cylinders. The sleeve is replaceable - a belled or worn cylinder isn't.

Bottom line here is that the low end Wagners will probably work fine - IF - you have a small number of blinds to do & you do them all within a fairly short period of time - & factor in the price of the sprayer as a consumable.

If you have a large (over 10) number to do - and you want to do them this year, and next year and the year after, etc. You're better off looking into a more expensive & better unit.
Visit a local paint store that stocks airless units & parts and accessories.
They should be able to expand a lot on the advantages of the piston type pumps vs any other style.

Also - bear in mind a lot of my details are a couple/three decades old - w/the exception of the Wagner Paint Crew.
While I haven't rebuilt a Graco pump in a long, long time, I did look online to see if rebuild kits were still available - which they are.

Graco made a super sweet little air powered airless called the 23:1 Monarch. They dropped it some time ago. Rebuild kits for it are still available.
One of these days I'm going to run across one somewhere...

Tom Winship
11-18-2011, 8:09 AM
Thanks, Rich for the detailed answer. Being a retired engineer, it helps me to understand the differences. I think you are right about factoring in the airless as a consumable. Then if I do a great job of cleaning it when I need to use it a couple of years from now, maybe it will work. I had an old Sears (with the bucket on top) sprayer 30 years ago and it worked well for a long time.

Jerome Stanek
11-18-2011, 8:19 AM
I have heard other people say that this unit is pretty good. It is an airless plus HVLP together.


Tom Winship
11-30-2011, 7:24 PM
Well, I finally bit the bullet and bought one of the Wagner Power Painter Plus units. Am pretty satisfied with it, a little learning curve, like hold it 12 inches away, don't let it run low on paint (it'll throw a blob), and cleanliness is next to Godliness. For $100, it is worth it, IMHO.