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It was a pretty straightforward sounding project: paint two rooms in my parent’s house.   A fairly simple and unassuming goal, right?  My father (who is a Toolmonger like me) recently purchased a Wagner Paint Crew to accomplish said task.

The features sounded great: 3/8 HP. .2 gallons per minute.  A two-gallon capacity hopper to increase spray time and convenience.  A 25 foot spray hose attached to a professional-grade metal spray gun with a full-size in-line filter.  It sounded like a quick and fast thing; We’d be done by halftime, yeah?

The directions begin with the usual product info and overview.  I skimmed the safety section, which said, “Liquid under pressure, be careful.”  Whenever operating the unit, ensure it is pointed in the correct direction (level and forward).  If it clogs, don’t try to unclog the line and filter without first notifying the bomb squad (liquid under pressure moves outward). Ensure the paint is clean with no clumps, etc.  (The usual suspects.)

I figured, how hard could this be? So I cranked it up and found out.  I got about 3 square feet out before the first paint clog decided to end my reign of latex terror and bring forth a very special brand of terror that only a clogged filter can render.  Fast forward some swearing and a few paint laden tools later and I am ready to go again. I get about 2 square this time. Lesson; mix your paint like your Saturday depends on it, because it does. I completed about half the 12 by 12 room in around 2 hours now.

Fast forward about another 2 hours and I have the room completed. I am covered in paint and have used close to double the amount of paint I had allotted for the project.  During this time, my mother and sister have completed a room twice the size with a pair of rollers and the same amount of paint I used.  Their room also looked a bit better with more even and uniform coverage.

The Paint Crew isn’t a bad unit. I’m sure with some practice and of course reading all the directions it would in fact be quite handy. However, I get the impression that it’s really intended for outdoor use by someone more familiar with the eccentricities of the power paint sprayers.

Street Pricing Starts at around $100.

Wagner Paint Crew [Wagner]
Street Pricing [Froogle]


20 Responses to Finds: Wagner Paint Crew

  1. Kenneth says:

    I have used some of the high-end sprayers in the past. I’ve always found that, for me, they take longer and use much more paint that doing it manually. Quite possibly because I don’t know all the tricks and techniques. Intermittent problems, like clogs, preparation/masking, and cleanup are pretty onerous. Painting is just a pain, no matter how you do it.

    As to your clogs, it sounds as if you did not filter the paint before using it. This is a must with sprayers — there’s no way in the world that you can eliminate all the clogs by stirring. (I use a drill powered stirrer, BTW) I know some people that use pantyhose as a filter, but I’ve always gotten the triangular mesh/screen type filters at paint stores.

  2. Steve Thompson says:

    Hmmm…I was hoping for a good review. Are there any premium units that anyone can recommend?

  3. Eli says:

    I can recommend any one of a number of premium units that leave their business card on my window every time I go to Home Depot. Painting sucks! Hire somebody. But since I’ve now spent enough time in a crawl space to rethink the complexity of painting, I’ve decided maybe it isn’t my least favorite thing. The tipping point for me was the purchase of really nice cut-in brushes, the clip on pouring spout for the gallon can (haven’t tried those screw top plastic jugs yet, but they look good), the brush spinner, and many boxes of latex gloves. Rollers, pan and pole of course, also 4’x15′ canvas drop. I still get it on me, just not as much. Rollers are cheap, and although I have two paint guns, I don’t use either. Every time that Wagner ad comes on with the guy running through the neighborhood painting everything, my wife says, “why don’t you get one of those? That looks easy”. It’s total bullshit.

  4. Michael says:

    Well said Eli, all (not most) of the professional painters I know ($500,000 houses and up) use brushes and rollers. Latex was never mean to be sprayed.

  5. TL says:

    I sprayed the outside of my house a couple of summers ago and will never go back to using a brush. I used one of the hand held Wagner units with the paint in a backpack thing and strained all the paint that went into it. It ended up taking three days to mask off the house and build scafolding, and then 2-4 hours to paint each side of the house. I’ve been very happy with the results, but would never try to use one of these indoors.

  6. Robert Liles says:

    I work with airless sprayers every day and the same rules apply to little ones like the Wagner as apply to the $5000 machines we use. Strain the paint first! Everything has to pass through a microscopic hole in the tip, and if it won’t fit, either the spray pattern is messed up, or more likely, it is clogged and you are out of business until you remove the tip and clean it. Pro machines have a tip that reverses with a twist and a burst of paint through it clears the clog, but it’s better to prevent it in the 1st place.
    Latex paint is tougher to spray than oil based, but it sprays well if you set up for it. Wagners may not achive enough pressure to atomize some paints and they may need to be thinned a little to get a good pattern. Also, cold paint is thicker and may need to be warmed or thinned to spray.
    I paint parking stripes, but painted my house in a day with my Graco airless sprayer. You can paint within an inch of something without getting paint on it and instead of masking, hold a piece of cardboard or aluminum and use it for a spray shield to finsh the job.

  7. Bill Johnson says:

    Well we all have different experiences with painting.
    To the gentleman who said that latex was not meant to be sprayed, I have some news for him.
    I just painted my 4500 sf home with 11 gallons of Gliddens best latex exterior paint, semi-gloss.
    I used an excellent $200 Wagner airless sprayer I bought at a website I found http://www.erniesequipment.com/catalog/
    Not boasting, but the job turned out A+.
    Every now and then you will pick up a little trash – you just spin the nozell around – clean – and keep on spraying. I figured I saved about $9000 on a $10,000 job. And it looks awesome!

  8. Bill Johnson says:

    I forgot to say about the Paint Crew above.
    I haven’t tried it.
    I think those guys at Ernie’s above have it for around $99.
    Instead, I used the Wagner 9150.
    I just thought I would buy the next larger Wagner unit, because my job was a larger one.
    Heck at one point I had 100 feet of paint hose hooked up and it worked like a charm!

  9. Mick says:

    Re: airless sprayers. When painting with latex, you MUST strain the paint with a material similar to cheesecloth. And, depending on whose brand of paint you are spraying, you should thin the paint with three to four ounces of water per gallon. Always read the directions that are on the paint can. These are a combination of experiences I’ve used after reading all other postings. You guys were great. Thanks!

  10. Samuel says:

    Look, the bottom line is the Wagner Paint crew is a piece of junk. The valves fail within a few gallons of paint. Take a look at epinions.com to see what folks have to say about this thing. Also, clean up is beyond difficult. The hopper? When you’re cleaning the thing out- be careful- you may get a terrible electrical shock (yeah, I know, it won’t happen to me..hahahhahahaa)

  11. Martin says:

    I have the WAGNER Paint Crew and suffered some of the same problems such as clogging and it just became a pain. But I use high powered Graco Sprayers on my job as a bridge waterproofer. You just have to be careful with your paint. It has to be mixed really well. Because it’s not like the 2500PSI sprayers I have at work. You have to be reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally careful. After that it’s smooth sailing

  12. roger larson {Maui} says:

    Always use a GFI and forget about the shock hazards.
    You can buy an inline GFI almost anywhere and UL approved too.

  13. wiley parsons says:

    I too was SHOCKED!! yes a GFI will stop you from getting shocked, but it also shuts off the sprayer. there is an internal ground problem with this unit.
    When I called Wagner I was blown off and told to take it to a service center for a diagnosis. (90 mile round trip x2) They refuse to acknowledge there is a problem with this unit, and probably will continue to do so until someone is actually electrocuted and their family sues. WARNING ……DO NOT BUY….HORRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE………..

  14. Brian Dunn says:

    I have had a binks humdinger and a wagner3500, both were professional sprayers and the cost of keeping them up and running was extremely expensive. I sold them both when I quit painting for extra income. My son decided to paint his homes exterior so we picked up a wagner 770 paint crew. We only use professional quality paint usually Kelly Moore. We poured it into the hopper without cutting and blending it with water and it worked immediately after priming. The gun only clogged a couple of times but by twisting the tip and pulling the trigger, then returning the tip to spray we got the exterior painted in about 4 and a half hours. I have sprayed approximately 150 gallons of kelly moore paint without thinning it and it finally stopped spraying. My point is do not use that crap they sell at home depot or lowes without thinning it alot and mixing it real well.Great sprayer for the cost( changed tips approx every 30 to 35 gallons ).

  15. Bill Birney says:

    I purchased a Wagner paint crew (149.95-home depot on line)
    I used it to paint a picket fence. I have never used a spray gun before. I read the directions 2 or 3 times and watched the on line video on Wagners web site. No complaints except for the lengthy cleanup process on the unit and thats really not a complaint. The last time I painted the fence it took me 2 six hour days. With the paint crew I started at 10:00am and was finished at 2:00Pm. The job came out really fine, better than when I used a brush. I wouldn’t use the paint crew for a small job though because of the unit cleanup time.

  16. the nog says:

    I have used the paint crew several times, and not once have I had any problems with it. only a moron would put paint through a sprayer before mixing it well, not just a quick stir with a bit of wood. then you MUST filter it, best type of filter to use a fine grade ladies stocking. Then pour it into the hopper and away you go. there is an old saying a bad workman ALWAYS blames his tools!!

  17. Andy Mann says:

    Just spent my first half day painting/spraying the eaves of my house with the Wagner Paint Crew 2800. So far very satisfied. except…why in the world is the gun and hose not supplied with a swivel ? The hose is under pressure and really fights to go where it wants to go. Straighforward horizontal plain surface painting/spraying should be a breeze but painting eaves is akward at the best of times. My advice to anyone contemplating purchasing this unit for house painting…buy a swivel attachment.

    I’ve also left a half gallon or so of paint in the hopper overnight (covered in a little water as the manual recommends). It’ll be interesting to see how that works out when I resume…I expect problems.

  18. Frank says:

    Pure garbage. I spent all morning trying to get the piece of crap to work. It only dribbles the paint out.

    The instructions suck, too.

    Screw paint machines.

  19. jim says:

    I have used the wagner paint crew for 3 years….no problems. When spraying, spray about 10 feet of wall, then roll with a roller. You will use more paint if you try to get the sprayer to cover the wall. The sprayer is cutting the “get the paint on the wall” time. You still need to roll to get the even coverage you expect. I have painted entire 2 story homes in a day with 2 guys.
    I just want to strip mine down to clean the piston…if that is not possible, 3 years of service for the cost was well worth it.
    Cleaning seems like a lot when you read the manual. Dump out the excess paint, hot water and dish soap scurb the hopper clean, then run the soapy water through the sprayer until you see soapy water has pushed out the paint. Next fill the hopper with clean water and spray until there are no soap bubbles. A bit of 3 way oil in the piston chamber and put it away. Mine probably would work fine, but I lent it to a friend to paint his new house.

  20. Handyguy says:

    I’ve used ours twice, first use, new out of the box, did about 2 gallons before an O-Ring on the intake valve broke, causing the motor to run with it never building pressure, not being able to prime. Replaced the O-Ring, did the last side of the garage. Then paused to switch paint from primer to main paint. Same problem, wouldn’t prime. We dumped the paint, flushed the system, still wouldn’t prime. We then tapped the inlet valve, depressing the inlet filter, and it popped open properly, and built up pressure, was able to spray the water just fine. So all indications are it will work ok. YOU MUST READ ALL DIRECTIONS, AND VIEW EVERY YOUTUBE VIDEO AVAILABLE IF YOU INTEND TO KEEP THIS UNIT RUNNING. WHEN DONE WITH UNIT FOR SEASON, MY BUDDY PRIMES HIS WITH A 1/2 AND 1/2 MIXTURE OF 30 WEIGHT MOTOR OIL AND MINERAL OIL. Don’t leave water in the unit, it’ll corrode.

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