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I fully realize that no reasonably-priced paint sprayer is going to give you the same kind of finish you can achieve with careful brushing, but what about a guy who just wants to stain a fence or two?  Would it be worth buying a cheap sprayer to save one’s arms?

Black & Decker’s “Plus Paint Sprayer” (pictured) sells for $80 at Sears right now (and the same from Amazon). B&D claims a “1 gallon in 15 minutes” flow rate, and it ships with a couple of tips and two “replacement atomizer valves.”

I’ve seen a number of other electric sprayers in this price range, too, but I’ve never been able to bring myself to buy one because I’m concerned that they might not make it through the job — or that it might not do the job at all.

So what do you Toolmongers think?  Have you used any of these less expensive models?  If so, how’d they work?  Are there others you’d recommend, either in this price range — or higher priced models that we should consider as an investment?

Let us know in comments.

Plus Paint Sprayer [Black & Decker]
Street Pricing [Froogle]
Buy It Now from Amazon [What’s this?]


18 Responses to Hot or Not? Cheap Paint Sprayers

  1. nrChris says:

    I have had terrible luck with the $30ish models from the likes of HF. Even with careful dilution, you’ll get a clog really quickly. Frustration abounds. For me, I would try something at the $80 range like the one mentioned above–or rent a really high quality setup. I know that I’ll be looking for more info as spring rolls around and I get to painting the exterior of my house. So speak up guys, share your info please.

  2. Lear says:

    I haven’t even had good luck with the $80 models except for spraying stain.

    They don’t so much spray as mist the paint around. Which means the least bit of breeze and the paint doesn’t go where you want it to. Even when it is still they are extremely wasteful.

    I wasted 9 hours trying to re-coat the exterior of my house with a $90 craftsman model last summer. I eventually gave up picked up the smallest HVLP sprayer for $300 from Lowes and did the whole house in about 2 hours.

    My Vote. Not.

  3. Paul says:

    I sure like the action shot of the sprayer painting them deck rails!

    I found a 5 gallion can of deck stain that the flipper left at the latest property I am at and figured he didn’t, so I will. Well 2 long days later and another whole 5 gallon can and I finished the 25×32 deck. So I sure wouldn’t mind something better than a brush and a roller for the next time I am up for this job. It is painting those rails that kill you. I tried using one of those pump sprayers, but I still had to brush the stuff around. The sprayer I tried using just didn’t mist the material good enough.

    Now I have used an air sprayer on the deck here. I can get 2 sides of the rails in one pass with a sprayer. So I know that spraying can be a great timesaver. I just never bothered with one of the electric sprayers yet. Everytime I hear about them, people seem to always say they’re garbage anyways. One thing I do know is that painting is unforgiving when it comes to cheap equipment, and poor technique.

    nrChris Says:
    I have had terrible luck with the $30ish models from the likes of HF. Even with careful dilution, you’ll get a clog really quickly.

    What kind of gun, what kind of material, and how did you accomplish this “careful dillution”?

    Lear Says:
    I eventually gave up picked up the smallest HVLP sprayer for $300 from Lowes

    $300 for an air sprayer? Is this a topcoat gun? HVLP is a load of crap anyways.In order to get a good job you have to run at the same pressure as the old guns. The new guns are just respecced old guns anyways, to pass the EPA nonsense. HVLP is a myth!

    I know what HVLP really means, drips, runs, and sags. When you get any of that you need to raise your air pressure. I remember when HVLP first came out I was intrigued by it. I mean who wouldn’t be when you’re talking applying materials that can top $200 a gallon? But I talked to people and they told me to stick with the gun I have.

    I have a Devilbiss JGA 508 or something for when I am taking my paint jobs seriously. But deck staining sure isn’t one of those times. So, one of these electric things, if they really work, sounds great to me.

  4. Roscoe says:

    Has anyone ever tried the Critter Spraygun from Rockler? http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=2002

    It looks like a dream come true, but if it were, there’d probably be more of them out there.

  5. Eli says:

    I have a critter (I could swear mine’s called cricket though…), which I got from Amazon for thirty bucks. Uses compressed air. The cool thing is the paint cup is a small mason jar. A flat of them is only a few bucks from smart and final, and you can keep a small amount of anything (including thinner) capped and ready. When you finish, spray thinner through and wipe it down. I shoot stain with it. It does sometimes need to be brushed out, but it’s pretty controllable. I also have a china-made cup gun for painting. Added a small valve right at the gun to control pressure without walking back to the compressor. But usually it’s less trouble to use a roller, a 2″ trim brush, and a 4X15 dropcloth for interiors.

  6. Roscoe says:


    Have you ever sprayed latex with your critter/cricket? I’ve got a lot of custom paint and want to use it for some signwork, but it’s a hassle to clean a regular sprayer.

  7. Lear says:

    Paul, I think I misspoke on what I have. It’s not an HVLP it’s an Spraytech Airless I got a Lowe’s.


    I’ve used the Wagner to stain about 50 deck-chairs my Grandpa made and it worked fine for that. (Haven’t stained a deck.) But it was completely ineffectual at painting the house. 5-6 coats for even coverage vs 2 with the airless.

  8. Stuart says:

    I used a cheap Wagner one to do some chairs. It worked pretty well as long as I added some “Floetroe” or something like that. The problem lies in the very lengthy cleanup required. over half an hour to clean it properly.


  9. Fletcher says:

    Had a Wagner (briefly.) Spent more time cleaning it than painting with it. Motor burned out after less than a dozen hours work time. Never again.

  10. TL says:

    I had a great experience with my Wagner. It had no troubles spraying undiluted latex house paint and got the job done fast. It allowed me to spray the entire house in 16 hours. I will second Fletcher’s comment that it was an unbelievable pain to clean the thing though. Even if I never use it again it was $65 well spent.

  11. ALAN WAGGONER says:

    I saw a show like Hometime where a guy was using a HVLP sprayer. He covered 6 ” on each side of some crown molding and went to town. I thought this is for me! I bought a cheapo at Harbor Freight and broke it out today. The Kills oil base primer can says don’t thin so I tried it straight and it looked pebbley. The spray gun manual says to thin but not how much. I got it down to a water consistantcy and sprayed some kitchen cabinet doors that were layed horizonal. I thought they turned out good except for that first one. I don’t see how it could be used indoors though because of all the overspray. There maybe some sprayers that are more controlable with a finer nozzle. I’m going to finish this job but it seems like a lot of mess.

  12. Eric Corson says:

    I found at miller paint a pump sprayer designed for stain that worked great for a fence, and no power cord to trip or tangle.

  13. Bill Johnson says:

    I found the basic notion of this article, a little hard to follow.
    That is, “no spray gun is going to give as good a finish as a brush.”

    I’d say it’s the other way around for sure.
    I bought a Wagner 9150 airless sprayer at this Site: http://www.erniesequipment.com/catalog/ for around $250, and I can give you automotive quality painting.

    As for the jar type sprayer – I’d pitch that in the trash!

  14. John says:

    I have a Wagner power painter that I paid about $110 for. It is rateed at 7.2 gph and has a 4 position valume selector and it uses those load and go cups or you can hook it up to the included backpack and it will hold around 2 gals. I painted the entire outside of a 1,000 sq/ft house in about an hour (that does not include masking off the windows). The painter did very well once I got used to it. I also have I Titian 440 airless sprayer and what I have found it that no matter what you are using you have to take some time to get used to it. I spent about 30 mins trying different settings and the speed I was going at (I got some mistinted paint for $5 a gallon and painted some cardboard). Another important thing, at least with my wagner, is you have to make sure that you use the right tip for the material that you are spraying. they sell a seperate “load ‘n go” can with tip for sprying stain. if I tried to spray stain with my the wideshot latex tip it would go everywhere. bottom line is you get what you pay for. My titain sprayer is by far a better sprayer but the wagner does just fine as long as I remember that I am using it and not the titain. One thing I have found very helpful when using the wagner is to filter the paint be for putting it into the can or the backpack (my larger airless has a fremovible filter built into the gun) this will reduce or eleminate tip clogging. and do make sure to really clean all of teh moving parts very well when you are done or it will be a pain to use next time. and just for the record I used the wagner last weekend to repaint some gable ends on a brick house instead to lugging out the big one and it worked great.

  15. Lance Kennedy says:

    At 60 and disabled I am new to alll this woodworking world, but love it. However, I am having problems with paint spray guns used with a compressor (25gal. 2.5hp). I have zero instructions on all the valves and knobs on the guns…(low price items–on a fixed income)…can someone be kind enough to e-mail me and how to operate and adjust these guns? I want to prime and paint using outdoor paint. lkennedy@sc.rr.com

  16. Fabian says:

    This is the one to get:

    Graco Magnum XR9 Airless Paint Sprayer


  17. Robert says:

    I purchased the Chicago Electric paint gun, model 47274-2VGA from Harbor Freight last night…on sale for 14.99. You get what you pay for as the time ole adage goes. Unless you can find a latex paint that has the viscosity of water, that thing isn’t going to paint anything that doesn’t call for a straight stream splash affect. I was 90% sure this would be the result but figured it was worth a try. Returning it tomorrow.

    I am a first home owner and just getting into the DIY scene so by no means am I any authority on tools/equipment, but a rule of thumb I have learned from trial and error is smell the tool or machinery you are thinking of buying. LOL, yes that’s right, smell that damn thing. If it wreaks of heavy petroleum odor, don’t buy it!! That’s my rule straight down the line regardless of what category tool, electric, pneumatic, cordless, manual, et al…the low quality “disposable” stuff from China ALWAYS gives me a headache or evokes nausea from the petroleum smell. Also, most will contain lead to some degree and not always labeled as such.

    I am aware just about everything these days is made in China regardless of brand name, quality level etc. Dewalt, Ryobi, Makita… all of the usual suspects are made in China. Its the generic, off brand or no brand named stuff I refer too. The stuff that smells like gasoline. LOL. Anyway that’s my 80 cents on this topic. Lowes (Kobalt Tools) and Home Depots (Husky Tools) in house brands also suffer the Chinese Petro Disorder Complex and I stay away from most of those as well.



    please send details of defferent types paint sprayers and its price list and where it is available for purchase

    my address: Padubelle post and villege
    Udupi taluk. south Karnataka state

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