Commercial Paint Sprayer: Features Compared by Pros + Best Deals

The number of commercial paint sprayer is mind-boggling. I did your homework for you: based on my 30 years as a pro painter, I searched and searched, took hundreds of notes, and contacted many painters and paint stores to discuss what professional paint sprayer works for them…and condensed it all here.

What is the best commercial paint sprayer?

I’ve compared the top professional paint sprayer to focus on key features like:

  • price
  • gallons per minute
  • pump details and pressure (psi)
  • number of guns
  • more
I whittled away the noise and just compared the key features of the commercial paint sprayer: this post has been a group effort of several professional painters.

Shortlist: Best Deals for 3 Budgets

Commercial Paint Sprayer Low Budget Top Pick: X19

The Magnum ProX19

The latest best price on the Pro X19 has the edge over the X17 (here is the best price today) in my view, but many small painting companies use either. The X19 may carry the “Magnum” label, but it’s certainly going to make you money. And the price is reasonable for what you get in this professional paint sprayer.

In my research, I was surprised by how many pros use the Magnums, even the X5 and X7. Obviously, those folks don’t spray a lot, but for the money, it’s the best commercial paint sprayer out there. Pretty rugged for the price. Just keep it clean.


Moderate Budget Top Pick: 210ES or 390

The 210ES. See the 390 below.

My buddy wrote to me: “A mid-range like the 210 will do all the things most guys need.”

See the best price on the 210ES and for a few more bucks, the great 390PC. Both hit the sweet spot for power and prices (just under a thousand bucks). Jump below to the 390 (the 210 is just above it).

Why are they my top-pick? For a very reasonable investment, you get this in both:

  • better pump: a double-acting pump for a smoother flow compared to the lower machine’s single-acting pump (the “Endurance”, pumps on the way up and down)
  • better drive system
  • motor works far less hard for same pressure
  • longer warranty on the pump

These are both workhorses, the real thing. For the money, the best professional airless paint sprayers out there. Practical, easy to maintain, and gives me the same result every time.

Of course, there is a limit: if you only spray a few times a year, get the Magnum line, but if you spray a few times per month…you don’t want your commercial paint sprayer paint sprayer down for repair.

I included the 395 at the insistence of one painter who swears by the brushless motor. The cost is about 25% more and pumps .07 GPM more. Not a lot more for the money in my view. But some nice features… like it uses RAC X tips (longer-lasting).


Highest Budget: the big boys

The 695 Contractor.

Graco 490 will handle 99% of your spray needs up to elastomeric and can also do fine finish work.

The 695 can handle all that, and for about 10-15% more money, you get more pressure, a much better gun, higher expected usage rating, and longer warranty and you can shoot elastomeric.

One painter wrote to me: “the 695 hits the sweet spot of price, portability, and power”.

Depending on your needs, this is sort of a ‘spend more make more’ situation.

The awesome 695 is pricey for a professional paint sprayer, but as one painter I talked to said, “cry once when you pay, instead of crying over and over”.

Warning—this will burn your eyes: The 1595’s (all 3 models) are the most powerful electric airless sprayers in the world and gobble up 20 amps!

But all 3 models of the 1595 can run 3 guns with 300 ft. of hose each! Graco says it’s for painters averaging 40 gallons PER DAY! Hats off.

Who you gonna call? Don’t cross the streams.

I also have a post on gas machines.


My advice (30+ years in biz talking…and my painter buddies don’t disagree) is to look at the gallons per minute (GPM) first. If two machines have very similar GPM, and one costs more, it’s simply not worth it. After that, look at pump material and expected usage rankings by Graco.

Parts? One shop has it all: Bedford Precision. Here is the parts page for every single Graco paint sprayer ever made!

Top-quality guns are listed below also. Worth the extra.

Now, the best deals on the top commercial airless sprayers compared:
Detailed recommendations (from me and & other pros)

Each sprayer listed below builds on the last: I list all the features a machine has that the lesser machine does not.
Look for “Advantage”

Sprayers under 0.5 GPM

Six commercial paint sprayer to choose from in this bracket. Why not more? No painter I talked to could tell the difference between .5 and .7 GPM, so for an airless in this price range, the biggest differences are in price and pump (it gets much better on the 210ES).

First, 4 low-end machines that quite a few pros are using.

ProX17

Model numbers 17G177 (Stand) and 17G178 (Cart)

Best prices right now for the Stand version and here is the Hi-Boy cart version which is the same animal, just 130 bucks more for wheels: but the Stand is not very heavy.

Advantage over lower machines: 10% more output than the Graco Magnum X7, which some pros do use.

  • .34 GPM
  • Pulls 8 amps, .75 HP
  • 3000 psi
  • Pump: stainless steel piston rod and sleeve, ProXchange mounted pump (quick change)
  • Basic SG3 spray gun, tip sizes from .009 inch to .017 inch (RAC IV, comes with a 515)
  • Maximum hose length of 150′, but come with the standard 50′ ft hose (¼”)
  • Graco recommends this for people spraying 300 gallons or so annually (about 5 g/week)
  • 27 lbs. lb for the stand, 38 lb for cart
  • See more notes after the X19 review just below

The Manual PDF, the Operation PDF, the Warranty PDF, the Pump (17J874) and Parts PDF.

X17 Graco airless commercial sprayer
X17 going for years: Thanks Roberto

ProX19

Model numbers 17G180 (Cart) and 17G179 (Stand)

Currently, this is the best deal for the Cart and for the Stand right now it’s here.

Advantage over X17: Only about 2% more power than the X17 above, and about the same price.

  • .38 GPM (slightly better than X17)
  • .88 HP, pulls 8 amps
  • 3000 psi (only 1 gun max)
  • Pump: stainless steel piston rod and sleeve, ProXchange mounted pump (quick change)
  • SG3 spray gun, max tip: 0.019 RAC IV tips (comes with 515)
  • Maximum hose length of 150′ if level
  • Recommend for painters shooting 500 gallons annually (10/week, I did that in my head)
  • 38 lb for the stand, 41 lb for cart

The Manual PDF, the Operation PDF, the Warranty PDF, the Pump (17J874) and Parts PDF.

Painter’s Comment:

One painter wrote to me: “Tell them to buy the biggest commercial paint sprayer you can afford while striking a balance with portability and weight. Next thing to look at is the availability of parts and repair. Graco parts and repair are easy to find even for older pumps. They are everywhere and can get OEM or aftermarket parts from Bedford Precision Parts.

And, “I just do interiors and just need an interior paint sprayer so the small X19 is the best paint sprayer for interior walls…works for me. If I needed more than an indoor paint sprayer, I’d move up.”

Notes on the X17 and X19

The guys I know that run these machines are really happy with them… even though they don’t spray regularly. Sure, these carry the Magnum label which is somewhat seen as a DIY homeowner line, but they still have better quality than Titan or others in the price range.

What’s the difference? Only .04 gallons per minute! The X19 shoots .38 to the X17’s .34. Nothing you could ever sense.

Both have the great ProXChange Pump System. We change the pump after the expected lifespan, but you could also have the spare pump handy and just change when it fails. Many pumps go far beyond their expected lifespan. Oh yeah, the very low price for good quality.

X19 Graco airless commercial sprayer
X19 used about once per month for years: thanks to Liam

Why no X21 sprayer review? It shoots the same GPM as the 210ES below but costs WAY more. Not interested. Disagree? Please comment below!


Now, the first of the machines with the new Endurance Pumps (see the section on pumps near the bottom).
It’s a big step forward in pump technology and only Graco has it.

 

Pro 210 ES

Models 17D163 (Stand )and 17C305 (Cart)

This is the top-level model of the “Homeowner” machines of the Graco arsenal and
has the same output as the 390 below, but for a slightly lower price tag.

Latest best prices: here is the Lo-Boy version and here is the Hi-Boy version. Funny but some outlets are selling this for MORE than Graco’s MSRP. I found better deals.

Advantage over lesser machines: This is the lowest level machine to have the “Endurance” pump, which is double-acting (pumps on both up and down stroke). For only a slightly higher cost than the lower Magnums. Less wear. This pump, with the Chromex rod, hardened steel sleeve, and ProConnect pump mount are all superior to the X19, X17 above. There’s your money maker.

Also, the lowest level machine to have the Easy Out pump filter. Read more on the Graco website. So, it’s just a filter, but easy to change for different materials. Sprayers come with the right mesh for latex etc.

Also, the lowest Graco airless paint sprayer with the ProConnect, and the lowest level that can shoot hot-solvents like lacquer, and starting here you get the Easy Out Pump Filter. This filters from the inside out so the pressure cannot crush it.

  • .47 GPM (a big jump over the X19 for only 20% more money)
  • Pulls 13 amps. 1.0 HP
  • 3000 psi (only 1 gun max)
  • Pump: Endurance pump, Chormex rod, and ProConnect mount: sleeve is hardened steel
  • Standard SG3 gun (a shame: jump below for my list of much better guns)
  • Tip sizes max: .021 inch (RAC IV, comes with a 515)
  • Max hose: 300′ (comes with 50′)
  • Graco recommends this for people spraying 1,500 gallons or so annually (about 30/week) a big jump over the x19
  • 50 lbs lb for the stand, 69 lb for cart

The Manual PDF, the Operation PDF, the Warranty PDF, the Pump (17j555) and Parts PDF.

Painter comments:

“I only spray interiors when I’m doing several rooms top to bottom. When I do, this is my money-maker”.

Another wrote: “A ‘homeowner’ model, yes, but I have this. It’s a powerful and reliable machine and for the money, recommended it.”

And, “I go up high ladders and I need more power than a small interior painting sprayer, and this machine is both the best paint sprayer for walls and for small exteriors.”

Please read my comparison to the 390, just below.

210ES Graco airless commercial sprayer
210ES sent in by Drew: thanks!

This is the start of Graco’s “Contractor” machines.
Graco Contractor Series sprayers have the Endurance Chromex pumps.
The highest levels have MaxLife materials (more below).
390 ProConnect: my baby

Model numbers: 17C310 (stand) and 17C313 (Hi-Boy)

Here is the latest most favorable price for the Stand version and here is the Hi-Boy cart version.

Advantages over lesser machines: Many specs are identical with the 210, and the 390 costs 10-15% more…BUT…the 390 gives you:

  • the Advantage Drive system runs quiet and has a lifetime guarantee (all machines from this point on have this)
  • the pressure output is a bit more in the 390, but it uses less HP, meaning the ratio RPM between motor and pump is higher and it needs to work less hard for more pressure.
  • the 390’s gun is the much better FTx 4-finger gun (costs 75 dollars more retail)…the 210’s gun is standard, like the other Magnums (the SG3)
  • the 390 is the start of the contractor line of commercial airless paint sprayers: better quality all around which accounts for the usage difference (per week…the 390 rated at 50 gal/week over the 210’s thirty).
  • the 390 has the Endurance Chromex Pump and the 210 just ‘Endurance’.
  • the 390 comes with a 3-year warranty and a lifetime motor warranty…the 210’s warranty is 1 year (again, higher quality parts)

Finally, a big jump over the 210 is 390 has a DC motor with a lifetime warranty. (It’s not even the brushless motor of the 490.)

Here is what you get on your new 390:

  • .47 GPM (same as 210 above, but more pressure for 15% more money)
  • Pulls 13 amps. 1.0 HP
  • 3300 psi (only 1 gun max)…no commercial electric paint sprayer has more than this!
  • Pump: Endurance pump with the Chromex rod and ProConnect mount ( same as 201, but superior to the X19 and X17 above)
  • Same sleeve as the 210: hardened stainless steel cylinder
  • Premium spray gun (FTx Gun over the lower level machines SG3)
  • Tip sizes max: .021 inch (RAC IV, comes with a 515)
  • Max hose: 300′; another big jump up over the 210
  • Graco recommends this for people spraying about 2,500 gallons per year (50 gal/week)
  • 69 lbs lb for the stand, 69 lb for cart

What it’s missing: This is the highest level airless paint sprayer without the SmartControl pressure system: it’s ‘mechanical’ (starting with the 490 you Get Smart). Not a deal-breaker for me.

The Manual and Operations PDF, the Warranty PDF, the Pump (17J552) and Parts PDF.

Painter comments:

One painter wrote to me: “My 390 lasted for years and when I upgraded, I sold it for ¼ of the price I paid!”

Another painter wrote: “The 390 are good machines for a pro starting out.”

I have to disagree a bit with that last one: this is a workhorse commercial airless paint sprayer for contractors doing residential and industrial painting.

airless commercial paint sprayer (390)
390 by the author

395 PC

Model numbers 17E844 (Stand) and 17E846 (Hi-Boy)
(The 17E846 replaces the 17C317)

Here i the latest and greatest price for the Stand version and here is the Hi-Boy cart version.

Advantage over lesser machines: A bit more paint per minute than the 390, but you’d never be able to feel it. But it does have a better gun, a better DC motor, and this is the first of the machines with the Smart Control. Read about SmartControl in a section near the bottom.

  • .54 GPM (1 gun at a time)
  • 15 amps, 0.875 HP
  • 3,300 psi
  • Pump: Endurance pump, Chromex rod, ProConnect mount
  • Contractor PC Gun (even better than the FTx of the 390 above)
  • Maximum tip: .023″, RAC X LTX 517 included
  • Max hose: 300′ (comes with 50′)
  • Graco recommends this for people spraying 50 gallons per WEEK (2,500/yr)
  • 43 lb for the stand, 66 lb for cart
  • DC motor is the TEFC (Totally Enclosed Fan Cooled) (for brushless, seen the 490 below)

The Manual and Operation PDF, the Warranty PDF, the Pump (17C487) and Parts PDF.

Painter comments:

“Graco 395 is what I rent out. Low-cost, light, easy to work on and clean, computerized pressure control by transducer making it suitable for fine finish work.”

“I ran a Graco 395 PC for my first year in business and it did everything I needed it to do.”

professional paint sprayer, the 395 Graco airless
An old, well-cared-for 395 paint sprayer : thanks Aaron

Sprayers from .5 — 1.0 GPM

The Graco 490-695 will handle 99% of your spray needs up to elastomeric and can also do fine finish work.
Ultra Max II 490 PC Pro

Model numbers 17E852 (Stand) and 17E854 (Hi-Boy)

For the Stand version, this is the best current price, and for the Hi-Boy, the lowest price comes from here

Advantages over lesser machines:  This is the lowest airless paint sprayer with the MaxPower brushless DC motor (read about brushless motors in commercial airless paint sprayers from a lesser-known maker).

This is the lowest level machine that uses the Endurance Vortex Pump, said to last 6x longer than the Endurance above. Wow, that’s a lot if true. Check the 695 ProC or the 1595 which comes with the Endurance Vortex Maxlife (you can use the MaxLife Extreme or 2 other great pumps). They tell us the Maxlife Extreme lasts 18x longer than the Endurance, (3x that of the Endurance Vortex Maxlife). Really? Ok. It’s all below in my review of the 695 and 1595.

Also, this machine can run 2 guns with sizeable tips as it has WAY more horses than the 395 above. Plus it has the FastFlush system lacking in lower models which Graco says is 4 times faster cleaning with ½ the water.

This is also the lowest level machine that uses the Bluelink.

  • .95 GPM
  • 15 amps, 2.0 HP
  • 3,300 psi (last of the machines that can only handle one gun at a time)
  • Pump: Endurance Vortex Pump, with Chromex rod, and ProConnect mount
  • Contractor PC Gun, max tips: .031 inch (w/one gun), .023 (w/two guns)
  • Comes with one RAC X LTX 517 Tip and one gun, one hose (see my comparison of guns below)
  • Max hose: 300′ (comes with 50′)
  • Graco recommends this for people spraying 100-200 gallons per WEEK
  • 34 lbs for Stand, and 66 lb for cart

The Manual & Operation PDF, the Warranty PDF, the Pump (17C487) and Parts PDF.

Painter comments:

“A 495 will spray 95% of coatings you generally encounter and no problems keeping up with a variety of large tip sizes.”

“Buying a new pump for myself I would get 490-695.”

Another replied, “Overall I would say Graco 490 for a lightweight one-gun pump. Or look at the Graco 695 for 2 gun support which is easily best paint sprayer of all the entry-level 2 gun pumps. It all comes down to need. Titan and Tritech make good pumps, but for ease of in-field service and availability of parts from Graco far outweighs the upfront cost.”

Another: “If you are just spraying latex and running one gun, the 490 is more than adequate. So I see no reason to spend anymore. Also, starting with the 490’s and every model above, the Bluelink technology.” Thanks buddy.

490 Graco airless paint sprayer - for pros
490 standing proud: thanks to Hayden

Ultra Max II 695
Standard Series and Pro Contractor

Standard Series, 17E572 (Lo-Boy); (old model 16W893)
Standard Series, Hi-Boy 17E574 (Hi-Boy); (old model 16W894)
ProContractor, 17E577 (old model 16W894)

The best price today will be found for the Standard Lo-Boy, the Standard Hi-Boy and the ProContractor version.

Some painters prefer the older models without the updated technology. You can still get them above, but for the new models, go here for the 695 Stand, here for the 695 Hi-Boy and here for the 695 ProC, here.

Advantages over lesser machines (these are considerable):

  1. Two-gun capability
  2. Lowest level machine to offer the Endurance Vortex MaxLife pump (ProContactor version only)
  3. ProConnect 2 mount
  4. The lowest level machine that uses the QuickPak cartridge
  5. WatchDog Pump Protection System automatically prevents pump damage if the paint supply runs out
  6. The ProGuard system prevents electrical damage from extreme job site power conditions
  7. FastFlush 2 System: A slightly better, faster system than the 490 above, 60% higher motor speed
  8. Only the 695 ProContractor (not Standard) Series has the QuikReel hose system. This winds up to 300 ft of hose quickly without coiling. You can pull out only what you need, but if you keep 300 ft in the magazine, you’ll pay in overall pressure, obviously

These extras pay for themselves in my view. 

Updated March 2020: the new versions are out so you may get a really good deal on the old models (numbers just above). Grab the old models while they last: the prices are so much better and the new machines only have an upgrade of the electronic control, not the pump or any important part.

  • .95 GPM
  • 15 amps, 2.0 HP
  • 3,300 psi (2 guns at a time)
  • Pump for the Standard model has: Endurance Chromex pump, Chromex rod and Hardened SST sleeve (superior to the 490 above), all with QuickChange mount
  • Pump for the ProContractor has the MaxLife pump, rod AND MaxLife sleeve (very long-wearing)
  • Contractor PC gun, max tip: .031 inch (w/one gun), .023 (w/two guns)
  • Comes with one RAC X LTX 517 Tip and one gun, one hose (see my comparison of better guns below)
  • Max hose length: 1 gun: not over 300 ft.; 2 guns it depends on the product and elevation of the surface: if spraying latex paint and on even ground, you could go around 150 feet per line (info from Graco interview)
  • Comes with one gun and 50′ hose
  • Graco recommends this for people spraying 100-200 gallons per WEEK
  • All three models are 94 lbs, meaning the Lo-Boy is also 94 lbs, very heavy
  • Heavy-Duty Prime Valve introduced on this machine

 

The Standard: The Manual PDF, the Operation PDF, the Warranty PDF, the Pump (16Y598 for Standard) and Parts PDF.
ProContractor: The Manual PDF, the Operation PDF, the Warranty PDF, the Pump (17H823 ProC)) and Parts PDF.

Painter comments:

From the author: For this much larger machine, there is little reason to buy the Stand model, unless you need to save on space. The Lo-Boy and HiBoy are the same price. The difference here is the Graco has a ProContractor model of the 695, and it’s also a great machine.

“I have never owned anything smaller than a 695. I buy them for the ability to spray heavier materials, run at least 100 feet of line, support a bigger tip, keep up with me spraying all day and last a long time. It’s really old but like that bunny. Weight is sort of an issue but I have ramps to get the big ones in the truck.”

“695 are the best balance between GPM and portability.”

695 Graco contractor airless paint sprayer
695 Graco ready to go: thanks Jack

Sprayers over 1.0 GPM

I chose only one machine in this top bracket. Above this, the gasoline machines have better prices and equivalent features than the ‘Iron Man’ series, and don’t need a 20 amp circuit to themselves!

Why no review on the 1095? The 1595’s have: 15% more HP, 3 guns at once (1095 connects 2), 15% higher flow (gal/min) …all for only 10% more money. I think it’s a no-brainer.

At this level, Graco introduces the IronMan line. It comes with a price that is as strong as IronMan himself, and for that extra, you get the name and yes, a bit more too.


Ultra Max II 1595

Model numbers 16W903 (ProContractor) and 16W907 (IronMan)

The Standard Series has been discontinued. Here is the ProContractor Series 1595, and here is the big dog IronMan 1595, older versions. The new versions are out! The new versions are 17E596 for the ProC and 17E594 for the IronMan. I like the financing terms at this Graco outlet and the best lowest price is here.

Advantage over lower machines:

  1. All three 1595 models can push 3 guns and each gun can use up to 300′ of hose per gun. Impressive.
  2. The IronMan version has tires that never go flat by a puncture, but the IronMan lacks the quick-reel hose of the PC.
  3. ProConnect 2 mount, a better system, but the other quick-change mounts are great too.
  4. On-Board Toolbox to store tools, tips, filters, and accessories.

If you are looking at this sprayer, you probably already know all about what you want and you are a big-time contractor: My hat’s off to you. Let me know who you are and we’ll talk about how we can help each other! Here are the fattest facts on these monsters:

  • 1.35 GPM (3 guns at a time!)
  • 20 amps, 2.8 HP
  • 3,300 psi
  • Pump: Endurance Vortex MaxLife pump, ProConnect 2 mount
  • Contractor PC Gun, RAC X LTX 517 Tip, max tip: .039 inch with one gun; .029 w/two guns; .023 with 3…wow
  • 3 guns with 300 ft. of hose each!  … spray elastomeric and run 300 feet of line
  • Comes with one gun and 50′ hose
  • Graco recommends this for people spraying OVER 200 gallons per WEEK (40/day!) (No electric in the world is bigger)
  • Very heavy: 180lb

The Manual & Operation PDF, the Warranty PDF, and the Pump manual is the same for all models.

The pumps themselves are slightly different for each model:

ProContractor has 3 pump kits to choose from:

  • 16X420 ProConnect II MaxLife
  • 16X419 ProContractor ProConnect II
  • 17H826 ProConnect II MaxLife Extreme

IronMan has two of the same but one is different:

  • 16X420 ProConnect II MaxLife
  • 16X419 ProContractor ProConnect II
  • 17H824 ProConnect II MaxLife Vortex

Painter comments:
“I have an older model 1595 that I rebuilt and it just goes and goes. These machines are beasts.”

“This is the machine I always wanted but could not afford. Awesome features”.

Want more? Go gasoline. Email me or leave a comment below if you do.

1595 Graco paint sprayer
1595: Thanks Santiago

Key Features Common to All

We just looked at the best value for the money for different needs. We made some calls, wrote some emails, wrote to Graco customer service about a thousand times, and went into a bunch of chat rooms to decide on these. These are what most pros are using, and for good reason.

I’ve cut out paltry info on these machines that you don’t need for this big decision (like ‘thread type’ for the hose connections and lubricants etc).

Graco sliced up:

Graco has two overall divisions: “Homeowner” (which many contractors use too) and “Contractor” which have much more quality (and price shock).


The Pumps

Fluid mechanics: Also, the Vortex Piston Pump is a new style that rotates as it pumps and takes longer to wear out since it uses more surface area: not the same metal sliding into the same scratches and grooves. A great improvement.

This 40-second video shows replacing the worn packings with the new QuickPak and compares to doing it with the separate rings. Another good innovation.

Mount:

Contractor Airless Paint Sprayer set up
Graco Contractor Airless Paint Sprayer set up

The old method Graco used to use was a pinned pump replacement but that is all gone and replaced by the ProXChange system in the Magnum lines or the ProConnect system in the contractor lines.

Why always have a spare pump on hand:

  • no downtime
  • easy, fast change
  • no special tools

As a Graco sales flyer puts it: One-Part Solution to Keep You Spraying

One painter wrote to me, “Once you use the quick change pump you will see the money that’s to be made”. Another painter says, “I can’t imagine not having one”. Sums it up.

Pumps: Rods, Sleeves, Mounts

I asked Graco about the pump sleeve (cylinder) material they mention on every page. They won’t tell us! It’s the info they protect from competitors. But they did tell me that the different levels of sleeves for different machines come from the base metal and the protected plating process applied. Lower level sleeves are steel and hardened steel, then the 695 kicks it up with Hardened SST (a mystery what this is exactly). It’s like that for the rest of the machines until you come to…The MaxLife parts, a total corporate secret. This is the top of the line, state of the art sleeve that is on the 1595’s ProContractor and IronMan (not the Standard).
There are a few types of quick-change pumps. Just the elimination of downtime pays the extra cost of the all in one pump.
Big plus: for the 695 up to the 1595, you can just repack your pump. This video shows how it takes about a minute with the QuickPak cartridge system.
Mounts: No long messy pump changes. The ProXChange system in the Magnum lines or the ProConnect system in the contractor lines make it happen in one minute. Each sprayer review below links to the replacement pump. I always want to have one on hand. No brainer.

Spray Rate

Gallons Per Minute is a big factor for many of us.

  • Do you do residential mostly? Look for .5 to.6 GPM for small jobs. Click to jump back up to the 210ES and the 390 and above. The 210 is the highest “Magnum” but don’t let the homeowner label fool you. It’s very good.
  • Industrial painting? You want anywhere from 1 to 3 GPM (and you can run two or 3 guns) Jump back up to the lowest-level machine that can handle 2 guns (the 490).

Gun Upgrades

Here is the PDF on Graco guns. TITLE OF PDF IS On Graco airless commercial paint sprayer guns IN WORKING FOLER They do provide a decent gun that matches the level of the sprayer. Some guns cost as much as a sprayer!

They have more, but I picked out these:

  • TOP PICK: Contractor PC (17Y042) and the smaller Contractor PC (19Y349) Compact (almost 100 more for the ‘compact’!) This comes on the 490 and 695 AND 1595. It’s lighter, smaller and takes a lot less force to hold down the trigger. Designed for quick re-build too.

 

  • Contractor Gun (288421) This comes with the RAC V 517 tip, and the same basic gun model number 288420 comes with the RAC X (517) tip.
  • Flex Plus Gun (246468) has the enclosed needle of the better guns and is very smooth. This gun comes on the 390.
  • Contractor II will soon be replaced and this will be added when it becomes available. If you want the old one, it’s here.
  • Contractor FTx (288432) has the larger 4-finger trigger the needle never touches paint and it’s suitable for. It has the EasyOut filter and a new proprietary swivel. Very smooth.

    Silver Plus.

  • Silver Plus Gun (243283) can do it all and it’s very light and tough: epoxy coatings, coal tar? yes, tank and pipe coatings and linings, and emulsion paints.
  • To replace your Magnum gun, the SG3 Gun (243012) This comes on the X17, X19, and 201ES. When it’s on sale, it’s a great deal at Home Depot.

Spray guns of increasing precision and comfort. I’ve written all about them here but just in brief Graco offers 5 guns for paint listed here.


Pressure Controls

Models 390 and below have mechanical pressure control, which we cut our teeth on: no problem. But the new electronic control boards for the 395 and above have different generations: SmartControl 4.0 down to the 1.0. They are all basically the same but the higher numbers mean the later versions which do have a few more control features. Not a dealbreaker if your machine has an older version of the SmartControl.

interiors pro paint sprayer doing doors
Interior masking and spraying trim

SmartControl (any version) gives a very even constant pressure and it monitors performance and will adjust the motor speed as needed. Nice. The old way was fine too, but I guess it’s not expensive to add electronics these days. It’s especially good for low pressure spraying like cabinets, etc.


Maintenance

I called around to some major city paint stores. All paint stores that sell Graco will also do repairs if you don’t want to do them. But I recommend you do all your own maintenance and repair work: it’s not that hard, especially with the quick change mounts and quick re-pack kits. These pay for themselves.

Painting doors with a commercial sprayer
Painting doors with a commercial sprayer

Motors

The brushless motors start with the 395 and above (the TEFC motor). Below that the older style motors on the 390 and 210 are sealed better than that on the lower models. Read why brushless motors are better for paint sprayers from Graco and this is the same article linked in the 395 above.

MaxPower brushless motor with Advantage Drive (longer guarantee)

  • Ample power
  • High-torque
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Long-lasting
  • Hardened steel gears, so very quiet

Warranties

The higher machines have longer coverage in general. This info is in the PDF’s linked with each sprayer review.

spraying paint interior wall
Little overspray while spraying paint interior walls

Parts

Graco has a website called Gracopartsbook.com. It will ask for a module number of your sprayer model number and tell you a lot of different repair parts and literature for all you literature majors.


FastFlush Cleaning: something worth paying extra for

All Graco machines have a fairly easy way to clean up: the garden hose fitting is really a nice touch.

Graco’s Auto Clean has been changed to the Fast Flush system on the high-end models.

The benefit: no harm to your filters. There is a feature you can time the flush with called Auto Flush Timer, which Graco claims will decrease your cleaning cycle time by 20%. Fits these:

  • Ultra Max II 695
  • Ultra Max II 795
  • Ultra Max II 1095
  • Ultra Max II 1595

Stand or Cart?

The Lo-boy vs hi-boy of any given machine has the same specifications with very few exceptions. Most of the cost difference comes from the frame and the difference of materials used for the suction and drain tubes (most hi-boys have a solid suction tube where the lo-boys have a vinyl tube).

For about 10-15% more cost upfront, you get the cart over the stand. I like the cart but I’m poor. I put the machine on a 4-wheel dolly (I only paint indoors) so it can be moved easily.

  • Cart/Hi-Boy units: Starting with the 490 and all models above have the ‘kickstand’, a tilt-back feature to die for. You don’t need another person to help. He can be getting coffee.
  • Stand/Lo-Boy units: All the Graco Stand units are designed the same way with the offset handle. (from email)

All the Stand machines on this page an offset rubber-grip handle that kicks the sprayer away from the body while carrying.

commercial paint sprayer on lift
commercial painting with sprayer on lift

BlueLink app

Most painters poo-poo this. It’s nice if you are into this kind of thing.
If you like to watch usage or have a lot of machines and you want to keep an eye on maintenance, usage and so on (from anywhere in the world), it’s going to come in handy. All new Graco sprayers come with this module mounted on the side of every new sprayer. ?? TRUE
All new machines from the 490 up come with BlueLink (explained here in a 40-sec video: awful music)

Starting with the 490 and every model above, the Bluelink technology is included and the app is free.

Basically you can see on your phone when maintenance is due and gallons you have shot on a job.

Get it for iPhone or Android.

Nice to see what’s going on inside your machine, but it’s not brain salad surgery. Here is a very short vid on what you see on your phone. Sorry for the annoying music.

BlueLink only comes on the electric sprayers, but the higher models are not any better: all the same.


Basics like hoses, filters, tips, and guards, etc.

I’ll leave out the obvious basics to help you focus and make your decision. For example, all machines come with the same 50′ hose but can push paint through 150-300 depending on the model which I’ll mention if significant. Other features you’ll see in the PDF provided for each unit. I won’t mention the obvious like filters, throat lube and pump saver solution, etc, except where there is a new or special feature.


Comparing Online Stores: e-Competition

I shopped EVERY single Graco sprayer at every single outlet (they use 7 online outlets) and called a number of paint stores selling machines. I picked out the models based on most power, reliability and performance for the money.

Within the big online stores, I compared the different Graco sellers: some are not so good. I’ll be monitoring them forever. I love to catch them in raising prices and challenge them.

I found the online prices to be lower than every paint store we called. But not all the big sellers sell the high-end models that contractors need.

“Ship a sprayer? Really? Oh, yes. How easy it is too. And free.

It seems Amazon has robots that tweak prices hourly to beat competitors and still offer free shipping. No wonder they are one of the biggest companies in the world.

In the high-end, there seem to be few sellers that chose the same model. In my selection, I relied on the experience of painters that I know and that I have reached out to in the chat rooms.

Graco Airless Sprayer Online Outlets

  • JN Equipment prices were consistently higher than all others.
  • Zoro has consistently higher prices and only low-end machines.
  • Ace Hardware only has low-end project sprayers, except for the X17 and X19 and a couple of handheld units: all the sprayers they sell are higher priced than the competition.
  • Amazon has the best price in most categories even when you have to pay a bit for shipping. What else is new? However, some 3rd party sellers have inflated prices when the same product from the Graco seller is reasonably priced. I’ve check this on all my recommendations.
  • Home Depot is competitive as is Portland Compressor but PC has a few disturbing reviews about returns (Yelp). I like the HD return policy, but honestly, the employees in every store I’ve ever tried are not helpful. I’m being nice. We’ve all dealt with the level of expertise at the paint counter. Rather have a tooth pulled.
  • Menards sells low budget sprayers and are about 10% higher than the big boys. For example, with the top model they carry (Pro210Es), they were a hundred over the price I found.
  • Lowes sells six sprayers as of last check and all were 5% higher than the big sellers.

It seems that the biggest volume sellers can get the best prices to us. No surprise.


Price Robots: They’re here. The big online stores have this. They look at competitor’s prices and adjust in the blink of an eye. Prices are automatically lowered so they are not beat. Pretty smart, our overlords are.

I did an internet-wide search of everyone selling sprayers for pros. Who was the one clear winner? Amazon of course. Except for the occasional time-limited deals, they have the best price on every model, and I did not see any that did not ship for zero bucks. Pretty amazing. CHECK SHIPPING

The biggest difference in price is due to the hour rating of the pump section. The Magnum line has an hour rating 1/10th the time of the contractor lines. Get the 390 or 210ES if you plan on using it more than a few days a year basically. There is also a big difference in the rating of the motors and steel used in the pump chambers.

The Magnum line is engineered to a price point which would make them ‘disposable’ to a pro. The big workhorse machines starting with the 210 and 390 are more expensive and worth it: they pay for themselves.


Just for fun, if you made it this far:

Robotic airless paint sprayer
Robotic airless paint sprayer
Paint Spraying Drones? Crazy story. It’s happening! Read it here. Here is a 30-sec video: This will make money.

Experience talking:

A big key point I tell my employees: be sure to strain even can of new paint. You probably know that paint sits on various shelves for months before it is shipped and you will get coagulation. This will clog any sprayer. We once got 5 gallons of lumps in a ‘new’ Benjamen Moore paint. Just strained and it was fine.

doors stack commercial sprayer
Doors stacked on the job with a commercial sprayer
Commercial spraying trainer with virtual headset
A 3-D simulator to train your painters. When you asked, “What will they think of next?”, this was it.

Size Matters

  • The bigger machines can push 2 hoses/guns and spray more viscous materials like elastomeric products.
  • Gas for some worksites with power restrictions.
  • Bigger machines give you a longer service life in any commercial airless sprayer.
  • Go for the professional-grade, there are few things more aggravating than a crappy spray rig.

Like most professional painters, I would advise you to get the best that you can afford and that makes sense for your needs.


Money vs Need

If spraying is part of your living, you want a high-grade pump, more than what the sprayer makers give us in the “Magnum” line. Don’t get me wrong, I know some pros use Magnum line. But either they don’t spray that much, or if they do, they eventually upgrade to what you’ll find below.

Even the Magnum X7 which is claimed to be a ‘pro’ model is not thought of highly by the pros. Even Graco refers to the Magnum products as being for “part-time painters”.

Bottom line: Cry once. Good machines are pricey, but you’ll make that in no downtime with maintenance issues.

The painters that I talk to know better. They are willing to spend more to keep production high and heartaches low.

Homeowner?

For you too,  the best thing is to buy a top-of-the-line sprayer, then sell when you are done your projects. You’ll get ¼ to ½ of your investment back. Too much for you? See my post on homeowner (DIY) airless sprayers.

Homeowner machines come in 3 levels for 3 expected usages: DIY (50 gal/yr), Project (125 gal/yr), and Pro (150 gal/yr).

man spraying deck with pro paint sprayer
Short work painting a deck with a commercial sprayer

Why Graco? and why not Titan?

Graco:

  • Reliability
  • Straightforward maintenance
  • Easy to find and change parts
  • Made 100% in the USA
  • to name a few reasons: no, I am not associated with Graco in any way. I get a small referral fee from some online outlets for tools etc, such as Amazon. It costs you no more! It’s not much but it keeps me writing in my retirement!

These machines sell themselves: no need for me to tell you how great they are with hardened steel, etc. Here are just the facts you need to compare.

Titan:

It used to be a fine machine, great in fact, but now I say avoid Titan. My good buddy and former boss, a painting contractor turned paint store owner (he had 3 stores) carried Titan sprayers for years. He wrote to me, “At some point, they started making parts in China or someplace and quality suffered”. He’s referring to 1999 when Wagner bought Titan. A sad day in airless sprayer history. Graco machines use more steel parts than Titan, who now uses some aluminum.

I really trust that advice. It comes from a pro who went through so many commercial sprayers as a painting contractor then he rented them out of his stores. That took 40 years.

Why not eBay

For the same reason, you don’t buy a used car on eBay. You’re buying someone else’s problems. I have been burned on eBay. Burn me once—shame on the seller. Twice—shame on me. Why would you put up a used commercial paint sprayer for sale? Probably not because you are retiring from the business. Even the best old paint sprayers develop issues.

What the heck is “Nova”?

Graco has a deal with Sherwin Williams stores that they sell exclusively some models, but these models are IDENTICAL to the Gracos you see everywhere else. Only the names (Nova or Ultimate MX) are different. Lowes has a deal too, but only sells low-end machines (at higher markup).

man painting doors with paint sprayer
Painting doors with a paint sprayer. Nice respirator Shmitty.

Painter Joke, not terrible

An old out of work painter goes door to door looking for small jobs. One kind and wealthy homeowner hands him a brush and a can of paint and offers him 250 bucks to paint his porch.

A few hours later, the guy comes back to the homeowner and says, “I’m finished. But you should know that your car’s a Ferrari, not a Porsche.”

Mic drop.

Sorry.

Have any comments? Say hello below. I’ll see what you wrote within a day. Thanks for reading. Ask anything and if I don’ t know I’ll make some calls.

About me: I first sprayed back in 1977 as an apprentice. I worked supporting the boss as he went around spraying the houses that his crews had prepped. He let me spray now and then. Other than that, I was on the prep team. I became a contractor in the 90’s.
The final word from a pro who sums it up for me:
“After 30 years of selling, repairing, cleaning, renting, and even using just about every airless brand there is, if I were to buy one it would be Graco all the way. Not by a wide margin mind you, but they always seem to outlast every other brand.

“For professional use, your readers need long-lasting, easy to use, high-quality commercial paint sprayers. Based on my 40 years as a professional painter, I can sum up the best professional paint sprayers like this: easy to use, easy and quick to clean, long-lasting, efficient. The sprayer might be pricey, but will pay for itself quickly and keep making money, unlike the low-end units.”

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