So, you’re ready to graduate from paint rollers and brushes to an airless, are you? And you want to find a sprayer that looks and acts professional, but isn’t quite so, well, intimidating?
Graco, who bill themselves as the professional painters’ choice, also manufacture an entry-level airless sprayer that will probably tick all the boxes for DIYers.
The Project Painter Plus might not be able to do everything its bigger brothers can, but it comes darn close.
Graco Magnum 257025 Project Painter Plus Reviewed
- CONTROL PAINT FLOW: Fully adjustable pressure...
- SPRAY PAINT UNTHINNED: Stainless Steel Piston...
- SPRAY DIRECTLY FROM PAINT BUCKET: Flexible...
- RECOMMENDED USE: Annual use recommendation is...
About The Graco Brand
The name Graco has long been synonymous with quality, durability and value for money.
The firm, headquartered in Minneapolis, has been manufacturing quality fluid-handling systems since 1926. Its paint sprayers are the tools of choice for 85% of America’s painting professionals.
So, it’s not for nothing that they call themselves the “Brand Preferred by Pros”. The company doesn’t rest on its laurels either; they’re continually innovating and introducing new technology in the paint-spraying field. Most customers testify to Graco’s excellent customer service.
They go above and beyond to help their customers, whether you need advice, or are looking for a product manual.
Quality Features Of This Sprayer
The small scale and low profile of the Graco Magnum Project Painter Plus belie the machine’s power. This little airless painting system packs a punch. It weighs only 15lb so is light enough for you to move often or even carry along with you while you’re painting.
It is compact, 12”x 13.5” x13.5”, so it is easy to store as well. Even the pail handle is integrated into the body. It won’t take up much space in the toolshed or garage.
There is as much prep work as with any other airless system and, yes, purging the pump fluid can get a little messy. Waste is a small issue, as it takes about a quart of paint to prime. However, the suction tube is fed directly into your paint can, which saves a lot of time.
The piston pump is manufactured from stainless steel so it is hardy and durable and should last the lifetime of the system. It also means the system can withstand spraying unthinned materials at higher pressures. It has a maximum psi of 2800.
Being a direct-feed system, you can stick the suction tube directly into a one gallon or five gallon can of paint. No need to mess about with transferring paint from the can to the cup. And you won’t have to stop painting to keep refilling a paint cup either.
The 25ft Duraflex hose itself is flexible, which makes the system easier to maneuver around the job site. A 50ft hose is also available.
The full metal SG2 spray gun - itself a sophisticated and hardy piece of engineering - features an in-handle filter to prevent any gunk reaching the spray tip. I was a bit distressed to read of guns leaking. However, if you tighten the gun’s component, the issue will be resolved.
RAC Spray Tip
The nifty RAC IV spray tip is reversible so you can easily unclog the tip, if it gets gummed up. However, the Graco Project Painter Plus can only accommodate spray tips with a maximum opening of 0.015, which will limit the range of materials you can use.
As an odd-jobber, what I appreciate most about this system is the adjustable pressure control. With a twist of the dial you can change the air pressure to suit the application. The maximum pressure is 2 800 psi.
The dial features easy-to-read diagrams to help you make the right selection: prime, paint and clean Another excellent feature is that you can switch the nozzle up from vertical to horizontal spraying, if you want.
The clean-up – and we all hate cleaning up after ourselves, don’t we? – is made simple by the PowerFlush adapter which connects to your garden hose. You attach the system to your garden hose, select “clean” on the control dial, and away you go. It’s not an instant clean-up, but it goes a long way to help you out.
The kit comes with extra storage compartments for your spray gun and power cord. That means, you’ll have everything you need in one place. Extension tips, for those higher jobs, are available as after-sales accessories, as are a longer 50ft hose, and a pressure-roller kit.
What about the negative aspects?
You can’t have the good without the bad, right? Graco prides itself on producing tools for the professional. But it makes no bones about the fact that the Project Painter is targeted at the handyman or DIY market.
While the build of the system is solid enough, it wouldn’t stand up to the rigors of using it 24/7. Some contractors have suggested using the system as a back-up if you’re in a in a jam. My major bugbear about the system is that the pump is not repairable.
If it breaks down, it must be replaced. Only the suction tube kit strainers, gaskets and fuses are available as spare parts. But Graco will, within reason, replace faulty merchandise. You must register your sprayer with the company first. It really is worth taking the time to do that.
Another problem is the spray tip. Firstly, you only one spray tip, which is bit of problem if you don’t want to shell out more money for extra tips. And the max size it accommodates is the .015.
Who can operate this sprayer?
What is this Graco model made for spraying?
I would recommend the Project Painter Plus for painting interior walls with a large surface area like the great room. The flexible hose and the extension tips will help you navigate the space easily.
However, there is a fair amount of paint wastage in the set-up and clean-up. So, I think the Project Painter Plus would be wasted on smaller rooms that could be painted just as easily with a roller and brush.
You will also probably need a narrower fan width when spraying in smaller spaces.
Because the system is so portable and an array of extensions is available, it is great for spraying ceilings. Just be prepared to suit up in your safety gear and prepare yourself for a racket.
Airless sprayers are never quiet. If you follow the specs of the manufacturers both of the paint and the sprayer, you should be able to achieve a finish so smooth that would impress even a professional.
This system also handles textured surfaces like those dreaded popcorn ceilings that collect dust and dirt.
I know re-staining or repainting a fence can be a right pain in the posterior, just ask Tom Sawyer. The Project Painter Plus was designed with these sorts of tiresome odd jobs in mind.
It can handle stains and most paints. A narrower 8”-wide spray pattern is recommended and an .013 tip size for decks and fences.
I think you’ll be able to finish the job in a fraction of the time and with a lot less complaining. Just make sure to use it on a windless day and remember to cover nearby surfaces as well las garden beds.
I’ve seen the result of many decks finished using the Graco Project Painter Plus, applying both the sealer and the stain.
The variety of extension rods available for the Graco will mean the end of what is usually a back-breaking task. It’s easier on the knees too.
As with fences, use a narrow spray pattern with a smaller tip. Unfortunately, the Project Painter Plus only comes with an .015 tip. I always defend my need to buy more spray tips, saying it’s always useful having a range of sizes around.
You don’t have only one-sized paint-brush around, do you?
More often than not I would recommend an airless if you’re painting doors and trim, because the finish is so smooth and regular.
A normal brush or roller will leave marks, which looks totally unprofessional. The Graco Project Painter Plus is a great sprayer for doors, especially if you’re going to be spraying more than one door.
But I’ve seen them used to great effect on kitchen cabinet doors. It’s even great for shutters.
What shouldn’t it be used for?
I’ve mentioned that one of the drawbacks of the Graco PPP is that it can only take a maximum .015 spray tip. That means it can’t handle thicker paints like latex exterior paint.
You’d probably need a system with a bit more oomph and capacity for a bigger spray tip hole to spray the entire exterior of your home. It works just fine on smaller exterior projects.
I’ve been following the online debates about using an airless sprayer to spray paint cars. As crazy as it sounds, there are people out there who claim to have used an airless successfully on cars.
However, the Graco Project Painter Plus was not built for this purpose and I wouldn’t personally recommend. Auto enamels can contain hot solvents which is a recipe for disaster. Rather use an HVLP for painting cars
Graco Project Painter Compared with These Sprayers:
vs Graco x5
The x5 is the bigger brother of the Painter Plus.
It too comes with the RAC reversible tip, Duraflex hose, and the garden hose clean-up attachment.
It has more oomph than the Painter Plus, with a PSI of 3000 versus 2800, along with a flow rate of .27GPM compared to .24GPM.
A longer 75ft hose is also handy when using a ladder or high areas.
Unfortunately, it is constrained by a maximum spray tip size of 0.15 like its baby brother. So, it probably won’t do the job for professional contractors but experienced DIYers will probably love it.
Great for interior projects, decks, fences and even the exterior of small houses. It retails at just under $300, which is affordable and good value for money.
vs Titan xt250
This unit is a bit on the pricier side at about $320, but it doesn’t necessarily give you more bang for your buck.
Its stats compare with the Graco Painter Plus: 25ft hose, flowrate of .25 GPM. It has a maximum PSI of 2500 and its maximum tip size is, again .015 so it won’t handle thicker material very well.
It’s heavier too, at about 23 pounds. It’s also aimed at DIYers and newbie sprayers but I think most would be put off by the weight. It is also quite big, so difficult to store.
At a max of 2500 PSI, I can’t imagine you’ll get the kind of pressure you need to lay thicker materials
vs Homeright Powerflo Pro
The Powerflo Pro and the Graco Painter Plus are fighting in the same class.
Priced similarly, they have the same flow rate of .24GPM and PSI of 2800, both come with 25-ft hose. The Powerflo outweighs the Graco by a couple of pounds but is just as compact.
HomeRight recommends the sprayer for exteriors, garages and sheds.
Some users have complained that it can’t keep up with thicker exterior paints, as is to be expected since the maximum tip size is also .015.
This is a bit like comparing apples and oranges, I guess. The FLEXiO is an HVLP (high volume low pressure) sprayer so it’s useful for detail work, like trim and furniture.
You will have more control with the HVLP but you’re not going to be spraying your entire house with it since the gun is fed by siphon cup.
It would be great for smaller indoor projects, for touch-ups around maybe to be used in conjunction with your airless. It comes with its own retails for around $170 on Amazon.
Where can you buy this sprayer at its best price?
The Graco Project Painter Plus retails from around $200. If the retailer is asking much more than $220, you’re being ripped off, in my opinion. Especially if you’re going to be buying extra tips and tip extension. It retails at about $219 from Home Depot and a shade under $270 at Walmart.
That’s way too much. You can pick up a “Used – Like New” unit from Amazon at less than $200. New, it retails at $219 from Amazon. Like many other DIYers, I always use Amazon for my tool purchases because it’s easy as one click. With purchases over $25 shipping is free to any state in the US within 5 to 8 working days.
I’m sometimes even willing to pay the few bucks extra if I need same-day delivery. And with Amazon you can return it back within 30 days if you change your mind.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do I receive In the box?
The Metal SG2 Spray Gun; 515 RAC IV Spray Tip; 25ft Duraflex hose; Pump Armor;
and a Quick Start Guide, which is laminated, so you can keep it clean.
I am a beginner. Can I use this product?
As one of Graco’s entry-level machines, the company had you in mind when it designed this easy-to-use unit.
Is this a heavy or light machine?
At 15lb, it’s exceptionally lightweight so you can easily carry it around your home from project to project.
Which type of paints can be used?
It is rated for oil and water-based stains and paints, but its maximum .015 tip size will not handle thicker material well. Always check with the paint manufacturer or Graco if unsure.
How long does it take to clean it after I am finished?
Look, clean-up with any spray system is a time-consuming, but it must be done. At least, the hose attachment does away with some of the hassle.
Does Graco provide a warranty?
It has a lifetime warranty on its motors if they fail during normal use as well as a one-year warranty against workmanship and material defects.
Does this sprayer work with oil and water-based paints?
Yes, you can use the Graco Magnum Project Painter Plus to spray a wide variety of paints, lacquers, primers, and finishes, including both oil and water-based paints. There is a size limit for the tips, though, so you will need to ensure your specific paint meets the usage restrictions fo the tip you are using.
Can this spray lacquer or conversion varnish?
Yes, the Project Painter Plus can spray most lacquer and varnishes, regardless of style, thickness, or conversion. You will need to select the right tip to ensure proper atomizing of the paint. A full tip selection guide is in the owner’s manual to help you pick the right one.
How do I Clean a Graco Magnum Project Painter Plus?
For most cleaning jobs between uses, you will need only to purge the system with water. A garden hose attachment is included to make the clean up a simple and efficient process. If you are using oil-based paints, you will need to clean with a mineral spirit solution instead of plain water.
I have had some terrible experiences with airless paint sprayers. I have tried three different previous products. One had a tank that was so heavy your arm got tired after a few minutes, another had such a small tank you barely got 5 minutes spraying between fills and all three were between mediocre and bad paint results.
My heart sank when I saw the plethora of instructions that came with this tool but it turns out they are written to describe every little thing you need to do to set it up, break it down, clean it and lay it away long term. In fact, it is easy to set up, use and breakdown.
I tried it with different paints and it certainly produced excellent results with deck stain on a fence, exterior cement paint on a concrete wall and latex emulsion on indoor wood paneling.
- Amazon customer
Great entry-level sprayer for the money, I purchased to spray a 2500 square foot shop office. Same gun and hose, the more expensive versions use.
Biggest issue for me was - no cart ,as moving a bucket of paint and a sprayer setting on the floor sounded like a mess waiting to happen first time the hose pulls on it.
I found an old hand cart laying around ,quickly drilled two holes and bolted it on, High enough for the hose to set in the bottom of the pail , secured the pail with a bungee cord to the cart.
I sprayed over 20 gallon of drywall primer (thick) and worked super for heavy material , and over 30 gallons of interior latex ,
I was impressed with the performance for an airless sprayer - It saved a ton of time vs a roller and cleanup afterwards was not too bad , cannot wait to get some more unfinished projects done now due to how fast it makes it. Keep a roller handy until you get the hang of spraying it, in case you get it on heavy in spots.
- Home Depot customer
I bought this because at 70, painting board fence takes its toll. Over the span of 4 days all our fences and a 20 x 20 run- in shed were painted, about 6 gallons of stain and over 15 gallons of fence paint.
It was really too hot to paint so I was working long days. Over spray in the wind was significant but I didn't take the time to get a narrower tip. We have a 48 x 32 metal building that my wife thinks needs a color change since it is so fast.
If you’re a DIYer who is dreaming big or a handyman whose to-do list is out of control, the Graco Project Painter Plus is right up your alley. It’s built to tackle medium-sized projects around the house with ease.
Graco designed it with the customer in mind, from its compact, lightweight frame, to its flexible hose and suction tube and Flush adapter. It won’t stand up to the stresses of rigorous day-to-day work, but that’s not what it’s built for.
In my opinion, it’s a great kit if you’re starting out or a nice little back-up if you run your own contracting business.
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