December 12, 2007

Wagner Paint Crew Plus - Review

pcp.jpgPaint Sprayers exist in that terrifying realm of contractors only. But now, Wagner, makers of the great PaintEater, have produced the Paint Crew Plus for the DIYer who wants to take advantage of the wonders of paint spraying.

The Paint Crew Plus (PCP) has the general look and feel of a pressure washer. It has the same two-wheel dolly set-up, complete with a telescoping handle. The machine is easy to roll around, and when it comes time to carry it up a flight of stairs, it's relatively light. It has a removable hopper, 25' of hose, and a roller head that attaches to the sprayer. After some minor assembly (putting the wheels and handle on), we were ready for action.

pcp_nozzle.jpgFor our painting project, we chose a couple of cabinet doors that have been sitting around for about seven months now (they're only temporary, which is why we skipped the priming step). We then found the paint we wanted (a white latex) and set up the PCP as instructed. We got a test piece of plywood and, after turning the machine on, we gave it a shot. At first we got a nice even spray, but it quickly became a stream that went on in a brutally ugly fashion. Figuring we had done something wrong, we went over the directions again and, finding that we had done everything accordingly, we tried again and got the same result; a nice mist for a few moments and then an unsightly stream.

pcp_spraying.jpgAt this point we gave up for the day and started the lengthy cleaning process. To first clean out the hopper, we dumped in some warm water and started spraying it through the hose. What we got was a perfect mist. We checked the directions again and read in the troubleshooting section that we may need to thin paint if we get a reduction in pressure. We had ignored this earlier, thinking that the PCP should be able to handle paint straight out of the can. So, with our thinned paint, it took us less than two minutes to paint both sides of both doors (and that was while taking pictures). Getting the spraying pattern down is definitely tricky and takes some time getting used to. But after a little bit, we were starting to get pretty good at it.


We then tried the roller attachment. It connects to the nose of the gun, so you still have control over how much paint you feed it. It worked well for us, laying down a nice even roller's worth of paint with each pass. The tool comes equipped with a toggle so you can adjust the pressure depending on what you're spraying/rolling.

pcp_clean_up.jpgSo once we got started, the PCP was great. Getting going and breaking down are no small tasks though. Clean-up, particularly, is both time-consuming and messy. When we use it again, it's going to be on a large project, and not just some junky old cabinet drawers. There are clean-up directions for short-term storage (overnight), if you're going to bundle a bunch of small projects together, but other than that, it's just not worth it. But on a big project, like a room or two, or a deck, or the exterior of your house, this tool will speed things up like you wouldn't believe. Just make sure that you've got everything operating correctly and that you've practiced with the sprayer, before putting any finish paint on a nice surface.

What we really would have liked to have seen is some sort of start-up card, different from the technical manual. Something that would have let us know what to expect (because we certainly weren't expecting to have to thin the paint right out of the can). Since this is such an unfamiliar piece of equipment for most people, it would be nice to have a guide to what is normal behavior for the PCP.

Wagner's Paint Crew Plus retails for about $280 and like a lot of tools, if it's something you're going to use, the price is completely worth it.


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Posted by Doug Mahoney at December 12, 2007 5:04 AM
Recent Comments

After only five gal of latex house paint, Three different days, unit would not build up pressure, and I was told to replace the outlet valve, or take it to the repair center 120 mile round trip. I looked at the valve and found a thumb tack size nylon piece with groves cut in it from the paint. Called the 800 number again, I was told "paint was too thick" nothing smaller then a .015 tip, I used a .017 tip, paint can called for .017 tip. So, Outlet valve $25. Take it to repair center 120 miles round trip, or return it to the retail store 5 miles. When it worked, it worked good, but when it quits in the middle of a project, it goes back.

Posted by: Mike at August 24, 2010 5:34 AM

Worked great for a full day o fheavy painting (about 30 gals of primer)but then would not hold preasure. Called Wagner tech support and was told the valves are only good for about 30 - 35 gals of paint then they need replaced. I took the outlet valve apart and it has one VERY CHEAP plastic part that failed. Now I can only get a complete new outlet valve for $25 rather then the 1 cent cheap plastic part.

I also agree with post by WK, the hose needs swivels in it. It is a constant fight.

Posted by: CH at November 10, 2009 9:02 PM

I Bought the PCP for a big job--3 room addition. It took me 8 hours to roll on primer to 26 x 24 room plus hallway, ceilings included. This is the same time I would have expected using Wagners Manual Paint rollers.

Pros: Rolls paint on very evenly, Eliminates back and forth trips to fill paint stick like on manual rollers, I found it to be better to clean than the manual PaintMate even though it took practically as long to do, it was less hands on. For painting walls, not ceilings I would highly recommend this product.

Cons: If painting a ceiling, have a chiropractor or massage therapist close at hand. Roller attachment is very heavy and awkward to be holding out in front you. Only other con is the hose the unit comes with. It is a very very, and I again want to stress very, stiff hose with no swivels. As you are twisting to reach the tight spots, the hose is working against you, constantly wanting to twist the roller in your hands. They should have just shipped it with PVC pipe instead of the hose. If they could somehow include a softer hose with maybe a swivel on each end, I would not be able to give this thing enough thumbs up.

Posted by: WK at October 19, 2009 3:42 PM
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