Wagner PaintREADY Sprayer Review

Wagner PaintREADY Sprayer
Courtesy of Wagner

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I gave the Wagner PaintREADY Sprayer a shot on a small portion of my house exterior. Even though the PaintREADY Sprayer isn't really designed for exterior use, the west side of my house--which I am currently painting by hand--provided a great canvas to see how the PaintREADY performed. I found some things I really liked about this inexpensive cup-style sprayer, yet a few other things that gave me pause.

Great Stuff About the PaintREADY

The PaintREADY consists of two major pieces: the turbine back end and the sprayer front end. This two-part design provides benefits in a couple of ways.

First, it allows you to screw on the paint cup with ease. With the bulky back end (consisting of a handle, trigger, and cord) removed, it's a cinch to screw on the front end to the cup.

This may not sound like a big deal, but it is. I've tried to screw on the cup to integrated units, and it's quite a balancing act. One hand holds the sprayer firmly in place, while with the other hand you screw in the cup. It's not very easy. And if you like to use plastic paint cup liners, you've got another source of irritation to make the job harder.

Loving the 2-Piece System

Secondly, this two-piece system makes the sprayer easier to clean. The back half is simply an air blower. Detach and set it aside. Then, wash off the front end, cup, and siphon.

Disassembled, this front end was small and easy to handle in my sink.

The PaintREADY is light-weight, a serious plus when using these cup-style sprayers. Because you are holding 1.5 quarts of paint and the sprayer and supporting a length of an extension cord with just one hand, every ounce counts. A majority of the PaintREADY appeared to be made of plastic, not metal, and I consider this a benefit.

Droplets More Than a Fine Mist

I had a difficult time laying down a perfect, fine coat of paint. I wasn't sure if the turbine was too weak to properly atomize the paint. I ended up with a layer of small droplets instead of the mist that I experience with my airless paint sprayer.

I was using Valspar Duramax satin exterior latex paint, self-priming paint that is thicker than conventional exterior latex or interior latex. The PaintREADY instructions say that "the material being used may need to be thinned with the proper solvent as specified by the material manufacturer."

What does that mean? Valspar doesn't recommend thinning Duramax, and Wagner does not expressly exclude this type of paint.

Clarification From Manufacturer

Arti Lyde, Wagner's Director of Product Management, clarified a number of points for me recently. First, it's imperative that the user lets the turbine run for a few seconds to get up to speed before releasing the paint. That's the nature of these turbine-based paint sprayers. Most of the splatter I experienced was in the initial release.

More importantly, the PaintREADY isn't meant to mist your surface; it's meant to lay down more of a roller-type, stippled finish. Though Lyde didn't mention it, the highly atomized "misty" sprayers create havoc with your house interior, infiltrating and coating every conceivable surface.

Second, it's ultimately up to the paint manufacturers to communicate thinning instructions. However, the Wagner PaintREADY is designed to be a "no thin" paint sprayer. Many sprayers do cost less than the PaintREADY, but the price the consumer pays is in the form of thinning out the paint. Paint sprayers striving for "no thin" status will cost a bit more--any sprayer, any company.

Locking Mechanism:  Failed in Earlier Models, Likely Fixed In Subsequent Runs

But one thing is certain: the failure of the locking system designed to hold the front and back units together. A tiny white tab is expected to lock the units together, yet this tab does not set in place.

I discovered this the hard way. When spraying out clean water, I gently rocked the sprayer from side to side. That motion caused the two pieces to loosen and the front end to fall off.

However, the PaintREADY's two-part design meant that it fell apart with little mess. Only air passes between the back and front ends, no paint. Compared to horrifyingly messy hose-separations I've experienced with airless sprayers, this was a piece of cake.

Ms. Lyde of Wagner said that I may have received a first-run sample model before locking mechanism issues were ironed out.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.