Graco Paint Sprayer Review

One of the keys to finally finishing painting the corner hutch, which we revealed back here, was our investment in a paint sprayer.  I haven’t always been pro spray painting.  You could say that I’ve crossed party lines.  Sorry…I couldn’t help myself throwing in a little election night pun.  Consider yourselves lucky that I’m not posting a vote on the blog about whether or not buffalo check is the new chevron.  But back to the hutch.  I started painting it with my typical brush tendencies.  But over thirty minutes into priming the first coat, I had barely finished cutting in the strange angles in the upper cabinet area.  I made early projections of it taking precisely 18 electoral votes hours to finish painting it.  Just call me Ohio!  It was a battle ground state but I was leaning paint sprayer and finally pulled the trigger.  Since Lowes is practically in our back yard, I started doing research on the Lowes website, poured over tons of reviews and compared prices before finally settling on the Graco Spray Station 2900 for $119.00.

So off to the store we went to pick up said spray painter and bring it home with us.

This is where I admit to you all dear blog readers that I am 100% chick when it comes to all the girly things in life (makeup, cleanliness affinity, decorating, pink, fancy dishes, and most importantly bling) but when it comes to direction reading, I’m 100% dude.  Seriously…sign me up for my man card and throw me some Carharts.  I don’t do instruction manuals.  Ever.  Even when the instructions come with a fancy instructional DVD, like the paint sprayer did.

So out came the paint sprayer and I quickly put it together, which included attaching the air hose to the sprayer and filling the paint container with primer, and dove right in.

And then I went to town spray priming away.

Now this is where I tell you everything that I did wrong so you can learn from my mistakes.  A life lesson of sorts.  My main piece of advice to you…READ THE DIRECTIONS AND FOLLOW THEM.  I learned by trial and error, consulting the instructions when I ran into problems.  So here are a few tips:

  • All paints have a different viscosity.  And a different viscosity sprays differently.  The spray painter kit came with a viscosity tester and a guide to help you determine how much to water down the paint.  I opted to use the trial and error method instead which may not have been the way to go.  But I did learn about how much water to add to my primer vs. gloss paint.  I’ve got it down pat for the perfect finish.
  • Thin and even coats are always best.  I learned, again by trial and error, that setting the paint sprayer for a lighter spray and moving the sprayer steadily was my preferred mode.  I tend to be an oversprayer so the finer the spray the better.  After three coats with the paint sprayer, I had excellent primer coverage.
  • Don’t water the paint down too much.  When you do, it splatters, doesn’t adhere to the painting surface, and generally looks awful.  But trust me, those air bubbles come out seamlessly with a light sand and another coat of paint.

By the time I got around to painting the interior of the cabinet navy, I had the paint sprayer pretty much figured out.  I owned that paint sprayer and coats were getting quicker and quicker.  I could put a coat of primer onto the whole cabinet in less than fifteen minutes.  Shortly after I finished painting the hutch’s interior blue, it was hurricane Sandy time.  So we moved the hutch inside and turned our vacant front porch into a spray painting station.  We plopped down some drop cloths and plastic-ed up the windows in the unfinished space.  But overspray was minimal with the sprayer, especially with the nozzle set on low.

To protect the navy interior from glossy white paint, we taped up a piece of cardboard, which also served as a nice little surface to test my paint settings on.

Now that I was working on the finish coat for the hutch, I wanted a really nice, smooth finish.  But for some reason, no matter how perfectly I nailed the viscosity/water down the paint combo, I kept getting splattering.  Then I discovered something.  The smoothness of my finish was directly correlated to how clean the spray nozzle was.  After three primer coats and three coats of navy, the nozzle was starting to clog with the three coats of glossy white paint.

Armed with a paper towel, I wiped the nozzle clean periodically while spraying the cabinet.  Worked like a charm!  Another key to the perfect finish with a paint sprayer is practice, practice, practice.  Between coats, I would let the paint sprayer sit dormant on the porch.  For some reason, when I picked it back up an hour or so later, the first few “sprays” ended up splotchy.  It was like there was air or moisture pooling making the paint finish inconsistent.  This was remedied by first spraying on the cardboard until a consistent paint spray and finish comes through.

I learned alot about how to properly use an air powered paint sprayer.  By the time I finished the cabinet, I felt I knew what I was doing, had learned my paint sprayer, and was ready to spray paint EVERYTHING in our house, Goose included.  I think he would dashing in green!  So now, I give you the official Graco Spray Station 2900 rating…Siskel and Ebert give it two thumbs up…I mean…Angie gives it four out of five paint cans.

I scored the paint sprayer four paint buckets out of five.  Here’s why:

Pros:  Lightweight, long hose, many paint settings, easy to clean, excellent trouble shooting guide in the directions booklet, great value, multiple directional spray settings, sprays in all angles, uses less paint than traditional paint brush painting, minimal overspray.

Cons:  If you don’t REALLY push the hose into the sprayer it pops out (the hose is hard for me to push in but Colby handles it like a dream), nozzle clogs quickly.

I would absolutely recommend this product.  I love it and I can’t wait to whip it our again for another project.  I’ve got a few lined up, including thrift store chair painting.  Stay tuned.

Pssst…How about you guys?  Have you made the switch from brush to sprayer recently?  What machine did you go with?  Any of my other fellow ladies out there have dude tendencies?  Like in instruction reading?!


  1. Hey Angie, greetings from CT. I have had a couple paint sprayers over the years and have been very disappointed with them. I would get a project almost finished and a huge glob of paint would come out of the damn things and ruin the whole effort. My biggest complaint was the clean up, it seemed to take forever and I would never get the tip cleaned properly and have to buy a new one only to find they were no longer available. I do have a huge airless sprayer for spraying whole rooms or the outside of houses, that thing works like a gem, you put it over a five gallon bucket of paint and in no time your done. Again, clean up is a pain but you save so much time over hand painting it is worth it. I plan to make new cabinet doors this winter and paint them, maybe I’ll try the sprayer you got, then if if it come out crappy I’ll blame it on you!!!

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