It’s Labor Day and it’s time to finish off those last projects before fall. If you’re in the market or thinking about buying a handheld paint sprayer, then this post is a great place to start with your research!
I recently had the opportunity to test drive a brand new Wagner FLEXIO 890 paint sprayer. The folks at Wagner provided me a test model and I put it into action on a large barn door project we had in the shop.
I really like small project paint sprayers if you are a homeowner or contractor because they save so much time and give much better results than brushing or rolling. We have a big spray rig that we use for house painting, but with a 25′ or 50′ hose that results in a lot of wasted paint when you just need to paint a couple doors or spray some baseboards or crown molding.
For years, I’ve used a Graco TrueCoat Plus II as my handheld project painter and that was all I’ve ever used, so I was curious to try something new.
Wagner Flexio 890: Nuts & Bolts
The FlEXIO 890 is a different design from some of the traditional handheld paint sprayers in that it is not an airless sprayer. It actually has a turbine (more like an HVLP) in the base and an air hose that connects to the sprayer.
- The rig comes with 2 nozzles (a Detail Finish Nozzle and the standard iSpray Nozzle) which makes it much more versatile than other competitors
- No thinning necessary with most paints or finishes which is a big time saver
- Adjustable spray pattern to wide vertical and horizontal or circular patterns, which makes it great for a variety of projects
- Adjustments for air power and material flow
- Compact and portable carrying case
- 1 year warranty
Like most homeowner grade paint sprayers, this is mostly made from plastic so I don’t have any delusions that this will last for decades. It is a starter paint sprayer at a very affordable price of around $200, but it can be found cheaper on Amazon.
We built a large barn door from raidata pine and rolled on the oil-based primer before finishing with Sherwin Williams ProClassic Acylic/Alkyd finish paint. The primer was sanded super smooth like prescribed in 6 Secrets to Silky Smooth Paint and we got everything ready for the sprayer.
Everything needed to get rolling was in the box (no extra parts to purchase or spray tips to pick out) and the assembly instructions were very helpful. The sprayer isn’t exactly plug and play as there are a lot of little parts to assemble. It wasn’t complicated though thanks to the instructions, but it did take longer than I expected. A more pre-assembled unit would be great.
It took me a little to get used to the larger hose that the FLEXIO uses because I am used to dealing with a thin spray hose on the bigger rigs or just an extension cord for my Graco. The air hose is 10′ long, which was more than sufficient in my case, but I can imagine a few circumstances when a longer hose or an extension would be helpful.
The turbine worked as expected and didn’t have any issues pulling the paint up and out through the spray tip. I did take issue with the fact that the volume adjustment seemed to do little to change the flow of paint, which was fairly light.
Despite a few attempts, I could not get a larger volume of paint through the tip which slowed the project down and caused a little texture in the final coat because the paint wasn’t thick enough to lay down and level out.
There are 2 different flow adjustments available and I may not have been using the right combination. You can adjust the turbine speed and also the material flow. So, maybe with a little more work, I can figure out the right way to use the two together. With other paint sprayers, I’m accustomed to just one adjustment.
Clearing any clogs was also not quite as simple as on other sprayers where you can just reverse the tip to clear the blockage and get right back to work.
The clean up process take a little longer on the Wagner because of the multiple parts to disassemble, but I actually preferred the clean up process here. Sure, it was more time consuming, but with the amount of breakdown available, you can really get into every crack and crevice to make sure everything is clean.
After cleaning, I was more confident that the FLEXIO was clean, and I know from experience that an extra clean spray rig greatly extends the life of the sprayer.
Overall, I like the sprayer and will be using it again with some future projects. The biggest drawback is my inability to get a higher volume of paint, but with a little more finagling, I may be able to resolve that. I’ll keep using it and see how it holds up over a few months of projects and see what kind of lifespan I can get from it.
For a homeowner grade paint sprayer, I think this one does a nice job. For the professional, this is not the sprayer for you, but for the average homeowner, it could definitely be a lifesaver for hard to paint projects, especially for things like furniture painting.