Graco FinishPro HVLP Sprayer Review – 9.5 ProContractor
With complete control from the Edge II Plus gun, the Graco FinishPro HVLP sprayer allows the user to apply finishes with near perfection.
Using an airless sprayer may be the best tool for painting a building (home or commercial), but it’s not the end-all-be-all. These machines are great for spraying a lot of paint really quick, but details, not so much. When it’s time for shooting cabinets, furniture, finished carpentry, or custom fabrication work, you want something with more detailed control. The new Graco FinishPro HVLP sprayer provides adjustability on more than just pressure and paint volume. We use the Graco FinishPro HVLP 9.5 ProContractor on a few projects to get a good feel for the features.
It’s one thing laying down paint with some orange peel texture, and another when you want that show car finish. Typical airless sprayers will never achieve this feat, even with the best painter (person). With the Graco FinishPro system, you have the tool/s to achieve near perfection in your finish. The FinishPro HVLP lineup is flexible, allowing you to control air volume, paint volume, fan pattern, and air pressure.
Typically, to get that slick finish, you reach for a standard cup gun or gravity-fed spray gun, such as a car painter would use. The problem here is that it requires a decent air compressor, along with some really good filtering. Compressors and filtering equipment can get expensive, really quick. In addition, if you have to paint some pieces onsite, then it’s really difficult, or impossible, to mobilize the compressor and filter setup. You definitely can’t paint with a cup gun using a contractor’s pancake compressor.
Graco FinishPro HVLP Sprayer 9.5 ProContractor Features
The Graco FinishPro HVLP sprayer uses turbine technology to pressurize the paint cup as well as atomize the paint at the tip. No compressor needed! A hard plastic outer cup serves as a home for the flex liners which hold the paint. A small air hose connects from just behind the gun tip and runs to the hard plastic cup. Pressurized air from the gun then pressurized the outer cup, hence expanding the air cavity between the outer cup and inner flex liner. This pressurization pushes the paint inside the liner through the mesh filter and through the FinishPro HVLP gun tip. One of the reasons this is a better idea is because the air in the cup is the first released. Once you see the paint spraying, you can be sure that all the air has been purged. Additionally, this feature allows the Graco FinishPro HVLP sprayers to spray paint sideways, upside down, or any other direction. It is not dependent upon gravity or suction.
The FinishPro HVLP ProContractor series includes the SmartStart technology. Users have the choice to set it to SmartStart or flip the rocker switch to “On” which is always on. The SmartStart will pressurize the hose and gun, then shut off if the sprayer is not being used. This is a really efficient feature. At the same time, you should be careful. If the machine shuts off when idle, once you pull the trigger, it will splatter a little. This is not a big deal, but make sure you have the gun pointed away from your work until it pressurizes.
Graco Product Evolution
This is not the first time that we’ve seen Graco improve on existing platforms. We don’t expect manufacturers to ever get it perfect, especially the first time. A few months ago, we reviewed the Graco Ultra Cordless Handheld Sprayer with DeWalt power. This was a huge step in improvements from the past. This FinishPro seems to take that same leap forward.
Edge II Plus Gun Technology
Graco not only upgraded their HVLP system with a turbine, but they also redesigned the guns and dubbed them Edge II. The Edge II has a redesigned air cap that increases the paint flow by up to four times. Also, the internal needles are easy to clean and change, without any tools. This is an easy 3-step process:
- Remove front air cap and nozzle
- Slide trigger lever to release the needle
- Pull the needle out
Other sprayers may be great for latex or even oil base, but the buck may stop there. With the FinishPro series, the products are endless. Using solvent based finishes are not a problem. We sprayed urethane, lacquer, and epoxy-based finishes through the FinishPro 9.5 ProContractor without issue. Also, we could easily dial in the gun to spray the different finishes for the best results. Right on the spray gun, the user can adjust several aspects of the paint output. The tip can be indexed every 45 degrees. With the tip vertical, you get a horizontal fan pattern, whereas a horizontal tip achieves a vertical fan. Furthermore, with the tip at the NE-SW or NW-SE angle, the pattern becomes more of a tight circular pattern.
Air flowing to the gun can be controlled from the FinishPro base. By turning the dial clockwise, the air volume increases, and the LED indicator displays the level. Furthermore, the air at the gun can be controlled as well. The Edge II Plus gun allows the user to dial in the air flow desired for atomizing the airborne paint. Even more, the paint volume can also be controlled from the Graco HVLP spray gun.
Using the Graco FinishPro HVLP Sprayer with the Edge II Plus Spray Gun
Let me first say that shooting Turquoise urethane paint for the first project was probably not the best idea. While it did an excellent job on the finish, it also seemed to get turquoise Everywhere, including on the FinishPro machine. The next job required a black urethane finish on some rebuilt aluminum light poles. This urethane paint required the satin black base, mixed 3:1:1 with urethane catalyst and reducer. Again, the Graco FinishPro HVLP sprayer laid the black paint down very nice.
Pro Tip: when shooting for a very slick and glossy finish, make sure the first coat is a tack coat. This will provide an excellent base for the additional coats to adhere to and layout nice and flat, mitigating sags and runs.
After the tack coat was applied, we waited about 10 minutes to hit it again with three more coats of satin black. One of our partnering companies asked us to shoot these light poles, with them spec-ing the paint, and they requested the poles to be painted without a primer base. We aim to please, so we did what they said. With the first tack coat, I had the “Air” control set to about 50% and the “Fluid Control” set to “5” (out of 8). On the subsequent coats, I changed the “Fluid” control to “Max” to really lay on the urethane paint. Amazingly enough, I was able to add three coats without getting any runs or sags.
There comes a time we have to do things that we’re not too excited about. Cleaning up the FinishPro HVLP sprayer is not that big of a pain, but it does take a little time. Of course, shooting solvent paints makes this part a little more laborious as well. One great thing is that there are no hoses that need to be cleaned of paint like you would with an airless sprayer. At this point, you can turn the FinishPro off, disconnect the hose and place the machine and hose aside. We can just work with the gun at this time.
You have a couple of choices here on how you break down the gun for cleaning. I’ll tell you our procedure, which produces less mess. We first unscrewed the barrel nut that connects the gun to the top of the cup. Once this is unscrewed, you should have the gun separate from the cup, after you disconnect the small silicone rubber air hose. Set the paint cup aside and just work on the gun at this point. Turn the gun upside down and fill the cavity with solvent, let it sit a minute, then pull the trigger. Gravity should be enough to push the solvent out and clean the residual paint in the gun. This may need to be repeated a couple times. Unscrew the air cap, and remove the tip and needle. Give these a quick solvent wipe down or soak them in solvent.
Next, make your way to the cup, remove the large black ring on the top to separate the top and bottom. This allows removal of the flex liner, discard the flex liner and any unused paint appropriately. The hard plastic cup should be clean, so just focus on the cap, including the mesh filter. Pull off the mesh filter to soak in solvent, then clean the cap with additional solvent.
No doubt, this Graco FinishPro 9.5 ProContractor is a great addition to anyone’s shop that needs to spray fine finishes. We can see cabinet shops using this a lot and even furniture makers that use spray-on finishes. Some finish carpenters could make use of this as well, including on-the-job site use. One limitation of this system is the one-quart cup. Graco does offer a two-quart option, which is a shoulder strap option, using a hose to push the paint to the gun.
One other note is the price. Purchasing the Graco FinishPro HVLP 9.5, such as we tested, will set you back ~$1,500. This is not your typical walking-around money, so it’s definitely a purchase that you want to make with a purpose. With that said, we can also see that shops can earn a return on their investment, providing better output and happier customers. In addition, the FinishPro allows for painting anywhere there’s power.
To get your Graco FinishPro HVLP Sprayer and find out more information, click here.
FinishPro HVLP 9.5 ProContractor Specifications
TurboControl System with LED Display
- Adjust the TurboForce turbine speed to match the performance you require
- Reduces heat build-up
- Runs quieter
- Extends turbine system life
- 50% longer hoses
- Ultimate control with independent user controls for material volume, air flow, and spray fan size
- Exclusive Graco air cap design increases the fluid flow in every need by 4X
- Change out needles from the front of the gun with just a click
- 75% lighter trigger pull than the competition with EasyGlide
Dual Filtration System
- Premium automotive-grade filter provides industry-leading, high-performance filtration
- Outperforms foam and traditional paper filters used on most HVLP systems
Compact and Durable Body
- Rugged all steel enclosure protects the turbine on the job and during transport
- On-board gun and cup holder allows for easy transport and paint refills with fewer spills
- Separate utility toolbox built-in for needle storage