Graco FinishPro HVLP 9.5 Pro Contractor Series Paint Sprayer
Graco FinishPro HVLP 9.5 Pro Contractor Series Paint Sprayer
When the Graco FinishPro HVLP (High Volume, Low Pressure) system first showed up at my doorstep 6 months ago. My first thought was, “Oh crap.” I didn’t know this tool was on the way for review, I thought we were going to be testing one of their new cordless, airless sprayers not their top of the line HVLP system. To be completely honest, I didn’t have much HVLP spray experience and the sprayer I was using was a cheap Earlex 5500 I bought on Amazon for under $300. It was a far cry from the $1500 Graco FinishPro that just showed up. I felt it was well above my pay grade and experience level. Boy was I wrong. This tool and the right products had me producing glass smooth finishes in no time.
Features and Specifications
- Flexliner Bag System with 1qt capacity
- Dual Filtration
- 5-Stage Turbine with SmartStart
- Max PSI – 9.5
- Max Hose Length – 60 ft (30ft included)
- 4′ Lightweight Whip
- #3, #4, and #5 needle sets included
- Edge II Plus gun
- Turbine Weight – 26lbs
- Completely tool-less operation and cleaning
- Made in the USA
Graco FinishPro 9.5 Turbine
At the heart of the Graco FinishPro HVLP setup is the turbine. The turbine is essentially a high volume, low pressure air compressor. It’s specialized in that it delivers clean air at sufficient volume and pressure for the spray gun. What makes this turbine unit special over other HVLP turbines is that it has SmartStart. SmartStart only starts/runs the turbine when there’s a pressure loss in the the hose, i.e. the trigger is pulled on the spray gun. Otherwise the turbine is off. It makes for a much quieter spray area while keeping the spray setup ready to go at a moments notice.
Another nice feature of the turbine is the Turbo Control. This is a dial that is set on the turbine that adjusts the maximum output of air. It also adjusts how fast the system recovers when the trigger is pulled on the spray gun. I keep mine at about 60% based on the speed I spray.
Edge II Plus Spray Gun
The other half of the Graco FinishPro 9.5 setup is the spray gun. This isn’t just some off the shelf hvlp gun. It’s a specially developed with the turbine in mind. We talked about the Turbo Control on the turbine but the air is also further adjustable on the Edge II Plus gun. In addition to the air, the material volume, fan pattern, and fan size are all independently adjustable as well. This puts all of the necessary controls right at the point of spray.
Flexliner Bag System
The Edge II Plus is available with a traditional metal material cup but most often ships with the Flexliner Bag system. This is a similar system to the one used on the Graco Ultra Cordless Sprayer Rob reviewed awhile back. It’s similar in that it uses the same Flexliner bags so that material can be sprayed in any orientation but this one is different in that it pressurizes the outer cup to squeeze the material up into the gun. It works really well and the gun never loses prime even when I’m spraying upside down or sideways. The unit ships with 4 bags and additional bags were about $3 each at Sherwin Williams (and cheaper yet on Amazon). This cup system is probably the best part about the Edge II Plus gun.
The second best part about the Edge II Plus gun is the independent controls. The previous version, the Edge II, didn’t have a separate air control adjustment. It was a combination air/material volume. Now everything can be dialed in separately and it is awesome.
Cleaning of the Edge II Plus gun wasn’t terrible. Everything disassembles really easily and there are not that many parts. No tools are needed for disassembly or reassembly. The included cleaning brush is just the right size for all of the small orifices. The flexliner bags can also be cleaned and reused.
Graco FinishPro In Use
I do a lot of custom carpentry and built-in cabinets. Some might even consider it woodworking. In the time I’ve had the Graco FinishPro I’ve built a dining table and a few sets of mudroom cabinets. When I took on the jobs I needed a finish that would be flawless but also fast. Time is money and I don’t have the time to put down one or two coats of finish a day. I needed to be able to finish multiple pieces in a day with perfect results. Having the Graco was only half the battle, the other half was spraying a pro level product, not some off the shelf polyurethane.
I went to my local Sherwin Williams and told them what I was building and the equipment I had. They directed me to the products that would best suit my needs. I’m spraying almost exclusively the SW Hi-Bild pre-cat lacquer. I get it in both pigmented and clear. I can spray it out of the Graco with the #3 included needle set with no thinning required. If it’s especially hot or dry I thin about 10-15%. What’s awesome about the pre-cat is I just have to pour it into the flexliner and then spray it out. It dries to the touch in under 15 min. The flexliner keeps the gun primed with no air in the system so I can leave the gun loaded all day or even across a couple days.
When spraying the pre-cat I set the turbo control at about 70%, material flow at 7 or 8, air at about 5-6 and the fan width about 5-6″. What’s great about spraying pre-cat in this HVLP system is that I don’t have to mask off much in my shop. Anything more than a couple feet away may get some dried paint particles on them but they easily blow off. This lacquer has to be sprayed close to the project or it dries in the air.
Spraying flats is easy but what about hard to reach areas or cabinet interiors? That’s what makes this unit special. It can spray upside down. That’s the biggest benefit of remote pressure pot HVLP systems without all the extra cleanup that comes with it.
Areas For Improvement
There are three things that Graco could improve that would make this thing perfect. The first is that there needs to be more tension on the air adjustment knob on the Edge II Plus gun. When spraying in hard to reach areas, it’s easy to accidentally bump the air setting and either bump it to max or bump it all the way off. I’ve had both happen.
The second thing is that the manual should include a portion in the section on cleaning the unit on how to re-lube the rubber o-rings in the Edge II Plus gun. There are two rubber o-rings that need a little lube after cleaning. The first is where the lid of the flexliner cup attaches to the bottom of the gun. The second is that the needle needs a little grease before reassembly. Both of these areas you can feel the rubber drag if you try and reassemble them dry. I ended up using the grease from my Earlex cleaning kit. Just a tiny bit on the end of the finger to touch both areas. If you use an excessive amount, it may affect your finish. Use sparingly.
The third thing is that the lid of the flexliner cup isn’t all that durable when used with pro-grade finishes such as lacquers. The solvent used in lacquer and relevant thinners has already started cracking the lid. I wish there was an optional metal lid that was compatible with the flexliner system. I don’t need to see through the lid, I just look through the side of the cup. In Graco’s defense, they do warn about submerging the lid in solvent. Well, when the gun is primed with product, it’s more or less submerged in solvent.
Despite the areas for improvement above, the output quality of the tool is still second to none. Sure, the Graco FinishPro isn’t cheap but neither is having to redo a finish. The amount of time this tool saves me has more than made up for its cost. You can find this sprayer and other Graco products at your local paint store, Sherwin-Williams, Diamond Vogel, Hirshfield’s, etc. This sprayer is also available on Amazon.
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