How to Use a Wagner Paint Sprayer

Are you wondering how to use your Wagner paint sprayer?  Did you just buy a new sprayer and you want to get started ASAP on your painting project? 

We’ve got the low down and the advice you need on the Top 4 Wagner sprayers and how to use them to get Pro Results. 

how to use a wagner sprayer
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Top 4 Wagner Sprayers

#1. Flexio 890

#2. Control Spray Max HVLP

#3. Control Spray Double Duty

#4. Studio Plus HVLP

The Basics: How to Use a Wagner Paint Sprayer

Do You Need to Thin Paint for a Wagner Sprayer?

Yes, unless the sprayer you’re using is a turbine or an airless sprayer.  Those two types of paint sprayers generate enough PSI that they can spray unthinned paints and primers.  The only Wagner Sprayer below that doesn’t require you to thin your paint before spraying is the Flexio 890.

How to Prime a Wagner Paint Sprayer

You’ll be happy to learn that the priming process doesn’t have to be done with the Wagner Paint Sprayers on our list.  Larger sprayers, the airless types that are used for commercial purposes, they have to be primed. We won’t cover that here today.  We are sticking to the everyday residential Wagner paint sprayer models in our post.

Which Wagner Paint Sprayer is the Best? 

Editor’s Top 4 Wagner Sprayer List

#1. Wag​​ner Flexio 890

how to use a wagner paint sprayer
  • 3 spray patterns
  • Turbine System
  • 11.5 foot hose
  • 2 nozzles included
  • Lightweight
  • Output 8.4 gallons per hour

When a product says it has enough power to paint a wall that is 8 feet by 10 feet in size in just 5 minutes, then it has our attention. The 11.5 foot long hose gives you enough free play to move around your project.

We love that the Wagner Flexio 890 can be used to spray unthinned paints and also comes with a removable HVLP filter, saving you from having to buy filters separately.

The Wagner Flexio features include 3 adjustable spray patterns: horizontal, vertical and round fans giving you decent control over your output and results. the Flexio comes with 2 nozzles: the iSpray and a detail finish nozzle. Use the iSpray for larger jobs to cover more area faster and the detail finish nozzle for small projects and fine finishing.

The Flexio is portable, weighing only 12 pounds and comes with a carry handle.

Our experience is that if you’re painting indoors, it pays to take your time when masking off. You just can’t compromise on the price of your tape, your tarp, and your plastic sheeting.


Because many turbine paint stations like this Wagner have enough of an exhaust output that your masking will be blown off the wall, leaving you with a major mess. Also, make sure to wipe down the nozzle regularly, because it tends to clog.

We masked off one doorframe, bottom trim around the room, three outlets, one overhead fixture, and the floor. We found that it would take about 2 gallons of paint to cover a wall when compared to the same rolling or brushing work.

If you don’t like to paint or you have a pretty big project to complete, then the Wagner Flexio 890 HVLP Paint Station can make the job go by fast.

Compared to brushing the wall or using a roller, you’ll still wind up coming out ahead and that makes this investment one worth considering.

No compressor needed
Use indoors or outdoors
Handles a Ton of Materials
Comes with 2 nozzles
Adjustable volume flow dial
Many spray fan widths
Lightweight at 12 pounds

Uses more paint than other models
Cleaning is a chore
Hose only 11.5 feet

How to Use a Wagner Paint Sprayer: Flexio 890

When starting out with your Flexio, fill your paint cup.  Screw the paint cup to the gun, making sure to angle the suction tube properly for your paint job (backwards for spraying up and frontwards angle for spraying downwards).  

You adjust your power control based on the materials you’re spraying.  Low power is for thin materials and you increase the power if you’re spraying thicker materials. 

You also adjust the material flow control.  Thicker materials need you to dial it to higher flow which let’s more paint flow through your nozzle.  Adjust the spray pattern from horizontal to vertical to round by twisting the nozzle based on the results you’re looking for.

#2. Control Spray Max​​ HVLP

best paint sprayer
  • 2 stage Turbine system
  • 1.5 quart cup
  • Sprays stains and latex
  • 20 ft hose
  • 2 nozzles included: one for detail smooth finish another for semi smooth finish
  • Fan width 1/2″ to 12 inches

The Control Max HVLP sprayer is extremely reliable to get the job done, without breaking your budget. 

The Wagner Control Spray Max HVLP Sprayer gives you options because you can spray a pattern from 1/2 inch in size to 1 foot.

This unit will require you to thin your latex paint.

Wagner recommends that you thin latex paint by 10% to 20%.  We found that for some latex paint options, you may need to thin it by up to 40%. 

Pay close attention to the viscosity or thickness of your latex paint or else this sprayer can clog.

The Control Spray max is limited to small jobs which makes it perfect for odd jobs or a hobbyist.  Spraying cabinets is perfect but, painting a bedroom wall, for example, or a fence, would not be feasible with this equipment.  

1/2 inch to 12 inch fan width
No compressor needed
Flow and air pressure are adjustable
Sprays stains and latex

Hose might be too short for some
Oil based paint is a no no
Large Investment
Must take time to prime this unit properly

How to Use a Wagner Paint Sprayer: Control Spray Max HVLP

To get started with your Wagner Control Spray Max, fill the cup up with paint and tighten it up good.  It’s that simple; now you’re ready to start painting.

Adjust the nozzle spray pattern to suit your project, with larger spray patterns for small walls and smaller pattern for crafts and hobbies.

If you have multiple projects to paint with different colors, just twist off the gun and cup and screw on the second gun/cup it comes with and your ready to paint.

#3. Wagner Control Spray Double​​ Duty

  • 3 spray patterns
  • Better for Varnishes and Urethanes
  • Comes w/2 cups
  • Beginner friendly
  • 1 year warranty
  • 1.5 quart cup
  • 2 stage turbine: no compressor needed

The Wagner Control Spray Double Duty provides users with a maximum level of control while providing a minimal level of overspray when used correctly.

It accurately spray sealants, stains, and other light body materials in addition to paint when it’s at the right viscosity. We found that you had to thin down latex a TON before you could spray it through this paint gun.

It works great for finishing work. Spraying stain and varnish seems to be what this sprayer does particularly well.

We’d likely include lacquer in with that assessment too.

It takes you about 5-10 minutes to get everything setup and then most jobs can be completed in about the same amount of time.

The variable trigger in particular makes finishing work consistent, but still personalized, and that gives this Wagner Project paint sprayer a unique advantage.

Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, here is what we discovered while taking this double duty unit out for a test run.

You have horizontal, vertical, and round spray patterns from this Wagner sprayer.  The horizontal and round spray patterns were relatively easy to apply.

This versatility makes the Wagner Control Spray a good paint sprayer for latex paint. The vertical spray pattern took a little time to master, so we recommend practicing your technique if you need to paint vertically with this equipment. 

We do love how fast you can change between materials with the design of this Wagner model. Spraying stain and varnish seems to be what this sprayer does particularly well.

The variable trigger in particular makes finishing work consistent, but still personalized, and that gives this paint sprayer a unique advantage. 

For paint, you’re going to need to strain it every single time. Make sure you thin down the paint per the manufacturer’s instructions and then strain the paint before sending it through this sprayer for the best results.

It’s also lightweight and produces a fine spray that doesn’t give you a whole lot of atmospheric pollution while you’re working, so it isn’t as temperamental as other sprayers with a similar design. 

1 year warranty
Great price
Beginner Friendly

Need to thin down latex paint ALOT

How to Use Your Wagner Control Spray Double Duty

The Control Spray Double Duty is as easy to use as the other sprayers on our list.  Fill your paint cup and then point the suction tube backwards if you’re spraying upwards and frontwards if your spraying down.  

Adjust your spray nozzle for horizontal movement (horizontal spray)or vertical movement (vertical spray). You do that by simply turning the red dial directly behind the nozzle.

Spray 6-8 inches from your surface to get even consistent results without any runs.  Use your whole arm to move the sprayer, not your wrist.

#4. Studio Plus H​​VLP

how to use a wagner sprayer
  • 15 foot hose
  • Lightweight
  • Perfect for small to medium projects
  • 2 nozzles included: one for detail smooth finish another for semi smooth finish

This stationary sprayer is a great option for those who have hobbies or crafts that require painting.  The control finish nozzle creates a semi-smooth finish that can give you the rustic look you want.

Or, if you prefer, the Wagner Stationary HVLP detailed finishing nozzle creates the smooth finish that you need. You’re given a 15-foot air hose to move around your shop or garage.

This paint spray station works great on furniture and small crafts.  Latex paint works well with the Wagner Studio Plus HVLP Stationary Sprayer, but you will need to thin your paint.

It is also incredibly lightweight, removing any chance that your wrist or arm will get tired while spraying. Without paint, the equipment weighs just 1.4 pounds, or about 10% the weight of similar models

Power cord plus the 15 foot air hose gives you 25 feet of working space which is plenty for craft and hobby painting in your shop, outside or in your garage.

Cleaning isn’t difficult with this paint sprayer. It isn’t super easy either.  You’ll need to clean out the cup, the sprayer, and the hose by hand.  We recommend not using oil-based paints because of this.

Good for Hobbyists
2 nozzles included

Controls take some time getting used to
Picky about viscosity of thinned paint
No oil based paints

How to Use Your Wagner Studio Plus HVLP

The Studio Plus is perfect for beginners who are learning how to spray.  This unit is built for all your furniture, up cycling, and crafting needs.

Fill your paint cup and remember to angle the suction tube.  If you’re painting downwards, angle the tube towards the front of your sprayer.  The opposite is true if you’re spraying upwards.

Adjust your air power: higher power is for thicker materials, while lower power is for thinner materials like stains.

Next, adjust your paint flow settings.  Higher paint flow lets more paint through so that’s the setting you want for thicker materials like latex.  Dial down the paint flow for thin materials like lacquers and varnishes.

If you need to switch out to do finer detail work, you can switch over without any downtime to the fine detail finished nozzle for a smooth fine finish.

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Wagner Paint Sprayer Troubleshooting

What sort of problems could you come across when using one of the sprayers above?  Let’s walk through a few and their solutions to get you back to spraying.

Wagner Paint Sprayer Spitting

This can happen for a few reasons.  First one is that there is air in your line.  Make sure that your paint cup is screwed on tightly to keep air from getting into your line.  Check all your hose connections too.  Tighten them up if they’re loose.

Second reason is that your tip is clogged.  Either it wasn’t cleaned out properly after you last used it or the paint wasn’t strained enough and there is foreign material in your line or your paint isn’t thin enough. 

You will have to remove the tip and clean out the clog.  Remove your paint and strain it back into your paint cup.  Make sure your paint is thinned enough for the size of your tip.  

If you’re Wagner sprayer comes with pressure adjustments, make sure that your pressure is high enough to spray your material.  Stains and thinner materials require higher pressure to spray them.

Remember, the smaller your tip, the thinner your paint will have to be.  Fine detail Wagner nozzles will need to have the paint thinned before spraying, if they can spray latex or thicker materials at all.


There you have it.  A break down of the top 4 Wagner Sprayers and how to use each Wagner paint sprayer to get those Pro results you’re trying so hard to achieve.

Wagner not for you?  Check out our Best Paint Sprayer Reviews to find one that’s perfect for you.


What is the best sprayer to use inside my home?

Check out our detailed reviews and discussion post where we compare many different brands of paint sprayers HERE.