Graco 395 Finish Pro Air Assisted Airless Review

air assisted airlessOur take on the Graco 395…exclusively on the Cutting Room Floor.

[Related: See the 395 Rock Paint Grade Trim in the Field!]

We picked up our Finish Pro in September of 2010 specifically to use in the shop for cabinets, on both paint grade and clear finishes. For those who are researching it, in a very generalized nutshell, air assisted airless technology combines the fluid volume and pressure capabilities of airless sprayers with the low pressure atomization style of air technologies, such as HVLP.

So, in other words, you have the type of fluid pressure and flow control that you would have with an airless sprayer, which is the most common type of sprayer that most paint contractors use. There is significantly more flow capacity than with an HVLP, but still the fine spray pattern and pressure control. The 395 delivers air assisted functionality in a way that is easy to figure out how to use, facilitated greatly by a digital display for fluid pressure, and a guage for air. They adjust well and in a way that painters can quickly find that sweet spot where technique merges with coating characteristics.

The 395 is on a cart, completely self contained, no pressure pot or external compressor required. It makes a great cabinet grade machine, parked right in the shop, but it is not too cumbersome to load and take out to the jobsite for onsite applications. Lets face it, there are times when yes the HVLP is convenient, but you need to spray 38 door slabs and a set of cabinets.

[Related: How to Keep your Finish Pro and G40 gun Happy]

graco 395 finish pro

The G40 aaa gun comes with the 395 Finish Pro.

I’ve never enjoyed taking an HVLP gun inside cabinet boxes. Too bulky. I also, at times, don’t enjoy projector set parts and pieces for HVLP.

The use and cleanup of the 395 will feel very familiar to airless users making the move into air assisted. The Finish Pro is equipped with a very sporty G40 gun.

The only cumbersome aspect of using the 395 is that there is a dual hose attached to the gun (fluid and air hoses), so if you are working in a shop full of wet cabinet carcasses and parts/pieces, you do have to tend the hose to avoid any unfortunate incidents where hose meets finish. Here is a quick snippet of Todd from our review team taking the 395/G40 combo for a spin for the first time on a cabinet course set up in our shop. And this video shows the 395 in a production setting in air assisted mode.

All in all, I do recommend the Graco 395 air assisted airless as a serious fine finish machine for both shop and field. It is highly proficient in so many situations. I should add that I doubt we will ever use this machine as a straight up airless. You could certainly take it out into the field and spray drywall with it, but to me it would be a bit blasphemous to put barbaric miles on a machine that is capable of such fine finishes.

Anyone have any good 395 tales to share?

Click Here if you are interested in our Prep to Finish AAA training workshops.

Scott Burt

Scott Burt is a contractor and freelance writer whose column "From the Field" has appeared in American Painting Contractor magazine (www.paintmag.com) since 2008. His writing and projects also appear in other print and digital venues. This site is an extension of Scott's publication work, and he encourages readers to leave comments and questions about articles published here. Hope to hear from you!

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  1. Seumas says:

    Hi I’m new to aaa I have a wagner sf 23
    I’m using water based top coat and be
    Very grateful for any advice on air and fluid
    Pressure.
    Many thanks

    Seumas

  2. Good Post, Just sprayed my last job with this machine- no complaints.

    I show videos on youtube on the application using the sprayer, check them out.

    Painting Artist, Inc.

  3. Paul G says:

    Hi Scott,

    DIYer here who just ordered a Finish Pro 395 for a full home remodel and will put this to work on everything from spraying airless on the walls to AAA on the new cabinets and all doors and trims (got a separate hose and gun for running straight airless). Wanted to say thanks for your review of both the the AAA technology and this specific product, your comments were a big part of my decision and I’m confident it will serve me well. Sorry if I missed it but can you point me to your youtube channel vids that detail AAA as well as the FP 395 specifically? Want to soak up as much instruction as I can before it arrives next week. Also do you have any tip recommendations for AAA? Is a 4 or 5 fan tip a good place to start? FWIW I’ve done lots of airless work with those sizes using a now deceased Wagner. Also is it important to use FF tips when running AAA?

    Thanks much, Paul

  4. hattori says:

    Hi Scott, Can the 395 finish pro spray Dulux Acratex roof paint?

    • Scott Burt says:

      h –

      That is something we have not attempted. My guess would be that it would probably work. Dulux recommends airless spraying Acratex, not sure the pressure requirement to pump the stuff, but generally anything an airless can do, and air assisted can do better. I would contact Dulux to confirm with them.

  5. Jay says:

    Has anyone used a g15 gun with a 395 finish pro? Or can i use it?

    • Scott Burt says:

      Jay, I have done it for thin body, low viscosity clears. You just have to be sure to keep the pressure under 1500psi, which is not too hard to do with the SmartControl.

      • jay says:

        Hey Scott thanks alot for the fast reply,Thats kind of what I thought. Nothing beats that pump though. I have had it for 6 months my local paint rep sold it to me for cost. Its makes spraying so easy my teenage daughter has no problem using it.
        thanks man

  6. Thanks for this thread. I just purchased the finishpro 395, this thread tipped my decision to buy it. I am very anxious to try it. I currently have a graco 4900 hvlp to spray all my trim, doors and cabinets, can the 395 REALLY get comparable results in terms of finish? I’m happy with the 4900, its just time consuming and heavy after a day of spraying.

    • Scott Burt says:

      Thats great, Kevin. We purchased our 395 about 18 months ago and have not been disappointed. Having a smaller, sportier gun and more flow/control with a pump and reversible tips is just more efficient when working larger scale packages. We are taking ours out in the field this week for some fine finish tasks. Check back when your machine comes in, if you want tips on dialing in. Part of that process will depend on what materials you are spraying. It’s a good rig.

      • And now I feel even better about my purchase… Thanks for the quick reply, i’ll definitely check back for tips. Much appreciated.
        Kevin.

      • Kevin says:

        Hey Scott,
        My machine came in on thursday and I had it fired up on friday spraying some cabinet boxes and the back side of 50 cabinet doors. GOOD LORD! I am thoroughly impressed and a bit intimidated especially coming from an hvlp. It took a good 15-20 minutes to get used to the speed difference. Another huge difference was that my arm wasnt sore from holding a cup gun all day. As much as I think the machine is great I am not convinced Im using it at its full potential. (settings). I am spraying Insl-x cabinet coat, what would you suggest for a perfect setting for this product. Also, the display, does this do more than just show psi, i feel i have alot more to learn with its controls.
        Cheers,
        Kevin.

        • Scott Burt says:

          Hi Kevin

          I love hearing the initial thrill of aaa. And, yes, stepping over from hvlp, its a whole new superpower. First, check the Titan aaa posts and videos we put up last week to get a visual on flow, pace and distance from target. Completely different from hvlp. On setting with your 395, for the insulx, you shouldnt need to reduce the product. Start with fluid pressure at around 1400. Air should be 28-32. Check spray pattern on a piece of cardboard or scrap plywood. If you see tails around the edges, bump the fluid pressure up until they disappear. On the air pressure range, be aware that you also have control of that using the dial on the back of the gun. Sometimes we will turn the air all the way up at the machine compressor and then back it down at the gun. That actually makes the compressor happy because it unloads less. Hope this helps, and feel free to shoot questions back to me. The dial in phase is critical to getting best performance. We have many videos of the 395 in air assisted mode in action on our youtube channel if you need visual examples of how the use of it should look and feel. Its a great machine. We are deep into testing its counterpart from Titan, which is a similar machine, so you may pick up some tips from keeping track of the Titan footage as well.

  7. chris O says:

    Scott
    Best Purchase I have made for my business in the last ten yrs. Man do we love this machine. I am finding it puts on flawless finish with less effort and worry of a conventional Airless with FF tip. I am also finding it a lot easier for my men to use.. We have been moving almost exclusively in the direction of the ” new” ( Ben Moore Advance) finishes and are blown away by the sprayed results.
    This machine atomizes so well it is much easier for some one new to spraying to get great results. The machine really does make life a lot easier.
    Great Stuff Scott
    Chris

    • Scott Burt says:

      Great to hear, Chris. I think more and more paint contractors are learning about the magic of the aaa/waterborne combo. It’s so easy. We will be putting out some tutorial articles with footage in the next few weeks on exactly this. Will keep you posted on where it will be published.

      • Rick Reed says:

        Scott,
        I am a teacher with a fair background in brush and roller exterior and interior projects including fine enameling. I am older and looking toward retirement from teaching in a few years and want to continue with painting and finishing projects beyond retirement. I have relatively little experience with airless and insist on no overspray problems for the customer. I have used HVLP when first introduced to the market and greatly appreciate the practically no overspray results. I want your full point of view on using the UltraMax 11 395 as an airless for exterior trim on residential brick. I am content to move slower. Thank you much.

        • Scott Burt says:

          Rick,

          I am not familiar with an UltraMax II 395 although I have seen it in in 490 and up, but I will assume it as a 395 airless. I am not a big fan of exterior spraying. We do it in very limited applications, which I can explain if that would help. But generally, the reason I do not like it is the risk. If you are set up as a contracting business, and insured as such, your insurance will not like the concept, and will charge accordingly. They end up buying alot of car buffing jobs and repaints because of overspray mist drifting off in the wind and landing on people’s hoods. Absent that, sure, the 395 is a great rig for that. Once in a while you may get lucky and paint some isolated house out in the woods with no neighbors and no risk, and even then, the challenge is to keep the paint only on the siding and trim (not roof, windows, flashing, landscape etc). If you can justify all of this, or have conditions that are conducive and insurance that is onboard, you could add another layer of risk reduction by looking at an air assisted airless (there are several on our site), which gives you the volume of a pump, but the gun transfer efficiency of pretty close to an hvlp.

    • marek says:

      Chris,

      What settings of pressure and air are you using to spray BM Advance.
      Also what tip size.
      Could you please let me know.
      Thanks

  8. Scott Burt says:

    The G15 has the aaf style tip assembly, which would be more like the Air Cap style you described. This style is more true to the hvlp style in both function and form…geared for much lower pressures. My opinion is that less turbulence at the tip (with lower pressures) does tend to result in a cleaner show at the tip, and this also holds true of the Kremlin Xcite, which is in the same basic style but a slightly different technology (AirMix). We thin oil as little as possible in general, and really not at all with air assisted rigs. And we do not run Jap drier at all in spray situations, it has a tendency to mess with sheen. Its easy enough to induce drying through simple climate control measures, we find.

    • kara jennex says:

      Hello Scott
      I just bought a 395 finishpro and I am finding my self in a bit of a learning curve. I really plan on using the machine for spraying trim and doors, I find my self getting tip clogs with my gun (G40)
      I am thinking it could be the paint proclassic enamel witch is a new paint to me or my air/psi settings. I am really unsure or it’s something I am doing. Any ideas of what to do would be great?

  9. Robert Lovelace says:

    I have a Graco 395 Finish Pro and have problems with spraying lacquer. Every attempt to use the G-40 gun with spraying lacquer results in a build up at tip of gun. Has anyone else experienced this issue? Sprayed a ceiling tray trimmed out with maple and had a big problem with it spitting lacquer. Spraying latex or oil based paints no complaints. Any ideas to causes or solutions to prevent will be appreciated.

    • Scott Burt says:

      Robert,

      My company doesnt spray alot of lacquer with the 395, but in general, if you are getting build up it is best to dunk the gun and give it a toothbrush scrub every so often, and when not in use, submerge the tip in whatever solvent your product calls for. There may be other readers on this site who have lacquer specific tricks to share. My guess is that if you are getting good results with latex paints, you are probably already doing the basic things right. Have you dabbled in different products to see if there is a difference?

      • Robert Lovelace says:

        Well I have used other equipment like CAPspray Aircoat and never had such a problem with buildup at tip of gun. The CAPspray gun has a AIR cap tip unlike the G40 gun utilizing the RAC-X tip. I have seen on Graco’s product demonstration videos they show the use of the G15 gun being used in professional production shops spraying lacquer and achieving a pristine finish. I have tried dunking G40 gun in lacquer thinner to prevent the troublesome spitting problems but when your project is large, stopping in the middle of it to clean gun is just a headache. Also when spraying oil based paints what is percentage of thinner used? Example spraying Proclassic do you use any drying agent along with thinner?

  10. Nicolas says:

    Thanks for the fast reply,
    do you know the price range???
    Nic

    • Scott Burt says:

      You would have to check with your local Graco rep, and I believe most or all Sherwin Williams locations carry Graco. You might also be able to get an idea in pricing just by googling it. It’s more than a straight airless price, but its a much more versatile machine.

  11. Scott Burt says:

    I would recommend it for that. All of that. It is an hvlp rated gun, but with a piston pump behind it and up to 5 gallon capacity to draw from. With the low overspray and high transfer efficiency, it would be ideal for your applications, as you describe them.

  12. Nicolas says:

    Hi,
    The 395 airassisted sounds very interresting.
    We do a lot of exterior aluminum sidding painting. Would you recommend it for exterior and this type of application? Any other solution?

    Also, would it be better with hvlp for doors and windows frame???
    Thanks
    Nicolas

  13. Thomas Scott says:

    Scott,
    How has the new air assisted airless unit you were to try last month perform? I am anxious to hear your thoughts.

    Tom

    • Hi Tom

      Actually, as is often the case, things have gotten a bit out of sequence. There was a new product (sprayer) launch that came together rather quickly and required some pretty intense review over the past few weeks. Between that, and getting my magazine columns together, we havent been able to dive into the new air unit yet. Its driving me a bit crazy. We have been running the Finish Pro alot, as you probably know, but have not had the opportunity to run the new unit, which we want to do with clear finishes on cabinet grade. Stay tuned on that one, I will keep you posted for sure!

  14. Thomas Scott says:

    I have not tried the air assisted Graco as of yet but like the idea of the RAC tips that can be used on their G40 and AA30 guns. Since the G40 is supposed to be rated at 4000psi vrs the AA30 at 3000psi (from what I was told) I dont think it warrants an extra $ 400.00 for the G40 if your only to use them at lower pressures for fine finish low viscosity finish materials. Also the 290 pump vrs the 395 or 390 and the price differential. If anybody out there has used both or any combinations of them and can give me some comparison of your experiences I would appreciate your thoughts.

    • Hi Tom

      Thanks for the comment. The aa30/290 combo looks like a very nice cabinet grade/fine finish setup. I have to admit, there are times when I’m whoaing the Finish Pro down in pressure to get it where it needs to be. Even with higher viscosity materials like latex primer, as in our youtube vid last week, we were below the bottom end of the graco recommended range for the product and had plenty of juice. Your rig is probably just right at its top end to move heavier bodies, but built well for thin stuff. I’m assuming its mostly a shop based fine finish machine for you? If so, sounds ideal. To be honest, I dont plan on really ever having this machine in straight up airless mode and would never take it out onto a jobsite to spray drywall or anything.

      • Thomas Scott says:

        It looks like the 290 will be portable and lightweight enough for me to use it in a shop or on the jobsite where we do a lot of stain and lacquering as well. We always dedicate a rig for clears and stains to eliminate wear and tear along with possibly contaminating it with pigments even though I am very careful with cleaning and maintaining equipment. I look forward to your article on the new Air assist system you are going to try this month. By the way…..I have enjoyed your website. Good Job!
        Let me know more about it when you can.

        Thanks

        • I have the same quirk. I really try to avoid using the same machine for clears and pigmenteds. Its not always easy, and I reluctantly break the rule. I guess thats why more machines keep showing up in the shop. You won’t miss out on the air technology that I will be reviewing. Between this site, apc magazine and their site, it would be difficult. I appreciate your thoughts. Thank you.

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