Earlex - Spray Station 5500 (Rating: 4)

The day the previous post came out I had finished my fourth big job with this Earlex. My wife bought it for me for fathers day a few years ago, I got the kit that came with the extra needle (1.5mm). Before this I used a $14 HF HVLP sprayer with a very small compressor, I had to wait in between sprays for the compressor to cycle. I've sprayed Shellac, WB Poly, Latex, NGR Dye and a few other things with this sprayer. I just completed wainscoting in my daughters room and sprayed it with the 5500. I sprayed my neighbors entertainment center, mine as well, I build a desk in our loft that is 16 feet long, sprayed the latex paint, as well as shellac and WB poly for the desk top.

I'm not a professional, strictly a hobbyest, and home fixer-upper.

I gotta say, the Earlex is amazing. I've had my shares of frustration with it, but in the end, if I look on the web, or read some tips, the issues can almost always be resolved.

When spraying clear finishes, Shellac, Poly, Lacquer etc, this thing is a champ! I love it. When spraying my 16×2.5' desk top, I couldn't imagine finishing it any other way. I am the type that HATES the finishing process, its usually when I run into the most issues. Some complain that spraying takes too much time to mask off, I'd rather mask than brush any day.

As far as the performance, I've had it for 3 years this June (2013) I've sprayed Sherwin Williams, Vista, and Behr, General finishes, Minwax and Zinseer, and I think this thing is worth its weight in gold!

The Pros:

Easy to use, plug it in, make sure the filter is clean, turn it on, fill it up, dial the amount of material, and spray away, its that easy. Accompanied with a good spray book or DVD this thing will open your eyes.

Clean up is usually a straight forward process, and doesn't take much time.

Portability, pick it up and use it where you need it.

The Cons:

In a previous review, one had mentioned the handle is a bit small, I agree, but I do find I get more fatigue holding a brush then then holding the sprayer.

I've read in several reviews that people have complained of the teflon coating coming off inside the cup, I have that problem inside of my cup, after the first time I sprayed Shellac it started to come off.

The plastic clip that holds the hose on the handle shortly broke after purchase so the hose storage is a bit cumbersome.

Honestly thats really it for cons. If the cup didn't chip, I'd've given it 5 stars.

I do have some thoughts, I wouldn't call them "CONS" I'm not a fan of the intake being at the bottom of the unit, usually there is plastic where I spray and on more than one occasion, its sucked plastic and I've had to rush to turn off the unit. Also I do try to keep my spray area clean, but dust in the air and the like settles on the floor, so sucking air in from the floor seems a bit illogical to me, I'm sure there was a reason for it…

It would be nicer to have the hose just be able to be stored in the unit instead of having the top 2' of hose clipped, being that the clip is plastic, that creates a hassle, and I usually just store the hose separate now.

The hose pops out if you don't really put it in the spray gun, I don't call that a con, because it happening two times to me before I realized I just needed to use more pressure to keep the hose in isn't a big deal.

All in all, no one product is perfect, but I will say that this thing is worth the money. One tip that I can say yielded great results in spraying Latex was to do what Earlex Tech said, buy a paint mixer drill bit, I did notice that the paint would spray much easier. My dad had some wainscoting done that was sprayed by a pro with an airless system, and I think mine is smoother to the touch than his, not saying that its a better product, but it can yield GREAT RESULTS.