Since the advent of the airless paint sprayer in the mid twentieth century, many a manufacturer has tried its hand at producing one. Graco is not only one of the first companies to build an airless sprayer, but it has remained steadfastly among the most respected brands in the industry. Through the years, they have been responsible for all sorts of innovation that has improved the operator’s experience with the equipment – many of which have become standards throughout all brands.
Graco sprayers have always been known for their solid construction, and that’s certainly evident in the Graco Ultra Max II 490 PC Pro. The 490 is on the small side of Graco’s professional line up, but it’s a sturdy, well built little pump that can handle just about any paint, stain or primer you can throw at it. Residential projects of all types are a breeze for the Ultra Max II 490 PC Pro, and it’s great for light commercial jobs and property maintenance as well.
Starting in the “sturdy” department, the 490 has a brushless motor that produces one full horsepower. That’s a lot of power for a machine in this class, and a lot of torque goes along with it. The motor is fully enclosed to prevent dust, debris and overspray from getting into it, and a fan keeps it running cool. All that power and torque is directed though the hardened steel gears of the Advantage Drive system to keep the pump stroking slow and steady.
One of the cool features on this machine is the Smart Control 2.5. I’ll admit, that when I first saw one of these on a Graco sprayer, I thought it had to be a gimmick – just one more part to catch overspray. However, this nifty little computer keeps track of the 490’s usage in both hours and gallons, just like a car’s odometer keeps mileage. This is a great tool to help you remember when maintenance items should be performed, and the “trip” counter helps you track your time and paint on a particular job. If there’s a glitch in the system, Smart Control gives error codes to help solve the problem and get you spraying again. It also displays the PSI you’re pushing at any given time.
The pump is a well-machined little pusher that’s built to keep up with the Energizer bunny. Graco claims that it has long-life packings. A Chromex rod and hardened stainless steel cylinder are also said to help make this pump last twice as long as its next competitor. Now, I can neither confirm nor deny that, but what I do know is that Graco makes replacement pumps affordable and accessible through their Endurance Now program. They’re also ridiculously easy to replace right on the jobsite. If you run into trouble, it takes a hammer and about a minute to pop the faulty part off and replace it with a new one.
Graco uses a large filter in this machine that not only keeps the paint flowing smoothly and cloglessly (how’s that for a new word?), it’s also easy to remove at clean-up time. You won’t need tools to get the hand-tight fitting off. The housing is situated vertically, and is elevated just above the Smart Control, so getting a grip on it doesn’t require an awkward angle or tipping the machine. Since the paint flows from the inside of the filter to the outside, spraying it with a good water nozzle usually gets it perfectly clean. Not only do you have fewer reasons to turn that tip backwards, but it makes clean-up easier, too.
FastFlush is another feature that really speeds up the cleaning process. This is a setting on the pressure adjustment knob that allows the motor to run at a much higher RPM. The added force this creates blasts the paint right out of the machine, and gets clear water flowing through it very quickly. It uses a whole lot less water than previous models.
As with most Graco spray rigs, the Ultra Max II 490 PC Pro comes equipped with 50 feet of hose and a Contractor spray gun. On the gun is a Rac X tip housing, and a 517 tip. As a side note, a 517 is a useful tip, but every painter I know, including me, has an overabundance of them, since that’s standard fare on almost every gun you get. It would be great if there was a way to have a choice of tips available with a new spray gun…but maybe that’s just me. The Contractor gun is a fantastic one. I personally prefer the two finger configuration that it offers, and the oblong profile of the ergonomic handle fits very comfortably. The trigger pull is smooth and even—with the right amount of resistance to be able to feel your work but not so much as to cause fatigue.
As a complete unit, the Graco Ultra Max II 490 PC Pro and the Contractor gun (at either end of a BlueMax II airless hose) come together to make a really impressive tool. It offers very controllable, reliable power. Even with the pressure adjusted up for the bigger tip sizes, there is no noticeable “recoil” when you pull the trigger. The pressure is released very evenly, and letting off the trigger stops it just the same way. That certainly helps promote a uniform finish on whatever it is you need to paint. Of course, this helps to minimize fatigue, which in turn allows you get more done.
Graco has built a great sprayer here in the Ultra Max II 490 PC Pro. It is everything you would expect from the Graco name, with nothing left to miss. I like it a lot, and I look forward to putting many more gallons of paint through it.
- Max Tip Size: 0.023
- Max PSI: 3300 (227 bar)
- Max Paint Consumption: 0.54 GPM
- Motor: MaxPower 1 HP
- Weight: 34 Pounds
- Warranty: Lifetime motor and drivetrain, 3 years everything else
- Price: Starting around $1199
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