Is your Wagner paint sprayer not spraying? While this brand of paint sprayers are known for their reliability and high-quality build, there are times when the gremlins go to work. Problems rear their ugly heads, and you’re at a loss as to what to do.

Before going down the route of contacting a service center, there are a few things you can check yourself. Perhaps your chosen material isn’t spraying, your gun is spitting, or the spray pattern isn’t quite right.

Your Wagner machine is an investment — rather than resign it to the paint sprayer graveyard, I’ve put together some tips to help solve some of these issues you might experience.

Wagner Paint Sprayers — Our Top Picks

Wagner Control Pro 170

Our Rating: 4.8
This airless sprayer packs a mighty 0.6 horsepower — enabling it to propel unthinned latex paints from its 515 tip. It can draw paint directly from containers, negating the need for stopping to refill paint cups.


  • Reduces overspray by 55 percent.
  • 1500 PSI.
  • Sureflo valve for effortless priming.
  • User-adjustable pressure settings.
  • Floor-stand or cart-mounted.

Product Comparison Table

  • Format: Handheld
  • Power unit: Turbine
  • Paint cup: 1.5-quart
  • Hose/cord length: Six-foot cord


  • Nine-speed X-Boost power dial.
  • Three spray pattern settings.
  • Includes an additional finishing nozzle.

Product Rating: 4.7/5

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  • Format: Floor-standing
  • Power unit: Turbine
  • Paint cup: 1.5 / 0.85-quart
  • Hose/cord length: 11.5-foot hose


  • Floor-standing turbine — reduces handheld weight.
  • Variable turbine speeds.
  • Two nozzles and cups.

Product Rating: 4.8/5

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  • Format: Floor-standing / cart-mounted
  • Power unit: Pump
  • Paint cup: Drawn from an original can
  • Hose/cord length: 30-foot hose


  • Overspray reduced by 55 percent.
  • Compatible with primers, oil-based materials, and enamel.
  • Sureflo valve for straightforward priming.

Product Rating: 4.8/5

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Wagner Paint Sprayer Problems and Solutions

There is nothing worse than getting ready to paint your next project and finding your sprayer isn’t performing as you want. Here are some troubleshooting guides that might get you up and running quickly.

1. Reduced or No Material Flow

You’ve set up your sprayer, plugged it in and filled it with paint, but when you pull the trigger, little or no material comes out. There are several reasons this can happen, so let’s tackle them one at a time.
  • Blockages — the nozzle in your spray tip may be clogged with old material. Alternatively, the suction tube or air vent on this passageway that your paint passes through could be blocked. Clean your sprayer according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Granted, you’ve more than likely heard it before, but cleaning your sprayer after every use is imperative to keep it functioning well.
  • Incorrect settings — the flow rate for your chosen paint could be set to low.
    Turning it up could alleviate the issue and get your paint dispensing again. Your manufacturer’s instructions contain all the details for the settings you need for different coatings — use that as a guide.

2. Ill-fitting or Missing Parts and Seals

To keep your machine delivering the flawless finish you want, all the components must be fitted correctly, and seals should be in place. Some that can prevent fluid from flowing include:
  • Loose suction tube — remove the tube and make sure it’s clean. Replace it, securing it as tight as you can. Remember to make sure that the tube is inserted as far as it will go to attain a tight fit.
  • Ill-fitting paint container — if your paint cup isn’t threaded properly and sitting tight on the paint gun, you won’t achieve the necessary pressure build-up to spray material. Make sure you’ve screwed the paint container to the nozzle assembly and tightened it properly.
  • Air valve tube doesn’t function — under the hood of your paint sprayer, you’ll find a tube with attachments at both ends. This supplies air pressure to your paint gun. Check that the valve seal is in place and that both ends of the tube are connected.
  • Missing nozzle seal — seals can become unseated during cleaning, and you might not have noticed. Inspect the nozzle seal — is it in place? If not, replace the nozzle.
  • Clogged air filter — over time, dust and debris can clog up your air filter and prevent your paint sprayer from delivering enough pressure. If yours looks like it’s seen better days, replace it.
  • Material is too thick for the machine or spray tip — some highly viscous coatings won’t spray as they can’t pass through the nozzle. If you’re using thicker paints, thin them down according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

3. Paint Leaks

When using fluids, slight leaks are inevitable at the point of start-up or shut down. However, if you find material escaping the entire time, something is going awry that needs to be addressed. The main causes of leakages are:
  • Loose nozzle — ensure the nozzle is fitted correctly and tightened up as far as it will go.
  • Worn nozzle — over time, the nozzle on your spray gun can become old and worn. If you think this could be the cause of annoying drips — replace it.
  • Missing or worn seals — the seals on your nozzle prevent leakages and keep it in working order. Make sure they’re still in place and examine them for signs of deterioration. If they’re worn or missing, the nozzle will need to be replaced.
  • Paint build-up on the nozzle or air cap — old dried paint on the air cap or nozzle will cause drips. This is easily remedied by giving them a thorough clean.
wagner paint sprayer leaking

4. Inconsistent Spray Patterns

You’re all lined up and ready to go, you begin spraying, and then catastrophe strikes — your coating is too thick, runs, or begins to sag (for the uninitiated — that’s when the paint starts to slide down the wall before drying). A few simple fixes can straighten out the situation and get you back on track:
  • Your material flow might be set too high — dial it down a notch.
  • The airflow could be set too low — turn it up.
  • You might be applying too much paint — either speed up your application technique or decrease the flow of fluid.
  • Your chosen material might need to be thinned down. Follow directions from the paint manufacturer.
  • Cleaning issues — check that your nozzle isn’t blocked by material build-up or old dried particles.
  • Examine your air filter — make sure it’s still fit for purpose. If it’s clogged or looking past its best, change it out for a new one.
  • Ensure your paint container is properly attached to the unit so that sufficient pressure can build up for consistent spraying.

5. Pulsating Spray Jet

When painting, there may be times that your steady stream of material starts to fail and delivery flutters in and out. The causes and solutions for this you can check include:
  • Paint is running out — the level of material left in your paint cup could be getting low — it’s time to refill.
  • Clogged air filter — your air filter might have reached the end of its usefulness and become blocked, which means a replacement is required.
  • Air valve tube is unseated — check that both ends of the air tube are connected properly.

6. Too Much Overspray

Another Wagner paint sprayer problem you may encounter is an excess of overspray when painting. Apart from being an inconvenience, if you haven’t masked up or laid down enough groundsheets, you could end up painting more than you intended to. There are two reasons this could happen:
  • You’re holding the gun too far away from the surface — according to the Wagner power painter troubleshooting, the ideal spraying distance is between 6 to 8 inches from your target area.
  • Your air power is set too high — dial down the air power to reduce overspray.
wagner failing motor

7. Light and Splotchy Fan Pattern

Another Wagner paint sprayer problem you may encounter is an excess of overspray when painting. Apart from being an inconvenience, if you haven’t masked up or laid down enough groundsheets, you could end up painting more than you intended to. There are two reasons this could happen:
  • You’re moving the spray gun too quickly — speed is not always of the essence, and slowing down your movements with the spray gun or turning up the fluid delivery could resolve this issue.
  • Paint flow set too low — there may not be enough fluid getting through to give the coverage you want — turn it up little by little until the flow is sufficient.
  • Too much air — if your air power is set too high, the atomization won’t be right. This is remedied by turning it down.

8. Spitting Paint Gun

Is your Wagner paint sprayer spitting material rather than delivering a steady stream? This can happen when air is entering the mix at places other than at the air cap. To solve this problem:
  • Make sure your nozzle is seated properly so no air can enter the material supply.
  • The outlet or inlet valves are blocked and need to be cleaned by utilizing the filter tab.
  • The primer or spraying valve is clogged, in which case, it needs to be serviced by a Wagner specialist.

9. Wagner Paint Sprayer Won’t Prime

Priming a Wagner sprayer allows your chosen material to be drawn from the container into the spray gun to be atomized. If when you set the machine to prime, the paint doesn’t pull through the system, it’s likely there is a fault somewhere. The main components to check are the inlet and outlet valves. These contain a small ball valve that can become stuck. Take the valves situated at the inlet and outlet apart and clean them to get rid of any gunk, put them back together and reconnect everything — hopefully your sprayer should prime. Another reason could be an air leak in the suction hose or a worn o-ring on the suction cup. If you rule out these causes and your sprayer still won’t prime, you should contact the manufacturer or an approved service center.
prime knob not working

10. Worn Out Piston Pump

The piston is responsible for pumping materials through your machine. Consequently, if the Wagner power painter piston is stuck, fluid can’t be pumped through properly to the nozzle. Indications that your piston is worn or stuck are increased time for your system to prime, or you have excessive material leaking. Fortunately, you can get replacement pistons, like this for the Wagner Power Painters 220, 305, and 315, or the Power Painter Max and Plus.
Paint Doesn't Dry Uniformly

Help Is Always at Hand

We’ve pointed you in the right direction to solve issues when your Wagner paint sprayer is not spraying. If you’ve followed these tips and your problem still isn’t resolved, contact Wagner’s support center. Customer feedback indicates these guys are both knowledgeable and helpful, so they should be able to get you up and painting again.