Craftsman Powder Coating System Review

Craftsman Powder Coating Gun: My Review

Posted January 25th, 2015
Back to The Garage

The Craftsman Complete Portable Powder Coating System was my first powder coating gun.  I did not have an air compressor at the time and this gun and its variants are the only powder coating guns that do not require an air compressor, so the choice was easy.  This thing originally sold for over $200 but due to slow sales, it has been discontinued and you can now pick them up for less than $100 online which makes it the cheapest powder coating gun available.  For this price, this thing has HUGE value.  I have successfully powder coated hundreds of parts with this gun even after I bought an air compressor.  Currently, the only place you can find them is ebay.  These de-branded Craftsman guns are going for $50.





The Craftsman Powder Coating gun does not have many features, there is 0 adjustability on the gun, the air pressure and kv are set and there is no way to change it.  The biggest drawback is the amount of powder the gun cup can hold at once.  For small parts, you will have plenty of powder in the cup but if you are coating a wheel, you will find needing to refill the cup for each wheel.  This can be solved by buying more cups and then you are able to just switch cups when you run out of powder in the middle of coating.  Having 2 or 3 cups really makes the whole experience more enjoyable.

craftsman powder coating gun review cupMy biggest complaint besides the amount of powder the cups hold, is how hard it is to clean the cups.  Considering this gun is advertised as an airless gun and no compressor is needed, without compressed air, it is very hard to clean the powder out of the cup when you are switching colors.  The cups has a lot of crevices and edges and the powder likes to stick in these areas.  The only solution I found to removing all of the old powder completely was to spray it out with cans of compressed air, and buying a bunch of those gets kind of expensive.  Another annoying thing with the cup is that it is 2 pieces.  There is the main cup and a lid that you rotate to lock in place.  If you get any powder on the edge of the lid the top part of the cup where the lid sits, you will not be able to rotate it.  I keep a small paint brush handy to wipe off any powder in these areas after filling the cup just so the lid will be able to close completely.  It is not a huge deal, but on those days that you spend 8 hours straight powder coating in the garage, it gets to be a hassle.



As far as durability goes, the entire thing is made of plastic.  I have a feeling if you dropped it or the cup, it would be game over.  However, as long as you keep it in your hands and not let gravity get a hold of it, it should last a long time.  It is going on 3 years for me and there is no signs of it breaking any time soon.  There is a little red knob that locks the cup in place that absolutely WILL break.  It does not matter how careful you are with this not, it will break off.  Luckily, the knob is unnecessary, the cups fit in the gun very tightly and there is no way it will fall out while powder coating. 

craftsman powder coating gun review broken



craftsman powder coating gun reviewThe Craftsman Powder Coating Gun is capable of spraying beautiful and flawless finishes and it is easy to use as long as the part you are spraying does not have a lot of deep crevices.  When you are spraying a part with a lot of crevices, then you will find that the powder does not want to stick in these areas.  These is known as a Faraday Cage.  This is not specific to the Craftsman gun, all powder coating guns experience this phenomenon.  The way to overcome these areas is to ditch the little ground clip that comes with this Powder Coating gun and install a dedicated grounding rod to ground your parts.  You can read up on grounding rods here.  With the grounding rod installed, this powder coating gun has few limitations, sometimes you will need to feather the trigger while spraying to get into a really deep area, but I have managed to coat every part I have attempted with this gun and a grounding rod. 

This gun is also very capable of spraying 2 coat jobs, but the grounding rod is basically 100% required for the second coat.  Without the grounding rod, the 2nd coat seems to spray everywhere but the actual part.  If you plan on spraying 3 coats on a single part, it gets difficult even with the grounding rod.  You will have to fight to get the powder to stick on the part at all, but it is doable.  I would not even attempt 4 coats with this powder coating gun, it just doesn't have the features required to spray that many coats, however, neither do any powder coating guns under $500. 

Whats in the Box?


The Craftsman Powder Coating System comes in a nice black molded case.  It comes with quite a few small hooks that work for parts that weight less than 2lbs.  If you plan on coating anything heavier, you will need some bigger hooks.  It comes with a roll of high quality green high-temp tape which has never shown any signs of melting at 400 Degrees F.  It also comes with a small assortment of silicone plugs which are needed to prevent powder from getting into threaded holes.  The silicone plugs are also nice and have never melted.  There is also an instruction book, the power adapter for the gun, and a Craftsman Powder color swatch sheet, however all of the powders are discontinued and they were overpriced anyways.  It comes with the very basics of powder coating, and I have since bought a bigger assortment of silicone plugs, and a lot more hooks in various sizes. 

craftsman powder coating gun review


The Craftsman Powder Coating Gun is definitely not a technological advancement in the powder coating industry, but it will allow you to powder coat yourself for less than $100.  There are only 2 other powder coating guns even close to this price range and those would be the Eastwood Gun and Harbor Freight gun which both require an air compressor and have all of the same limitations as this gun does.  This Craftsman Gun can produce finishes that will amaze you and other times you may get a little angry with the gun, but usually the problem is always something that you can overcome.  For the occasionally powder coater, this gun is perfect, if you plan on coating very frequently long term, you should look into the Powder Coating guns in the $500-$1000 price range.  If you are planning on opening up a powder coating shop, this is not the gun for you.

Alternator coated in 2 stage black chrome using the Craftsman Powder Coating System


  1. Excelent article, you helped me a lot!

  2. The Craftsman was my first gun also and I since invested in a more expensive gun and compressor, but you'll get spoiled with this gun and I find myself grabbing this first because its ready to go by plugging in one cord.

    1. This is very true. The craftsman gun is very easy to just pick up and start spraying.

  3. This is a really handy review, and I've picked up one of these for myself, but it did not come with a manual. I understand the principle and running, coating, and baking, but what are the foam plugs for? Where do they go? Any chance you could post a PDF of the manual ( doesn't seem to have a manual online; I think they disavowed this product!).

    1. I found a PDF of the manual for this gun. This gun is not actually made by Craftsman and has been relabeled several times so that's why it says WAI. Here's the link: (copy and paste into browser)

      The manual itself is not too helpful though. The gun is pretty simple as it has no adjustments of any kind. The foam plugs only serve to plug up the powder cup when not in use. If you leave powder in the cup overnight, the idea is that they can keep the cup sealed. I find its best to just blow all the powder out of the gun after each use though. This way, you can ensure that you are spraying fresh powder each time you use it.

  4. Can anybody suggest any solution for this problem?
    I am doing powder coating using same gun on Aluminum flat substrate but problem is that pristine UHMWPE powder is giving good deposition on substrate but 3% MWCNT–UHMWPE ball milled powder is not showing any deposition on substrate while coating on substrate.

  5. Picked one up new in the box at Grocery Outlet for $26. I plan on restoring some old Swiss military rifles and powder coating small metal parts like the trigger guard, butt plate,etc., small parts you would either have to reblue or......
    I've seen this done on other rifles and they come out looking great.

    1. That's an excellent deal for this gun. It is definitely up to the task for small parts. Not the most efficient gun in the world, but it works well enough.

  6. i got this gun for free on ebay after complaining to the seller about the handle being cracked and having to jb weld it. It works great but my finishes always come out flawed. i will be finding a ground rod and sandblasting setup after reading your articles though.