Today, we’re doing a comparison between the Graco GX 21 and Graco ST MAX II 395 PC Pro paint sprayers. Both airless machines are roughly in the same performance range and are suitable for applying lacquers, varnishes, primers and interior dispersions primarily on a smaller scale such as in apartments or single-family homes. But, there are obvious differences in quality, construction and price of the two sprayers.

Graco GX 21 and Graco ST MAX II 395 PC Pro pump comparison – performance

In the following table, you will see the technical data of the Graco GX 21 and the Graco ST MAX II 395 PC Pro.

Technical specifications Graco GX 21 Graco ST MAX II 395 PC Pro
Flow rate 1,8 l/min 2,0 l/min
Maximum nozzle size 0,021″ 0,023″
Maximum working pressure 207 bar 227 bar
Weight 13,2 kg 14 kg


The Graco ST MAX II is slightly better than the GX 21 in terms of flow rate (0.2 liters more), maximum nozzle size (1x size more) and working pressure (20 bar more or 227 bar like the models above it). Thanks to its simpler design, the Graco GX 21 is about six kilograms lighter than the Classic S 395 and only 0.8 kg compared to the Graco ST MAX II 395 PC Pro.

Comparison of Graco sprayers GX 21 and Graco ST MAX II 395 PC Pro

Differences in equipment, mechanics and uses

There are important differences in construction and quality between these two airless pumps. The GX 21 is designed for beginners: Graco’s idea is to offer professional or private beginners a machine that is simple in its design, at an affordable price. The manufacturer is thus primarily addressing new users who want to get to know and test airless spraying technology without having to spend several thousand euros on a sprayer. This one being usable with many interior dispersion paints, it will allow self-employed people for example to start their interior spraying for their first projects.

The ST MAX II 395 PC Pro, on the other hand, has a superior finish and is designed for long-term use in the professional craft and construction sector. These differences are clearly visible, for example, in the intake system, the pump bottom or the main filter.

Difference #1 – Suction Hose

The treatment of the suction hose differs considerably in quality and handling. A simple solvent-resistant plastic hose is mounted on the GX 21. The suction hose is suspended directly in the bucket and cannot be easily repositioned.

The suction system of the Classic S 395 PC and the ST MAX II 395 PC Pro consists of a high-quality hydraulic hose, the lower part of which is made of an aluminum/metal tube. The suction is movable so that the paint bucket can also be positioned on the left or right side of the pump. The system of the ST MAX II 395 PC Pro and Classic S 395 appears to be more robust, more valuable and more durable than the GX21. In addition it offers more comfort with the positioning of the bucket and can be cleaned more easily with e.g. brushes.

Suction hose Graco ST MAX II 395 + GX21

Difference #2 – Lower pump

The lower pump also shows very clear differences. On the left in the picture below, the piston, sleeve and seals as well as the entire pump of the ST MAX II are larger and made of high quality materials. In case of damage, the pump can be disassembled with the Proconnect and fitted with new seals quickly and easily.

The GX 21 pump is smaller and of inferior quality. In case of repair, it has to be completely replaced because changing the seals alone is not possible. Finally, more time is needed for this operation.

Set piston Graco Graco ST MAX II 395 and GX21

Lower pump Graco Graco ST MAX II 395 and GX21

Difference #3 – Engine

The engine will also have some differences in endurance thanks to the “brushless” system on the ST MAX II Graco engine which allows to extend its life.

On the GX21 you will have a classic Graco engine which will be of good quality but more fragile over time than the ST MAX II.

Difference #4 – Filtration

The difference between the two Graco pumps is also visible on the main filter side. We would even say that the difference is very clear!

The filter of the ST MAX II 395 PC Pro is much larger (on the left in the picture below). This results in a better filtering effect, the filter does not clog so quickly and needs to be checked less often. The filter housing is made of high quality stainless steel and can be opened easily and quickly without tools. Finally you have 4x primary filters (#30, #60, #100 & #200) for better flow management at the gun outlet; to be matched with the filter size chosen for the gun and the viscosity of the material being sprayed as always.

With the GX 21, the primary filter (a single size of #40) is installed above the pressure gauge, which must be laboriously removed with a wrench.

Primary filter Graco Classic 395 PC GX21

Difference #5 – Options

The options that the GX21 does NOT have and that you will only find in the Graco ST MAX II PC Pro are the following:

  • FastFlush cleaning function
  • Endurance piston pump
  • ProConnect quick change pump system
  • SmartControl 4.0 pressure control
  • LED display

Graco FastFlush

Both Graco airless pumps are supplied with a 15 m high pressure hose, airless gun, nozzle and filters. With the GX21 is included a Graco SG3 gun with 2x low pressure nozzle.

The Graco ST MAX II 395 PC Pro comes with a Contractor PC gun that is very ergonomic and easy to repair, and a Graco LP low pressure nozzle, as well as a bottle of TSL oil to grease the piston (find the full contents on the store articles). (On the GX21 you are not given oil because the piston is greased)

Content of the delivery Graco GX 21 Graco ST MAX II 395 PC Pro
High pressure hose Duraflex (thread: 1/4″), 15 m BlueMax II (thread: 1/4″), 15 m
Airless gun + RAC X holder SG3 Contractor PC
Airless nozzles RAC X LP 517 + FFLP 310 RAC X LP 517
Primary filter #40 #60


Graco spray guns

Difference #7 – Lubrication

On the Graco GX21, no bottle of oil is given to you because it is only lubricated by grease.

As for the ST MAX II 395 PC Pro, it will be delivered with 1 TSL bottle that you can use to oil the piston before each use (only 3, 4 drops are enough on these models).

This oil or actually separating agent, is there to lubricate the piston and the seals so as to avoid any overheating. But also serves as a protective layer against paint dust that seeps through the front cage onto the piston. The TSL agent thus ensures an optimal and long-lasting operation of the ST MAX II machine.

Graco TSL oil

Difference #8 – Uses

The last difference will finally turn to the use and especially the frequency between the projects which will vary between these 2 Graco models.

The Graco GX21 is designed for :

  • indoor spraying
  • apartments and family homes
  • occasional projects, either 2 times a month or a year

Graco GX21


The Graco ST MAX II 395 PC Pro is designed for :

  • indoor spraying
  • apartments, family homes and villas for example
  • recurring projects, i.e. 3 times a month, more or less

Pompe airless Graco ST MAX II 395 PC Pro

What to choose – the Graco GX 21 or ST MAX II 395 PC Pro ?

Now that we’ve reviewed these two sprayers, which one should you choose?

The Graco GX21 is lighter than the Graco ST MAX II 395 PC Pro but the difference is minimal. The GX21’s acquisition costs are also lower than the ST MAX II 395. But the finish and quality of the Graco ST MAX II 395 PC Pro are much higher and therefore more durable, which reduces costs in the long run. In terms of technical values: nozzle size, flow rate and maximum pressure range, the ST MAX II 395 PC Pro is again slightly ahead of the GX21 and is also easy to handle on site (suction, main filter and pump).

In the end and as always, it depends on what you want. Do you prefer to get your first experience with airless spray technology and are you looking for an economical sprayer to do your arms? Or are you looking for something more qualitative to use the machine permanently for years to come? Both the GX21 and ST MAX II 395 PC Pro airless pumps have their place in the market and there are appropriate applications for both models. The GX 21 for beginners, the Graco ST MAX II 395 PC Pro for long term professional use.

Last but not least information to know: The Graco GX21 does not have a hopper adapted to it designed by the Graco company. This means that you will only be able to dip the suction hose into buckets of paint.

The Graco ST MAX II 395 PC Pro, on the other hand, can accept, like its little sister the Classic S 395, a 5.7 liter hopper to configure the machine to soften the priming as much as possible, when working with only 3 or 5 liters of varnishes, lacquers or paints for example.

Here is the complete Graco kit for this type of use: Graco Finishing kit CLASSIC / ST MAX – 19B968

Kit trémie pour ST MAX et Classic

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