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The Wagner Paint Eater is a rotating disc sander that does work well for removing peeling paint, but like most power tools, the sander isn't without its flaws. Having owned two of these for my painting business, I will share the pros and cons and whether or not I recommend this tool.
The first unit I owned lasted about three years until the motor stopped working completely while sanding a deck. I bought a replacement, and one month later the motor on the new one stopped working and wouldn't turn on again.
To be fair, I did use the sander a lot, but at the cost of $70, I would expect a brand new replacement to last longer than one month. I was able to replace the second one under warranty, at zero cost.
Based on the motor failure I experienced twice, I can't recommend this sander for anyone who plans on using it several times for large projects. I have since purchased a random orbit sander that is more versatile and reliable for my painting projects. The Wagner sander does perform well, but the motor quality is obviously poor, based on my experience with this product. For occasional homeowner use though, I'm sure this product will likely last longer.
I still use the Paint Eater for small exterior paint preparation tasks, but for larger projects, I use my random orbit sander. With a random orbit sander, I don't have to worry as much about damaging the wood, making it possible for me to sand more delicate areas around exterior windows and doors.
I believe the lack of a dust collector allows sanding dust to backup into the motor area over time, causing failure. Not having a dust collector bag is also very messy and eliminates the option of using it indoors.
Question: Can this tool take off a polyurethane finish?
Answer: I've never used it for that purpose, but yes, it should. The Wagner Paint Eater is a bad choice though if you're looking to take poly off an interior floor, cabinets, or furniture. The discs are very powerful and very abrasive. It's best for exterior surfaces like decks, siding, or fencing.
Question: Is the Wagner Paint Eater a tool that can be used to strip paint from interior woodwork?
Answer: You can, but I wouldn't. The disc is way too coarse and aggressive for interior woodwork. It would likely damage the wood.
Question: Will Wagner Paint Eater work on removing polyurethane?
Answer: It should, yes.
Question: Does this product work on polyurethane?
Answer: Yes, it should remove it if that's what you're asking, but the Paint Eater is a remover, not a sander.
© 2017 Matt G.
Matt G. (author) from United States on June 14, 2019:
When I've used the Wagner Paint Eater on wood siding it smoothed out the surface and removed the old coating, but there's going to be some loose wood fibers and a lot of dust. When I used it on wood siding I didn't sand again with separate sandpaper, but I removed the dust before staining. But for staining a deck floor or something, sanding after using this tool would smooth it out more. You can do the same for you siding if the surface isn't smooth.
Bill on June 13, 2019:
So given the abrasiveness of the Wagner, do you find that you need to go over exterior wood siding with another, finer sander to smooth it out before re-painting? I want to get the prep right and get the old paint off, but would rather not sand twice. As you say, holding a sander up for hours at a time is arm-wrecking. Thanks!