By Dusty Overby
on 2.11.10

ryobi-paint-brush-cleaner-gear-patrol

There’s no better way to freshen, brighten, personalize, or revive your home than with a fresh coat of paint. This author has seen his fair share of interior latex flung far and wide, from wall to wall. Within a year of moving into our current domicile, we’d painted every square inch of wall and trim (literally). I offer that fact only to establish credibility for the following statement; things I love about painting: the results. Things I hate about painting: everything else.

Near that top of the hate list has to be cleaning up after a paint project, which is always a pain in the proverbial arse. Fortunately, I’ve found an ally in that fight. The Ryobi Paint Brush Cleaner is pretty self-explanatory in name and function; still, its performance held a pleasant surprise.

If you’ve done much painting you’ll know that 1) decent paint brushes aren’t cheap and 2) getting one really clean is an arduous and time-consuming process. I was frankly a bit skeptical about how much a power tool could improve on my well-honed (but slow) ability to wash the leftover paint out of a typical brush. I quickly learned that by trusting the machine, I could get my work done faster, better, and with less mess.

The Ryobi unit feels solid in its construction, a notion that is further reinforced upon activating the machine. Devilishly simple, the exhausted painter simply fills the tank with about a gallon of water (a well-marked fill line makes this step idiot-proof), slide your filthy brush into the top-loading slot, and turn on the unit. What follows is something akin to the beating your ride takes in a gas station car wash. In this case, however, that’s a good thing. After only a few minutes, I was able to squeeze nearly-clear water from the brush. A brief rinse in the sink proved the job complete.

Simple and effective, I was duly impressed. Even better, the Ryobi’s very un-power-tool-ish price tag make this garage-dweller indispensable to my ongoing DIY efforts. The unit’s ability to minimize and contain the mess that is usually deposited on and around the sink during less advanced brush cleanings ensures that I’ll live to paint again (instead of getting flayed alive by Mrs. DIY). We are impressed by this offering, so keep an eye out for our upcoming review of Ryobi’s One+ Power Paint Sprayer, for which we have equally high hopes.

Editor’s Note: This unit is suitable for use only with paints that clean up with water. That means oil-based paints are a no-no; don’t even think about it.

Cost: $30

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