Table of Contents
- Paint Rollers Explained
- How To Choose The Best Paint Roller For Your Job
- Best Roller Options For Different Jobs
- Best paint roller cover
- Best paint roller for walls
- Best roller for painting kitchen cabinets
- Best roller for exterior painting
- Best roller for painting ceilings
- Best roller for epoxy floor paint
- Best roller for semi-gloss or enamel paint
- Best electric paint roller
- Painting Tips: How To Use Your Roller To Get a Smooth Finish
- Best Way To Clean Paint Rollers
So you’ve decided to paint the house yourself instead of paying a contractor to come in and do it. You are going to need a top-rated paint roller for the job. With so many rollers and sub-par quality rollers on the market, that’s completely understandable.
Good frames and rollers can save you a lot of time and energy in completing your work as best as possible. Save yourself the unnecessary pain and headaches that low quality rollers and tools can cause you. Depending on the type of job, you can opt for simple manual rollers or highly efficient power rollers.
If you’re looking for the best paint roller for the job, we’ve gathered a list of some of the best in their respective price ranges. Ranging from the simple DIY home tasks to larger paint jobs, you’ll find what you need here.
Paint Rollers Explained
There are a variety of types of paint roller and covers, all suited to different DIY jobs. I’ll run through the main types so that you have an idea in mind of what you should be looking for.
Foam rollers are paint rollers that have an extra textured layer added to them. These are great for adding a different ‘look’ to your paint work, so choose one of these if you’re after a certain finish on your wall.
You can find foam rollers that imitate the patterns found in wood, as well as pebbledash. The length of each roller cover varies, and these are often interchangeable once you already have a frame or cage.
The ‘nap’ of the roller cover refers to the fabric density and form, essentially. They are made from synthetic materials, most of the time, but may be made from natural materials. This is what will affect how much paint you can pick up, as well as how easily it applies the paint for you. The nap comes in different sizes, all of which are designed for different surfaces and textures.
I’ve found the best roller covers and nap for many painting jobs below. It’s important to get the right nap for each job – it will affect the coverage, amount of paint needed and overall finish. One roller cover may be able to handle high-gloss cabinets but will fall apart and shed lint all over an epoxy project you’re working on.
The fabric used makes a big difference to the quality of your paint job, but so does the frame itself. Some cheaper models are lined with cardboard which is fine until they get damp and disintegrate. Some rollers have a textured cage to create different patterns while you paint.
Handle length varies, too, so find a long-handled brush for a ceiling or go for a mid-length one to suit most paint jobs. You can buy extension handles later on if needed! Bear in mind the weight of whatever roller handle or extension you go for – you don’t want to be holding something heavy above your head for long periods of time.
If you’re painting hard to reach areas but don’t want to use a brush for whatever reason, get your hands on a mini roller. These tend to be shorter and slimmer and will help you get into any nooks and crannies.
Be careful with your paint application here, as their shape and size may make it tricky to dunk or roll in a regular paint can or tray. Use a brush to apply the paint if necessary to avoid wastage. Trim rollers are also widely available!
How To Choose The Best Paint Roller For Your Job
There are so many roller options when it comes to painting that it can be hard to narrow it down.
Paint brushes are often a great choice for smaller, more intricate jobs. They give you a lot of control with the work you’re doing and are good multi-taskers.
Go for a range of paint brush sizes – one large brush is good for bigger surface areas, while small brushes are good for trim work and any details you want to add in.
Think about the paint you’ll be using, as you’ll want a different brush for chalk paint than you will for acrylic paint. Brushes are not the best option for ceilings, however, as they can make large jobs take a long time.
Spray guns are handy (and fun) to have in your tool box. These are an excellent option for medium to large sized projects. They allow a fair amount of control and help you reach tricky areas that rollers will often miss. Within the category of spray guns you can choose between HVLPs and airless. HVLPs are fantastic for the medium sized jobs – they offer good coverage and deliver a professional-looking finish.
For big jobs such as outdoor walls, go for an airless sprayer and make sure to check if you need to add on a compressor. I wouldn’t recommend a spray gun to paint your ceiling as it can be easy to over-spray!
Rollers are perfect for many DIY jobs around the home and garden. They are the ideal tool for painting your ceiling for several reasons. You have a lot of control when it comes to rollers and, if you buy a good product, you’ll be getting the most out of your paint.
There’s not much paint wastage if you buy the right roller, and you get a nice, even coverage thanks to the amount of space you can cover with any one paint application. These are a great option for painting ceilings, so read on to find the best products out there.
Best Roller Options For Different Jobs
Best paint roller cover
Wooster Brush RR723-9 Pro/Doo-Z Roller Cover
My Overall Rating
If you’re after a paint roller cover to add to your collection, put this product from Wooster at the top of your list. These covers can be used alongside any type of paint to give a high quality, professional-looking finish.
These roller covers are shed-resistant, and are very durable. This is something to bear in mind as you don’t want any debris or fabric falling in your paint or forming lumps in your work. The fabric used keeps your paint looking as good as it should, and stands the test of time. You can easily reuse these roller covers for the various stages of your paint job, from priming to the coat itself.
Best paint roller for walls
Shur-Line 8500 One Coater Paint Kit
My Overall Rating
Another great choice as an all-in-one set for completing your painting projects, the One Coater kit features three different options: a 5, 9 or 14 piece kit. With the 14 piece kit you’ll be getting 2 roller covers – the best paint roller covers for interior walls- a roller frame, plastic tray, tray liner, paint edger, 2" putty knife, trim brush, 2" foam brush, 3" trim roller handle, 3" trim roller, paint can opener, and a 3 in 1 painters tool.
These various additions make this the best paint roller for textured walls as you have multiple options of covers. Also provided is an 11” extension pole making it perfect to be used as a ceiling paint roller.
These kits are jam packed with all you’ll need to start your new hobby or finish your DIY home projects. For most standard projects you won’t need to buy anything else, save the paint, and complete the job. This makes it the best roller for painting walls as you have everything you need in one place. Starter kits like the Shur-Line will benefit the beginner or occasional painter the most. You won’t need to figure out what individual tools to acquire as this is already done to accommodate the basics of simple painting jobs.Relatively low priced kits like these can especially be used as “disposable” sets for the odd chance of needing to paint a room once a year or so without needing to invest a lot in different tools.
Best roller for painting kitchen cabinets
Stanley Premium Paint Kit
My Overall Rating
You’d be hard-pressed to find a starter kit better than this Amazon top-rated product. This is perhaps one of the best paint roller kits for those venturing into painting for the first time. The relatively low cost makes this a good initial investment for hobbyists, as well as for completing small jobs.
This set contains everything you’ll need to get the job done with a finish you’ll be proud of. Included in this 8-piece paint set is a sturdy metal tray, a 9" 5-wire roller frame, and two 9” ⅜ polyester rolls. The roller handle has threads, which allows it to be attached to an extender for harder-to-reach spots like ceilings.Most will consider using this as a ‘one and done’ kit for the occasional room that needs to be painted. For the price, it does exactly what it should and will cover what most people need. If you aren’t a fan of painting but need to do it anyway, a kit such as this can make your job much less painful.
Best roller for exterior painting
Wooster Brush R242-9 Super/Fab Roller Cover
My Overall Rating
Again, just the roller covers but well worth a buy. These 9” 1” covers are designed for rough surfaces and outdoor work, making them perfect for exterior painting. They offer a lovely, smooth result and pick up paint very nicely. You don’t need to worry about paint wastage with these, either – they have a high capacity for paint and make the most of all types. The coverage with these covers is great, and they help to resist cracking, giving you a great end result.
The double thickness of the fabric helps prevent any water damage, too, which is why they’re so great to use outdoors. They’re super durable, which means you can use them on pretty much any outdoor surface, from pebbledash to uneven wooden surfaces. You don’t have to worry about any shedding, either, as these are anti-matting and offer a lump-free finish.
Best roller for painting ceilings
Wooster Brush R017-9 Sherlock Roller Frame
My Overall Rating
The Wooster brush frame is a great choice for new and experienced painters alike. The Wooster comes in four selectable sizes – these being 4, 7, 9 and 14 inches. The various sizes allow you to choose the right one for the job, ranging from smaller detailing or trim work to larger-sized areas.
The frame features a polypropylene grip with reinforced threads and, very importantly, is compatible with extension poles making it great as a ceiling paint roller.
This high quality roller has smooth internal bearings preventing wear down and streaks when painting. A quick-release spring also locks the roller in place, stopping it from slipping off when you’re painting. Paint in any direction and the roller cover will stay on. Even with its effective locking mechanism, at the end of the job the roller is easily removed in just one simple tap for a quick clean-up.This is a very reasonably-priced product that does exactly what it says on the tin, and you’ll get years of service from it. Provided you keep it clean after painting, that is!
Best roller for epoxy floor paint
Wooster Brush R232-9 Epoxy Glide Roller Cover
My Overall Rating
Epoxy floor paint takes a bit more effort to get right than other paint types. Using the right roller and cover makes a huge difference and will save you lots of time and energy. This coating can be much tougher to work with than regular paint, so take the time to set everything up and make things as easy as possible for yourself.
These 9” ¼” roller covers will work with most frames, and are well worth buying on their own. They are designed to work with epoxy, so are pretty resilient. They pick up the paint very easily and offer great coverage with no shed. You’ll need to have a roller, and end caps, handy.
I’d suggest going for a long-handled roller to make the most of these covers. They really do stand up to a challenge, so are perfect for work with epoxy on rough surfaces.
Best roller for semi-gloss or enamel paint
Wooster Brush R730-3 Tiz Foam Roller Cover
My Overall Rating
These covers from Wooster are ideal for using with enamel paint. They’re designed to leave a nice, smooth finish so work really well with any semi-gloss paint you’re using. The covers have been designed to limit lint-fall, which is crucial to getting a professional-looking end result and making the most of your paint.
These will fit to any standard roller frame - they come as just covers, so you’ll need to buy or dig out a frame! These measure 3” in length, so provide decent coverage. The nap on these covers is relatively thin at 1/8” so you may need to recoat the roller every so often. That said, these work really well with oil-based enamel paints and are a total bargain.They offer a lovely, smooth finish to compliment your paint. Take the time to apply the paint properly and admire your handiwork.
Best electric paint roller
Wagner 0530010 SMART Sidekick Power Roller
My Overall Rating
If you’re looking for an automatic paint roller, the Wagner Smart Sidekick Roller is a great choice. No need to stop during your job to reapply paint from the tray with this one. This power roller draws paint through a nozzle directly from the can to the roller handle, dramatically reducing the time it will take you to paint. The variable control settings range from 1-9 in terms of the flow of paint to the handle, and can be easily adjusted at your convenience.
This system comes with everything you’ll need to complete your painting project hassle-free. Included are two 9” rollers suitable for smooth or rough surfaces, and an 18” extension handle for harder-to-reach ceilings. Use the ¾” nap roller for uneven and textured surfaces. Also included is a 3” SMART edge roller, which allows you to paint surface edges without the use of tape.
Using a power roller may not be worth it if you’re only painting one room or taking on smaller jobs as clean-up can take a while. However, if you’re a regular painter or have a lot of large areas to paint, strongly consider a power roller such as the Wagner. This tool will make those jobs much easier and quicker to get through.
Painting Tips: How To Use Your Roller To Get a Smooth Finish
Getting a professional finish can seem tricky, with many people turning to calling in an expert before they even get started! It’s not as daunting as it sounds, don’t worry.
Watch how much paint you’re coating your roller with. You want an even coverage on the roller in order to get an even coverage on your ceiling.
Don’t get sloppy halfway through and start splashing paint around in the hopes of getting things done quickly. Do things properly and you’ll end up with a lovely, smooth finish.
Be speedy but don’t rush! Ideally, your paint won’t dry while you reload your brush. The idea is to avoid an overlap mark, which is what happens when one patch dries before you can spread the paint into the next patch. Work to keep the paint wet by having a decent sized paint tray and planning things out before you get started. Get the paint on the wall first and then worry about spreading it out and getting a nice, even coverage.
Try and keep things as clean and tidy as possible. The more dirt and debris you accumulate while you paint, the more likely it is that something will sneak into your paintwork. This can be frustrating, but as long as you get any lumps or strange bumps out of your paint before it fully dries, you should be okay. This also depends on the quality of your paint and tools.
Opt for high quality paint and a decent roller – this way the roller won’t start to disintegrate while you work! You can buy mesh or textured screens for your roller trays to ensure a thin, fine paint, or keep the paint can covered to stop anything falling in and compromising its quality.
Best Way To Clean Paint Rollers
Take your paint roller apart, as this is the best way to ensure everything gets thoroughly cleaned. Make sure you do this somewhere sensible, as paint may get on to other surfaces or damage your sink.
Get rid of any leftover paint, either by rolling it onto another surface (outdoor or garage walls work well as they’re not normally looked at too closely) or onto old newspaper. You can also scrape off any dried paint with a knife – keep an old knife or kitchen utensil separate for this job alone, as it will likely get messy, too.
Rinse the roller fabric with warm water before applying washing up liquid to it. You can do this in a separate container or in a sink you don’t mind potentially getting dirty. Continue rinsing and lathering until the paint has all washed out.
For stubborn or oil-based paint, use acetone or another chemical such as denatured alcohol to get it all off. Leave the roller to air-dry but make sure to dry any metal cages or frames you’ve washed in order to prevent rust build-up.
As a beginner or occasional painter, these rollers are worth considering for any DIY jobs around the home. We’ve focused on the best paint rollers to use for your ceiling, but have also offered up suggestions for tools to use when painting your floor and using a number of different types of paint.
There’s a huge range of products out there, so hopefully something has caught your eye, whether you’re starting to paint for the first time or are an experienced painter with many jobs to cover. Depending on your specific needs as a painter, the requirements of the job and the tools you already possess, you may opt for the simple rollers or automatic power rollers.