There’s no more effective touch-up for a drab room than a fresh coat of paint!
Whether it’s handprints accumulated in your halls, a muddy faux-Tuscan brown in the kitchen that’s starting to look a little dingy and dated, or the pretty-princess pink bedroom that your teenager has long since outgrown, a bad paint job can bring down the entire room, not to mention the resale value of your home.
If you’ve ever tackled a big painting job, you know that the results can be astonishing, but the time to put two or even three coats on the walls is not insignificant. Paint sprayers are one option but they are not for everyone.
Enter the electric paint roller.
By feeding the paint into the roller, these devices eliminate the need to constantly reapply paint from a tray, and can halve your painting time. If this sounds like the right tool for the job to you, then read on for our review of power paint rollers popular on the market today.
Electric Power Paint Roller - Comparison Guide
Wagner 0530010 SMART Sidekick Power Roller
Wagner 0156113 TR10 Telescopic Pressure Roller
Graco 244512 Pressure Roller Kit
Wagner Power Roller Plus Cordless Multispeed 7 Pc System
Black & Decker C800659 Pro Electric Power Paint Roller
Wagner Spray Tech 0530002 SMART Power Roller
Types Of Rollers: Electric, Pressure & Hand
Ever since humans first started applying paint to surfaces, they have looked for ways to make the task simpler and quicker. The brush gave rise to the roller, which has evolved into the electric roller and the pressure roller.
The hand roller is a relatively recent invention; it only came into being in the early to mid-1900s. A typical hand roller has few parts: the roller cage or frame has a single rib, which in turn holds the cylindrical roller cover.
Your hand roller is perfect for quick, one-off jobs that you can tackle in an afternoon, like the laundry or bathroom.
But if you have a lot of wall to cover and not a lot of time, you might want to try the electric or pressure rollers. Electric rollers generally come as a single unit, comprising the roller, a tube and an electric motor. Paint is pumped directly from the paint can onto the roller as you are rolling the paint onto the wall. The paint flow is usually controlled by a button on the roller.
The pressure roller is basically an airless paint sprayer, with the roller pole attached directly onto the spray gun. The roller cover is specially designed with holes to distribute the paint. If you already outfitted for an airless sprayer, this might be an option for you. Being airless, it would also accommodate fluids with a thicker viscosity than the electric and offer a smoother finish than the hand roller.
Benefits of Power Paint Roller Systems
Power paint rollers have the same coverage and ease of use as a manual roller, only better. When you use a power roller, you don’t have to stop every few feet and refill the brush roller. There isn’t a paint pan to refill with paint.
Instead, you connect your supply hoses, turn the machine on, and paint is delivered to the roller, keeping it full from the inside out. You can keep rolling until the job is done. Among the other benefits are easier cleanup and less fatigue.
While a power paint roller will cost you more through the initial purchase, the time it saves (not to mention the lack of pain in your arms and lower back) are well worth the price.
Power Paint Roller vs Regular Paint Roller
How does a power paint roller compare to a regular paint roller? Let’s take a look.
Electric Power Rollers Vs Spray Guns
And there is no doubt that they get the job done very quickly. You can finish painting an entire room or the exterior of your house in a flash.
But there are some disadvantages. If you don’t know what you’re doing, they are tricky to handle.
They are expensive, from $200 upwards, and that’s on top of the compressor or motor. Don’t forget that with a spray gun, you need to wear adequate protection like a proper respirator and goggles.
The clean-up can be especially trying, since you need to clean every nook and cranny of the gun. And there’s that bugbear of all spray guns: overspray.
No matter how you try to safeguard against this, you are always going to get some sort of overspray. With an electric power roller, it’s easy as plugging it in and painting. There is no overspray and it gives you neat, sharp lines. If you’ve got your rolling technique down, the electric roller produces a finish equal to, if not better than, the spray gun. And you don’t have to battle with clogged air tips ruining your finish.
The clean-up is pretty easy too since most models come with a reverse wash system. The tricky bit is cleaning the roller cover. But, if you don’t want the hassle, you could just throw the cover away. It’s not as quick as the spray gun but is much faster than a hand roller. And you don’t have to stop and refill with paint as you do with siphon or gravity-fed guns. The electric rollers are also cheaper than spray guns ranging from around $70 to $100.
So, the electric roller wins? Not quite. For one thing, the less powerful electric rollers can only be used with water-based paints while spray guns can accommodate a wider variety of materials. In addition, the electric roller is not as versatile as a spray gun.
It is the perfect choice for DIYers painting large flat surfaces like walls and ceilings. However, there are only so many walls and ceilings in your home to paint. You might use it once and then it’ll stand in the tool shed gathering dust. It might be cheaper than the spray gun in the short term but you’ll only get so many uses out of it. Still it’s a great tool to put on your list for Father Christmas.
What To Look For In a Power Paint Roller
Several factors play into evaluating power painters. Efficacy is high on the list – does the tool have enough suction power to take up all kinds of paint, even thick primers, and viscous premium paints? Let’s take a look at other things you should think about before you make a purchase.
Holding Capacity & Paint Type
One of the biggest advantages of a power paint roller is that you don’t have to stop painting often to refill your paint tray or re-dip the roller. This wouldn’t be much of an advantage if the capacity of the holding tank weren’t very large. Not only does it need to be big enough to supply you with paint for a while, but it also needs to maintain a lightweight design.
You should also ensure that the tank and the spray system can handle most types of paint, especially if the project you are using it for will use specialty paints.
Since most of the roller work will be high on vertical walls or overhead on ceilings, gravity will come into play. Don’t forget to consider the suction power of the system. If suction power is low, you may not be able to work overhead long before the roller runs dry.
Ease of Use
One advantage of a regular roller is how easy they are to use. Once the paint is in the paint tray, you just have to wet the roller and go. If a power roller isn’t as simple to operate, there isn’t a point. Most power roller systems aren’t very difficult to set up or use.
A power roller wouldn’t be very good if you couldn’t move it around the home easily. Portability int eh form of a lightweight design or a backpack style carrying case makes portability much easier.
Let’s face it; no one wants another machine in the home, making a lot of racket. Paint rollers are quiet and almost soothing to operate. Power paint rollers need to be the same. While they will have to make some noise to power the suction and pump, it doesn’t need to be obtrusive.
Some models will come bare-bones with just enough to get you painting. Others will go all out with extras and accessories. You should look for the type that will give you what you need without paying for things you will never use. Optional accessories include things like various sized roller covers, extension wands, splatter guards, hose extensions, or cut-in adapters.
Top 6 Paint Rollers For All Types Of Jobs
1. Wagner 0530010 Smart Side Kick Power Roller
- Direct-feed delivery eliminates the tray
- Innovative Click-Attach Arm fits all paint...
- Extension connection handle accepts common...
- Easy clean-up in about 10 minutes
As an alternative to the all-in-one mentality of the Wagner SMART Power Roller, the Side Kick does one thing and does it well. That thing is paint walls quickly. The Side Kick dispenses with some of the accessories and bells and whistles provided with the flagship SMART product.
If you want to use your power paint roller to cut in trim and fit into narrow corners, you’ll need to buy your accessories separately. In the alternative, you can just cut in around your trim and paint into corners with an old-fashioned, unpowered edger or trim roller.
However, where the Side Kick outshines its big brother is with its simplified feed mount, which can accommodate both one gallon cans and the five gallon buckets that come into play for the biggest painting jobs.
Most notably, the Side Kick is also compatible with standard paint roller extension wands, allowing users to reach all the way to the higher ceilings found in upscale and historic houses without dragging around a ladder. The Side Kick has no pretentions towards solving all of your painting problems, but in many ways it’s a more efficient tool for tackling the big jobs.
2. Wagner Telescopic Pressure Roller
Wagner’s pressure roller does what it says on the box. But not without a few problems. The pressure roller attaches to any airless sprayer system as long as the hose fits the roller. The roller extension is fitted directly onto the spray gun.
Once you depress the trigger, paint is distributed to the roller and onto the wall through holes in the roller. Using the roller is not an unalloyed joy. A roller is only as good as its roller cover. And with the Wagner pressure roller, you can’t use just any roller cover hanging around the tool shed.
The unit is sold with the specially designed 9 “ Wagner roller cover, which has a polyester fiber 3/8” nap. The nap is fine for smooth surfaces. If you’re painting rough surfaces you will have to buy a cover with a longer nap. I prefer natural fiber covers, as they absorb and distribute paint more efficiently. I would have also liked the option of having a smaller roller for all my cutting-in work. Instead, I had to do that by hand.
The handle extends from 18” to 48” − handy if you’re painting your great room or your ceilings. A word of caution: don’t hold the trigger too long or else it can get messy. And I don’t think this will stand up to the rigours of commercial use; some of the plastic components broke after a few uses.
It also suffers the other disadvantages of any airless system: the noise and the clean-up.
With an extra roller cover, the Wagner comes in at about $170.
3. Graco 244512 Pressure Roller Kit
The manufacturers say the Graco pressure roller kit has been designed to be used with Magnum and Graco airless sprayers. However, I’ve seen contractors using the roller with any airless gun that has a 7/8 thread and it worked just fine. I’d suggest using washers with all the attachments so nothing leaks.
The Graco comes a 9” roller cage and a 1/2'” nap polyester cover. Its 20” extension is handy for all that ceiling work. It also has a 45-degree adapter for the gun, for those awkward spots. My advice is to keep the pressure low and a light finger on the trigger.
It is a hardy piece of machinery that will stand up to the rigours of commercial use. The only drawback is the synthetic cover which doesn’t last as long as a natural fiber cover and takes twice as long to clean. You can buy an extra cover with a ¾” nap for rougher surfaces for less than 10 bucks.
At under $80, the Graco pressure roller is a good addition to any painting set-up.
4. Wagner Power Roller Plus Cordless Multispeed System
Wagner has moved on a bit from the battery-operated multispeed system. This is probably the most basic power roller you can get. It’s portable, but you carry the entire system along with you while you paint. You decant the paint directly into the paint tank attached to the pump. Attach a handle and sling the system over your shoulder. And away you go.
But it’s heavy and, because of the relatively short 8” hose, you have to keep the container close at hand. You still end up going up ladders and end up having to refill the tank multiple times. You have a degree of control over the paint flow.
But, sometimes it’s necessary to turn off the pump so you don’t end up with too much paint on the roller. I think the roller would fun to use this on smaller projects Anything bigger is likely to be a real pain − literally. The system is no longer in production so sourcing parts could be quite difficult. Used systems go for around $60.
5. Black & Decker C800659 Pro Electric Power Paint Roller
Contractors often turn their noses up at Black & Decker, but any self-respecting DIYer would have at least one B&D tool in his or her shed. I’m on the fence about this one. It’s a lot of money to pay – just under $100 – for something you might use only once. Mind you, you would have a lot of fun using it.
With the Black & Decker Pro electric power paint roller, the paint is fed directly from the can through a tube to the roller. Applying paint is super-fast and there’s none of the mess associated with hand rollers or spray guns. The manufacturers boast about it painting one gallon of paint in under 10 minutes.
The system comes with a 16” inch extension – great for those tall walls and ceilings. And the 20” inch tube means you aren’t tethered to your paint can. Other accessories include a splatter shield to stop paint from splattering onto the ceiling. There’s also roller keeper to store your roller overnight if you’re too tired for clean-up.
6. Wagner 0530002 SMART Power Roller
- Draws directly from paint can so that you can...
- Variable speed control dial adjusts from 1 to...
- 3-inch Smart Edge Roller included for tape...
- 2 special internally fed 9-inch rollers for...
The SMART Power Roller draws on the company’s long experience in the field and is designed with the homeowner and DIYer in mind. The base unit is sized to fit a standard gallon can of paint and cannot accommodate the five-gallon buckets used in commercial scale painting operations. It does, however, include a lid that holds the feed hose steadily in place and provides good protection against dripping, tip overs and outside contaminants falling into the open can.
The kit ships with an adapter for cutting in trim and working in tight spaces. It also comes with two rollers; one with a three-eighths inch nap suitable for economically coating smooth drywall and one with a three-quarter inch nap intended for use on rougher and more textured surfaces like plaster.
The Wagner SMART Power Roller offers nine speeds of paint feeding to ensure a steady flow of paint, whether you are working with a thick primer or a thinner specialty coating. A convenient handle-mounted button starts and stops the flow of paint. The tool is easily capable of feeding the thickest premium paints, and so receives good grades for effective operation.
This power painter comes with a 16 foot feed hose, allowing users to climb ladders and cover a significant swath of the wall before the can has to be moved up the line. It also includes an 18 inch extension handle, which allows average height adults to paint ceilings up to 8 feet high without a ladder.
However, the system is not compatible with longer extension handles. If your future holds high ceilings, open stairwells and vaulted living rooms, the SMART Power Roller will not spare you the hassle of dealing with ladders.
No review of power paint rollers is complete without considering the cleanup at the end of the day. The SMART Power Roller receives accolades for its reversible pump, which allows the user to backflush unused paint from the supply hose into the can. Clean up is not completely hassle-free, but with the chore ranging from 10 to 30 minutes depending on the kind of paint used, it is not unreasonable.
Finally, in the bonus noise-control round, this tool does provide a certain degree of background noise, but not enough to prevent a DIYer from mixing opera with his primer and punk rock with her paint.
Is Wagner the Best Brand For Power Rollers?
Yes! Wagner offers the most diverse selection of power rollers; there’s something available for everyone. If you desire flexibility to take on some everyday household painting jobs, you’ll find a system that is suitable for you.
If you need something to take on the smoother walls, or reaches farther, you’ll find something for both those needs as well. Wagner makes it easy to achieve the finish you want and their prices are reasonable. In addition, their products all come highly rated because they are durable and easy to use.
We personally recommend Wagner products as the best electric power paint rollers on the market.
Assembling a Power Roller
Power roller assembly will vary from brand to brand and model to model. In most cases, you will have a paint can or bucket mount and a suction hose that submerges into the paint. The paint hose connects to the motor and pump housing and the other end to the roller.
Once you turn the power on, paint is siphoned from the bucket to the pump, where it is then pushed through the hose into the roller. Once the paint has arrived and soaked the roller, you are ready to paint.
Power Paint Roller Clean Up
Clean up can be just as simple as the set up. Instead of a bucket of paint, insert a bucket of warm water (for water-based paints, or mineral spirits for oil-based), and let the system clean itself as it pumps the water through the hoses. Once everything runs clear you just need to remove the water bucket, drain the hoses and clean off the roller covers.
How do I Use a Power Paint Roller?
After the setup and initial pump time to get the paint to the roller cover, painting with a power roller is just the same as painting with a standard roller. You will want to make a 3-foot “W” shape in the open area and fill it in, creating a painted square shape. From there, move to the side of that area, make another “W” and continue painting until the area is complete.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does a power paint roller use more paint than a paint sprayer?
While a power roller will use more paint than a regular roller, it doesn’t use as much paint as a paint spray gun system. Some airless systems can go through a gallon of paint in less than a minute if set up for doing so. A powered paint roller is much more economical about paint consumption.
How long do power rollers last?
Most paint rollers are designed to last for a long time. Providing you maintain and care for the equipment well and clean after every use, there is no reason the powered paint roller system can’t last you five to seven years or more.
What other accessories do I need to have with a power paint roller?
Depending on the system that you buy, you may not need any other accessories. Aside from your normal painting materials such as drop cloths, painter’s tape, and personal protective gear, you may want to invest in things like extension wands, different sized roller covers, and cut in brushes.
In our review of power paint rollers, there’s something for everyone. The homeowner who wants one system with the flexibility to handle the most commonly-encountered tasks in a typical home painting project will likely want to steer towards the Wagner SMART Power Roller.
The home owner who wants a tool that only handles smooth walls, but reaches far, wide and fast will be better served by the Wagner Side Kick. Either way, you’ll be enjoying that fresh paint feeling in less time than ever before.