The best paint rollers you can buy

HomeRight/Business Insider

best paint roller

HomeRight/Business Insider

  • With a good paint roller, you can coat a good-sized wall in a matter of minutes. Or you can paint a whole room, ceiling, and all in just a couple of hours – setup and cleanup included.
  • The Wooster Brush Company R017 Sherlock GT Roller is our top pick because it has an extra wide, smoothly rolling 14-inch head that lays down extra wide swaths of paint while affording you reliable control.

Today we are going to talk about a number of different paint rollers that are each ideally suited to different projects. One is perfect for the detail work that comes with painting furniture or cabinetry and another was purpose-built for painting ceilings. One of our rollers is cheap but effective, while another is a professional-grade power tool designed with the serious painter in mind.

I’ll be sure to break down the benefits of each roller and for what project it’s best suited, but first let’s be clear about two things: First, what we’re talking about here are the paint roller frames, not the covers. The frames are the reusable hardware with the rolling wire frame, the handle, often with an extension pole, and so on.

Second, you have to keep in mind that, while often cheap and effectively single-use disposable, those roller covers are extremely important! You have to choose the right roller cover for the type of paint and the surface you’ll be painting or there’s nothing even the finest roller frame can do for you.

Basically, the smoother the surface you’re painting, the thinner the nap you want on your roller. Think of roller “nap” as shagginess, for an easy reference point. A shag carpet would have a thick nap, while a sheet of silk would have the thinnest. So far so good? If you’re painting a stucco wall with all sorts of texture and depth, you need a roller with a thick, deep nap that will work its way into all of those nooks and crannies.

But on a smooth surface, thick nap rollers will leave a finish that looks uneven and shoddy. Wood panel or drywall, for example, need a roller with a much thinner nap, one measuring a quarter inch of depth or even less. And for some projects, such as painting on glass or smooth metals, you should even consider using foam or rubber roller covers that are effectively flat.

Right then, with that info, you’re now pretty much ready for your very own HGTV show. So let’s roll!

Here are the best paint rollers you can buy:

Updated on 07/01/2019 by Les Shu: Updated prices, links, and formatting.

Keep scrolling to read more about our top picks.

The best paint roller overall


The Wooster Brush Company R017 Sherlock GT Roller has a mighty 14-inch roller head that creates an extra large swath of paint with every pass.

When a company has been in the business of making paintbrushes since the 1850s, you can assume they make at least a decent product. And when the paint roller frame is hailed as one of the best-selling rollers on Earth, you can take that assumption to the bank. The 14-inch Wooster Brush Company’s R012 Sherlock GT Roller Frame might cost only about $12.50, but it may well be a lifetime purchase, thanks to the excellent design and construction.

The head spins on internal bearings that keep it revolving smoothly and effortlessly even when the frame is sporting a thick nap cover laden with paint, while a spring holds roller covers in place during use but quickly releases the cover with a single solid tap after the painting is done. This means you don’t have to grab a paint-covered roller by hand, by the way, which is a serious benefit.

The US-made Sherlock GT Roller Frame features a solid, ergonomic polypropylene handle that can also be screwed onto an extension pole, making this a great roller for all sorts of wall sizes and surfaces.

With more than 300 customer reviews posted on Amazon, the Wooster Brush Company Ro17 Sherlock GT has a 4.4-star averaged rating (out of 5). Some of the comments include “the only roller frame that works with zero problems” and “the best of the best.”

Pros: Reliably smooth rotation, quick-release spring, extra wide span

Cons: Lots of squeaking noise during use

Buy the Wooster Brush Company R017 Sherlock GT Roller Frame on Amazon for $12.47

The best ceiling paint roller


The HomeRight PaintStick EZ-Twist Paint Roller Applicator was purpose-built to help make ceiling painting quick, easy, and above all else, cleaner.

First, let’s be clear here: Use of the HomeRight PaintStick EZ-Twist Paint Roller Applicator really should be limited to painting ceilings. The roller is a bit complicated to use, and there’s quite an involved cleanup process after each painting session if you want the reusable roller covers and even the roller frame and applicator system to remain in good working order.

But that extra cleanup time won’t equal the amount of time you would have spent moving a ladder around the room, covering the floors with paper or plastic and tape, and all those re-applications of paint using a roller tray.

With the HomeRight PaintStick EZ-Twist Paint Roller Applicator, you can use a syringe style mechanism to draw up 18 ounces of paint into an internal reservoir. That paint is then pushed out through the roller, creating a consistent coat of paint with no dips in a tray required.

The handle extends out to 64 inches, so most people will be able to paint most ceilings with ease, no ladder or step stool required. An optional drip tray that can be hung below the roller will catch the few errant drips or splatters of paint falling away from the ceiling, so your floor and furniture should stay clean even if not covered.

Learning how to use this unique paint application system with ease take a few uses, and you have to be quite fastidious about flushing out and cleaning the paint reservoir and the roller covers, but if you take the time to do so, this hardware should last for years of use and help with thousands of square feet of painting projects.

MakelyHome called the HomeRight PaintStick EZ-Twist Paint Roller Applicator’s paint reservoir “incredibly easy to fill” and loved that she “didn’t have to use a step stool to paint the ceiling.”

Pros: Built-in paint reservoir, handle extends to 64 inches, drip tray limits messes

Cons: Onerous cleanup process

Buy the HomeRight PaintStick EZ-Twist Paint Roller Applicator on Amazon for $24.98

The best narrow paint roller


The Wooster 3-inch Roller allows you to paint in cramped spaces and complete detail work quickly and efficiently, no brush required.

If you thought paint rollers were only for use on broad, open expanses of wall or ceiling, then you, sir or madam were more or less correct. At least, you were right when it comes to standard, wide rollers. But with a Wooster 3-inch Roller, you can roll paint onto door frames, around windows, onto shelves and cabinets, or onto furniture, no paint brushes required.

For many surfaces, from molding to trim to drawers and more, this roller is the perfect size to allow for quick and efficient yet precise painting. The roller has a durable, chrome-plated frame and a grippy plastic handle so it’s comfortable to use in small spaces.

The roller also comes in 4-inch and 7-inch sizes if you want something a bit larger.

Pros: Narrow design for precise rolling, smooth turning action, single rap roller release

Cons: Slightly overpriced, comes with inferior covers

Buy the Wooster 3-inch Roller on Amazon for $5.26

The best power paint roller


The Wagner Smart SideKick Power Roller can be connected to a five-gallon paint bucket, delivering you enough coverage for massive surfaces, no dipping in paint trays or refilled reservoirs required.

If you have one seriously sizable painting project ahead of you, consider a Wagner Smart SideKick Power Roller. This powered paint roller can deliver a constant, consistent flow of paint to a roller and, when connected to a bucket loaded with as much as five gallons, it can help you complete even the largest painting projects in minimal time.

With this power roller, you’ll never need to pause to dip your roller in a tray, not to mention refilling the tray with paint after every few swaths. Of course, the system also works with other sizes of paint container, including the standard one-gallon can.

As the Wagner Smart SideKick Power Roller features a 16-foot hose and can be outfitted with an extension pole, it relieves one of the most annoying parts of many painting projects: Going up and down a ladder every time you need more paint.

A button set into the handle of the roller frame regulates paint flow, so you can add more to your roller whenever things run thin. The system is designed to work with latex and oil-based paints, so you should be able to use it for most DIY painting projects or even for commercial-grade work.

Walmart shoppers have given this electric paint roller a sterling 4.5-star average rating (out of 5), with one saying it “did a great job” and made his project “fast because” there was no “need to reload the paint from a paint tray.”

The LoveAndRenovations blog called the Wagner Smart SideKick Power Roller a “painting tool that will change your life,” noting how “the paint goes on much more evenly” using this tool than a traditional roller.

Pros: Consistent paint flow, long hose, works with most paint types

Cons: Lengthy setup and cleaning process

Buy the Wagner Smart SideKick Power Roller at Walmart for $79.99