Ingenuity and innovation are what drive industries forward. For the DIY painting industry, that means upgrading the standard paintbrush or paint roller to a power paint roller.
By offering a pump that can send paint to a roller, you spend less time going back to the tray to load up on more paint.
In a perfect world, an electric paint roller would save up to 50% of the time you spend painting the average room.
In reality, many electric paint rollers have design flaws that cause more problems than they offer in benefits.
Power Paint Rollers: Top Models
Here are the top-rated electric paint rollers that are available right now, including three Wagner Power Roller models and 1 Ryobi Power Paint Roller.
Top 4 Power Paint Rollers: Editor’s Reviews
This unit is recommended for larger paint jobs. Crush out a few rooms and save your weekend with this power paint roller.
The Click Attach arm fits any paint container from 1 to 5 gallons. With the auto feed control you get continuous paint flow for even coverage.
We noted a design flaw during testing that the pump on off switch which controls paint flow, is located on the handle connected to the roller. If you use an extension pole, you might not be able to get to the roller at the end of the pole fast enough and too much paint comes out or there are drips.
The quick release handle lets you easily attach rollers and accessories.
This unit can help you paint so fast, that painting a room takes less time than clean up.
We recommend not letting this unit sit with paint in it for 30 mins due to it drying up inside the unit. When testing, we found that set up can be a bit time consuming.
This power paint roller from Wagner is cordless, with a battery that can pump up to 15 gallons on a single set of four AA batteries.
The paint tube holds enough paint to paint a 7 ft by 10 ft area on one fill.
When tested, we found that the roller sheds a bit at the beginning or your painting. You will also need to fill the paint tube once to get the roller full of paint and then refill the paint tube.
Clean up takes about 30 mins, so definitely plan out the areas and colors you want to paint. Get those larger areas done first. Leave yourself some time.
The handle on this Power Roller from HomeRight holds 18 ounces of paint so that you have to spend less time refilling and more time painting.
The EZ Twist handle draws paint directly from the can, so you can ditch your tray. You should be able to paint about 70 sq feet in a few minutes or less.
Unlike some other models, the roller is shed resistant and comparable to premium brand rollers.
Use this power roller to paint your ceilings and high walls.
When we tested this we found that the unit got pretty heavy and that we could only paint over head for about 10-15 minutes before we had to stop.
Power paint rollers may have a fatal flaw: they begin to fail where the unit draws paint from the can.
Clean up is a challenge with Power rollers, so be aware.
This smaller power paint roller from Wagner is designed to get into those very hard to reach small spaces.
Edge that door or window trim faster than with a traditional paint roller and brush system. The paint reservoir in the roller eliminates the need for a tray.
To save you time, the roller holds up to 6 oz of paint and will cover 96 linear feet for each fill.
Save even more time because you don’t have to tape your edges when you use this Power Paint Roller.
Paint Roller Design
It is important to differentiate between 2 paint roller designs: an “electric” or “power” paint roller and a “smart” paint roller. These different types of paint rollers offer you different methods of getting the paint to the roller.
A smart roller offers a hollow tube within the handle of the equipment that can supply paint to the roller.
A power roller is a paint roller with a pump, which uses air pressure, or some other form of electric supply to run paint through a hose to the roller.
Why is a Power Paint Roller So Problematic? Are Power Paint Rollers any Good?
Electric paint rollers bring the awkward factor up to 11. They also don’t really save painters that much time compared to the traditional roller. The only real benefit that is immediate is the elimination of a paint tray.
You have to do everything else with a power roller that you would with a standard roller.
- The paint needs to be mixed.
- You need to tape down your interior and lay plastic down to prevent splatter.
- You’re going to have downtime because the roller needs to be replaced periodically.
There are generally 14-inch and 18-inch models available. As with the standard roller, you’ll need to paint with a brush in tight corners and lines to prevent splatter.
In a standard 120 square foot room, you might save between 10-20 minutes on your total painting time.
If you have several rooms to paint and you want to get things done in a single day, that means you’ll be able to paint about one more room with an electric paint roller compared to a standard roller.
With the costs of a power paint roller to consider, it is easy to see why many consumers see a greater value in the traditional painting methods in this category.
Then there is the cleanup process. With a traditional paint roller, you just take off the used roller and throw it away. With an electric roller, you are forced to clean all of your equipment at the end of the day.
By the time you’ve finished cleaning, you have likely lost all of the time savings you just gained by going with an electric paint roller.
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Power Paint Rollers Vs Paint Sprayers
It can take a lot of time to prepare a room for paint spraying vs power paint rolling. Because the paint is atomized with a paint sprayer, it can linger in the air while you work.
That means you’ll need to mask the entire room before spraying. You’ll also need to cover the entire floor with a layer of plastic.
Power Paint rollers require prep work as well, but you can section off your work. Instead of masking the entire room at once, you can work along each wall with a drop cloth.
You should always wear a painting mask or respirator, whether you use a spray gun or a power paint roller.
If you choose a paint sprayer, then you’re basically forced into the purchase of a respirator. Half-mask options can prevent dust and debris from entering your lungs. They do not prevent noxious odors from affecting you while you’re working.
With a power paint roller, you may be able to get away with a simple dust mask to prevent breathing in some paint.
When using oil-based products, however, you’ll need to use a respirator.
Paint Sprayers vs Power Rollers And Results
With a paint sprayer, using a good technique will provide you with a thin layer of paint that has a low risk of running or gathering into thick spots.
If you do not have a good technique, however, then you can end up with spots, dots, and runs with your finished product.
Power Paint rollers place a thicker layer of paint on your wall that you must thin out as you roll it. That offers a higher risk of thicker areas and runs happening.
For that reason, you must always work your way from the top to the bottom when painting to avoid problematic spots.
Does a Power Paint Roller Use more Paint than a Paint Sprayer? What about a Regular Roller?
A power paint roller will use more paint than a regular roller but both a power paint roller and a regular roller will use less paint than a paint sprayer.
Depending on which type of spray gun you have, HVLP, Airless or Gravity Feed, one of the cons of using a paint sprayer is that they use between 20% and 40% more paint. If you don’t maintain your sprayer and its tips, that could increase to 50%
What to Look for in a Power Paint Roller
Our best advice is to read product reviews and see if product Owner’s recommend the power paint roller you’re thinking about buying. Don’t just buy one on a whim; you could end up super disappointed.
You’d definitely want a power paint roller with a flexible and study hose that is long enough to reach the top of your walls and/or ceilings. Also, easy fast clean up is important.
You will want parts that are not susceptible to breaking like plastic connection parts. This reduces the chance of leaks and spilling paint everywhere. Definitely hook yourself up with a power roller that has a solid warranty and good customer service to back it up like Wagner Products.
How Can Electric Paint Rollers Be a Beneficial Addition to a DIY Project?
Electric paint rollers are a good option to consider if you can check off these three specific items for your next DIY project.
- You have a large area to paint that involves flat surfaces without interruption, such as a window, a ceiling fixture, or an unusual wall shape. If your wall is a big rectangle, this equipment can speed through the painting process.
- Interior painting spray vs a roller tip: You plan to use a paint that is water-based. Electric rollers do not handle the same variety of paint types that spray guns or traditional rollers can handle.
- You have a power source that is readily available. Power rollers do better when they are within 10 feet of their power source. Some models come with a 6-foot power cord that extension cords do not support.
Even if you can tick these three items off, keep in mind that you’ll likely be applying a primer with different equipment before you apply the paint with the power paint roller.
You must also have the paint hose be part of the consideration process. Not every painter is comfortable with a long hose that dangles from the handle of their roller.
It can feel cumbersome and can even get in the way when painting high walls or ceilings. An automatic painting roller is probably not the solution in this case.
What About a Smart Roller Over a Power Paint Roller?
Some people are just done with the traditional paint roller. It can be messy. You’ve got those trays to deal with all the time. At the same time, the cost and problems with an electric paint roller are equally bothersome.
In the middle sits the smart roller. This different type of paint roller utilizes a paint tank that is in the handle of the roller itself. You press a button and paint flows to the roller.
Some smart power roller models are called automatic paint rollers because they are pressurized so that you can keep painting overhead while the roller does the work for you.
Here are the problems that come up with a smart roller system.
- Paint dries. Unless there are liners compatible with your paint tank, it’s a one-and-done piece of equipment. You have to either thoroughly wash out the tank before the paint dries in it or just use the same color of paint everywhere.
- It is messy in other ways. It can be difficult to control the flow of paint to the roller with a smart design. If this switch breaks, you’ll have zero control. And, if the roller comes off for some reason while you’re painting, then you’ll have a huge mess all over the floor.
- There are valves that can fail. Smart rollers can fail to draw paint from the can because of a duckbill valve failure. The roller can malfunction because of a cap or core problem. Even with a warranty in place, the cost of replacing painted carpet or fixing hardwood flooring is much higher.
To sum up the average consumer experience with smart paint rollers and electric paint rollers takes three words: “Not Worth It.”
How to Solve the Power Paint Roller Issues
Now let’s be fair here. When going over the power paint roller reviews, there are some common complaints that are usually easily preventable.
- “I got paint on my carpet.”
- “I had to spend 2 hours cleaning up my tool.”
- “The equipment doesn’t work as intended.”
Assembling Your Power Roller
When you receive a power roller (or a smart roller, for that matter), there is usually some assembly
required. If the assembly is not performed correctly, then the paint roller will not work as intended.
Missing parts are one of the biggest issues we all face when ordering items online. Not every manufacturer is good about ensuring all needed parts are included. What do we do if that happens?
We often become impatient and try to use the product anyway instead of initiating a return or a request for the missing parts.
And that can mean bad news, especially for DIY painters. If your new power paint roller is missing parts, don’t start painting until your unit is fully assembled!
Power Roller Paint Prep
As for those who rate electric rollers in the 1-star range because of carpet or flooring damage, here’s the question to ask: why didn’t you cover your floor with plastic or a tarp?
Any painting equipment can drip onto the floor if it gets too much paint on it. Even if a valve malfunctions, the plastic preserves the floor from damage.
Cleaning Up after Your Power Roller
The issue of cleanup, however, is a legitimate complaint. Every power roller model requires at least 60 minutes of cleaning work, so it can be reused the next day.
That’s a lot of time if you’re only painting one room. You could legitimately spend more time cleaning the equipment than actually painting.
That’s why the scope of the project must be a top consideration. If you’re only painting one room, then an electric paint roller is probably more equipment than you need. Go for a traditional roller instead.
If you’re painting an entire house, however, or have an extensive exterior that needs to be painted in a day, then an electric roller does make some sense.
How do I Clean my Wagner Power Roller?
The great thing about Wagner, is their how to videos. Check out this video on how to clean your power roller.
How Much to Budget for an Electric Paint Roller?
The best models in this category are priced above $200. That cost does not include the motor or compressor that is necessary for the equipment as well.
Because this is powered equipment, you’ll need the same safety equipment that you’d wear with a paint sprayer. Whether you are spray or roller painting, you need to wear a good respirator and should probably be wearing safety goggles as well.
Affordable models, especially smart rollers, are in the $30-$50 price range. Some units are about $120 for all the equipment you need to get started.
These models are typically beneficial for specific jobs, so be sure to review all of the manufacturer’s recommendations before getting started.
What is the Best Power Paint Roller Brand?
If you are interested in buying a power roller, we suggest taking a look at those offered by Wagner. Good warranties and excellent customer service coupled with product knowledge sets these above the rest on the market.
The best electric paint rollers can be a good investment if you’re aware of the negatives this equipment is known to produce. Use common sense when painting with it and protect your floors. Wear safety equipment. Do more than paint one wall with it.
You receive more control over the paint. These sprayers can also be used in more environments and can be used with more paint types when compared to electric rollers.
The choice is really up to you. Just don’t settle for the fake positivity about this technology that you’ll find elsewhere. Power rollers can be good to own if you have the right job for them to do.
How is a power paint roller different than a regular roller?
Power paint rollers eliminate the tray. Instead they pull paint directly from the can into the handle of the roller and soak the roller with paint.