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Best paint roller 2021: The best small, large, adjustable and electric paint rollers

Jade Vincent Gareth Thomas
23 Jun 2021
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Bring some colour to the walls of your home with the best paint rollers you can buy

Sprucing up the rooms of your home with a new lick of paint can breathe new life into your living space, and vastly improve your satisfaction with your environment. However, before you can get cracking with your aesthetic home improvements, you need to tool up with the best kit possible.

Picking the perfect paint roller is a vital step in compiling any home improvement kit. With the right painting tools in your arsenal, you’ll be able to revamp your rooms quickly and efficiently, but with the wrong roller at your disposal, you might find yourself struggling, even making a tricky job more difficult.

To help you avoid that pitfall and arm yourself with the best possible paint roller for your home’s requirements, we’ve pulled together everything you need to consider before buying, along with some of the very best rollers to purchase.

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Best paint roller: At a glance

  • Best-value paint roller set: Harris Essentials Decorating Set | Buy now
  • Best adjustable paint roller: Purdy Adjustable Paint Roller Frame | Buy now
  • Best electric paint roller: Wagner Paint Roller TurboBall 550 | Buy now
  • Best paint roller for masonry: ProDec Heavy Duty Roller & Brush Set | Buy now
  • Best mini paint roller: Harris 4129 4in Mini Gloss And Emulsion Roller | Buy now

How to choose the best paint roller for you

Choosing the best paint roller is less straightforward than you might initially think. Each is tailored to a specific sort of painting, which means there are lots of different types to consider before buying the right one. To help you out, we’ve compiled a shortlist of important questions so that you’re making an informed buying decision.

What size of paint roller do you need?

The standard size for a paint roller is seven inches wide, and that’s generally perfect for most interior paintwork unless there’s a particularly large or tiny area that you’re planning to paint.

A smaller roller is a smart choice when you’re painting a room with nooks and crannies, or where there are slimmer areas, say, next to a window, as it’s easier for the tool to neatly squeeze between them. To tackle different surfaces and areas, we’d suggest investing in a range of paint rollers; we think buying a 3in roller, a 9in roller and a 12in roller is a great place to start.

How thick a paint roller nap do you need?

The other main variable between different paint rollers is the “nap”, which is the word given to the thickness of the woven cover that goes on to your metal paint roller frame. It’s important to know what each different nap (also known as the cover’s pile) is built to do: for example, 1/4in naps are perfect for painting smooth surfaces; 3/8in naps are ideal for lightly textured surfaces; 1/2in naps are designed for moderately rough surfaces; and 3/4in naps work wonders on a very rough surface. Again, if you’re planning to paint lots of different surfaces, there’s nothing wrong with stocking up a varied supply with lots of different naps.

Do you need a foam paint roller?

Rollers with 1/4in naps should be fine for most untextured surfaces, but there is another option on the market if you want to paint some smooth surfaces: foam rollers. These have no nap whatsoever, and are ideal for slathering paint on to absolutely texture-free surfaces and recolouring the area without any blemishes.

Most casual painters will be happy with a more forgiving 1/4in nap, but if you want to take your smooth-area painting to that next level, you’ll want to consider adding a foam roller to your lineup.

What type of surface are you painting?

Essentially, picking the perfect paint roller depends entirely on what sorts of surface you are planning to paint. If you are painting a room with perfectly smooth walls and no architectural features jutting out, a standard 7in roller with either a 1/4in nap or a foam covering will suit your needs well. But if you are painting lots of different surfaces with multiple textures and features, you’ll want to purchase a variety of rollers and covers to go with them.

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The best paint rollers to buy

1. Harris Essentials Decorating Set: Best-value paint roller set

Price: £10 | Buy now from Wilko

This set by trusted DIY brand Harris offers excellent value for money. It comes with a 9in roller frame with an emulsion sleeve, a 4in roller with emulsion and gloss sleeves, and a set of three paint brushes, as well as a polythene dust sheet and some sanding blocks.

You’ll probably get higher brush quality elsewhere, but you’ve got all the essentials – plus some handy extras – that you’ll need here to get started with decorating your house.

Key features – Sizes: 9in, 4in; Sleeves: 1 x 9in emulsion, 1 x 4in emulsion, 1 x 4in gloss; Extras: 1 x 1in emulsion paint brush, 1 x 2in emulsion paint brush, 1 x 1in gloss paint brush, 12 x 9in polythene dust sheet, sanding blocks

Buy now from Wilko


2. Purdy Adjustable Paint Roller Frame: Best adjustable paint roller

Price: £27 | Buy now from Amazon

This Purdy roller is one of the more versatile options on the paint roller scene. If you’re planning a paint job that will require various different roller covers, picking up one of these adjustable paint roller frames will allow you to swap effortlessly between roller covers without having to fork out on a load of different frames.

It comes with a 12in roller cover that has a 1cm nap, but the roller frame can handle any width of roller cover between 12in and 18in. It’s also remarkably lightweight, considering its chunky appearance and advanced functionality.

Plus, should you need to paint high surfaces such as ceilings or tall walls, you can attach this frame to a range of extension poles, such as this Purdy telescopic extension pole from B&Q.

Key features – Sizes: 12-18in; Sleeves: 1 x 12x3/8in woven dralon; Extras: None

3. Wagner Paint Roller TurboBall 550: Best electric paint roller

Price: £42 | Buy now from Amazon

If you’re painting a large area over the course of your home improvement project and you don’t fancy wearing your arms out with all of those rolling motions, Wagner’s TurboRoll could be the roller you’re looking for. Thanks to a battery-powered motor installed in its handle, this roller can spin without you exerting yourself. It’s easy to use – you fill up the handle with paint and then set the roller to spin by thumbing a simple switch – and a real saver of time and effort.

If you’re using it properly, you should be able to paint 15m² in just ten minutes. It runs on four AA batteries, which should be enough to get through around 40 litres of paint before giving up the ghost.

Key features – Size: 9in; Sleeves: 1x 3/4in knitted polyester; Extras: None

4. ProDec Twin Head Heavy Duty Roller & Brush Set: Best paint roller for masonry

Price: £10 | Buy now from Amazon

When painting rough or uneven surfaces, a paint roller with a smooth finish won’t finish the job quite as fast as a sleeve with an extra-long pile. This roller set gives you heavy-duty woven sleeves that will be fit for the job when it comes to decorating brickwork and masonry, as well as trickier surfaces such as pebbledash.

With two sleeves and a masonry brush, it’s great value for just £10. And Amazon customers who have purchased the set have reported it to be durable and more than capable of handling rough jobs.

Key features – Size: 9in; Sleeves: 2 x 9in heavy duty masonry; Extras: 4in masonry brush

5. Harris 4129 4in Mini Gloss And Emulsion Roller: Best mini paint roller

Price: £7 | Buy now from Amazon

Tidying up a bit of paintwork, as opposed to redoing a whole room, doesn’t really require any huge or complicated rollers. In some situations, a small roller will do the job nicely, and this Mini Gloss and Emulsion set from Harris is the perfect option for these little touch-up jobs.

It comes with a small frame and two different 4in roller covers: a foam cover perfect for gloss paint, and a fabric cover for use with emulsion. Trust us: if you’re planning a few little touch-ups around your home, you’ll find the job far easier with this kit than you would with that cheapie roller from the local pound shop.

Key features – Size: 4in; Sleeves: 1x 1/2in knitted polyester, 1x foam; Extras: None

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