Paint Sprayer vs Roller – Which is the Best?

painting brush

When people see beautifully painted walls, they often applaud the painter’s skills. But, besides skills, a proper equipment is also necessary to bring superb effects. Yes, the blend of skills and proper tools enhances the result manifolds.

When it comes to the best equipment, the debate is often between a paint sprayer and a roller. It is seen that paint brushes are the oldest, then came rollers and the newest ones are sprayers. The first two are ruling the industry for a long time and people are already familiar with them. Whereas, paint sprayers are yet to achieve the tag of a common paint equipment.

This article will evaluate paint sprayers and paint rollers on various parameters such as which one is good for painting interiors, which paints exteriors better, which uses more paint, etc. and then a final verdict will declare which one is the best.

Exploring Paint Sprayers

In the past few years, paint sprayers have emerged as a multifunctional tool and have become the first preference of DIY and home improvement projects. Paint sprayers are of the following two types:

  • Air-based: In air-based sprayers, external air is used to create an extra force which further pushes the paint.
  • Airless: In an airless paint sprayer, paint is released without being pushed by air.

Paint sprayers are further categorized on the basis of volume coupled with pressure. Sprayers with low volume and high pressure are ideally used for painting long-distance objects and vast areas. Meanwhile, sprayers having high volume and low pressure deliver ample paint density in a small area and are best for painting cabinets, stairs, indoor handicrafts, furniture, and similar things.

Exploring Paint Rollers

Paint rollers are best known for their ability to maintain a constant paint density. Ideal to paint walls and floors, paint rollers are majorly used in industrial and professional works. Depending upon the painting work, the rollers are available in the following forms:

  • Textured Rollers: These rollers come with a special kind of foam which has a distinctive pattern carved on it.
  • Manual Rollers: This is the most common form of rollers used specifically to paint ceilings and walls.
  • Mini Hotdog Rollers: The shape of these rollers is like a mini hotdog and they are primarily used to paint hard to reach areas.

The trickiest part about paint rollers is the fabric. Different surfaces require paint rollers of different fabric and if for a particular surface, the paint roller of suitable fabric is not chosen, the outcome will not be what you expected. A smooth and thin layer can be gained when the paint job done with rollers is dried completely.

Which is good for interiors?

If you are painting some moderately sized interior walls, a paint roller is the best to go with. But, trims such as baseboards should be done by a sprayer because a roller can’t bring a professional finish. Rollers bring stippling effects, i.e. they fail to handle trim’s finer details.

If you are painting a giant room or multiple rooms, then an airless sprayer should be used for walls and a roller for the ceilings. But, if you prefer to paint the walls, trims, and ceilings with one single paint, using an airless sprayer for the whole job will be a sensible decision.

Which is good for exteriors?

If your home is small and its exterior walls are not rough, then you should definitely do the exteriors with a paint roller. Uneven surfaces such as cladding can also be done by a roller, but it’ll be a timely job. If you have less time, the sprayer will be a better option.

Moreover, to paint the exteriors with a sprayer or a roller also depends upon the surroundings of your house, such as fencing, playground equipment or conventional decking. If they are close to your house, you won’t like them skinned by overspray. So, it would be advantageous to use the roller in such cases.

A Sprayer or A Roller: Which uses more paint?

This is an important answer and everybody interested should be knowing it. Out of the two, paint sprayers use more paint than paint rollers. It is seen that a sprayer uses around 33% more paint in comparison to a roller. This is because the paint is vaporized by a sprayer which leads the paint molecules to spread in the air. These molecules settle on surfaces other than the planned target.

Painting slim surfaces such as a lattice are wasteful because wood’s individual strips can’t be accurately targeted with a sprayer.

Some other parameters

To reach the final verdict, the above-discussed factors are not enough. There are some other dynamics on which both needs to be compared and they are as follows:

  • Speed: When it comes to speed, a paint sprayer is faster than the roller. Because of their ideal design, the sprayers fasten the painting tasks 2-3 times.
  • Coverage Area: Simple rollers can’t be used on corners or curves but sprayers cover even the hard to reach areas and that too, in a very less time.
  • Cost: Cost-wise, rollers are ahead of sprayers because sprayers, whether air-based or airless, require operating cost whereas rollers don’t need any operating costs.
  • Preparations: To use a sprayer, you don’t need to do any preparations whereas the usage of rollers requires coating or filling. Also, the rollers should be properly cleaned before the paint job.
  • Functioning: Paint rollers have cover and frame where the paint is absorbed by the cover and simultaneously delivered by the frame. You just need to sink the roller in a paint bucket and do the job. Although a container is attached to the paint sprayer, it is usually boring to fill it again and again.
  • Involvement of Electricity: In this field, sprayers are left behind the rollers because rollers are made to be handled manually whereas the sprayers require electricity or a battery support to operate.
  • Durable: Since rollers are made of foam, they don’t last long but the sprayers can be used repeatedly for a longer time.
  • Safety: Amongst the two, rollers don’t give any injuries and are the safest. But, sprayers when used with high pressure usually spread the paint on human skin which can be dangerous for someone with allergic skin.

Final Verdict

On the basis of above discussion and deep research on both the products, it can be inferred that a roller is best when you have to paint large surfaces such as the walls and ceilings of a room because it brings precise finish when larger surfaces are painted. Moreover, a roller is best for regular painting job with minimum workers.


A sprayer is best to paint minor surfaces such as trims, cupboards, shelves, or doors because it accurately covers the curves and corners. Moreover, a sprayer is best to paint wood.

Therefore, the final decision should be yours. You should properly understand the painting job and decide whether paint sprayers or rollers would be most suitable to finish this job. Next time when you do a paint project, choose wisely and go for the one you think will be more productive. This decision will help you do the job easily and get better than the desired results.