Best Paint Roller Cover

Besides paint brushes, paint rollers are still the most common means of paint application for homeowners and do-it-yourselfers. Even professional painters, who use airless paint sprayers for new construction and exterior painting, still use paint rollers for interior painting, especially on occupied dwellings and offices. In these cases, the overspray from paint sprayers is unacceptable.

A high quality paint roller will make a difference in the quality and quantity of your work, just like a high quality paint brush will. Specifically, the differences you will see in a high quality paint roller include:

  • The roller will carry a higher volume of paint, allowing you to cover more area before recharging your paint roller.
  • The roller will not shed leaving little pieces of the nap stuck in your paint job.
  • The roller will leave a smoother, more consistent paint finish.
  • There will be less paint splatter from the job.
  • The roller will have beveled edges to help eliminate lines at overlap points.
  • The roller will last through a number of cleanings, without falling apart.

On this last point, let me say that while many do-it-yourselfers buy inexpensive roller covers and throw them away after one usage, paint rollers and covers really arent all that hard to clean and reuse. A good quality roller cover, which is cleaned after every use, can last for years. I have a lambskin cover that I bought more than 20 years ago. While I havent used it constantly in that time, I have used it for a number of projects. I am currently repainting my entire house, inside and out, and expect to complete the entire project with this one roller, then clean it up and keep it for the next project.

I am a big fan of lambskin paint roller covers. Personally, even though I was an engineer, I find it hard to believe that man can improve upon what nature creates. However, in all fairness, I must say that some of the newer synthetic materials that have been created outperform lambskin in all but one important area, that of life expectancy. Lambskin roller covers are still the longest lasting on the market.

For the sake of this article, Ive stuck to 1/2-inch nap roller covers. If you are painting a slick surface, this is too long, youd need a 1/4-inch nap; likewise it is too short for painting brick or cinder block, youd need a 3/4-inch nap. However, for the most common paintjob, that of painting textured interior walls, this is the best length.

Purdy 1/2 Nap Colossus Paint Roller Cover, model #140630093

This roller is designed to carry 1/3 more paint than standard roller covers, meaning you can cover more surface area between refills and work faster. It lays a very smooth coat of paint on the surface, cutting down the number of times you have to roll over to smooth out the paint. Read Full Review

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    Why it's best:

    Of all painting equipment brands, Purdy is the most respected by painting professionals. This paint roller has been designed to carry an exceptional amount of paint to the substrate; 1/3 more than standard roller covers. It will lay a very smooth coat of paint on the surface without dripping or splatter. Even so, I'd still use a drop cloth, just to be sure. The roller is built on a polypropylene core for long life. For a synthetic roller, this one will probably outlast anything else on the market.

    Purdy 1/2 Nap Colossus Paint Roller Cover, model #140630093

    Wooster 1/2 Nap Pro Doo-Z Roller Cover #RR643

    The interlocking fibers on this roller cover prevent shedding, protecting fine finishes. It is an exceptionally good pick for high tack coatings, such as epoxies and urethanes. Read Full Review

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      Why it's best:

      This roller cover is made of high density interlocking fibers to prevent shedding and carry more paint to the substrate. That protects your work on fine finishes. Works exceptionally well with high-tack coatings, such as epoxies, urethanes, latex and industrial enamels. The white high-density fabric is designed to resist matting for the smoothest possible finish. The polypropylene core resists water and solvents, ensuring long roller life.

      Wooster 1/2 Nap Pro Doo-Z Roller Cover  #RR643

      Purdy 1/2 Nap Lambskin Paint Roller Cover 140636093

      It's hard to beat lambskin, especially for long life. The phenolic core won't be damaged by water; so the only thing that will make this paint roller cover wear out is the abrasiveness of the substrates being painted. Read Full Review

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        Why it's best:

        Ive got to get at least one lambskin roller cover in this list. Of all the roller covers made, lambskin is the longest lasting, surviving multiple uses and washings. Once broken in, they wont shed (however, like any roller cover, you need rub it to insure that there arent any loose strands, before use). A phenolic core wont be damaged by water either. If properly cleaned, the only thing that can destroy this roller over the long term is the abrasiveness of the surfaces painted.

        Purdy 1/2 Nap Lambskin Paint Roller Cover 140636093

        Shur-Line 55502S 1/2" Teflon Roller Cover

        The Teflon coating on this roller cover is truly unique. Since it prevents the paint from sticking to the roller cover, cleanup is quicker and easier, as well as being more thorough. Read Full Review

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          Why it's best:

          Shur-Line is the first company to put Teflon coating on their paint brushes and roller covers. As you can imagine, this greatly reduces clean-up time, and increases product life by insuring that there is no dried paint residue hidden in the roller cover after cleaning. The rest of the roller is designed for long life as well; with fibers melted onto the backing by a patented low melt technology. Im expecting good things of this roller cover.

          Shur-Line 55502S 1/2" Teflon Roller Cover

          Linzer 1/2 RC 700 Nap Lambskin Roller Cover

          Linzer makes many types of wool products, not just paint roller covers. However, they are probably the largest manufacturer of lambskin roller covers. Most "house brand" lambskin covers are actually made by them. Read Full Review

          Why it's best:

          A high quality lambskin roller on a moisture and solvent resistant core. Linzer is known for all sorts of quality wool products, and also produces lambskin roller covers. In fact, most of the house brand lambskin roller covers on the market are made by Linzer. Although the manufacturer recommends lambskin more for oil-based paints than latex, most paint professionals and experts would agree that lambskin is an excellent material for all types of paint.

          Linzer 1/2 RC 700 Nap Lambskin Roller Cover
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