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Home Improvement

Best Power Paint Roller

Let’s face it; painting can be a tedious chore. Even for people who know what they’re doing, it can be time consuming, repetitive, and just plain boring. However, like many other such tasks, it’s a necessity to maintain our homes in top-notch condition.

While manual paint application, via brush and roller, is still the most common way to apply paint, modern technology has been applied painting homes and other buildings, seeking ways to make the job both easier and quicker.

Most professional painters use an airless paint sprayer. These high-pressure systems apply paint at a much higher rate than anyone can with a standard brush and roller. However, they are rather pricey for a homeowner, don’t do well sitting for years between uses, and require lots of masking (especially indoors) to use them without making a mess. In reality, they’re too much for a homeowner to think of buying.

To fill the gap, power roller systems have been developed. These combine the high-speed pumping benefits of an airless paint sprayer, with the ease of application of a roller. Typically, an average non-professional painter can apply paint in one-fourth the time of using a manual roller.

There’s a few things you need to know about these systems if you are thinking of buying one:

  • First of all, they all tend to leak at the connections. You can alleviate this a little by applying Teflon tape to the connections, but making swivel connectors that don’t leak at all requires some very expensive machining. Since they cut some corners on the design and manufacture of these systems, to keep prices reasonable, some leaking is normal.
  • There’s a limit to how thick a paint these systems will pump. They actually work better with less expensive paints, because those paints tend to be thinner. If you are using high-quality paint, you may need to thin your paint slightly to make it flow well. Just make sure you measure how much you are thinning it, so you can thin the next gallon the same amount (otherwise your color may not be consistent).
  • These systems are hard to clean; but they have to be thoroughly cleaned each and every time they are used! Otherwise, you can plan on throwing it away and buying another one. For that matter, avoid buying one that someone else returned; you don’t know how well they cleaned it.
  • Read the instructions! Yeah, I know, the instructions are only for when all else fails. Well, if you don’t read the instructions, and do what they say, you’ll probably fail. The only problem is that once you fail, trying to backtrack and do what the instructions say, may not work.

Ryobi Fpr300, Duet Power Paint Tool System

Ryobi’s system is unique in that it is designed so that two painters can work off it at the same time. It even comes with two rollers to work with. The unit constantly recalculates the paint and stirs it. This allows full thickness paints to be used with it, without any problem with clogging. There are two separate paint flow controls, allowing each user to individually set the ideal paint flow for their work. A reversible pump empties the hose and tool of excess paint when the work is done, making cleanup easier. The kit comes with everything you need, including two rollers a corner pad and a cut-in pad.

Wagner Power Roller Max 990

Wagner invented the power paint roller, so you'd expect them to rank high in anyone's list. They've come a long way since their first units, which I can clearly remember seeing (and being skeptical about) in the store, back when I was a professional painter.

This unit comes with a variable speed pump, allowing the user to set the paint flow to match their painting speed. It also has an 18-inch extension handle, which is real nice to have. I really like using an extension handle with rollers, because it gives better control, better reach, and lowers operator fatigue. Since this is an internal feed unit, the cores of the roller covers are perforated. The kit comes complete with both 3/8-inch and 3/4-inch nap rollers.

Wagner has developed a reversible feature on the pump, along with a quick clean connector for faster cleanups. Since cleaning one of these units is the worst part of using them, that's a nice option to have.

HomeRight C800804 Pro Electric Paint Roller

HomeRight has produced a really nice unit, with some great features. The best things about this unit are the “RapidClean™” paint saver feature, which pumps unused paint back into the can, and a Roller Keeper which stores a wet roller overnight for continued use the following day (although I wouldn’t try leaving it there for two days). The pump is supposed to work with all sizes of paint cans, up to 5 gallon buckets (although they won’t fit on the base). The complete kit comes with a 3/8-inch nap roller cover, painting pad for corners and edges, and a 16-inch extension handle.

Black & Decker C800659, Pro Electric Power Paint Roller

The Black & Decker power paint roller is much like the HomeRight one. In fact, they look enough alike to make one wonder if they came out of the same factory. It has a 16-inch extension handle and comes with a 3/8-inch nap roller. The base is fitted to a one gallon paint can, and can be used with either round or square ones. A 20-foot paint hose allows painting a 40 foot work area, without having to move the pump.

Graco EvenFlow In-Line Valve Roller Assembly 245397

Graco EvenFlow In-Line Valve Roller Assembly 245397

What we have here is a power roller assembly that is made to attach to an airless paint sprayer. As such, it will really outperform any of the units I’ve listed, and really should be the number one pick. However, I didn't pick it as number one, because of the several hundred dollar price tag of the airless paint sprayer. This is what a professional painter would use, instead of an all-in-one power paint roller. Even so, I really don’t recommend this type of unit for a homeowner, as you’ll have a little bit of trouble recouping your investment. However, should you decide that you want the best, this is it. Graco makes some of the finest professional paint equipment available. I have owned their equipment and should the need arise, would never hesitate to buy it again. One of the really great things about these, besides the quality construction, is that they come with a much longer extension handle. I find that working with a 3-foot long handle makes rolling faster and less tiring. While you have the extra weight of the handle, you have much less reaching to do.

Rich the Tool Man

Before embarking on the current stage of my life, I spent 15 years as a Manufacturing Engineer in both the medical equipment field (medical electronics) and automotive engineering (city transit buses). After that, I owned a small construction company, mostly doing residential remodeling and commercial tenant finishes. I am no longer in either of these fields, but still get my hands plenty dirty as a consummate do-it-yourselfer; working on everything from remodeling my own home to rebuilding my car’s engines. My hobby (when I can find the time) is woodworking; making everything from toilet paper holders, to shelves, to music stands for my own home. My wife long ago gave up the idea that a two car garage is for parking two cars; it is my workshop.

While I cannot claim to having worked professionally with all types of tools, I have worked professionally with some. This comes from my previous careers, where I had to specify, buy and at times live with those decisions. Additionally, I would have to say that my engineering background has given me a thorough understanding of the construction of such tools. So, while I may not have used a particular type of tool personally, I have the knowledge to cut through all the advertising hype and statistics; in order to get at the truth of how well a tool will operate and last.

In my current career as a writer, I've written over 90 books. This includes my own titles and those I've written on contract. I've also written a complete website on how to build your own home.

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