A paint roller is a traditional painting tool consisting of a central core plastic cylinder coated with a synthetic or cotton sponge, or with another material of equivalent consistency. This usually rotates on an L-shaped metal axis that ends with a handle, typically made of plastic.

Despite this standard make-up of the tool, paint rollers come in a wide range of styles and sizes, each one ideal for a different type of finish or technique. And with so many choices, finding the best paint roller to decorate your home is often harder than it seems. That’s why we decided to step in.

Our expert team has tested and rated the most popular paint rollers on the market; our top picks provided satisfactory results for many common home decorating jobs, including the painting of walls, ceilings and woodwork. Check them out below.


Our #1 Best Pick


Home Right Paint Stick

Half-way between a roller and a sprayer – an innovative product ideal for DIY interior decorations.

Low Cost Option


Cottam Mini Paint Roller Kit

High-value standard decorating set with Slim Line design – ideal to use for professional or residential purposes.

Best Of The Rest

Paint Runner Pro

Self-contained, refillable roller designed to reduce paint wastage and to prevent drips – at least in theory.

Stanley 11 Piece Painting Kit

Good-value kit for all the odd jobs around the house.

Black + Decker Speedy Roller

Outstanding roller provides quick and accurate results, minimising paint waste.

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Our top pick – a unique roller and paint reservoir conceived for a mess-free application.

Home Right Paint Stick is an outstanding paint roller designed for a wide range of applications. The product is suitable to use primarily on walls and ceilings, thanks to a telescopic handle that helps decorators reach the highest spots without a ladder.

This is a great advantage for those working in a restricted environment and helps to save on time and fatigue. But that isn’t the greatest advantage of the Paint Stick.

In fact, what makes this product stand out is the roller stick that acts as a reservoir. The product holds the paint within its handle, eliminating the need to use a tray. This reduces mess but also prevents you from having to bend down, a feature that makes the tool ideal for those suffering from back pain.

The Paint Stick comes with a 3/8-inch perforated roller sleeve, a filler clamp and a filler tube – and it holds enough paint to cover about 64sq/ft. Of course, the product can be used as a traditional roller if needed, and this adds to its versatility.

On a downside, the tool needs more maintenance than a regular paint roller. Not only will you have to clean the fill clamp and fill tube, but you’ll also have to maintain the seal.


• Designed to simplify wall and ceiling painting, the Paint Stick has a telescopic handle that reaches a maximum height of 14 feet.
• Spare parts, including new sleeves and a tune-up kit that allows rebuilding of the piston and valve body, add value to the product. The parts are sold separately.
• Filling the stick with paint is very easy. However, it takes a few attempts to learn how to push the paint to the roller.
• The product is easy to clean by simply running water through the system. This roller is not intended to be used with oil-based paints.


• The seal needs constant lubrication and maintenance or it may lose its properties.
• Handling the product is tricky due to the extra weight added by the paint.

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Professional trade standard decorating set ideal for professional and domestic use.

Cottam Mini Paint Roller Kit delivers exceptional value for money. The product is affordable and versatile. It comprises a total of five polyacrylic, foam and velour roller heads to use with all types of paints and varnishes, a plastic tray and a roller frame – in essence, everything you need to achieve a professional look on all surfaces.

Manufactured to ensure an easy reach of any remote corners, the roller has a Slim Line design that allows you to paint behind heavy fixtures including sinks, toilets and radiators.

Thanks to the versatility of the roller heads, you can use this kit to paint shelves and furniture, walls and ceilings, window frames and doors, and many other objects.

Certainly, this is a mini kit suitable for small decoration works. The roller comes with an ergonomic handle but not with a stick. The roller heads are compatible with a range of sticks, but this means further investment.

However, we can’t call this a downside. The product’s name and description clearly disclose this is a mini roller kit that comes at a more than affordable price.


• Roller heads are made of high-quality materials and provide smooth, flawless results on all surfaces. Spare rollers are available separately.
• The rollers are easy to clean with water or white spirit, depending on the type of paint used.
• Mini kit ideal for small touch-ups or for painting difficult areas. Ideal for professional and domestic use.
• Cottam backs up the product with a no-questions-asked money-back guarantee for a risk-free purchase.


• The velour roller may lose fibres which can ruin the finish.

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No dipping and no dripping paint roller for a no mess domestic application.

Paint Runner Pro is a patented microfiber roller ideated to use in all spaces, from drywall to render, woodwork and more. The roller comes with an array of accessories, including a pole adaptor that allows you to use any broom handle to reach inaccessible spots.

Designed to reduce paint wastage, drips and splatters – the self-contained roller is refillable and holds up to 900ml of paint. The patented distribution system should deliver an even coat of paint every time to improve coverage.

However, the product doesn’t always work as described. Drips and splatters happen more often than expected, but we noticed the roller works better with thicker emulsions. Therefore, we wouldn’t recommend thinning the paint if you want to prevent a mess.

A nice bonus included in the pack is the edge corner cutter; however, this product is often ignored by decorators because it’s easier to use a brush for cutting in.

We believe this is an awesome concept but the Paint Runner Pro needs improvements. And while it may be worth trying the roller’s capabilities with an emulsion of your choice, the price doesn’t justify the purchase.


• Complete kit including a refillable roller and resting tray, a pole adaptor, pouring jug and corner cutter.
• When it works, the roller applies an even coat of paint and improves coverage. Compatible emulsions ensure a mess-free application.
• Easy to clean with running water. This roller is ideal to use with water-based paints.


• Not all paints are compatible with the system. Most paints and emulsions are too thin for the roller; they drip and the application is messy.
• The roller sleeve detaches easily, rendering the product unusable.
• Great concept but the roller doesn’t deliver what it promises, and the quality doesn’t justify the price.

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An affordable complete set ideal for DIY projects.

Whether you’re looking for a set to use for small retouches or for a product to suit your DIY projects, the Stanley 11-piece painting kit delivers great value for money. This kit comprises a 9-inch roller frame and sleeve ideal to use on walls and two 4-inch sleeves for gloss or emulsion, ideal to use on wood and metal.

Besides the components mentioned above, the set also includes roller trays, roller frames and three additional brushes ideal for the finishing touches.

When it comes to quality, this kit doesn’t excel. However, considering its price and versatility, we recommend it for small jobs. The rollers may jam and the brushes lose some bristles, the trays are flimsy but ultimately, you can use the rollers at least a couple of times without any hassle.

Our tests revealed the roller sleeves are easy to clean although it may be too much of a hassle to get rid of the mess. The product may also lose its quality after a few uses, resulting in a messy or improper application. However, provided you don’t have too high an expectation, this is an excellent disposable kit.


• Affordable set comes complete with everything needed for a small painting job. It even includes a dust sheet.
• Good quality for the price. The rollers don’t last forever but they do the job as expected.
• The kit comes with rollers for all paints and varnishes and is ideal to use on all interior surfaces.


• Although expected, the roller sleeves wear out really fast and the handles break easily.

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Refillable roller ideal for interior and exterior paint jobs.

Black + Decker is synonymous with quality power tools, and the Speedy Roller doesn’t disappoint. But to be honest, what prompted us to test this product wasn’t the name of the brand or our expectations. It was the predominantly negative feedback it has received online.

Despite many negative opinions, we liked this refillable roller. Yes, it has limitations and drawbacks, but the product is great.

With a design similar to the Paint Stick by Home Right, Speedy Roller is an all-in-one product that stores paint in the roller and delivers it to the sleeve with a simple press of a button. The carrier has a capacity of 650ml and can be refilled directly from the paint can.

Designed to provide a fast and almost effortless completion of all painting tasks, the roller boasts a ratcheting paint delivery handle for smooth application on walls and ceilings.


• Pivoting head allows you to cover hard-to-reach areas including under the stairs or above the doors and windows.
• Speedy Roller works with most interior and exterior water-based paints and emulsions. Thick formulas may need thinning before application.
• Easy-to-fill paint carrier gets its supply of paint directly from the can. Depending on the coverage of the paint, 650ml can go a long way.
• A splatter shield minimises mess when painting above head-height.


• The tool is heavy and hard to handle when full. It is quite tricky to use the stick to paint a ceiling or high wall.
• Suction isn’t the best and delivering an even quantity of paint to the head is near impossible. The instruction manual didn’t provide much help on this.
• Some users complained about splatters and drips, although we experienced none.



• Paint
• Primer
• Painter’s tape
• Sanding paper
• Drop cloths


• Roller
• Roller tray
• Brushes


Painting with a roller is advisable when dealing with large or hard to reach surfaces. But even if the operation seems easy, getting satisfactory results isn’t always simple.

In addition to the usual surface preparation, the key to success is in the application technique. Follow this step-by-step guide to use the roller like a pro.

1. Load the roller with paint. You have to literally soak the sleeve in paint at least five or six times to make sure it’s fully loaded. Roll against the screen to remove excess paint whilst keeping in mind that the product should almost drip.

2. Apply paint to the wall. Lay the roller on the wall, starting a few centimetres from the bottom and roll upwards on the surface while applying a slight pressure on the roller. Stop a few centimetres from the top and roll back downwards to spread the paint. Reload the roller and continue in the same way until the whole surface is covered.

3. Finishing touches. Once the whole surface is covered, roll over the whole surface to level the paint. At this stage, don’t reload the roller. If you’re unhappy with the results, just apply a second coat after the first is dry.

Use a paintbrush to cover the edges and corners and don’t forget to smooth the paint to avoid unflattering marks.

What is the best paint roller for emulsions?
Paint rollers have either natural or synthetic coverings and just like the paint brushes, they are suitable for different types of paint.

Emulsions are the most popular paint products for interior and exterior walls; the best roller to use with these paints is a natural roller, ideally made from mohair or wool. Both materials hold acrylic emulsions better than synthetic rollers, which are more suitable for oil-based paints.

The length of the hair also matters. Short-pile rollers are ideal to apply emulsions to smooth plaster walls, either new or previously painted. A long pile roller performs better on a rough or textured wall.

What are the best rollers for painting walls & ceilings?
Defining the best rollers for walls and ceilings is near impossible. The texture and condition of the wall, the type of paint and the effect you want to achieve are important factors to consider before buying.

The cheapest rollers on the market are made of natural or synthetic sponge and are advertised as ideal for walls and ceilings. However, they are only ideal to test the colour. The texture of the sponge leaves behind hundreds of air bubbles that are hard to cover.

Mohair sleeves usually have short hair and are ideal for painting new walls and ceilings. The best paint to use with these rollers is an acrylic emulsion although most wall paints are compatible with mohair sleeves.

Long hair rollers are ideal if you want to paint a textured wall. Synthetic rollers also work well with speciality paints including eggshell, gloss, silk and satin products.

For the best results, it is also recommended to check the length of the nap and to invest in a quality roller extension for hassle-free application above head-height.

How to achieve a smooth finish
A smooth finish is achieved by passing the unloaded roller over the painted area to level down any marks and strokes. The length of the nap also determines the outcome.

On new drywall or bare surfaces painted with high-sheen products, a short nap leaves fewer marks. Matt and eggshell paints are best applied with medium-size rollers. This also goes for previously painted walls.

It is important to correct all application errors immediately before the paint starts to dry. To complete your decoration, use a brush for the finishing touches around edges and corners.