You want to finish your painting shop quickly and with the least amount of mess possible. That means you’ve got two options from which to choose: paint sprayers vs rollers. Which one is the better choice? What will make the job easier? Here are the key points to consider when choosing between paint sprayers vs rollers.

The Case for Paint Sprayers

You know that we can talk all day about paint sprayers. In fact, rather than hiring a contractor, we encourage people to buy the right kind of sprayer to handle bigger projects.

So does that mean we’ve already declared a clear winner in the paint sprayers vs rollers debate?

Not quite.

You see, while paint sprayers are crazy awesome for finishing cabinets and furniture, as well as walls, ceilings, and trim, we know that there are cases where they’re just not the best choice. 

For one thing, there’s the safety issue. With airless sprayers, for example, you have to be careful not to let any part of your body get too close to the tip. Extremely high pressure may be good for getting the job done in minutes instead of hours but it can also mean a trip to the ER.

If you’re not too experienced handling airless paint sprayers and you find yourself injected under the skin with paint, you must seek immediate medical attention. Even with an injury that doesn’t look too bad, you still want to have it checked as most coating materials contain hazardous toxins.

masked man spray painting garage door white
Airless Paint Sprayer

And then there’s the overspray problem. 

If you don’t know, paint sprayers use up a lot of paint. Compared to brushing or rolling, paint spraying uses twice if not thrice the amount of paint. Some of the extra paint end up in the hose line, while most of it end up as overspray.

There are exceptions to this, though, such as HVLP (high volume low pressure) spray guns, where more air and less pressure equals more paint reaching the surface you’re painting. HVLP spray guns are also friendlier to the environment (high transfer efficiency), affordable, and can give a final clear coat that doesn’t require buffing.

 On the other hand, paint sprayers can’t be beaten when it comes to speed. What takes a roller hours to complete, a paint sprayer can do in minutes. Paint sprayers can also get into those hard to reach areas can give a smooth finish without those unsightly roller marks. 

What About Paint Rollers?

Are paint rollers the sure winner in the paint sprayers vs rollers debate?

Well, from our perspective, the debate’s just heating up. It’s too early to declare a victor. And here’s why.

For large, flat areas such as walls, floors, and ceilings, rollers are always a good idea. But they’re time-consuming to use. If you want a smooth finish, you have to back brush with a paintbrush or use shorter nap rollers. Either way, the word ‘fast’ is not something you would associate with rollers. 

Another point against rollers in this paint sprayers vs rollers debate: ugly streaks. You have to be careful and use the ‘V letter’ painting technique so you can cover large surfaces uniformly in the shortest time possible. 

Still, you can’t just dismiss rollers, especially when it comes to indoor painting. You don’t have to be particularly skilled to use a roller. Once you get the hang of it, you can easily control the flow of paint.

The Verdict: Paint Sprayers vs Rollers

The truth is it’s hard to declare a clear winner in the paint sprayers vs rollers debate because they each have their own pros and cons.

And while we can’t deny that we’re partial to paint sprayers, whether they’re handheld, HVLP, or airless, we know that they’re not the friendliest option for beginners.

Rollers, on the other hand, offer more control but can’t satisfy us when it comes to speed. As Sweet Brown puts it, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” 

So where does this leave you?

You don’t need to be solid Team Paint Sprayer or Team Roller. This paint sprayers vs rollers thing does not have to apply to you. You can use the one you’re most comfortable using or you can use both.

If you’re still confused, you can refer to this questionnaire.

  1. Are you painting large areas like walls and ceilings? Use a roller.
  2. What kind of paint are you using? If you’re using oil-based and latex paints, use a paint sprayer.
  3. Which one will last a long time? A paint sprayer.
  4. What’s the safer option? There’s a chance of injury with paint sprayers if not used correctly.
  5. How about surfaces that aren’t flat? Use a paint sprayer.
  6. Which one’s cheaper? Rollers, of course.
  7. Which will give me that extra texture look? Sprayers can give you different kinds of painting patterns. Therefore, use a paint sprayer.

Okay, we know we’ve built up this paint sprayers vs rollers debate and now we want to know what you think about it. Leave us a comment and tell us why you’re Team Paint Sprayer or Team Roller or if you think there shouldn’t be a paint sprayers vs rollers debate at all. We’d love to hear from you.

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