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Paint sprayer vs roller

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  • Paint sprayer – a mechanical device that sprays paint by using compressed air.
  • Roller – a handheld tool used for painting various surfaces.

The differences


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The advantages of paint sprayers

  • The job gets done a lot quicker with a paint sprayer than a roller.
  • You’ll need a lot less effort for the same amount of work with a paint sprayer.
  • Anyone can use it, regardless of their previous experience.
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Disadvantages of paint sprayers

  • It’s a mechanical device, so it tends to break.
  • A paint sprayer is more expensive than a roller.
  • It requires electricity, while a roller doesn’t.
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The advantages of a roller

  • It’s a cheaper tool than a paint sprayer.
  • It covers a bigger surface than a regular DIY paint sprayer.
  • It can use any paint available on the market.
  • There are no sensitive electronics involved
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The disadvantages of a roller

  • While amateurs can use it, the job quality heavily depends on your expertise.
  • Paint-dripping and leaks are a common nuisance.
  • A roller doesn’t last for long, while a paint sprayer can last for years.

Types of paint sprayers


There are two basic types of paint sprayers – Air sprayers and Airless.

  • Air sprayersThese devices work on a pretty simple principle. They have a motor integrated into the unit which ensures consistent airflow. These guns have a nozzle, compressor, and a paint container. When the trigger is pressed, the paint mixes with the air and gets out through the nozzle.
  • Airless sprayersThese units are connected to the source (usually a pump) of high air pressure. This method offers a uniform and thick coating which means you’ll need fewer layers of coats.

Air sprayers are used by hobbyists while airless sprayers are used by professionals and contract painters for painting heavy duty industrial linings.

Types of rollers


  • Manual rollersThis type is the most common one and the easiest to use. These rollers have a handle to help you paint high surfaces like ceilings and walls. They are great for hobbyists because of their simplicity.
  • Pad rollersThese rollers lie flat on a surface which means no paint dripping and leaking. While manual rollers tend to splatter paint as a result of the circular motion, these don’t. However, you need a certain level of expertise to operate a pad roller.
  • Textured rollersThis type is quite specific and not many people use it. They are designed to paint a texture onto a particular surface. These rollers usually simulate bricks, stone, wood, and more.
  • Specialty rollersThey are used for specific paints such as latex, suede, stone, and other. Because these materials have a heavy consistency, specialty rollers are regarded as highly absorbent.

Can and can’t


  1. Rollers can use any paint; spray painters can’t.
  2. Spray painter won’t leave a dirty floor; a roller will.
  3. Rollers are easy to wash, spray painters aren’t.
  4. Spray painter can apply paint in corners and sharp angles, a roller can’t.
  5. Rollers work without electricity; spray painters don’t.

Paint Sprayer vs Roller

by Tyler Saunders time to read: 6 min
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