Paint Sprayers vs Rollers: Showdown

Paint Sprayers vs Rollers

If you have decided to be a painter, not the Van Gogh kinds but the kinds who can paint a house, furniture, automobiles and stuff, you must first start with knowing your equipment. 

Now, painting dates back to several hundred years and during the course of all these years, the equipment for painting has evolved from the simple paint brush (and its evolution), to rollers to paint sprayers.

While the paintbrush is a dated equipment and being mostly used only for painting pictures, the rollers have been successfully able to hold their ground firmly against the mighty paint sprayers. 

You might wonder how the rudimentary roller stands the test of time and more so against a beast like the paint sprayer. Well the answer is simple – you don’t use a ninja sword to slice a lemon into 2. In other (non-dramatic) words, different equipment have different uses, while the paint sprayers are lightening fast, the rollers are very effective for small, flat and even places. 

Having used both the rollers and the paint sprayers we understand that there are several basis of a comparison between the two. Here, we will try to cover the most pragmatic aspects

Cost: Paint Sprayers vs Rollers

A paint roller can be divided into 2 parts – the roller frame and the cover, which is dipped in paint. Now, most roller frames cost between $5 – $10. Most covers come in a packing of 3-4 and cost between $10-$15. 

In addition to this, you might need an extension pole to adjust the length of the roller to extend your reach. A pole depending on its built can have a cost varying from $8 – $25.

On the other hand, you have the option of purchasing a pre-assembled roller which costs about $10-$15 (without extension) and $19-$30 with extension.

Considering even a wider range of quality and costs, a single paint roller, of a standard size, costs between $10-$50.

A paint sprayer is definitely a costlier alternative. A basic HVLP paint sprayer will cost you somewhere between $100 – $150. Then there are more advanced HVLP sprayers, Airless sprayers and heavy duty airless sprayers and the cost ranges between $200 – $900.

Now, you might need different roller sizes if you are considering painting different sized objects. And a cost will be added with every roller. That being said, the cost for a paint roller will still generally be way lower than that of a sprayer.  

Speed: Paint Sprayers vs Rollers

This one again, has a clear winner. The paint sprayer is not only faster but it leads the paint rollers by a huge margin. To add to this, the ease with which you can paint corners, uneven surfaces, recesses etc. makes painting with a paint sprayer lightening fast.

What makes it even more commendable is that the speed is not achieved at the expense of the quality of paint.

Efficiency: Paint Sprayers vs Rollers

The efficiency of the equipment can be based on several aspects – time it takes to paint, the amount of paint that is wasted with the equipment, and the time taken to clean the equipment and surroundings post the paint.

As we have already discussed, the paint sprayer is definitely a better alternative when comparing the speed at which the painting process is completed.

Even if we include the time required to assemble the equipment, still the paint sprayers reduce the time to paint a surface by at least one third. If we consider only the time spent on painting, the paint sprayers are at least 70%-80% faster than a paint roller.

That being said, the paint sprayers (both airless and conventional) definitely consume more paint than rollers. This is because about 20%-30% of the paint on leaving the sprayers might not stick to the surface it is meant for. Also, if you are working outdoors, wind might also deviate the atomized droplets to drift away.

Hence, both these equipment score over the other when considering different aspects. Some of the things you might want to consider before choosing a roller or a sprayer are:

  • Financial budget
  • Time
  • The surface
  • The surroundings
  • Your knowledge of the equipment

Relevance of the equipment on the basis of surface to paint:

RollersPaint Sprayers
Interior WallsWinner
Automobiles Winner
Edges & CornersWinner

Costs/ Overheads involved:

RollersPaint Sprayers
Safety HazardWinner
Paint WastageWinner
Equipment ReuseWinner