Which is best: paintbrush, roller or sprayer?

paintbrush, roller or sprayer

Which is best: paintbrush, roller or sprayer?

As a Northern Virginia painter, we use three ways to apply paint: brush, paint roller, or paint sprayer. On most projects, we use all three methods. Other times, only one is necessary. So, what’s the difference and is one better than the other?

While we have three good options for applying paint they’re not necessarily interchangeable, and they’re certainly not equal. Let’s take a closer look.

Fastest method:

      • Opening a can of paint and using a brush is the fastest way to start painting. However, it can be the slowest way to cover a surface area. No one would think of using a paintbrush to cover an entire wall.
      • A paint roller is the second fastest way to cover a large surface area like a wall. Just pour the paint into the paint tray and wetting the paint roller.
      • Spray painting is technically the fastest way to cover a surface area. However, setting up its equipment, including pouring paint into the reservoir and connecting the hoses, it takes the longest.

Whether you use a paintbrush, paint roller, or paint sprayer, there will be some level of advanced prep that involves masking off and/or fully covering surrounding areas.

Smoothest coverage:

The most even and smoothest application is usually spray painting a surface. We say “usually” because there is a caveat. Spray painting is best done by an experienced painting professional using professional-grade equipment for the best results.

Both spraying and rolling risk overlapping edges for a less even look.


      • The spray painter is the least accurate when it comes to targeting the surface area. You’ll need to mask off everything you don’t want to get sprayed, like the ceiling, windows, doors, and floor.
      • Paint rollers are the next most accurate after spraying.
      • Paintbrushes offer the most accuracy or control.


      • The most tedious and time-consuming to clean up would be the spray gun. All of the equipment has to be rinsed and cleaned out thoroughly, including the reservoir, gun, and hoses.
      • Both paintbrushes and rollers also need to be cleaned thoroughly, but it doesn’t take as long.

Which is best: paintbrush, roller, or sprayer?

Each one has its benefits, which is why you’ll often see us using more than one on a project. Most professional painters will combine spray painting, roller painting and brush painting depending on the surface.

      • Spray painting is the fastest way to paint large areas where we don’t need to be very accurate, like on an exterior wall.
      • Roller painting is ideal for interior walls and we can avoid getting paint on other surfaces.
      • Paintbrushes help us do more detailed work, like corners or small crevices.

As professional painting contractors in the Northern Virginia area, we can answer any questions you might have about your project. We’re happy to come out and make an assessment and provide you with a free no-obligation estimate.

Please call the office at 703-629-6543 for an appointment or use this link for online scheduling. If you don’t see a date that works for your schedule on the website, please call us. We might have a cancellation.

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Awards and Recognition

Alternate Best Pick Ribbon
Member of Painting Contractor Association


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