top 16 essential painting tools

Over the years painting houses in the UK I have learned that having the right painting tools on hand increases productivity, reduces hours spent on projects and ensures a professional finish. Below are my “Top 16 Essential Painting Tools” for both professional painters and DIY Enthusiasts. All painting tools recommended below are currently used on a daily basis at Clear Cut Painting.

1) Purdy 12 – 18 inches Adjustable Roller Frame 

Adjustable roller frames are an essential accessory to any painters arsenal. Not only can you use a variety of different size roller sleeves but swapping roller sleeves when changing colour is simple. Purdy adjustable roller frames are robust and provide support to both sides of the roller cover, allowing for an even amount of pressure to be applied to the wall or ceiling when rolling.

2) Purdy Power Lock Extension Pole 2 – 4 ft

Painters extension poles are used to extend your reach allowing you to paint all areas of a room with ease. The purdy power lock extension pole fits all purdy adjustable roller frames. Simple push the end of the extension pole into the roller frame until it clicks into place. There is a large button on the extension pole which allows for the inner sleeve to be extended.

If your planning on painting high ceilings or hallways I recommend purchasing the longer Purdy Power Lock Extension Pole 4 – 8 ft version. I own both, the small extension pole for walls and the larger 4 – 8 ft for ceiling and hallways.

3) Hamilton 12 inch Perfection Microfibre Roller Sleeve

After testing numerous roller sleeves I have settled on the Hamilton Perfection Roller Sleeve for several reasons. 1) Minimal paint spray 2) Easy and fast to clean  3) Affordable to replace 4) Leaves a smooth paint finish

There are of course other roller sleeves that will leave a slightly smoother spray like finish on walls and ceilings. For example the Purdy White Dove 3/8 nap is an excellent roller. Not as durable as the hamilton roller sleeve, takes longer to clean and costs more.

If your painting multiple rooms or a very large area then the purdy white dove is a great option. Once fully saturated in paint, the roller coverage per dip is very impressive and the finish is excellent. As most of my work are residential houses and involves swapping roller covers during colour changes, the hamilton roller sleeve ticks all the boxes.

4) Scotchblue Painters Masking Tape

My favourite masking tape, I purchase by the box, 48 rolls as I use Scotchblue masking tape on every job I am on. Why do I love it so much? 1) Simple to apply and removes without tearing 2) Stops paint from bleeding through onto the masked surface 3) Can be applied to fresh paint 4) Reduces clean up time at the end of projects.

5) Purdy Clearcut Angular Trim Paint Brush

One of the most important pieces of painting equipment a “Professional Paint Brush”. Create beautiful straight lines around ceilings, across skirting boards and around architrave with a Purdy angled paint brush. I own several 2.5 inch angled purdy brushes that I use for cutting in with emulsion paints. When painting woodwork I use the, Purdy XL elite sprig brush 2-1/2 inch.

There are 3 inch versions of both brushes available, personally for my work, I find the 2.5 inch versions perfect for most situations. 

6) Purdy Carbon Steel Joint Knife

You will probably find it necessary to purchase two flex jointing knives, one smaller Purdy 3 inch flex knife and the larger 6 inch Purdy Jointing Knife. The larger filler knife can be used to hold the mixed filler while using the smaller flex knife to fill scrapes, dinges and holes.

I tend to swap between the two flex knifes depending on the size of the area needing filled. Sections of walls that have been tracked, plug sockets that are no longer in use and uneven patches of plaster require the larger filling knife.

7) Hamilton Perfection Dusting Brush

Dust brushes are perfect for sweeping away dust that accumulates on the surface after sanding. Common uses for a painters dust brush 1) Removal of dust after sanding 2) Wiping down skirting boards, architrave, window ledges and tops of door frames.) Having a dust brush in your painter’s tool kit saves time by not having to drag out the hoover every time you sand.

Have a painting job? Check out: “How To Paint A Room Like A Professional” 

8) Clauss Auto Loading Stanley Knife

One tool that I use consistently for a variety of jobs throughout the day. You can purchase folding versions of stanley knife’s and while they serve the same purpose. I find that the non folding version provides better grip and leverage allowing for a more fluid cutting action. Jobs I use an auto loading stanley knife for include. 1) Cutting the tops of caulking and silicone tubes, 2)Removing rawl plugs from walls and plasterboard, 3) Trimming carpet 4) Scraping dried paint of roller frames


Top 16 Essential Painting Tools

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9) DeWalt 1800W Heat Gun with 240V Dual Air Flow

Heat guns with an adjustable thermostat serve two purposes. 1) They can strip paint of any surface fast and don’t leave a sticky residue unlike harmful chemical paint strippers 2) Adjust the temperature and they can also be used to dry patches of filler, allowing you to continue painting.

The Dewalt Heat Gun also comes with a handy feature allowing you to stand the gun on its base keeping the hot metal elements away from flammable materials.

10) Mini Paint Scuttle 5 Litre Capacity

There are plenty of situations when painting a room that a mini paint scuttle will come in handy. Painting directly from the tin is never a good idea for several reasons 1) Dirt and dust can be picked up on the brush and contaminate the paint. 2) Accidents can happen, knocking over 2.5 litres of an oil based paint would be a disaster. 3) 5 litre rectangular paint scuttles allow both brush and mini roller to be used, circular paint scuttles do not.

For ease of use, transfer a small amount of paint into the mini scuttle. Try and avoid tipping any unused paint back into the tin.

11) Microfibre Mini Rollers 4 Inch and Frame

I’ll admit that when purchasing painting tools I tend to go for quality brands rather than cheaper alternatives. In most cases the quality and performance justifies the cost. Unfortunately I can’t say the same for mini rollers sleeves, I honestly prefer the cheaper microfibre 4 inch sleeves.

They are super versatile, can be used with most paints, are inexpensive and deliver excellent results. Plus, if I accidently forgot to wash one, it’s not end of the world. Most suppliers sell them in packs of 5 or 10 and include a mini roller frame. I use them for back rolling after cutting in and for painting large surfaces, (doors, shelves, deep skirtings).

12) Purdy Painters Multi Tool

When you need robust reliable tool for a combination of jobs, purdy multi tools are perfect for the task. While I don’t fully utilise every feature on the tool. I do use the multi tool for, 1) Removing old caulk and silicone 2) Opening paint tins 3) Chiseling 4) Scraping 5) Removing nails and rawl plugs.


13) Paint Mixing Paddle

There are several reasons you will need a paint mixer. Coloured paints, unless mixed and applied on the same day will need mixed again before application. If you are mist coating fresh plaster with contract matt emulsion, you will need to dilute the paint with water. Attempting to mix paint by hand is a long tiring process especially if your mixing a large amount. Paint paddle’s are inexpensive, attach directly onto a cordless drill and mix paint effortlessly.

14) Swivel Pole Sander 

Preparation is the key to painting a room like a professional, sanding the walls and ceiling are major part of the preparation process. I use a swivel pole sander attached to a purdy extension pole in combination with a hand sander to reach all areas of a room. You might be surprised to know that even freshly plastered walls and ceilings will still require sanding prior to the finishing coats of paint.

In most cases 120 grade sandpaper is adequate to get the job done. Simply trim as required and loosen the securing clamps to fit the sandpaper.

15) Werner Fibreglass Swingback Stepladder-6 Tread

I think it’s safe to say that most households own a set of step ladders. If you don’t you will need a set for cutting in around ceilings, mouldings and architrave. I highly recommend Werner’s Fibreglass 6 Run Step Ladders, they are bulletproof. Manufactured from fibreglass, so they will not rust, you can store them outside or if your a professional painter on top of your van.

16) Premium Coated Cotton Dust Sheet 12 x 9ft

Last but not least in my Top 16 essential painting tools are dust sheets, also referred to as drop cloths. There are several types of dust sheets available, (basic twill dust sheet, polythene, polythene-backed and heavy duty cotton twill). All of them will protect your furniture and flooring from paint spray and paint spills, except the basic cotton twill.

For painting and decorating purposes you will need a heavy duty tight woven drop cloth or coated cotton dust sheet. Both will STOP dust and paint from penetrating the surfaces below. Polythene-backed dust sheets are adequate for covering furniture but will slip on tile and laminate flooring. Dust sheets come in a variety of sizes, (12 x 12, 12 x 9, 9 x 9, 24 x 3), for an average sized room, several 12 x 9 dust sheets would be sufficient to cover both furniture and floor.

Another option which I personally use for kitchen painting is ProDec Super Cling Dust Sheet. The advantage to using a cling film dust sheet is its lightweight and naturally clings to all flat surfaces without having to use excessive amounts of masking tape. Super cling film dust sheet comes in a large roll which can be trimmed to the required size.

Top 16 Essential Painting Tools

I hope that you found the information in my Top 16 Essential Painting Tools helpful. You might also be interested in two earlier articles I wrote on How To Paint Matt Over Silk Emulsion and How To Paint Over Flaking Or Peeling Paint.

Clear Cut Painting is a professional decorating firm based in Northern Ireland, UK. All Painting equipment recommended in this article are used on a daily basis, which greatly assists myself in delivering professional interior painting finishes.