Painting is the most popular and practical home improvement project for most homeowners. It's not without its challenges though, like picking the right paint color, investing in good house painting tools or working on a ladder. But the sense of accomplishment once you've painted a room or maybe your front door, is worth the time and money invested. To help you achieve success with your painting projects, here is a list of my best painting tools.
Before we jump into the list of painting tools, let me share my thoughts about what makes these tools good. It's not just about painting, or at least not about a single painting project. The best house painting tools include:
- Tools that will last a lifetime. That means spending more for a quality Purdy paint brush that should last 10, 20 or more years if you take good care of it (learn How to Clean Paint Brushes).
- Tools that can be used for multiple tasks, like a single 2 1/2 inch, angled brush for interior painting (and rollers). Don't buy what you don't need and don't have room to store. For example, don't be tempted by a package of three straight edge brushes that only lead to confusion as to which is best for a given task.
- Take time to learn how to use your house painting tools (read Painting Tips from a Pro), to insure they deliver the quality job you want. For example, the edgers used to “cut in” the boundary between the top of the wall and the ceiling take practice. You've got to learn how to add paint to the edger (enough, but not too much) and how to avoid getting paint on the ceiling.
The other thing you'll notice is these painting tools are organized according to the steps you should follow to get the best results for your painting project. That's because prepping the surface(s) to be painted is actually the most important step, and often gets overlooked.
Best Painting Tools to Prep & Protect the Room
When you're painting a room indoors or the exterior, you want to protect the floors from paint splatter. Traditionally we've used drop cloths laid out on the floor/ground but they can easily slip.
Now there's a new sticky drop cloth from 3M, called the 3M Floor Gripper. Instead of taping down the edges of your old drop cloth, these new anti-slip runners have a tacky surface to keep them in place on wood, tile, carpet and even concrete. And they're 3.5 feet wide (various lengths) so there's less bulk to fold up and store for future painting projects.
If you also need to protect the trim around your doors and windows, 3M has another great product called the 3M Hand-Masker Film Kit. This product is used by professional painters to save time (watch them in action), so if you're going to be doing a fair amount of painting over the years, this simple house painting tool could be a great investment.
House Painting Tools to Prep Paint Surfaces
Take a close look at your walls. You'll likely find one or several – stains, holes, nail pops, hairline cracks, torn drywall paper or other imperfections? All of these must be repaired before you start painting, or they'll show through the new paint and won't deliver the beautiful new room you expect. Here's a quick summary of the tools and materials you may need, depending on the types of problems you find.
- Drywall repair tools – hammer, pry bar, putty and/taping knife, utility knife and possibly a file or level.
- Drywall repair materials – drywall compound (spackle only if hole less than 1/8″ inch), drywall tape (paper or mesh), aluminum drywall patch material, stain blocking primer, a sanding sponge (fine grit) and texture if required to match existing wall.
If there is any possibility of grease on the walls from cooking, crayons or other greasy materials, you will need to wash down the walls with TSP (trisodium phosphate). It's the top choice for hard-to-clean surfaces, and works well on interior walls as well as outdoors, on wood, brick, stone and cement. Outdoors you can combine with household bleach to eliminate mold and mildew.
But TSP is toxic so you have to handle with care — wearing protective clothing and a respiratory mask, and insure you have enough ventilation when working indoors. Don't use TSP in bathrooms as it can damage metal, ceramic tile, grout and glass, and protect landscaping by working on a windless day, and hosing down shrubs before and after the job.
Once the walls are ready to be painted, there's one more step. You'll want to remove or tape off things you don't want to paint. These include doorknobs and hinges, light switches and outlets, the ceiling and trim around doors, windows and baseboards. We showed you the professional painter masker, and there's an older (cheaper) version that combines “painters tape and paper” to make the work go faster. From 3M, the Hand-Masker, it holds a roll of masking tape and a roll of paper, with a 6 inch (can extend to 12 inches) blade.
In addition to traditional blue painter's tape, there are new tools to protect hinges while painting.
- Hinge Mask (available on Amazon) is magnetic and snaps onto the hinges after you've taken the door off (recommended).
- Quickey-Stickey as the name suggests, is a sticky paper that you apply to the hinges and toss when done.
Time for Fun with My Favorite Painting Tools
We're ready to paint but chances are you've purchased a few gallons of paint. So first you need to pour some paint into a container and the paint spout is perfect for this, and make sure to get a flexible one that will fit a quart or gallon can. There are other pouring tools but some are sized for quarts or gallons and don't fall into the trap of buying storage ones, which make it more difficult to store leftover paint.
Picking your paint brushes takes a lot of thought, and don't be surprised that each painter has slightly different preferences. The features you'll want to consider are as follows, and remember you'll be holding your brushes for many hours.
- Type of brush – natural bristle with split/fuzzy tips (called flagging), blended nylon/polyester or polyester.
- Brush styles – include thin angle (slanted) sash for trimming corners/edges versus angle sash which holds more paint, is used for cutting in at the ceiling or painting trim. Flat sash and trim brushes are used when painting large, flat surfaces like exterior siding.
- Brush end types – chisel trim for corners and edges, square trim for applying paint over flat areas, or angled brushes for trim and cutting in where walls meet the ceiling.
- Brush sizes – vary from 1 to 6 inches. Thin (1 to 2 inches) are used for windows and other small trim, 3″ are good for doors, cabinets and furniture while 4″ brushes are used for large, flat areas.
You've got your paint, your brushes and it's time to start painting. You can't really hold onto a can of paint, so you'll find the “handy paint pail” with a magnetic holder for your paint brush, a real time saver. And for large wall and ceiling areas, you'll want to use the “handy paint tray” that can hold up to a gallon of paint, although I'd probably not recommend this.
Right below you'll also see the ladders I couldn't live without. Found when running my handyman business, I kept them when I sold my business as they're indispensable. Now that my house in Florida has 9 ft, 4 in ceilings, I had to buy a taller ladder for simple things like changing light bulbs.
Best Tools to Clean Your Paint Brushes
Once you're done painting for the day, it's time to clean your paint brushes. With questions from our readers, we've written a series of articles sharing tips from professional painters on this topic. They use a wire brush when cleaning their paint brushes, to clean out all the paint that can hide inside the bristles. But the recommendation I loved the most is really simple … “don't forget to dry your brushes”.
And one of the most recognized painter's tools is the 5-in-1 tool that can be used as a gouger, scraper, putty remover, spreader and roller cleaner (to remove paint before you wrap the roller up overnight, or toss it out when done).
- How to Clean Paint Brushes, Part 1
- Cleaning Paint Brushes, Part 2
- … and when this discussion ended, my painter volunteered more tips
- Painting Cleanup: Learning from the Pros
What tools do you need to clean your paint brushes and rollers?
Plus Lead Paint Safety Precautions
One last reminder when you're planning any painting projects inside or outside your home, is to check for lead paint. There's no need to worry if your home was built after 1978, but if your house is older, you'll want to test and make sure there's no risk of lead poisoning. We've got several articles to help you do this:
- Why Lead Paint is Everyone's Problem
- 4 Types of Lead Paint Detection
- Get started with your Lead Paint Detection Kit, which you can do yourself!
Good luck with all your painting projects. We'd love for you to share photos, especially before and after photos, and if we missed one of your favorite house painting tools, let us know in the comment section below.
The 3D blue masking tape for painting would be my go to. It works so well with precision painting and I cant wait to paint a new area of my home using this.
Yes, I will be buying a new house soon & of course, that means painting & lots of painting gear too.
I learned a lot from this. These tips will be useful in the future for me.
These are really helpful tips. Painting our own house is always a fun project, we did that in our previous house and it was the best thing.
I am buying an old home here very soon and will be doing a lot of painting! This is going to be so helpful!
Nina, With an old house you’re likely to have a lot more prep of the walls & ceilings before you can paint. Please make sure to take the prep seriously as you probably won’t like the results if you ignore. With our first house we trusted liquid sandpaper to prep the kitchen cabinets. After 30+ hours of hard work into the week hours of the morning, the cabinets didn’t look any better than before we started … ugh!
Hi again Tina although this a year old it’s still not without some very good information for the DIY’er. There is even some Pro’s who should read this. Love the research, Nice article
Thanks for the compliment Arthur, truly appreciated from a professional painter. It also made me think that I should probably review new tools once a year & keep adding to my list … as sometimes, we do come up with new & better ways to do things.
Have you tried to become an “influencer” for Amazon?
I’ll be helping my parents remodel one of their bedrooms soon. I have ZEROOO experience doing any handy work which both excites and terrifies me! these are all great tools to know about!
Shanelle, You should have a lot of fun with the bedroom & check out this article with lots of creative painting ideas … https://hometipsforwomen.com/7-ways-decorating-with-color
I’ve been meaning to spruce up my bedroom with new paint, and these tools will definitely come in handy!
i havent tried painting myself but planning to do one of my rooms! glad to see this before doing that as im sure it is helpful!
Patricia, Good luck with your first painting projects. Make sure you invest in a good brush (just search HomeTips for cleaning paint brushes) & clean it properly so it lasts for years to come.
I love that paint pail with the handle! So convenient . . . I wish this existed when my family was doing home renovations years ago.
Yes, so amazing what a simple tool can accomplish …
I am not much of a painter around the house but this was very helpful. Great post. Thank you for sharing
Having the right tools are hacks, creating shortcuts and a more efficient way to do things. Thank you for showing us the best tools to paint and make it beautiful. No doubt this will be a great foundation for a good experience and possibly a great finish ??
Evelyn, You’re right that in addition to good tools, you need experience to get a great finish!
DEFINITELY showing this to my husband! We went to home depot yesterday and the day before for paint stuff, yet he doesn’t know what he’s doing! THIS will be so so so helpful!
I have been looking to repaint my garage and plan to use some of these tools
Sondra, Sounds like an ambitious project if you’ve got lots of things mounted to the walls so … good luck
I have some places on my walls that I can use that patch tape on. I need to buy some of this.
Shawn painted our house last summer, he did pretty decent job, he’s handy in most things. But we certainly could have benefited from your tips. Thanks for sharing!
These are such great paint tips! I can’t wait to start renovating. Thanks for all the brush and tool suggestions!
Annie, Glad you found them helpful & I’ve got lots more painting tips on paint prep, cleaning paint brushes, etc.
Brittany| Memoirs Of A Good Thing
I love painting but I am horrible at prepping! We are getting ready to move in a few months so this is really going to come in handy! Thank you so much!
Brittany, Lots of people think they can skip painting the ceiling & then change their mind once the walls have a fresh coat of paint. I’d recommend painting your ceilings before you move in – much easier with no furniture. Then you can take you time deciding what colors you want on the walls & don’t forget, one accent wall is often all you need.
You would never think that there would be much to painting but there is! This is so great for those that don’t know where to start.
I have been wanting to redo a couple of my rooms but have been afraid. This will definitely help me.
I have painted before but wish I knew about some of these things. Thanks for all the helpful advice.
These are all good tools. I need this when we’re moving to a house. Glad you shared this
Maria, If you could only afford one tool, which one would you buy?
I definitely know the importance of having the right tools when renovating your home. I only helped paint my friends walls before, but its definitely important to have these tools and I am going to make note of some others I didnt know were out there.
Omg so many awesome tips!!! I’m wanting to paint my bedroom and had no idea how to even start!
These are super helpful! I think it’s awesome that we have all these tools to make painting so much easier!
C. Poly (@CPoly69)
When I paint I usually just buy disposable stuff. I don’t paint that often, but I can totally see how saving money on this stuff (even for a couple of projects here and there) is worth it,
You’ll enjoy painting much more when you’ve got the right tools. It’s fun watching professional painters lovingly (really) take care of their brushes because they’re holding them all day, and it can mean the different between an okay day … and a great day.
What a nice post with the cool painting tools! I’ll definitely keep this in mid:)
Knowing the types of brushes and what they’re best for is awesome! I also like the how to clean tips!
Ana De- Jesus
I ;have a friend who is very crafty and she always spends so much money on all different tools. I think it would be a good idea to purchase tools that have more than one function.
This post could not have come at a more perfect time! We have a new house and are about to decorate the entire thing! I have never seen some of these tools before but now at least I know what to ask for. I don’t want to make this decorating any harder or longer than I need to
Those tools are amazing! My husband will surely love this news! These tools will save our time and money to labor.
These are great tips for painting. I’ll have to check out that sticky drop cloth. Avoiding getting paint on the floor is usually the hardest part of painting for us!
Great tips. Thanks for sharing them. Tools are good which you have shared. I will try them while painting. Informative post.
Michelle Gwynn Jones
I have to admit I have the tendency to buy cheap brushes because I am too lazy to clean them, then I complain about the quality, the bristles fall out, or the handle is rough in my hand. It is better to invest in something worthwhile that is going to last.
That’s why I also wrote (after extensive dialog with a professional painter in Oakland, CA) 2 articles on cleaning your paint brushes … https://hometipsforwomen.com/how-to-clean-paint-brushes & https://hometipsforwomen.com/cleaning-paint-brushes
You make me want to paint and if I didn’t rent, that’s exactly what I’d do lol. These are the best tips, I’ve been trying to find some information like this for my daughter who’s renovating her home.
Thanks for your feedback & hope your daughter finds my website helpful
Thank you for the tips! I’ll keep these in mind when we paint. We’ll be doing it soon.
Wish i read this blog last week, i have just decorated my whole living room and could of done with these tips! Will definatly be bearing these in mind when i finish the rest of the house of! Thankyou for sharing
So many great tips in this article about painting. The next time I do it I won’t have nearly as many problems.
Clara, With the right tools, the job will be more fun & you’ll get better results (as long as you do the right prep)
This helps a lot! Thank you so much for sharing this with us! Regards
Thank you for the tips and suggestions on things to use to ease away the work on painting the house which was a great fun and where I can use my creativity.
I like painting, but not the ceiling, though! Good tools really make a difference and in a long run, they will save some money even if it does not seem so at the beginning. Have to get one of those Handy Paint Pails!