How to Choose a Paint Roller

Today I’m sharing how to choose a paint roller because paint rollers are a wonderful tool for painting.

This post is a sponsored post by Purdy. I take pride in reviewing only products that fit my brand and will be beneficial to my readers. While this post is sponsored, all the opinions are my own.

A paint roller applies paint faster and more evenly on surfaces than a paintbrush.

Paint rollers consist of a handle, a metal frame, and a metal roller that holds a paint roller cover. Despite the simplicity of the tool, there are many options for size, fabric, and nap.


There are a variety of paint roller sizes that range from 4″ to 18″.

  • 4″ mini rollers are great for touch-ups, corners, windowsills, furniture, cabinets, and even doors.
  • 6″ or 7″ rollers work well for painting baseboards, corners, furniture, and reaching behind the toilet to paint the wall.
  • 9″ rollers are the most common size for projects. They are large enough to quickly cover the walls but not so long they are difficult to control around details and trim.
  • 12″ or longer rollers can be heavy and are more difficult to control, but they do cover a lot of surface area in the least amount of time. I would suggest leaving these larger rollers to the professionals, and I personally prefer the classic 9″ roller.


  • SYNTHETIC MATERIAL is effective with water-based latex paints and is suitable for any surface texture. Synthetic material doesn’t shed and creates a smooth, even finish.
  • NATURAL FIBER (lambs wool or mohair) is ideal for oil-based paints and painting on any surface texture.
  • BLENDED – When polyester and wool are combined, they get the extra pickup of wool with polyester for a longer life. Blended fabric can be used with all paint types.
  • MICROFIBER works well for semi-gloss and high-gloss finishes.
  • FOAM works well with oil or high-gloss latex paints. Foam is best on ultra smooth surfaces like furniture and cabinets.


The roller cover nap or pile height (the thickness of the fibers) varies from low to high based on the surface you are painting.

Low-nap rollers pick up less paint, while high-nap rollers pick up and hold more paint.

  • 1/4″ Very Smooth to Smooth – Cabinets, metal doors, and trim.
  • 3/8″ Smooth to Semi-Smooth – Smooth walls and ceilings.
  • 1/2″ Semi-Smooth to Semi-Rough – Textured walls, decks, and concrete.
  • 3/4″ Semi-Rough to Rough – Textured ceilings and stucco
  • 1″ Rough to Extra Rough – Brick and Masonry block.
  • 1 1/4″ Extra Rough – Rough textured concrete.


When your paint roller slides instead of rolls:

Paint rollers have a metal roller attached to a frame that is designed to rotate, so if the paint roller is sliding instead of rolling, you have overloaded the roller with paint. The roller will slide and smear instead of smoothly rolling. Use the paint tray to offload some paint from the roller.

Cleaning your paint roller so you can use it for a future project:

Try using Purdy Contractor 5-in-1 tool. It works as a scraper and putty remover, opens cracks for patching and applying putty, AND it also cleans your roller by helping to remove all the excess paint.

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