best roller for emulsion

The UK’s Best Roller for Emulsion Paint (our 2021 top pick)

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There are plenty of paint rollers to choose from in the UK, but only a few of them are worth your hard-earned money. At Property Workshop, we’ve spent hours testing the most popular paint rollers to find the best roller for emulsion.

To avoid making a costly mistake, both in time and money, keep reading to find out which roller takes the #1 spot.

In a Hurry? Here’s our Best Roller for Emulsion in 2021:

If you’re looking for a roller + sleeve combo, you can’t go wrong with the above set. If you’re looking to buy your roller and sleeve separately, read on.


Roller or Brush?

For a more extensive, flat surface, like a wall, using rollers is the preferred option. Rollers save a ton of time and energy when painting large areas and produce a much evener coat than a paintbrush

Use a paintbrush when painting edges and corners where rollers can’t entirely cover. This technique is known as ‘cutting in’. POUSE around the HOUSE offers a quick tutorial on how to do this in this beginners guide for DIY painting.


Types of Rollers

Rollers come in two parts: the frame/handle and the sleeve. The sleeve is disposable, and you should carefully select the right one for each job.

Picking the right frame

When it comes to picking the right frame, apply some common sense. For example, to reach a high ceiling, go for a long handle or telescopic pole (or use a ladder). 

Frame handles come in wood, plastic or synthetic materials. You’ll find wood is less easy to clean, so we recommend avoiding it.

At PWS, we highly recommend this frame from ProDec:

ProDec Advance ARFR001 9" x 1.75" Titan No Break Paint Roller Frame with Soft Grip Handle
  • The ultimate cage frame, fully loaded for durability and featuring ProDec's unique No Break handle with main bar sunk all the way through
  • 9” (225mm) x 1.75" (44mm) 5-wire cage with heavy duty 25% thicker wire
  • 8mm US-style square main bar for increased torque, especially with extension poles
  • Locking nut prevents cage detaching to withstand heavy duty use, with nylon bushes for smoother cage rotation
  • Suitable for 9" rollers with 1.75" trade diameter core

Choosing the right sleeve

Choosing the right sleeve for each job is based on the following criteria:

  • The type of surface being painted
  • The type of product being applied. E.g. paint, stain or varnish
  • The desired finish

8 types of sleeves

There are seven common types of sleeves, each with its particular use:

  1. Foam sleeve
  2. Staining sleeve
  3. Lacquering sleeve
  4. Medium pile sleeve
  5. Long pile sleeve
  6. Short pile sleeve
  7. Honeycomb sleeve

Note: The sleeve’s pile (or nap) is the length of the roller’s hair.

Sleeve Material

Sleeves can be composed of synthetic fibres or natural fibres, and sometimes a mixture of both.

  • Synthetic fibres are best suited for oil-based paint.
  • Natural fibres are best suited for emulsion paint

Best Type of Roller for Emulsion Paint

man using paint roller

Whether natural or synthetic, fibre rollers are great for applying oil-based paint. However, you should only apply emulsion paint with a natural fibre roller because they hold more paint and splash a lot less.

It’s essential to have a roller that doesn’t splash paint when using emulsion paint since emulsion is nearly impossible to wash off once dried.

Textured Surfaces

If you’re painting a textured wall or artexed ceiling, go for a Mohair sleeve. Mohair is the hair from Angora goats. A lot of professional painters prefer these rollers because they are absorbent.

A more absorbent roller means you spend less time reapplying paint, which will help get the job done faster.  It also helps the paint go on smoothly and evenly.

Lambswool rollers are also great for emulsion based paints for similar reasons.

Although natural fibres like mohair and lambswool tend to be more expensive, they’re well worth the extra expense when painting textured surfaces.

You can save and reuse your rollers by storing them in a plastic bag, so the emulsion paint doesn’t dry on, and then wash it thoroughly.

Smooth Surfaces

For a smooth plastered wall, go for a high-quality, woven fabric like this one:


What to Avoid

Avoid cheap paint rollers made with cardboard tubes. These rollers eventually get damp to the point of the bristles and foam coming loose.


Roller Sizes

Rollers come in various widths anywhere from 90mm to 450mm, which all have their particular purpose. While there’s no exact right or wrong width, remember that the larger the surface, the wider the roller.


Best Roller for Emulsion – Final Thoughts

There are many types of paint rollers for different purposes. Sometimes knowing the best roller for the job isn’t always easy to figure out.

We hope you found this simple guide on the best type of roller for emulsion paint easy to follow and will help you get the job done.

Do you have another suggestion for what the best type of roller is for emulsion paint? Please share with us in the comments below!