35 Must-Have Painting Tools for Painters (Complete List)

must have painting tools

No matter if you’re new to painting or a veteran like me, one thing is clear: you have to have the right tools for the job.

The right painting tools can make your job easier, safer, and faster. They can even save you money.

That’s why I’ve put together a list of the house painting tools and equipment that you need to have before starting your next paint project.

Take it from me—they’ll make the whole process a lot easier (and more enjoyable!).

Top 35 Painting Tools List for Every Painter

Buying proper painting tools for DIY home painters can be challenging. Even for professionals, it’s a tough job to choose the right tool kit.

Especially when you have a budget in mind it’s important to know which one is the most essential and what you can leave for a time being.

Regardless of what category you fit into (a professional painter or a DIYer), I have tried to prepare a comprehensive list for you and have put them in the order you will need to use them.

So, if you want you can skip a few of those that are mentioned in the last.  

Let’s start with the most important ones first…

1- Paint Can Opener

Perhaps one of the most important tools on this list, a paint can opener is a very first necessity if you’re looking to get your job done easily.

Paint can openers are designed to fit into the slots on paint cans to easily pop the top.

One of my favorites is the Purdy 6-in-1 painter’s multi-tool, I always keep it handy in my toolbox.

This makes getting into your can of paint easier than ever—and means that you don’t have to look for odds and ends tools around your house or worksite to get the job done.

Even better, you can get a paint can opener at just about any paint or hardware store—making them an easy addition to your tool kit.

2- Tape Measure

Before you can start painting, you need to know how much area you have to paint. And to do that, you’ll need a tape measure.

With a tape measure, you can calculate the area exactly so that you don’t overspend on your paint job (or that you don’t wind up in a situation where you don’t have enough paint)!

Of note, you’ll want to make sure that you buy all of your paint on the same day. This will help ensure that the colors are as even as possible.

In this way, you can get the most out of your paint job and get a matching finish across your walls.

Buying paints on different days can make this harder to accomplish.

3- Blue Painter’s Tape

What’s the easiest way to make sure that you don’t get the paint where you don’t want to?

Use blue painter’s tape.

Blue painter’s tape can be put around the edges of walls, ceilings, windows, doors, and more to help ensure that your painting doesn’t go too far.

This will keep you from accidentally painting over something that shouldn’t have been painted and results in a better-looking and more even finish.

Be sure to add blue painter’s tape to your toolkit to make your job as easy as possible.

4- Painters Masking Tool

A professional masking tool is extremely useful when you want to apply the tapes easier and faster.

Especially when you are working unaccompanied applying the tapes manually can be very time-consuming.

And this is where a professional hand-masking tool (also known as a pro hand masker) makes the process effortless without compromising on the finish quality.

The machine comes with an extendable blade and enables you to cut the tape at the appropriate length when you are applying the tape to the surface.

Its versatile nature allows you to use masking tape, paper, or even plastic so that you can easily protect the surfaces from overspray and paint spatter.

For preventing oversprays, I often use a spray booth and have found them very helpful.

If you want you can check my post about these portable airbrush spray booths over here where I outlined a few safety tips to remember while using them.

5- Drop Cloth

If you’re painting the walls, make sure that you’re not also unintentionally painting the floors.

Not much is worse than having paint fall onto and cover a floor that you didn’t want to be painted.

If this happens and you don’t have a drop cloth, you’ll need to take extra time cleaning the floor.

You can avoid this unfortunate situation by placing drop cloths below the area you intend to paint.

This protects against falling paint and spills and ensures a more efficient job.

6- Sandpapers/Sander

Using sandpaper is important when you want to make the surface smoother after priming.

Most of the primers when applied leave an uneven texture on the surface. And it’s essential that you sand it down before painting.

Based on the surface (and finish you desire) you may need to use #80 to #220 grit sandpapers by applying light pressure on the surface.

In some cases, you may also use sanding machines or a sander for removing the paint, especially when the surface you are working on is larger in size.

7- Primer and Hole Fillers

Not all paint jobs will require a primer, but if yours does, you don’t want to miss out on it.

With primer, you can better ensure that your paint will cover up any existing colors that are already on your wall.

Trust me—nothing is worse than painting your wall only for other colors to start bleeding through.

With primer—which has a thicker composition than regular paint—you can avoid this mishap.

Primer comes in neutral colors. Once your primer coating dries, you can paint over it with your desired color.

Keep in mind that some colors, like red, require a primer to be used so that other colors don’t bleed through and affect the appearance of your final product.

Additionally, with priming, you’ll need to fill any holes in your walls before painting—and nail hole filler is the easiest way to do this.

Getting this first hand ensures a great-looking finish for your job.

8- Stir Stick

Not stirring paint before use is a common beginner’s mistake—and it’s one that you definitely want to avoid.

If you don’t stir your paint before using it, you may end up with colors that disappoint.

That’s because oils in the paint separate from it while in the can, causing the paint to be uneven.

If you don’t stir it, this will affect your wall colors when you go to paint.

For this reason, be sure to invest in several stir sticks so that you can make sure that each can of paint is properly stirred before application.

9- Pouring Spout

Pouring spouts help avoid unnecessary messes.

With a pouring spout, you can prevent paint from getting into grooves in your can and sticking.

You can also better control the direction of the paint as you pour.

This will enable you to keep messes to a minimum and maximize your control over your project.

10- Small Paint Bucket

A small pail for a painting job is essential as it’s handy.

While you are standing up on a ladder painting the outdoor trims, it’s not easy for you to climb down regularly for getting the paint or primer.

You cannot either have a big bucket with you at a place like this.

Being lightweight, carrying a small handheld bucket makes a lot of sense.

Not only does it make painting the trims easier but also it helps in getting the flawless finish you desire to get.

These small-sized cup containers usually come with handles for easy handling.

Some of them also have a superior magnetic mechanism that can keep your paintbrush suspended above the paint when you are not using it for painting.

11- Five Gallon Bucket

You may be thinking that a five-gallon bucket is a bit excessive—and it might be, depending on the job that you’re doing.

But if you’re working on a job that requires more than one gallon of paint, you’re going to invest in one.

Pour all of your paint cans (of the same color) into this bucket and give the paint a good mix before starting your job.

This will help you make sure that the color is even across the board when you actually do go to paint.

You can then pour all of the paint back into their individual cans.

Keep in mind that just because a can of paint is the same color and brand it might have minuscule differences.

That’s why mixing your paint cans is so important before you start your job.

12- Tray Liner

I know a lot of people who say those tray liners aren’t necessary—and maybe they’re right.

But for me, the value that a tray liner can bring to a paint job is priceless.

That’s because tray liners help in a number of different ways.

For starters, cleanup is easier because you just need to pour leftover paint back into your can.

You can then discard the liner without having to clean any paint from your tray.

This is important because mixed or dried paint in a tray can ruin your paint job.

From putting bumps into the final product to changing the color, uncleaned trays can work disasters on your job.

And you can avoid all of this with a simple tray liner.

13- Paint Roller

Paint rollers are versatile and can help you cover more area for a faster paint job than compared to paintbrushes.

If you are planning to apply the paint faster and much smoother, you will essentially need to have a good roller and a cover.

These are best for painting larger surface areas like ceilings and drywall.

Typically speaking, the size of the roller cover is about nine inches.

So if you are buying a cover and handle separately make sure that you get a roller handle that fits the cover.

The thickness of the roller cover that you use is also important and should be determined on a job-by-job basis.

Generally speaking, however, my experience has been that roller covers that are ¾-inch thick are great for use outdoors.

Because they are thicker, they can really handle rough surfaces better and make sure that paint is evenly applied.

You won’t need as thick of a roller nap indoors—3/8-inch should do the trick.

14- Extension Pole

Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that you have a screw-on extension so that you can use your roller to access hard-to-reach areas.

In general, the rollers do not have handles that are long enough to reach heights.

Telescopic extension poles are designed for such instances where you do not find step ladders convenient to use or when the paint ladders are not available for the job.

Pole extensions for roller can be bought at your local paint or hardware store and can greatly increase the convenience of your paint job.

15- Roller Tray and Pan

Simple, but effective. Roller trays hold your paint so that you can load paint onto your roller very easily.

These are mostly made of plastic and come in varied sizes. You can opt for the one based on your work and the roller size you will be using for painting.

Mini-roller pans are also important as they allow you to more easily carry paint around—especially if you’re working somewhere that has stairs.

Instead of lugging heavy paint cans around, you can take paint as needed in your pan and work smarter, not harder.

16- Putty Knife

A putty knife is designed for patching up the cracks easily.

This makes the task much easier when you need to use putty, joint compound, or wood fillers around the edges or trims.

You can simply apply the putty with your hand and then use a two-inch putty knife for smoothening the surface.

Not only for filling but also it can be used for scraping paint. Use its blunt end so that you do not gouge the surface.

17- Wall Stencils

Wall stencils are not essential but a great option if you need to add designs and patterns to the wall.

These are useful when you need to put up a feature wall in the bedroom, or for a kitchen backsplash.

Unlike wallpapers and wall decals, using wall stencils is safe for walls as it can be repainted easily whenever required without much effort.

18- Paint Sprayer

Working on a large, outdoor space? Save yourself time and money by using a paint sprayer.

With a paint sprayer, you can turn a job that would traditionally take hours into one that takes minutes.

But don’t get too excited. You’ll still want to lean up edges and crevices with your brush or roller to get the best look possible.

19- Flat Brush (Two or Three Inch)

Don’t forget to take your flat brushes, either! Flat brushes need to be used near your painting cut-off point.

In other words, if you’re painting near a surface that doesn’t need to be painted (such as molding or a door frame), you’ll want to use a flat brush (and not a roller) near it.

This ensures that you don’t get paint where you didn’t want it to be.

20- Angled Paint Brush (Two or Three Inch)

Need to cut in a corner or a window? Make sure that you have some two or three-inch angled paintbrushes handy!

Typically, the bristles of an angled sash brush are designed by cutting them at a slant which makes it easier to paint cleaner lines.

These cutting brushes are not only useful for trims and corners but can also be used for furniture items that have grooves (like cabinets, paneled doors, etc.).

Striker paintbrush also works in a similar fashion and is found useful in some instances. You can also add this to your toolbox for quick access.

21- An Edging Tool

Painting the edges of a room can be frustrating for beginners.

And you cannot use the paint brushes all the time for getting the fine finish while “cutting in”.

No matter whether you are a DIYer, a professional painter, or a contractor you will find the edging tool to be handy for your job.

It makes your task simpler and enables you to work faster.

Although it takes some patience and skill to use these tools, with some practice you can easily paint straight lines in no time.

It can also be used for sides like moldings, cabinets, popcorn ceilings, etc.

22- Sponge

Having a wet sponge handy is essential to your paint job.

By wiping down walls with a wet sponge, you can make sure that your paint sticks and that you won’t have debris leftover damaging the final product.

Trust me—a quick wipe down with your sponge can make a world of difference in the ease and in the appearance of your paint job.

23- Stak Racks

Stack rack is an extremely helpful accessory for homeowners, DIYers as well as contractors.

When you have numerous cabinet doors or trims to paint but not a good amount of space available to lay them out these stak racks pairs can prove to be useful.

You can easily attach them to doors when you want to paint one side. When you are done with one side, flip them over to paint the opposite side.

The good thing is, that these racks are designed to help you do this without touching the newly painted wet surface.

24- Step Ladder

Why do you need a step ladder? Try painting a ceiling without one!

In all seriousness, step ladders can help you get a better-looking finish while providing better support for your back.

Because long rollers are hard to control and require you to bend, twist, and contort to reach high places, step ladders should be considered.

Not only will you be able to more easily reach high spots, but you’ll also exert less effort and more control in doing so.

25- Paint Removal Strippers

We all make mistakes. I know I’ve been there before—and I’m thankful that I had my paint removal strips when spills happened to me.

Take it from me—mistakes are going to happen.

No matter how careful you are or how long you’ve been working, you can’t outrun them forever. Not if you paint long enough, anyway.

For this reason, I highly recommend getting some DIY paint removers or paint removal strips.

In the case of an unfortunate spill, these will help you clean up the mess and make it look as though nothing out of sorts ever happened.

I like to think of them as a painter’s best friend. Make sure that you don’t start your job without them.

26- Respirator

Respirator masks for painters are essential for respiratory protection as they are designed to filter out the toxins of the spray paint.

These are especially useful for painters who work with oil-based toxic paints on a regular basis.

You can use it as a protection tool when spraying oil paints, solvents, or even pesticides in your backyard/garden.

The good thing is most of these are designed for a comfortable fit and can be used by men as well as women.

27- Heat Gun

Another great tool to help cover your mistakes is a heat gun which allows you to heat and scrape up the paint pretty easily.

A great advantage of using them over chemical products is that they are less likely to damage surfaces—even if they do require a bit more elbow grease on your part to get the job done!

28- Work Light

If you plan on working in the dark—or are working in a place with a limited power supply—consider bringing a work light and an extension cord.

This will help you see more clearly even in dark areas and ensure an easier and better-looking paint job.

29- Wet/Dry Vacuum

Essential to keeping your workspace tidy, a wet and dry vacuum can suck up all kinds of debris like paint chips.

It can even help you quickly clean up large paint spills. (Though hopefully, these won’t happen to you!)

30- Screwdriver

Don’t forget that you’ll need to remove the outlet and switch covers while painting. A screwdriver will help you do just that.

Make sure to have both a Phillips head and a flat head, as flatheads can also be used for opening paint cans in times of need.

If the budget is not a problem, you may even consider a better option like an electric screwdriver or a good handy screw-gun.

31- A Pencil or a Pen for Marking

You may find this less useful when painting but believe me, it can ease your job many times.

There can be instances when you want to get some marks (like an object, alphabet, shape, or any other).

And getting a small marking pen or a pencil can make the task easier for you.

Make sure that you choose a non-ink marker that is not permanent.

Neon carpenter’s pencils are my favorite as these can be easily primed and painted over.

32- Painter’s Pants

Now when you have prepared your toolbox with all the must-have painting tools, how you can forget this.

It’s essential to dress up like a professional if you want to get the job done professionally and at a faster pace.

These customized pants come with additional pockets and loops (to hold tools like brushes, pencils, nails, etc.).

Getting the best painter’s pants not only makes you look professional but it also makes you work more efficiently enabling you to get the job done faster.

33- Knee Pads

Painters many times need to be working on the floor (for tasks like picking the tools, mixing the paint, etc).

And I know how uncomfortable and painful it can be if you are kneeling multiple times a day (no matter on a soft or a hard surface like concrete).

Especially if you are a professional painter you may need to invest in protective knee pads for the painting to avoid hurting your knees.

34- Safety Glasses

Every time you spray paint in a home, there is a liquid paint and toxic chemicals emitted that can get into your eyes.  

Spray painting without proper eye protection can hence compromise your safety.

Investing in quality safety glasses for painting can save you from all the dangers by providing better protection to your eyes.

35- Work Boots and Gloves

I used to cut off my fingertips and toes many times when painting.

And using painters’ shoes and gloves will keep your feet and hands protected from any cuts or injuries while painting.

Not mandatory for DIYers, you will often require these boots and gloves the most in case you are planning to perform some heavy-duty painting work.

So, there you have them all!

At least I have listed most of them that I had used in the past.

Let me know if I have missed any of the essential painting tools out there.

Also, I am eager to know what painting tools you use most often. And what your favorite painting tools are.

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