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Painting Equipment List: 45 Must-Have Tools for Professional Painters

September 19, 2023 9 min. read
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Your painting clients expect high-quality work—and that starts with having the right tools. Good painting equipment can save you hours on paint jobs and keep your business efficient. 

Whether you’re starting a painting business or topping up your tool bag, use this painting equipment list to pick up what you need for any residential or commercial paint job.

Make tool shopping easier by using our free painting equipment list PDF to remember everything you need to purchase.

Professional painting tools for all jobs

Carrying professional painting tools—and knowing how to use them—is one thing that sets you apart from an amateur or DIY painter.

Here are painting tools you’ll need for every job:

  1. Tape measure: You need measuring tape to calculate the exact area you’re painting before starting the project. Accurate measurements help you buy the right amount of paint and stay within budget.
  2. Hand masker and painter’s tape: A hand masker holds your painter’s tape and helps you apply the tape in straight lines easily.
  3. Painter’s multi-tool: This is like a Swiss Army knife for painters, and the best painting tool for prep work. Most multi-tools come with a paint can opener, flat screw bit, nail puller, nut wrenches, scrapers, chisels, and crack openers.
  4. Screwdriver: Keep a screwdriver around to remove light switch plates and outlet covers. It’s best to use a flathead screwdriver, since wall plates tend to use flathead screws and Phillips screws.
  5. Filler: Use filler to repair holes and cracks in your walls before painting. Choose a filler that’s made for the surface material or type of repairs you’re doing.
  6. Caulking and gun: Use caulking to fill in cracks between window trim and walls, or your baseboards and walls. To apply larger amounts of sealant, use a caulking gun to go faster and get more even results.
  7. Patching knife: A patching knife or putty knife helps you even out the areas you’ve filled.
  8. Sandpaper: Sandpaper (or a sanding block) smooths out rough patches on your walls after you make repairs. You can choose the grit of your sandpaper (how coarse it is) based on the material you’re sanding.
  9. Microfiber and tack cloths: Wipe down dirty walls with a microfiber cloth, some mild detergent, and water. To remove finer dust, dirt, and grease from walls, use a tack cloth.
  10. Vacuum cleaner: Use a wet/dry shop vacuum with a narrow attachment that can clean dust off of baseboards, casing, and trim.
  11. Brushes: Make sure you choose the right bristle type for your paint finish. A synthetic hair paint brush is great for most types of paint. For a smoother finish, apply oil-based paints with natural hair bristles (also known as China bristles).
  12. Roller frame: Also called a roller cage, this is what holds your paint roller. Larger rollers are better for walls and ceilings. Use a 4-inch roller frame to paint cabinets and doors.
  13. Roller cover: The roller cover is the cylinder that picks up and applies your paint. Roller covers come in a few nap sizes (thicknesses) for different wall textures. The rougher your surface, the thicker your nap should be.
  14. Paint tray: Plastic roller trays are more affordable and easier to clean—some are easier to peel paint off of when the paint dries. Or, you could buy a more durable metal paint tray and put a plastic paint tray liner inside it.
  15. Paint sprayer: Use a paint sprayer to apply paint to large areas in less time than rollers or brushes. A paint sprayer can help you paint over rough surfaces easily and evenly.
  16. Stir stick: Stir sticks aren’t just for mixing colors. Oils in the paint can separate from the paint while they’re in the can. Mix it all together to make sure your paint comes out in an even tone.
  17. Drop cloth: Always bring a drop cloth to protect floors from paint drips and spills.  Canvas drop cloths are durable and washable, but you can also use plastic sheeting to protect furniture that you can’t remove from the room.
  18. Drywall tape knife: Instead of taping off the floor underneath baseboards, you can place a drywall tape knife under your brush to guard paint from the floor while painting baseboards. You can also use it to get clean lines when you tear off your painter’s tape.
  19. Roller and brush cleaner (with a bucket): Use a mix of warm water and soap to clean your paint brushes and rollers. A drywall knife or putty knife can scrape off excess paint from your rollers before you wash them.
  20. Ladder: A basic stepladder will help you paint hard-to-reach places, whether you’re painting a tall foyer inside a house or a large office.

READ MORE: Hire better and faster with this painter job description

House painting tools

If you’re a residential painter, pick up these tools made for home paint jobs:

21. Paint scraper: Use a scraper to remove old wallpaper and paint from walls. Since they’re durable and flexible, they’re also great for applying and spreading spackle.

22. Scraper or wire brush: Depending on a house’s exterior siding material, scrapers and wire brushes can help you scrape away old paint.

23. Sash brush: Pick up a 2-and-a-half inch sash brush—the best way to start an interior wall is to paint along the edges with a small brush once your trim and ceiling edges are taped.

24. Angle brushes: These brushes create clean lines, making them essential for painting inside window frames and cutting doors and windows.

25. Foam brush: This is a one-time-use brush that’s great for small touch-ups. Foam brushes come in packages of several brushes, so you don’t have to spend time cleaning each of them.

26. Exterior silicone caulk and gun: Exterior caulk is temperature-resistant and built to handle all weather conditions. Apply exterior silicone caulk to gaps and cracks along exterior window and door trims.

27. Exterior primer or sealer: Use this primer to help your exterior paint adhere better to concrete, vinyl, and wood siding in all weather conditions. Use a sealer or a masonry primer for brick, concrete, stone, and stucco.

28. Exterior paint: For exterior siding, always use paint labeled “exterior paint.” Acrylic and latex paint are safe bets for vinyl and fiber-cement siding. Use oil-based or acrylic paints for wood, and masonry paint for brick, stone, and similar surfaces.

READ MORE: How to estimate a painting job: 5 steps to making a profit

Commercial painting tools

Painting commercial spaces can be tough and time consuming, so it’s important you invest in equipment that makes the job easier.

Pick up these tools so you can provide quality commercial painting services:

29. Large ladders and scaffolding: For a commercial painting project with hard-to-reach surfaces, use an extendable ladder or install scaffolding (depending on how high you need to paint).

30. Pressure washer: Pressure washers are for heavy-duty cleaning—they remove things like dirt, stains, and grime buildup. Use a cleaner with trisodium phosphate (TSP) to get a quality clean.

31. Plastic sheeting: For large spaces like open-concept offices, plastic sheeting is the most practical and cost-effective way to protect the floor from paint drips. This is especially important if you’re using sprayers to paint your walls.

32. Wide rollers: For bigger walls, use a wide, 18-inch roller to cover double the area in the same amount of time as a standard 9-inch roller. Make sure your roller covers are the same size as your roller cages.

33. Large bucket: Use a 5-gallon bucket to combine multiple paint cans of the same color. This keeps all your paint in one convenient place—but make sure you mix them properly before painting to keep your coating a consistent color.

34. Extension pole: Extension poles attach to your paint rollers so you can reach higher surfaces in and outside your client’s building.

35. Silicone or polyurethane caulking: These materials are durable and trustworthy for sealing holes and cracks in commercial buildings. Drywall compound is great for larger holes but takes longer to dry.

36. Fine-grit sandpaper: After repairs, sand the wall’s rough patches with a fine-grit sandpaper—around 180–240-grit. You might need to sand the entire drywall surface if you’re painting right after a new construction.

37. Industrial primer: Look for a heavy-duty industrial primer for commercial painting jobs. Latex primer keeps drywall looking smooth and even. For other surfaces, oil-based primers usually work fine.

Fence painting tools and materials

Fences might seem simpler to paint than home exteriors, but they come with their own challenges—wood chipping, decay, and repair techniques that require special tools. 

Bring this painting equipment with you for your next fence painting job:

38. Paint stripper: Paint stripper is a solution that softens the old finish on a wooden fence to help you scrape it off easily. It’s available as a liquid, gel or paste, and it’s especially handy on rounded surfaces and tight areas.

39. Fence cleaner: Apply a fence cleaning solution with a brush or a rag, or use a spray cleaner. Then, spray down the fence with a pressure washer or hose and let it dry completely before painting.

40. Wood filler: Applying wood filler is the best way to repair dents and divots in wood fences. First, mix your filler in its container with a putty knife, since wood filler can separate after sitting for too long.

41. Fence primer: Prime your fence before painting, just like you would for a wall. Choose an alkyd-based primer for red species of wood, and acrylic latex or oil-based primer for all other types.

42. Fence stain: You can use stain colors to completely change the look of a fence, and even make one type of wood look like another. While oil-based stains last longer, water-based stains protect wood better from harsh weather and decay.

43. Fence paint: If you’re painting instead of staining, choose paint based on the finish that your client wants (e.g., glossy, semi-gloss, flat, or eggshell).

READ MORE: 15 best apps for painting contractors

Business management tools

You’ll need more than just on-the-job painting equipment for your business to be a success. 

44. Painting contractor software

Painting contractor software helps you stay organized day to day between paint jobs and customer calls. Jobber is a great option if you want to easily estimate jobs, schedule painters, organize job details, and get paid all on one platform.

Here’s how Jobber helps you improve your daily operations and run your painting business smoothly:

45. Accounting software

Painting business owners like you need accounting software to balance your books, track inventory, pay salaries, and make sure your finances are in check.

QuickBooks Online is the best accounting software for plumbing businesses of all sizes that need to manage their accounting and bookkeeping better. Use it to track income and expenses, financial reports, payroll, accounts receivable, and accounts payable.

Pro Tip: Try Jobber’s Quickbooks integration to keep your data up to date and eliminate double entry.

Preparing for a painting job can feel overwhelming—especially when it’s a service you’re not used to. But if you keep a full toolkit of painting equipment, you’ll handle the toughest painting jobs with less effort.

Come back to this painting equipment list whenever you need a reminder for what to buy, pack, and use for every job.

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