The Essential Tools Every Painter Needs

An artist at work needs a variety of tools to ensure a smooth project. Having the right tools can make your job easier, safer, and faster— and sometimes these tools can even save you money. Whether you’re a DIY’er or an experienced professional, there are certain tools that are a must-have in your tool bag.

To learn more about the needed tools, we collaborated with talented painter John Diaz (@johndiazpainting), a Professional Painting Contractor based in Southern California. In our list below, you will find his recommended essentials that will make tackling your next paint project a breeze!

What Are the Top 5 Tools Every Painter Needs?

  1. High-Quality Brush

It may seem obvious, but having a high-quality brush is the first step to a high-quality paint job. Each type of brush has varied sizes to help you cover larger areas or paint fine lines. There are many brushes you can choose from based on what you need to use them for. From an angled-paint brush for corners to using liner brushes for detailed painting, always choose a quality brush.

  1. Great Paint Sprayer

With a paint sprayer, you can really speed up your project. Something that would traditionally take hours can be done in a matter of a few minutes. I recommend doing your research and investing in a great paint sprayer that will help you create professional results when used with high-quality materials. 

  1. The One and Only OLFA GSR-2 Scraper

The OLFA 40mm GSR-2 Stainless Steel Blade Mini Glass Scraper is a compact, heavy-duty scraper with many capabilities. From being able to store your spare blades in a convenient case (that also acts as a cover), to having a fiberglass-reinforced handle, this scraper will come in handy for many projects. This OLFA scraper has helped me scrape paint off windows and remove adhesives on mirrors. 

OLFA 40mm GSR-2 Stainless Steel Blade Mini Glass Scraper

  1. Tape Measure

Besides these top 3 essential tools, it’s important to invest in a good tape measure. Before you dive into your paint project, you need to calculate the exact area you need to paint. Don’t end up in a situation where you don’t have enough paint because you forgot to measure the area. 

  1. Paint-Can Opener

A paint can opener is a necessity for every painter. These tools are usually designed to fit into slots on the paint cans, but I personally like the OLFA 18mm L-5 Utility Knife. It is a great sturdy knife, but it also has a metal pick at the back end of the handle that makes opening your paint cans easier than ever. It’s a great multi-purpose tool to have in your toolbox! I’ve used it to cut open five-gallon bucket lids, plastic sheeting, and plastic strips that hold baseboard or crown molding.

  OLFA 18mm L-5 Fiberglass Utility Knife with Multi-Pick

How Do You Choose Which Tool to Use on Your Projects?                                       

Before you start working on a project involving paint and paint tools, you should know your options. I have been a painter for decades, and I can say that more often than not, we use the same tools over and over. But choosing a tool for your painting job depends first on the type of paint you are using, and second, on the surface you plan on covering.


What Type of Protective Equipment Do Wear When Working?                                          

Investing in high-quality protective gear can go a long way in preserving your health (especially if you’re a professional painter who spends hours painting). On the job, I always wear safety glasses to protect my eyes and a respirator to protect my lungs from toxic chemicals emitted with paint. I also wear long sleeves and protective gloves. This keeps my arms and hands shielded from any cuts or injuries while painting— as a bonus, they also help me stay cleaner.


Are There Any Specific Tips You Have to Ensure Safety?                               

It is obvious that safety should always be your top priority when working on a paint job. There are many hazards around the corner than can cost your health, money, and time. To ensure you stay safe on the job, always use the correct tools for the project. If you don’t know what they are or how to use them, don’t be shy to ask around or look on the manufacturers’ websites for more information.

Dress for the task, and keep a clean work space: an untidy jobsite can increase slips and injuries at work.

Also, make sure you communicate effectively with your crew (if you have one), and share your plans and tasks with other trades on the jobsite. This helps them to know what to expect and what will be happening in the work area. Collaboration between different teams and/or with your client will also ensure the project goes faster for everyone involved.

 Painter with OLFA SK-16 Safety Knife in Hand

No matter the paint project at hand, you should always make your tool choice based on the type of paint you’re using, how much paint you will need and how quickly the job needs to be completed. Although experience is the best teacher, OLFA always shares fun and educational content for all trades—including fellow painters.

If you are not already, check out our social media channels and share which painting tools you use the most and what your favorites are. 

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John Diaz Bio:

John Diaz is a licensed, professional painting contractor based in southern California who specializes in commercial & residential interiors, since 1994. John brings a great attitude, sense of humor and professionalism to every project. He enjoys his family, videography, his triumph motorcycle, playing the drums, and occasionally jamming with other musicians. If you want to learn more from this talented professional, you can find him at the links below:

Instagram: @johndiazpainting