Painting Tool List – 10 Tools Every Painter Needs

Painting Tool List

Are you looking to start a career in painting or maybe you are just looking to paint your own house?  Either way, there are some basic tools you will need.  Now I know we said 10 Tools you’ll need, but as you would guess, you will never get away with only having 10 tools.  However, we made this list of our must-have painting tools for you. This doesn’t cover expendable items such as paint, sandpaper, or other items you have to replace each job.

We hope these tools make your painting project and life easier, or at least keep money out of the swear jar. Alright, let’s jump in and check out the 10 Tools Every Painter Needs.

Want to know more about painting? Read our TIA article Different Types of Paintbrushes.

Painting Tool List

Painting tools that every professional painter needs, or will help you with your home painting project.

1Drop Cloths


This is a must-have tool.  Sure it’s not your typical tool but it is a tool of the trade.  Painting is messy.  You will not only get paint chips all over the place when scraping and sanding but even when you are painting, you will get drips and spills.  This is a must-have to protect your project areas.

This Chicago Canvas & Supply Drop Cloth comes in a variety of sizes on Amazon.

2Paint Trays

I know this is an obvious tool, but don’t cheap out.  Get a good paint tray.  While I am not a fan of the paint liners because they always seem to be a hassle, you can get them to make cleanup easier.  Me, I like the metal trays over the plastic trays simply because of the strength.  The plastic trays I have tried, always have some type of flex in them.  As you would guess, flex isn’t your friend, especially when up on a ladder.  So a couple of good metal paint trays will make the job much easier.

Buy this metal Wooster Pain Tray for $5 on Amazon.

3Paint Sprayer

This might not be on your list if you’re just completing a small home project, but a quality sprayer is a must if you’re going into the painting profession. It also creates a good finish and can speed up a paint job while conserving paint – making it great for large painting projects!

Paint sprayers are also great for painting items like doors and cabinets that have a lot of detail that can be harder to do precisely with a standard paintbrush or roller. For smaller projects, you can even look into renting a paint sprayer instead of investing in one.

Buy this Graco Magnum Paint Sprayer for $270 on Amazon.


Buckets are an essential tool that serve multiple functions but are often forgotten. You can use a bucket to store tools, mix paint, clean tools, and more.

It’s best to have a couple of 5-gallon buckets along with a few smaller buckets for a variety of tasks. The best part of the bucket is lunchtime.  Turn it upside down and use it as your seat. Just make sure it’s empty!

Buy three 5 Gal. Buckets on Amazon for only $24.


Ladders are another obvious tool you need in your painting arsenal.  From experience, do not go cheap.  This is a safety factor more than anything. The last thing you want is to be high on a wobbly ladder and risk a dangerous and messy fall.

I am a huge fan of these multi-position ladders for a wide variety of reasons.  Easy to adjust the height, they are extremely sturdy for both an extension ladder and an A-Frame ladder.  Plus they are great if you have to work in awkward areas like stairs.

The Home Depot has a variety of multi-position ladders to choose from. Gorilla Ladders is a great brand to consider. You might also consider investing in a Ladder-Aide for working off of a ladder on stairs.

6Work Lights

Good lighting is appreciated for any project, but it’s essential for painting. The main reason I hate painting is because you feel like you did such a great job. Then a month later, the sunlight hits the walls just at the right angle, and to your horror, you realize you didn’t sand enough, there are streaks, drips, or missed spots.

So, avoid the mistakes and frustration and invest in a quality work light. Something that can pivot is great so you can check your work from multiple angles.

You can buy this Milwaukee M18 Rocket Dual Power Tower Light for $174 on Amazon.

7Caulk Gun

I use to buy cheap caulk guns, and then I learned my lesson…soon they started to drip, the application was inconsistent, and overall were just a huge hassle.  I invested in a quality caulk gun and my work instantly improved, along with my mood.

Get this Newborn Drip-Free Caulk Gun for only $13 on Amazon.

8Hand Tools – Screwdrivers, hammer, scraper, 10 in 1

Sorry, we’re going to cheat the 10 limit by grouping a few essential tools under “hand tools”. Hand tools include hammers, screwdrivers, scrapers, etc. Sometimes you need to fix a nail that didn’t sink, or address other imperfections.

Shop Hand Tools on Amazon

9Tape Measurer / LDM

You will need some type of measuring tool when painting, especially for estimating how much primer and paint you will need.  You don’t have to spend the money on a laser distance measuring tool, but I would at least invest in a good tape measure.

When you buy a tape measure, don’t cheap out.  Get a good tape measurer that has a long stand out.  There is nothing more frustrating than trying to take a measurement and the tape keeps bending.

Milwaukee makes good tape measures available on Amazon. Amazon also has a variety of laser measuring tools.

10Putty Knife

You could put putty knife under “hand tools”, but I left this one by itself because you will be using this tool a ton.  While there are certain things you can try and save money on, I would suggest getting a good putty knife as you will be using this a lot for covering up holes, quick scrapping and so many other things and it can get beat up pretty quickly with consistent use.  Since it is a widely used tool, go with something that has a good blade and comfortable handle.

Shop Putty Knives on Amazon

Optional Painting Tool List Extras

Just a few other honorable mentions that can assist with your painting projects.


A scaffolding system is not required, but it’s great to have if you are doing a lot of high-up work. A quality scaffolding can sometimes be safer to work on than a ladder. It’s more stable and gives you a better work platform to move around on.

This MetalTech Safeclimb Rolling Scaffolding Set carries up to 1,100 lbs and is available at The Home Depot for $249.

12Pressure Washer

You do not need a pressure washer for every job, but it’s great (and frankly fun) to use before painting outdoor surfaces like fences and decks. A pressure washer blasts off dirt and leftover paint that can interfere with a good paint application.

You can buy this RYOBI Pressure Washer from The Home Depot for $99.

13Vacuum Cleaner

As you would expect, painting is messy, especially when sanding is involved. And a clean workspace is very important, especially if you are working in someone else’s space.

Tools in Action has reviewed several shop vacs over the years. Milwaukee has several great options, like this Milwaukee M18 FUEL 6 Gal. Cordless Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum is available from The Home Depot for $250.

14Paint Mixer

You can mix paint by hand but having a paint mixer makes life easier, especially if you are dealing with 5-gallon buckets of paint.

Make your paint project easier with this $10.95 Paint Mixer from Amazon.


You are not going to use this on all your jobs but if you have a paint mixer, you will need a drill.  However, a drill also comes in handy for any screws that may have popped out of the drywall, or for predrilling if you have to sink nails into trim.

Since using a drill will not be a huge part of your job, just choose a drill that you already have a battery system for or a more affordable brand.

Browse Drills Available at The Home Depot

Painting Tool List Wrap-Up

Alright, I hope this Painting Tool List gives you some guidance on what you need to either start your painting business or complete your next paint project. As someone who hates painting, it is 1000% easier when you have the right tools for the job. So, at the very least I hope this list makes your next paint project go smoother.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here