Paint Runner

Tired of messy paint jobs?  The Paint Runner promises you can paint continuously, without splashing and splattering paint everywhere.

Jamey Hall is co-owner of The Paint Can in Cape Girardeau. He's a professional painter who's never seen the $20 Paint Runner up close. The roller is supposed to hold a quart of paint, letting you paint for long periods without dipping and dripping.

"It's not going to hold it... I'm at the top,"  Jamey says.

That's not the only claim the Paint Runner brushes off -- as you'll see throughout this test. You prep the Paint Runner on newspaper, to soak the roller. This takes several minutes, and several sheets of paper.

"I think I'm going to use most of the paint on the paper!" Jamey grunts. Finally Jamey is ready to paint the medium-textured wall. And immediately, we notice some problems.

"The seam shows," he says as he points to lines of bare wall, where paint should be. "And it's a lot heavier. It's more awkward. I guess because of all the paint in the end of it."

The narrow roller head doesn't cover as much space as a standard roller.  "It says you don't have to apply pressure. But I have to apply pressure just to get anything to come out of it."  And that's tricky, considering the handle is wobbly. "It keeps spinning on me," Jamey demonstrates.  "And when I push it up, it bends quite a bit."

Jamey continues with the wall, but the first coat is very uneven.  "This is equal on both sides, so it should be getting even pressure all the time, " he says shaking his head.  And within minutes, we notice the Paint Runner is releasing paint more on one end than the other. It's leaving a heavy streak of paint that almost looks like a run.

"The felt is pulling off the roller," Jamey points out. "See, it's starting to wear out on the medium textured wall." The $20 Paint Runner probably wouldn't last any longer than one room, and you'd have to throw the entire thing away. Traditional roller refills are $4.

"I think I could have had this already painted with a regular roller!" Jamey exclaims.  He finishes 1/2 the wall before the Paint Runner runs out of paint -- and he didn't have to dip once! That's about the only claim this product lives up to!

But no dripping? We discover a mess waiting to happen -- paint is squeezing out of the cap. Plus we're not happy with how the wall looks.  "It didn't really cover very well," Jamey explains.  "You can see huge spots it didn't even touch. You'd still have to come onver this wall with a standard roller. This isn't going to get it even on a second coat."

There's also a picture on the directions, showing you oiling both ends. But it never actually talks about it in the directions! So you don't know what it means. Plus, you're supposed to use only acrylic or latex paints. Jamey says if  you oil the roller, and oil gets anywhere in the paint, the paint won't stick to the wall!

Clean-up is supposed to be a breeze -- just rinse it in water. But it doesn't come apart, and Jamey quickly discovers you need something special to get inside the roller and scrub the paint out. It's cumbersome, and we give up after about 5 minutes, when you could barely see any improvement.

So no surprise here -- save your energy and your $20.  The Paint Runner flunks.