With a claim that the Paint Runner gives an even finish without splatter or drips, we couldn't not try it out.
Available for $140 including postage, the Paint Runner Pro is a large hollowed-out paint roller. You can pour up to a litre of paint into the paint runner, then push out the paint through small holes onto the roller's microfibre pad when you run it down a surface. The idea is since you carry your paint with you, there's no need for multiple trips back and forth to the tray to re-coat your roller.
Our colleagues at Consumer NZ enlisted a professional painter to serve as product tester and expert judge at a nearly finished new-build. After "priming" the runner as directed, we topped up the paint. We used a sealer for the first coat on a plasterboard wall. Unfortunately the paint was difficult to get through the small microfibre holes in the pad. The force required may make the device difficult to use in some circumstances, particularly if you suffer from arthritis.
You can screw the Runner Paint Pro onto any broom handle to extend the reach but, of course, this means applying sufficient force is difficult. When we detached the Runner Paint Pro from the broom handle, it was much easier to use, though still required a deal of force to squeeze out the paint.
We were impressed at the lack of drips and splatter, so it does meet this claim. If it's full of paint, you can confidently carry the Paint Runner over uncovered carpet to another job without fear of spilling or spotting. We filled another roller with topcoat, but also found a decent amount of pressure was required for good coverage. Our professional painter reckoned the finish wasn't close to what he'd get from a good standard roller. It had a textured and, in places, "bubbly" appearance.
Another issue is the Runner's narrowness. Standard rollers are usually twice as wide, which makes it easier to paint straight, even lines. While the Runner claims to cover up to 17m² of wall with one litre of paint, our trial found it was closer to 6m²/L. In contrast, the rule of thumb for roller painting is 12m²/L. Once the microfibre pad wears out, replacement sleeves set you back $35 each including postage from TV Shop, compared to less than $5 for a standard roller cover. We found the pad difficult to clean.
Also included is a "flocked edger" for cutting-in around window frames, skirting and ceilings. This gave a slightly uneven, textured finish. It only holds a small amount of paint so it needs regular refilling.
Does the Paint Runner Pro help reduce drips and spatter? Yes.
Does it cover more area faster and more evenly? No.
Does it provide an excellent finish? No.
It's not a better performer than a standard roller, as it leaves an unprofessional finish – but it may be suitable for a landlord who wants to do a quick touch-up though a flat, or for someone who wants to do a small job. You'll want to invest in a standard roller for a more professional finish or a larger job like an entire room.
$140 including postage from TV Shop