A man working on a drop cloth as another person stands on a ladder

Every painter’s worst nightmare is getting paint where it’s not supposed to be. Especially for those who are painting their homes for their first time. Luckily, this is where drop cloths can be a lifesaver.

Drop cloths come in a wide variety of options, so it’s important to find the right one for your project. This article will help you answer what is the best drop cloth for painting by covering the following:

Before we break down the different types of painter’s drop cloths, let’s dive into some available options for the best drop cloths for painting. If you’re stocking up on all your paint supplies, check out the best paint brushes for walls.

 

10 best painter’s drop cloths

To get the best protection while painting, you need to know what drop cloths are available. Here are our recommendations for the top drop cloths for painting.

1. Trimaco SuperTuff Canvas Drop Cloth

Trimaco SuperTuff Canvas Drop Cloth
(Image credit: Amazon.ca)

Price: $20.01

Quantity: 1

Size: 4’ x 5’

Material: Canvas

Weight/Thickness: 10 oz.

Best Feature: Indoor and outdoor use

For a contractor-grade drop cloth, opt for the Trimaco SuperTuff Canvas Drop Cloth. This thick cloth helps to absorb any spilled paint and prevents leakage. It’s an ideal size for small projects and can also be washed and reused.

2. Paint Essentials Canvas Drop Cloth

Paint Essentials Canvas Drop Cloth
(Image credit: Amazon.ca)

Price: $34.45

Quantity: 1

Size: 9’ x 12’

Material: Canvas

Weight/Thickness: 8 oz.

Best Feature: Absorbent

If you’re looking for a drop cloth that conforms well to your space/furniture, the Paint Essentials Canvas Drop Cloth is a great choice. The cloth is made of high-quality material, making it durable and reusable. It’s also really absorbent, helping to soak up or trap whatever lands on it.

3. All Purpose Canvas Cotton Drop Cloth

All Purpose Canvas Cotton Drop Cloth
(Image credit: Amazon.ca)

Price: $34.95

Quantity: 1

Size: 5’ x 20’

Material: Cotton canvas

Weight/Thickness: 8 oz.

Best Feature: Traps dust and debris

This All Purpose Canvas Cotton Drop Cloth from CCS works well for a variety of projects. As one of the best canvas drop cloths for painting, it’s designed to handle heavy spills to best protect your floors and furniture. It even collects dust and debris and is also rot-resistant.

4. TUFFBOY Heavy Weight Cotton Canvas All Purpose Drop Cloth

TUFFBOY Heavy Weight Cotton Canvas All Purpose Drop Cloth
(Image credit: Amazon.ca)

Price: $24.88

Quantity: 1

Size: 4’ x 15’

Material: Cotton canvas

Weight/Thickness: 8 oz.

Best Feature: Durable

For a long-term option, check out the TUFFBOY Cotton Canvas All Purpose Drop Cloth. This cloth is highly durable, allowing you to wash and reuse it many times. It also has enough absorbency to prevent you from tracking paint and helps make clean up easy.

5. CoverGrip Canvas Safety Drop Cloth

CoverGrip Canvas Safety Drop Cloth
(Image credit: Amazon.ca)

Price: $39.00

Quantity: 1

Size: 5’ x 8’

Material: Canvas

Weight/Thickness: 8 oz.

Best Feature: Stays in place

If safety is your biggest concern, try the CoverGrip Canvas Safety Drop Cloth. This cloth is made of tiny rubber dots that help it stay firmly in place as you work, making it a great drop cloth for painting walls. It’s very protective and can even be machine washed.

6. TopSoon Plastic Drop Cloth

TopSoon Plastic Drop Cloth
(Image credit: Amazon.ca)

Price: $19.88

Quantity: 1

Size: 10’ x 25’

Material: Plastic

Weight/Thickness: 2 mil

Best Feature: Transparent

This TopSoon Plastic Drop Cloth is the perfect choice for anyone who’d prefer to use a plastic paint drop cloth that’s high quality. This large paint drop cloth is approved for heavy-duty paint projects and can also protect against spills, dust, and water. It’s transparent, reusable, and can be used to protect multiple surfaces.

7. T-Ware Thick Plastic Drop Cloth

T-Ware Thick Plastic Drop Cloth
(Image credit: Amazon.ca)

Price: $12.94

Quantity: 1

Size: 9’ x 12’

Material: Plastic

Weight/Thickness: 1 mil

Best Feature: Versatile

For a cheap drop cloth for painting, go with the T-Ware Thick Plastic Drop Cloth. This cloth is large enough to cover a lot of space and can protect it from paint, water, and dust. It’s also made of recyclable plastic.

8. Frost King Medium Weight Clear Plastic Drop Cloth

Frost King Medium Weight Clear Plastic Drop Cloth
(Image credit: Amazon.ca)

Price: $14.56

Quantity: 3

Size: 9’ x 12’

Material: Polyethylene

Weight/Thickness: 1 mil

Best Feature: Versatile

If you need a plastic drop cloth that can be used indoors and outdoors, try the Frost King Medium Weight Clear Plastic Drop Cloth. This 3-pack of cloths are medium weight, helping you protect your surroundings during painting projects or in storage. They also make great tablecloths for special occasions.

9. Trimaco Butyl II Quick Drop Leakproof Canvas Drop Cloth

Trimaco Butyl II Quick Drop Leakproof Canvas Drop Cloth
(Image credit: Amazon.ca)

Price: $20.63

Quantity: 1

Size: 5’ x 5’

Material: Canvas

Weight/Thickness: 7 oz.

Best Feature: Leak-proof backing

The Trimaco Butyl Quick Drop Leakproof Canvas Drop Cloth is another great choice for protection. The canvas material is super absorbent and leak-resistant, making painting on canvas drop cloth a breeze. It also is easy to use to cover furniture.

10. Nanja Paint Plastic Drop Cloth

Nanja Paint Plastic Drop Cloth
(Image credit: Amazon.ca)

Price: $13.99

Quantity: 1

Size: 13’ x 16’

Material: Plastic

Weight/Thickness: 1 mil

Best Feature: Tear-resistant

Another plastic drop cloth that resists damage is the Nanja Paint Plastic Drop Cloth. This cloth is very durable while also being easy to work into your desired space or over your furniture. It’s also recyclable and can be used for a variety of projects.

 

What’s the best type of drop cloth for painting?

For a seemingly simple product, there’s a wide variety of options available. Understanding the different types of drop cloths available will ensure you find the right one for your project and get the protection you need. Below are your options when selecting a drop cloth.

Choosing the right drop cloth material

The material of your drop cloth will affect the cloth’s absorbency and its ability to properly protect your project. Here are the different drop cloth materials available:

  • Canvas: Used by professionals for their absorbency and gripping abilities.
  • Paper: Cheaper, single-use option for interior projects that also stays in place better than plastic.
  • Paper/poly: Works well for interior projects where more absorbency is preferred.
  • Plastic: Great for covering furniture, brick, masonry, and windows, but not ideal for interior floors or the bulk of exterior projects.

Choosing the right drop cloth size

If you’ve been wondering what size of drop cloth for painting is right for you, look no further than your workspace. The size of drop cloth you purchased is dependent on the size of the space and/or furniture you’re trying to protect. Luckily, a wide variety of sizes are available to help you find the perfect fit. These are some of the most popular sizes available:

  • 4 by 12 feet
  • 4 by 15 feet
  • 4 by 20 feet
  • 5 by 12 feet
  • 5 by 14 feet
  • 5 by 15 feet
  • 5 by 20 feet
  • 8 by 12 feet
  • 9 by 12 feet
  • 12 by 15 feet
  • 14 by 16 feet

Choosing the right drop cloth weight/thickness

A good indicator of the quality of your drop cloth is the weight or thickness advertised. Canvas drop cloths with a heavier weight will have better absorbency, whereas thicker plastic drop cloths will be stronger and more durable. Which options you should choose depends on how much protection you require and how much you want to spend. These are the most popular weights and thicknesses for drop cloths:

  • 6 oz. canvas
  • 8 oz. canvas
  • 10 oz. canvas
  • 1 mil plastic
  • 2 mil plastic

 

Choosing the right paint drop cloth: plastic, paper, canvas, paper/poly

The type of drop cloth you use depends on your specific project and personal preferences. For the majority of projects canvas will be the best choice, as it’s often the best choice for absorbency and safety. Paper and paper/poly are both good, affordable options for interior projects, with paper being better than plastic for safety and paper/poly being a step up for absorbency. Plastic drop cloths are best used to protect furniture and interior walls and windows.

A closeup of painting tools on top of a drop cloth

Choose a canvas drop cloth if…

  • You’re working indoors or outdoors
  • You need the best option for absorbency
  • You want a drop cloth that grips to the floor

Choose a paper drop cloth if…

  • You’re working indoors
  • You want a more affordable option
  • You want it to stay in place

Choose a paper/poly drop cloth if…

  • You’re working indoors
  • You want all the same perks as paper
  • You want a bit more absorbency than paper

Choose a plastic drop cloth if…

  • You’re working indoors
  • You want to protect your furniture, walls, or windows
  • Your spills will be minimal

 

How to use drop cloths for painting

If it’s your first time needing a drop cloth, you might be wondering how to use a drop cloth for painting to make the process as efficient as possible. Follow the tips below to get the best use out of your drop canvas:

  • Size accordingly – Choose an appropriately sized drop cloth for your project. Depending on your project, it should be large enough to completely cover your floor, furniture, etc. and then some.
  • Clean the floors – Before setting your drop cloth on the floor, make sure to wash and/or vacuum it. This will prevent any dirt or debris from scratching the floor as you move around your drop cloth.
  • Put the same side face down – If you didn’t wash your drop cloth between uses, make sure the same side is always touching the floor/furniture. This will prevent any potential damage.
  • Place along the wall – If you’re working on your walls or ceiling, place the drop cloth so it’s against the wall. This will give you the most protection.
  • Secure with masking tape – To ensure nothing is uncovered as you move around on it, secure your drop cloth to the floor or wall using masking tape. This will help keep everything in place.

 

Now that you know everything about selecting and using drop cloths for painting, you can get started on your project. If you’re starting to think you’d prefer to hire a professional, the City Painters are here to help. Contact us here or give us a call for a free quote.

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