Crisp, clean edges are the hallmark of a great paint job. To get professional-quality results when painting a room, first you have to clean, patch, sand, and prime the walls. Then the painting begins. In order to keep the ceiling and trims clean, many painters tape the edges of the ceiling, baseboard, and window and door trim before cutting in the perimeter. Using a paint edger instead will save you both time and tape.
A paint edger places a physical barrier between the paintbrush, paint pad, or roller, and the area that you want to keep clean. Using a paint edger saves time and money because it eliminates the need to protect ceilings and baseboards with painter’s tape while still creating a nice, neat edge. Ahead, take a look at the different kinds of edgers, determine why one may be a better choice over another, and check out reviews of some of the best paint edgers for your project.
- BEST OVERALL: Perfect Paint Edger
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Warner 12″ Paint Guide
- BEST PROFESSIONAL: Shur-Line Paint Edger Pro
- BEST WITH LONG HANDLE: Warner Tool Spray Shield
- BEST EDGER KIT: Luigi’s The World’s Best Paint Pad Set
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Paint Edger
Paint edgers come in different sizes, shapes, materials, and configurations, and work in slightly different ways. Read on to learn about the different types of edgers and why one may be a better fit for your project than the others.
Paint edgers are used to create a buffer to keep the paint brush or roller from coming too close to the ceiling or trim. An edger can either be a special paintbrush, pad, or roller designed with an attached guard or a separate guard used with a conventional paintbrush, pad, or roller.
In the first instance, the guard is connected to the implement that is applying paint. Because the guard moves with the painting tool, the most important thing for you to figure out is how wide the paint strip should be. If it is a simple wall with only baseboard trim and a ceiling to protect, a wider paint strip is in order. If you are painting narrow areas, such as between closely spaced windows or behind a door that is near a corner, you’ll need a smaller edger that will fit into these tight spaces.
Regardless of the type of edger you choose, it is important to pick an applicator whose material is appropriate for the type of paint you plan to apply. Oil-based paints and stains work with brush and roller-type edgers that have natural bristles or natural fiber covers. Use a brush or roller cover made with synthetic materials for water-based latex and acrylic paints. Paint pads may be used for either oil-based or water-based paints.
Roll-On vs. Smear-On
A roll-on edger is a small paint roller that has a flocked cover for smooth paint application, and a shield on one side to keep the paint away from the wall or surface you want to protect. The roll-on edger works in much the same way as a regular paint roller.
Smear-on edgers use an absorbent pad to apply the paint and are loaded in one of two ways: Some edgers must be dipped into the paint, while others have an onboard paint reservoir, often inside the handle. Those with a paint reservoir can apply 50 linear feet (or more) per load, while the dip-in types only hold enough paint to cover a few linear feet.
Brush vs. Pad
Paint edgers with pads use the smear method to apply paint. They are made of an absorbent material that works like a sponge to soak up paint from the tray; these edgers have a textured surface that lays down a clean finish. Pads are capable of applying a smooth, even, full coat in a single pass.
Brush-type edgers work like regular paint brushes. They hold less paint than pads, so it takes longer to paint a similarly sized space. The guard on a brush edger cannot maintain as crisp a line as that on a pad because the bristles need to move in order to release the paint. Brush edgers are often a better choice than pad edgers when you’re painting a textured surface.
A good way to avoid an accidental fall off a ladder is to keep your feet on the ground while you paint. By using an edger with a pole extender, the painter can safely reach the top of a high wall to cut in at the ceiling line. An extender can make painting rooms with high ceilings easier because it provides the painter greater range with less actual motion. An extender reduces reaching, bending, squatting, and kneeling to access both high and low spots.
Extenders come in many lengths, both fixed and adjustable, and are made with a universal fit. They thread into the receiving ends of all compatible paint edgers and paint rollers.
Our Top Picks
These paint edgers are made for speed, comfort, and convenience. If you’re gearing up to start a big paint job, first check out the edgers on this list.
The Perfect Paint Edger is designed to replace the need for a traditional paintbrush for most cutting in, and virtually eliminates the need for painter’s tape. It is built with a durable, solid wood handle; ABS plastic pad holder; and stainless steel, adjustable guard. The guard is spring-loaded so it’s easy to load paint without creating a big mess.
This edger is angled so it handles like a paintbrush, but its paint pad surface lays down a fast coat, quicker and cleaner than bristles. It can be used for right-handed or left-handed work. This edger works best on smooth surfaces like drywall. It’s a good choice for those who want the speedy application of a paint pad with the comfortable grip of a paintbrush.
- Edge Type: Angled
- Size: 6 by 6 by 6 inches
- Material: ABS plastic, wood, and stainless steel
- Ideal for smooth surfaces
- Spring-loaded, adjustable guard
- Can be used for right-handed or left-handed work
- Comfortable grip
- Not suitable for stucco or heavy textured surfaces
Get the Perfect Paint Edger on Amazon.
The Warner 12” Paint Guide is an inexpensive, easy-to-store tool for professional and do-it-yourself painters who have limited space for single-task tools. This tool is about the size of a ruler, making it easy to fit in a tool bag.
Use this multitasker as a straight edge for painting, trimming, and even smoothing drywall and wall coverings. It fits in corners and along ceilings as a guide to create clean, crisp paint edges. It features a 12-inch steel blade and high-impact polystyrene handle. Hold this paint guide against the wall and use an angled brush to paint along the side for a sharp, clear edge.
- Edge Type: Straight
- Size: 0.44 by 2.63 by 12 inches
- Material: Polystyrene and steel
- Affordable tool
- Ideal for painting, trimming, and smoothing drywall
- Fits in corners and along ceilings
- Limited users report manufacturing defects
Get the Warner paint edger on Amazon and at Walmart.
The Shur-Line Paint Edger Pro is a compact tool that creates crisp lines on baseboard and ceiling edges. The flexible swivel handle conforms to the hand and helps you work comfortably in tight spaces. Its built-in extender receiver can be attached to a paint pole; this extended reach means safer work and less fatigue for the painter.
The included fabric paint pads work well with gloss, semigloss, satin, eggshell, and flat paints. Retractable guides stay clean when you load paint on the pad, and you can eject wet pads in a snap for quick and easy cleanup. Bonus: This edger works well on uneven surfaces.
- Edge Type: Straight
- Size: 7 by 2 by 7.8 inches
- Material: Not specified
- Flexible swivel handle
- Built-in extender
- Includes fabric paint pads
- Works well on uneven surfaces
- Some users find it difficult to use
Get the Shur-Line paint edger at Amazon, Ace Hardware, The Home Depot, and Walmart.
The Warner Tool Spray Shield is a good choice for keeping edges straight and clean while spraying, rolling, smearing, or brushing paint. The lightweight shield minimizes user fatigue and is easy to clean.
Simply wipe the edge with a rag as needed during operation, and clean up with either soap and water or paint thinner when finished. The 18-inch handle gives a longer reach, and folds away for storage and transport. The 36-inch by 9-inch blade provides ample coverage for painting wide swaths.
- Edge Type: Straight
- Size: 1 by 9 by 13 inches
- Material: Plastic
- Lightweight tool
- Long 18-inch handle
- Ample 36-inch coverage
- Folds away for easy storage
- Some users report manufacturing defects
Get the Warner paint edger on Amazon.
Luigi’s The World’s Best Paint Pad Set is a good startup set for a variety of projects. It includes three paint edgers of different sizes plus a paint tray. The pads measure 9.5 inches by 2.5 inches, 5 inches by 3.5 inches, and 9 inches by 6 inches, so you can paint tight and not-so-tight spaces.
The edgers are suitable for use indoors and out, with both water- and oil-based paints. The pads hold enough paint to cover larger areas in a single dip, with fewer drips, spills, and smudges compared with similarly sized competitors’ pads. The biggest pad can be used instead of a roller to paint large wall spaces.
- Edge Type: Straight
- Size: 9.5 inches by 2.5 inches; 5 inches by 3.5 inches; 9 inches by 6 inches
- Material: Plastic and sponge
- Comes with 3 paint edgers and a paint tray
- Suitable for use indoors and outdoors
- Suitable for smooth and semi-smooth walls
- Not ideal for textured walls
Get the Luigi’s paint edgers on Amazon.
For a reliable angled tool, we recommend the Perfect Paint Edger suitable for smooth surfaces like drywall. Alternatively, the straight-edged Warner 12″ Paint Guide is a great budget-friendly option.
How We Chose the Best Paint Edgers
We researched the best paint edgers in their respective categories and only included options with high customer satisfaction. The list factors in edge type, suitable surfaces, ease of use, and special features included by the top brands.
The list includes both straight and angled paint edgers to suit different paint projects. Each product is suitable for use with either smooth walls or smooth and semi-smooth surfaces. A few picks have extended reach for ample coverage with paint pads included in the purchase. Select options come with special features like an adjustable guard and a paint tray.
The Advantages of Owning a Paint Edger
A paint edger is a single-purpose tool whose sole function is to make straight, clean lines. While many folks balk at the idea of purchasing a tool that only does one thing, its benefits far outweigh its reasonable cost. This tool will pay for itself in no time by eliminating the cost of painter’s tape and any labor costs associated with taping edges before painting and removing tape when the job is done.
- Paint edgers are easy to use and leave a crisp, clean edge.
- They save on material and labor costs because you will no longer have to buy painter’s tape. You’ll also eliminate from your budget any labor costs associated with affixing and removing said tape.
- Pad edgers and roller edgers apply paint faster and cleaner than cutting in with a brush.
]If you still have a few questions about painting with an edger, you aren’t alone. Read on for answers to several frequently asked questions about what these tools can do.
Q: What is a paint edger?
A paint edger is a single-purpose tool that applies paint with a straight, clean line at the outer edge. With an edger, you do not need to tape trim or ceilings, nor do you have to cut in with a paintbrush.
Q: Is a paint edger necessary for painting work?
A paint edger is not necessary. It is, however, an upgrade over the traditional method of taping the edges at the ceiling, baseboard, windows, and doors with painter’s tape, then cutting in with a paintbrush and removing the tape after the paint dries.
Q: What is the best way to paint edges?
The best way to paint edges is with a paint edger. Paint pad edgers offer the speed of a paint roller and the accuracy of a brush, without the added time and expense of using painter’s tape.