Paint Edgers: The Best to Buy (and Which to Avoid)

  • 01 of 05

    Paint Edgers - Roll On or Smear On, Which Is Best?

    Painting Trim of a House
    Painting Trim of a House. Denkou Images / Getty Images

    Paint edgers are niche tools that have had a long, rocky history.  

    Professional painters rarely use them, opting for the faster "cut-in" technique.  Yet most DIY painters do not have enough experience to successfully use this freehand technique to paint without slopping onto the other side.

    The other alternative is masking off the unpainted side with painter's tape.

    But masking is time-consuming.  It may take as long as half an hour to mask a small room with one door and one window.  If the room has complexities like crown molding and wall fixtures, you can easily double the amount of time is takes to tape.

    Quality tape such as ScotchBlue or Frog Tape will still set you back about $7 for a small 60 yard roll.  And when taping a room, painter's tape disappears fast.

    This is where paint edgers come in.

    Two Types:  Roll-On or Smear-On

    Edgers promise to eliminate masking tape and masking film by allowing you to run paint alongside areas that you do not intend to paint.  

    Edgers are typically used for wall field painting:  above baseboards; below crown molding; and around window and door trim.

    Paint edgers come in two types:

    • Roll-On:  These edgers lay down the majority of the paint with a small flocked paint roller.  Some include a metal or plastic shield to prevent paint from slopping over to the other side.
    • Smear-On:  These edgers employ a pad that smears paint across the surface.  Paint may feed from a tube or the pad may need re-loading from the paint can.
    Continue to 2 of 5 below.
  • 02 of 05

    HomeRight Quick Painter Edge Painter

    HomeRight Paint Edger
    HomeRight Paint Edger. via Amazon

     Buy on Amazon - HomeRight Quick Painter Edge Painter


    Smear-on edger with paint that feeds from tube in the handle.


    • No need for continual re-loading of paint.
    • Tube large enough for 50 linear feet of painting.


    • Paint pad is thin and does not carry much paint.
    • The spring-loaded lever is touchy and difficult to use.
    Continue to 3 of 5 below.
  • 03 of 05

    Accubrush Paint Edger

    Accubrush Paint Edger
    Accubrush Paint Edger. via Amazon

    Buy on Amazon - Accubrush XT Paint Edger


    Roll-on edger with tiny brush for the edge.


    • Big roller.
    • Large paint shield.


    • Expensive.
    • Difficult to get into corners.

    Accubrush is one of the newer paint edgers on the market, and one of the more promising ones. 

    The large roller actually lays down--instead of smears--paint on the surface.

    A large shield prevents paint on the roller from smudging across areas that you do not intend to paint.  Also, this bigger surface "rides" over bumps in the tracking surface better than tiny wheels do.

    The most innovative part of the Accubrush is the tiny detachable brush that runs along the side of the roller.  The brush is intended to draw a precise line--the cut-in.

    Continue to 4 of 5 below.
  • 04 of 05

    Shur Line Paint Edger With Wheels

    Shur-Line Paint Edger
    Shur-Line Paint Edger. via Amazon

    Buy on Amazon - Shur Line Paint Edger


    Smear-on paint edger with plastic wheels to reduce friction.


    • Inexpensive
    • Disposable


    • Smears the paint
    • Wheels clog up and may not even roll in the first place

    The Shur Line is the ubiquitous paint edger, found at practically all hardware stores. It is cheap in price and low in quality.

    The two wheels along the edge that are supposed to track along the trim, ceiling, or other non-painted surface often do not turn and get clogged with paint fast. 

    Second, the paint pad smears, rather than spreads, the paint. Still, it is a very cheap item and can work if precision is not your goal.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    EdgeMaster Self-Guided Paint Edger Kit

    EdgeMaster Paint Edger
    EdgeMaster Paint Edger. Copyright/Courtesy EdgeMaster

    Buy on Amazon - Edgemaster Paint Edger


    Roll on paint edger with metal shield.


    • Roller type will not smear.
    • Has a paint shield.


    • Paint shield can cut into wall surface.
    • Shield too small.

    EdgeMaster paint edger is a middle ground between the Shur Line and the AccuBrush.

    It shares basic qualities with the AccuBrush (big roller, shield) and other qualities with Shur Line (cheap).

    Really, though, the EdgeMaster is little more than a 4-inch paint roller with an attached shield. The shield is not nearly as big as the AccuBrush shield.