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Review: Best Paint Edgers

Paint edgers are a specialty tool, invented by the painting equipment industry, to satisfy the needs of people who are painting their own homes. Professionals don’t use them, as they learn how to “cut” edges and corners freehand, with a brush. However, for those that don’t have that level of experience, an edger can be easier than masking things off.

Edgers are pads, usually with a couple of wheels to roll against the trim or other wall/ceiling surface that the individual is trying to avoid painting, while applying paint to the wall that they are painting. The idea is that the edger will be able to provide a clean line, because of guiding along the trim or adjacent wall/ceiling. While they do work to some extent, there are several problems associated with using a paint edger:

  • The edger can’t hold much paint, so it is necessary to recharge it with paint frequently
  • Extreme care must be used when recharging the paint edger, to avoid getting paint onto the guide wheels or edges of the edger. Should paint get on these, it will end up painting the very area that you are trying to protect
  • Due to their short napp, edgers work best when used on smooth walls; however, most homes have textured walls. With heavy texture, the edger will skip a lot
  • The edger is depending upon the adjacent trim or surface to be smooth, without bumps. That makes them work well with most trim, but not well at all when used to trim a wall against a popcorn ceiling or another textured wall
  • Edgers usually hold the pad back from the edge slightly, to prevent painting the adjacent surface. That could leave a line of the wrong color next to trim or in corners
  • Painting pads with wheels don’t edge against baseboard very well, as the typical baseboard doesn't stick out far enough from the wall for the wheels to guide on. This problem can be solved by using a straight edge

Even with the drawbacks, there are times when an edger is the most practical way of cutting in a wall, especially in cases where scaffolding would need to be used to reach the place needing to be cut in. In those cases, the edger can be put on an extension pole, just as paint rollers are. Therefore, when selecting an edger, it is important to select one that can be used with an extension pole.
Any edger is going to take some practice to be able to use correctly. Too many people just take it out of the package and expect to be able to use it flawlessly, just like they saw in some TV commercial. The truth is, the amount of paint you use, how you adjust the wheels (if they are adjustable) and even how you hold the edger will make a huge difference in your results. It is always best to start out with some test pieces that closely resemble the surfaces you are going to paint, before trying the edger on the wall.

Besides the socket for connecting an extension pole, other things you should look for include:

  • How well does the guide system work to keep the paint pad from touching the adjacent surface?
  • Is the distance between the edge of the pad (edge of paint area) and the adjacent surface adjustable?
  • Does the edger include a guard to protect adjacent surfaces?
  • Is the angle of the pole socket adjustable?

The biggest precaution when using these is to be careful with how much paint you get on the pad. Too much paint, and you can be assured that you will get paint onto surfaces where you don’t want it. Ideally, you should dip the pad flat into the paint tray, just deep enough for the napp to get wetted, without wetting the foam backing. Then rub it on the textured part of the tray. Finally, wipe off excess paint on the edge of the tray. Check out our list of the best paint edgers in 2021.

Comparing the Best Paint Edger

Premium FastTrak Paint Edger

This is a really unique edger, which defies pretty much everything I said in the introduction. What makes it unique is that it’s not a pad painter, but rather a roller with a shield. That means that you can hold more paint, handle textured surfaces, get right up to the edge and have a shield to protect the adjacent surface from getting painted. A truly remarkable tool, which does what all edgers should do; provides you with a cleanly painted edge, that’s right up to the adjacent surface. That doesn't mean that this edger is without any failings though. The design of the tool requires that you use both hands to work it. While that really isn't a problem, it could be awkward at times. The other potential problem is that you can’t use it with an extension pole. That means digging out a ladder and setting it up where you want to paint (assuming you’re painting high enough to need a ladder). Even so, the results that this paint edger will provide make it well worth the extra effort.

Shur Line Pro Paint Edger

This edger from Shur-Line has the moniker “Edge Like a Pro” which is fairly accurate; other than the fact that a pro would use a paint brush to edge. Of all the pad type edgers around, I’d say that this one will provide the best possible results, if you use it right. Shur-Line’s website has a nice introductory video, which shows you how to load and use the edger properly. If those directions are followed, you’ll get great results. The thing that makes this edger special is that it uses retractable edge guides, rather than wheels, to set the pad’s distance from the adjacent surface. While that may leave a bit of a line, it will be less of a line than wheels do. The handle swivels 180 degrees as well, making it much easier to find a comfortable position for the edger, where you can retain excellent control.

Mr. Long Arm Smart Paint Edger

This is a fairly conventional pad edger, with wheels to set the distance from the adjacent surface. However, it has rollers for both horizontal and vertical use, rather than just horizontal use like most edgers. That makes it possible to do door casings and corners, without having to turn the pad sideways. The extra-long handle is easy to hold, plus provides convenient connection for an extension pole. The one problem with the edger is the difficulty in finding replacement pads. While the pads are washable, if you are planning on painting multiple colors, you’ll have to wait for the pad to dry after cleaning it.

Warner Tool Paint Edger

This is another conventional pad-type paint edger. It comes with two guide wheel, not the three that the Mr. Long Arm does. The two are located for horizontal edging, meaning that you have to turn the tool 90 degrees to edge around door frames. Pads for this product are more readily available than those for Mr. Long Arm, although you might want to buy them when you buy the tool, just to be sure. The combination handle/pole adapter adjusts about 90 degrees to allow you to find a comfortable position for the work you are doing.

Point N Paint Painting System Kit

First of all, let me say that this is one of those famous “As seen on TV” products that you find being bragged about in infomercials. So, if you've ever seen that infomercial, try and forget it. They make brags about the products that are totally unrealistic. That doesn't mean that it’s a piece of junk though. The main difference between this pad painter and others is its shape. This one is shaped much like a clothes iron, making it easy to control for a wide variety of shapes and places. The extension pole socket is under the handle, requiring removal of the handle to access it. While it looks a bit flimsy, it should do the job. There are no guide wheels, although the hard plastic backer seems to stick out a bit farther than the paint pad, providing a guide. The really nice thing about this one is the shape. While it takes some getting used to, the iron shape is actually rather natural to work with, and allows getting into corners extremely well. The kit comes with its own paint tray, which is part gimmick and part functional. It has a roller, which allows for an easy way to apply paint to the pad, without having to dip it. This prevents overloading the roller, but doesn't provide an easy way to remove excess paint. The other problem with the paint tray is that the bottom of the roller is about an inch above the bottom of the tray, so you have to keep a fair amount of paint in it. That could cause waste, if you’re not real careful about clean-up.

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