A good paint edger is an DIY painting tool kit essential.

The Best Paint Edger and How To Use It

For four arduous years, Michelangelo lay on his back painting the Sistine chapel’s ceiling. If he’d had a paint edger tool, he’d have it done in two. If he’d used the Accubrush MX Paint Edger, our pick for the best paint edger out there, he would have had that ceiling done in nine months. In fact, imagine the works of art that could have been executed in chapels, cathedrals, and castles during the Renaissance if only they’d had this handy painting tool.

How fortunate that paint edgers are now commonplace in home improvement stores and online. You can own one for less than $10. Despite all the benefits of adding a paint edger to your home remodel tool kit, we understand if you don’t want to spend hours researching the best paint edger tools out there. That’s why we sorted through the crowd and found the best paint edger for 2020 and a runner-up.

Keep reading to learn about the best paint edgers and how to use them. Plus, we answer the most frequently asked questions about paint edgers and cutting in when painting interiors

Ryan’s Note: I have used paint edgers and they have their place. They are not the right tool for high end paint jobs, but they are a great tool for quick rental paint jobs, flips, or if you’re not the pickiest person in the world. And like all other painting, they do require a bit of touch up when finished.

Best Paint Edger for 2020

Buying the right tools, like the best paint edger for 2020, will make your next painting project that much easier.
A good paint edger turns a painting project from a chore to a fun weekend project.

If grabbing bargain painting tools on your way out of the paint department has been your previous experience with paint edgers, it’s time to step up your game. Let us introduce you to the Accubrush MX Paint Edger. It’s so much more than a paint pad and roller wheels. It makes the edging tool painting easy and fast–the two more important things when completing a DIY paint project. You still need to get high-quality paint to ensure your Accubrush works to the best of its ability. But there’ll be no more visible cut in lines and damp rags streaked with painting mistakes. You can get professional results at home without spending the entire weekend taping trim.

The Accubrush has lots of features that make it one of the best DIY painting tools:

  • Cut in brush: a small brush that pushes paint right up to the wall’s edge.
  • Roller: instead of a paint pad that smears, it uses a paint roller that deposits paint on the wall.
  • Painting guard: protects surfaces from paint so you can cut in with confidence.
  • Easy to use: it’s easy to apply even pressure on the tool by following the instructions right on the handle.

There are plenty of instructional videos online for the Accubrush MX. We recommend practicing its operation a few times without paint first. It’s not a hard tool to use, but first-time paint edgers may initially fumble with the parts and technique.

How to Use the Accubrush MX Paint Edger

Buying the best paint edger is one thing, take the time to learn how to use it for the best results.
Slow and steady is the key with DIY repainting, take it a wall at a time for best results.

While the best paint edger tool makes your home painting projects less effort, it’s not a foolproof solution to a poor paint job. When used correctly, you can get straight edges on your walls fast. Ignore the instruction or misuse the tool, and you’ll have a wreck of a paint job with mounting frustrations. Follow these easy steps for making your life easier:

  1. Swing the guard out of the way from the side of the roller. You don’t want any paint on it since it’s pressed against the surface you don’t want to be painted.
  2. Load the roller with paint. Take your time to load the entire roller with an even coat of paint.
  3. Roll out on the wall. Away from the edge, with the guard open, roll out a few strokes to even the paint on the roller. 
  4. Move the guard into place. Swing the paint guard into place next to the paint roller.
  5. Start high and roll the edger down. Starting six inches from the wall’s edge, roll down and in until the guard presses against the trim.
  6. Move the roller back and forth until the paint’s even.
  7. Use the roller to feather out the paint into the wall.

While it takes a little practice to get skillful with the Accubrush MX Paint Edger, the added features make it easy for first-time painters to get perfect lines right out of the paint tray.

  • Use even pressure on all four corners of the edger tool. Tilting it forward or back causes the brush to lose contact with the wall, compromising the line.
  • Remove the edging brush and soak it in water between coats. A wet brush will create a more even and straight paint line.

Our Runner-Up Edger

Home paint projects can be a family project. The best paint edger is so easy to use, kids can even help cut in before rolling.
A good paint edger is essential for any home painting kit.

The HomeRight Quick Painter says it all with the name. It’s a fraction of the cost of the Accubrush and is a super-speedy way of tackling the edges of your rooms hassle-free. It uses a paint pad instead of a roller, which isn’t ideal since it smears instead of deposits paint. However, it’s got one cool feature that makes it our runner-up best paint edger of 2020.

  • Paint-feeding handle: holds 4.5 ounces of paint to refill the pad as you paint for up to 50 feet of coverage before you need to stop.
  • Convex paint pad: the edger is easy to maneuver in tight spaces with easy-flow paint depositing.
  • Controlled paint flow: use the trigger to release a little or a lot of paint.

Its unique paint-in-the-handle feature earned this paint edger a place in our DIY tool kit. You draw up paint right from the can—no need to buy a four-inch paint tray and stress over your roller-loading technique. Just suck paint into the handle, lock on the paint pad and go.

How Do You Use a Paint Edger?

All paint edgers are not made equal, learn how to use the best paint edger and you'll be set for life.
Knowing about paint edgers will make painting that much easier.

Three parts comprise a paint edge tool: 

  • A handle.
  • Rollers or a guard that runs along the surface you don’t want to paint.
  • The paint pad. 

You fill the paint pad with paint and run the tracking wheels along the surface next to where you’re painting. The crucial step in using the best paint edger tool is making sure you don’t get any paint on the tracking wheels. Every time you fill the paint pad, check the wheels to make sure they’re clean. If you don’t, you’ll deposit a very straight, very tidy line of paint on the exact surface you don’t want it.

The paint pad deposits paint in a straight line along the edge of the wall. It eliminates the need to cut in with a brush and painters tape. It’s faster than working with a brush, and you can see immediate results. There’s no set rule for what order you edge and roll.

Some people prefer to roll first, to spend less time edging. Others like to edge first and paint down into the wall to overlap with the roller. The most important thing is to do both steps before adding a second coat of paint. Don’t roll on two layers and then edge two coats. If you work that way, it’ll be almost impossible to get the paint to blend.

Instead, work a single wall at a time. The edging and roller won’t dry all the way, creating a seamless transition between edge and paint. By working this way, you don’t have to rush to get an entire room done at once.

How Do You Get Good Edge Paint?

Good paint and high-quality tools, like the best paint edger, and the easiest way to get good edge paint.
Take your time with a paint edger for clean, even cut-in lines around your wall.

The key to an exceptional edge on your wall is patience and precision. The best paint edger is faster than using a brush and painter’s tape, but that doesn’t mean you should rush it. Remember that old saying, a stitch in time saves nine? Taking your time with the paint edger will give you clean lines and good coverage on the first pass. You won’t have to fuss around cleaning up mistakes and paint smudges or going back to add a third coat.

  • Always make sure the wheels and guards on the paint edger are immaculate.
  • Don’t let the brush on the Accubrush MX Paint Edger get dry: it’ll clump, leaving an uneven line.
  • Use even pressure and clean strokes–your line will show if you’re off balance.
  • Make sure the pad or roller is carrying a full and even load of paint.
  • Use high-quality paint Like Sherwin-Williams or Behr.

Do Paint Edgers Save Time?

You can save yourself hours of taping and cleaning up accidents when you use the best paint edger instead of a brush to cut in.
While not ideal for professional jobs, a paint edger can save you considerable time in a DIY project.

The paint edger tool is much faster than a brush for inexperienced interior house painters. Using a paintbrush to do your edging requires good equipment and a steady, experienced hand. You fan out the paint brush and move it in a straight line along trim, ceilings, and baseboards.

People who aren’t confident in their paint brush skills can use painter’s tape as an extra layer of security to prevent paint from getting where you don’t want it. However, there are downsides to using painter’s tape.

  • It’s an expensive material that you can’t reuse.
  • Even seasoned painters can have trouble getting a straight line with painters tape, which looks straight when curved.
  • It takes a long time to tape up a room, adding as much as an hour to your job.
  • Paint can leak into the tap line and bubble.
  • If you don’t remove the tape right after painting, it may never come off.

Professional house painters don’t use tape–except to protect the tops of windows and doors from drips. They opt for a brush alone and have the skill and on-the-job experience to use a paint brush with confidence. For the rest of us, a paint edger tool saves time and does a high-quality job for most interior rooms.

When Should I Use a Paint Edger?

Anytime you're repainting an interior room in your home or rental you should reach for the best paint edger to make your life easier.
Once you own a paint edger, you’ll never repaint a room without using one again.

Anytime you’re painting an interior wall in your home, use the best paint edger tool. It’ll give you professional-looking edges to the wall without the stress or hassle of using a paint brush and painter’s tape. They’re optimal for home DIY projects and rental properties. The Accubrush Paint Edger uses a mini-brush to push paint right alongside the ceiling or trim. However, there’s still a small gap that’s unacceptable for professional jobs.

You should never paint a room without first cutting in along the edges and corners. A roller can’t get into those tight spots, and it’s hard to get full paint coverage using a brush. The best paint edger is easy to load with paint to create a full, even coat in tight spots. And it’s easy to blend with a roller by feathering out the edges for a pristine paint job.

When Not to Use a Paint Edger

For professional jobs that require perfection, nothing will beat a steady hand and a high-quality edging brush.
While a paint edger can do a lot for a home painting project, it can’t do it all.

If you are trying to get a professional-looking paint job, or are a professional just starting a new career, then the best paint edger isn’t the best way to cut in. While they’re fast and easy to use, they aren’t 100% perfect. Instead, you’re better off learning how to get a straight line with painter’s tape and proper brush technique for cutting in.

Paint edgers can leave a slight gap at the edge of the wall. That gap is imperceptible for most DIY jobs and fine for a home or rental. After all, DIY’s goal isn’t to do the professional’s job for them but to make your house or apartment feel more like home while sticking to a budget. But if you’re going for a high-end professional look, all those little gaps add up. Your clients may notice, or if you’re a perfectionist, they can drive you crazy.

We’re not suggesting that everyone needs a garage full of paint tools on hand to repaint. Still, having a variety of tools lets you work appropriate to the job you’re doing. Having on hand a high-quality paint brush, painter’s tape, and the best paint edger gives you options–whatever the situation.

Paint Edging FAQs

Transform your bedroom with a daring accent wall, painting to perfection with the best paint edger.
A paint edger is perfect for high-stakes accent walls, like this southwestern black and white bedroom.
  • What is cutting in paint?

Cutting in is when you have two adjacent colors, and you need a straight line to separate them. You cut in against trim, molding, adding an accent wall to a room, and at the ceiling and floor. It’s vital to get the cutting in line straight for a professional finished product.

  • How do you paint edges neatly?

Using a paint edger gives you straight lines, without the hassle of using painter’s tape. With a high-quality paint edger, like the Accubrush MX or HomeRight Quick Painter, you can paint neat edges along the ceiling, trim, or for an accent wall and do it fast.

  • Do you cut in before or after painting?

You can do it either way. Some people prefer cutting in first because they can work back over the edge paint with the roller to get an excellent overlap. But rolling first lets you see how close you can get with the roller, minimizing the time you spend cutting in. However, you must do a single coat of both cutting in and rolling at a time. Don’t do two layers along the edges and then roller the wall, as you won’t be able to get the paint even.

  • How do you get rid of cutting in lines when painting?

There’s nothing more frustrating than stepping back from a finished paint job and seeing your cutting in lines. To prevent future aggravation, take a few extra steps when you’re painting.

  1. Box your paint: combine all your gallons of paint and mix them to eliminate slight variations between batches.
  2. Overlap cutting lines with your roller: paint six to eight inches into the wall while you’re cutting in, and overlap with the roller as close to the edge as you can. The overlapped section will help blend the cutting lines.
  3. Overlap fresh paint: don’t let your edges dry before going over with a roller.
  4. Avoid cheap paint: it’s unfortunate, but the lower quality paint, the more issues you’ll encounter. Shell out a few extra bucks per gallon, and you’ll save yourself a lot of future headaches.
  • Is there a tool for cutting in when painting?

The traditional tools for cutting in are painter’s tape and a brush, or just a brush for those with steady hands. While using a paint edger isn’t acceptable for every situation, it’s an excellent tool for cutting straight lines fast for DIY jobs and painting properties you’re leasing.

  • Is it okay to cut in one day and paint the next?

In a word, yes. With a caveat, you’ll get better and more professional results if you work a single wall and don’t let the paint dry between rolling and edging. You’ll be able to blend better and get the best-looking room possible. If you have a busy schedule, you may opt for finishing just a step at a time.

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