The Best Way to Paint Edges

March 17, 2020

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As someone who loves to paint, I find it really interesting that so many people dread painting rooms. However, I do understand that the prep work and detailing can be tedious and frustrating. That’s why this post is all about the best way to paint edges.

Let me start by telling you a tale of two rooms. In room #1, I painted the walls first and then hand-painted the edges of the wall by the ceiling, trim, and doors with a brush. In room #2, I used an edge roller to paint all edges first, then painted the rest of the walls.

Which room do you think was faster and easier?

Now, of course there are a lot more factors involved, but room #1 took me TWO DAYS, a total of about 10 hours of nonstop painting. Even for someone who loves painting, it was exhausting. And it STILL wasn’t perfect. Room #2 took me less than 3 hours total. WHAAAAAAT.

Before I started my painting projects, I reached out to Wagner about their Smart Edge Roller, because it looked awesome. They sent it to me right away to test, and I’m going to go over all the positives and negatives of it. But did it make the painting process easier and faster? YES. SO MUCH.

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Wagner Smart Edge Roller
Paint (duh)
Tarp or something to sit your paint on–I just used a cheapo shower curtain liner

How to Use the Smart Edge Roller

Since I am STRONGLY CONVINCED that the best way to paint edges is to use a tool, I’m going to walk you through using this one.

How to paint edges

When you open the Smart Edge roller box, the tool is already put together. To use it, you have to unscrew the two pieces, open up the bag, and attach the black piece to the tube.

Best way to paint edges

This is when you need to have your paint mixed and ready.

Paint edger

At this point, the edger tube is basically a big syringe. You stick the black piece in the paint and then pull the other side of the tube to fill it with paint.

Now, you can remove the black attachment, wipe it off, and hang it on the paint can. This is where it IS going to drip, so you need to have it sitting on something waterproof.

paint edger

Now, attach the roller piece on to the tube and you’re ready for the FUN PART!

Now, on the tool, you’ll see the black handle/pump, and the yellow trim brush. Before you start painting, pump the handle as many times as you need to see paint coming through. It should be pretty saturated to get good, even coverage.

The trim brush needs to be touching the edge that you’re painting. In the picture above, I was about to paint trim on the left side, so the trim brush is on the left side. Easy, right?

Then, all you do is place the roller on your edge and paint! You’ll quickly see how much to saturate the brush and how to turn the trim brush for the right angle.

The room I used this on is pretty small, and I had to refill the tube two times. This is why the hook on the paint filler tool is so handy.

Washing the Smart Edge Roller

I won’t lie, I was a little nervous about this part. You may notice that it seems like there are a lot of pieces to this tool… I thought it was going to be a real pain to clean.

Since the tool comes already assembled, I didn’t realize how the pieces all went together until I started rinsing it. Thankfully, they really thought this through and made all the parts easily removable and easy to clean.

Edge paint roller

The yellow trim brush opens up and the roller comes off. I simply unscrewed the top and the tube, detached the paint filler, and rinsed everything with soap and water.

However, they actually designed it to be even easier, and I missed it because I didn’t read the instructions carefully enough. That yellow ring we hadn’t used it? It attaches to your faucet.

MIND BLOWN, guys. You just screw it on to the bottom of the roller piece and it fits a garden hose or a faucet hose. How cool is that?!

Here’s a picture of the manual, which makes it EXTREMELY clear…. (facepalm):

How It Works

This is what my first try with the paint edger looked like. As you can see, even this first swipe got better after the first few inches.

If you look VERY VERY CLOSE, you’ll see that it’s not a perfectly crisp line. However, from the distance I took this picture–about 2 feet away–it looks pretty good! It’s not something that you would walk into a room and cringe.

If you are a perfectionist, make sure you read the tips below. And just be aware that the first time you touch this tool to a wall, it probably won’t come out absolutely perfectly. However, you will naturally figure it out VERY quickly. The rest of my edges looked like this:

Pretty dang good, right?!


Now, if you watch the video below, you’ll notice that this tool isn’t failproof. There IS a learning curve for sure, and your first few tries will probably leave you with some wiggly edges. Here are a few tips to help:

  1. Start painting an edge that is less obvious. If you know how you’re going to set up the room, start somewhere that will be covered by furniture. Your edge lines will get smoother.
  2. Painting edges by vertical trim is much easier than the edges by your floor trim. This is partially because the vertical edges have a 90 degree angle and floor pieces are more subtle.
  3. Move the angle of the trim brush frequently. Since this tool makes painting edges so quick and easy, you will frequently be changing the angle of which the tool meets the wall. To make your edges as crisp as possible, the brush needs to be touching the wall evenly.
  4. If you don’t want to get paint on your hands when you move the trim brush, wear gloves.
  5. Take your time saturating the roller for the first time, just to get an understanding of how it works. You don’t want to over-saturate it, but it needs to be pretty full to cover the edges smoothly. Once you get moving, you shouldn’t have to roll back and forth repeatedly over one area.
How to paint edges

I love answering questions, so feel free to comment below or send me an email with any questions about these tips.

Important note: I think we all see why I’m not a hand model.

Should I Paint Edges or Walls first?

There’s no firm right or wrong answer to this. But in room #1–the slow and painful room–I painted the walls first and then used a brush to paint all of the edges. In room #2–the fast and easy room–I used the paint edger first and then painted walls afterward. Now that I have the Smart Edge roller, I’ll always paint edges first.

I’m not a professional painter, but I do have a theory why painting edges first is the best way to paint a room.

When you paint the walls first, you usually try to paint as close to the trim as possible without touching things and getting them messy. But of course, accidents always happen, and this strategy slows you down.

Also–everyone hates cutting in and painting edges. ??ā€ā™€ļø Even if you don’t hate it, it takes much more patience and attention to detail. By painting the edges first, you’ll likely feel less rushed, antsy, and ready to be done. Then, when you get to painting the walls, it makes the whole project feel easier.

When you paint edges first, you already have the hard part done. And since the Smart Edge Roller covers a few inches, you really don’t need to slow down and get super close to the trim when you’re painting the walls.

The Verdict: Is an Edge Roller The Best Way To Paint Edges?

If you don’t like saving time and effort, then sure, using an edge roller is not the best way to paint edges.

But if you’re like the rest of us (cough, sane people), then using this tool to paint your edges is going to make the entire painting process easier, faster, and more fun. AND THIS TOOL IS ONLY $23. So like… yeah, it’s probably the best way to paint edges. ?

After I finish unpacking in our new home, I have many more projects to tackle. But painting our living room and kitchen area is high on my list of priorities–I’ve HAD IT with beige. But since we have vaulted ceilings, it’s definitely the biggest painting project I’ve ever done. Possibly even more than painting our cabinets, and definitely more than painting wood paneling.

And I am telling you… having this paint edger and knowing how much time it saves is a HUGE relief. It’s going to make a huge difference in painting edges that are 20 feet high.

If you need to see a video of the roller in action, I made this video. It’s not great quality, but I think it will help you see how this product works.

If your home doesn’t give you warm and fuzzy feelings and you don’t know how to change it, check out my free email course about how to love your home. Just throw your email address in the blue rectangle below.

If you have any other questions, as always–let me know!

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Hi! Iā€™m Kaylee–a mom of 2, business owner, DIY addict, and so much more. You’ll find some fun DIY tutorials, totally honest reviews, and lots of tips for making your home fit YOU. Welcome to Mama and More!


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