The 6 Best Paint Buckets That Make Painting Jobs Easier in 2023
Discover what professional housepainters have known for years: Paint buckets can save you time and effort on your next painting project.
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Paint buckets (sometimes referred to as paint pails) are containers made to hold, mix and stir paint. The humble paint bucket is an invaluable paint tool that comes in many a slew of standardized sizes. They’re also available with features like holders to park paint brushes.
To paint shelves, for edging or to cover scuff marks on walls, a hand-held paint pail is a great option. If a big home renovation is in the works, a large-capacity bucket with casters makes a lot of sense. Keep a lookout for buckets with built-in spouts to keep paint from dripping onto the floor or tarps.
More efficient and easier to use than paint trays, paint buckets will help you paint like a pro.
Best Overall Paint Bucket
Wooster 4-Gallon Bucket Tray
This hybrid bucket and tray is thoroughly impressive and quite versatile. It has a no-tip design and an extra-strong galvanized steel bail with comfort grip. Plus, it has a 10-inch-wide integrated roll-off area and sloped bottom to keep the paint at the front of the bucket for more efficient loading. One other thing we like is that the pail comes in a lovely forest green color.
- Easy on and off lid stores paint for days
- Durable polypropylene resists solvents and paint buildup
- 9 inches tall and 13.5 inches wide
- Can hang a full-size roller on the edge
- Difficult to clean without a liner
Best Budget Paint Bucket Grid
Wooster Brush Acme Deluxe Five-Gallon Grid
A combo bucket and grid setup is an efficient, affordable and professional way to paint a wall fast. Just hang this sturdy metal screen/grid inside any 5-gallon bucket from your local hardware store, and you’ve got yourself a dynamic duo that allows you to paint in less time and with much less hassle. Dip the roller into the bucket, run it atop the wire screen until the paint is worked evenly into the roller’s nap and voilà!
- Affordable price tag
- Flat design fits 5-gallon buckets
- Expanded zinc-plated steel wire with reinforced edges
- Not galvanized
Most Versatile Paint Bucket
Bercom Handy Paint Pail
For edging into corners, painting wood trim or doing touch-ups, this handheld paint pail is great for such finishing tasks. A useful tool for both professional and do-it-yourself painters, the ergonomically designed coffee cup-style grip reduces hand fatigue, and the adjustable strap keeps you from dropping it. The pail can even be attached to a tool belt for hands-free use. No more hauling around heavy paint cans or wood stains!
- Has built-in magnetic brush holder and scraper
- Heavy-duty solvent-resistant material
- Features an adjustable hand strap
- Custom-fit pail must be ordered separately
Best Paint Bucket for Mini Rollers
Handy Roller Cup
This mini bucket is an ideal tool for paint rollers up to 6 inches wide. Use it for delicate finishing jobs on cabinets, woodwork and in tight places. This petite bucket has a built-in grid, and disposable custom liners can be purchased separately, for quick and easy cleanup.
- Accommodates rollers up to 6 inches wide
- Can be held or set on a flat surface
- Has a wide stance for stability
- An inexpensive painting accessory
- Handle may be uncomfortable
Best Paint Bucket for Teams
Purdy Dual Roll-Off 5-Gallon Bucket
With a two-sided grid pattern that allows multiple painters to access the paint, you can cover more square feet in less time. This deep and wide bucket holds up to 4 gallons of paint, and the ergonomic grip provides carrying and pouring comfort.
- Features a two-sided grid
- Wheel holes on the feet fit standard castors
- Durable black polypropylene resists warping
- Has a brush and roller rest
- May be too large for most jobs
Best Paint Bucket Accessory
Warner Swivel Pot Paint Can Hook
Painting high, hard-to-reach places is easier and less stressful with this paint can hook. This design is so simple, it’s brilliant—the hook attaches to the pail handle and mounts securely to the ladder rung. It holds a 1-gallon paint bucket firmly without spilling.
- Made of alloy steel
- Works with all types of ladders
- Has a limited lifetime warranty
- May need to be removed when moving the ladder
What to Consider When Buying Paint Buckets
Choosing the right paint bucket can be rather tricky. Not only do you need the right size, but it has to have features to match the painting task.
First, think about whether you’re painting crown molding or the entire exterior of your home. Size matters. One that’s too small wastes precious time having to continually fill it. Too large, and it might be too heavy to safely carry up a ladder. Plastic buckets are lighter than metal ones.
Types of Paint Buckets
Like any DIY paint project, it’s critical that you use the right paint bucket that matches the undertaking. The most common types of paint buckets include:
- Classic found: For traditionalists
- Rectangular: For wide rollers
- Square: Accommodates flat paint brushes
- Wheeled: To save your aching back
- Handheld: Ideal for finishing touches
- With hooks: For mounting on tool belts and ladders
- Lidded: To prevent paint from drying too quickly
Seek out ergonomic designs to eliminate hand and arm fatigue, magnetic paint brush holders, scrapers and removable liners to cut down on mess.
How We Found the Best Paint Buckets
As shopping experts, our only job is to help you find a winning product. We start with the research and reporting basics—what products are made of, what they look like and how much they cost—to ensure that we’re only recommending the buys that are worth your time and money. Then, we research the features that speak to the product’s quality, taking advice from industry insiders and subject matter experts on what makes a product a smart value (or worthy of a splurge). Finally, we do the work of combing through user reviews to see how real people interact with the product, and if it stands up to the test.
Is it better to use a paint tray or a paint bucket?
There are several advantages to using paint buckets over paint trays. If you’re working in a large area or painting an entire house, a paint bucket generally holds more than a tray, which means fewer refills and less bending for you.
Also, when you try to move a tray, the paint will tend to slosh back and forth, potentially spilling over the sides. Of course, it’s possible to accidentally kick over a paint bucket, but since buckets are more stable than paint trays, you’re less likely to step in one. This is because trays sit low to the ground and are hard to see, making paint accidents just waiting to happen.
How long does paint last in a plastic bucket?
Latex paint dries out much faster than oil-based formulas. To make the paint last longer in a bucket, cover it with a lid or plastic wrap when not in use.
How do you pour paint without getting it everywhere?
Here are some tips on how to pour paint with fewer spills and drips:
- After pouring paint from a bucket, snap it back quickly and use your finger or paintbrush to wipe off excess paint that would otherwise drip down the sides and onto drop cloths.
- Add a paint spout to your painting tools arsenal.
- A DIY way to achieve a less messy pour is to place two strips of painter’s tape on the rim of the paint bucket in a “V”, creating a makeshift spout that can be removed when you’re done.
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