· painting_tips · 2 min read

The one tool every painter should carry

A versatile guide to the indispensable 5-in-1 painter's tool.

A versatile guide to the indispensable 5-in-1 painter's tool.

When I was first learning how to paint I had a foreman that was a little bit on the crazy side. He had a lot of rules. If you broke those rules, the punishments were steep. For example, if he caught you painting without a drop cloth, you were instantly fired. I saw it happen to a couple of my co-workers. Or shall we say, former co-workers.

Another rule, and the one that this article is about, is that we always had to carry our 5-in-1 tool. “A good painter always has his 5-in-1,” he would say, and we always did, for a good reason. A 5-in-1 is sometimes known as a painter’s tool, and it is the one tool every painter should carry with them at all times.


It has innumerable uses, not just the 5 that the name suggests. Its primary use is for scraping, and it excels at it. The pointy end is great for getting into those tight spots. Most of the time, this is the only tool we will use for scraping a house. With practice, it is faster than those two-handed scraping tools.

Opening cans

The second most useful thing this tool can do is to open paint cans. It’s much faster than a screwdriver, and definitely better than bending up your car keys trying to open that stubborn one-gallon can.

Cleaning rollers

A lot of people don’t know what the curved, half-circle bit on the side of the blade is all about. It is for cleaning out your paint roller. Use it to scrape all the excess paint from your roller back into the can!

Much more

Additional uses include hammering nails, setting popped nails, gouging cracks, killing bugs, removing screws and outlet covers, cutting string, unsticking windows, and scratching your butt. Make your life easier on your next painting project and pick up a 5-in-1 tool.

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