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8 Best Paint Buckets for Any Job

Discover what professional housepainters have known for years: Paint buckets can save you time and effort on your next painting project.

Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links.

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Man Using A Paint Bucket Gettyimages 1182851532Sven Hagolani/Getty Images

How To Choose the Best Paint Bucket for the Job

Paint buckets (sometimes referred to as pails) are containers that hold paint while it’s being applied. More efficient and easier to use than paint trays, buckets will help you paint like a pro.

Advantages of a paint bucket over a tray

  • Holds more paint;
  • Requires fewer refills;
  • More stable for fewer spills.

Some of the most common features you’ll find in paint buckets

  • Built-in grids;
  • Wheels;
  • Handles;
  • Magnetic brush holders;
  • Hands-free attachments.

The right paint bucket for the task

If you’re planning on painting crown molding or the exterior of your home, a ladder-ready bucket is a good choice. For painting shelves or to cover scuff marks on walls, a hand-held, petite pail is a much better option. If a big home renovation is in the works, a large-capacity, wheeled bucket makes the most sense.

Here are some of the best paint buckets for all kinds of jobs and situations.

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Best for Painting With Standard-Size Rollers

When a paint tray doesn’t hold enough and a five-gallon bucket is too deep, the one-gallon capacity of the hybrid Plastic Sherlock Bucket Tray is just right. Designed for nine-, 12- or 14-inch roller frames, the molded edges act as a border to keep paint from splashing over the sides. The built-in handles are great for hanging on a hook in the garage when the job is done.

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Best for Painting With Large Rollers

Meet the demands of an 18-inch roller with the Wooster Wide Boy Five-Gallon Bucket. It features a large-capacity roll-off area, galvanized-steel bail handle with comfort grip and plenty of room to hold up to four gallons of paint. You’ll spend less time refilling the bucket and more time applying beautiful color to the walls. The no-tip design helps prevent spills, and the lid (sold separately) keeps paint fresh for days.

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Best for Painting With Small Rollers

Roll (or brush) faster with the Wooster Half-Gallon Polypropylene Speed Bucket, designed to work with roller covers seven inches or smaller. It’s ideal for painting trim, bookshelves, anywhere a slimmer roller is needed. It has all the features you might expect in a standard bucket — a built-in roll-off area, a notch to keep the frame in place, and a powerful magnet to hold brushes — but in scaled-down version.

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Best for Cutting-In and Touch-Ups

For edging into corners, painting wood trim or doing touch-ups, the Bercom 2500-CT Handy Paint Pail holds just the right amount of paint for these smaller tasks. No more lugging around heavy paint cans. 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.

Solvent resistant, it works with any type of paint or stain. A pack of six pail liners is sold separately.

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Best for Painting on a Ladder

Painting hard-to-reach places is easier and less stressful with the Little Giant Ladder Fuel Tank Paint Tray. It mounts on any ladder using the adjustable hooks, and a magnetic brush holder keeps paint brushes in place when repositioning the ladder.

Though the Little Giant is marketed as a “tray,” we think that the above-mentioned features, plus its one-gallon capacity and standalone-friendly base, qualify it for our “best bucket list” honors.

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Best for Painting With Two or More People

The Purdy Dual Roll-Off Five-Gallon Bucket with a two-sided grid pattern allows multiple painters to roll a room so you can cover twice the square feet in half the time. The deep bucket holds up to four gallons of paint, and the ergonomic grip provides carrying and pouring comfort.

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Best for Painting on Big Job Sites

Carrying paint around can be so physical demanding. Zorr Corp RBC-323 Roll A Bucket to the rescue! The sturdy, six-gallon wheeled scuttle will save you from lugging heavy paint buckets all over the job site, saving you time and back strain. The four three-inch casters roll smoothly, even over tarps. It also has a safety brake so there are no runaway buckets to chase down.

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Best for Painting Like a Pro on a Budget

A combo bucket and grid setup is an efficient and professional way to paint a wall fast at an affordable price (less than $9 for both pieces!). The Wooster Brush F0001 Acme Deluxe Five-Gallon Grid is a sturdy metal screen that hangs inside any five-gallon bucket purchased from your local hardware store.

This dynamic duo lets you paint in less time with less effort. Dip the roller into the bucket, run it atop the wire screen until the paint is worked evenly into the roller nap, and voilà!

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Toni DeBella
Toni DeBella is a freelance travel, lifestyle and digital content writer based in a medieval hill town in central Italy. Her work has been featured in such publications as Fodor's, The Telegraph, Walks of Italy, Italy Magazine, Frommers.com, Touring Bird (via [email protected]) and more. Most recently she authored the 2020 edition of DK Eyewitness Sicily travel guide. When Toni is not roaming around Europe, you'll find her tending her alley-side container garden or honing her clay-court tennis game.