There are two types of paint edgers: the pad-style or spreader-type paint edger and the roller-style paint edger.
Roller-style paint edgers work just like ordinary paint rollers, except that they come with a thin plastic or metal guard beside the roller head. This guard prevents the paint from smearing over to the opposite side. Some of the roller-style paint edgers come with a plastic tube where the paint is conveniently stored so you don’t have to dab repeatedly on the paint tray while you work.
Spreader-type or pad-style paint edgers are simpler and easier to use than roller-style paint edgers. These paint edgers look a lot like ordinary cleaning sponges, but they come with handles for easy paint application. To apply paint onto an edge, simply dab the pad-style edger to a tray of paint and apply it directly across the surface.
Some spreader paint edgers, such as this Shur-Line Premium Paint Edger, have a shorter handle. They are precise and easy to control, but they are not the best tools to use if you’re planning to paint the highest part of the wall.
If you want something you can use without climbing a ladder, then choose a spreader-type paint edger with a longer handle. You can reach the highest part of the wall simply by attaching it to an extension pole.
Other spreader-type paint edgers also have a plastic tube handle. Similar to some roller-style paint edgers, paint is stored inside the hollow plastic tube, so you don’t have to keep the paint tray within reach always.