Removing paint is probably one of the least enjoyable parts of any kind of DIY project. Starting with soaking the paint to remove it—whether with vegetable oil, alcohol, or paint thinner—then attacking the mess with a scraper, paint removal jobs are usually not easy. With the right scraper, you can avoid headaches, save time, and get to the next stage of the project faster. Here we’ll look at the types of scrapers out there, what features to look for, and our top recommendations for the best paint scrapers for a variety of applications.
Bottom Line Up Front
If you’re shopping for the best paint scraper without a specific project in mind, our top pick is the Bates Paint Scraper – Pack of 2 Putty Knife Scraper 5 in 1 Tool. No matter the application, we can almost promise the two-pack of putty knife five-in-one tool will help.
Each tool functions as a putty knife, paint scraper, paint can opener, and more—trimming down your toolbox without sacrificing the most-used functions. Whether it’s a large or small project, the blades are wide without feeling unwieldy. The manufacturer offers a lifetime replacement guarantee, which is an uncommon service in the paint scraper category!
Different Types of Paint Scrapers
Not all paint scrapers are alike, even if they seem like simple tools. From materials to construction to replacement parts, there are many types of scrapers to consider. Proper prep work before removing wallpaper or paint is also crucial.
Basic Paint Scraper
A basic paint scraper has a flat blade plus a handle, but variations exist, too. Some are oval-shaped, triangle-shaped, rectangular, or a variety of any of those (and other shapes). For specific projects, sometimes a specially shaped scraper is ideal, so keep them in mind if you run into an oddly-shaped surface which requires paint removal.
A basic paint scraper is usually single-edged, meaning you need to angle the tool to address the material you’re removing. Single-edge scrapers include varieties like floor scrapers, putty knives, and other flat-edge scrapers.
A double-edge paint scraper features two blades, allowing you to scrape more quickly than a single blade. Depending on the surface, however, you might find a single-edge tool is more efficient, especially if the surface involves curves or texture.
Although it seems counterintuitive, flooring scrapers are a facet of paint scrapers worth mentioning. Flooring scrapers often have broader blades to cover larger areas, but they also include longer handles to reach out-of-the-way areas easier.
Hook scrapers can help remove even the most stubborn paint and other material, and they look just like their name suggests. You might not use a hook scraper except occasionally, but for particularly difficult spots of paint or lots of layers, they can help break up the surface and make removal simpler.
As their name suggests, multi-tool paint scrapers offer functions behind scratching paint and other materials off surfaces. Multi-tools can include paint can openers, spackle angles, and other features, all of which can help with other aspects of the project once you finish scraping paint.
Putty knives aren’t technically paint-scrapers, but depending on the project and conditions, you might wind up using it anyway. Putty knives are more flexible than a regular paint scraper, however, and aren’t ideal for bigger jobs. They are excellent, however, for applying and spreading materials and compounds.
While many scrapers use a metal or other material for a flat edge, blade scrapers use removable and replaceable blades for a variety of tasks. Razor-blade scrapers use metal blades and are ideal for removing paint and other stuck-on materials, but others use plastic blades. Plastic tools are helpful for delicate surfaces, but they’re also a staple for applying (and removing) decals and stickers on surfaces.
How to Find the Best Paint Scrapers
Grabbing a cheap paint scraper from the hardware store may seem like a good idea, but after you’ve spent hours battling stuck-on wallpaper, paint, or other materials, you’ll realize where you went wrong. Here’s how to find the best paint scrapers for any job you need to tackle, including what features to look for.
It might seem odd to say paint scrapers can have multiple functions, but it’s true. Some paint scrapers have built-in edges for other purposes, such as opening paint cans or smoothing compounds, while others can help with other household tasks.
For example, a razor blade paint scraper is also great for removing gummy labels from containers, swapping out your vehicle registration tags, and other common jobs at home.
Size and Span
If you have an entire wall (or four) to remove paint off of, a paint scraper with a larger blade is probably preferable. If the project is of a smaller scale, however, a narrower scraper will get the job done without extra effort on your part.
Consider the size of your project or the most common applications you’ll use the scraper for, and pick accordingly.
Straight vs. Curved
Curved scrapers are ideal for removing paint from corners and curves, so depending on the project, you might find a curved blade to be a better fit. In most cases, though, a straight scraper is probably enough to remove paint and other gunk. For scraping cabinetry, crown molding, and other smaller-scale work, curved blades are easier on the user and the paint removal surface.
You can pick up a plastic scraper at most hardware stores, but for paint scrapers with more longevity, it’s worth considering wood or metal. Many paint scrapers have wood, plastic or metal handles with blades of a separate material, while other tools use one element throughout.
Depending on how rough your task is and how rugged you want your paint scraper, an all-metal or all-plastic tool might be ideal. Consider your work surface as well; removing paint from a wall is vastly different from lifting it off a car or a plastic surface.
Handle Type and Materials
For scrapers with a separate handle, it’s worth noting the variety of materials manufacturers use. Many companies lean toward plastic these days as it’s durable and cheap. Wood handles are still an option with many paint scrapers, however, as are metal handles.
Often, manufacturers coat their handles with a grippy material to help make working for prolonged periods more comfortable. Consider whether this is a necessity for you, but also think about how well a rubber handle will hold up versus an all-metal or wood one.
Replacement Parts and Maintenance
With razor blade scrapers, either plastic or metal, you’ll be looking at replacement parts for the life of the tool. For some tools, it’s easy to find replacement parts, but with others, it can become a headache trying to track down the right blade fit or other accessories—something worth considering before you buy.
In contrast, some scrapers will need sharpening at some point to prolong their life. At that point, you can either replace the tool, invest in maintenance, or go the DIY route for any sharpening or other needs.
Ultra-fine tips and hooks in ABN’s scraper set help with focused projects, including those involving metal and plastic.
- Small and large straight picks
- Small and large full hooks
- Small and large 45-degree hooks
- Small and large 90-degree hooks
- 1” scraper
A full set of scrapers, hooks, and picks helps you remove paint from hard-to-reach areas and surfaces. Whether it’s an automotive application or a small DIY project, it helps to have a range of smaller tools on hand for details.
Steel shafts and rubber handles are durable and comfortable, and the metal picks have either chrome plating or a blackened finish for resistance to wear and tear. Screwdriver-size tools fit in hand nicely and work well for a range of intricate projects.
- Precise for small projects
- Comfortable rubber grips
- Not for large jobs
Each five-in-one tool (you receive two) can complete multiple painting and scraping jobs without requiring you to open up your toolbox.
- Five-in-one tool
- Paint can opener
- Box opener
- Stainless steel
- Softwood grip
“Five-in-one” refers to the five functions of these tools: scraper, screwdriver, paint can opener, hammer, crown molding remover, putty knife, and box opener. Thanks to the cutouts in the blade, you can complete multiple functions without purchasing additional sets of tools. For painting jobs, the scrapers are quite handy, especially when it comes to opening paint cans.
Straight-ground carbon steel blades are rust-resistant and retain their hard edge through many projects, and the manufacturer offers a lifetime guarantee to boot.
- Multi-function convenience
- Rust-resistant steel blade
- Lifetime warranty
- The wood handle isn’t the most comfortable option
A blade scraper with super sharp edges for removing even the stickiest residue and paint, Werxrite’s RetraGuard tool is ideal for smaller yet tough jobs.
- Includes five replacement blades
- Blade guard for safety
- Tightener knob
- Attachment loop for accessories
Sharp blades give you the power to cut through silicone, paint, sealant, and more with Werxrite’s razor tool. Five blades come with the tool and swapping them out requires only turning a knob to loosen each blade then fasten in a new one.
A contoured handle helps make prolonged scraping more comfortable than wielding a blade on its own, and the plastic casing serves as a safety feature to cover the blade when the tool isn’t in use.
- Sharp blade for multiple surfaces/materials
- Safety guard
- Tool-free blade changing
- Must purchase replacement blades (at some point)
It looks like the putty knife and scraper you would find in a hardware store, and there’s a reason Tarvol’s scraper is the go-to for a range of projects.
- 4” carbon steel blade
- Ergonomic handle
For basic scraping jobs, including ones which require the aid of a hammer, a wide paint scraper is often a smart choice. If you have more area to scrape and need an easy-grip handle to hang onto while you work, Tarvol’s putty knife and scraper might be the best choice.
A four-inch-wide blade helps remove gunk from surfaces, and its slight flex means you can also use it as a putty knife after the fact. The old-fashioned design shouldn’t deter those who want a basic scraper with dual functions and no frills.
- Accessible handle grip
- Wide blade
- Slightly flexible for applying compounds
- Flexible blade not always ideal for tough scraping jobs
- Hard to remove the label from the blade
At eleven inches long, ORIENTOOLS’ blade scraper allows you to work on walls and even floors with ease.
- Four-inch-wide blade
- Long handle
- Stainless steel construction
- Tilted-edge precision blade
For paint removal on walls, a scraper with a long handle is ideal. Thanks to the long handle and non-slip grip on ORIENTOOLS’ scraper, you can reach where you need to on the wall and add pressure without straining your wrists.
A four-inch-wide blade gives you more coverage than smaller handheld scrapers, but this model is just as lightweight at only a few ounces. You can easily swap out blades (must remove two screws to do so/turn the blade in for safety), but you’ll have to purchase them separately.
- Long handle for reaching trouble spots/working on walls
- Non-slip handle grip
- Must remove screws to put the blade in ‘safe’ mode
- Will need spare blades at some point
When it comes to projects like removing and installing flooring, Bully Tools’ flooring scraper is just the tool you need.
- Fiberglass handle
- 11-gauge steel blade
Easily re-sharpen the blade with a file or grinder, and you’ll never need to purchase an accessory for the Bully Tools scraper. Of course, the blade is part of the appeal, but the extra-long fiberglass handle is helpful for your back, as well. No more reaching or sitting on the ground to scrape, and it works well for reaching walls and ceilings, too.
It’s a bit heavier than other types of scrapers, but it’s worth the three-pound heft to be able to stand and scrape the floor, wall, or ceiling without a whole lot of strain.
- Can re-sharpen the blade; no need for replacement
- Long handle for reaching ceilings/etc.
- Lifetime guarantee
- Weighs three pounds
For intricate tasks involving a lot of product to scrape, Red Devil’s double-edge scraper does the work for you.
- Plastic handle
- High-carbon steel blades
- Dual 2.5-inch blades
Dual blades are the highlight with Red Devil’s 3050, which are ideal for removing paint or varnish from small areas or even furniture. Think tight, detailed spots like molding and other decorative wood. And if the blade dulls, re-sharpening is simple—no replacement blades required.
Multiple sizes are available, but our pick is the 2.5-inch blades because they offer a wider scraping surface in a lightweight tool. While we prefer the old-style wood handle, the plastic option is more modern and seems like it will hold up well over time.
- Can re-sharpen the blades (or replace them)
- Heavy-duty construction
- Plastic handle more susceptible to damage
For special projects with curves, bumps, and more, Crown’s cabinet scraper set is the perfect solution to clearing away paint and other gunk without damaging wood surfaces.
- Tempered high carbon steel
- Three shapes; gooseneck, regular, curved
They might not look like the most comfortable to hold in hand, but Crown’s cabinet scrapers are flexible and easy to maneuver around all the intricate details on your crown molding or other projects. All three blades vary in size and shape, so you’ll have the right curved blade for any scenario.
When the blades dull, you can sharpen them or replace them, but the single-piece construction helps prolong the life of the kit. Of course, the cabinet scraper set works well for cabinet projects and preventing damage to the wood while removing paint and other material, but any delicate or curved surface will benefit from these tools, too.
- Multiple contoured blades for intricate projects
- Can re-sharpen indefinitely
- No handles; blades only
Comparing the Options
|ABN Precision Tool Set||Hook/Standard||Small, focused scraping|
|Bates Paint Scraper||Putty knife/multitool||Scraping, opening paint cans, removing crown molding|
|Werxrite RetraGuard Tool||Blade||Scraping silicone, molding, paint on smaller jobs|
|Tarvol Putty Knife||Putty knife/Standard||Larger scraping jobs, applying compounds|
|ORIENTOOLS Scraper||Blade||Scraping walls, floors, and large surfaces such as tile|
|Bully Tools Flooring Scraper||Flooring||Flooring/hard to reach areas|
|Red Devil 3050 Scraper||Double-edge||Heavy-duty removal of paint, varnish on a small scale|
|Crown 376 Cabinet Scraper Set||Curved||Detail projects/curved surfaces|
It might be possible to complete just about any paint scraping task with any tool. But for the easiest and most effective job, you’ll need a scraper with functions specific to the surface and project you’re working on. Fortunately, our list of the top eight paint scrapers helps narrow down the options.