What is a 5-in-1?

What is a 5-in-1?

Three decades ago, when I was breaking into the home improvement world on the painting side of the business, I was bombarded with what seemed like an endless amount of new terminology from all angles on a daily basis.




You name it, it was like an entirely new language for me.

I certainly did not mind it; it was simply a lot to absorb.

One term that particularly caught my ear, was the name of a tool whose importance was viewed by most painters in the same way which they would view a paintbrush.

This tool is the 5-in-1.

Now as I was just getting used to being able to use ‘5-in-1’ in the proper place of a sentence, I started to run into the ‘5-in-1’s’ apparent older siblings – the ‘6-in-1’, the ’10-in-1’, etc.

For myself, and I venture to guess most painters however, a tool that looks like a 5-in-1, will always be a 5-in-1, even if it happens to be a ‘100-in-1’!

The term ‘5-in-1’ references the tool’s ability to be used for ‘5’ different uses while being ‘1’ tool.

These uses are as a gouger, a paint roller cleaner, a paint can opener, a putty knife, and a scraper.

The blade of a 5-in-1 is generally made out of stainless steel and the handle is typically made out of wood or plastic.

I can honestly say that I could probably count on one hand the number of times that I have used a 5-in-1 to clean a paint roller or aid in puttying.

Definitely have gouged with them in the past, but out of the 5 most traditional common uses, the ones I have most often used a 5-in-1 for have been as a paint can opener and for scraping.

Although a true ‘5-in-1’ may technically be intended for these 5 aforementioned uses, the list of the number of possible things an actual ‘5-in-1’ can be used for is quite lengthy indeed.

Here is a short list of things that I have used a 5-in-1 for in the past:

To help guide a piece of wood into place against another piece of wood
To open an unlocked window from the outside
As a shim temporarily leveling a ladder (not recommended!)
To hammer in a nail (with its butt end)
To open boxes
As a flat head screwdriver
As a pry bar (to take old shutters that have been nailed on) off a home
As something to aid in holding a door open and not locking behind me
To aid in cutting a piece of string (or something along those lines)
To help in removing wallpaper

I am sure I could go on and on.

All of these are perfect examples as to why painters find this tool to be so valuable!

As you can see, a 5-in-1 can provide plenty of mileage in terms of the number of things it can help out with.

One key to its long-term effectiveness is to remember to sharpen the blade whenever it seems as though it needs it.

Another key is to not lose it! As with many tools, 5-in-1s are easily misplaced.

When breaking into the painting trade, or even taking on a painting project around your home, the list of terminology related to what you are doing absolutely can be a bit over inundating, this being said, due to its unending diversity, the 5-in-1 is one of those tools that above almost any other can be about as valuable as one can learn about and utilize!

Follow Us on Social Media!

The Beauty of a Built-In

A ‘Built-In’ is a term used in construction that is right up there with the best of them in terms of those that can be confusing for whomever may be hearing it for the first time. When someone thinks of something being ‘built in’, their

Read More