Matt is a professional painter and freelance writer, sharing his knowledge, house-painting tips, and product reviews.
What's the Best Paint Brush for Cutting In?
Using a quality paint brush makes it a lot easier to cut in straight lines along trim edges and ceiling corners. Cheap brushes from the dollar store won't last long or produce neat lines like a premium brush will. When you paint every day like me, having a good angled paint brush for cutting in is a must.
I've always been partial to the Purdy brand. They're not the best brushes on the market, but if you take care of them, they last through several paint jobs. Corona brushes are great too, but unfortunately, they're not available at the stores I frequent.
For me, the best brush for cutting in is one that holds more paint, maintains its shape after repeated use, releases paint nicely, and doesn't fall apart.
Purdy ClearCut Angled Paint Brush
The Purdy ClearCut in the 3-inch size is my favorite brush for cutting in walls and ceiling corners, and it's the only one I use for that purpose. The angled version, or even the flat bristle version, produces razor sharp lines, but I prefer the angled one for working paint into corners easier.
The ClearCut is available in either the Swan or Sprig style. The ferrule of the Swan is thicker and holds more paint. The Sprig is thin, holding less paint. I use the Swan the most for walls and ceilings. While the advertising says they can be used for all paints and stains, I only use mine for latex paint. I use a separate brush for oil-based paint.
The nylon/polyester bristles on the ClearCut are fairly soft, helping to minimize brush marks. The flex with the bristles is a little stiff, which I like for cutting-in. Brushes that are too flexible are messy. If I had one complaint, this brush loses its shape quickly if placed vertically in a paint can for too long. The bristles bend, permanently ruining the shape. I never leave mine in a paint can for more than a minute or two. When rolling walls, I wrap the brush in plastic or clean it.
There is also a newer version of this brush called Elite, but I haven't worked with one yet, so I can't comment on the performance.
Purdy XL Angled Brush
My second favorite for interior painting is the angled Purdy XL in the Dale style. This brush is awesome for painting base board, door frames, window sash, door panels, and cabinets. If you clean it well after each use, the bristles stay soft and maintain shape.
The XL has nice flex and release when painting trim. When brushing door frames, using a premium leveling paint like Pro Classic, the paint lays out very nicely with minimal brush texture. The XL in the 2-inch, or 2 1/2-inch size, is the only brush I use for trim.
The XL Dale isn't the greatest choice for cutting-in walls because it's too flexible and soft to cut a straight line, and it will end up taking too long.
At the end of the day, cutting a straight line is a skill achieved through experience and practice. A professional paint brush is an important part of this, but without skill and a steady hand, the cut lines will look wavy, regardless of the brush being used.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2018 Matt G.
Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on February 03, 2018:
I need to get myself some new paint brushes. My living room needs painting.