Matt is a professional painter who owns and operates his own painting business, specializing in interior and exterior house painting.
What's the Best Paint Brush for Cutting In?
Using a quality paintbrush 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 very long, and won't produce neat lines like a premium brush. When you paint every day (like me), having a good angled paintbrush for cutting-in is a must.
I've always been partial to the Purdy brand, having used their products for many years on my painting projects. While they're not the best brushes on the market, if you take care of them, they'll last through several paint jobs. Corona brushes are excellent too, but unfortunately, they're not available at many stores.
For me, the best brush for cutting in is the one that holds the most paint, maintains its shape after repeated use, releases paint nicely, and doesn't fall apart. I also like a brush to have stiff bristles instead of being soft and flimsy.
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. Both the angled version and the flat bristle version produce 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 specs on the brush cover says they can be used for all paints and stains, I find the performance to be the best using latex and acrylic paints. 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 and bouncy are messy and harder to work with. This brush loses its shape quickly if you aren't careful. Never stand the brush up vertically in a paint can or else the bristles will bend and permanently ruin the shape. 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There is also a newer version of this brush called Elite, but I haven't worked with one yet, so I can't comment on the performance.
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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 for a long time.
The XL has nice flex and paint release when painting trim. When brushing door frames, using a premium leveling paint like Pro Classic, or Emerald urethane enamel, the paint lays out very nicely with minimal brush texture. The XL in the 2-inch, or 2 1/2-inch size, is my go-to brush 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 on drywall, and it will end up taking too long. The ClearCut is the superior option for that.
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. However, these brushes are great options for achieving professional results with your painting project.
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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.