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The Best Paint Brush for Cabinets in 2023: Our Top 5 Picks

Freshening up cabinets, whether in your kitchen, family room, bathroom, or wherever else in your home they might be located, is a great DIY project for giving your home an updated look.

But doing the job right requires special attention to choosing the best paint brush to give your project that distinctive professional touch you’re sure to want to be reflected in your work.

Read on for a look at our top five picks for the best paint brush for cabinets. In addition, you’ll find lots of other guidance and tips for choosing the best brush for your particular DIY cabinet-painting project and for other aspects of tackling the work.

Using the best paint brush for kitchen cabinets to paint cabients white

Our Top Picks

Best Overall
Purdy XL Glide Angled Sash

Budget Option
Wooster 2″ Shortcut Wizard

Best for Smooth Finish
Corona 2″ Tynex & Orel Professional

Best Overall

Purdy 2″ XL Glide Angled Sash Paint Brush

2" Purdy 144152320 XL Glide Angled Sash Paint Brush, Tynex Orel

If you were to design a paint brush specifically for painting cabinets, you would end up with the 2” Purdy XL Glide Angled Sash Paint Brush. And that’s why it ranks at the top of our list of the best paint brushes for the job.

At 2 inches wide, this Purdy brush is the perfect width for cabinet work, and its angled construction makes it easy to tackle corners. Its combination of nylon and polyester bristles is great for both holding and spreading paint.

Product Features

  • Nylon/Polyester Brush
  • Angle sash
  • Round edge
  • Handcrafted in the USA
  • Medium stiffness


  • Trusted brand
  • Affordable
  • Use with any type of paint


  • Purdy has a history of shedding bristles

Budget Option

Wooster 2″ Shortcut Paint Brush

Wooster Brush Q3211-2 Shortcut Angle Sash Paintbrush, 2-Inch, White

One of the things that will ensure a good job when painting cabinets is being comfortable while working on the project. The 2” Wooster Shortcut paint brush is designed to do just that with a handle designed for easy holding.

As a help to do-it-yourselfers, the packaging for this brush includes an illustration detailing how to hold it properly, and that assistance is one of the reasons it has made our list of the best paint brushes for cabinets.

Product Features

  • Flexible Shergrip handle for more maneuverability
  • Nylon and polyester blend
  • Medium firm stiffness
  • Angled sash brush


  • Easy to use
  • Use with any type of paint
  • Affordable


  • Some don’t like the Shergrip handle

Best for Smooth Finish

Corona 2″ Tynex & Orel Professional Paint Brush

Corona 2" Tynex & Orel Professional Cortez Paint Brush

For many cabinet-painting DIY projects, achieving as smooth a finish as possible is the ultimate goal. The Corona 2” Tynex & Orel Professional brush is designed specifically for that purpose and thus has earned its place on our list of the best paint brushes for cabinets.

Product Features

  • Polyester and nylon
  • Long beavertail-shaped handle
  • Angled sash brush
  • Round edge
  • Soft bristles
  • Made from high-quality materials


  • Soft bristles for a smoother finish
  • Good for oil paints
  • Cleans easily and lasts a long time


  • A little more expensive

Purdy 1.5″ Clearcut Paint Brush

Purdy 144080115 Clearcut Series Dale Angular Trim Paint Brush, 1-1/2 inch

Because it is able to handle all types of paint, the 1.5” Purdy Clearcut paint brush is an easy choice for our list of the best paint brushes for cabinets. In addition, this Purdy brush offers great cutting-in capabilities, a crucial feature for a professional-quality cabinet-painting job.

Product Features

  • Blend of synthetic materials
  • Stiff bristles
  • Made in the USA


  • Great for getting straight lines


  • Stiff, so it leaves brush strokes

Zibra 1.25″ Triangle Paint Brush

Zibra PB125LZT Triangle Paintbrush, 1-1/4", White

If your cabinets feature raised panels or other special contours that might be difficult to handle with most paint brushes, you need to have the Zibra Triangle paint brush as one of your tools.

With its narrow width and triangular brush-end configuration, this Zibra brush is invaluable for handling hard-to-reach and hard-to-cover areas.

Product Features

  • Made for corners
  • Rounded hour-glass handle
  • More filaments in each brush head
  • Latex bristles


  • Cuts corners amazingly well


  • Has a history of shedding

Best Paint Brushes for Cabinets Buyer’s Guide

As you’re considering which of the many choices on the market will be the best paint brush for cabinets in connection with your DIY project, many aspects of the brush should factor into the final decision. Read on for a look at how to evaluate the suitability of various types of brushes as the best paint brush for cabinets.

Soft vs. Stiff Bristles

The type of bristles you choose for the brushes you’ll want to use on your cabinet-painting project will depend in large part on the type of finish you’ll be applying.

For water-based paints, you’ll do better with a stiffer-bristled brush because those types of finishes tend to be thicker than others.

Generally, your stiff-bristled brush will be made of nylon or a blend of nylon and polyester. If you’re painting in warm conditions, you’ll need to have at least some polyester in your stiff-bristled brush.

If you’re applying a finish finer than paint to your cabinets, such as stain, a brush with a softer set of bristles should be your choice of the best paint brush for cabinets to ensure that brush marks don’t show up in the finish.

Angled Brush vs. Flat Brush

There’s really only one answer to the question of whether an angled brush or a flat brush is the best paint brush for cabinets.

Because most cabinets include decorative edges or other raised and angled design features, an angled brush is the only real way to ensure adequate coverage in all the cabinet doors’ nooks and crannies. As such, it is a clear choice as the best paint brush for cabinets.

Person painting kitchen cabinets with a paint brush

Additionally, angled brushes allow for painting cleaner lines as the bristles fan out. Angled brushes are available in widths ranging from 1 inch to 3 inches. Your choice of width for the best paint brush for cabinets for your project will depend on the area and the contours you’ll need to cover.

Type of Paint

There’s not necessarily a wrong choice when deciding whether you’ll use oil-based or latex-based paint with the best paint brush for cabinets for your project, but there are a couple of things you should know about making that choice for your particular needs and desires.

Briefly, oil-based paint will give you a look in which brush marks become part of the design aesthetic for your kitchen or other areas where you have cabinets in your home.

Latex-based paint, on the other hand, will provide your cabinets with a smoother, sleeker look.

On a related note, the paint you choose for the exterior surfaces of your cabinets should be either semi-gloss or high gloss. That’s because those two types of finishes stand up better to the wear and tear that cabinets — particularly kitchen cabinets — will sustain in frequent use.

As a final tip on paint finishes, if your DIY project includes painting the interior of your cabinets, use an eggshell finish for that part of the project. In the kitchen especially, eggshell finishes will stand up better to frequent use, as dishes, cups, and glasses are moved into and out of your cabinets.

Width of the Brush Head

Generally speaking, a 3-inch brush will be the best paint brush for cabinets. But there are some exceptions to that rule, based on the particular circumstances of your cabinet-painting project.

If your cabinet doors include lots of trim, such as panels or other embellishments, you may at least want to have a smaller brush on hand — something between 1 inch and 2.5 inches, depending on the tightness of corners and other features in the trim — for complete paint coverage. We have a post about The Best Paint Brush for Trim to help you decide which brush to choose for this.

Best Paint Brushes for Cabinets FAQs

Now that you have some idea of what to look for when considering the best paint brush for cabinets, here is some additional information designed to help you make the best decision for your project.

Read on for some questions and answers on choosing the best paint brush for cabinets for your project and some general tips and tricks for cabinet-painting projects.

What is the best type of bristle material for a paint brush when painting cabinets?

As you look for the best paint brush for cabinets for your DIY project, you’ll discover that you’ll have three bristle configurations from which to choose — natural, synthetic, and hybrid.

Natural-bristle brushes, commonly made with boar or hog hair, are the most expensive brushes you’ll find. But in return for that investment, you’ll have a brush that is great for spreading paint and maneuvering paint into tight areas, making it undoubtedly the best paint brush for cabinets.

Woman painting kitchen cupboard cabinets white

One caution note is that it can be tricky to use natural-bristle brushes without leaving brush strokes in the finished product. Because of that, it might be wise to practice on some scrap wood or an inconspicuous area of your cabinetry before tackling the main part of your project.

Synthetic-bristle brushes are less coarse and less stiff than natural-bristle brushes, but it’s easier to keep evidence of brush strokes out of your finished project. That certainly makes a strong argument for synthetic-bristle brushes as the best paint brush for cabinets.

Synthetic brushes will wear out more quickly than natural-bristle brushes, but they are much cheaper to replace, another reason they could be the best paint brush for cabinets.

Hybrid brushes combine both natural and synthetic bristles and also combine the best features of each of those kinds of brushes. The natural bristles in a hybrid brush absorb paint for better distribution, while the synthetic bristles help produce a smooth finish.

With practice, any of the three types of brushes will do a good job on your DIY cabinet-painting projects. But as a starting point for a first project, a hybrid brush likely is the best paint brush for cabinets.

How do I determine the right size brush for painting my cabinets?

While there is some room for debate in terms of the size of brush that is the best paint brush for cabinets, there is an upper limit to brush size that shouldn’t be exceeded.

Only in the rarest of cases, such as when you’re painting a wide expanse of wood — unlike the circumstances you’ll face in most cabinet-painting projects — should you use a brush wider than 3 inches.

And in fact, most recommendations for the best paint brush for cabinets fall within the 1.5-inch to 2.5-inch range, with the lower end of the range used for areas along different surface heights or in tight corners, where precision is necessary to achieve the best results.

As a rule of thumb, the best paint brush for cabinets will be a brush with fine bristles, measuring from 2 inches to 2.5 inches wide.

What is the best technique for using a paintbrush on cabinets to achieve a smooth finish?

Before you pick up a paintbrush for your DIY cabinet-painting project, you should lightly sand all the surfaces you plan to paint to give the paint something to which it can adhere.

You can use fine-grit sandpaper for this part of the process unless this is the first time the cabinets are being repainted. If the cabinets have never before been repainted, use medium-grit sandpaper to prepare the surfaces for painting.

A man sanding kitchen cabinets prior to painting

From there, the first — and possibly the second — coat of paint to be applied to the cabinets is the primer coat.

Another important bit of advice is not to be in a hurry to finish your cabinet-painting project. Experts recommend applying successive thin coats of paint to your cabinets to arrive at a professional-quality finished project. At a minimum, plan on two coats.

A thin third coat will be a good option for lighter colors and will also help show that you have chosen the best paint brush for cabinets for your DIY project.

When you’re painting, your first strokes should be into the nooks and crannies of your cabinets. From there, you can use broader strokes to cover the majority of the cabinets’ surfaces.

What is the best way to clean and maintain a paint brush after using it to paint cabinets?

One thing you’ll want to do for a cabinet-painting project is to buy the highest-quality brush you can find. It won’t come cheap, and because of that, you’ll want to take good care of your brush. That means cleaning it thoroughly after your cabinet-painting project so that it will be ready for your next painting adventure.

Whether you’re using latex-based or oil-based paint, the first step in cleaning is to scrape the brush against the inside edge of the paint can to remove a good share of paint remaining on the brush. Run the paint brush across some old newspaper from there to continue the removal process.

At that point, you’ll need to fill a bucket with soapy water. Insert the brush and then use a brush comb to continue working the paint off of the brush.

Man cleaning a paint brush outside in a bucket

You’ll also likely want to invest in a brush spinner, a manually operated tool that twirls paint brushes rapidly in a cleaning solution, like soap and water, to remove paint further. Use a fresh pail of water after each spin, and also work any remaining paint out of the brush by hand.

Once your brush is clean and dry, wrap it in heavy brown paper, lightly secured with twine, to make sure it remains the best paint brush for cabinets for any future DIY projects in your home.

Are there any tips or tricks for getting the most out of a paint brush when painting cabinets?

One of the problems you may encounter when painting cabinets is the paint lapping over a door edge onto an adjoining surface of the door. While painting your cabinets, keep a sharp eye out for such overlapping, and smooth it out with a sponge-style brush when you see it.

Another tip for doing a great job when painting cabinets is to follow the grain of the wood as you apply the paint. Also, the vertical stiles of your cabinet doors should get the last brushing, with strokes running from top to bottom.

Many people involved with DIY painting projects opt for a roller to paint cabinet doors. It could come in handy even if you don’t want to use a roller for your entire effort. Try applying the paint first with a roller, then using a brush to smooth out the coat of paint.

Is it better to use a brush or a roller for painting cabinets?

While this post is focused on the best paint brush for cabinets for DIY projects, no discussion of painting cabinets would be complete without considering whether using a roller instead of a brush is a good move.

The question of whether it’s better to use a brush or a roller for painting cabinets has been around for some time, and perhaps the best answer is that it depends on the circumstances surrounding individual projects.

Generally speaking, brushes make it easy to control the size of the area over which paint is being applied. But it can be hard to get an even finish with a brush.

It also can be hard to get an even finish with a paint roller. But one argument in favor of using rollers is that it likely will be a faster and more efficient way of getting paint onto your cabinets.

However, comparing the ease of using brushes or rollers, you should also consider that brushes are widely considered less messy than rollers in cabinet-painting projects.

But, getting back to the “it depends” aspect of the question of whether it’s better to use a roller or a brush on a cabinet-painting project: The use of either option likely will depend on the preference of the person actually doing the painting.

Wrapping up the Best Paint Brush for Cabinets

We hope this post has provided you with the information to choose the best paint brush for your project’s cabinets. We also hope it has helped prepare you for future DIY cabinet-painting projects. For more help with painting kitchen cabinets, check out DIY Painting Tips.