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Choosing the Best Paint Brush for Cutting In: Our Top 7 Picks

Taking on a DIY painting project is one of the easiest ways to update your home. However, there’s still a learning curve for some of the trickier techniques. Cutting in is a painting skill that requires practice.

Cutting in around ceilings, baseboards, and trim marks the edge of your painted wall. Getting a clean, straight edge gives your painted room a polished, professional look. You’ll need patience, a steady hand, and experience to master this technique.

Using the best paint brush for cutting in can make all the difference. Whether this is your first painting project or you’re already a pro, the right tool for the job will make cutting in much easier. Read on for our top recommendations for beginning and professional painters.

Professional painter using paint brush to cut in paint around stairs

Our Top Picks

Best Overall
2.5” Stinger Professional Interior Brush

Budget Option
Wooster Shortcut

Best for Small Areas
Bates Trim Brush

Best Overall

2.5” Stinger Professional Interior Brush

Stinger Brush - Professional Interior Paint Brush with Fill-A-Blend Technology, Angle Brush for Cutting In, Edges, Trim, and Walls (1, 2.5 Inch - Stinger)

Stinger is a newer company to the paint brush market, but their innovative product definitely holds its own among traditional standbys like Wooster and Purdy. What sets this paint brush apart from other brushes for cutting in is the Stinger Tip, a slightly longer tip made of stiffer bristles. The angled, slightly softer bristles below blend in the paint seamlessly without leaving brush strokes.


  • Performs well cutting in along edges and in corners
  • Distinctive shape and tip work equally well on smooth and textured surfaces
  • The stiffer tipped bristles and softer angled bristles cut in and blend simultaneously


  • One of the more expensive options for cutting-in brushes
  • Best for more experienced painters who are familiar with cutting in technique
  • Unfinished wood handle may not last as long as other high-quality brushes

Budget Option

Wooster Shortcut

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

Coming in at about six dollars a brush, the Wooster Shortcut is easy to work with and easy on your wallet. Cutting in requires precision and control, which is easier to achieve with the short, flexible handle. This is the best paint brush for cutting in among beginning DIY painters who are strengthening their technique.


  • Flexible handle ideal for small spaces
  • Synthetic bristles make it easy to blend, leaves fewer brush strokes
  • Short handle gives painter great control and precise lines


  • Short handle can be difficult to hold for a long time
  • Bristles will not last as long as a higher quality brush

Best for Small Areas

Bates Trim Brush

Bates- Trim Brush, 0.75 Inch, Edge Painting Tool, Trim Paint Brushes, Trim Painting Tool, Paint Trimmer Edger, Trim Brush

This narrow, stiff-bristled brush is designed specifically for cutting in, edging, and painting detailed trim. The chiseled point will give you exceptional control around tight and hard-to-reach angles.

If your room has lots of small areas, this brush will make cutting in much easier! Whether you’re a professional painter or a first-timer, the Bates Trim Brush makes cutting in quick and easy.


  • Narrow brush tip allows painter to make sharp, precise lines
  • Great control can eliminate need for taping off
  • Synthetic bristles easily hold plenty of paint without dripping.


  • The Bates brush is specific to cutting in and other detail work. You’ll need to purchase additional brushes to paint wide trim and fill small wall areas.
  • Stiff bristles are more prone to leaving brush strokes

Purdy XL Glide

3" Purdy 144152330 XL Glide Angled Sash Paint Brush, Tynex Orel

The XL Glide is a favorite among many experienced painters. In addition to cutting in, the XL Glide can be used for nearly any project that requires brushing by hand. This is the widest-width brush on our list, so it’s ideal for efficiently covering long straight edges.

It’s also one of the more economical choices for a high-quality, versatile paint brush. A flexible, durable option, this brush is ideal for beginning painters who only want to purchase one paintbrush for many uses.


  • Wide width cuts in and covers area efficiently
  • Excellent choice for cutting in simple, straight lines, such as ceilings and baseboards
  • High-quality product will last through many projects


  • Too wide for cutting in around corners or small areas
  • Can be heavier than other brushes when loaded with paint
  • Larger size is more difficult to maneuver and requires a steadier hand

Corona 2.5” Excalibur

Corona 2.5" Excalibur Chinex Paint Brush

If you are ready to invest in the best paint brush for cutting in and various other purposes, look at the Corona Excalibur. What sets this brush apart from similar tools are the Chinex bristles, which are far easier to clean and maintain than others on the market. This is a high-quality, easy-care brush that will last for years.


  • Chinex bristles are especially easy to clean
  • Handmade from high-quality materials
  • Can be used for many purposes beyond cutting in, such as trim painting and touch up


  • Less pronounced angle than other brushes, requires more painting skill
  • More expensive than other paint brushes for cutting in

Wooster Ultra-Pro Extra-Firm Lindbeck Brush

Wooster Brush 4153-2 1/2 4153-2-1/2 Ultra/Pro Extra-Firm Lindbeck Angle Sash Paintbrush, 2-1/2-Inch 2-1/2" XFirm ANG Brush, 2.5 Inch

The Wooster Ultra-Pro Extra-Firm Lindbeck brush is best for cutting in projects that use thick paint or textured surfaces. Exterior painting projects are especially well-suited for the Lindbeck. This extra-firm brush holds plenty of paint while remaining easy to control for cutting in crisp edges.


  • Well-suited for thick paints, such as exterior paint or stain
  • Stiff bristles are great for cutting in on textured walls or popcorn ceilings
  • Durable brush does not lose bristles over time


  • Bristles can lose stiffness after extended periods of painting
  • May leave brush strokes in thin or glossy paint

Purdy Clearcut

Purdy 144152125 Clearcut Series Glide Angular Trim Paint Brush, 2-1/2 inch

The Purdy Clearcut is an all-around great paint brush for a variety of painting projects. The Clearcut offers a balance of precision and efficiency. The angled shape allows painters to get close to edges and create sharp lines.

At the same time, the slightly softer bristles are ideal for blending paint, touching up, and filling in small areas. While it’s not specific to cutting in, many experienced painters find the shape is just right for this purpose.


  • Synthetic bristles are exceptionally easy to clean
  • Softer bristle texture than other cutting in brushes, making it easier to eliminate brush strokes
  • Versatile brush can also be used for trim painting and filling in small wall areas


  • Not the best choice for especially detailed or narrow areas
  • Beginning painters might prefer a more specialized brush while learning to cut in

Paint Brush Buyer’s Guide

Bristle Type

The best paint brushes for cutting in will have stiffer bristles than the average paint brush. Stiff bristles give the painter more control and help create sharp cutting in lines.

However, stiff bristles also make blending more difficult and more likely to leave brush strokes. Some paint brushes offer a combination of stiff and softer bristles to help distribute the paint evenly.

Paint Brush Shape

Angled or chiseled brushes give painters the most precision, which is important for cutting in. The shape of the bristles will allow you to push up against the edge.

If you’re using an angled brush, position it so that the longest point is just touching your edge. The shorter bristles will pull and smooth the paint over the wall. If done well, your angled brush will leave a smooth two-inch stripe of paint with a sharp edge.

When you roll paint over the rest of the wall, you can overlap your roller with the blended stripe for a seamless finish.

Paint Brush Width

If you are cutting in large areas, a 2 or 2 ½ inch brush will help you cover a lot of area fairly quickly. It’s not advisable to use a brush wider than three inches. The wider the brush, the more difficult it will be to control the edge of your paint line.

However, opt for a narrower brush if you are cutting in around small details or in small areas. While painting with a narrow brush is less efficient, it will give you the precision you need to cut in these tricky areas.

Paint Brush for Cutting In Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best method for cutting in?

First, load up your paint brush. The best paint brush for cutting in will be able to hold a decent amount of paint. However, you still don’t want to overload and risk drips. Wipe off excess paint in your paint holder, or a rubber band stretched around your paint bucket.

Hold your paint brush with the top point a quarter inch from the edge and press down firmly. The bristles should push upright toward the edge. As you pull your paint brush across the wall, focus on creating a sharp, clean line across the top.

Should I use painter’s tape when cutting in?

Beginning painters may feel more comfortable using painter’s tape. Even when using the best paint brush for cutting in, the technique takes time and practice to master.

Put painter’s tape on the ceiling if you’re cutting in at a corner (for example, between a wall and ceiling). Then, use the cutting-in strategy described above to paint the wall right up to the edge of the tape.

Using the best paint brush for cutting in to paint around molding

If you’re cutting in around moldings such as window sashing or baseboards, tape the molding and paint up against the edge as described above. Or, you can purposefully paint over the edge of the tape. When you remove the painter’s tape, it will reveal a crisp line.

Painter’s tape offers extra protection from drips and wobbly edges. However, applying all that tape isn’t worth the time and effort for painters who have mastered cutting in. If you’re confident about your cutting-in skills, go ahead and forego the tape.

I still see my cutting-in lines. Can I fix it?

Sometimes, after completing your room painting project, you may see a slight difference in texture between your hand-painted cut-in edges and the rest of the wall.

After the paint is dry, go back and lightly sand over the brush and roller strokes. Remove all the dust with a tack cloth and apply a second coat of paint.

Choosing the best paint brush for cutting in will help prevent this, so will mixing your paint well before you start. Paint color can vary slightly from one quart to another. If you’re using multiple quarts of paint for your project, mix them all in a large bucket before painting.

Click here to read more about How to Get Rid of Cutting in Lines When Painting and Avoid Picture Framing.

Wrapping up the 7 Best Paint Brushes for Cutting In

Sharp, crisp edges around ceilings and moldings are essential for a polished, professional-looking paint job. Cutting in requires the right tools and the right technique.

While practice is the best way to improve technique, starting off with the best paint brush for cutting in will shorten your learning curve.

Consider your own experience as well as the specific needs for your project before you choose your brush. Using specialized tools will save you a lot of headaches when cutting in rooms with lots of angles or small areas.

However, if you’re working within a budget and have lots of long, straight edges, look for a versatile, multi-use paint brush.

Ready to tackle your DIY painting project? Check out our hub page for everything you need to know about painting interior walls!