best paint brush for cutting in

Best Paint Brush for Cutting In 2022 – UK Reviews & Buying Guide (Updated)

Property Workshop is proudly reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a small Amazon affiliate commission but this does not affect the price you pay. Learn more here.


Colour on a wall can make or break the desired effect, but it’s no good creating the perfect design if the application is poor. In all my experience of room makeovers, one thing I discovered is never scrimp on the finish.

In a Hurry? Here’s our top pick for the best paint brush for cutting in:

Purdy Elite Dale Sash Paint Brush, Polyester, 1.5 Inch
  • Greater paint lift and smoother application
  • Hand chiselled for precision cutting in
  • No filament loss guaranteed
  • Self flag for perfect painting edge throughout the life of the brush
  • Use with water and solvent based coatings

Applying emulsion to a wall is pretty straightforward for most DIY enthusiasts, but many slip up by using the wrong brush for cutting in. To get a neat line, you need a brush with an angled sash and bristles that keep their shape.

So, to make sure you get the best paint brush for cutting in, read on.


Best Paint Brush for Cutting In Reviews – The UK’s Top 3 in 2022

Here’s my list of the top 3 paint brushes for cutting in.

1. Purdy Elite Dale Sash Paint Brush

Purdy Elite Dale Sash Paint Brush, Polyester, 1.5 Inch
  • Greater paint lift and smoother application
  • Hand chiselled for precision cutting in
  • No filament loss guaranteed
  • Self flag for perfect painting edge throughout the life of the brush
  • Use with water and solvent based coatings

The Purdy Elite Dale is the professional’s choice, and for this reason, it gets my vote as #1. Purdy is one of the top manufacturers of quality paint brushes, and this brush doesn’t disappoint.

The polyester bristles work equally well with water, solvent or oil-based paint, and at 254mm in length, the Purdy Elite Dale reaches those high corners, making it one of the most versatile brushes around.

At only 32g, it’s by far the lightest brush of the three and the 38mm wide head is excellent for detail work.

Purdy guarantees’ no filament loss’ with filament meaning bristles. However, you can expect to lose one or two bristles when you first use it. 

Yes, the Purdy is expensive, but if you look after it, you’ll get years of reliable service and the perfect finish every time!

ProsCons
Long handle for high reachExpensive
The narrow head makes it ideal for detailed workSome may find the long handle obtrusive
Lightweight, easy to handle 
Excellent bristle retention 

2. Hamilton Performance Cutting-in Brush

Hamilton Performance 2" Cutting in Brush for Precise Cutting in All Types of Paint
  • Angled profile for precision when cutting in
  • Synthetic filament for high quality application, finish and durability with water-based paints
  • Medium series holds more paint paint than thinner alternative
  • Quality, comfortable short wooden handle

This Hamilton Performance cutting-in brush is the heavyweight of the three, weighing in at 90g. Also, at 208mm long and 50mm wide, the Hamilton brush is bulkier than the other two.

We found that its synthetic bristles are better for water-based emulsion. We also found that its thicker head holds more paint than the other two brushes, making it smoother and faster to use.

ProsCons
One of the top brushes for water-based emulsionNot recommended for solvent-based paint.
The shorter wooden handle works better for getting into tight spotsNot so good at detailed work
The synthetic bristles hold plenty of paint for quicker application 

3. Harris Ultimate Reach Paint Brush

1.5" Harris Ultimate Walls & Ceilings Reach Paint Brush
  • The Ultimate Walls and Ceilings Reach Brush makes painting and cutting in around ceilings easier as the longer handle means you can get the ultimate finish in those hard to reach places
  • Paints Faster * This brush will allow you to paint faster than a Harris Essentials paint brushes saving you time
  • The patented No-Loss* technology s no bristle loss while you are painting
  • This brush is our best solution for cutting in around the top of a wall near the ceiling around light fixtures and for painting other hard to reach areas with emulsion paints For best results rinse brush head before use to remove any dust
  • This brush is made to last! After use with water based paints such as emulsion remove the excess paint and wash in warm soapy water or rinse in clean running water or cleaning fluids Then immediately dry thoroughly *Bristle loss may occur if left to soak or if left in a damp area

There’s none better than the Harris Ultimate Reach brush when it comes to cutting in at the junction between the wall and ceiling. 

With an overall length of 278mm, it’s one of the longest cutting-in brushes around. Great for hard-to-reach corners and around light fittings.

The 38mm width is perfect for detailed work, but the extra-long handle seems to work against this principle. For this reason, the Harris Ultimate Reach paint brush comes third on my list. A good brush at a reasonable price but limited usability.

ProsCons
Great for reaching high spotsThe long handle hinders detailed work
Low bristle loss means better resultsNot recommended for solvent-based paint
Good value for money 

Best Paint Brush for Cutting In – 2022 Comparison Table

ProductWidth (mm) Length (mm) Weight (g) Best for Cost Rating out of 10
Purdy Elite Dale Sash3825432All paints£££9
Hamilton Performance5020890Emulsion£8.5
Harris Ultimate Reach3827860Emulsion£8

The Art of Cutting In

painter using paint brush painting a door frame

Slapping paint on walls and ceilings is not a highly skilled job, and you can quickly achieve a decent finish using a roller or brush without too much practice. “A bit of wallop” is what my dad called this practice. 

The real skill is in cutting in – that is, the detailed painting around fittings, skirtings, architraves, window frames, and corners.

There are two types of cutting in:

Some paint brushes work better with emulsion than oil or solvent-based paint, and this is due to the bristles.

Cutting in with a square brush always leads to stray bristles flicking paint where you don’t want it. Moreover, as cutting in requires accuracy, the best cutting in brushes have an angled sash, meaning the bristles are trimmed on a slant rather than square.

Pro Tip: When painting a wall or ceiling, I recommend you cut in first and allow the paint to dry before painting the remaining surface. Also, paint the trim before painting the walls.


Cutting In Brush Buying Guide

hand of a man using a paint brush painting skirting board white

With an excellent cutting-in brush and the proper technique, you can avoid the laborious job of taping up. Gone with it is the possibility of paint bleeding underneath the tape or lifting the paint when you remove it.

When buying the best paint brush for cutting in, it’s essential to understand the following key differences between various brushes: 

Length of Handle

When you’re doing detailed work, it’s essential for the brush to feel comfortable in your hand. For this reason, many prefer shorter handled brushes while others prefer the feel of a longer handle, mainly when painting hard-to-reach areas. Ultimately, pick whatever handle size feels best for you.

Type of Bristles

Natural bristles are favoured by some, particularly for use with oil-based paint. However, synthetic bristles are better for emulsion paints, particularly latex paint. 

To get a smooth finish, you need soft bristles, but at the same time, the bristles must hold their shape, even after several uses.

Width of Head

For detailed work, 38mm is better. For general cutting in, 50mm holds more paint and does the job quicker.

Head Fixing

We recommend cutting in brushes with pins holding the brush head in place. Others rely on friction, and these tend to loosen very quickly. 

Loss of Bristles

On cheaper, poorly made brushes, you may find bristles end up on the wall or trim. Not only is this annoying and time-consuming, but it also makes a mess of the finish.

Storage

You should never store cutting-in brushes upright in a jar because they will lose their all-important angled sash shape. So, after cleaning, dry your brushes and lay them flat.


Best Paint Brush for Cutting In – Final Thoughts

There’s no doubt that the Purdy Elite Dale is the best paint brush for cutting in. After all, it’s the paint brush of choice for many professionals, despite the high price tag. However, the Hamilton Performance brush is good enough for most DIY enthusiasts.

Purdy Elite Dale Sash Paint Brush, Polyester, 1.5 Inch
  • Greater paint lift and smoother application
  • Hand chiselled for precision cutting in
  • No filament loss guaranteed
  • Self flag for perfect painting edge throughout the life of the brush
  • Use with water and solvent based coatings

But let’s not write off the Harris Ultimate Reach completely. It’s on my list because it’s a quality brush, and if you’re looking for extra reach, this brush is an excellent choice.