8 Best Paint Brushes for Painting Trim, Cabinets, Walls and Furniture in 2023
Not every painting project is the same, and your brushes shouldn't be either. Here are the best paint brushes for all your DIY projects.
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Natural or synthetic, shape and size, ergonomics and price—there are a lot of things to consider when choosing the best paint brushes for your project. Whether you’re working on updating the color of your living room, doing some touch-ups or edging, painting trim or refinishing furniture, you’ll need all the right painting tools for the job. This includes the best paint buckets, drop cloths and, of course, quality paint brushes. We did the research and found the best paint brushes for your next DIY painting project.
Best Overall Paint Brush
Purdy XL Swan Flat Wall Brush
Designed for latex- and oil-based paints, primers and stains, the Purdy XL Swan Flat Wall Brush is the company’s most versatile brush. Its ability to paint just about anything makes it our best overall pick. Not only is it easy to clean, but you can break it out for interiors and exteriors. The polyester blend bristles offer superior durability and are resistant to abrasion.
“I have had this brush for months. I use it every day, and it has held up amazingly. Doesn’t fray or break, absolutely love it,” writes verified buyer, Kikimarie70.
- The brand’s most versatile brush
- Can be used in interiors and exteriors
- Has a moisture-wicking alderwood handle
- Handcrafted in the USA
- Not ideal for detailed painting projects
Best Budget Paint Brush
Wooster Polyester Paint Brush
For a quality wallet-friendly pick to get the job done, Wooster’s polyester paint brush is a solid choice for latex- and oil-based paints. It’s available in 1.5-, 2- and 4-inch options to tackle the task you have at hand. Buyers noted the solid black plastic handle was easy to hold and liked its sturdiness. Use it for projects such as painting cabinets or furniture.
- Won’t break the bank
- Available in three sizes
- Sturdy, solid handle
- Bristles may fall out over time
Best Paint Brush for Oil-Based Paint
Purdy White Bristle Series
If you’re working with oil-based paints, a brush with natural filaments is your best pick. The Purdy White Bristle Series paint brush is made of soft, white China (hog hair) bristles. It’s a versatile brush designed for use with indoor and outdoor stains, polyurethanes, wood conditioners, lacquer thinners and other alkyd products. Buyers noted this brush delivered a smooth finish.
- Bristles made of hog hair
- Available in 1.5 and 2.5 inches
- Long handle for easy use
- Bristles may fall out over time
Best Paint Brush for Staining
Wooster Bravo Stainer
When it comes to staining projects, the Wooster Bravo Stainer will give you a stained-wood project you’ll be proud of. This 4-inch Italian stain brush is designed to use with oil-based stains and wood toners. It’s made of white China bristles with a nickel-plated steel ferrule. This stain brush has a threaded hardwood handle with a bucket clip that can be removed, making it easy to use it with an extension pole for high-up painting projects.
- Firm 4-inch brush with square trim
- Provides an even stain distribution
- Threaded handle can be used with extension pole
- May be too big for tight painting areas
Best Paint Brush for Trim
Richard Elegance Trim Brush with Soft-Grip Handle
Painting trim can be an uncomfortable and tedious job, so finding the right brush is a must. The Richard Elegance Trim Brush has a soft-grip handle that’ll leave your trim looking smooth, polished and refined. The trim brush is meant to be held like a pencil, and the bristles form a cone with tapered ends to spread paint evenly and meticulously. The design also allows you to paint down into tight cracks and crevices where other brushes just can’t reach.
- Available in four small sizes
- Features a soft-grip handle
- Has tapered polyester fibers for clean edges
- Not ideal for oil-based paint
Best Paint Brush for Cutting-In
Shortcut Polyester Angle Sash Brush
“Cutting-in” is when you paint a straight line that separates or defines an area without the use of painter’s tape. If this is your style, you’ll want to check out the Shortcut Polyester Angle Sash Brush from Wooster. This brush combines a full-size angled head and a short, soft-grip handle for excellent control and less hand fatigue. The result is a brush that makes following edges precisely along ceilings, around trim and above baseboards quicker and easier.
- Has an angled head and flexible handle
- Synthetic blend bristles for all paints
- Not for fine detail work
Best Paint Brush for Masonry
KingOrigin Block Brush Three-Pack
If you’re working on painting a wooden fence, staining your deck or painting brick or concrete, the KingOrigin Block Brush is a smart option. With their double thickness, these brushes are especially good for masonry work. This three-pack of brushes features super-grip plastic screw handles, so you can attach an extension pole to coat concrete driveways or reach high cement walls. It also makes an excellent marine paint brush.
- Comes with three brushes (4, 5 and 6 inches)
- Has a 1.2-inch thickness
- Can attach to an extension pole
- Takes longer to clean (Speaking of, these paint brush cleaners are great for extending the life of your tools)
Best Paint Brush Set
Bates Paint Brushes Four-Pack
A multipack of Bates paint brushes is a valuable option for any DIYer. This best paint brush set has four heavy-duty synthetic brushes in a range of sizes and shapes for tackling any home improvement chore. It includes 2-, 2.5- and 3-inch flat brushes, and a 1.5-inch angled sash brush for painting trim. Expert DIYers who like having extra brushes around for last-minute odd jobs will covet this set.
“I am a professional painter and this is my favorite product I’ve discovered,” writes reviewer, Amazon Customer.
- Includes four brushes for affordable price
- Each brush is a different size and style
- Has lightweight wooden handles
- Paint might not go on ultra-smooth
What to Consider When Buying Paint Brushes
When shopping for the best paint brush, consider the project. Some brushes were designed to cover large areas while others are meant for more precise painting, such as “cutting-in” and trim work. Also, depending on the bristles, some may be better used for certain types of paints, such as oil- or latex-based, while others are better for stains and varnishes. Some brushes offer an ergonomic handle to make it easier to hold, and some may have a handle that can be attached to an extension pole.
The shape of the paint brush matters. A flat brush is best for painting walls while a coned, round one directs paint into carved moldings. For jobs that require cutting into corners, angled brushes are a must for many painters.
The size of a brush is measured by its width. Brushes typically range from 0.25-inch (for precise painting) to 6 inches (for covering large exteriors and masonry).
Types of Paint Brushes
- Brushes with synthetic bristles: These can be used on all types of paint, but work best with water-based formulas. Typically made of nylon, polyester or a combination of the two, synthetic filaments don’t swell up with water like natural bristles can, so they apply latex paints smoothly and easily.
- Paint brushes with natural bristles: They use animal hair, usually hog or badger. Hog hair bristles are also known as China bristles. These brushes perform overwhelmingly better at applying oil-based paints, stains and varnishes.
How We Found the Best Paint Brushes
As shopping experts, our only job is to help you find a winning product. We start with the research and reporting basics—what products are made of, what they look like and how much they cost—to ensure that we’re only recommending the buys that are worth your time and money. Then, we research the features that speak to the product’s quality, taking advice from industry insiders and subject matter experts on what makes a product a smart value (or worthy of a splurge). Finally, we do the work of combing through user reviews to see how real people interact with the product, and if it stands up to the test.
What brush do professional painters use?
Professional painters use a mix of brushes that depends on the job and task at hand. They may use a flat brush for painting walls or larger areas, and more specific brushes for edging and trim work. They may also choose their brush based on the type of paint being used on a project. The brushes we selected for this list all have excellent reviews from professional painters.
What type of brush gives the smoothest finish?
If you’re looking for an extra-smooth finish, try a brush with white China bristles, as these can give you the touch you’re looking for. In addition, allowing your paint to fully dry before applying another coat helps with eliminating paint brush marks, as does using a bit of paint thinner or mineral spirits, which helps with even coats.
Are more expensive brushes worth it?
That all depends on the type of brush, what you’re using it for and how comfortable it is to hold. It’s worth trying highly-rated, less expensive brushes before spending money on expensive paint brushes.
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