Brush Mate Review
By Mike Gregory
A Brush Mate is a box you put your oil-based paintbrushes in to stop them going hard. They come in two different sizes, a Brush Mate 20 is the biggest one and can hold up to 20 paintbrushes. The other size is a Brush Mate 4 which can hold up to, you guessed it, 4 paintbrushes. As a professional decorator I use both sizes of brush mate and have for many years. This is my Brush Mate review.
The Old way to Store your Paintbrush
A Brush Mate is quite an expensive bit of kit, so when I first started out on my own, I made do without one. The alternative “old school” method of keeping your oil-based brushes in good nick in between jobs is to throw them in a pot with just enough water to cover the bristles. If you want to save a few quid, this might still be a viable option, but it does come with a few drawbacks.
First off, you will have to clean your brushes every time you use them anyway, simply to get all the water out. Oil-based paint floats on water and clogs up the ferrule of your brush too. Oh, and your brush will rust after a short space of time. If you leave them for any length of time, the water will evaporate, and your brushes will go hard anyway. The last thing, any time you moved your pot of water and brushes, the water would spill all over the van. Thinking about it now, those days were hell! So messy! The Brush Mate is a Godsend and easily the best way to stop your paint brushes going hard.
Bring on the Brush Mate Review!!
It was like a revelation when I bought my Brush Mate!! It does take up a bit of space in my van, but my brushes are kept in perfect condition in between jobs. The only two things you need to remember are; keep the bottle of Brush Mate fluid topped up (if you want to save a few quid you can use thinners), and don’t sit on your Brush Mate!! If you do sit on it, you’ll bend the lid and the seal won’t be air tight any more. They’ve switched back to metal lids which are a lot more robust than the plastic ones.
There are a couple of other drawbacks as well. You hang your brushes on metal hooks inside your Brush Mate, however they will fall off from time to time in transit. This is an absolute pain in the backside and you end up having to fish your favorite brush out of a sloppy horrible mess at the bottom. The only other issue is the paint brushes tend to touch each other when the box is full, so it’s no good if you keep different colours in one box.
It feels as though I’m being too negative which is unjust because I genuinely believe the Brush Mate to be brilliant!! They are well made, last an age and keep your oil-based paint brushes in amazing condition without the need to clean them. We are a two-man decorating team and I have 3 brush mates. One for white brushes, one for colours and a small one for my stain and varnish brushes.
You’re looking at around £60 for the Brush Mate 20 and £20 for the smaller one. You can pick them up from almost any trade paint counter, or do what I did and go online to My Paintbrush.
What do Other Decorators Think?
Brush mate boxes are great to keep your oil-based brushes in. Most of my paint is water-based now, so I’ve gone from three brush mates, down to one. It isn’t ideal keeping more than one coloured brush in a box as the paint runs from each brush and can contaminate the others. Still, it’s a lot better than the old school approach of keeping your brush in water.
A brush mate does everything you need it to do. No way it costs fifty notes to manufacture though. Someone has made a serious amount of money off the back of that invention.
The new brush mate buckets are good. There’s a clamp than goes around the bucket to protect the seal. I reckon you could leave we brushes in one of those for a thousand years and they’d still be fresh when you opened it.
Brush Mate Review