Paintbrush review: Picasso vs Purdy – which are better?

Updated May 2, 2024 | Posted Oct 10, 2017 | Professional insight, Tool Insight | 5 comments

Paintbrushes we’ve known and loved


Reza from Sultan Decorators has been in the trade for 12 years, and for over 6 of them, he has been refusing to try any other paintbrush brand than Purdy. Having the right bristles can make all the difference for us in the decorating business.

A true decorator takes loving care of his tools because he or she depends on them. The brush is not only a tool, it’s the painter’s companion, and so it is a quite special relationship. A while ago we won a set of Picasso Brushes on Twitter from Coleman Trade Paints. I had been reading online that these paintbrushes are quick and accurate. From a purely superficial point of view, they sure look sharp with those orange filaments.

Using the Picasso Proforma


So this summer, Reza finally put those Purdys away to try out The Picasso Proforma Package. He’s been working with water-based paints, mainly Farrow & Ball and Dulux Trade Vinyl Matt Emulsion. Reza has reluctantly admitted that he is very impressed by the Picasso’s precision. It is obvious that these are quality brushes. They hold the paint firmly, clean up very well and provide an excellent finish. If Reza used a less professional brush, it would have required a roller or some more sanding. But the Picasso’s made his work smooth as silk.

These are his new favourite go-to brushes. Reza has used them on 3 jobs and they still look really neat. Compare it to the cheap ones on the left, which were used by his apprentice for just one day – the difference is obvious.

Almost on par with Purdy

The Picasso Proforma are ALMOST on par with Purdy, but have one small, yet vital drawback…

If you compare the Picasso’s to other brushes, the handles are unusually long. Reza prefers to hold the brush very close to the bristle, and so not only can it be awkward – it makes the brush heavier. Reza’s hands were a little bit more tired than usual after each long day of painting.

But what is a tired hand, when the Picasso Proforma brushes cut in with precision and style?

a fantastic paintbrush for decorating a room

There are a couple of other drawbacks to the Picasso when you compare it to Purdy. The Picasso is chemically sealed on the tip of each bristle, which fails over time. This means they don’t last as long as Purdy.
Purdy also do a big range of brushes to fit different styles of job and a variety of materials. You can use them in oil or water, have a stiff or soft brush, thin or fat etc. Picasso are sort of a “one size fits all” type of paint brush. Still great for cutting in emulsion, but that is about it.


Where to Buy


You can buy both Purdy and Picasso from a few different places. I know Dulux and Crown Decorating Centres sell both brands of paintbrush. However, it’s often cheaper to buy paintbrushes online.

Click here to see online prices for Purdy.

Click here to see online prices for Picasso.


The bottom line is always in the finish – and in this area Picasso definitely delivers.

Diana Voxerbrant is the managing director of Sultan Decorators Ltd and loves to force her painter husband to try out new tools and materials. She also writes and talks too much, you can follow her or Reza on Twitter for more banter and North London stories. We’re also on Instagram as The Sultans of Muswell Hill and Facebook too… or just read her previous post about decorator MYTHS that need to be demolished.

Paintbrush review: Picasso vs Purdy – by Sultan Decorators

Updated May 2, 2024 | Posted Oct 10, 2017 | 5 comments

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Cupit has been in the decorating industry since 2002 and has mostly worked as a Trade Decorator in the domestic sector (peoples’ homes). Self-proclaimed “product geek”, Mike has a passion for paint and decorating tools. Mike now spends most of his time testing paint products and tools, comparing them to similar products on the market, and blogging about the industry in general.


  1. Kevin heath

    Picasso it’s there handles 😉
    Otherwise not much in them..

  2. Matthew Willoughby

    Picasso bristles do not like Fired Earth paint! Purdy’s, when looked after, go on forever….Arroworthy Finultra are my current favourites though! 👍🏽

  3. peter kirkham

    prefer the stubby handles but you do get used to the longer handles….. but when in a bit of a tight spot the handle can still annoy

  4. Ian Walker

    I’ve been in the trade for 36 years and lectured for the last 20 whilst retaining my sub contractor status. For the last year I have been using Picasso’s for all my work with water based products. These are the best synthetic brushes I have used. Well ,ade from quality products. They are designed ergonomically, so if held correctly feel comfortable all day I particularly like the longer handles. Paint pickup is excellent due to the generous filling. Cutting in is also excellent and they retain there shape all day. With care when washing out are great on the next job. For me Picasso is my go to brush.

  5. Tom

    I find the Picasso brushes after a few washes go a little bit stiff. Superb at first though. I’ve also tried in oil based paints and find they keep really well in the brushmate and nothing compares to them in stains and varnish. In water based paints the purdy brush comes first.


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