The Best Paintbrush for Oil-Based Gloss

Updated May 10, 2024 | Posted Aug 5, 2021 | Professional insight, Tool Insight | 1 comment

Gloss is still the paint of choice for a lot of people, but choosing the best paintbrush for oil-based gloss can take a little bit of thought.

Most brushes with synthetic bristles tend to clog up and become very difficult to work. Natural bristle (hog hair) is the traditional choice for Professional Decorators. But although still a good option in my opinion, natural bristle brushes are slowly being phased out. Manufactures have started to develop synthetic bristle paintbrushes that will cope with oil-based paint.

In this blog, I’m going to talk about the best natural and synthetic bristle paintbrushes to use for oil-based gloss. You may also need a shash brush for cuttin in, so I’ll include that too.


The Best Natural Bristle Paintbrush for Oil-Based Gloss


Hamilton Perfection Pure Bristle is a very old-school paintbrush and has been a favourite of professional decorators for decades!! For me, and many others, they are the best brushes on the market for oil-based paints, especially gloss. Their natural fibres will not stiffen and clog with the oil and you’ll find them perfect for applying and working the material.

These brushes hold a lot of paint too!! You can work the material over large areas such as internal doors with ease. As well as forcing paint into tight gaps and corners of door architraves. Trust me when I say, they are perfect for the task and a joy to use. I’ve tried many paint brushes in oil-based gloss over they years and nothing comes close to Hamilton Perfection!!

The best paintbrush for oil-based gloss is hamilton pure bristle

The Best Synthetic Brush for Oil-based Gloss


You know I said natural bristle paintbrushes are being phased out. This is mostly down to the price of hog hair which is sourced from China. It isn’t too bad now, but it’s predicted to carry on rising, so manufacturers have started to develop synthetic bristles that will do a similar job to natural ones.

Hamilton CleanEdge does just that. It’s a good quality paintbrush and it handles oil-based gloss well. You’ll find it holds its shape and doesn’t stiffen. It also distributes gloss evenly and is soft enough to lay-off to avoid brush marks. Click here to see online prices.


The Best Sash Brush For Oil-Based Gloss


So, you have your Hamilton perfection to work the paint beautifully on the larger areas. Now you need something smaller, which will hold its shape when you’re trying to cut straight lines. Not an easy task with a sticky paint like oil-based gloss. I would normally have two brushes on the go at any one point. A Hamilton Perfection and a sash brush.

There are a few good sash brushes on the market. I thought I’d stick with Hamilton because I know they’re good and they handle oil-based gloss well. I would normally buy a pack of 4, which gives me different sizes to work with.

Hamilton sash brushes are perfect for cutting into glass, the edges of doorframes, the tops of skirtings, and anywhere else you need to strike a straight line really. They are one of the best sash brushes on the market.

Again, you can pick these sash brushes up online, from any Crown Decorating Centre, or some of the other trade paint outlests. Click here to see online prices. 

Foam Rollers


I know they’re not paint brushes, but I thought I’d quickly talk about foam rollers. As previously mentioned, oil-based gloss is very sticky, and spreading a thin, even coat, over a large area can be a nightmare!! Using a foam roller will not only speed the job up, but it will give you a more even finish.

You can use a microfibre roller, but as the gloss is sticky, it has a tendency to pull fibres from your roller head. A foam roller is a quick, easy way to apply your paint. Just remember to lay off with a paintbrush afterwards.

The best foam rollers for oil-based gloss are the high-density concave. You’ll find application easy, and it won’t leave track marks. Available online by clicking here and will fit a standard mini roller arm.


The Best Oil-Based Gloss


A little stocking filler for you. I won’t go on too much because I’ve already written a full blog on the best oil-based gloss, which you can view here. I thought I’d give you a quick summery though.

Choosing the right gloss is important, simply because of the problems you could experience with the paint yellowing over time. Choose trade paint and don’t try to save a few quid by going cheap, or your brilliant white glossed door will look magnolia after a few months!!

One of my favourite gloss products is Dulux Trade, which can be a pain to use, but if you get it right it’ll look gorgeous for years to come. It’s a really bright “in your face” gloss which stands loud and proud on your woodwork. You can by Dulux Trade High Gloss from any Dulux Decorating Centre, but unless you’re entitled to a trade discount, it will almost certainly be cheaper to buy this paint online.

Dulux Trade high gloss



How do you paint oil-based gloss without brush strokes?

The best way is to work one area at a time. Cut-in around the edges with a sash brush, then roll any flats with a foam roller. You then use a soft brush to lay-off the gloss and create the perfect finish.


Is it better to roll or brush gloss paint?

Both!! Using a roller will help you distribute the gloss evenly, but you’ll then need to lay-off with a paintbrush to get rid of the orange peel.


What are the tips for painting with oil-based paint?

Other than, ‘get your prep right’, the best tip I can give you is to get rid of as much dust as you can. Abrade a surface, dust off with a dry brush, allow the durst to settle, and then paint.


Final Thoughts


Using the correct paintbrush for oil-based gloss is half the battle. Soft synthetic bristles just clog, making your work hard going. A good sash brush will help with your cutting in, and a natural bristle paintbrush like the Hamilton perfection will tackle the larger areas. Follow the advice on this blog and your paint finish will be immaculate every time.

The Best Paintbrush for Oil-Based Gloss – by Mike Gregory

Updated May 10, 2024 | Posted Aug 5, 2021 | 1 comment

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 Comment

  1. tony mc gilloway

    old Hamilton perfection where the brush last 10 years gone to dogs not the same i use Purdy Monarch or extra,good thick stock for both water or oil based satin


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