The Best Paintbrush on the Market

By Mike Gregory


I have been a decorator, blogger and all-round decorating geek for the best part of 19 years. One discussion that is forever coming up on the Decorators Forum UK is about the best paintbrush on the market. The answer isn’t ‘straight cut’, pardon the pun. I have an arsenal of different paint brushes and each one is better at performing certain tasks. In this blog, I’ll take you through my favourite paint brushes for each job you’re likely to come across. Do not take my text as gospel, as each decorator has their preference, but the brushes I’m about to mention are all awesome.


Best Brush for Oil-Based Paint


I’m quite old school when it comes to oil-based paint, especially gloss or satinwood. I have tried many different synthetic brushes in the past, but for me, the best brush for oil-based paint is, and always has been, a Hamilton Perfection natural bristle. You can pick these up online, or any good trade paint outlet.


The natural bristles are actually made from hog hair which do not go sticky and stiffen up when used to apply an oil-based product. It allows you to manipulate the material and work it into whatever you’re painting with ease. Hamilton Perfection brushes are also very soft, meaning you can lay off and reduce brush marks. They hold loads of paint too!! I absolutely ardour these paint brushes!!


The only issue you may have with a Hamilton Perfection paintbrush is, until you’ve “broken them in” (used them for a few hundred hours until they start to hold their shape), you will find them difficult to cut in with. I normally use a Hamilton sash brush to cut my lines around the edge of whatever I’m painting, then use the Hamilton Prestige to work the paint into the larger areas. This is a lot easier than it sounds!!


The sash brushes are brilliant!! They hold their shape well, even when cutting thin beading, or the edges of door frames. It’s easy to push the paint and create a nice sharp line. These are also available online, as well as many other stockists.


Best brush for water-based satin and gloss


Water-based satin and gloss are a completely different animal!! A lot of the time, this type of paint is quite loose, so you need a brush that will hold its shape. For me, there are two choices. Arroworthy Finultra, or Staalmeester.


Staalmeester are probably my favourite. You can buy a box of them at any Crown Decorating Centre, or you can buy singles online. A box will contain three brushes, including a rather magnificent sash brush and two flatter paint brushes for laying off. These are brilliant for looser material such as thin water-based gloss. They hold their shape well; the sash brush bristles are bound together with cotton for added support.


The laying off brushes are excellent for avoiding brush marks and manipulating the paint so you get an even spread. I cannot stress this enough, if you intend to use water-based paints, get yourself some Staalmeester paint brushes!!


Arroworthy Finultra are a lot different, but almost equally as good. They have a long handle, but shorter and robust bristles. You’ll find them easy to cut in and lay off, plus they hold loads of paint. The big plus point with Arroworthy brushes is they make painting with water-based gloss and satin so easy!! Definitely one of the best brushes for this type of paint. You can get these online, or any Crown Decorating Centre.


Best brush for emulsion


I’m going to mention three paint brushes here. If you get any of these then you’re onto a winner.


The first is Purdy 3-inch Monarch Elite, which are the brand leader for emulsion brushes for painters and decorators worldwide. Easy to use, hold loads of paint, available basically anywhere and they’ll never let you down.


The second brush I’d like to mention is the Ice Fusion from ProDec. These are so stylish!! With a stainless-steel ferrule and sleek tapered bristles, the Ice Fusion is a masterpiece!! It holds loads of paint, easily cuts straight lines and squaring up corners is an absolute joy!! The only issue is the bristles are slightly soft, so they’re no good for any paint that’s going to drag such as cheap contract matt.


Last, but certainly not least, we have the Oldfields. Only available online, the Oldfields is one of the best emulsion brushes on the market. They hold loads of paint, are easy to use and you can achieve brilliantly straight lines!! What’s not to love?!


Best brush for varnish


Another easy one, the Kana Tank is superb and designed specifically for this sort of material. The bristles consist of a natural bristle core and a synthetic outer loop. This configuration seems mental, but it’s absolutely stunning to use!! The brush holds loads of varnish and will not drip when in use. You can cut in with it, manipulate and work the material into the timber, and you can lay everything off nicely. Absolute magic and my favourite brush on this list. This is by far the best paintbrush on the market for any varnish or stain.

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The Best Paintbrush on the Market