Great paintbrushes are durable and easy to hold, with high-quality bristles and comfortable handles. But there are thousands of models on the market, all with different features, so how do you pick a great paintbrush?
Whether you’re working on a canvas or a cabinet, we’re here to help you find a paintbrush that will suit your needs and your budget. We tested all of the major brands and put together this list of the 10 best paintbrushes of 2020. For each model, we’ve written a detailed review, looking carefully at the price, bristles, handle, overall design, and compatibility.
If you’re wondering about the difference between synthetic and natural bristles or any other paintbrush features, take a look at our comprehensive buyer’s guide. You’ll have a great paintbrush in no time!
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Value||Wooster Brush||
|Premium Choice||Pro Grade||
|Tatler & Tatum||
The 10 Best Paint Brushes — Reviews 2021
1. Purdy XL Series Glide Angular Trim Paint Brush — Best Overall
Our overall favorite, the Purdy 144152325 XL Series Glide Angular Trim Paint Brush, is a sturdy, well-designed paintbrush with synthetic bristles and a comfortable handle. It’s a bit more expensive but well worth the money.
This brush’s angled bristles are made of Tynex nylon and Orel polyester, making it the best paintbrush for trim. The easy-to-hold hardwood handle is long and fluted, and the high-quality brushed copper ferrule should keep bristles secure. The paintbrush as a whole is agile and works well at angles and in corners. It also holds quite a bit of paint, so you’ll get good coverage without having to spend too much time.
This paintbrush can’t handle solvents, so it’s not designed to work with oil-based paint. It’s great for trim but doesn’t work as well on delicate details. In testing, we found that some bristles come off during the painting process.
2. Wooster Brush Shortcut Angle Sash Paintbrush — Best Value
If you’d like to spend less, you may prefer the Wooster Brush Q3211-2 Shortcut Angle Sash Paintbrush, which we find to be the best paintbrush for the money.
This very light, compact brush has bristles made of white nylon and gold polyester, which are compatible with all paint types. The flexible plastic handle is very short, only 2.25 inches long, which makes the brush easy to maneuver but somewhat less comfortable to hold. The ferrule is made of sturdy brass-plated steel.
Small and agile, this is the best paintbrush for cutting in, as you’ll easily be able to angle it and get into corners. We did find that the bristles fall out fairly easily, and the brush doesn’t provide the most even coverage, often leaving brush marks.
3. Pro Grade Paint Brushes — Premium Choice
Are you shopping for premium paintbrushes? You may be interested in Pro Grade’s Variety 10-Pack Paint Brushes, which come at a higher price but include a useful range of angled brushes.
This package, which includes two of each size, consists of brushes ranging in width from one inch to three inches. All of the brushes have wooden handles and stainless steel ferrules, and the bristles are made of thick synthetic filaments. The handles are large and comfortable and the bristles are durable and work on all types of paints, stains, and poly coatings.
In testing, we found that these brushes don’t hold a lot of paint, so you’ll need to do multiple coats. The bristles are also fairly sparse, leading to clumping and uneven application. If you don’t need 10 brushes, this two-pound package may be bulkier and more than you’re looking for.
4. Tatler & Tatum Brush Wax Paint Brush for Furniture
If you’re looking to paint furniture, the Tatler & Tatum Brush N. 7 Wax Paint Brush for Furniture could be a good option, with a reasonable price, a good design, and even a warranty.
This brush is specifically designed to work well on wood and fabric, making it the best paintbrush for furniture. The rounded design has natural bristles made of 2.4-inch white boar hair, as well as a nickel-plated ferrule and a comfortable beechwood handle with a leather strap for hanging. The brush is designed to work with chalk, milk, and wax paint.
The bristles hold a lot of paint, so you’ll be able to finish painting quickly. The brush does lose bristles easily, though, and it’s fairly difficult to clean. Tatler & Tatum offers a 30-day warranty.
5. New Renaissance Professional Wax Brush
Another option is the New Renaissance 4336890327 Professional Wax Brush, which is a mid-range brush that’s fairly well-suited to chalk and wax painting.
This brush has a round head with natural bristles that work well on furniture. The packaging is well-designed, and the handle includes a leather strap so that you can hang dry your brush. Unfortunately, the handle isn’t very comfortable to hold.
We found that if you follow the recommended preparatory procedure, the brush won’t lose too many bristles while you’re painting. The process is time-consuming, though, and the brush is fairly difficult to clean. With only one included brush, this is a pricier option.
6. Presa Premium Paint Brushes Set, 5 Piece
The Five-Piece Premium Paint Brushes Set from Presa is a low-cost option with synthetic bristles and a decently durable design. However, it doesn’t produce clean lines or even paint application.
This five-piece set includes paintbrushes with widths of one, one and a half, two, two and a half, and three inches. The bristles, which are all straight-edged, are made of blended SRT filaments, which hold quite a bit of paint and are reasonably easy to clean. Each brush has an aluminum ferrule, which feels reasonably durable, and a comfortable wooden handle.
In testing, we found that these brushes felt sturdy and fairly well-designed, though the bristles tended to clump together, leading to streaky, uneven paint coverage. The straight bristles don’t work well for painting trim or cutting in, and the brushes are awkward in corners and on angled walls.
7. Royal Brush Golden Taklon Paint Brush
The Royal Brush 402548 Golden Taklon Paint Brush, sold in a well-priced set of three, offers blended bristles and sturdy handles but poor coverage and significant clumping.
The package includes one-inch, two-inch, and three-inch brushes with sturdy hardwood handles. The bristles are made of a blend of white taklon, golden taklon, and camel hair, and are suited to acrylic paints, varnishes, glazes, watercolors, and adhesives. These soft bristles are well-attached and don’t shed very much but do tend to clump, leaving streaks and generally uneven coverage.
In testing, we found that the handles were harder to hold and less comfortable, and the brushes felt too small for larger painting projects.
8. Grand Tactic Paint Brush
The Grand Tactic Paint Brush is a very inexpensive option, sold at a low price in a pack of 10. These brushes have a cheaper feel and tend to lose bristles during painting.
This 10-piece set includes brushes from one to three inches wide. The synthetic bristles are made of polyester and are set at an angle for better edges and corners. The 1.5-inch plastic handle is too long to work in tight corners but has a soft grip that is comfortable to hold.
In testing, we found that the bristles fall out frequently during painting, leaving a messy texture. The brushes as a whole don’t feel especially well-constructed, though the paint coverage is fairly even.
9. Plaid Enterprises Nylon Chip Brush
The Plaid Enterprises 44289 Nylon Chip Brush falls lower on our list for its poorly attached and designed bristles and inconveniently small size. The brushes do work on many surfaces and are sold at a very low price.
These brushes are sold in sets of three, with one-inch, two-inch, and three-inch brushes. The nylon bristles aren’t compatible with solvents, so you won’t be able to use oil paints. In testing, we found that the bristles clumped together and fell off frequently, leaving somewhat streaky, textured paint coverage.
These brushes can be harder to clean, but at this price, you may not need to. They work fairly well for small jobs but aren’t a great option for larger painting projects.
10. Bates Choice Paint Brushes
Our least favorite paintbrushes are the Bates Choice Paint Brushes. Though they’re sold at a low price, the sparse bristles don’t hold enough paint, the brushes as a whole don’t feel durable, and cleaning is difficult.
These brushes are sold in a set of four, with widths of 3, 2.5, 2, and 1.5 inches. The treated wood handle is fairly basic and not particularly comfortable to hold. The synthetic bristles are thin, don’t hold enough paint, and tend to fall out and separate.
In testing, we found the paint application uneven and the bristles fairly tricky to clean. Bates Choice does offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee for these brushes.
You’ve taken a look at our list of the 10 best paintbrushes available in 2020. But how do you decide which will best suit your needs? Keep reading to find our guide to the components and features of paintbrushes.
If you do a lot of painting, you know that the shape of the handle can make a big difference in your comfort. You may want to look for ergonomically-designed handles that will be easy to hold for extended periods.
Paintbrush handles are typically made of either wood or plastic. Wood handles may have a better appearance and may be nicer to hold, while plastic handles may hold up better to frequent cleaning. Some plastic handles are designed with soft grips that may be more comfortable to hold.
Bristles are probably the most important feature of your paintbrush. The type and quality of your bristles will determine everything from how even your paint coverage is to how long your paint job takes. If your bristles aren’t well-attached, they may fall off your brush while you’re painting, leaving an undesired texture. Poorly-designed bristles may also clump together, leaving streaks or generally uneven coverage. And if your bristles don’t pick up enough paint, you’ll have to spend significantly longer to fully coat a wall or piece of furniture.
Paintbrush bristles can be either natural or synthetic. Natural bristles are made from real animal hair, typically from a camel, boar, or badger, and work well for oil-based paints. Natural bristles have some variation, so they don’t produce as smooth a paint finish.
Synthetic bristles are typically made from nylon or polyester and work best with water-based latex paints. Without natural variations, these bristles are often easier to clean and produce smoother, more even coats of paint. A high-quality form of synthetic bristle is called taklon, which is an artist-quality man-made fiber. Synthetic bristles may also be labeled SRT, or solid round tapered, which describes the bristle shape.
Bristles can also be set at an angle, straight, or in a round shape. Angled brushes work well for cutting in, which is the process of painting a straight edge without the use of painter’s tape, as well as in corners and other tight spots. Straight brushes work well for applying base coats on simple flat surfaces. Round brushes are designed to work well on furniture, covering wood and fabric smoothly. Before you purchase your paintbrushes, you may want to consider what projects you’d like to use them for.
The ferrule is the metallic component that connects the bristles to the handle. This piece can be made from a range of metals, including aluminum, stainless steel, and brushed copper. Keep in mind that your brush may come into contact with water quite frequently during the cleaning process, so you may prefer a metal that doesn’t rust.
Many people buy low-cost paintbrushes for a single project and then dispose of them. If you’d prefer to reuse your brushes, you may want to look for models that are easier to clean, including models with synthetic bristles.
If you’re shopping for a furniture paintbrush, you may notice that these brushes often come with attached leather straps. These straps make it easier for you to hang your paintbrush after cleaning, allowing the round brush to dry evenly.
Would you like to have a range of brushes, or do you just need one high-quality model? Many paintbrushes are sold in sets, offering you a range of brush widths, which can be convenient if you’re working on a range of projects or need to do more detailed work. If you have a straightforward project, are working on furniture, or only have room for a single brush, you may want to look for individually-packaged paintbrushes.
Though many do not come with warranties, some paintbrushes are backed by satisfaction guarantees. Do you want your new brushes protected by a manufacturer guarantee? Keep an eye out for warranties and protection from manufacturing defects.
Our top pick is the Purdy 144152325 XL Series Glide Angular Trim Paint Brush, which works especially well for trim and is sturdy and well-designed, with convenient synthetic bristles. If you’re looking for value, the Wooster Brush Q3211-2 Shortcut Angle Sash Paintbrush could be a great choice, with high-quality bristles and a short, flexible handle that is well-designed for cutting in. If you’re shopping for premium brushes, you may prefer Pro Grade’s Variety 10-Pack Paint Brushes, which is a great set of durable, conveniently angled brushes.
A great paintbrush can mean the difference between a smooth, easy paint job and a frustrating one. We hope this ranking of the 10 best paintbrushes available in 2020, along with the in-depth reviews and the handy buyer’s guide, help you find your ideal brushes. Now it’s time to get shopping!
Featured Image Credit: Grand Tactic, Amazon
Pete has been working in the trades since high school, where he first developed a passion for woodworking. Over the years, he has developed a keen interest in a wide variety of DIY projects around the home. Fascinated by all sort of tools, Pete loves reading and writing about all the latest gadgets and accessories that hit the market. His other interests include astronomy, hiking, and fishing.
As the founder of House Grail, David’s primary goal is to help consumers make educated decisions about DIY projects at home, in the garage, and in the garden.
- 1 A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- 2 The 10 Best Paint Brushes — Reviews 2021
- 2.1 1. Purdy XL Series Glide Angular Trim Paint Brush — Best Overall
- 2.2 2. Wooster Brush Shortcut Angle Sash Paintbrush — Best Value
- 2.3 3. Pro Grade Paint Brushes — Premium Choice
- 2.4 4. Tatler & Tatum Brush Wax Paint Brush for Furniture
- 2.5 5. New Renaissance Professional Wax Brush
- 2.6 6. Presa Premium Paint Brushes Set, 5 Piece
- 2.7 7. Royal Brush Golden Taklon Paint Brush
- 2.8 8. Grand Tactic Paint Brush
- 2.9 9. Plaid Enterprises Nylon Chip Brush
- 2.10 10. Bates Choice Paint Brushes
- 3 Buyer’s Guide
- 4 Conclusion