Best Paint Brush Guide


What’s the best paint brush for the job? It’s often the last thing you think of when you are tackling a new home DIY painting project. You’ve selected your colour scheme, ordered your paint and then you think to yourself, what paintbrush do I use for the job.

Paint Brush GuideCompoundType
Best Brush For GlossWater-BasedSynthetic
Best Brush For SatinwoodWater-BasedSynthetic
Best Brush For EmulsionVinylSynthetic
Best Brush For SilkWater-BasedSynthetic
Best Brush For EggshellWater-BasedSynthetic

Using the correct paint brush will depend on a number of different factors, such as the type of paint you will be applying and what exactly you will be painting. Whether it’s a wall, ceilings, kitchen cupboards, tiles you will want the best possible professional finish to your home and you need to pick the correct tools for the task at hand.

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With that said there are types of paint brushes that are best to use with certain types of paint, for instance, you wouldn’t want to use the same brush for a water-based gloss paint as you would for oil-based gloss paint. As they are comprised of a different compound, getting a professional look will depend on how the paint is applied and what type of brush is used when you apply the paint.

With this paint brush guide, we will dive right into what the best paint brush types are for certain finishes of paints so you are informed before you start your home DIY project.

What Are The Different Types Of Paint Brushes


Paintbrushes differ between a number of different things, there are three that you really need to focus on when you are selecting the best paint brush for the job at hand. The three different factors that differ between paint brushes are;

  1. Bristle Type or filaments (another name for the bristles of a paintbrush.)
  2. Size and Purpose
  3. Quality

When you are deciding on the best paint brush you need to have an idea of what you are painting, the type of paint you are using and the quality of the finish you want to achieve. In recent years the prices of brushes have reduced dramatically due to competition and the lowering of manufacturing costs.

We will delve into the difference of each of the three factors we mentioned above to provide an easy to understand paintbrush guide that you can refer to when you are starting your home DIY project.

Paint Brush Bristle Types

There are several different types of paintbrush bristle types with each one being the best for a specific type of paint. For instance, a paint brush for gloss can differ from the best paint brush for satinwood paint for example. As the paint is made up of different ingredients there’s no one type of paint brush that is best for every single type of paint.


1. Synthetic

Synthetic bristles are made up of Nylon and Polyester. The characteristics of synthetic brush bristles is a full paint brush that is very hard-wearing, stiff and provides great durability. A synthetic paint brush won’t absorb a lot of water which allows it to stay compact when applying paint and eliminates tram lines and scuffs when painting.

A synthetic paintbrush is an ideal solution for water-based paints as it allows fine, controlled brush strokes that won’t spread outside the line of the brush which gives a flat professional finish.


2. Natural

Natural bristles are made up from animal hair, this can often be the hair from a badger or hog. The characteristics of natural brush bristles is a compact brush that is delicate and provides a smooth finish and while not as durable as a synthetic brush is more suited for different paint types. The natural paint brush allows for more absorption and provides great paint coverage.

A natural paintbrush is an ideal bristle type for oil-based solvent paints as it produces a smooth finish and works well to pick up oil-based paints with the natural absorption it eliminates mess and allows you to stick to your lines more easily.


3. Mixed Synthetic & Natural Bristle

A mixed brush is one that compromises of both synthetic and natural bristles to provide a good quality brush for all types of paint. It’s not a specialised brush and is not suited to one paint type over another. It’s a general multi-purpose paintbrush.

Paint Brush By Size

Different sizes of paint brushes allow you to tackle a wide set of projects and tasks with more efficiency and ease than using a standard size brush in the home. For instance, if you were to use a large brush to try and tackle window frames then the likelihood of paint transfer to walls and surrounds would be high.

Using a brush that’s specialised in size will allow you to get the best finish for the object or surface type you applying paint to.

0.5″ or 12mm Size


Ideal for getting into small areas where a fine line is needed. This size of paint brush is perfect for small surfaces such as under window sills and around window frames where you might be wary of using a larger brush.

1″ or 25mm Size


This size of the brush is still small but provides better paint coverage where not such a fine line is needed. This brush size is often used to cut paint around window frames, window sills, glass and the top of skirting boards. Making it easier to get into those hard to reach places the small size allows you to do it effortlessly.

2″ or 50mm Size


Getting larger each time this size of paint brush is often used for skirting boards, door frames, kitchen cupboards, bathroom tiles and small door panels. The larger size means a quicker job applying paint to larger surfaces. You can always finish off the edges by cutting in with a smaller brush.

4″ or 100mm Size


This sized paint brush is ideal for walls and ceilings where you have a large surface area to cover. It provides great paint coverage and means that you will spend less time applying the paint. Use smooth brush strokes for the best finish. This brush size is used on bathroom walls, living room walls, kitchen walls and bedroom walls. In addition to all the ceilings within the home.

Image of the Silverline synthetic range of brushes.

With the available paint brush sizes varying a lot, We listed some of the sizes that are available to buy. They do come in many more sizes such as 38mm, 50mm, 120mm, 150mm, 200mm.

Paint Brush By Purpose

While you can buy a range of different paintbrush sizes, you can also buy a range of different paint brushes based on their intended purpose. Whether that’s an angled paintbrush for cutting in or a long bristle brush for walls and ceilings. The choice is really endless.

Let’s have a look at the different specialised paint brushes based on their intended purpose.


Angled Paint Brush

An angled paint brush as the name suggests is designed at an angle. The purpose of the angled brush is to be the best cutting in brush for painting. Expect to get a smooth even professional finish when you use an angled brush.



A masonry brush is developed for the purpose of painting brick, concrete or rough-cast dashing. Large in size with thick bristles a masonry brush is very hard-wearing and durable that allows it to create a good finish on the harshest of surfaces.


Shed and Fence

A hard-wearing brush that is large in size so it provides great paint coverage, specifically designed for use on outdoor wood and metal that allows you to work fast and efficiently.


Radiator Paint Brush

A radiator paint brush is a long-handled angled paintbrush that allows you to get into those hard to reach places. It’s ideal for painting behind a radiator without the need to remove it from the wall. While that’s is the main function you can use a radiator paintbrush to get to any hard to reach a place that allows it.



A round paint brush can allow cutting in along circular surfaces and objects. Its high-quality bristles allow it to produce a smooth professional finish.

Paint Brush Quality

Why is quality included in this list, well not every brush is made equally I’m afraid and the quality can differ significantly. You want a brush that has minimum to zero release of bristles when you’re applying paint.

While the cost of paintbrushes has dropped in recent years the level of quality has also taken a drop. The standard is not the same throughout all price ranges. While that may not be a surprising fact, you need to adjust your expectations to line up with your budget.

Cheap paintbrushes will not be at the same high-quality standard as premium brushes.

Best Paint Brush Brands

What are the best paint brush brands available to buy that offer a good quality long-lasting bristle at an affordable price. Well here is our list of the best paint brush brands.


1. Harris

Harris produces high-quality brushes in a variety of different sizes for all kinds of purposes. They have a range of available brushes such as the Ultimate, Essentials and Seriously Good. You can purchase Harris paint brushes for interior walls, exterior walls and woodwork as well as masonry surfaces. Often slightly more expensive than budget brands Harris is a premium paintbrush manufacturer.

Click here to see the Harris range


2. Coral

Coral produces a range of paint brushes that are available in different sizes, they usually fit into the budget range of brushes and they can often be purchased in paint brush sets of 3 or 5 brushes. They provide good quality brushes that can be used for a range of different purposes.

Coral also produces a high range of brushes called Coral Tools which are of higher quality than their budget range.

Click here to see the Coral range.


3. Hamilton

Hamilton produces high-quality paintbrushes for home DIY purposes. They are again suitable for a large range of surfaces and come in different sizes and bristle types. You can get Hamilton synthetic brushes or natural brushes to use in your home.

Click here to see the Hamilton range.

Paint Brush FAQ

What is the best brush for gloss paint?


The best paint brush for gloss paint would depend on the compound of the paint, whether it’s a water-based paint or an oil-based paint. If your gloss paint is a water-based gloss then you should select a suitable synthetic brush and if the gloss is oil-based then the choice would be a natural bristle paint brush for the best results.

What is the best brush for satin / satinwood paint?

The best paint brush for satinwood depends on the compound of the paint, if it’s a water-based paint then you would select a suitable sized synthetic brush. If the satinwood paint is a solvent oil-based then a more suitable choice is a natural bristle brush for a professional finish.

What is the best brush for emulsion paint?

As emulsion paint is usually water-based then the best brush would be a synthetic bristle paint brush. A synthetic brush will give the best finish.

What is the best brush for oil-based paint?

For oil-based paints the best brush to use is a natural bristle brush as this absorbs the paint to allow for better coverage.

What is the best brush for water-based paint?

Water-based paints work best with a synthetic bristle brush as they don’t absorb alot of paint and stay compact when painting.

Final Thoughts

We will end the guide here as it’s already quite lengthy. If there’s anything missing that you think should be included then please add a comment before and we will add it to the articles in the suitable section.

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