Choosing The Right Brush

by | Painting, Preparation, Tools

Choosing The Right Brush

What are the purposes of paint brushes?  To apply paint, to removed paint by stripping, to dust off what you just sanded, to do faux finishes, to create art, to do touch-ups . Some are designed to last for years and others as just for 1 application then throw away. Choosing the right brush is key to having a beautiful finish.

Does it matter what paint brush I use?

YES! It certainly does. When painting walls, or refinishing woodwork, or restoring furniture, It does make a difference. To help you understand what kind of brush to use, I am going to explain and show you the bristles and tell you what to use it on and with what paints. Let’s look at a few together and choose the right brush.

The Difference in Brushes

Take a look at the bristles at these brushes below…they are very important in choosing the right brush.

How To Choose a Brush

These are not all good brushes even though they appear to be. Let’s begin from the left. #1  This brush is not good for painting a nice smooth finish. The Bristles at the end of it are too fat. I would use this brush for just brushing off the dust from sanding and in corners of furniture and cabinet doors, etc. If you have a brush that ends up like this, keep it for this reason to brush off dust.

2nd one in from the left is a good brush for water-based paints only.  The thinness at the end will help to do nice edges by trim and the trim itself.

3rd one in from the left certainly a good one. When you feel the bristles they are are soft and sturdy at the same time. This one can be used for an oil base and water base. They are inexpensive to buy and certainly does the job.

4th one in from the left. This brush is a very good brush does everything you want it to do. The downfall of it is expensive and you must take really good care of it if you want to use it over and over. I had one that lasted 10 years.

#5 also a good brush for interior, bristles at the ends are thin, great for edges and trim.

#6 I call this a chip brush, it has several uses for all kinds of things but not for trim work. These brushes are great to work faux finishes, they are great for a quick touch up. I use these all the time for these reasons.

These are the choices that will make a difference in how your finish will look on your finished project.

As you may notice all have an angle. I choose them because I find I need sometimes to get into a corner and the straight ones just won’t do to make it perfect. Choose the brush with the right angle.

How to test a brush:  look closely at the bristles, feel the bristles and do the test as show down below. Do the bristles thin at the edge?  Do they thin out more when I do the test?  Does it feel soft to the touch but is sturdy enough to hold paint?


My choice of brush for all.


I like it because of the stubby handle, great for working on bookcases and shelving.  The handle does not fit every time If you are trying to paint the entire box you can achieve that with this brush. The bristles are perfect, angle cut, soft and it does not leave any brush marks and passes the bent bristle test.  I got so used to the stubby that I ended up using it all the time. My brush of choice.  These are great for water AND oil base paints . it’s how I do kitchen cabinets and they come out perfect.  It’s how I do woodwork and how I edge The cost Is even better!  For me the best choice.

The moral to this is:  take a few minutes of your time to choose the right brush for the job. Buy a paint brush that will make your work worthwhile.  If you are going to take your time to do a project, take your time to pick out a a good paint brush. If you don’t, your work will look shoddy and unprofessional.


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