Project Description

Paint Brushes

Soft, rough, angled, straight, rounded, natural, synthetic…which paint brush is for you? Learn all about paint brushes.

The options for paint brushes seem endless and knowing the right one to use can be daunting for the average DIY’er. You can approach paint brush shopping from two different angles – inexpensive and disposable, or more expensive and reusable.  There is a tradeoff though, inexpensive = lower quality, which in turn can affect the outcome of your painting project.

Other Factors to Consider

What type of paint are you using? Are you using oil-based paint or water based paint?

  • Natural bristle brushes are best for oil based paint and synthetic bristle brushes are best for water based paint.  Why? Natural bristles are strong enough to hold solvent-based materials and leave you with little to no brush strokes. They are not suitable for water-based paints because the bristles are porous and will suck up the moisture in the paint, leaving you with a heavy wet mess. That’s where synthetic brushes come in. The paint sits on the bristles, leaving you with just the right amount of paint to use.
  •  What about foam brushes? These are good for high gloss latex and oil paints, but a big con is they leave air bubbles and fall apart quickly since they quickly absorb the paint.

What are you painting? Cutting in edges, door, trim, millwork, walls?

  • This determines the tip shape and width of brush to use. It is recommended to use an angled tapered paint brush when painting corners and edges. Flat brushes are good for painting large flat areas.

Check out our chart below to learn what brush is best for you.


ottom Line. If you can, spring the extra bucks for quality paint brushes. It’s always good to have a few options around. You don’t want to get stuck painting a 1/2″ trim with a 3″ brush. YIKES!