4 Best Paint Brushes For Oil & Acrylic

There are several options, styles, and sizes for paint brushes. Unless you are an expert, it’s hard to discern which brush is ideal. Choosing the wrong tool will make your job harder. Let’s avoid the frustrations and uncertainty!

We are exterior and interior house painters with over 20 years of experience and understand which brushes are best. As experienced house painters, we will share how to pick the best paint brush that is suitable for the job and will eliminate any frustrations. 

The Best Paint Brush Manufacturers

Three leading companies make professional-grade paintbrushes. The most well-known company is Purdy. Sherwin-Williams acquired Purdy several years ago, and it continues to be one of the most widespread brushes on the market. 

The second company is Wooster. While Wooster is not the most prominent outfit, they offer an extensive range of brushes for nearly any application. We like Wooster because of its quality control, which we will explore later.

The final company included is Corona. In the world of paint brushes, this company is often overlooked by DIY’ers. Corona brushes are not cheap but are exceptionally well crafted and have been around since 1952.

Choosing the Best Brush

Understanding all options is vital to choosing the correct brush. One of the most important factors is how a brush feels in your hand. The handle size, length, finish, and overall weight primarily determine the ergonomics of a brush.

Paint Brush Handle

Brushes are also optimized for specific applications. The bristles and brush thickness are tailored to the paint and surface the paint is applied.

Angled brushes are best for detail and trim; however, angled brushes limit the direction of paint application.

Choosing The Brush Size

An experienced painter can hold a large brush for an extended time, but that’s not the case for everyone. Paint brushes ranging from 3 to 6 inches increase paint spread for larger surfaces like interior walls or exterior siding. 

Smaller paint brushes offer optimal control and enhance a painter’s ability to articulate around detailed trim, such as exterior windows or interior moldings. Similar to the width of a brush, conversely, thinner brushes also strengthen the ability to paint complex areas. 

The metal body of the brush that connects the bristles to the handle is called a ferrule. The quality of a ferrule is prudent to how long a paintbrush will last. Quality brushes will have copper or stainless-steel ferrules for increased durability. Be mindful that thicker brushes require quality constructed ferrules to hold the handle and bristles in place after continued use.

Paint Brush Ferrule

Paintbrush handles are offered in long, regular, and short lengths. Brush thicknesses vary from thinner sprigs to thicker moose styles. 

Choosing The Bristles

Polyester, Wool, and Nylon are the primary bristles in modern brushes. 

Nylon filaments are soft and provide lower surface tension. Therefore, nylon brushes are great at smoothing paint and minimizing brush marks. This performance advantage is valuable when using paint that dries fast. On the other hand, nylon cannot be used with oil paints and doesn’t manipulate paint well. So, this brush option will fail miserably with thick or oil paint. 

Polyester bristles are versatile and are blended in most multi-use brushes. These bristles are typically black and offer increased stiffness for better paint manipulation. This bristle style is excellent for detail and can be used with oil paints. 

Chinex or white bristles are thin filaments that increase a brush’s ability to hold paint. Chinex bristles are also relatively smooth but are known to wear quickly. These bristles, blended with others, deliver some of the best multi-purpose brushes. Chinex bristles alone are best for stains and thinner viscosity paints. 

Do not paint oil without using a brush designed for oil paint applications.

Categories For the Best Paint Brush


Best For Exterior Acrylic Paint

This thick brush holds a lot of paint and maximizes exterior paint production. It is also excellent for exterior trim and siding.


Best For Cutting In

Once this brush is broken in, it will provide the best paint manipulation and simplify painting detailed interior trim.

Best For All Acrylic Paints

This brush offers outstanding overall performance. It does everything from paint, stian, and light varnish work!

Best For Oil Paints & Stains

Handmade and holds thin materials without loss of filaments! Performance Chinex by Corona helps all oil-based products level nicely!

Maintaining the Brush Handle

Notably, leading brands’ brush handles are no longer sealed and finished. Brushes with finished handles last longer! Unsealed handles allow the wood to saturate, causing failure in the brush’s ferrule, including nails coming out or losing filaments.

The tip is to treat the brush handle yourself using a water-based deck sealer before the initial use. Warm water with a dedicated brush cleaner is best for cleaning paintbrushes after usage. You know the brush is completely clean when you squeeze the bristles and there are no streaks of residual paint. 

How Long a Paintbrush Lasts

Any remaining paint in a brush will dry and accumulate after continued usage, limiting how much paint the brush can hold.   

A good paint brush will last up to 5-6 years, depending on the paint used, how often the brush is used, and how well the brush is cleaned after each use.

Breaking in A Paint Brush

Breaking in is the most overlooked part of the initial process. Unfortunately, using it is the only way to break in a brush. A shortcut to breaking a paintbrush in is to put the brush into water and proceed as if cleaning it. The goal is to move those bristles around to break in the brush before using it.

A brush is usually broken in after the fourth or fifth heavy use. Brushes that are not broken in will not hold paint well and drip. Getting the brush to lay over, spread paint, or produce straight lines is also more challenging when a brush is not broken in. 

Cheap Paintbrushes

Buying cheap throwaway brushes is a wait of money! An old used brush serves better as a throwaway than buying a cheap one!

Fully plastic or no-name brand brushes come apart, shed bristles, and show unsightly brush marks. A good painter or paint job does not exist without quality tools. 

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