Choosing the right paintbrush for your next project can be daunting but can make all the difference in your finished project. The hardware store shelves are lined with hundreds of paintbrushes with a multitude of options, so how do you know which brush to pick? Knowing and using the type of brush that will perform best for your project will make the selection process easy and provide you with an exceptional painting experience. The most important factor in determining which paintbrush is best for your project depends on the type of coating you’re using.

Type of Coating: Water-Based

Latex paints are the most common type of paint on the market. Synthetic brushes are recommended for latex and acrylic paints and water-based wood finishes. Synthetic brushes are available in a variety of filaments including Chinex®, nylon, nylon/polyester blend and polyester. Chinex® and nylon brushes are designed for today’s paints and offer superior paint pick up and production with a smooth, professional finish and easy cleanup. 

Chinex® brushes are the most durable and will maintain their stiffness for control even when exposed to heat and humidity. Nylon brushes are very durable but will soften in hot weather or after prolonged use in latex paint. Polyester brushes will maintain their shape and control when exposed to heat but have lower paint pick up and production meaning you will spend more time loading your brush. 

Also, today’s paints contain more acrylic resins and fast-drying solids which stick to polyester making them difficult to clean and limit the life of the brush. A nylon/polyester blend brush combines all the positive qualities of nylon (precise tipping, excellent paint pick up and smooth finish) and polyester (added stiffness and control) and is the most popular professional paintbrush choice due to their all-around versatility.

Types of Coating: Oil-Based

Natural bristle is the best choice for oil-based paints, varnishes, shellac, alkyd enamels, oil stains and oil-based polyurethanes. The highest quality bristles come from mainland China. Experienced, traditional painters will say there’s nothing like the finish that a China bristle can provide for oil-based coatings. If you’re painting a smooth surface, use a White China Bristle for a super-smooth finish.

When painting a textured surface, a Black China Bristle will work best because it’s slightly stiffer, more durable, and is excellent for high-productivity applications. If you need to paint a rough surface, natural bristle brushes are not recommended. Rough surfaces will break the tips off of natural bristle and will ruin the brush. A synthetic, nylon brush is best for this application even when using oil-based coatings because of its high durability and resistance to wear on rough surfaces.

The Wooster Brush Company offers quality brushes for every variety of coating available, but different brushes excel in specific applications. If you have additional questions or need more information, please contact our Customer Service Department.