What are the best paint brushes? Our team have tested and reviewed the best paint brushes and paint pads below
We interviewed 8 professional painters, tested 20 paint pads and paint brushes and read innumerable online reviews to create a list of the top 7 paint brushes and paint pads in the UK.
Our research and the tests that followed produced two clear winners: one set of paint pads and one paint brush. For the paint brush, we recommend going for the Purdy Monarch Elite and for paint pads, it has to be the Luigi’s Paint Pad set gets our nod.
While testing our 20 purchased products we considered a range of important factors, including: overall performance, size of pad/brush, bristle quality, handle size and durability, and, of course, the all-important price.
Wooster Brush Q3211-2 Review – 97%
If you’re looking for a brush that can fit into tight spaces, the Wooster Brush is what you need. Having a handle that is both small and flexible means the brush gives you the freedom needed to paint crevices and confined spaces.
Another notable feature of this brush comes from the blend of nylon and polyester in its bristles. As veteran painters would tell, polyester is known to give a brush its stiffness to make it durable.
Nylon, meanwhile, makes the bristles easy to clean by providing them with precise tipping. Therefore, when combined, both these materials make this brush both durable and easy to use.
Still, if the small size of the brush raises doubts in your mind about its longevity, the brass-plated steel ferrule should quash them.
Since it holds hairs onto the handle, the steel has given solidity to the ferrule and, by extension, to that of the brush.
Purdy Monarch Elite Paint Brush Set Review – 93%
Though its name might have already conveyed, the Monarch ‘Elite’ costs a bit more than your average paint brush out there. Still, provided you can afford to pay its asking price, the performance of the brush is a great price-justifier.
Take, for instance, the ferrule of this paint brush. In contrast to most paintbrushes in the market, the Elite has used 100% stainless steel, which means there is very little chance (if any) that the hairs would come out of the handle.
Turning our attention to its performance, you’d get a good result with both oil and water-based paints with the Elite.
What’s more, unlike other natural bristle brushes, the break-in time of the Elite is negligible, which means you get a nice straight line from the word go with this brush.
Purdy 144400340 XL Review – 90%
A major reason why most people turn to rollers or sprayers is the commonly held belief that paintbrushes take more time than rollers to cover the same area.
However, no such myth stands up to scrutiny in the face of the four-inch Purdy XL.
The large coverage which this brush provides, however, doesn’t mean that it would feel too big in your hand. Instead, Purdy has manoeuvered the extra-large head, thereby giving you a compact foundation to grip.
As for the filaments, the blend of polyester and dyed nylon tells its own story. This combination has made the brush pretty stiff – a must-have feature for outdoor environments where hot and humid climates persist.
That being said, on the interior painting projects this feature might not prove as useful.
Presa Premium Paint Brushes Set, 5 Piece by Presa – 84%
For those of you who indulge in a lot of paint projects, when it becomes a passion more than just a hobby, the Presa Premium Set might come in handy.
Be it interior or exterior that you might want to paint – and whether you are using an oil or water-based paint – the basic hollow filaments of this kit has got you covered.
The kit has 5-brushes with varying lengths and styles. While the bigger two are adequate for large wall painting, you could do smaller, more detailed work with the three smaller ones.
Still, while they differ in size, each brush has the same build quality.
The uniform performance of each of the five brushes owes itself to the SRT filaments of their brush tips.
Capable of holding more paint per dip than their average counterparts, these filaments do not increase either the weight or the size of the brush.
That said, a lighter weight doesn’t mean that these brushes won’t last long. Instead, they’re flexible enough to handle heavy-duty jobs with no problems.
The Worlds Best Paint Pad Set Review – 78%
A major complaint which most users have with their paint pads relates to them dripping paint on the floor.
Thankfully, since it uses an extra-thick pad which naturally conforms to the shape of the wall, you’d experience no such problems with the Luigi’s set.
Their thickness, however, doesn’t suggest that these pads would accumulate paint and are difficult to clean. Instead, all you need to do is to apply hot water and these pads will become practically as clean as new.
If you want to paint hard-to-reach areas, the light handle comes handy.
What’s more, the same detachable handle would fit all pads, which means there’s no need to buy any separate equipment.
Coral 24300 Task Partner Paint Pad Kit Review – 77%
While you might love its price, before you rush out and purchase there’s one area where the Harris Taskmaster 400 isn’t adequate: painting with gloss paint.
Hence, if you want to decorate your house with a glossy finish, you might need the nylon-padded Coral 24300 as a great alternative.
The fact that the Coral has provided this pad kit with an extra-deep paint tray gives you two benefits.
Firstly, since it has more paint-holding capacity, you won’t have to refill the tray after every few coats.
And secondly, since it is more spacious, the tray would store both the pads as well as the handle to save you money which you might otherwise have spent on a storage bag or container.
Similar ease is on offer with the handle which is flexible and forces the pad to conform to the wall shape, which means you’ll have little wrist-fatigue while using the handle.
Harris Taskmasters Paint Pad & Handle Large Review – 72%
While the material of pad plays an important role in its ability to paint uniformly, equally important is the role of the handle as well as the material which supports the pad.
And as the design of this pad suggests, Harris has taken extra-care in making sure that this pad applies paint uniformly to the wall.
For, apart from being supported by a plastic handle (which is extra-large), a wooden slab covers the whole underside of the pad.
It means that without trying too hard you can paint uniformly across the wall, without having to do any re-coatings.
Finally, unlike your average paint pad, the Harris Taskmasters is a cinch to clean. After removing the handle all you need is to douse the pad with hot water and it will be good to go again!
However, if you’re looking to gloss-paint your home, this pad may not be enough as it starts to drag on the surface when coated with gloss paint.
Frequently asked questions
How to Choose the Best Paint Brush
Before we go ahead to the tips section, remember that paint brushes come in two types: natural bristles and synthetic bristles.
Made with animal hair, you can use the former with alkyd or oil-based paints.
Though they have a rough texture, natural bristles hold more paint, meaning fewer re-loadings of paint would be required.
As for synthetic bristle brushes, boasting combination of nylon and polyester, they are equally efficient with both latex as well as oil-paint.
Relatively easy to clean, synthetic paint brushes lose fewer bristles and won’t swell in water, which means you could use them with water paints as well.
How to Identify a Good Quality Brush
Here are a few tips with which you can discern whether a brush is worth its price tag or not.
First, look at the bristles’ tips. If you are choosing a natural-bristle brush, its tips must have split ends. Otherwise, for synthetic bristles, fuzzy-looking tips should be your choice.
Next, regardless of which type of brush you choose, its bristles should be tapered such as to have chisel-shaped ends NOT flat ends.
Finally, every brush has an aluminum or stainless steel band also known as its ‘ferrule’.
Forcefully tap it, and check whether any bristles fell out or not as low-quality brushes can lose bristles by merely tapping.
How to Identify the Correct Size
Paint brushes come in all sizes and here’s what you need to know for your task.
To paint around window frames or glass, go for a brush with a width of 25mm.
For skirting boards, panel doors, and door frames, a 50mm wide brush would suffice.
If the panel doors are larger than average size, they might need a 75mm-wide brush.
To paint large spaces such as ceilings and walls – brushes ranging between 100mm and 150mm in width might be needed
How to Identify the Correct Design of brush
Once again, there are various options to choose from when identifying the correct paint-brush design for your needs.
AngleSash Brush: If you want perfect line finish in hard-to-reach areas and corners, these brushes are ideal
Masonry Brush: It might be the case that the area you may want to paint already has layers of concrete or cement on it. Masonry brushes, thanks to their rough bristles, will block out any such prior coatings.
Round Brush: Are you a decorator? Then you’d love this brush. Superbly crafted, its unique head has high-quality bristles ideal for a consistent finish. Be it curved objects or sash windows you may want to paint, their long handle makes painting a cinch.
Radiator Brush: Due to their angular shape and long handle, these brushes are useful for painting hard-to-reach areas
How to Use and Store your paint brushes
You now know enough about paint brushes to make an informed decision while buying them. Therefore, this section is concerned with how to use those paint brushes to maximum effect.
If you have chosen a synthetic brush, dampen it before using to make sure that the paint won’t dry on the brush.
You might have important things to do, but overloading the brush with paint would never save you time. Instead, it would make the application more wasteful and less smooth.
Instead, to cover more area in one stroke of the brush, paint at 45* angle as it maximizes the surface area of the brush.
Go ‘wet to dry’ while painting. In other words, start painting from the area you have just painted towards the unpainted one.
Paint isn’t cheap, so prevent its wastage by dipping the bristles just one-third into the paint. Afterwards, lightly tap the brush’s side to make sure any excess paint goes back into the tin.
Once you are done painting for the day, dip the bristle tips into the paint and leave it there for the night.
If your painting work has finished for the foreseeable future, don’t just throw away the brush. Instead, after removing excess paint from the bristles with the application of a proper thinner, wrap it in plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
How to Choose the Best Paint Pad
Many people confuse them with paint rollers, but paint pads are distinct, both in shape as well as in function.
While a paint roller has a circular, moving surface, paint-pads have rectangular, stationary ones. Also, unlike rollers, their front surface isn’t smooth, instead consisting of densely-packed bristles.
Paint Pads come in two shapes: corner and flat shape. Corner pads, due to the 90-degree angle existing between both pads, provide for easy painting of corners because of their shape.
Flat pads, in contrast, can only be used on straight surfaces and their major advantage lies in the absence of spattering, which means they avoid wastage of paint.
When selecting a paint pad, make sure it comes with a plastic pad kit.
This kit performs two useful functions; firstly, it serves as the paint tray so that you can unload the paint and let the pad pick it up from there and, secondly, it functions as an airtight lid to let you store the pad when it is not in use.
How to Use a Paint Pad
Yes, paint pads waste less paint then the paint brushes, but there is still a risk paint might leak so it’s better to be safe than to be sorry. Therefore, cover the floor as well as the furniture before embarking on painting the room.
For the perfectionists who are reading this article, a specialist paint-pad tray with a built-in roller, gives the ideal results.
Every time you dip the pad into the tray, apply equal pressure on all its sides for the even distribution of paint and to avoid a patchy finish.
Always use the pad in the section that is directly at your front as it will make sure that, not only the pressure remains even, but the pad is flat on the wall.
Load both the tray and the pad often. This will make sure that the pad never dries out.
To minimize muscle fatigue, use long, sweeping strokes.
Once the painting is fiished, place the pad inside the tray and put a lid on it to prevent the tray’s paint from drying away.