Types of Paint Brushes

Before painting your home or furniture, make sure you know the different types of paint brushes and how to use them. Even if you’re equipped with the highest quality of paint, the wrong brush can cost you more and produce disappointing results.

Paint brushes have various parts and come in a range of sizes, materials, and shapes. As a rule of thumb, big brushes are for loose brushwork and large areas, whereas the small ones are for small surfaces and details. Keep in mind that every shape delivers a different effect and stroke styles, so you might have to do some experimenting to know which one works for your desired application.

Natural Brushes vs. Synthetic Brushes

If you search for the best types of paint brushes for walls, you’ll likely come across the two basic types of bristles – natural and synthetic.

Natural bristles

Natural brushes are made from animal hairs, such as ox, camel, hogs, horses, etc. They are best for painting flat surfaces and furniture because the bristles tend to swell once exposed to solvents and paints, making them less precise and those fine details harder to achieve.

For this reason, this type of bristle is ideal for oil-based paints since it will take longer for oils to penetrate the brushes’ fibers. Its soft flexibility helps users apply a thin, even coat to reduce streaks. Unlike when used in water-based paints, natural brushes won’t swell out of shape, and they are much easier to work with oil paints.

Synthetic bristles

The best types of paint brushes for acrylic and water-based or latex paints are synthetic bristle brushes. These brushes are made from materials other than animal hair, such as polyester bristles or nylon bristles, or a combination of both.

Acrylic paints could destroy natural bristle brushes that’s why it is recommended to use a synthetic brush instead. Synthetic bristles are also durable and more resistant to wear and tear when used in latex and acrylic paints. They are also great for furniture and woodwork.

Types of Paint Brushes and Their Uses

Some professionals and DIYers may prefer rollers when painting large areas because paint tends to dry quicker than when using a brush. However, a brush provides better precision and accuracy while using less paint. They can also create textured and smooth finishes and are great for painting furniture and baseboards.

If you’re in the market for a quality brush, read on to learn about the different types of paint brushes you can find and their specific uses.

Brushes for small area applications

If you’re painting small areas, such as corner sections, sidings, and door and window frames, you will need sash brushes due to their long slim head and handle. It allows them to reach into award areas and ideal for edging. The common types of sash cutters include:

Angled sash brushes

These types of paint brushes are designed to fit inside window frames so you can paint window sashes. They can create nice, clean lines with their bristles cut on a sharp slant.

Thanks to their short handle, you can work faster, enjoy better grip and control, and prevent arm fatigue with angled sash brushes. They are also ideal for reaching around obstacles and detail work, including molding, grooves, edges, and corners.

Round sash brushes

These are small brushes that can range from 20-44 millimeters in size. They have a blunt, tapered tip with soft edges for a decorative finish and small trim. If you are looking for a brush that allows better control and precision, a round sash brush is a good product to purchase.

Trim brushes

Painting trim is made accessible, more convenient, and faster using trim brushes. They offer better maneuverability and enhance control when painting in tight spaces. You can also use it anywhere you would use an angled sash brush.

Foam brushes

These types of paint brushes are not designed for a full wall painting, but you can use them for intricate work, like painting window casings, trim, and molding. Although you wouldn’t see them used for large spaces, they’re an inexpensive option for cabinetry, trim work, and painting furniture. Besides paint, foam brushes can be used with urethane and stain and are known for producing a smooth finish.

Brushes for large-area applications

Painting doors, interior and exterior walls, cabinets, or shelving often requires a large, three-inch brush for quicker and easier applications. These types of paint brushes are neither too small nor too big, so they’re the ideal size for a range of painting projects. The best paint brushes you can use for large surface areas include:

Wall brushes

These are your best bet for covering large areas, like the ceiling, fences, and walls. They are the most common type of paint brushes you can easily find on the market with their flat and square end and thick, long bristles, which can hold a large amount of paint.

One of the best things about wall brushes is that they’re available in many different types of bristles, which means you can easily pick the brush that will work best with your chosen paint and project. They also tend to be more precise than a paint roller, creating high-quality results.

Flagged bristle brushes

Unlike the standard wall paint that features bristles that are cut square, flagged bristle brushes are split at the ends. The split ends actually create more coverage so that you can paint a larger area. This type of brush can hold more paint, which is released more smoothly to create a clean, more accurate finish.


It can be easy to simply get the standard paint brush for any of your projects but note that not all brushes are created the same. If you don’t want to end up removing your newly applied paint from your wall or furniture, make sure you purchase the best paint brush for your job. Otherwise, you might find yourself searching for the best paint stripper as a result of using the wrong paint brush.

About The Author

MyUnfinishedHome Staff

We are a team of enthusiasts thriving to provide you with helpful advice on buying everything you may ever need to finish your home and make it a lovely place.

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