Best paint brush – not obvious
The good (but apparently confusing) thing about the fantastic range of brushes from companies like Wooster or Proform or Corona is that, regardless of its cost or construction, every brush behaves differently depending on the user and the paint being used. So I think you tend to gravitate towards one “best” brush or another because of your painting style and paint choice and willingness to persevere with mastering a new tool – not because a brush is necessarily built, flagged, shaped or priced “better”than another.
I have a light touch when cutting straight lines with emulsion. I use almost exclusively premium acrylic wall paints – not vinyl paint – so for me the Silver Tip in the middle has been dead easy to pick up and get on with right from the start, no practice required, it feels perfect to me. Same with the ultra pro soft on the right (which I like for its weight and sharp lines.) So which is best? If you share my painting style, and honestly compare ability for cutting in fast, getting into corners and leaving brushmarks, the Ultra Pro Soft is inferior to the angled Silver Tip. (The Ultra Pro Soft has been discontinued since writing this in Aug 2011)
On the other hand, if you have a heavier touch ( if you prefer shorter stubby brushes for cutting in lines) then you would possibly find both those 2 brushes a bit flimsy. With a heavier touch, you increasingly push harder to get the last inch out, so the flimsier bristles may not behave as you want in that circumstance. Hence why two painters may well give you 100% differing advice / thumbs up and down on the same brush.
And then there is the Picasso. For me, it is a brilliant brush for trim and outperforms the really really good Wooster Alpha on the left of the above 3. It suits my heavier pushier cutting-in style on trim, (it really holds its shape and delivers constant paint as you literally lean on it) but – I haven’t quite got the hang of it yet for emulsioning.
By that I mean that the Picasso is great for painting long straight lines, but for corners, I am not yet accustomed to forcing the brush to make a pinpoint right angle, which it can do in the right hands. But it is not natural for me, as I have always made a corner gently moving paint with the natural shaped corner of a brush.
So, in the early stages of my development, if you asked me what is the best brush for painting sharp lines between ceiling and walls or down sides of doors, creating right angles with ease and getting into amazingly tight squeezes in emulsion paints, the 2.5″ Silver Tip is “better” than the 2.5″ Picasso.
But painters like Jack Pauhl who persevered with the Picasso for a year and has mastered it, or Mistcoat, who has moved on with his brush choice, would say their favourite Silver Tips seem to be gathering dust. (in 2012, I think it is fair to say that the Picasso features at the top of the emulsioning pile in the opinion of many painters, myself included. )
Best brush for each paint
Brushes are designed for use in certain paint types, so there is a sharp learning curve for painters using US made brushes in UK paints. As professional painters on the hunt for the best fastest finish, the tendency is to pick a few Wooster, Corona or Proform Picasso brushes and see how they perform in our usual paints of choice. There isn’t a bad brush there, relatively speaking.
Brushes come in different sizes and style with different bristle types, and one bristle type will work well in a particular paint. For instance, if two brushes have Chinex bristles, eg the Corona Kingston and the Wooster FTP, theoretically they are the same brush, so the quality of finish achieved by each brush should be similar in the same paint, but, you may prefer the weight and balance of one brush make / model over the other. And one design difference, ie the weight, may actually enable you to produce a better finish with one over the other, or one may be easier to clean, or the bristles may be cut, flagged and assembled differently.
It is a long process, but TP decorators are working on a definitive list of best brushes for each paint. When complete, it should hold good as a reliable guide, at least til the paint companies tweak their paints again!
Just think, there are painters who carry 3 brushes in their hands at any one time, all different bristle types. None of those can ever count as best brushes.
Please follow our journey of discovery in search of the best paint brush.
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