The best paintbrushes for DIY enthusiasts

Can’t find the perfect paintbrush? We've shortlisted eight different types to get you started.

Three of the best paint brushes in blue frames against a painted white wall

by Emily Farquhar |
Updated on

If you are a DIY'er like me, you might have noticed quite the selection of paintbrushes on the market. Whether it’s your back door that needs sprucing up or your window frames, there is a brush for every job. And, selecting the right paintbrush will ensure you get a professional finish every single time.

Related: How to choose the best paint for your walls at home

Depending on the size of the job and the paint you're using, there are a few tips to know before selecting your brush. As a general overview, an angled brush is great for getting into the nooks and the crannies, whereas you would use your widest brush as the quickest solution for large spaces.

The bigger your variety, the better. Mainly because if you can complete your job far more efficiently, why wouldn't you? Just remember to cover your brushes in-between jobs to stop them from drying out. And, limit the amount of paint per stroke, using the tips of your brush, to create a brush-free finish.

Paint brush types:

As I have shortlisted a range of different types of paint brushes in this article – masonry to cutting in brushes, I thought a basic overview of them all wouldn’t be a bad idea. The three biggest differentiators of brush types include bristle type (filaments), size and purpose, and quality.

1. Masonry brush: a long bristle (usually natural), firm-textured brush – great for rendering or with water-based masonry exterior paints.

2. Cutting in brush: a fine-angled brush with a clean finish – great for all straight edges (walls, ceilings, corners) and high-gloss paints.

3. Precision brush: a pointy looking brush designed for detailed work (sash windows and cornices).

4. Synthetic or acrylic brushes: a smooth textured brush designed for cutting in and a clean finish – great for painting straight lines between surfaces and water-based interior finishes (satin, eggshell, gloss finishes).

5. Natural bristle brushes: a brush that tends to become larger in water-based paints – great for holding paint and traditional solvent-based paints (but less precise).

What paint brush size should I use?

You should keep the following sizes in mind when considering which brush selection is perfect for you (and I would recommend getting a couple of spares, especially for the smaller sizes):

1. 0.5-Inch – all the small bits and pieces

2. 1-Inch – narrow spaces (window sashes)

3. 1.5-Inches – architraves, window frames and skirting

4. 2-inches – panels, small doors, and wider skirting

5. 2.5-Inches – large panels and doors

6. 3-inches – cutting in and walls


Best paint brushes

Harris 102021051 21mm Seriously Good Woodwork Stain & Varnish Round Paint Brush1 of 7

Harris 102021051 21mm Seriously Good Woodwork Stain & Varnish Round Paint Brush

This 21mm round paintbrush by Harris is 'seriously good for woodwork stain and varnish'. Being Amazon's choice for the best furniture paintbrush, it's designed to give you very smooth results. The round head gives you more control in those intricate areas and it has no-loss technology so you won't find any pesky bristles while painting.

Wooster Brush Q3211-2 Shortcut Angle Sash Paintbrush, 2-Inch, White, 2 inch2 of 7

Wooster Brush Q3211-2 Shortcut Angle Sash Paintbrush, 2-Inch, White, 2 inch

Wooster Brush has created the shortcut angle sash paintbrush which is extremely popular. With over 6000 five-star reviews, it has a flexible purple Shergrip handle (2-inches), giving it great manoeuvrability in tight spaces. It's white and ideal for all acrylic paints.

Harris 809 Shed and Fence Block Brush, 4 inch/ 100mm3 of 7

Harris 809 Shed and Fence Block Brush, 4 inch/ 100mm

Harris's Shed and Fence 4-inch Block Brush is another favourite. Coming in a range of packs, the natural bristle wooden brush is made with animal hair. Very durable and with high absorbency (for getting the job done faster), it's perfect for fences and sheds. It's also suitable for all wood treatments.

RODO Professional 4-inch Flat Masonry Brush4 of 7

RODO Professional 4-inch Flat Masonry Brush

RODO Professional's 4-inch Flat Masonry Brush is another product worth the investment. It's a traditionally styled masonry brush with a blend of polyester filaments and pure bristle for better performance and durability. It even has extra bristle for maximum paint holding and ideal for water and resin-based masonry paints.

Axus Du00e9cor AXU/BGPSS4 Grey Series Pointed Precision Paint Brush Set, 12mm, 15mm, 20mm, & 25mm, Set of 4 Pieces5 of 7

Axus Décor AXU/BGPSS4 Grey Series Pointed Precision Paint Brush Set, 12mm, 15mm, 20mm, & 25mm, Set of 4 Pieces

AXUS Décor's Grey Series Pointed Paint Brush Set is the best precision paint product. The set of four includes a 12mm, 15mm, 20mm and 25mm brush, and is ideal for sash windows, architraves, and mouldings. The super-fine, tapered, and synthetic filaments are designed to achieve a smooth finish with minimal brush marks. it's great, too, for cutting in with emulsion.

LG Harris 13190 Harris Platinum 5 Brush Set, Set of 5 Pieces6 of 7

LG Harris 13190 Harris Platinum 5 Brush Set, Set of 5 Pieces

Harris's Platinum 5 Brush Set is another product well worth your time. With over 6000 reviews, the synthetic filaments are designed for a very fine finish. Suitable for all paints, the wooden set contains two 1-inch brushes, two 1.5-inch brushes and one 2-inch brush. Also, very easy to clean!

Stanley HOBBY10 10 Piece Hobby Paint Brush Set7 of 7

Stanley HOBBY10 10 Piece Hobby Paint Brush Set

I had to include Stanley's larger 10-piece Hobby Paint Brush Set for anyone looking for the full kit. The synthetic blend bristle paint brushes include 0.5-inch to 3-inch brushes. Very easy to clean, these DIY necessities also have plastic comfort grip handles.

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