Choosing Paint Brushes

Painting a wall is usually the most budget friendly option for decorating or redecorating your room.  A new look is waiting for your area for under $100 and a few hours of work.  But if you’re painting your room, how do you make it look like a professional painter did the job?

Use professional tools, and with painting, those tools are brushes and rollers.  For small touch up jobs, a throw away brush from the dollar store is an easy and quick way to get the job done.  If you’re looking at a larger project with high visibility, such as painting a kitchen, living room or dining room – not to mention the exterior of the home – you need to consider investing in some quality brushes and rollers.

Painters have different opinions about brushes that come from years of experience and how the brush actually fits in their hand.  One thing I noticed is that women tend to need a smaller handle, as they have smaller hands.  It makes it easier to hold and control the brush, so I tend to look for slimmer, more fitted handles.


Nylon and polyester bristles are synthetic and hold their shape with latex paints.  For oil paints, some professionals prefer natural China bristles that tend to give a smoother finish.  When choosing brushes, often it’s listed on the brush or packaging which paint it’s best for.

Don’t choose the cheapest brush, make sure the bristles are sturdy and strong.  The dollar store variety tend to lose their bristles while you’re painting, and dry in the paint and are a pain to remove.


Brushes come in different shapes for different tasks.

  • Angled – the bristles are trimmed on an angle which lets you hold the brush better while you’re working in corners and with trim work.  The ends are slightly rounded for a better stroke in smaller areas.  Use angled brushes for ‘cutting in’, meaning putting the paint from the edge of the trim to where the roller strokes will reach.
  • Trim – a trim brush with no angle and just a straight cut across can also be used for corners and trim, as well as larger areas.  It’s more a matter of preference.  The ends of the bristles are more rounded.
  • Wall – A regular wall brush tends to be larger and a straight cut.  It has square ends and is best for large wall areas.  I don’t care for them, I’d rather use a roller in larger areas, as I find the wall brushes to be too bulky and sometimes even heavy for longer paint jobs.


Women tend to choose the smaller sized brushes because of the size of their hands, but generally, as for size:

  • A 1 - 2 inch brush is best for detail work, trim and small spaces, particularly windows;
  • A 2-1/2 -3 inch brush works well for trim and corners.
  • 4 inch brushes are for larger wall areas.

Bottom Line

Choosing a brush is going to be a matter of personal preference, but don’t choose the least expensive, the brushes in the middle price range are usually best suited for DIY, residential use.