The best paint brushes for all your DIY needs

If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right, so before you embark on your next painting adventure, check out our pick of the best paint brushes for outside, inside, and every other side you can think of

Included in this guide:

The best paint brushes

Between colour-blocking and feature walls, statement skirting and eye-popping brights, painting the inside (and out) of your home has come on leaps and bounds since the magnolia days – although if neutrals are your thing, that’s fine too! 

What we really mean to say is that not all paint jobs are created equal, so why should the tools for the job be? We’ve rounded up the best paint brushes for lots of coverage, detailed work and more, so that you can find one to fit the decorating task at hand.

For more advice and inspiration, browse our decorating hub page. Think it might actually be a roller that you're after? Shop our pick of the best paint rollers.

If you’re relatively new to DIY, it might surprise you to know that different types of brushes are intended for use with different finishes of paint. For example, water-based paints require a paintbrush with synthetic bristles, while solvent-based paint is better applied with a natural bristle brush. We’ve noted down the compatibility for each of our picks to help eliminate the guesswork. 

Another tip is to use an angled brush for small details such as window frames and sills, as these will allow you to get into every nook and cranny. Finally, it’s worth noting that natural bristle paint brushes take some time to break in for best results, so if you’re only buying for a single job, or infrequent small ones, synthetic may be a better option. With that in mind, keep reading for our roundup of the best paintbrushes and rollers.

The best paint brush

1. Best all-round paintbrushes: Wooster Silver Tip Paintbrushes Set

Use with multiple paint types for smoothness and precision

Best for: Versatility
Type: Synthetic
Width: 1, 1½ and 2in
Handle: Beech
Paint type: Solvent, water-based, varnish
Reasons to buy
+ Suitable for use with solvent- and water-based paints and varnish

Reviewers said these paint brushes made cutting in superbly easy with their ability to give a crisp, clean edge, so if you’re planning on starting a big painting project, it’s worth picking up a pack of these to start the job off on the right foot. 

Screwfix customers cite them as the best they’ve used for oil-based, water-based paints and even varnish, saying the synthetic fibres glide beautifully and give an even finish with no marking or dragging. By all accounts, simply excellent all round. 

Browse more paint brushes on Amazon

set of paint brushes from b&q

(Image credit: B&Q)

2. Best paint brushes for walls: Harris Contractor Soft Tipped Paintbrushes Set

A great starter kit for all your painting needs

Best for: A great painting starter kit
Type: Synthetic
Width: 1, 1½ and 2in
Handle: Plastic
Paint type: Suitable for all paint types
Reasons to buy
+Come with a lifetime guarantee+Suitable for all paints, stains and varnishes+Excellent paint pick-up and release
Reasons to avoid
-Plastic handles not the most sustainable option

A greater starter kit that will fulfil most of your painting needs, this Harris Contractor Soft Tipped Paintbrushes Set is suitable for all paints, stains and varnishes and comes with a lifetime guarantee, subject to correct care being given to preserve the brushes.

While this set of brushes are particularly recommended for use on walls, doors, ceilings, door frames and skirting boards, they can likely tackle most painting needs. Their ability to pick up and release paint with ease also means fast and even coverage.

Axus Décor Pointed Precision Brush Set

3. Best paint brushes for detailing: Axus Décor Pointed Precision Brush Set

Take your cues from the Old Masters with these pointed brushes

Best for: Fiddly areas
Type: Synthetic
Width: 12, 15, 20 and 25mm
Handle: Bamboo
Paint type: All
Reasons to buy
+ Responsive round brushes 

A narrow square-ended brush like the above can be a great thing when it comes to detailed painting work, but some people just feel more comfortable with pointed paint brushes, and we have to say, they can’t be beaten for a responsive feel. With that in mind, we present the Axus Décor Pointed Precision Brush Set, highly recommended by pleasantly surprised reviewers for windows, doors, fireplaces, frames, skirting boards and anywhere you want a sharp line when cutting in; they said they flowed well and kept their shape while in use. 

Hamilton Performance Masonry Brush

4. Best paint brushes for masonry: Hamilton Performance Masonry Brush

For optimum performance on fascias, stonework and more

Best for: Fences and ceilings
Type: Natural/synthetic mix
Width: 4in
Handle: Plastic
Paint type: Masonry
Reasons to buy
+ Large coverage, holds a lot of product 

If you're painting your home's exterior, the Hamilton Performance Masonry Brush is the brush for you; particularly if you're looking to complete your task in as little time as possible.

With a hard wearing mix natural bristle and polyester bristles, as well as a rust resistant, stainless steel ferrule, this masonry brush is designed to withstand the outside and achieve a smart looking finish.

Wooster Silver Tip Angled Sash Paintbrush

5. Best paint brushes for cutting in: Wooster Silver Tip Angled Sash Paintbrush

Precision engineered for cutting in, this angled paint brush suits small jobs

Best for: Angled brush
Type: Synthetic
Width: 2½in
Handle: Beech
Paint type: All
Reasons to buy
+ Specially made for cutting in 

The tapered filament bristles on this angled paint brush, not to mention the angle itself, make for an ultra-precise finish on tricky corners and recesses, making this one of our best brushes for painting window sills, skirting boards, architraves and the like.

Reviewers said using a brush specifically made for cutting in made all the difference, and that this one in particular was impressively easy to handle, quick to cover, quick to clean, and comfy to handle, especially for the bargain price.

Find out how to cut in when painting a wall or ceiling in our guide.

Looking for more paint ideas, advice and inspiration?

Emily Shaw
Emily Shaw

Emily first (temporarily) joined the Real Homes team while interning on her summer break from university. After graduating, she worked on several publications before joining Real Homes as Staff Writer full time in mid-2018. She loves a second-hand bargain and sourcing unique finds to make her rented flat reflect her personality.