If you have a quick paint job that needs to be done, want to cut in a corner, or paint your window frames, a paintbrush might be the perfect tool for your task. You have probably seen their wide price range and wondered which one is right for your project and has the best price-quality ratio. In order to help you with that decision, we have listed the most important components and metrics, forming the anatomy of the paintbrush, and compiled what you need to have in mind when choosing the best one for you:
A paintbrush’s most visible and recognizable component is its handle.
There are usually three general types of handles to choose from – wooden, plastic, and bicomponent (plastic + rubber).
If you will use the brush professionally, a wooden handle (which is also the most environmentally friendly and most expensive), might be the best option for you. It absorbs the moisture from a sweaty hand during work and prevents it from slipping.
A plastic handle is a more budget-friendly option that you might prefer if you are working on a DIY project. These types of handles come in various designs, including the ergonomic series, which help prevent hand fatigue.
A bicomponent handle is the middle ground price-wise. The rubber part, in its design, provides softness and comfort to the hand even after long hours of use.
No matter your choice, the handle does not really affect the overall performance of the brush and is more of a personal preference.
In order to fulfill every need and requirement of our clients, at Antares we manufacture plastic handles, but also offer bicomponent ones, and we are currently launching a new ECO series of paint brushes with wooden handles as well.
A tip to have in mind –When you are visiting your local painting shop, try the different types of handles and see how they fit in your hand. Check if they feel comfortable to hold; there is really nothing else to it.
There are two types of filaments that you could choose from – a synthetic and a natural bristle. The general rule is to use synthetic filament when working with water-based paints and go for natural bristle if using alkyd-based paints.
A metric to look for – An important metric to look for when going through the specifications of a paintbrush is its TOPS. The TOPS tells you what percentage of the bristles inside the brush has the full possible length (if you buy a brush that is supposed to have 70mm bristle length, what percentage of the bristles is in fact 70mm). A 100% TOPS is actually not a good thing, because the even length will not allow the paint to be easily applied onto the treated surface. Generally, brushes with TOPS between 70% and 90% are considered a good quality for that metric.
A tip to have in mind – Regardless of whether you choose a synthetic or natural filament for your project, look closely at the end of the bristles. They should be flagged and look fuzzy. The split tips help spread the paint and provide a smooth and even finish without forming bubbles.
This is the metal part, fixing the bristle to the handle. The ferrule can be tin-plated, nickel-plated, copper-plated, or made of stainless steel. They are all workable options and generally do not affect the overall quality of the brush. On some rare occasions, when very aggressive paints are to be applied, a stainless-steel ferrule is the best option.
A tip to have in mind – An important specification is how the handle is fixed to the ferrule –through nailing or immersion. They are both very popular options, but brushes manufactured using the nailing technology are considered much more durable.
If you separate the bristle of a paintbrush by the middle, you will see 1 to 3 (depending on the size of the brush) thin but long plugs. They are used to provide a reservoir that holds paint in the brush and allows for longer application before the next dip is needed. The wedges are usually wooden or plastic.
A tip to have in mind – Always choose a brush with plastic wedges because the wooden ones absorb the paint and, soon after, ruin the brush.
The resin is used to glue the bristles in the “head” of the brush and prevent them from shedding during work. There are 2 types of resin used in the paintbrush manufacturing process – polyester and epoxy.
A tip to have in mind –Polyester resin is unsafe for the workers involved in its production process due to its dangerous fumes. It also worsens the quality of the brush as it accelerates the rusting process. Always choose a brush with an epoxy resin made by a manufacturer that uses a specific formula for the material meant for paint brushes.
6. Size and thickness
Lastly, choose the size and thickness of the brush, depending on the project you are about to execute.
A tip to have in mind – 20 and 30mm brushes are great for painting windows and trims; 50-70mm. brushes are perfect for cutting in, and the bigger sizes up to 100mm are usually used for painting larger areas of your home.
At the end of the day, no matter which brush you choose, you will cover the treated area. However, the overall result is widely dependent on the quality of the tool. Buy the best brush you can afford, and you will realize the potential of high-end paints to their fullest.