Oil-based paints are thick. So you can’t grab a random paintbrush and start adding bright colors to your DIY project or refreshing the furniture. At least if you do not want your project to flop.

So today, I will share some tips with you on how to pick between the best paint brushes for oil-based paint and choose the one that would be a perfect match for your needs. If you are too overwhelmed with the brush options the market offers, that’s not a big deal. I’ve tested and reviewed the products that would perfectly do for oil-based paints so that you don’t have to figure it out the hard way.

Our pick
best brush for oil based paint
Purdy XL Glide
Best brush for oil based paint
Purdy’s XL Series is the most versatile brush series, designed for use with all paints and stains.
Name Size Material Brush shape Review
Purdy XL Glidebest overall 3 inch /76 mm Nylon/polyester Angled Review
Wooster Softip Q3108budget 2 inch/50 mm Nylon/polyester Straight Review
Perdura Rapid Stainlarge 5 inch/127 mm PET filaments Wide Review
Purdy Ox-O-Angularsmall 1.5 inch/38 mm Natural Angled Review

How I tested paint brushes for oil-based paint

how i tested paint brushes for oil based paint

Every paintbrush from my review was involved in my home-renovation project. I painted the bedroom door with six brushes, carefully dividing the whole area into equal sections to better understand how they would do their job. You’ll learn what I figured out in a second.

Best brushes for oil-based paint reviews

Purdy XL Glide – best overall

Purdy XL Glide

The Purdy XL Glide 3-inch brush with tapered polyester bristles is suitable for all paint types, so it will perfectly do for oil-based paints.

Thanks to the angular-trim bristle design, it’s easy to paint large flat surfaces like doors or trim. The fluted natural hardwood handle is comfy to grip, but the brads holding the metal ferrule get flimsy over moderate use.

Purdy XL Glide unpacked

Unlike soft Purdy White Bristle Sprig brush, this one is stiffer, so you will get better precision. The XL Glide brush delivers a smooth surface with no bristles ruining your work.

Being the best paint brush for oil-based paint, the Purdy XL Glide will help you complete the painting project easier and faster while gladdening you with a smooth result.

Key specs

  • Size, inch/mm: 3/76
  • Material: Nylon/polyester
  • Brush shape: Angled

Pros

  • Tapered polyester bristles are moderately stiff for better precision
  • No shedding and smooth strokes
  • Angled bristle design is great for large areas and trimming
  • Ergonomic hardwood handle.

Cons

  • The brads holding the ferrule wear out overuse.

Wooster Softip Q3108 – budget

Wooster Softip Q3108

A Wooster Softip 2-inch soft flat brush features a synthetic bristles blend for latex and oil-based paints.

In contrast to the stiff Purdy XL Glide brush, this one is softer and does not lose many bristles. But it doesn’t result in smoother strokes because the upper part of the brush absorbs paint, while the ends do not. As a result, the paint comes off, making messy streaks.

Wooster Softip Q3108 unpacked

The handle is made of plastic, so it is slightly sleek and not as durable as wood.

The Wooster Softip is the best brush for oil-based paint if you do not want to invest much in the painting tool, and the smooth finish is not that critical for you.

Key specs

  • Size, inch/mm: 2/50
  • Material: Nylon/polyester
  • Brush shape: Straight

Pros

  • Soft flat brush suitable for latex and oil-based paint
  • The 3-inch wide brush is great for large projects
  • Synthetic bristles do not shed much.

Cons

  • A plastic handle is sleep and easy to break
  • Strokes are not smooth
  • Messy when making strokes.

Perdura Rapid Stain – large

Perdura Rapid Stain

The Perdura Rapid Stain flat brush is a good choice for coating decks, fences, railing on rough or smooth surfaces.

The Perdura Rapid Stain is one inch smaller than the 4-inch Wooster Bravo Stainer brush, but it is still great for water and oil-based paints, stains, sealers, epoxy, and varnish for wood and concrete.

Perdura Rapid Stain unpacked

Tapered synthetic bristles jam nice and tight, but they become loose after a few hours of work. The handle is smooth and comfy to grab, even considering the size of the brush.

No doubt, the Perdura Rapid Stain brush is not what you need for small projects. But it is a true beast for staining decks, flooring, and other large surfaces.

Key specs

  • Size, inch/mm: 5/127
  • Material: PET filaments
  • Brush shape: Wide

Pros

  • 3-inch tapered synthetic bristles hold paint well
  • Specially designed for large areas
  • The ergonomic handle compensates for the size of the brush.

Cons

  • Bristles get loose after a few hours of work
  • Might not work for small projects.

Purdy Ox-O-Angular – small

Purdy Ox-O-Angular

The Purdy Ox-O-Angular trim brush with a flat rattail handle is the softest brush suitable for oil-based paints, stains, and clears.

Unlike the Purdy White Bristle brush with natural bristles, the Ox-O-Angular brush is made of a mix of ox hair and white China bristles for added resiliency. The bristles shed much just from the start, but I noticed no bubbles or missed spots while painting.

Purdy Ox-O-Angular unpacked

The angled design makes it a great choice for edging and trimming. Because of the 2-inch width, this brush will do for small projects as well. The handle is lightweight, and it doesn’t feel heavy in your hand.

The Purdy 1.5 inch oil paint brush will become your reliable helper for delicate surfaces or small painting projects.

Key specs

  • Size, inch/mm: 1.5/38
  • Material: Natural
  • Brush shape: Angled

Pros

  • The blend of ox hair and white China bristles for a smoother coverage
  • 2-inches wide for painting small objects
  • Angled bristle shape is great for edging and trimming.

Cons

  • Bristled shed heavily.

Purdy White Bristle

Purdy White Bristle

Purdy White Bristle is a professional oil paint brush with soft bristles suitable for oil-based paints, stains, and clears.

Just like the Purdy XL Glide brush, this item is also 3 inches wide. But the Purdy White Bristle brush has a flat bristle design, making it a great item for woodwork, furniture, and other surfaces.

Purdy White Bristle unpacked

The Alderwood handle ensures balance and comfort.

The natural bristles are soft, so they provide a smooth finish. It does lose a few bristles, but not dramatically. Also, this brush might not hold oil paint in bristles without making a mess all around. So, the Purdy White Bristle brush can be a better choice for outdoor projects.

Key specs

  • Size, inch/mm: 3/76
  • Material: Natural
  • Brush shape: Straight

Pros

  • An optimal brush width for almost any project – 2.5 inches
  • Soft natural bristles for woodwork and furniture
  • Flat bristle design for even strokes
  • Alderwood handle for a comfy grip.

Cons

  • Noticed minimal shedding
  • Slightly messy and makes splashes

Wooster Bravo Stainer

Wooster Bravo Stainer

The Wooster Bravo Stainer square brush is designed for oil-based stains, sealers, and wood toners.

Similar to the Perdura Rapid Stain brush, this one is specially designed for large areas. It has a hardwood handle with a bucket clip to let you keep it on the paint bucket. But it’s one inch larger – 4 inches, so you will be covering more area in less time. The synthetic bristles are not messy, and they do not shed.

Wooster Bravo Stainer unpacked

But since the edges are not tapered, the brush doesn’t apply paint easily. This brush also leaves some gaps, which are around ¼ inches. The hardwood handle is removable, so you can use a mop extension if needed.

This is a high-quality paint brush that would be especially handy for painting large areas.

Key specs

  • Size, inch/mm: 4/101.6
  • Material: Polyester
  • Brush shape: Straight

Pros

  • 4 inches wide and thick – great for large projects
  • A detachable handle for easier cleaning and adding an extension
  • The synthetic bristles are not messy and do not shed.

Cons

  • Might be hard to apply paint
  • Leaves some gaps

Brush for oil-based paint buying guide

Natural vs synthetic paint brushes

Both natural and synthetic paintbrushes may do for oil-based paint. But the final choice will depend on the kind of project. Natural brushes are made of animal hair (usually hog due to the hair stiffness). They are a great choice for furniture or flat surfaces that do not require much painting precision. These brushes tend to shed, but if you buy a high-quality brush, this won’t be a problem.

Synthetic brushes for oil-based paint are made of nylon, polyester, or blend. These tools ensure smoother and more precise strokes, so they may do better for projects with intricate details. However, I am afraid they might not bring the best results with oil paint.

What shape of the brush to choose?

Many oil-based paint brushes have a square-cut design. They are flat, and due to this shape peculiarity, hold and lay out paint on almost any surface but will do better for large flat areas. These brushes will help you make long, crisp lines. However, you may feel a lack of control, especially when painting corners, adjacent surfaces, or narrow edges.

You can also find sash paintbrushes. They are noted for long slim bristles, perfect for reaching into awkward areas, edging, or painting fancy objects.

There are also angled paintbrushes, which have their bristles cut at a slight angle. This bristle shape allows easier edging and trimming. You will also like these brushes for painting wide, flat surfaces.

Related article – How to paint baseboards without brush marks?

What size of brush do I need?

Choose the brush size based on your project. Smaller brushes (1 – ½ inch-wide) are great for paintworks that require precision. They will also do woodwork jobs. You may want to get a wider brush (more than 2 inches) for painting 3-inch trim or other projects. In fact, this is an optimal size for most DIY painting projects. A larger brush (3 – 4 inches) would be a wise choice for dyeing wide, flat surfaces.

How to thin oil-based paint?

Thick oil paint may completely ruin your paintwork – it might get ridges, lumpiness, or peel off. So, to thin oil-based paint, prepare a pair of gloves to keep your hands clean and a container to mix paint with turpentine or mineral spirits. Here is a quick guide on how to get the job done, but you can learn more handy tips by jumping into this article.

  1. Pour paint into the container and remove any chunks of dried paint.
  2. Add turpentine or mineral spirits (the proportion is one part of turpentine or spirits to three parts of oil paint).
  3. Carefully stir it with a clean stick.
  4. Apply the paint onto the test surface to see the results.

FAQ

Can I use a synthetic brush with oil-based paint?

The question of whether one can use a synthetic brush with oil-based paint comes up regularly. The quick answer is yes, and you can use synthetic brushes with both water- and oil-based paints. However, some prefer not to use synthetics because using natural hair was “the way it’s done.”

How do you prevent oil-based paint from brush marks?

Since oil paints dry slowly and do not flow well, it is difficult to avoid brush marks. If you’re painting with just one color, let the previous layer completely dry before applying another layer. This allows enough time for solvent evaporation between layers. If brush strokes cause problems, consider using a roller or airbrush.

Are hog hair brushes good for oil painting?

High-quality hog hair is a suitable choice for oil painting. The stiffer the bristles, the less likely you will have brush marks. Use long brushes with a nice point to paint details, and use short bristle brushes to apply thick paint in large areas where brushmarks are not so visible. A good compromise would be having two kinds of hog hair brushes.

Is Wooster better than Purdy?

Wooster brushes are good for oil painting, but the brand is not necessarily better than Purdy. However, some artists always use one particular brand because they feel it’s the right brush to use with oils.

Does the type of paint brush matter?

The type of paint brush is not necessarily critical, but some types are better suited for use with oil paints. A flat brush with a wide belly and stiff bristles will have less impact on the brushstroke compared to a round chisel-shaped brush. Because a round point has a tendency to deform in all directions when pressed into or pulled across the canvas, visible brushmarks are likely.

Can you use a roller with oil-based paint?

Yes, you can use a roller with oil-based paint. However, it is better not to use a roller for small or intricate areas since the result won’t be as good as what a specialized brush will produce.