Let’s take a look at how cheap and expensive paint brushes compare and the correct uses for each one. The quality of your paint brush may make or break your work of art.
No matter the length, bristles are made of different materials—natural or synthetic. The bristles also come in different size and shape. When a brush is well-made, you’d find that the bristles are soft and the tip is fine.
Cheap brushes are tempting to buy because they won’t cost you a fortune. Often, they are made of synthetic fibers.
- 1 Cheap vs Expensive Paintbrushes – A Quick Comparison
- 2 Why You Should Avoid Cheap Paint Brushes
- 3 How to Care for Your Expensive Paintbrushes
- 4 Best Paint Brushes
- 5 The Verdict: Are Expensive Paint Brushes Worth it?
Cheap vs Expensive Paintbrushes – A Quick Comparison
Here is a quick comparison of the brushes available to you based on your budget:
Cheap Paint Brush
With cheap paintbrushes, you’ll think you’ll be saving money by buying them, but it’s quite the opposite. You can use them to apply glue or any paint that doesn’t need a fine finish. But when it comes to professional painting, they will do you no good.
No matter how good of a painter you are, a cheap brush will make your work look mediocre. They mostly have synthetic bristles, which are known for their poor ability to hold enough paint on their tips.
Also, the ferrule will be loose on poor quality paintbrushes. This allows the stray bristles to come out and ultimately damages your painting. It’s hard to create a precise image with random bristles sticking out everywhere.
Synthetic Brushes Equal Cheap
These brushes are made from man-made materials, as opposed to natural bristles. The most common synthetic brush materials are nylon and polyester. These things are typically used for latex paints, as they provide a smoother finish than natural bristle material.
Expensive Paint Brush
Expensive brushes mean you’ll be getting a high quality brush with soft bristles and tight, neat ferrules. The bristles will be either completely natural or a blend of natural and synthetic hairs.
Each type has a different use. For instance, natural bristles work perfectly well with oil-based paint, but we can’t say the same about water-based colors. Synthetic bristles work well with both.
Expensive brushes are tapered near the end to allow the tip to hold enough paint. Plus, the tips will look like split-end hairs. The ferrules of expensive brushes will be non-corrosive to stay durable for the longest time possible.
A good brush will contain a lot of water and release paint evenly. The most popular ones for watercolor are made with red sable hair–which comes from a weasel, not an actual sable.
The finest hair is known as the Kolinsky Sable. It is taken from the Siberian Kolinsky weasel, which has the longest and densest fur; however, these things can be quite costly.
Natural Bristle Brushes
Natural brushes are ideal for oil-based paints, enamels, varnishes, and polyurethanes. They hold more pigments than their other counterparts and create a smoother application. Natural brushes come from hogs, badgers, sable, oxen, and Chungking bristle.
Hog bristle is the most stiff natural brush while Chungking is the softest. Badger hair bristles are in the middle of the scale in terms of stiffness. Sable bristles are very fine and expensive. Oxen brush bristles are used mostly for outdoor painting because they can withstand rough weather conditions without breaking.
Natural bristles have a hollow center that allows them to absorb and hold more paint than lesser-expensive bristles. This prevents frequent Dip brush in paint can and reloading of the brush with paint.
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A sable brush is a type of paint brush made with sable hair. Sable hair is soft and has a natural ability to hold paint, making it ideal for use with watercolors, inks, and other delicate media.
The brush head is typically small and come to a fine point, making them well-suited for detailed work. However, many artists feel that they are worth the investment. When cared for properly, a sable brush can last for many years.
Why You Should Avoid Cheap Paint Brushes
The Bristles Are Too Loose
Loose bristles are incredibly frustrating. You try to paint, but they keep getting stuck in the wet paint, and the finish looks too blotchy for its own good. Brushes with high-quality bristles won’t shed on your work, and they’ll give you a smooth finish on the first try.
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The Tips Are Stiff
If you painted with high-quality, reputable paintbrushes before, you probably know the texture of their tips. The cheaper bristles are stiff, which causes visible strokes on the canvas. You’ll need to apply more paint coats to fix the streaking and get a smooth finish, which is a loss of time and effort.
On top of that, the brushes may be limp, which will cause the paint to drip and splatter everywhere.
They’ll Need Frequent Replacements
All cheap products have short lifespans, starting from paintbrushes and all the way to cars. Whether it’s a wobbly handle, a blunt tip, or loose bristles, the brush will break apart sooner than you expect.
You’ll need to buy another paintbrush, which means you’ll pay double, and you’ll get the same quality. On the other hand, quality paintbrushes are highly durable; you won’t have to replace them as frequently.
How to Care for Your Expensive Paintbrushes
When you care for your paint brushes, they’ll stay usable for the longest time possible. A good paintbrush is one that will last a long time, is easy to clean, and doesn’t lose its shape.
Here’s how to take care of your best paint brush:
Consider the Paint Type
Keep Your Brush Wet
As long as you’re still painting, keep your brush wet without letting it dry out. Letting it dry and wetting it again and again while painting will cause them to wear out much faster than they should.
Clean the Brushes Thoroughly
If you find your paint brush dry and stiff when you’re about to paint, that’s a sign that you hadn’t cleaned it well when you finished painting before. Your brush needs to be 100% empty of paint before you store it or let it sit for long.
Store the Brushes in Their Covers
Paint brushes mostly come in covers that contour to their shapes. However, these covers help the bristles stay in their original form. If you’re storing your brush for a long time, it’s better to keep it in its dedicated case so it doesn’t lose its original shape.
Use the Brush Only for Intended Purpose
Although oil-based paintbrushes can be used for a variety of purposes, it is important to use the correct brush and only for the purpose for which they were intended.
For instance, paintbrushes that are designed to work with oil-based paints should not be used with other types of products to avoid damaging them.
Best Paint Brushes
Here is a list of some of the best paint brushes in the market:
Grumbacher Goldenedge Acrylic Paint Brush
- Strong, durable brush easily manipulates heavy paint; unique taper causes the bristles to interlock, which maintains its original shape and helps...
- Create broad and bold strokes when pressed sideways, or use the sharp edges for thinner lines
- Easily create sweeping layers by dragging the brush across the surface; good for filling in large areas, blocking and impasto
This is a high-quality brush that is specifically designed for use with acrylic paints. The bristles are also tapered to a fine point, making it ideal for painting precise lines and edges. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned artist, the this paint brush is an excellent choice for all your painting needs.
Kolinsky Sable Brushes
- Premium Sable Hairs - These Kolinsky detail paint brush set are made from kolinsky sable hairs, which makes these brushes possess plenty of...
- Perfect for All Detail Painting Needs, kolinsky sable brushes also work great for nail art and face painting, scale model painting, Warhammer...
- Easy to Clean and Reshape - Sable hairs will spring back perfectly after every brush strokes and can be easily clean up with warm water and...
Kolinsky sable brushes are round brushes made from the tail hairs of male Siberian weasels. They have long been prized by artists for their ability to produce fine lines and crisp edges, and they are a essential tool for watercolor painting.
These are also popular for use with oil paints and acrylics, and these round brushes are often used by illustrators and comic book artists. The high quality of these brushes comes at a price, however; they are often quite expensive, making them out of reach for many artists.
Nevertheless, for those who can afford them, these painting tools are an excellent investment that can create beautiful results.
Princeton Aqua Elite Professional Watercolor Brushes
- Synthetic Kolinsky Sable - Princeton Aqua Elite 4850 Series water color brushes feature Princeton's NextGen synthetic fibers that are almost...
- Delivers Oceans of Color & Precise Details - Each watercolor paint brush has maximum color-holding ability & excellent shape retention producing...
- Comfortable & Durable - Aqua Elite watercolor brushes for artists come with comfortable handles for lengthy painting sessions. These Princeton...
These brushes are some of the best on the market, and for good reason. They are made with high-quality animal hair that provides an excellent snap and superior color-carrying capacity. The handles are also designed for comfort and balance, making them a pleasure to use.
In addition, the brushes come in a wide range of sizes, so you can find the perfect one for your needs.
Da Vinci Brushes
- Maestro 2 interlocked hog bristle shapes are deeply set in their ferrules and hold their shape after vigorous use
- Natural tips of flags distribute paint evenly, marking the paint layers like van gogh
- Certified green manufacturing with sustainable wood handles
When it comes to brushes, round shape is the way to go. That’s because these shapes provide more control and are easier to use than flat ones. These high-quality brushes are handmade by skilled artisans and feature round tips that make them easy to use and control.
Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned artist, da Vinci brushes can help you produce beautiful works of art.
Winsor & Newton Series 7 Kolinsky Sable Watercolor Brush
- The World’s Finest Water Color Brush - for artists who appreciate exquisite quality and longevity, there is no other brush than the Winsor &...
- Point – having a crisp point and maintaining that during use.
- Snap & Spring – the brush snaps back crisply into shape with the right degree of spring to allow the artist superior control with a degree of...
The Winsor & Newton Series 7 Kolinsky Sable Watercolor Brush is recognized as the gold standard among watercolor brushes. Made with only the finest natural sable hair, this brush is handcrafted to paint a crisp point and a large surface area.
It is ideal for detail work and can hold a large amount of water without shedding. The Series 7 is also perfect for heavy use, making it a favorite among professional artists. The brush has the right degree of spring, allowing for greater control and flexibility.
Watercolor painting is a popular form of art, and Series 7 brushes are among the most popular brushes used by watercolor artists. The shape of the brush is designed to hold a large amount of water, making it ideal for wetting the paper before painting any surface.
In addition, the handle is long and thin, making it comfortable to hold for extended periods of time. As a result, Series 7 brushes are an essential tool for any watercolor artist.
The Verdict: Are Expensive Paint Brushes Worth it?
Expensive paint brushes are definitely worth it, especially for beginners. They’re a good investment in the long run. You won’t have to buy new brushes soon, and you’ll have a pleasant experience while painting.
No more wobbly handles anymore! You’ll pay a lot for your top quality brushes, but you’ll only pay the price once without needing to replace it soon, as the way it is with cheap paint brushes.
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