The Best Paint Brushes for Painting Furniture

There are a lot of paint brushes on the market, and it can be hard to know which one will give you the best results. In this post, we’ll take a look at the best paint brush for painting furniture and why. Plus, we’ll show you how to clean your brush after use so that it lasts longer.

Learn more about furniture painting tools and supplies here!

different types and sizes of paint brushes laid out

When it comes to painting furniture, you probably want a smooth, brush free finish, without actually spraying the paint. Right??

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A good way to avoid brush strokes in your paint is to use a high quality synthetic brush.

Another important consideration is the type of paint you’re using. Whether you’re using enamel, acrylic, milk paint, or chalk paint… you’ll be able to get a brush free finish with these paintbrush recommendations.

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What kind of paint brush do you use to paint furniture?

Synthetic paint brushes are the best for painting furniture!

There are a lot of options out there though. From cheap dollar store paint brushes, to $40 paint brushes, and then a lot of options in the middle.

You get what you pay for, but you don’t need to spend top dollar on a paint brush to paint furniture. Even if you want a smooth, brush free paint finish.

If you use a really cheap paint brush, it will most likely shed its bristles in your paint… which is really annoying to have to pick out. The cheap paint brushes also tend to leave a lot of brush marks behind.

A middle of the road paint brush, for about $10 will work great. Zibra paint brushes are exactly what I’m talking about here.

They are high quality, they don’t shed, and you can get a brush free finish with them. And you can clean it out afterward so your investment can be used again and again.

Holding two different paint brushes

What paint brush gives the smoothest finish?

Staalmeester, Cling On, and Country Chic Paint’s oval paint brushes are the best of the best paint brush for painting furniture.

If you are looking for the best of the best, you want a true brush free finish, absolutely no shed, thick paint brush that you can use over and over and over for all of your paint projects… The Staalmeester, Cling On, and Country Chic Paint oval paint brushes are amazing.

But they can also be around $25-$40 each. Ouch.

saalmeester, cling on and country chic paint oval paint brushes

You can get a super smooth, basically brush free finish from Zibra paint brushes, Purdy and Wooster paint brushes. But you typically have to add some other tricks in to get it.

How to prevent brush marks when painting furniture

First, use a high-quality, synthetic paint brush that is very dense.

Second, use a self-leveling paint that will flatten out as it dries. Here are some of my favorite self-leveling paints for furniture.

different self leveling paints in cans stacked

Learn more about the types of paint for furniture here.

If you can’t use a self-leveling paint, like chalk paint, (and even if you do use a self-leveling paint), add a little bit of water to your water-based paint to make it thinner.

The paint will take a little longer to dry, and it will have an easier time flattening out while it dries.

Here’s another great post with tips on how to paint furniture without brush marks.

How to remove brush strokes from painted furniture

Have you already painted a coat of paint on your furniture, and you’re left with brush strokes all over in your paint?? Don’t worry, you can get those out!

Once the paint is dry (read the back of the can for a specific dry time) use 220 grit or 150 grit sandpaper to remove the brush marks. Learn more about sandpaper for furniture painting here.

Once they have been removed, then you can use the tips above to paint the next coat of paint on without leaving brush strokes behind.

Best Paint Brush for Furniture

The best paint brush for painting furniture is the one that works best for you and the project you’re working on.

Do you need a budget-friendly option that is great quality? Or are you looking for a brush that will create a brush free finish?

Check out my favorite options below.

Best for High Quality/Low Priced Brushes: Zibra Paint Brushes

Zibra paint brushes come in different shapes and sizes to help paint details and get into corners easier.

They are very affordable at around $10 a brush, and you can use them over and over and over again if you clean them out after each project.

different types and sizes of zibra paint brushes

They don’t shed at all either. I love the round brush, triangle brush and square brushes the most.

The round brush easily gets into details, the crevices of trim, and spindles. The triangle brush is amazing at getting into corners and crevices too. And the square brush is perfect when cutting in or painting a very straight area.

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Best Brush for a Brush Free Finish

You can still get a brush free finish even when using brushes! Here are the best options.

Staalmeester Paint Brushes

If you’re looking for the best paint brush for painting furniture, Staalmeester is the brush for you.

Staalmeester paint brushes are made of natural hair bristles and synthetic bristles. Somehow that makes these brushes easily create a brush free finish when you paint.

They also hold a lot of paint, so you don’t have to worry about reloading your brush as often.

The worst part is that they are more expensive at around $20-$40 per brush. They clean up easily though, so you can reuse them over and over again.

If you are a brush free painted furniture snob like me, you’ll love the Staalmeester paint brushes. My favorites are the pointed sash and the oval.

Staalmeester pointed sash brush and oval shaped paint brush.

Here’s a great post that goes more in-depth if you’re curious about Staalmeester paint brushes.

Cling On Paint Brushes

Cling On paint brushes are my other favorite paint brush to use when painting furniture.

cling on square shaped paint brush

They are very similar to the Staalmeester, and about the same price too… about $30-$40 per brush. They are made of nylon bristles. And they do a great job at creating a brush free finish.

Just like the other brushes mentioned here, Cling On brushes don’t shed either. And they are easy to clean so you can use them over and over.

Country Chic Paint Oval Paint Brush

The Country Chic Paint oval paint brush is a great paint brush for anyone looking for a brush-free finish.

Country Chic Oval shaped paint brush

It’s made of synthetic bristles that will give you a smooth, even finish. The oval shape of the brush allows you to get into those tight spaces and details.

It’s also a shed free brush. But it’s a little cheaper at $20-$30 per brush.

Best Paint Brush for Polyurethane: Zibra Topcoat or Foam Sponges

The best paint brushes for polyurethane are the Zibra topcoat paint brush or a foam sponge wrapped in pantyhose.

Check out a more detailed blog post about the best paint brushes for polyurethane here.

The new Zibra topcoat paint brush is so good for brushing on water-based polyurethane. It’s made of fake natural bristles that somehow create the best streak-free, brushed-on polyurethane finish.

It holds a good amount of polyurethane, so you have the right amount to brush on. Learn more about the best polyurethane for furniture here.

Zibra topcoat paint brush

I’ve also used a foam painting sponge wrapped inside of a pantyhose… and it works very well as well. I have no idea why or what the pantyhose does exactly, but it does make the finish more streak-free than just using the foam sponge.

Both of these methods will give you a great finish with much fewer brush strokes than using a regular paint brush.

How to Clean Paint Brushes

Spending a lot of money on a paint brush can be hard, but it’s easier to swallow if you know you can use it over and over again.

They just need to be cleaned after each project, and they’ll last for years to come. Cleaning paint brushes may seem like a tedious task, but it’s actually quite simple! Here’s how:

First, rinse your brush in water to remove any excess paint. Then I like to soak the bristles in a little bit of water to help the paint drain out of the brush. I don’t ever let the water go hear the metal though.

Then I use a brush cleaner or soap and water to clean the bristles. And finally, I rinse the brush again and allow it to air dry.

Learn more about how to clean paint brushes here.

I recently bought a paint brush comb to help clean my brushes. I can’t wait to see how it works!

Cleaning a paint brush with a paint brush comb

Is it better to paint furniture with a brush or roller?

That totally depends on you and what style of furniture you’re painting. If your furniture is mostly flat, you can totally use a roller. Learn more about the best rollers for painting furniture here.

Just know that rollers leave texture behind too. They are little bumps instead of brush strokes. I know the little bumps don’t bother some people, but they bother others. So just be aware, that you’ll still have some texture in your paint.

I personally like to stick with a paint brush because a lot of furniture has details that are hard to get into with a roller. So you have to use a brush to get into those details.

If you use a roller in addition to a paint brush, it’s just another thing you have to get out and then clean or dispose of after your project is done. It’s totally up to you and what you prefer!

Which paint brushes don’t leave brush marks?

If you use a high-quality, self-leveling paint, most paint brushes won’t leave brush marks behind.

Check out this post to see what the best paint for furniture is.

If that’s not an option though, the best paint brushes to use are Staalmeester, Cling On, or Country Chic Paint’s Oval paint brushes.

Note: They can still leave brush marks. They are brushes. But they are absolutely amazing at eliminating the brush strokes left behind.

Chalk Paint Brush Marks

Since chalk paint is a thicker paint, it doesn’t really matter what paint brush you use, you will most likely still get brush marks in your paint.

One way to prevent the brush marks is to mix some water with your chalk paint. I never measure. I just eyeball… but maybe 5% water.

pouring water into a bowl of chalk paint to thin the paint

The water will thin out the paint, which will make it take a little longer to dry, which will help it have some extra time to lay flatter and fill in those brush marks.

You can also sand in between coats, when the chalk paint is dry, with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the brush marks that have been left behind.

Get more tips on how to chalk paint furniture here.

Now that you know what the best paint brush for painting furniture is, start your painting adventures and let us know how your future projects turn out!

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  1. Do you reuse or interchange your brushes for different products. For example;
    Can I use a brush for antique wax then wash it off and use for clear wax or even a different color chalk pain?
    Or do you usually reserve your wax brushes for wax only and vice versa?

    1. I only use wax brushes for wax. Waterbased paints used the same brushes and so on.

  2. Kathy Wuellner says:

    Thank you for this most helpful information. Looks like I have a bit of shopping to do for new paint brushes (oh, darn) 🙂
    I am excited about trying out a few of your suggestions for brushes and paint for a brush-free look.
    Thanks again,
    Kathy Wuellner

    1. Enjoy your shopping spree!!

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