Oil-based paints tend to be thicker. As a result, you can’t use any random paintbrush when refinishing your project. At least if you don’t wish to end up with a flop for a project. 

However, with the many paintbrushes saturating the market, finding the perfect option for your market can be overwhelming.  

Lucky for you, I’ve tested and reviewed various products, so you needn’t have to figure it out the hard way. Moreover, I’ll share some tips on how to pick the best brush for oil-based paint. 

Our Top Picks

Best Brush for Oil-Based Paint

  1. Purdy XL Sprig Paint BrushBest Overall
  2. Wooster Shortcut Angled Brush Best for Corners and Tight Spots
  3. Bates Professional Paint BrushBest Budget
  4. Purdy 144080310 Paint Brush -Best for Exteriors
  5. Richard Goose Neck Paint Brush-Best Flexible Handle
  6. Bates 16-Piece Foam Paint Brush Set-Best Foam Paint Brush
  7. Wooster Brush Z1101-3 Paint brush-Best for Oil-Based Paint-

Best Brushes For Oil Based Paints

1. Best Overall-Purdy XL Sprig Paint Brush

3" Purdy 144380330 XL Sprig Paint Brush, Tynex Orel
  • PURDY XL PAINT BRUSHES - Purdy XL Series brushes are great for all types of environments, both interior and exterior. These paint applicators will help you get the job done right the first time.
  • VERSATILE - Our most popular brush line, these medium-stiff painting brushes are designed for latex and oil-based paints, primers and stains.
  • MEDIUM STIFF BRISTLE BRUSH - Designed to be easily cleaned, the DuPont Tynex nylon and Orel polyester-blend bristles offer superior durability and abrasion resistance.

Purdy paint brushes are a favorite for professional painters and DIYers. Besides offering a high-quality performance, these brushes are available in varying sizes. These sizes include 2-inch, 2 ½-inch, and 4-inch.  

When painting walls or other large surfaces, the 3-inch brush is big enough to finish the job in no time. Yet, it still offers a comfortable grip and is easy to control. 

The Purdy XL sprig brush features a copper ferrule that distinguishes it from its competitors. Moreover, the handle features a sprig shape and consists of alder wood. 

Additionally, the tapered polyester bristles pick the right amount of paint. Moreover, the bristles allow you to deposit the paint evenly across most surfaces. It doesn’t leave stroke marks or annoying drag. 

The bristles are stiff enough to hold up to various surfaces. Moreover, they can withstand different humidity and temperature levels. Similarly, they’re soft enough to hold the right amount of paint and lay it down smoothly. 

You can use the brush with oil-based paint, primer, lacquer, sealant, or varnish as a versatile option. Another perk of using this product is that it cleans up easily. This allows you to remain prepared for further painting tasks. 


  • It delivers smooth, even coverage. 
  • It’s available in various shapes and sizes 
  • It’s durable


  • Some users complain that the brush doesn’t pick up enough paint 
  • It costs more than competitor brands

2. Best for Corners and Tight Spots– Wooster Shortcut Angled Brush 

Wooster Brush Q3211-2 Shortcut Angle Sash Paintbrush,...
  • Flexible purple Shergrip handle that measurers only 2 Inches long that adds maneuverability in tight spaces
  • White nylon and gold polyester blend for all paints
  • Brass-plated steel ferrule

Most brushes come with long handles, making it easy to paint in smooth and long strokes. However, there are times when you’ll be working on projects that require a more focused approach.  

This includes painting a corner, working between closely spaced windows, painting narrow trim, or tackling a tightly confined area. No product can beat the easy-to-hold, easy-to-use Wooster angled brush in such cases.  

This 2-inch sash brush includes polyester bristles perfect for oil-based paints, stains, or finishes. This tool will achieve a smooth finish even when painting over rough and uneven surfaces.  

But what sets this brush apart from other products is its short, stubby handle. The rubber-coated handle, standing at around 2-inches, offers a secure and comfortable grip. This allows you to control the brush movements with seamless maneuverability, even in tight spaces. 

Moreover, even with its brass-plated steel ferrule, the product still falls on the lower end of the price scale. Finally, the package design lets you hook the brush by the handle. 

Moreover, it comes with an illustration that guides you through the proper holding position. This is a quirky choice if you’re looking for an affordable paint brush that works with oil paints.


  • It offers a super flexible grip 
  • It’s great for detailed projects 
  • Specifically suited for oil-based paints 
  • It offers easy maneuverability in tight spaces


  • It doesn’t come in varying shapes and sizes

3. Best Budget-Bates Professional Paint Brush

Bates Paint Brushes - 4 Pack, Treated Wood Handle, Paint...
  • PROFESSIONAL QUALITY: 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed, Trim Paint Brush is Premium; intended to be long lasting and easy to clean. Exceptional ability to get the job done quickly with a superior finish.
  • FIT FOR COMFORT: Treated wood handle brushes are lightweight and easy to hold. A comfort that last for long tedious jobs. Handle allows for the best quality control with exceptional results.
  • THICK FILAMENTS: These synthetic filaments are designed hold more paint to save you time and give you the finish you are looking for. Filaments are durable and long-lasting.

This professional quality brush set guarantees 100% satisfaction. Besides offering an easy clean-up, this premium trim paint brush is long-lasting. With this tool, you can achieve a superior finish seamlessly. 

The affordable brush includes a lightweight wood handle that is comfortable to hold. As a result, it allows you to complete large projects without causing fatigue. Moreover, the handle offers the best quality control and maneuverability, delivering incomparable results. 

Additionally, the product includes thick synthetic bristles that are durable and long-lasting. Moreover, thicker filaments hold more paint and deliver flawless finishes without streaks or messy spills.  

Another major perk of this product lies in its affordability. Besides costing less than competitor brands, Bates professional brushes offer an unbelievable value for the price. Moreover, the brush is great for both beginner and professional painters. 

Although the brushes offer tremendous variation, they wear over time, falling short of their longevity. Also, cleaning the brushes is tedious. As a result, I recommend them for minor or short projects. 


  • It’s affordable 
  • It comes in a wide range of shapes and sizes 
  • It holds more paint 
  • It produces consistent strokes over a vast area


  • It doesn’t suit large painting projects
  •  Hard to clean
  •  It offers limited durability

4. Best for Exteriors-Purdy 144080310 Paint Brush 

1" Purdy 144080310 XL Dale Angled Sash Paint Brush, Tynex...
  • PURDY XL PAINT BRUSHES - Purdy XL Series brushes are great for all types of environments, both interior and exterior. These paint applicators will help you get the job done right the first time.
  • VERSATILE - Our most popular brush line, these medium-stiff painting brushes are designed for latex and oil-based paints, primers and stains.
  • MEDIUM STIFF BRISTLE BRUSH - Designed to be easily cleaned, the DuPont Tynex nylon and Orel polyester-blend bristles offer superior durability and abrasion resistance.

While this product suits exterior projects, you can use it in interior painting jobs. With its superior stiffness retention, this polyester brush angle sash is suitable for hot and humid conditions. 

Also, you won’t miss the long sleek handle that is comfortable in hand. Moreover, the handle has an ergonomic shape and length. As a result, it allows you to work for extended periods without experiencing fatigue. 

These distinct features make the tool versatile and handy. Additionally, the sturdy handle allows you to carry out various trim work on ceilings and walls. Therefore, you’ll be able to spruce up your home with decorative colors and details. 

While the handle plays a major role in the tool’s performance, the high-quality synthetic bristles make the brush stand out. 

The bristles are an exclusive blend of Orel polyester and Satin-edge nylon filaments. Unlike most other products, this paintbrush by Purdy features rather flexible bristles. 

It also features a hand-chiseled formula that allows for maximum paint lift. Use this tool if you wish to achieve a smooth, no-drag application. 

Besides being suitable for oil-based paints, the brush produces clean and consistent strokes without spitting or fraying. This is a feature that you’ll rarely come across in a synthetic brush. 

However, a major downside with the brush is that the bristles aren’t thick. While this may fall to personal preferences or project requirements, thicker bristles offer enhanced absorption. Moreover, the thicker the bristles, the more paint they can hold.


  • It delivers a smooth finish 
  • It’s suitable for exterior projects 
  • Ergonomic handle that offers comfort 
  • It features an angular shape for versatile applications. 


  • Bristles aren’t thick enough 
  • It features limited durability

5. Best Flexible Handle-Richard Goose Neck Paint Brush 

Richard 80833 Goose Neck Angular Paint Brush with Flexible...
  • Extend your reach and position the brush as you need - Brush fits on any extension pole
  • Angled brush filaments allows precise cut-ins
  • Flexible handle that bends to any shape

This list would’ve been incomplete without the Richard GooseNeck Paintbrush. Firstly, the brush fits on any extension pole, allowing you to reach and position the brush as you wish. Moreover, the handle is flexible, allowing you to bend it in any shape or direction.  

The synthetic bristles, suitable for all oil and latex-based paint, offer excellent paint pick-up and application. Moreover, the brush feature angled filaments, allowing you to make precise cut-ins;

The brush’s bendable handle makes it better than most other extender brushes. Once you attach the tool to a standard extender pole, you can bend the handle to whatever angle you need. Then, it remains in the bent position until you move it again. 

Lastly, this is your best bet if you wish to paint around the baseboard without bending, crouching or sitting on the floor. 


  • Comfortable and flexible handle 
  • Holds paints and glides on smoothly 
  • Works well with oil-based paints


  • Bristles are too soft for some types of paint 
  • It isn’t available in other sizes or shapes 

6. Best Foam Paint Brush– Bates 16-Piece Foam Paint Brush Set 

Bates- Foam Paint Brushes, Sponge Brushes, Sponge Paint...
  • Bates foam brushes 16 pieces with 2 inch brush size
  • Designed to cover the surface evenly with fewer strokes
  • These foam brushes work with any type of paint or varnish, on virtually any surfacing, great for crafts, window frames, door jams and other narrow areas

While a foam paint brush isn’t suitable for painting walls, they’re inexpensive and ideal for various projects. These projects include painting furniture, smoothing paint along the trim, touching up chipped paint, and painting hard-to-reach areas. It’s also great for window frames, crafts, and door jams.

This foam brush is 2″ wide and features a slightly chiseled edge that facilitates the smooth application of oil-based paint. Besides working with any paint or varnish, these foam brushes work well on any surface.  

With this tool, you can cover the surface evenly with fewer strokes. Moreover, the foam holds up well and can resist shedding and tearing. Moreover, despite its pocket-friendly price, this 16-piece set offers different brush options depending on your requirements. 


  • It includes a durable foam 
  • It’s fairly priced 


  • Several users pointed out that it becomes floppy after multiple uses.

7. Best for Oil-Based Paint-Wooster Brush Z1101-3 Paint brush

Weiman Lemon Oil Wood Polish - 16 Fluid Ounce - UV...
  • Restore - Lemon oil gently cleans, moisturizes and conditions wood furniture
  • Versatile - Can be used on any wood surface, rejuvenating a beautify shine with no sticky residue
  • Brilliant - Weiman Lemon Oil contains only the purest of oils for the most significant results

Typically, accessing natural brushes for oil-based paint will require that you dig deeper into your pockets. Fortunately, this isn’t the case with the Wooster Brush. Besides being a budget-friendly option, it includes China bristle brushes that deliver fast and even results. 

Moreover, it includes a brass-plated ferrule and a black solid plastic handle. However, since it doesn’t compete with other high-end products, don’t expect it to act like one. Instead, it offers a decent quality option for short-term use. 

Taking a close look at the features, you’ll notice that the bristles are sturdy and thick. Moreover, the filaments are styled in a square trim that renders consistent strokes and smooth finishes. Natural bristle brushes can pick up oil paint seamlessly while maintaining its shape. 

However, this product’s major downside lies in the bristles’ quality. The bristles tend to fray after several uses. 


  • Suitable for oil-based paints 
  • It features long and thick bristles that cover large areas 
  • It delivers consistent strokes and a smooth finish 
  • The ergonomic handle offers a comfortable grip


  • The bristles fray over time

Best Brush for Oil Based Paint Comparison Table

Buyer’s Guide: Choosing a Good Brush for Oil-based Paints

While a natural bristle brush works for both oil, acrylic, and water-based finishes, some paints require specific tools to get the job done. As a result, when picking brushes for your oil-based paints, you must consider certain factors. Here’s a buyer’s guide to help.

Bristle Type 

The type of bristles in a brush impacts the overall appearance of the paint in different ways. Keeping that in mind, the best brush for oil-based paint should feature natural bristles. These natural bristles, derived from animal hair, provide excellent absorption and fluid retention.

However, this doesn’t mean synthetic bristles have inferior features and properties. On the contrary, several reputed brands offer premium quality synthetic brushes with features similar to a natural bristle brush. 

While synthetic and natural bristle brushes may work for oil-based paints, your final choice will depend on your project. 

Natural bristle brushes are great for furniture or flat surfaces that don’t require high painting precision. While most of these brushes tend to shed, you needn’t worry about this issue if you settle for high-quality brushes.

 Unlike natural brushes, synthetic brushes consist of polyester, nylon, or blend. Since they deliver smoother and precise strokes, I recommend them for projects requiring intricate details. 

Shape And Size Of The Brush

Besides the type of bristles, the size and shape of the brush are other significant factors worth considering. Picking the correct size is paramount if you wish to achieve a smooth and even finish.  

Since oil-based paints feature a consistent thickness, you may find it challenging to execute certain paint strokes and techniques. However, you can get it right with the correct brush shape and size.

Consequently, adhering to this rule will allow you to carry out specific strokes and colors. For instance, you can produce sharp and consistent strokes with an angled brush. 

On the other hand, a smaller brush size will do when creating intricate strokes or paint in narrow or confined areas. 

In any case, you can determine the correct brush size depending on your project. Smaller brushes, measuring 1 ½” wide, are great for intricate paintworks. They also suit most woodwork tasks. 

However, if you’re working on trims, among other large projects, you want paint type for baseboards,trims and a wider brush, measuring more than 2 inches. Moreover, they’re often the optimal size for most DIY projects. 

Larger brushes that typically range between 3 to 4 inches are great when seeking to dye wide, flat surfaces.


Oil-based paints are remarkably durable compared to their water-based counterparts. In addition to being thick and long-lasting, they provide unparalleled coverage that conceals stains and imperfections. 

Leverage these advantages and achieve quality and effortless paint jobs by investing in sturdy brushes.


Natural bristle brushes, particularly hog hair, are the best for oil-based paint projects. They have long-lasting quality and offer unique absorption properties. However, a major caveat is that they cost more than synthetic brushes. 

Therefore, you’ll want to consider your budget before settling on a specific brush type. Lucky for you, some brands manufacture high-quality synthetic and natural bristle brushes at affordable costs.

Can You Use Synthetic Brushes For Oil-Based Paints?

Yes, you can. Yet, not all synthetic brushes are well-suited for oil-based paint. Still, many brands will indicate whether their synthetic brushes are compatible with oil-based paints or not. Besides that, you’ll want to consider the shape and design of the brush bristles. 

How To Thin Oil-Based Paint? 

Thick oil paint may ruin your paintwork or artwork. For instance, it might get lumpy, peel off or form ridges. Fortunately, you can circumvent this issue by thinning your oil-based paint. 

To thin paint, you’ll need a pair of gloves to keep your hands clean. Moreover, have a container that you’ll use to mix the oil-based paint with mineral spirits or turpentine. With these tools, follow the quick guide below to get the job done in no time;

  • Pour the oil-based paint into the container and separate any dried paint chunks. 
  • Add mineral spirits or paint thinner. Make sure to know what is the difference between paint thinner and mineral spirits.
  • Use a clean stick to stir the mixture carefully. 
  • Apply the paint to a test surface to see the anticipated results.


Can You Use Any Brush With Oil-Based Paint?

Yes, but you’ll want to ensure that you clean them well. I recommend buying two brush sets- one for oil-based and the other for latex paints. Also, when using synthetic brushes, ensure they’re compatible with your oil-based paint.  

Read also: Can you clear coat latex paint?

How Do I Get A Smooth Finish With Oil-Based Paint?

You’ll achieve a smooth finish with oil-based paints with the right sanding preparation. First, apply a reliable oil-based primer and wait until it dries. 

Next, sand it using 120 or 150-grit sandpaper until the surface is entirely smooth. If you create brush marks in the primer, you’ll find it impossible to achieve a smooth and even finish. 

How Do You Apply Oil Paint Without Brush Strokes? 

You can eliminate brush marks if you use the proper brushing technique. When painting, dip the brush into the paint and tap off any excesses.

 I recommend using a separate container instead of drawing the paint from the can. Finally, coat the surface immediately with the loaded paintbrush. 

Ensure that you blend the paint as much as you can. Also, consider brushing out any troughs, ridges, and patchy areas that may form. Next, spare some time for the oil paint to dry to the touch.

Finally, recoat using some linseed oil. 

Is It Better To Brush Or Roll Oil-Based Paint? 

A roller works better compared to brushes, especially when working on a large surface. Besides featuring a porous surface that can hold more paint, the roller distributes an even layer of paint faster.

Moreover, you can achieve different finishes with different rollers. For instance, rollers with a smooth surface will deliver a smooth finish. 


The best brush for oil-based paint is the Purdy XL Sprig Paint Brush. This brush ranked the best in all our in-house tests. Besides delivering a smooth and even finish, the product is durable for long-term use. Let us know your thoughts on our list by leaving a comment below.

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