What is the Best Brush for Staining Wood? — Use on Decks, Furniture (2024)

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A quality brush is crucial to achieve an even coverage and consistent finish, but the reality is, not all brushes are created with equal quality and craftsmanship. Most tend to shed and create uneven streaks, which can leave unsightly patches on your stained project!  

To help you out, I have tested and reviewed the best brushes for staining wood so you don’t waste money on a subpar tool.

Premium Option
Perdura Deck Boss
Editor’s Choice
Wooster F5119-4
Budget Option
Linzer 0600
Perdura Deck Boss
Wooster F5119-4
Linzer 0600
• Durable
• Case included
• With brush comb
• Bottle opener keyring
• Interior/Exterior use
• Square trim
• Unique bristles
• Threaded handle
• Threaded grip
• Comfortable
• Reusable
• Stainless steel ferrule
Premium Option
Perdura Deck Boss
Perdura Deck Boss
• Durable
• Case included
• With brush comb
• Bottle opener keyring
Editor’s Choice
Wooster F5119-4
Wooster F5119-4
• Interior/Exterior use
• Square trim
• Unique bristles
• Threaded handle
Budget Option
Linzer 0600
Linzer 0600
• Threaded grip
• Comfortable
• Reusable
• Stainless steel ferrule

Reviews of the Top Brushes for Staining Wood

1. Wooster Brush Available F5119-4 Bravo Stainer

The Wooster Brush Available F5119-4 Bravo Stainer brush is the best choice if you want to stain a large area quickly without sacrificing the finish’s smoothness. The white China bristles on the wide end of the brush make it ideal for finishing large areas smoothly.

It’s helpful for staining wood of any texture, allowing the stain to penetrate deeply into the grain. It’s made specifically for staining decks, and if you buy an extension pole, you can swap out the handle.

I also recommend this for those who want to stain large pieces of wood. If you need a brush that can withstand prolonged exposure to oil-based solvents while maintaining its shape, this heavy-duty tool is your best bet.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

2. Perdura Deck BOSS Deck Stain Brush Applicator

This multi-purpose brush shortens the time it takes to complete a task. It’s ideal for use with any wood stain or paint brand, and you can use it on polished and unpolished surfaces.

What I find convenient is the robust and visually appealing storage case that comes with this fence applicator brush. As a bonus, there is a bottle opener and a brush comb on the key ring. 

The seven-by-two-inch design with the three-inch filament length holds substantial quantities of paint or oil-based stain. Overall, when you need to coat or stain large surfaces swiftly, the Perdura Deck BOSS Deck Stain Brush is a great option.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

3. Linzer 0600 Project Select Premium Stain'N 3550 Paint Brush

The Linzer 0600 Project Select Premium Paint Brush is an excellent option if you’re trying to save money. Being a broad staining brush, it has many of the same features as more expensive alternatives but at a far more reasonable price. It is a straightforward yet effective staining tool.

About six inches in width, and roughly an inch in thickness, you can use this brush for a variety of tasks. You can paint on it or use it with any number of wood dyes. 

The flexible bristles and handles are constructed from polyester and molded plastic. The handle is detachable and threaded when you attach it to a long pole.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

4. Pro Grade - Paint Brushes - 5 Ea - Paint Brush Set

These Pro Grade stain brushes are ideal for staining various woodworking projects thanks to their ergonomic wooden handles and stain-regulating bristle tips. 

They use a unique filament mixture called SRT, which is more effective in reducing brush strokes and retaining more paint than regular synthetic brushes. They’re made with thin brush tips so you can regulate the staining process on any size interior or exterior project.

The Pro Grade Paint Brush 5-Piece Set can also carry a lot of paint at once, saving you the trouble of making many trips to the supply room. You’ll spend less time on each coat and achieve the look you’ve been striving for.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

5. Presa Premium Paint Brushes Set

The Presa Premium Paint Brushes Set is designed to help you finish more tasks quickly. It has a stain-holding capacity up to 30% higher than the industry standard. Its material is built to last and is durable enough to be used on surfaces with a lot of texture. Brushing up after each use should be easy because of its simplicity.

These natural bristle brushes provide a sleeker finish and more consistent release because of their high-quality filaments. Because of this, you’ll be able to paint with greater mastery and accuracy.

This set of brushes is well made so that even the pickiest painter would find them ideal for interior and exterior work. 

What I Like

What I Don't Like

6. Minwax 427320008 Polycrylic Wood Stain Brush

The Minwax 427320008 Polycrlic Wood Stain Brush works well indoors or outdoors to seal or stain wood and can withstand numerous uses. But you should always clean it thoroughly after each use and not after the stain dries.

Applying water-based stains or varnishes is a breeze with this brush. It’s durably built and easy to maintain, making it the best brush for staining wood in terms of value for money.

It maintains its shine even after washing and does not shed. This brush allows for consistent application of wood stain, ensuring even coverage, and it can be utilized for up to five different tasks before showing signs of wear.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

7. Bates Choice Paint Brushes - 4 Pack

These brushes are so effective that you may finish your painting project in no time. They’re light, sturdy, and simple to maintain. The quality of your work will greatly improve while using these.

Even on repetitive tasks, the brushes are pleasant to use. The handle, in particular, allows for excellent control over paint application. They hold enough paint to decrease the time spent on the job, yet they still deliver smooth results.

The Bates Choice 4-Pack Paint Brushes are user-friendly for amateurs and professionals alike. The brush can be cleaned and used for a variety of other colors. It won’t absorb paint and is simple to clean. Also, its one of the good paint brushes for trim, baseboards, etc. 

What I Like

What I Don't Like

Brush for Staining Wood Buyer’s Guide

Material

Knowing what to look for in a wood staining brush is crucial. Use brushes and rollers made of synthetic materials like nylon-polyester or foam.

Size and Shape of Bristles

There are some round brushes still available, but square-cut brushes make up most of what you’ll find in stores nowadays. They work wonderfully as paintbrushes and are a convenient size for painting just about anything.

However, if you’re painting across narrow borders or tight spaces, you’ll need more control with square-cut brushes.

Sash brushes with angled bristles provide extra precision. Cutting into the perimeter of a room is a breeze with a sash brush.

Comfort

The handle of any tool you use should feel good in your hand. Rollers and brushes should have an attachment point for an extension pole, and sprayers must be lightweight and easy to transport.

Ability to Contain Stain and Paint

Not all brushes are the same, so get one that soaks up a significant amount of paint in one go if you’re just starting. This way, you can avoid the expense and inconvenience of purchasing stain remover for wood.

Painting may be messy; if drips occur, you’ll need to wipe them up right once. This means you should select a brush that allows you to apply stain with less dripping and running.

You can save time and effort by painting larger areas, like fences, with a brush that can cover more ground at once. Flagged or split ends are a sign of durability while bristles that have drooped can carry more and spread more broadly.

Brush Type

As repeatedly mentioned in this guide, the success or failure of your painting project is directly related to the quality of the brush you use. 

The bristles of a paintbrush are the most critical part, but the handle is also essential. The strands, or filaments, may be made of either natural or synthetic materials:

Natural Bristle Brushes

One type of bristle brush is made from animal hair or fur and is known as a natural bristle brush or white china bristle brush. Depending on your needs, you can use some with either water- or oil-based stains.

Synthetic Bristle Brushes

You can use nylon, polyester, or a combination of the two to make synthetic bristles.

I recommend opting for a brush with synthetic polyester bristles to spread clear finishes and water-based stains. In contrast to mineral spirits, water causes the bristles on your brush to enlarge and lose shape.

Also Read: Can You Use Mineral Spirits on Wood?

The smooth appearance you get from synthetic hairs is because they don’t absorb moisture or droop. As a bonus, they’re effortless to tidy up afterward. All you need is some soap and water.

Bristle Strength

Every time you paint, you should avoid having brush hairs adhere to the surface. You will harm the paint job if you attempt to pry the brush bristles out of a recently stained surface.

The best brush for staining wood should feature sturdy bristles that won’t shed as much. Also check if the brush has bristles that are securely fastened to the mandrel.

Wear and Tear

You can repeatedly use some scrubbing brushes designed for stain removal, while other models need to be thrown away after a single application. Thus, choose a brush that meets your needs while allowing you to save money in the long run.

Even though disposable brushes cost less up front, a high-quality brush that can be used for multiple years applying stain coatings is the way to go. Pick a brush that you can use multiple times and is simple to clean.

If the bristles run out and you haven’t finished painting, you can save some aggravation by purchasing a brush set. You simply get a new paintbrush and keep working as usual.

Staining Wood: Brush vs Roller vs Spray

Why Opt for a Brush?

Why You Should Use Brush Over a Rag for Staining Wood?

A cloth rag will do the trick if you don’t have a brush handy. While some people may have more luck with a cloth, you may find that a brush works better for what you’re trying to do. 

A rag is a throwaway material that can help you cover a large area fast and smoothly, but it isn’t the best choice for finer work.

However, brushes excel at crevices and detailing because they allow for more precise control over the staining process due to their ability to reach into tighter spaces. A rag should do the trick if you need to get anything done quickly. 

Brushes, however, are better if your job involves a great deal of intricacy and fine-grain wood.

Why Choose a Roller?

Why Choose Sprays?

Staining Wood: Step-by-Step Process

Materials You’ll Need

Step #1: Clean Your Wood Thoroughly

tools for painting

On a bright, clear day, you should remove all filth from the hardwood surface and ensure no chance of precipitation for at least two days.

Step #2: Cover the Areas You Don’t Want to Stain With Tape

Catching the paint is optional if you protect the surfaces with a drop cloth or painter’s tape.

Step #3: Applying the Paint

Spread wood stains on the wood with a paintbrush or foam brush.

The gaps between boards can be filled up with a coat of paint using a paintbrush no wider than one inch. While a cloth can spread wood stains, using a paintbrush or foam brush is still better on extremely porous surfaces. [1]

Step #4: Wipe Any Excess Paint Off the Surface

After you apply stain, you may see leftover paint, so use a damp rag or lint-free cloth, remove it, and set the board aside to dry.

absorbent cloth for cleaning

More Effective Ways to Stain Wood Consistency for a Pro-Like Finish

Tip #1: Make Visual Inspection and Preparation

Before priming and painting, you should sand down peeling, splitting, or flaking areas so that the new paint can adhere properly.

If you want your wood to seem professional, wash the grimy parts with warm water and soap and wipe them down with a damp cloth.

Tip #2: Complete Repairs Beforehand

Clean the wood by spraying it down or wiping it with a moist towel to remove any dirt or debris that can interfere with the stain.

Tip #3: Sand Old Coats

I recommend using sandpaper to smooth down any rough spots left by previous coats of stain or paint.

sanding wood surface

Tip #4: Always Check for the Weather

Wait until the dry season to paint or stain wood. Since there is more moisture in the air during a wet season, drying takes longer.

Take your time in between coats if you must stain in damp weather. If you make a mistake when painting, you’ll have plenty of time to fix it before the paint dries enough for a second coat.

Avoid painting in direct sunlight since doing so could result in the paint drying before it has had a chance to penetrate the wood properly.

Tip #5: Use Tinted Paint

If you want to avoid the stark look of a white primer, choose one with a tint instead. It does a better job of hiding the hue of the original stain than the standard white primer.

wood stain

Additionally, the final coat will be slightly more vibrant and require fewer applications. Existing colors like orange or red, which generally require three layers without a primer, benefit most from using a tinted primer.

Tip #6: Use Only as Much Stain as You Need

Avoid loading your brush with too much stain since this can cause streaks and uneven coverage. Excess stain can also be hard to remove.

Tip #7: Hold the Brush Properly

The best brushes for staining wood and staining at the right angle is important, so make sure you’re standing close to the surface you’re working on, as this will give you more comfort and control.

Tip #8: Begin Painting From the Top to the Bottom

The best way to avoid drips and spatters during wood staining is to work from the ceiling to the floor or the top of the project until the base. 

You’ll end up with a paint job that looks better and works better, and you won’t even have to break a sweat in the process.

Tip #9: Do the Finishing While it’s Still Wet

If you want the stain to hold, you need to finish every surface you’re dealing with before it dries. If you do this, you’ll have less trouble with overlapping in your stain.

Preventing Brush Marks or Strokes While Staining Your Wood

Although applying wood stain may seem straightforward, it’s relatively simple to botch. Without the proper method and good brushes for staining wood, your work may dry with brush streaks or blotchy stains. 

The trick to avoiding mistakes is to move rapidly but cautiously.

FAQ

Do I need a special brush for stains?

You don’t need any special brush for stains, but stains and finishes that are water-based should be applied using a synthetic bristle brush, while those that are oil-based should be applied with a natural bristle brush. 

Are foam brushes good for staining?

Yes, foam brushes are good for staining because they can provide a smooth finish. Inexpensive foam brushes are convenient for one-time DIYers because you can dispose of them once they’ve done their job.

Can I use a brush for applying oil-based paint?

To paint with oil paints, use a brush with natural white china bristles. For working with oil-based paint on a smooth surface, a paintbrush made with natural White china bristles is an excellent choice due to its softness and adaptability.

How can you clean the brush after staining wood?

You can clean the bristles with dish soap and a comb in warm water after being dried with a clean rag. Remove the extra moisture by shaking it out and reapplying it to dry. Dry it overnight by placing it flat inside a paper bag. 

Read Next: How to Clean Polyurethane Brush Effortlessly

Is it okay to reuse brushes?

What you may expect from a brush depends on its quality, how well you care for it, and where you keep it. When properly cared for, a good-quality brush can last for years.

My Top Pick For a Brush for Staining Wood:
Wooster Brush Available F5119-4 Bravo Stainer

After using various types of applicators for staining over the years, the Wooster F5119-4 Bravo Stainer has stood out as the best brush for staining wood. 

It has a unique blend of white china bristles and polyester filaments, which makes it ideal for use with all types of stains, including oil-based and water-based paints. Its versatility makes it a solid choice for both DIY enthusiasts and professionals, and it performs excellently across a variety of wood surfaces.

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Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.

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