Best Brushes for Polyurethane – Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

Top Pick – The Best Brush for Polyurethane Application

Wooster Brush 5221-2 1/2 5221-2-1/2 Silver Tip Angle Sash Paintbrush
Photo: Amazon

Wooster Angle Paintbrush is the best brush both for oil and water-based polyurethanes. Its form allows you to finish the hard-to-reach areas of your project. The bristles provide a smooth application.

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brush for polyurethane

If all you want to complete your project is the best brush for polyurethane, then you ought to know how to find one. Don’t you worry, we have you covered!

In this article, I help you choose the best brush for polyurethane that will get your project done effectively. Certainly, attaining a flawless polyurethane finish doesn’t require just your skills and expertise but also a worthy brush available in the market.

I will show you what goes into a good brush and help you make an informed buying decision. Moreover, we will review some of the best brushes for polyurethane that you can choose from the market today. Without much ado, let’s get to it!

Best Brushes for Polyurethane in May, 2024

#Brush for polyAvailable sizes
1Wooster Angle Brush
Editor's Choice
1.5 / 2 / 2.5 / 3 inch Check Price
2Purdy XL Series 1.5 / 2 / 2.5 / 3 / 3.5 / 4 inch Check Price
3Wooster Brush 4IN 1.5 / 2 / 3 / 4 inch Check Price
4Hiltex Brush Set 1 + 1.5 + 2 + 2.5 + 3 inch Check Price
5Wooster Brush Foam King 1.5 / 2 / 3 inch Check Price

1. Wooster Brush Silver Tip Angle Sash – Top Brush Both for Oil and Water-Based Polyurethanes

Photo: Amazon

Investing in a high-quality brush will take you a long way instead of buying a poor-quality brush to save money in the short term. Getting this Wooster brush guarantees you better application and value for money.

Wooster Brush Company is best known for its innovative manufacturing and high-performing painting brushes and other tools. Its high-quality products have rightfully made a place in the markets since its inception back in the 19th century.

Exceptional properties

This is a silver-tip brush designed with ultra-thin filament, flexible, and even softer to deliver flawless finishes without leaving brush marks. Moreover, the bristles have exceptional leveling and smoothing properties with any paint and polyurethane. When using it, however, you will notice that it works better when applying polyurethane or varnish on wood and thinner and lighter water-based coatings.

It features a stainless steel ferrule that firmly holds bristles into place. The stainless properties also ensure that it does not rust, thus prolonging its lifespan. This Wooster brush comes with a hardwood handle that is long enough to give you comfort when applying your polyurethane finish on your projects.

If you want to attain a top-grade polyurethane finish, Wooster Brush should be top of your shopping list.

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  • Great brush with excellent bristles
  • Durable with quality stainless steel ferrule
  • Wooden handle for comfort when painting
  • Holds a little bit more finish

2. Purdy XL Series Pip Brush – All-around Option

Photo: Amazon

Purdy is one of the most popular brushes in the Purdy brand that delivers excellent performance. For this reason, it is highly recommended for interior and exterior painting projects and with any type of finishes.

This is a hand-made brush that doesn’t compromise on quality. The brush bristles are designed and manufactured in such a way that after brushing they return to their relaxed state.

Moreover, it comes with a keeper that guides the bristles to assume their original state while maintaining top form, thus extending its life span. The keepers are covered in wax, which helps prevent water penetration. They are also designed for increased airflow, thus eliminating the likelihood of mold growth.

Great for Most Finishes

It is designed for applying polyurethane and other coating types like primers, stains, oil-based paints, and latex to walls, trims, and ceiling projects. This brush is a little stiff, which makes it ideal for outdoor application projects with varying temperatures and humidity.

The bristles of this brush are a blend of Orel Polyester and Satin-edge nylon, which makes the tipping and flagging process special because it stimulates the ragged ends of the natural bristle. Since the brush holds more paint, it evenly releases it without leaving behind brush marks. To ensure no drag, the Purdy XL brush is uniquely designed with a hand-chiseled formulation for ensuring maximum paint lift as well as smooth application.

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  • Good quality brush for professional use
  • Durable brush bristles
  • High performance with a smooth finish
  • Bristles may pluck out easily

3. Wooster Brush Polyester Paintbrush – Best Brush for Oil-Based Polyurethane

Photo: Amazon

Wooster brand has been making high-quality brushes since the 9th century and this model is just one of the brushes it has produced. It comes with a pretty long plastic handle but is still easy to maneuver well when applied in tight and hard-to-reach corners.

This brush is easy to use owing to its ergonomic handle and flexible bristles that make it suitable for different painting projects. Moreover, the handle features a small hole at the end, which makes storing this brush is easy. You just hook it somewhere convenient.

Great for Oil-Based Coatings

The bristles are made from high-quality nylon and gold polyester, thus making it great at applying the latex, oil-based paints, and other types of oil-based finishes including polyurethane.

It features a golden polyester filament that stands up in hot weather, and it is tough enough to resist tear and wear. The filament is held to place by a brass-plated steel ferrule. With the strong and long-lasting ferrule, you don’t have to worry about your bristles falling off.

Although this brush is great at making polyurethane finishes, it is important to note that its longer handle can be cumbersome for individuals with small hands. Moreover, the flexibility of the bristles and the handle requires one to have ample time before mastering how to paint with this brush.

Overall, this brush is great at making final finishes on your projects.

  • High-quality brush
  • Great for DIYs projects
  • High performing bristles
  • Reasonably priced
  • A bit big for small hands
  • It is firm thus not ideal for outdoor painting

4. Hiltex Brush Set – Different Sizes for Various Projects

Photo: Amazon

Hiltex is a brush designed and made especially for people looking for a decent set of brushes for polyurethane application. These are special brushes that are suitable for water-based polyurethanes and paints.

This set of brushes offer great value in terms of quality bristles that are ideal for DIYs such as home, works, as well as in art and craft projects. The bristles are made from polyester with feathered ends that provide an extra paint holding capacity.

Five great pieces

The high-quality polyester bristles come fitted on sturdy all-natural handles. All the handles are long enough to allow a great painting, staining, or vanishing experience. The bristles are secured on the wooden handle with a sturdy stainless ferrule that ensures the bristles are firmly held even after long use of the brush. All the handles are ergonomically designed to allow easy maneuverability even in the tightly closed corners of your project.

This set comes with a total of 5 pieces of greatly designed brushes with versatile widths. The widths are not the same but rather range from an inch to 3 inches as the widest.

If you are looking for a set of high-quality brushes that are made with perfect finishing in mind, this set right here is for you.
  • A quality set of brushes
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Wide range of width for different applications
  • Reasonably priced
  • Not reusable

5. Wooster Brush Foam King  – Best Performing on Coverage

Photo: Amazon

This Wooster brush is made for all paints, varnishes, and stains applications. It is a high-quality brush that is 2-inches wide even though it also comes at 1.5 inches for the small model and 3 inches for the larger model. Nonetheless, with the 2 inches, it still offers the best coverage you can have.

It features thick polyurethane foam that offers the smoothest finish – no brush marks left behind. As such, if you are planning to get a perfectly smooth finish on your projects, don’t look far from this Wooster brush. In fact, this is the brush you should buy if you are planning to apply protective coating on your expensive antiquity, crafts, decoupage among other valuables that require finish protection.

Flawless results

The thick and high-quality foam comes fitted on a white plastic handle that features an inbuilt stiffener blade that gives it consistent flex and flawless results during use. The flexible plastic stiffener is a great improvement on this brush, and it makes it stand out of the cheap foam brushes in the market.

One thing I like about this brush and certainly you will like is the added flexibility that allows the brush to curve gently with a little pressure to deliver an even coat of varnish or paint. This is what you won’t get with the cheap foam brushes that lack a stiffener.
  • High-quality foam brush
  • Smooth application
  • Easy to clean
  • Durable
  • The foam pad might fall off easily from the plastic handle
  • Weak plastic handle

Buyer’s Guide

What to consider when buying the best brush for polyurethane? Well, currently, there are many brands and models of brushes for polyurethane flooded in the market today, and picking the best for your projects might prove challenging. However, with the right information on what to look out for, you can easily get the right brush for a perfect finish! Below are some of the factors to consider when buying the best brush for polyurethane.

Type of Bristle

The type of bristles the brush comes with makes a big difference in applying polyurethane. These brushes come with either natural bristles or synthetic bristles.

Natural bristles that are made from animal hair tend to work well, especially with oil-based finishes. Synthetic bristles, on the other hand, are great for use on rough surfaces or when working with water-based finishes.

Width and Style

When it comes to deciding the kind of width and style of brush for polyurethane you want, you have to think about the kind of project you are handling. A wide width can be considered if your project is big while a narrow width can be considered for small projects. A two-inch angled brush works great for small application projects while a four-inch flat brush can be ideal for large-area applications.

Type of Handle

The type of handle a brush comes with matters a lot, and most painters, especially first-timers, downplay its role. Every handle type is designed for a particular task. A short and dense handle is best at working on small projects but if your task is a bit bigger, a big and well-contoured handle for a firm grip is best because it provides comfort when applying.


Before you commit your money to a brush for polyurethane, ensure the metal band that keeps the bristles in place is firm and secure. Tug the bristles gently to see whether the ferrule is securely placed.


When buying a brush for polyurethane, most people tend to compromise on quality in order to save money. However, you should keep in mind that cheap is expensive. We, therefore, recommend that you invest in a high-quality brush if you intend to make a perfect application.

Frequently Asked Questions

While you can use a foam brush to apply polyurethane, it is not recommended for large projects. If you want an even application, it is better to use natural or synthetic brushes.

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You can brush polyurethane in the same way you would brush paint. If there are any bubbles, gently brush back over the finish to burst them.

When possible, brush along the grain of the wood. Oil-based paints dry in around 8-12 hours, so they’re considerably better at leveling off and creating a smooth, brush-mark-free surface.
Most water-based paints dry in 30 minutes to an hour, which isn’t nearly enough time to completely level out. while applying water-based polyurethane you have to be extra careful.

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Removing Polyurethane brush marks can be tedious. You can follow these simple steps to fix brush marks:

  1. With the fine-grit sandpaper, softly sand down the brush markings while applying even pressure to the area.
  2. To remove any traces of dirt and grit from the sanding, wipe it off with a soft cloth. These particles may become trapped beneath the finish.
  3. Apply a light coat of polyurethane finish to the brush, wiping away any excess. This will prevent the area from getting too much finish.
  4. Apply the finish with as few brush strokes as possible to the sanded surface. It may take many light applications to achieve the ideal look, but this is preferable to overdoing it. If the coating appears to be too thick, softly wipe the surface with the rag until it is even. Allow the polyurethane finish to cure before proceeding.
  5. Look for brush strokes on the dry area. Re-sand the furnishings if any remain.
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If you are applying polyurethane for the first time the task can be difficult. Polyurethane must be applied in long, even strokes. You must also keep a wet edge.

If you touch an area with your brush that is dry or drying, you’ll pull the finish, which could leave bumps when it finally dries. These bumps will need to be sanded. You’ll need to lightly sand cured layer to apply subsequent coats. This, once again, entails additional time and work.

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It depends; brush and rollers are not interchangeable; they complement each other. They both have their own application and use case. Rollers can help you apply an even coat and cover large surfaces, whereas brush helps you get into small cracks and crevices and give you finer control over the application.

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If you are concerned about brushmarks, you can use rollers and a brush combo. Rollers will apply an even coat of polyurethane while the brush can give you a bit more control when you need it.

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Its recommended to use brushes that are specifically designed for polyurethane – they have soft bristles for better control. You can find recommended brushes to carry the task here

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I believe you have read and learned how to choose the best brushes for polyurethane. You have also learned more about listed products and you are now fit to make an informed buying decision on your own. Before you make the final decision, ask yourself whether the brush is of the quality you want, if it has the right width and style you want, and whether it is within your budget range. Most importantly, always make sure that you get what you pay for!

William Stewart

The proud owner and lead writer of Started writing in 2018 and sharing his love and passion for wood treatments and crafts.

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3 years ago

Being visually impaired I love to tinker and play with wood. Therefore, trying to get information on finding a brush for polyurethane Ing. My iPad is going freaking nuts with all the ads on this site trying to read your article. Please keep in mind with people with disabilities like me using voice over to try to read your articles.

Reply to  William Stewart
11 months ago

I use the ‘simplified view’ any time it’s offered. Then hit my reader or ask my assistant to read this page. Usually avoiding the ad’s. He does seem to have a horrible time with numbers.
Hopefully this will work out for you. Kat

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