Best Paint Brush for Varnish

Thanks for taking your time to read our information on the best paint brush for varnish. 

There are so many different makers of paint brushes, at a wide range of prices, that it's very hard to know what is the best to go for. How do you know much you should spend and is it worth spending a bit extra to get something that works better?

We have had a look at all the brushes that are used for varnishing so hopefully this should save you a bit of time making your choice.

Harris 102021060 Seriously Good Woodwork Stain & Varnish Paint Brush 3 Pack

94% customer satisfaction based on 200+ online buyer reviews

  • Contains a 1" , 1.5" and 2" brush
  • Middle of the Harris range, just below professional level
  • This stain and varnish set contains all the brushes you need for those stain and varnish jobs. 
  • Guaranteed no bristle loss while you are painting due to a patented No-Loss* technology.
  • Specially designed to give a great finish with stains and varnishes.
  • Ideal for stair banisters, doors and furniture.

I am very tempted to say look no further. This brush set is designed to make varnishing as easy as possible and it does that really well. At around £5 it is inexpensive and if you have done much painting then you will know that Harris brushes are excellent quality, even at this price.

Harris 103011012 Ultimate Walls & Ceilings Paint Brush 3 Pack

94% customer satisfaction based on 200+ online buyer reviews

  • Contains a 1" , 1.5" and 2" brush
  • Top of the Harris range, professional level and just that bit more expensive
  • This stain and varnish set contains all the brushes you need for those stain and varnish jobs. 
  • Guaranteed no bristle loss while you are painting due to a patented No-Loss* technology.
  • Specially designed to give a great finish with stains and varnishes.
  • Ideal for stair banisters, doors and furniture.

This more expensive brush set is aimed at the professional painter. For over 80 years, Harris has produced professional painting tools that deliver superior performance and if you do a lot of painting then maybe you could be tempted to spend a bit more on this type of brush.

Axus Décor AXU/BL2 Lime Series Wood Finishing Paint Brush, 2"

86% customer satisfaction based on 200+ online buyer reviews

  • 27.6 x 5.2 x 2.6 cm; 110 Grams
  • 2" paint brushed designed for cutting in
  • Perfect for applying all varnishes, stains & lacquers
  • A slim stock prevents overloading of varnish
  • Ultra-fine filaments for an ultra-smooth finish
  • Stainless steel (anti-rust) ferrule
  • Specially designed to give a great finish with stains and varnishes.
  • Ideal for stair banisters, doors and furniture.

This is a good all round brush for varnish. It's a good size and is made for doing reasonably large areas. You may not need a full set or you might just have a one off job to do, so this brush is ideal for that.


Harris 102021051 21mm Seriously Good Woodwork Stain & Varnish Round Paint Brush

94%customer satisfaction based on 250+ online buyer reviews

  • 1" / 50mm specially designed for varnish and wood stain
  • Middle of the Harris range, just below professional level
  • Guaranteed no bristle loss while you are painting due to a patented No-Loss* technology.
  • Specially designed to give a great finish with stains and varnishes.
  • Ideal for stair banisters, doors and furniture.
  • Great for smaller jobs

Everybody needs a 1" Harris brush in their painting kit ! This is a great all round brush that works really well and gives great results. It's very rare though that I would buy a single brush like this as you can get the set of three for just over a pound more.


Paint Brushes (36 Pack)

86% customer satisfaction based on 100+ online buyer reviews

  • Pack of 36 1/2" varnish brushes
  • 17cm (6.69 inches) in length and 12.7mm (0.5 inch) in width
  • Made from poplar wood
  • Designed to be disposable but can be washed out
  • Ideal for accurate work or arts and crafts
  • Sold with a 100% money back guarantee

These brush are really designed for small or delicate jobs that a bigger brush isn't accurate enough for. They are cheap and sold as disposable, though they can be washed out like any other brush.Great for arts and crafts.

A very quick video review

We have looked over all the video reviews and found this great short presentation on how to varnish wood properly. It gives you an instant idea of what to expect as well as telling you all the tips of the trade.

I hope you enjoy watching it as I always think its much better to see a tool in action rather than just reading about it or seeing pictures. This guy is particularly good at explaining the technique.

Our Varnishing Tips 

The key to any good varnishing job is preparation. We have already written a useful article on how to prepare a room for painting, which is certainly worth a read. In this section though we are going to offer our tips just about varnishing

What is the Best Varnish for Wood

This Ronseal varnish is one of the best sellers for wood at the minute.

The reason people buy this is because it is touch dry in 20 minutes and you can recoat it after just 2 hours.

Buyers also like this because it is low odour and gives the wood a natural finish.

The majority of buyers said this is very easy to apply and offers long term protection.

Varnishing wood

We have already said that the key to good varnishing is the preparation and this is much more important than with normal painting. As you are not really covering the wood, all marks will still be seen and any dirt or dust that gets on the wood will be really obvious. Varnishing is much less forgiving than normal painting.

  • Prepare the wood well and make sure the surface is smooth and free from any marks. We would use 220 grit sandpaper to finish before we applied the varnish
  • Always sand with the grain and not against it
  • Use a vacuum or a hair dryer to remove any dust totally from the wood
  • Wipe with a clean, dry cloth and it's very useful then to go over the area with a tack cloth to get the last of the dust off
  • You can also clean the area down with a fine alcohol to leave the area totally clean and ready for the varnish
  • If you are in a workshop then make sure the surrounding area is dust free as the varnish takes a while to dry and you dont want any dust falling on it during that time
  • I would leave any piece overnight before I touched it again

Thanks for reading our article on the best brush for varnish. If you are still not sure then don't forget our number one choice was the Harris Seriously Good Woodwork Stain & Varnish Paint Brush set. Or if you want to look at a few more brush options then check out our article on the Best Paint Brushes.

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