WOOSTER ALPHA PAINT BRUSHES ****
Manufacturer: Wooster Brush Company
Official Site: www.woosterbrush.com
Type used: 2-1/2" angle sash / 3" flat cut trim
Avg. Cost: 2-1/2" sash brush $15.00
3" flat cut trim brush $20.00
I love to get stuff in the mail, so when a Wooster Brush Co. Rep offered to send me a few of their new Alpha Paint Brushes I gladly accepted. I had read all the hype about the Alpha, and Wooster even proclaimed that this was the Ultimate Paint Brush. Needless to say when the package arrived I was eager to take an Alpha for a ride.
First up was the 2 1/2" angle sash brush, I put it to task cutting in a ceiling line at the top of an interior wall. As advertised the brush held more paint at the bristle tips and required less pressure to apply in an even stroke, however, there was a slight learning curve to applying just the right amount of pressure to control the line, but the adjustment came easily after using the brush for a short period of time.
I worked that brush all day, I even abused it by leaving it down in the paint pot during lunch. I fully expected to find a curled and useless brush awaiting me upon my return from Micky Ds but I was surprised to find that the bristles had held their original shape, no splay or curl.
After a few more days of use I was beginning to believe that Wooster had really created the ultimate paint brush, and perhaps it is the ultimate brush for latex and especially low VOC paints, but that is when I decided to test the "for all paints" claim by giving it a workout on my next job with alkyd (oil) based paint on some woodwork trim.
The first thing I noticed was a lot of brush drag, of course I blamed the paint and asked my partner if she was having the same problem with her hog hair ( China Bristle ) brush, the answer was no and stop bothering me, so I quickly switched to a China Bristle brush and the paint layed on as smooth as a baby's bottom. My conclusion was that the Alpha bristles are not well suited for alkyd paints. That was not a big surprise since natural bristle brushes have always surpassed synthetic bristle brushes for use in oil paints.
Next up was the 3" flat cut trim brush, the brush seemed a bit hefty but I decided to try it out on some windows and doors using Sherwin Williams Duration semi-gloss latex paint. I was more impressed with this brush than I was with the angle sash, although I must admit a bias for traditional square cut bristles and beaver tail stocks.
The bristle length out and brush balance were near perfect which made for near perfect paint control. I was able to cut out the window sashes with a precision that is usually reserved for much smaller brushes. This brush rapidly became my "go to" brush for all things latex.
So how do I rate Wooster's new Alpha Paint Brushes?
The bottom line is that I found the Alpha to be a reasonably priced high quality paint brush for use with all latex paints. Wooster may not have hit it out of the park but the Alpha is an easy triple.
- Cost to Quality ratio - A+
- Painting Control - A+
- Paint load and release - A
- Bristle shape retention - A
- Brush stroke/ paint appearance - B+
- Ease of cleaning - B+
- Use with oil paints - C-
Roger Woodward is the Founder of PainterForum.com He is also a high end Painting Contractor with over 25 years in the Painting Trade.
Painter Forum is independently owned, and we have no direct affiliation with any particular name brand product or service. That keeps my focus on the product's actual performance and not it's well-heeled advertising. The products I review are tested by me in real world conditions and I can only offer my honest opinion based on my experience with the product.
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