Top 5 Best Brush for Spar Varnish [Reddit Choices]

If you want to get a smooth finish on your spar varnish, you need to use the best brush for spar varnish. Good quality brushes enable your surface to look neat without the brush marks and strokes. You should also use the right technique to apply or get a skilled person to do it for you. 

The brush should be clean, and it should not have been used for paints before. If you are varnishing wider pieces, I recommend the use of wider brushes too. This ensures the surface is evenly covered and saves you time. 

For finer pieces, narrow brushes will do. Brushes with more bristle count give a smoother finish. On the other hand, thicker brushes hold more varnish, which means you will not have to reapply the varnish many times. Foam brushes are also for spar varnish, even though they give a different feel from that of a bristle brush. In our guide and review, we will explore the best brush for spar varnish.

Top 5 Best Brush for Spar Varnish

1. Pan Club Foam Brush Set

PANCLUB Foam Brush Set

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This brush has some admirable features, and it is easy to work with. It is made of foam material and plastic on the inside to make it stiff. This eases its use during application as it is strong enough. 

Pan club foam brush set offers a unique and eye-catching blend of foam. It has a strong absorption power, and the varnish is evenly distributed. The package includes 20 pieces of brush paints every 2 inches. 

They have wood handles and are ideal for crafts, stains, art, acrylic, and varnishes. These brushes are disposable and can be used for varnishing and painting. They are only limited to use with shellac and lacquer. The bristles are firmly made, and they do not fall off.


  • Easy to use.
  • Pocket-friendly.
  • Strong construction.
  • Reasonable weight.
  • Well-fixed handle.


  • Handle fall off easily.
  • Not ideal for applying gel stain.
  • The brushes are not sturdy.

2. US Art Supply 12 Pack of 3 inch Paint and Chip Paint Brush

US Art Supply 12 Pack of 3 inch Paint and Chip Paint Brushes for Paint

The US Art Supply12 pack includes 3-inch paintbrushes for quicker application. They work well for varnishes, paint, glue, gesso, and stains. You can use them with different types of paint like oil and tempera. Their length also enables you to reach edges with ease when varnishing.

These brushes are made from 100% pure white bristle paint and chip brushes. This makes the brush long-lasting and gives the best outcome. They have a classic and stylish look with wood handles and tin ferrules. The smooth wooden handle makes it comfortable for you to use as you apply varnish. 

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They are lightweight, which makes them comfortable to use. As a result, they are ideal for many households or workshop uses, like applying solvents or touch-up paints. These are tasks you can easily complete with these brushes if you don’t want to spoil your expensive brushes.


  • Has wide bristles to cover a large surface area.
  • It’s durable and of high quality.
  • Has wooden handles to enhance a good grip.
  • Long bristles for more extensive coverage.
  • Designed with a comfortable handle.


  • They lose their hair pretty fast.
  • The brushes feel cheaply made.

3. Cambridge 2-in Chip Brushes, 12 Pack

Cambridge 2-in Chip Brushes, 12 Pack

This brush comes in a smooth wooden handle that is easy to use. It is lightweight and does not tire upon use over long hours. The Cambridge 2-in chip brushes work well for varnishing, painting, staining, craft, and other applications. 

The package includes 12 pieces ideal for different types of paint, glue, gesso, stain, and acrylic projects. Purchasing one box will enable you to carry out your varnishing projects for quite some time. They give professional-quality results in all your spar varnishing projects. 

The brushes are 2 inches long, and this makes them ideal for painting and varnishing any surface. In addition, their bristles are firmly fixed to prevent them from falling off. If you need disposable paint brushes, this package will make a great purchase.


  • Bristles are firmly fixed and are fairly long.
  • Smooth handle that is easy to use.
  • Lightweight and comfortable to use.
  • Are for multipurpose uses.
  • Affordable prices.
  • Disposable after use.


  • The brushes shed a lot.
  • They feel cheaply made.
  • Poor-quality craftmanship.

4. Liquitex 1300704 Professional Freestyle Large Scale Brush

Liquitex 1300704 Professional Freestyle Large Scale Brush

If you need freestyle brushes for any artistic application, use the Liquitex 1300704. Unlike other brushes, the brush has an ergonomic handle to offer comfort when working. It is also designed with strong synthetic bristles for durable use.

The handle is short of making it convenient for use when varnishing. However, the bristles are reasonably long to allow varnishing large surfaces and walls. I suggest using them with Liquitex Professional Acrylic Paint Colors and mediums for the best results. 

It is multipurpose and can be used by different people, including art students and professional artists. The brush is medium-sized and is lightweight. So whether you need it for broad gesture strokes, large surface covering, or varnishing, it will work well.


  • It provides multiple uses.
  • Has long and strong synthetic bristles.
  • It is durable and lightweight.
  • Designed with a short and comfortable handle.
  • The bristles are high-quality.


  • Overpriced for its quality.
  • It sheds too much.
  • The handle is too light.

5. Wooster 5232-2 Series 5232 2″ Gold Edge Varnish Brush

Wooster 5232-2 Series 5232 2 Gold Edge Varnish Brush

Wooster 5232 is made of chemically tipped polyester for durable use. The brush’s bristles ate fine and soft, which ensures no brush marks appear when applying spar varnish. While they are soft, they are also stiff to ensure the paint gets to other surfaces. This gives you control in a single pass.

You can use the brush for enamels and paints to achieve professional results. This reasonably-priced brush is innovatively made for better performance. It features stainless steel ferrule and hardwood handle for comfortable use.

The brush works perfectly without leaving streaks or bubbles on the surface. Therefore, you can get smooth finishes on your projects. Unlike other brushes, the hairs do not come off, which is pretty annoying. You also achieve easy cleaning with mineral spirits after use.

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  • The strong and long-lasting handle.
  • Has filaments that control the smoothing.
  • Stiff bristles that do not fall off easily.
  • Great quality and easy cleanup.
  • Reasonable size and weight.


  • None.

Spar Varnish Vs Spar Urethane

Spar varnish is a wood finishing normally done to coat spars for boats, decks, beach chairs, and sail ships. It suits outdoor projects as it may also be applied in rustic homes. Spar varnish protects the surfaces from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. 

When applied correctly, the spar varnish may last up to 15 years. It should not be applied to more than three coats.

Spar urethane is a clear protective finish for both interior and exterior wood that comes to contact with sunlight, water, and temperature changes. When used with special oils, this finish expands and contracts as per the temperature changes. It is suitable for bathrooms, bar tops, boat paddles, windows, and kitchen countertops. 

The main difference between spar varnish and spar urethane is this spar varnish chips off with time, unlike spar urethane that maintains a shiny and hard surface throughout. This is because spar urethane has a high level of moisture protection. 

It is more durable and requires little maintenance. This is why spar urethane is used mostly in boats, as they do not require frequent application. Their maintenance is easy. However, spar urethane takes longer to set than spar varnish.

Spar varnish is natural, whereas spar urethane is synthetic. This is even though both products are water-based. Spar urethane is a spar varnish that uses urethane as a resin. This is why spar urethane cannot be used for interior woodwork. It forms a yellow hue that is dangerous.

Buying Guide

Spar varnish is available in satin or gloss finish. It is majorly used for exterior wood surfaces. The varnish offers good protection against ultraviolet rays, salt, and mildew. I suggest you purchase smaller varnish cans as leftover varnish starts to dehydrate with time. 

This causes hardening, and they may not be used in the future. This becomes a waste. Using spray varnish does not need a brush for application. It is ideal for door frames and window sills. Good quality spar urethane should have a pleasant shine. 

This protects your surface from moisture. It should also have protection against the sun’s ultraviolet rays. You should specify whether you want spar urethane for interior use or that one for exterior use.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to apply spar varnish

First of all, select your workspace. It should be well lit and with good ventilation to allow free flow of air. This prevents nausea that may result from strong fumes produces by the varnish. Being well lit should enable you to identify dents, air bubbles, or any other defects that may occur. Check the humidity and have yourself protected. 
During application, stir the spar varnish and do not shake it to avoid it from bubbling. Thin the varnish up and mix carefully. Lightly brush the spar varnish on the surface and apply it towards the direction of the grain. Apply two more coats and sand it. Allow it to dry.

How do I get a smooth finish with spar varnish?

Being a soft finish, spar varnish is difficult to rub out. Sand the surface with the grain. When sanding, use grit papers of 180-220, while for later coats320-400 grit wet-or-dry paper is recommendable. This is because wet sanding is more aggressive than dry sanding. 
For a smooth varnish, make sure the weather is right. I suggest you varnish from indoors where there is little or no wind. Varnishing in the sun makes the surface wrinkled, and this does not give a very appealing look. 
Allow less than half of the bristles in the varnish to allow for saturation. During application, the outcome will be smooth.

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What kind of brush do you use for spar urethane?

I recommend using the Wooster Angle Paintbrush for use in either water-based or oil-based spar urethane. This is because its makes allow you to finish the hard-to-reach areas. It has a long plastic handle that is easy to use

How do you apply spar varnish without brush marks?

The use of a natural bristle brush prevents brush marks from forming on the surface. You should sand lightly with 150 or 180 grit. Then, apply another coat of the spar varnish and sand it with 220 grits. Slow sanding makes your paper gum easy. The use of a coarser grit makes it reduce the brush marks.
You may also reduce brush marks on the surface by holding the brush at the right angle, that is, 10 degrees to the surface. Skim the varnish lightly with the bristle tips. This enables it to level up. Ensure the brush you are using has nicely made bristles that are strong for the job.

Are spar varnish and spar urethane the same?

Spar varnish and spar urethane are two different compounds in that spar varnish chips off with time, unlike spar urethane. Spar urethane has higher moisture levels than spar varnish. This makes it better for use on paddles and underneath the boats. This makes spar urethane economical as you do not have to apply from time to time. A one-time application is perfect for it.
Spar varnish is natural, whereas spar urethane is synthetic. Spar urethane contains higher resin compounds. The resin compound makes it usable for exterior woodwork and not interior works. It produces harmful hues that are yellow. 
Spar urethane takes longer to set as compared to spar varnish. Spar varnish is expensive as it needs frequent application, and this makes spar urethane cheaper.

Final Thought 

It is great to buy the best brush for spar varnish for you to get excellent results. You can either choose reusable brushes or disposable ones, depending on your liking. The bristles should be firmly fixed to prevent them from falling off. Also, ensure that the surface you are applying the varnish is thoroughly clean and dry. 

Use the right application procedures to get the best results. Consider the weather when applying your varnish. It should be favourable to enhance even drying. Preferably, your varnishing should be done indoors with no wind as it affects the varnish. Ensure you sand your surface to prevent brush marks; for best results, allow enough time for your varnish to dry.

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