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JBird's Battle of the best budget brush

I have probably about a dozen brushes, and I haven't paid over $50 for any of them. Not because I'm a cheapskate or refuse to pay for an expensive brush, but I guess it just worked out that way.
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I have selected 8 brushes here that are all different. There are 2 badgers, a boar, and the rest are synthetic.

I realize that there are many budget brush options out there and some may be better than what I have, but I'm working with what I got.
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Each brush will be lathered in the Captain's choice ceramic bowl with everybody's favorite soap, Arko. (Calm down, that was just a joke)

I will be measuring all the details of each brush with a caliper and jotting down details of my thoughts using each brush.

This is all in fun, and is not meant to be a be all end all for the best brush, but I am curious to really focus on the performance of each brush so I can use my findings to influence any future brush purchases.

Stay tuned and thanks for reading!
 
Up first to bat we have the first brush I ever bought, or in other words before I knew what I was doing, a Rocky Mountain Barber company in best badger.
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This is advertised as having a knot size of .98 but I reality it was a little smaller, at least where it comes out of the handle. I measured about 23 mm
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The widest part of the handle came out to 36mm
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The thinnest part was 26mmIMG_20220318_142451724.jpg
The handle itself is 53mm tall
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The brush loaded the Arko very easily and whipped up a lather very quickly. The brush also holds a lot of lather.
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It also splays nicely, probably due to the amount of lather it holds.

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The handle is pretty comfortable. It has a good feel and is easy to grip.

The knot itself is scritchy and scrubby but not uncomfortable. It feels good on the face and works equally well painting or splaying.

This is available on Amazon for $19.99
 
There are quite a few boar, horsehair and synthetic brushes that can be inexpensive, yet still be great brushes.

That is seldom the case with badger brushes. High quality badger hair is expensive. Thus, to make an inexpensive badger brush, you have to use a lower grade of badger hair like pure badger, or make a smaller brush that contains less hair. I have sensitive skin and cannot tolerate lower grades of badger hair. I also am not fond of smaller brushes.

That does not mean that you have to pay several hundred dollars for a quality badger brush, but its not easy finding a really nice one for under $50.
 
Those ar nice brushes! If you like affordable synthetic brushes, especially custom ones check out APShaveCO brushes. Contact Andrew directly for custom orders. Otherwise, he's got nice already made brushes on his site.

Most of his brushes are around the 20 dollar range. I had him make me a custom premium synthetic G5C 24mm knot in a Blue Lagoon handle. Cost was 32 dollars.

Again, very affordable brushes indeed.
 
There are quite a few boar, horsehair and synthetic brushes that can be inexpensive, yet still be great brushes.

That is seldom the case with badger brushes. High quality badger hair is expensive. Thus, to make an inexpensive badger brush, you have to use a lower grade of badger hair like pure badger, or make a smaller brush that contains less hair. I have sensitive skin and cannot tolerate lower grades of badger hair. I also am not fond of smaller brushes.

That does not mean that you have to pay several hundred dollars for a quality badger brush, but its not easy finding a really nice one for under $50.
That hasn't been my experience with badger brushes. I was disappointed with several badger brushes by Simpsons and Shavemac, and have sold them on the BST. I still have, and regularly use, two Yaqi 2 band badger brushes, which sell for $36 and $25 (although you can get them for less if you wait for a sale). I also have a small 20mm Maggard 2 band knot that I installed in a Made Rite handle; the handle was a freebie and the knot only cost $18.
 
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