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Premium Shave Brush and Why

Hi folks,

I have used my trusty Stirling badger for years now, and it is a great brush. That said, I've got the itch and I would like to try a "premium" shave brush.

Can you folks make any recommendations (and why) on a brush I should purchase?

(totally understand the YMMV concept, so no need to point this out!)

I think the biggest difference is the density of the brush. Not all 24mm knots are equal. You'll get 2-3x more hair packed into a premium knot compared to more economical brushes.
I've had great success with a B&B vendor Rudy Vey. He has incredible knowledge of premium badger knots and can help you with all the details of obtaining a truly fine brush.
I really enjoy a 3 band badger(Silvertip) because they have very soft tips and give a gentle scrub.(luxury feel)
I like a 2 band badger(Finest) because they have soft tips + great scrub.
Most of my brushes are Yaqi and for price point they are just great to shave with from my experiences.
(L) 1st brush(HMW) has a slight prickly feel at first but still nice, 3 brushes are 3 band Silvertips....(R) last 3 are 2 band badgers.
Yaqi favorite badger brushes..jpg

Have some great shaves!
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My experience with "premium" badger brushes has not been very good. I've owned several Simpsons best badger brushes, but only one of them was very good. The company was great to deal with, and I'm sure that there are many fine Simpsons brushes to be had, but my experience with several Duke 3 brushes and a couple of others was disappointing. I also was disappointed with a Shavemac 2 band silvertip brush that I recently bought and traded away on the BST. But, like @Ron R , I have had great luck with Yaqi badger brushes. I prefer 2 band badger brushes, and both the large, 26 mm Moka Express and the small, scrubby 22 mm Ever Helpful have been excellent brushes. At $36 for the Moka and $23 for the Ever Helpful, these brushes have outperformed other brushes I've owned that cost several times as much money. Other, slightly more expensive choices I would recommend include the Maggard 2 band badger knots (I set them myself; I have one regular 2 band and one super high density or SHD), and the priciest brush that I still own, a Zenith Manchurian. The Zenith is still not fully broken in, so I'm not sure if it will ultimately outperform the Yaqi and Maggard brushes, but at least it's still not overly expensive. It was quite scratchy at first, but the tips are gradually softening.

I guess my advice if you still want a true premium brush would be to join the chorus suggesting you talk to Rudy Vey. I have never purchased one of his brushes, but I have seen many posts by him and about his brushes. The satisfaction level of his customers is extraordinarily high, and I would be willing to bet that if you can describe what you want in a brush, he can produce it.
I highly recommend a Simpson in best, and if looking for density, a Chubby or Duke would fit the bill for that.
Simpson, Rudy Vey, Paladin, Spiffo and Elite are my favourites.

A high quality brush just feels better on the face, lathers better and generally won’t shed as much. There are duds with every brand, but I am very happy with the aforementioned.
Great quality and face feel. Personally I find putting money into a brush completely worth it, but with that I was perfectly happy with my pair of Omega brushes that I paid 13 bucks total for. Premium brushes are a luxary item.
Based on my experience, I would also recommend Rudy Vey and Shavemac too.

Longer answer: also based on my experience, I'm not sure it's worth the cost. I currently own one Shavemac and two Yaqis. I had a Rudy Vey that was great, but ultimately too small. Simpsons have been a disaster for me (anecdotal, prob just bad luck).

This is probably the best brush I've owned so far:

(also, anecdotally, folks claim they increased the quality of the hair around when it was released)
I sort of just slipped into gathering together a small brush collection. I started out with a very nice synth brush but showed up here. I wanted to experience what others were talking about...because I started reading a few brush threads.

Ignorance might not be bliss.. but it's certainly less expensive. <eg>

That said, I quite like the brushes I have with just a few exceptions.
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