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Choosing the right boat brush will make cleaning your boat and swabbing your deck much, much easier. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you can use any old brush to clean and maintain your boat. You wouldn’t use a dish cloth on your car, so you shouldn’t use anything less than a marine-quality brush to keep your boat ship shape and Bristol fashion.
For the best results, you’ll need two boat brushes. A soft brush, and a more aggressive brush, with scratchier bristles. The soft boat brush is used for gentle cleaning that won’t damage your gel coat, mainly for regular washing and removing of dirt and grime. The more aggressive deck boat brush is for surfaces that need a bit of tough love and can handle a strong bristle.
While you can probably get away with owning just one brush, for the best results we recommend having both. Boat brushes aren’t exactly expensive so buying two won’t break the bank. Still, even if the costs are low, you don’t want to throw money at the wrong products.
To make life easier, we’ve put together a list of the best boat brush and deck brushes out there. We’ve also compiled a short buying guide to make sure that you buy the brush that your boat really needs!
Star Brite has been a leading name in the vehicle maintenance industry since it was first established back in 1973. Over the years, the company has developed, marketed, and sold thousands of quality detailing products for the automotive and marine industry. If anyone knows anything about brushes, it’s these guys.
The brand’s best boat brush is their extending cleaning brush. It’s available in two strengths, with medium bristles for moderate cleaning, and soft bristles for light jobs. We like the medium option best.
It’s fitted with an 8-inch brush head with a rubber bumper, with special Star Prene fibers. Star prene is Star Brite’s own fiber: a lightweight polymer that won’t stain, discolor, or breakdown. It also resists the negative effects of most cleaning chemicals, and it can withstand high temperatures. The bristles also won’t rot, and it won’t absorb odors either, making it ideal for long term use.
One of the best features of this brush is its extendable handle. The handle is made from triple anodized aluminum, and it features an intuitive lock system that keeps your extension at the length that you want it. It can be extended from 3 feet up to 6 feet. And since it’s made of aluminum, this handle won’t rust.
It’s strong enough to tackle stubborn dirt spots but soft enough that it won’t damage your boat’s finish. A great all ‘rounder.
Brush Strength: Medium and Soft options
Handle Length: Extendable between 3 ft and 6 ft
Surface Compatibility: Gel coat, deck cleaning, all-purpose
Best Features: Special Star-prene bristles that can handle almost anything!
Shurhold is one of the biggest names in the marine care industry. They are a go-to name for cleaning supplies, catering specifically for the needs of boat, RV, and car owners. This particular brush, the 1960 Marine Mate, is one of the best boat deck brushes in the industry, and it’s remarkably affordable too.
The 1960 Marine Mate features a 6-inch soft brush head that has been designed to clean and polish your boat, with special fibers that won’t attack your gel coat or cause any scratching. The fibers are also made with a unique split fiber design that retains more soap and water than other brushes, whilst also increasing the brush’s cleaning surface area.
The handle is 48 inches long and made from threaded wood. It’s comfortable to hold, with a long reach that will save you from back ache or injury. While it has a long length, it’s not a universal handle and it can’t be used in partnership with other brush heads. It’s a small price to pay. Plus, since the handle and head are one piece, they don’t wobble or come apart from each other.
If you need a brush to maintain your gel coat, fiberglass, or painted surfaces, and you want the best, then we recommend the Shurhold 1960 Marine Mate. It’s highly recommended, and very affordable too.
Brush Strength: Soft and Stiff versions available
Handle Length: 48 inch threaded wood
Surface Compatibility: Gel coat, fiberglass, painted surfaces
Best Features: Clever split end brush fibers that can hold more soap and water
This Deluxe Deck Brush Kit from Five Oceans is an inexpensive kit that features a handful of useful tools that you can use to keep your boat in pristine condition. It’s a comprehensive kit with a brush, squeegee, mop, boat hook, hose adapter, and extendable handle.
Despite what it says, the brush that comes with the kit is a soft brush. It’s not designed to remove stubborn stains, but it’s fine for light work. It’s marketed as a 10 inch medium-duty brush, but it’s more like a light-duty brush. The brush works fine, but it’s the other attachments that make this such good value for money.
The extendable handle has a telescopic mechanism that adjusts the handle length between 2’5” and 3’8” in length. It features a hose adaptor for constant water delivery with an On and Off switch, and it can also accommodate screw-on attachments, including a useful boat hook. Another cool feature is the actual brush head, which has a squeegee function on the other side of it.
Since it’s telescopic, and features changeable heads, this boat brush can collapse down to a very small size, which makes it very easy to store.
All in, this makes for a versatile tool that can help in a variety of cleaning situations. If you’re on a tight budget and need one tool that can do a variety of jobs, then this could be worth investigating.
Brush Strength: Soft
Handle Length: Telescopic between 2’5” and 3’8”
Surface Compatibility: Gel coats, light duty
Best Features: It’s an all-inclusive cleaning kit for boaters on a budget
Eversprout has developed a reputation for creating high quality boat cleaning products, and the brand’s extendable boat scrub brush options are fast becoming favorites among the boating community. The Eversprout 5-to-12 Foot Boat Scrub Brush is exactly what it says it is: a scrub brush that can extend to a whopping 12 ft in length, can offer up to 20 ft of reach when used standing.
Before we get to the extendable handle, lets talk about the brush. It’s made from soft bristles that can shift stubborn stains and dirt without scratching your gel coat. It is a soft brush, but it can handle more than a bit of light-duty cleaning. It can actually remove dirt too.
It’s perfect for a wide range of tasks, and can be used on cars, trucks, RVs, your house siding, and more, but naturally, it’s best used on your boat. The brush also features a protective rubber bumper too.
The handle is made from lightweight aluminum, weighing only 1.5 lbs in total. The lightweight design is sturdy in nature, and doesn’t bend. The extension system operates using a flip-tab locking mechanism which allows for confident extension that won’t slip, like some twist locks do.
It features foam handles for a comfortable grip, and each handle has a threaded pole tip that can accommodate all Eversprout brush and cleaning attachments.
It also comes with a 1 year warranty. Not bad for a boat scrub brush.
Brush Strength: Soft bristles
Handle Length: Up to 20 ft reach (Up to 24 ft models available)
Surface Compatibility: Gel coats and fiberglass
Best Features: This brush has serious reach. It can be extended up to 20 ft in total
This boat deck brush from MEIBEI is ideal for shifting some of the more stubborn grime that can build up on your boat. It’s heavy-duty in nature, with sturdy bristles that can be used on a variety of surfaces. While the bristles aren’t soft of hard, they are definitely better suited at heavy-duty cleaning rather than gentle cleaning of your non skid areas.
The brush is made from a 10” head with synthetic fiber bristles. These bristles are set in a staggered fashion to offer the best scrubbing results, leaving more bristles in contact with the floor than many other brushes on the market. It can be used both inside and outside, and for more than just marine purposes.
The handle is made of metal and features a screw-together extension mechanism. Adjustment begins at 27 inches, and the handle can be extended up to 58 inches to boost cleaning power and to save your back from being hunched or bent over. It also extends your reach, making for more comprehensive cleaning coverage.
Ideal for your boat’s deck, this brush can also be used on a wide range of surfaces, from your household’s floors, to your garage and drive way areas. If you’re not satisfied, MEIBEI offers 100% guaranteed customer satisfaction, with a one year warranty that will either see your product replaced or your wallet completely reimbursed if you’re not happy.
Brush Strength: Medium (quite stiff)
Handle Length: Adjustable between 27” to 51”
Surface Compatibility: Quite scratchy, not for non skid
Best Features: Full 1 year warranty that covers either replacement of full reimbursement
The Boat Cleaning Brush Buying Guide
Owning a boat is a joy. Cleaning a boat isn’t. Or rather, it isn’t if you’re not using the right tools for the job. Armed with the right gear, your regular cleaning and maintenance routine can be painless, and even fun. The right boat deck brush for the job is an essential tool in your arsenal, so you want to guarantee that you get the best one for your needs. Actually, better make that the best two brushes for your needs.
Before we get into the buying guide, let’s talk about those two brushes. While you can get away with using one, two is better. Three even more so! Here’s why.
What Kind Of Boat Wash Brush Do You Need?
Since boats are made from a variety of materials and have a number of different surfaces, it makes sense that you’re going to need more than one brush.
In short, you need a soft brush and a more heavy-duty scratchy brush.
The harder brush is for tougher surfaces that handle a bit of rough. Areas that accumulate stubborn dirt and grime will benefit from a scratchier brush, but even then you don’t want to be too aggressive.
To make life easier, most boat brush manufacturers grade their brushes and actually give the bristles different color designations to signify the strength of their bristles. Unfortunately, there’s no uniform color choice across all brands. Some soft brushes are blue, but others are yellow. Just keep that in mind as you shop around.
Using a hard bristle brush on the wrong surface can cause damage. Fortunately, using a soft brush on the wrong surface won’t cause you any problems at all. They’re safe to be used on almost everything, from glass, vinyl, canvas, over your stickers, and on your non skid. The only exception to this rule is for plastic windows (often made from Lexan, Strataglass, or Isinglass). These materials scratch very easily, and you should use a microfiber cloth on those instead. No brush of any kind!
Important Features To Look Out For
Now that you know which different bristle types to look out for, let’s take a look at some other important features to help you make the best decision when you’re buying a new boat cleaning brush.
The length of a handle is a big deal. If it’s too short, you’ll end up hurting your back as you try and brush the floor, and it won’t have as much force or cleaning power as a longer handle. If it’s too long, you won’t be able to sweep and clean with accuracy, and your brush might be too unwieldy to use.
Adjustable brushes do exist, with mechanisms that enable users to adjust the length of their handle to suit their needs. Since some boats require brushes with a long reach, having a brush with lots of adjustment could be a useful option.
Take note of the adjustment devices though. Adjustable brushes are great, but they’re only as good as their adjustment mechanisms. Read the reviews and see what existing customers thought about how the extension systems worked.
Grip is an often-overlooked factor. Since cleaning a boat isn’t a quick job, you’ll want a brush that has decent grips on the handle. Holding anything over a long period of time can be uncomfortable, so a nice set of soft or padded grips can go a long way. If a brush is painful to hold, then you won’t want to scrub your boat down. Don’t forget, you’re looking for a boat cleaning tool that you physically want to use regularly. Don’t discount the grip!
Portability isn’t one of the most important features to look out for, but it’s something to think about nonetheless. Brushes and brooms need to be stored somewhere. Some brushes take up a lot of room, and when you’re on a boat, space is at a premium. The last thing you want is to be wasting precious space housing a brush or two.
There are many brushes on the market that are collapsible, and unscrew down into smaller components, like a couple of shafts and a wood block, that you can easily store in a discreet draw or storage cupboard. Deck cleaning tools are very useful, but they’re also unsightly, so you either want ones that can be put out of sight, or can easily be stored onshore.
Some boat brushes can be used with other products. For example, one brush maker on this list manufacturer’s a whole range of compatible components that can be swapped and interchanged with other products.
If you’re thinking of investing in a full range of detailing tools and products, from mop tops to scrubbing brushes, it might be worth looking for a brand that has interchangeable and compatible gear. Investing in one brush handle will be more cost-effective than having to buy two, and if you can simply buy new brush heads, then that’s an economical way of buying your detailing products.
Lastly, there’s the matter of price. Naturally, you should buy boat cleaning tools that fit in your price range. However, even if you’re working on a tight budget, don’t be tempted to use household brushes and brooms on your boat’s surfaces. Sure, some will work just fine on tougher areas, but you don’t want to take any risks when it comes to your gel coat. For the best results, always buy boat brushes from a reputable brand.
Fortunately, marine-quality brushes aren’t actually very expensive. Not when compared with other boating accessories, at least.
Joe Appleton is an outdoor enthusiast who loves everything from bushcraft and hiking to wild camping and boating. If he’s not out in the woods, you’ll find him out on the water.
Established in 1998, BoatSafe is your independent guide into the world of boating, fishing, and watersports. We provide expert insights and detailed guides to help you find products tailored to your needs and budget.
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