Recently, we were asked to review a product here on the blog. Normally, when people offer you free tools or products in exchange for a review, what they really mean is "say nice things about us!". Which is why I generally don't do it. We're pretty dedicated to our tools; I'm not going to say nice things about something that I didn't particularly like. And, for what it's worth, I've linked to plenty of things I did like without any incentive at all -- like our dumpster guys, who still charge us. ;)
But the folks from EZ-Paint didn't insist on me saying nice things; they were adamant that they wanted our honest opinion. So, they get it.
Obviously, since we STILL don't have walls, we couldn't paint our own house. Fortunately, our close friends Lindley and Raymond are participating in the Apartment Therapy Cure 2007; a take-charge-and-make-some-positive-and-possibly-colorful-changes-in-your-space sort of program. And they needed to paint. So we loaded up our cute little paintbrush in its cute little package that we got in the mail and headed to Virginia on Saturday.
The deal with the EZ-Paint brush is that it is supposed to be practically magically easy to clean; the handle is hollow, and the top end is threaded to hook onto a garden hose or sink. The water goes straight through the handle and into the "secret" area where the bristles are attached, where it is somehow dispersed fairly evenly throughout the bristles, getting them clean in a very short amount of time.
That is, I think that's what happens. Because, you see, apparently we didn't read the supporting documentation all that well. We thought it said that you could hook it up to a garden hose or any standard sink, when in fact as it turns out the only sinks that you can hook it up to are utility sinks (or "deep sinks", as Don's very descriptive family calls them -- their old car was "the tan car" and our house is "the big house"). Well, Lindley and Raymond live in an apartment, and have neither a garden hose nor a utility sink. So we were left with this:
So. Failing the actual ability to test the actual magical-ness of the brush, here are our other thoughts.
The thing about this brush is that you shouldn't need it. It's an as-seen-on-tv, magically-make-your-life-easier sort of gimmick. If you're the sort of person who paints a lot, chances are you know how to properly clean and store your brushes. And if you do, you don't need a 'self-cleaning' brush. If you're not the sort of person who knows how to clean and store your brushes, I bet you haven't got a utility sink, either. But, on the other hand, you might have a garden hose and you also might be the sort of person who likes this sort of Make! Life! Easier! sort of gimmick. So more power to you, go ahead.
On the positive side, the brush itself is a quality brush. For the price, you are getting a very nice brush if nothing else. The bristles are high-quality polyester and appear to be the same kind you see in the high-end brushes, and they'll definitely last for a while (provided you've got a utility sink or garden hose and clean them appropriately).
The company advertises the plastic handle as both light and ergonomic; Don hates how light it is and I found it significantly less than ergonomic. The thing with having a light handle is that it means that the brush part -- the part COVERED IN PAINT -- is the heaviest part of the thing. One good swish and it's top-heavy enough to fly out of your hand and go spinning through the air and paint the cat. And believe me, I'm clumsy enough that this WILL HAPPEN (yes, I do still have green paint on my foot from Saturday, please do not ask how it got there). As for the ergonomic-ness (is that a word?), my problem -- and I realize that this is probably fairly unique to me, so I won't argue with EZ-Paint's advertising campaign -- is that I have phenomenally small hands. Like, child-size. So I found it very hard to grasp the fairly large handle, particularly in a way that made it easy for me to paint at all, let alone comfortably.
So, summary: If you don't know how or are unwilling to properly clean and care for your paintbrushes, have bigger hands and are less clumsy than me, and are in possession of a utility sink or garden hose, go for it. I'm not going to say that it's a bad product; it just seems sort of silly and unnecessary to me. But then, I'm not really the target market for it. It might have been better to ask people who don't paint often and find the task fairly daunting to review this product; I'm pretty sure their reviews would be uniformly glowing. As long as they had a deep sink.
(Make sure to check out houseblogs.net for other housebloggers' reviews of this product.)