Slicker Brush vs. Pin Brush

Slicker Brush vs. Pin Brush: What’s the Difference?

Slicker Brushes and Pin Brushes can be used hand in hand, but sometimes, a different job requires a particular brush.

Today I’m going to give you a little information about each type of brush and then we can compare each brush and decide which is best for your pet.

The Main Purpose of a Slicker Brush

A Slicker Brush has the primary purpose of getting rid of any debris, loose hair and mats/ knots in the fur. It is highly effective at penetrating deep into the coat and removing malted hair and skin.

This brush is mainly used for thick or curly haired dogs- as they require a more rigorous grooming routine.

Continue Reading: What is a Slicker Brush?

The Main Purpose of a Pin Brush

Pin brushes are often wooden brushes with wire pins that have a protective ball at the end to prevent scratching the skin.

They are usually recommended for show dogs- who have long fur coats, as this brush has a wider gap between bristles and allows thorough brushing without damaging the coat or causing a static charge.

Comparison Chart

Pet Trouper Grooming De-shedding Slicker BrushPin Brush


Slicker Brush

Pin Brush

Dog SizeAll SizesAll Sizes
Short Coat
Long Coat
Removing Tangles
Massaging to Skin
Can Use on Cats

Dog Size

Firstly, as you can see, these brushes can both be used for all sizes of dog and cats.

This is because most brands will make a few different sizes of brush, with the various lengths of bristles to suit variation in animal size.

Dog Breed​

Dog breed is a significant factor when it comes to choosing the right grooming tool- this is because dogs come in all shapes, sizes and hair types.

Slicker Brush

A slicker brush is typically used on dogs with wiry or thick hair and most of the time on those with double coats.

The best breeds to use a Slicker brush on are:

  • Siberian Husky
  • Newfoundland
  • Golden Retriever
  • Spaniels
  • West Highland Terriers

Pin Brush

As for the pin brush – because this is much more gentle and doesn’t cause a lot of static, it’s best to use this one for on show dogs and those with coats that can quickly become frizzy after brushing.

The pin brush leaves hair looking glossy and shiny, without aerating it too much.

The best breeds to use the pin brush on are:

  • Poodles
  • Afghan Hounds
  • Schnauzers
  • Setters
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Bichon Frise

Short Coat & Long Coat

The slicker brush is designed with long, tightly packed pins which can penetrate deep into the undercoat and remove any matted hair or skin.

It also means that this brush is ideal for detangling knots and mats from the hair, therefore, suitable for animals with longer hair.

Due to its long, wire bristles – it is not designed for those with shorter hair as it may be more irritating to the skin.

As a pin brush comes in different lengths and has wider spaced pins, this makes it a great option for use on all lengths of hair.

Massaging Qualities

Because a slicker brush is made with long pins designed to penetrate deep into the fur coat and dig out debris, it reaches the skin and is an effective in massaging your cat or dog.

Massaging the skin this way increases circulation and kick starts the production of essential oils, which then moisturize the fur to keep it glossy and healthy.

A pin brush is not designed in this way, as it is used as more of a top coat brush – it does not penetrate deep enough to massage the skin.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Slicker Brush


  • Great at getting rid of knot and tangles
  • Can be used on both dogs and cats
  • Helps to keep hair in good condition


  • Wires can be uncomfortable and scratch if not carfeul
  • Can be more likely to cause split ends and damage

Pin Brush


  • Gentle on hair, less likely to cause damage
  • Wider gap between bristles means less chance of creating a static
  • Protective balls on bristles massage the skin and help to redistribute oils through the coat


  • Not as effective in detangling the coat
  • Need to be often replaced due to wearing down of rubber balls on the bristles

Summing it All Up…

Although at face value it may not seem that there is any difference in which brush you buy for your pet, this shows that in fact there can be a range of factors which cause you to use one or the other.

Below is a summary of when you should use either the slicker or the pin brush.

Slicker Brush

The best time to use a Slicker brush is if you have a pet with a thick, wiry coat that requires more detangling.  Typically used for pets with a double coat- because this brush is the best one for getting rid of matted hair and skin.  This brush is the best for untangling knots and mats- as the bristles penetrate deep into the coat.  It is best to use this brush on slightly damp hair, while it’s drying, to minimize any damage and static charge in the hair.


Funny Bonez Self Cleaning Slicker Brush

Best All-Around Universal Slicker Brush

Funny Bonez Pro Quality Dog and Cat Self Cleaning Slicker Brush - Grooming Comb Reduces Shedding and is Comfortable for Your Pet's Skin - Easy To Use Self Cleaning Design Makes Clean Up Simple

  • Easily removes knots, mats, and tangles
  • self-cleaning design
  • Gently brushes out unwanted hair without harming your pet

Also be sure to check out our top recommendations below:

Pin Brush

A wire pin brush should be used on dogs with long, thick or curly coats – that need a high level of maintenance but also need to be kept looking glossy and not frizzy/static-y. A poodle is a good example of this.  As the bristles have a wider gap between them, it makes it much less likely to pull on the hair follicles and cause damage to the coat.  This isn’t as widely used for detangling, this is more as a top coat brush- which can smooth out the coat and leave it looking healthy and glossy.


Go Pets – Professional Double Sided Pin & Bristle Brush for Dogs

Best All-Around Pin Brush

Professional Double Sided Pin & Bristle Brush for Dogs & Cats by GoPets Grooming Comb Cleans Pets Shedding & Dirt for Short Medium or Long Hair

  • Good for short, medium or long hair
  • bristle side easily knocks off loose hair & dirt
  •  the pin brush side gets a beautifully groomed coat
  • 100% Unconditional Lifetime Satisfaction Guarantee

Hopefully, this information will be able to help you make a more informed decision about which type of brush is best to use on your pet.

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