Fingerpicks are a crucial ingredient in achieving clean tone. Some players prefer not to use fingerpicks , like Blues lap steel player Freddy Roulette who uses his fingers or Steve Cunningham who primarily mixes between a guitar plectrum and his fingers.
I use an all Dunlop setup. A plastic thumb pick and all brass fingerpicks. Brass gives a slighter warmer tone than the steel/ plastic fingerpicks.
There is no doubt that fingerpicks will give you the brightest tone but also I find they assist with technique as well to enable the player to achieve a speedy playing style. Whether you prefer the warmth of fingers only or the accuracy and clean tone of the finger picks, this is a decision all Lap steel guitar players have to decide so choose wisely.
As with anything there is a learning curve but it’s not as steep as you think.