Choosing the right paintbrushes makes a world of difference. Go too cheap, and the results are disappointing. However, you also don’t want to break the bank. How do you find the best watercolor brushes to buy?
We wanted to know the answer to this question too, so we embarked on an extensive research project. After trying dozens of options, we arrived at the following 10 top contenders. Keep reading to find the perfect watercolor brushes for you.
Best Watercolor Brushes:
1. Onson Artist Paintbrush SetView at Amazon
Many people believe that this set contains the best professional watercolor brushes. That’s not only because of the quality of the brushes but also because of the handy carrying case.
The kit contains 15 brushes in a variety of shapes and sizes including round, angle, flat, filbert, and fan. As a bonus, you get a free painting knife and a watercolor sponge. The manufacturer boasts that you won’t see any loose hairs on these brushes and that they can be used with any kind of paint.
The protective carrying case has a pop-up feature that makes it easy to access your brushes whenever and wherever you like.
Durable nylon bristles are easy to use and even easier to clean. Black lacquer wood handles are comfortable on the hand.
Comments from customers frequently say that these are the best paintbrushes they have ever used. Even professional artists admire this set.
The carrying case similarly is considered well-designed and convenient. Nonetheless, some people wish that the bristles were a bit firmer.
Both novice and seasoned artists will appreciate the variety in this set.
- An excellent variety
- 15 brushes at an affordable price
- Convenient carrying case
- Some artists may feel that the brushes aren’t stiff enough
2. Winsor and Newton Cotman Short Handle BrushesView at Amazon
If you’re looking for the best watercolor brushes for artists, then you should check out the offerings from Winsor & Newton. This is a well-known brand, and this pack of seven brushes is a great introduction.
In the set, you get two round brushes, one rigger brush, one filbert, one stroke, one angled, and one fan brush. Essentially, this covers all of the bases.
Each brush is made with blended synthetic fibers of varying thicknesses. The result is unparalleled control. These brushes keep their points well, have the excellent color-carrying capacity and they excel at springing back into shape.
This particular set is specifically designed for watercolors. If you’re using another medium, you may want to look elsewhere.
People praise these brushes for not losing bristles. They frequently comment that they notice an immediate difference when using this brand for the first time.
Unfortunately, a few users remark that the blue paint on the handles tends to peel off.
You can trust Winsor & Newton to deliver a quality product at a decent price.
- A trusted brand
- Excellent quality for the price
- A good mix of brush shapes and sizes
- The paint on the handle may peel off
3. Artify Art Supplies 10-Piece Paintbrush Set with Carrying CaseView at Amazon
This set of good cheap watercolor brushes contains 10 pieces of varying sizes and shapes. With angled, fan, round, filbert, flat, and liner brushes, any amateur or the professional artist will be well equipped.
Packaged in a carrying case, this set is a great choice for the artist on the go. Artify claims that they use a particularly strong glue on the ferrule to ensure that the handle and the bristles won’t come apart.
With short handles, these brushes are well suited to highly detailed work.
Each handle is coated in three layers of paint to ensure longevity even when you allow the brush to soak in water overnight. The bristles are nylon hair that is incredibly durable.
Users often remark that they are pleased with the overall quality of the brushes, especially at this price point. In fact, this set is a great introduction for student artists who are just getting serious.
Nonetheless, a few people note that these brushes don’t have as much “spring” as other, better-quality brushes. Only a seasoned artist is likely to notice.
With a remarkably affordable price, this set of brushes is a great choice for the student painter.
- Excellent value
- Good assortment of shapes
- Short handles for detailed work
- The brushes have less “spring” than other brands
4. Mont Marte Art Paintbrushes SetView at Amazon
Suitable for use with watercolor, oil, and acrylic paints, this set is manufactured by one of the best watercolor brush brands on the market today. This is a set of 15 brushes with shapes including filbert, angle, round, flat, fan, rigger, liner, and mop. This may be one of the best shape assortments available.
Packaged in an attractive case, these brushes are well-protected no matter where you decide to paint. Materials include Taklon bristles, aluminum ferrules, and wooden handles.
These are professional-quality brushes at an introductory price. New artists who have been working with cheaper brushes will notice an immediate difference.
Thanks to the Taklon bristles, artists will discover even, fluid movement regardless of the media.
Resilient and consistent are words that are used frequently in connection with these brushes.
A few people don’t feel that these brushes hold enough water for watercolor painting, but that may just come down to personal preference.
If you want to take your painting to the next level, then consider these brushes from Mont Marte.
- A trusted brand name
- Beautiful design
- Extremely functional and durable brushes
- The brushes may not hold enough water for some people
5. Dugato Artist Paintbrush SetView at Amazon
Containing 15 brushes plus two sponges and a palette knife, this set is a really good bargain. In fact, if you’re looking for good quality watercolor brushes but don’t want to spend a fortune, this may be the ideal solution.
Use these brushes with watercolor, acrylic, oil, or gouache. They will perform equally well. You get a useful combination of flat, round, angle, filbert, liner, fan, and glaze brushes. Each one features durable nylon hair and ferrules that are extra-strong.
A black carrying case with a pop-up stand is included in every package. This makes it really easy to paint in the studio, the field, or anywhere else that inspiration strikes.
Users are impressed by the longevity and quality of the brushes in this set.
These brushes frequently are praised for being easy to use and clean. Still, some artists remark that these brushes are slightly stiffer than they prefer.
Whether you’re a beginner or a professional, you’ll be able to see the advantages of these quality brushes.
- Good longevity
- Convenient carrying case
- Comes with two sponges and a palette knife
- May be too stiff for some artists
6. D’Artisan Shoppe Artist Paintbrush SetView at Amazon
Including a carrying case, this set boasts 15 high-quality watercolor brushes. You can use them with acrylic, watercolor, oil, or gouache with ease. This set is particularly interesting because while 11 of the brushes feature synthetic bristles, four have natural hog hair bristles.
Throughout the years, many of the world’s top artists have sworn by natural hair bristles as being the best. This package deal provides you with a chance to compare without breaking the bank.
You just might find that the superior water absorbency of natural hair brushes makes you reluctant to ever go back to synthetic. With long handles, these brushes feature a variety of shapes.
You’ll find flat, fan, round, filbert, angle, rigger, and wide brushes with which to experiment.
Users praise the case for keeping them organized while also remarking on how impressed they are with the quality of the brushes. A limited number of comments suggest that you may encounter a few loose ferrules.
If you’re thinking about making the leap to natural hair bristles, then give this economical option a try.
- Long handles for those who prefer this
- Some brushes have hog hair bristles
- A good combination of shapes and sizes
- Rare ferrules may be loose.
7. BOSOBO Paint Brushes Set, 2 Pack 20 Pcs Round Pointed Tip Paintbrushes Nylon Hair Artist Acrylic Paint BrushesView at Amazon
One of the things that place these among the most recommended watercolor brushes for beginners is their lifetime warranty. Anyone who feels that the quality of their brushes isn’t living up to the advertisement is free to claim a refund at any time.
In fact, you’re unlikely to want a refund on these fine watercolor brushes, which also may be used with oil or acrylic. That’s because this is a set of 10 handmade brushes.
The bristles are durable nylon and quite firm. They spring back nicely, and the wooden handles are sturdy.
Each ferrule is double-crimped for a secure hold. Many people say that the bristles are good at holding their shape and that the brushes stand up to repeated use and cleaning.
However, a few critics say that they noticed uneven fibers that had to be trimmed before use.
Artists who are seeking a decent quality set of paintbrushes probably won’t go wrong with this well-made set.
- Nice variety of shapes and sizes
- Comes with a lifetime warranty
- Double crimping on each ferrule
- Some users discovered uneven fibers in the bristles that needed to be clipped
8. Paint Brush – Set of 15 Art Brushes for Watercolor, Acrylic & Oil Painting – Premium Art Supplies by MyArtscapeView at Amazon
This set of good paint brushes for watercolor includes 12 brushes in eight sizes. It includes a variety of shapes as well including liner, round, filbert, angle, flat, and wash.
The manufacturer claims that the seamless ferrules are made of nickel so they won’t split or rust. Short wooden handles make for optimum control while also allowing for incredibly detailed work.
The bristles are made of nylon. With a good amount of “spring,” they seem to hold their shape well. A bit of warm water is all that’s needed to give these brushes a good cleaning.
Users say that both novices and experts can appreciate the quality of these brushes. Because they are easy to clean, they make painting convenient.
Critics suggest that you may have trouble with the paint on the handles chipping off.
This is a great introductory set that’s also suitable for professional artists.
- Nice spring in the bristles
- Really easy to clean
- Seamless ferrules
- The paint on the handles may chip
9. Magic Touches Artist Paint BrushesView at Amazon
If you’re ready to take a big step beyond good watercolor brushes for beginners, then this is the place to start. These Magic Touches brushes feature weasel hair bristles and long handles. Suitable for use with watercolor, acrylic, oil, and gouache, these high-quality brushes are worth the price.
Also called red sable hair, weasel hair has an amazing capacity to hold liquid. This means a much smoother flow of paint. Moreover, these brushes include luxurious polished birch wood handles. Accordingly, they are exceptionally well-balanced and comfortable to hold in your hand for endless hours of creativity.
Each ferrule is made from high-grade copper. Thanks to being extra secure, you won’t experience any wobbling or hair loss. This particular set features all filbert-shaped brushes in sizes two, four, six, eight, 10, and 12.
Many people love the filbert set so much that they go back to get additional sets in other shapes.
These well-balanced and well-designed brushes are almost universally admired. Nonetheless, it would be nice to have a variety of shapes in one set.
If you love filbert brushes and want to experiment with natural hair bristles, this is the right choice.
- All natural-hair bristles
- High-quality handles
- Good construction
- It would be nice if there were more than one shape in the package
10. Inspired Art Paintbrush SetView at Amazon
This excellent set of 15 brushes includes a nice variety of flat, angle, filbert, round, fan, and rigger brushes. A carrying case is included. It can be converted to a pop-up stand, making this a convenient feature.
These paintbrushes are handmade with double-crimped ferrules for extra stability. The ergonomically designed handles are long, providing you with better balance and enhanced comfort.
Suitable for both beginners and professionals, these brushes feature a mix of synthetic hairs for better longevity. They retain their shape well, and they clean up in an instant.
The manufacturer offers a lifetime money-back guarantee if you’re dissatisfied.
Many artists love these brushes for their light weight and good balance. Nonetheless, some users remark that the handles may be a bit long for watercolor painting.
This is a lovely set, and it is an excellent value for the price.
- A nice carrying case
- Good construction with double-crimped ferrules
- Mixed synthetic-hair bristles
- May be too long for watercolor painting
Factors to Consider When Buying Watercolor Brushes
Before you buy your first set of good watercolor brushes, it pays to know some terminology. You’ll probably see discussions concerning “capacity.” This refers to the brush’s capacity for holding pigment and water.
Bristle material will significantly affect this factor as will the “belly size” of the bristles. A rigger brush with its thin profile will have a much smaller capacity than a large round brush.
Good watercolor brushes also maintain their point when wet. Synthetic bristles even maintain this point when dry. However, if you’re using natural bristles, then it’s normal to see them splay and spread when dry.
“Snap” is another term that experienced artists will use. This refers to how quickly the bristles on the brush snap back to parallel alignment with the handle after being bent. Taklon and hog hair have lots of snap while goat hairs have little. The amount of snaps you like comes down to personal preference.
You’ll also see references to “spring.” A good-quality brush should always have spring even if it has a soft snap. A brush that doesn’t have much spring will splay against the painting surface, thereby losing its edge or shape.
“Flow” and “release” are closely related terms that refer to the rate of pigment flow from the brush’s tip. The better brushes deliver a consistent and even flow rate that puts you in control.
Natural hair bristles excel at this, though some of the better synthetic bristles can do almost as well.
Try not to fixate too much on cost. It is possible to drop a great deal of money on luxurious natural fiber brushes, but this isn’t required. Some synthetic fibers offer excellent performance at a much lower cost.
Accordingly, it’s sensible to steer clear of the cheapest paint brushes so that you get better performance and longevity. At the same time, it’s not necessary to spend a fortune to enjoy a positive experience.[su_divider top=”no” style=”dotted” size=”1″ margin=”25″]
Making the Decision
The Dugato Artist Paintbrush set is an incredible value as it contains 15 brushes, two sponges and a palette knife. With a carrying case and good quality, these brushes can take your art to the next level.
If you want to experience a taste of some of the best brushes, then try the Winsor & Newton Cotman brushes. They are well-reviewed and trusted by seasoned artists.
If you want to try some natural bristles but don’t want to break the bank, try the Magic Touches brushes. They are a great bargain.