Top 10 Best Watercolor Brushes
When it comes to painting and artistry, having the right tools is essential to producing a beautiful and satisfactory result. When it comes to painting, your brushes can make all the difference in the slightest details. Watercolor painting is an especially tricky medium to work with, so it's important that you have the best watercolor brushes to make your painting successful.
But it can be difficult to find out which brushes you should buy, which is why we've collected this list of the top ten best watercolor brushes on the market today. We've also provided a comprehensive guide of watercolor brushes so you can make an informed decision.
Watercolor Brushes FAQ
When it comes to painting, there are many types of brushes. This is true even for watercolor painting; the slightest variation in what type of brush you use, the shape, and the size can all affect how your work turns out. So trying to figure out all these factors can be time consuming and a headache of a chore.
But don't worry! We've answered some of the most common questions about watercolor brushes below so that your task of finding the best watercolor brushes for you will be easier and you'll be armed with more information from the beginning.
1. What Is a Watercolor Brush?
Watercolor brushes are painting brushes that are specifically designed to work well with the delicacy and fluidity of watercolor techniques and paints. They come in many sizes and shapes, and are typically made from different materials than other brushes such as acrylic brushes.
2. What Can Watercolor Brushes Be Used For?
One of the best things about watercolor brushes is their versatility of applications when it comes to painting with watercolors. They can be used for blending and shading colors, applying a wash for a background, creating special effects like sunlight on leaves or water, and adding small, intricate brush strokes to portraits or still-life paintings to add realism.
They can even be used for other painting mediums besides canvas or paper, such as body or face painting, building figurines or models, and painting watercolor landscapes. Some can also be used for gouaches, acrylic, oil, and enamel paint.
3. What Type of Bristles Are Best for Watercolor Brushes?
The type of bristles you need largely depends on your level of expertise when painting with watercolors. Watercolor brushes can have bristles made of synthetic fibers or animal hair.
If you are a beginner, then synthetic fibers like Taklon or nylon are a great choice. However, brushes with animal hair bristles are best for professionals. They can be made of the hair from cows, goats, hogs, camels, sables, or squirrels, with sable hair being the most high-quality.
To lower costs, some brushes may have a combination of animal hair and synthetic fibers as well, which take on some characteristics of both types.
4. What Features Make a Good Watercolor Brush Set?
A brush set with the best watercolor brushes will have the right types of brushes, a good number of individual brushes, bristles that suit your painting level, and comfortable handles that are securely attached to the head of the brushes by durable metal ferrules.
How We Reviewed
There are so many features to choosing watercolor brushes, but each one is important to make sure you're getting the best watercolor brushes for your art. To ensure that we are providing you with the best brushes on the market, we researched watercolor brushes and painting and narrowed down our parameters to each brush set's features, price, and where it can be bought. By comparing across these three categories, we were able to make an informed selection of the best watercolor brushes available on the market today.
Overall Price Range
Since there are so many types, sizes, and bristle materials when it comes to watercolor brush sets, their cost can differ greatly. Brush sets can cost anywhere from around $10 to around $50, with more expensive brushes having better construction materials, accessories, more brushes, a greater variety of brush types, and more. We included a good range of prices so you can find the best watercolor brushes while sticking to your budget.
What We Reviewed
Heartybay Professional Fine Tip Paint Brush Set
This affordable set comes with 12 brushes in eight sizes that can be used for both watercolor and oil painting. It includes a variety of shapes, such as Flat, Filbert, Round, Liner, Wash, Angular, and more. The bristles are soft, durable, and made of nylon, which makes these perfect for kids and beginners.
The handles are also ergonomic, durable, and well-built. You can also use them for other applications like face, body, and nail painting, craft art painting, miniature or ceramic painting, and more.
Where to Buy
Professional Artist Brushes for Watercolor, Gouache & Fluid Acrylics
This collection by ZenArt includes 14 professional-grade brushes of various sizes and types, such as round, rigger, Filbert, flat, angle, and fan brushes. They are made with a squirrel blend and Japanese synthetic bristles to apply perfect amounts of paint and water across your medium.
The handles are short and made of lacquered Birchwood to provide an ergonomic, balanced, and comfortable painting experience, while the nickel-plated ferrules keep the bristles from shedding and the handle held tightly together. The kit also comes with a palette knife, a carrying case, and a one-year money-back guarantee.
Where to Buy
Set of 15 for Acrylic Painting, Watercolor, Oil and Gouache
This set comes with 15 paintbrushes including flat, angled, round, filbert, fan, and rigger brushes of various sizes that can be used with watercolors, acrylics, or even oils. The bristles are made of mixed synthetic hair and hog, sable, and goat hair and include double-crimped ferrules for excellent durability, less bristle shedding, smooth painting, and shape retention.
The handles are long, ergonomic, and balanced for a comfortable painting experience. The set also comes with a pop-up stand and portable protective case in a stylish box with a lifetime money-back guarantee. With everything that you need to paint, these are definitely some of the best watercolor brushes for beginners, students, or even professionals.
Where to Buy
Virtuoso Fine Paintbrushes, Handmade Detail Paint Brush Set
If you're looking to do detailed work, this miniature brush set may have the best watercolor brushes for you. It comes with 15 round, liner, and flat brushes in various sizes with bristles made of precision-point Korean filament. Thanks to Virtuoso's anti-shedding technology and double-crimped metal ferrules, you don't have to undergo any frustration with lost bristles.
The long handles are ergonomic and well-balanced. The brushes can also be used for soft strokes and blending as well as for other mediums like acrylic, enamel, and oil paint. The kit comes with a carrying case and a lifetime replacement guarantee.
Where to Buy
Mont Marte Art Paint Brushes
The Mont Marte set features more excellent brushes for beginners, with 15 Filbert, angled, round, flat, fan, rigger, liner, and mop brushes of various sizes for excellent versatility. The bristles are made of Taklon and are held in with the aluminum ferrules, which make it very durable and almost completely eliminate shedding.
The long, ergonomic handles are made of wood and provide a balanced, comfortable painting experience. These brushes can also be used with acrylics, oils, and gouaches. The kit comes with a lightweight zippered carrying case.
Where to Buy
Paint Brushes for Acrylic Watercolor, Oil, Gouache, Paint
The Maestro Series XV brushes by D'Artisan are some of the best watercolor brushes when it comes to versatility. The kit comes with 15 flat, fan, round, filbert, angle, rigger, and wide brushes in various sizes to accommodate a wide range of styles.
The bristles are made of a combination of hog hair and synthetic fibers that mimic soft natural sable hair, providing great durability and paint application. They are also anti-shedding and held in with double-crimped anodized ferrules that increase this brush's durability.
The long handles are made of varnished Birchwood with the brush shape and number printed on them, providing a comfortable and easy painting experience without fatigue or confusion. They can also be used with oil and acrylic paints. The kit comes with a magnetic snap-lock carrier and a lifetime return and replacement guarantee.
Where to Buy
Winsor & Newton Cotman Short Handle Brush
Though the Winsor & Newton Cotman brush set only features 7 brushes, it still provides a high-quality product. It has two round brushes and one each of the rigger, Filbert, stroke, angled, and fan brushes. The bristles are made of blended synthetic fibers of varying thicknesses for whatever your watercolor painting needs are.
The nickel-plated brass ferrules are corrosion resistant and prevent filament clogs, providing extra durability and retention. The short blue polished handles allow for fine, detailed painting and provide a comfortable experience.
Where to Buy
Artist Paint Brushes - Red Sable (Weasel Hair)
Magic Touches provides some of the best watercolor brushes for professionals to add to their arsenal with this kit, which features brushes in sizes 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12. The bristles are made of red sable hair (weasel hair) that are soft yet strong, picking up color excellently and smoothly applying paint and water. They are held in place by the high-quality copper ferrules, which do an excellent job of preventing shedding or fraying.
Though you won't need to hold these brushes long due to their bold strokes, the long Birchwood handles are ergonomic and comfortable. The brushes are also versatile, able to be used with gouache, oil, and acrylic paint as well as watercolor. The kit comes with free e-books that will help you enhance your techniques.
Where to Buy
AIT Art Select Red Sable Detail Brush Set
This excellent German brush set features seven round, liner, and mini liner brushes as well as a shader, allowing you to use them for detailed work. The bristles are made of pure Russian red sable hair that provides excellent spring, superior color pickup, and a smooth flow. They are held securely in place by double-crimped silver nickel ferrules that are corrosion-proof and extremely durable.
They can also be used with other mediums such as acrylic, oil, and gouache paint with no downgrades in performance. The kit comes with a padded protective storage box and a 1-year replacement guarantee.
Where to Buy
MEEDEN Professional Sable Hair Detail Paint Brush Set
Meeden gives us another affordable set of the best watercolor brushes for detailed work, with seven detailing brushes in sizes 4/0, 3/0, 2/0, 0, 1, 2, and 3 for all your detailing needs. The bristles are made of professional-grade sable that maintain their super fine point and seamless, corrosion-resistant nickel ferrules that hold them in place and prevent shedding.
The brushes have short, triangular-shaped, anti-slip hardwood handles with a rich brown spray lacquer that are ergonomically designed, providing excellent comfort and control. They can be used with other mediums such as acrylics, gouache, and oil; they can also be used for models, miniatures, and nails. Thanks to their great design, they are great for beginners and professionals alike.
Where to Buy
The Verdict: The Best Watercolor Brushes
Now that we've reviewed each brush, you may have noticed there were several kits for specific purposes included on the list. However, there was one kit on the list that we felt had the best watercolor brushes, the D'Artisan Maestro Series XV set. We loved the 15 brushes of various types and sizes with high-quality natural/synthetic blend bristles. This kit is perfect for the beginner, the student, or even the professionals, so it is sure to enhance any watercolor painter's painting kit.