Painting with a brush is great, but when you want to add more texture to your paintings and enjoy many other benefits, you might consider using a palette knife instead.
Of course, the importance of choosing the right palette knife to paint with is just as important as choosing the right brush. If only there were a list of the best palette knives for both affordability and quality.
Fortunately, that’s just what we’ve put together for you. Below we will first address the specific benefits of using a palette knife instead of a brush.
Then we will jump into our picks for the six best palette knives for painting on the market. Our picks will be based mainly on versatility, affordability, and quality.
Why Use a Palette Knife Instead of a Brush
If you got to this page because you’re thinking about trying to use a palette knife for the first time, you’re probably wondering what exactly sets them apart from brushes in the way they can be used to paint?
To make things easy, we’ve listed out all the major benefits and uses you can receive by switching from a paintbrush to a palette knife:
- They’re better at adding texture to paintings: Maybe the biggest reason why people choose to use palette knives is for how useful they are when adding texture to paint. You can find examples online of people who have attempted to make the same painting with a brush and a palette knife. The textures on the knife paintings invariably pop more.
- They make it easier to create lines: The edge of the knife can be used to create perfect lines for your painting. You can even use an extra small palette knife to create fine lines that run perfectly, and have the exact thickness you want. With a brush, that kind of precision is possible, but far more difficult. Plus it usually involves other tools.
- They’re great for mixing paint: Palette knives are far more effective than brushes for mixing colors. With brushes it’s easy to accidentally transfer colors from one group to another because the paint gets caught in the bristles. With palette knives on the other hand, you can clearly see and clean any extra before switching.
- They’re better for patches: If you accidentally place too much paint over a blank patch on your canvas, it can be difficult to fix with a brush. With a palette knife one the other hand, you can just use the end of it to quickly scrape off the excess.
Overall, we would never say painting with a palette knife is wholly better than painting with a brush. At least no more than we would say the reverse. Instead, some techniques are more easily achieved with a palette knife and others with a brush.
If you start using a palette knife, you will make a few techniques you already do easier while simultaneously expanding your horizons.
You can do some things with a palette knife that you can’t do with a brush. It would be best if you let learning those techniques open new creative doors of expression for you.
Italian Plus Painting Knife Set From RGM
With a solid 5 star rating on amazon, RGM’s Italian Plus Painting Knife Set is affordable and perfect for painting. With a variety of sizes amongst the knives, you’ll be able to find the right tool for most jobs.
If you’re new to painting with a palette knife, this could be a good sampler to experiment with. You can find which sizes work best for your art and discover new ways to do everything, from mixing paint to filling empty patches.
Features of the Italian Plus Painting Knife Set
The features of a palette knife set are vital signs of how useful they will be for painting. Fortunately, the RGM Italian Plus Painting knife set has many great features perfectly suited to add texture and depth to any painting.
Below we’ve put together a list of the most important features of the RGM Italian Plus Painting Knife Set that pertain to painting:
- Made from quality material: These knives are made of nickel plated, carbon steel. As a result they are quite durable. To reinforce the knife’s stability, the ferrule (ring to bind the handle and knife) is made of solid brass.
- Multiple sized knives for most jobs: The whole set contains six different palette knives. Each one is a different size and contains a different tip for versatility. When you first start painting with palette knives, going with a set you can experiment with is always a good idea.
- Ergonomic handles for the perfect grip: The hardwood handles are designed with your comfort in mind. They won’t get slippery the way some cheaper kinds of handles do. They even contain peg holes for easy storage later.
The RGM Italian Plus Painting Knife Set is great for palette knife newbies and old-timers alike. This really is one of the best all-around sets on this list.
If you want the one pick that balances all of the qualities that make each of the other knives and sets we highlight desirable, this is probably the set for you.
Holbein MX Series
The Holbein MX series of knives are a little more expensive than other brands; however, they justify the price with high-quality products. Instead of a set, these knives can be found individually, so you can get exactly what you need.
Features of the Holbein MX Series
The hand-crafted stainless steel painting knives are carefully constructed to provide artists with a smooth experience. While we will mainly highlight the No. 5 knife, most of them apply to their other models. You really can’t go wrong with Holbein palette knives.
The following features of Holbein MX Series palette knives are what have gotten it on the list of the best palette knives to use for painting:
- Handmade high quality materials: The Holbein MX series palette knives are all hand forged in Japan from high quality materials. The blades are made of stainless steel that is resistant to corrosion, and the handles are wood.
- They have a good level of flexibility: The stainless steel that makes up the knife blades has just the right level of flexibility. With palette knives, you want one that is firm but has a tiny bit of spring to it. These will serve you well for many different techniques.
- Can be bought individually for specific needs: Individual knives in the MX series are easy to find on their own. If you ever need a specific replacement or a very specific size or shape, you can find just what you need.
The Holbein MX Series is great for those who want to buy an individual high-quality palette knife. While you can find them in sets, we’ve listed them individually to keep our standard of affordability. If you want to go all out, you could get a whole Holbein MX Series set.
CONDA Palette Knives
Another fantastic set of palette knives is made by the company CONDA. There are five knives in the set. The variety gives them versatility that makes them useful for many jobs. In fact, they have become so popular that, as of the writing of this, they are the number one seller on Amazon for palette knives.
However, the best part is that they are far less expensive than other options of comparable quality. On Amazon, they are listed for $7.19.
If you’re hesitant to go with a more expensive option because you don’t know how you’ll like using them, these make a great way to reduce your financial risk.
Features of CONDA Palette Knives
Beyond their popularity and low price, this set of CONDA Palette Knives bring a lot to the table with their features. All of the knives included are made from solid materials and varied enough to be used for a variety of tasks.
Below, we’ve outlined the primary features of this set of CONDA knives, alongside brief explanations of how they can improve your painting experience:
- Built from good materials: These knives boast being handmade from solid materials like wood and nickel plated stainless metal. The blades are especially good in that they are resistant to any kind of wear or corrosion. Plus, they find a really good balance between flexibility and firmness.
- They have comfortable handles: They boast having solid wooden handles that have been sanded down for a more natural grip. Plus they also come with the peg holes for easy storage in a garage, tool shed or art studio.
- Comes with a good variety of knives: There are many different shapes and sizes of palette knives in this set. This can allow you to get just the right tool for the job depending on what you’re trying to accomplish. Of course, it may take some trial and error to figure out which knives are best for what.
- Has a quality assurance money back guarantee: This feature isn’t really about the knives themselves as much as it is about your security in trying them out. The producer of this set of knives provides a 14 day money back guarantee. If you get these and you find that you’re not interested in using palette knives to paint, you can get a refund.
This set of CONDA Palette Knives is a perfect way to sample painting of different sizes and shapes without having to break the bank or make large concessions toward quality.
They are under 10 dollars and contain a wide array of shapes and sizes of sturdy palette knives. You really can’t beat that for a first set.
12 Pack Palette Painting Knife Set
If you want to experience the greatest degree of variety in palette knife sizes, look no further than the 12 pack palette painting knife set. For each knife in the set, you expand the number of painting methods you can use with palette knives.
The small ones are great for filling minor empty patches on your canvas, creating delicate thin lines, and adding nuisance to your textures.
That’s to name a few things they do. The larger ones can be used to create long, perfectly straight lines, scraping paint away for texture or filling large empty patches all at once. All this is to say; this set is capable of a lot.
Features of the 12 Pack Palette Painting Knife Set
For how jammed packed it is with different decent-quality palette knives, it’s actually quite affordable. At only $15.99, you get a whole variety of sizes and even some shapes. This set is really for people who can’t turn down a good deal.
- A good variety of sizes: In this set of knives In terms of shapes, it doesn’t quite have the same level of variety that the CONDA set we highlighted has. That said, it still has a broader span of sizes.
- Materials the knives are made from have good flexibility: The knives blades are made of stainless steel. They have just the right amount of bounce in them. We should note here however, that some reviewers have found that the blades can break if too much pressure is applied to them. Just make sure you
- Low cost for how many knives you get: Fifteen dollars is a good price when you consider just what you’re getting. If this is your first time painting with palette knives you will in an instant have 12 unique blades to experiment with. It’s a great set for beginners to dive in.
- They come with a case to store them in: With proper storage these kinds of knives can last for a really long time. That’s why it’s always satisfying when a set of them comes with a storage case. Right out of the gate, you’ve got a great place to put your knives where they can avoid a lot of corrosion and wear.
This set of palette knives isn’t perfect. It could be a little more durable than it appears to be. Still, as long as you’re not too rough with the knives, they should last you a good long while.
Because they have decent quality but a low price, we’d mainly recommend them to beginners who aren’t yet sure if they will like using a palette knife as much as a brush.
Arteza Palette Knives No. 25 and 34
This two-pack of small palette knives is great for anyone into oil or acrylic painting and needs a tool capable of creating fine, nuanced details.
While it doesn’t have as many knives as other sets on this list, having smaller palette knives like these is no less important.
Fortunately, these knives are only about 8 bucks on Amazon. This is another model which falls into the affordable yet high-quality category. To really understand what makes these special, we need to look at the unique features they have.
Features of Arteza Palette Knives No. 25 and 34
The materials they are made from make them both durable and extra flexible. You can really get them into some tight spaces with the nice spring they have. Of course, that says nothing about their other many benefits and features.
Each of the following features contribute to why we think this is one of the best sets of small palette knives online:
- The knives are extra flexible without being fragile: This set is great for people who want a little more spring in their palette knives. If you take a look at the reviews on Amazon, one of the most cited benefits is just how flexible the knives are. Still they can easily be made firm by the way you use them, as they’re made of stainless steel.
- They are break resistant: If you accidentally drop one of these palette knives, you probably won’t have to worry about the blade snapping. They both boast being break resistant. Please remember, break resistant isn’t the same thing as break proof. You should still take care of the blade and try to always use it properly.
- They have a thin design meant for adding dimension: The edges of these knives are nice and thin.They are designed specifically so that they will be useful in adding dimension to your works. As you develop skills, having equipment with these capabilities can be pivotal. Of course, you’ll want other specialty blades as well for best results.
- Their handles have a firm wooden grip: Each knife in the set has ergonomic wooden handles, specifically designed to fit in your hand. They are comfortable to use for long periods of time without too much strain on your hands, which in turn makes them a little easier to use.
We recommend the more affordable options for beginners most of the time, but these are really more for people who have a specific purpose. If you need finer detail, whether you’re new to painting with palette knives or not, these are the way to go.
14 Piece Ationgle Palette Knife Set
Without a doubt, these knives have the most unique designs out of any on this list. While the funky designs may look like a novelty at first, they can accomplish special feats that other knives would have a hard time doing.
Being just a little over twenty bucks, they’re relatively affordable for how creative and unique they are.
Features of the 14 Piece Ationgle Palette Knife Set
There are many reasons to get excited about what this set of palette knives can really do. These knives do a lot more than most sets, from using their special edges to create unique patterning to picking out the right size for the right job.
The following features establish the 14 piece ationgle palette knife set as one of the most unique sets out there:
- A wide variety of shapes and sizes: The shapes of these knives in particular makes them uniquely qualified for certain jobs. Some have jagged or patterned edges, while others look more like typical palette knives. There is also a wide variety of thickness in the knife’s edges. You can get excellent lines that are fine or thick from these.
- Spatulas are included for ceramics: If you practice more art forms than just panting you will be glad to know that a few spatulas are included specifically for ceramic work. You can kill two birds with one stone by choosing this set.
- An elastic stainless steel blade that is both flexible and durable: The blades themselves are stainless steel. They are resistant to corrosion and have just the right amount of bounce for painting.
This set of palette knives is really for the adventurer. It contains some spatulas useful in other art forms like ceramics and provides fantastic palette knives for painting.
So, Which Palette Knives are Truly the Best?
Any palette knives on this list can make for a great tool for your next art project. We’re not really here to push any one of them on you.
Instead, our goal is to provide you with the benefits of each one so you can pick one that fulfills your needs. Depending on your priorities, you can look for the best deal or look for the highest-end set of knives.
So now, you need to ask yourself what you really want! If you want inexpensive and varied things to give you a lot of experience painting and mixing with different types of palette knives, you’ll probably be best with the CONDA set.
Any knife in the Holbein MX series should work if you want something high-end for a particular purpose.