The 7 Best Paintbrushes


If you have ever taken on the task of creating your first painting, or you have been charged with the task of purchasing quality paintbrushes, you know there are many options. 

When you decide to create a painting, you must gather the appropriate materials.  Not only will they last longer, but they will also provide a better finish than subpar paintbrushes. 

Not only are paintbrushes made of different materials, but they are also created for specific types of strokes and media. 

Knowing what your end in mind will be the most helpful when choosing the correct brush. However, if you are uncertain, here are some of the best options you can look into. 

Bonobo

Artist paintbrushes come in a wide variety of options, and they are made with varying materials and are also created for specific applications. 

While this may seem overwhelming, determining the best paintbrush for you doesn’t have to be stressful.

These paintbrushes are a tremendous middle-of-the-road selection.  If you are a beginning painter or even an intermediate-level painter, you will likely find these brushes will work well for your purpose. 

These brushes come in a set of varying sizes to use for most features you will add to your piece of artwork. 

Pros

  • Nylon bristles
  • Non-shedding
  • Easy to clean
  • It can be used with a variety of paint types

Cons

  • It May not be the best for a professional artist
  • Size selections may be limited to more advanced artists

These brushes are a cost-effective option for an entry-level brush, whether you are just beginning to paint or are an experienced artist. 

When purchasing these brushes, you can expect to spend between $3.99- $22.99. The company offers beginner brushes as well as advanced brushes, which explains the cost difference. 

Magic

These paintbrushes are made with natural bristles and come in a variety of set options. Unlike some brushes with multiple tip styles in each package, this brand has multiple size brushes with the same tip style. 

Because of this, these would likely be best for a more experienced artist or someone looking to take their art to the next level. 

Pros

  • Natural Bristles
  • Non-shedding
  • Ergonomic Handles

Cons

  • Need to purchase multiple sets for tip styles
  • Not as cost-effective as others

When looking at Amagic brushes, you will notice that they are much more technique-specific in packages. 

The packs of brushes come with between three to nine brushes in each, and you can expect to spend between $13.99 – $25.98 on each pack.  The options of brushes are; round tip, fan tip, and flat tip

Conda

This is a professional-grade set of paintbrushes, and they even come in a nice fabric pouch to keep them organized and neat when not in use. 

The brushes come in a set of fifteen with varying sizes and tip types, making them an ideal option for any artist. 

Pros

  • Wooden handles
  • Multiple size options
  • Natural bristles
  • Fabric storage case

Cons

  • Require greater care when cleaning because of natural bristles
  • More expensive

Conda offers a wide variety of brush options in packages that can accommodate any level of artist. 

When purchasing Conda brushes, you can expect to spend between $6.99 and $13.99 for a quality set of brushes with multiple tip options. Most sets come in quantities of fifteen to twenty-four brushes, which allow the use of various techniques.  

Soucolor

These paintbrushes are ideal for the beginning artist.  They are made with nylon bristles and come in a pack of 20, so there are many size options to choose from.

While these brushes are at an entry-level price point, they can easily be used by children and adults alike. 

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Many size options
  • Synthetic bristles
  • Easy to care for
  • It can be used on a variety of surfaces

Cons

  • It May not be sufficient for experienced artists
  • The finish may be a bit spotty 

Soucolor brushes are a great bargain option with a variety of brush tips in each package.  You can purchase a set of brushes for around $5.99.

Benicia 8

Benicci paintbrushes are great brushes for artists of all ability levels.  The set includes various tips made with nylon bristles, making them easy to care for and maintain.  

Pros

  • Nylon bristles
  • Multiple tips
  • Easy to care for

Cons

  • It May not be sufficient for experienced artists
  • Not as durable as other paintbrush options.

When purchasing Benicci brushes, you will find that most come in a set with approximately sixteen brushes as well as a sponge and palette knife.  Another bonus to this set is the zipper carrying case that the brushes come in. 

This is an excellent bargain for beginner and experienced artists.  You can expect to spend around $17.99 on a set of these brushes. 

Creative Mark

Creative Mark paintbrushes offer a wide selection of paintbrush options for someone looking to become a professional artist. 

The brushes offered by this company come in a variety of packs with many tips and packs that have specific tips.  There are also options for specific mediums, like watercolor, acrylic, and oil. 

Pros

  • Imperial bristle made with all-natural hog hair
  • Handmade
  • Durable
  • Variety of tips
  • Travel cases with most

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Specific cleaning requirements

Creative Mark paintbrushes have a following of professional artists.  Not only are the brushes durable and cruelty-free, but they fall in a midrange price category, which makes them appealing to artists. 

When purchasing a set of these brushes, you can expect to spend between $16.00 and $116.00.  

One benefit of the Creative Mark brand of brushes is that you can purchase various brushes, specific tips, or individual brushes, depending on your needs. Because of this, they are an economical option in the high-quality range of brushes. 

Artify

Artify offers a wide range of brush options for both novice and professional artists.  Most brushes come in kits that offer a range of brush tips, which provides versatility when painting. 

Pros

  • Variety of tips available
  • Natural and synthetic brush options
  • Carrying case
  • Range of prices

Cons

  • Bristles may shed or break off 
  • It May not last long term

Because Artify brushes come in various sets, there is likely something for everyone when purchasing the brushes.  You can expect to spend between $17.00 – $25.00. 

A benefit to most brush sets is that they come with a storage bag. While there are a variety of packs of brushes, you can also purchase specific tip sets

Does the Type of Brush Matter?

There are many different types of paint brushes when it comes to artist brushes.  You may look at the brushes and begin to wonder if the exact type matters when you are painting. 

While all brushes will effectively get paint onto the canvas, they are not all created equally.  Because of this, it is essential to know the brush types you will have to choose from. 

When you are choosing a brush type to use, you need to think about these things:

  1. The technique you are going to use
  2. The paint you are using
  3. The material you are painting on

It is crucial to think about these things because they will directly impact the type of brush you will need to choose to use.  If you choose a brush that isn’t meant for a specific medium or technique, you will likely be wasting a lot of money. 

(Source: Wooster Brush)

Types of Brush Tips

When you get ready to purchase paintbrushes, you will find yourself faced with various brush tips to choose from.  It is essential to understand what each tip will help you do in your artwork to purchase the correct brushes for your needs.

Round: These brushes are the most common because they are so versatile, and they can be used for long strokes and detail work. You are likely to find these brushes in school art rooms because of the versatility they offer. 

Flat: Flat brushes are the best option for a large area to cover with paint, but you don’t want to use a wide brush.  You will see flat brushes that have tips that are both angled and straight across. 

Many people prefer to use angled brush to draw thin lines and fine detailed lines or fill in corners. 

Filbert: The filbert brush is a unique blend of both a round and flat brush.  Because of this, it is a versatile paintbrush.  Often, it is used for blending in a piece of artwork. 

Pointed Round: This brush is similar to the round brush; however, the tip has a fine point that can be used for painting fine details 

Fan: This brush is made of a thin bristles fan and is best used to draw trees and grasses.  Because the bristles are so thin, it is ideal for parts of a painting that require light brush strokes. 

Bright: The Bright brush is much shorter than most and is made of thicker bristles.  Artists typically use this type of brush when layering paints on top of one another. 

When choosing a set or individual brushes, you must understand the use of each of them.  While they will all serve the purpose of painting, they will not all have the same effectiveness with different techniques. 

(Source: Let’s Make Art)

What are Brushes Made of?

Not only are paint brushes available in various shapes, but you will also find a variety of bristles.  You must understand the type of bristle you are getting because it will determine the type of paint you can use.

It is also important to know the type of bristles on the brush you choose because each type needs specific care. When choosing bristles, you will have two options.

The other part of the brush that needs to be focused on is the handle.  Paintbrush handles are made with a variety of materials. The most common materials used to make paintbrush handles are wood, plastic, and metal.  (Source: Mixed Media Art)

Natural Bristles

One bristle option you will find is the natural option. Natural bristles are made from a variety of animal hair. 

Because they are made with animal hair, you will likely want to use these with oil paints, as they may not hold other paint types well. Many different animals’ hair is used for brushes. 

  • Hog
  • Badger
  • Mongoose
  • Sable
  • Ox hair
  • Pony hair
  • Squirrel

Although many brushes are marketed as being made with specific animal hair, most are made with blends of animal hair. 

Manufacturers choose to blend hair types because it helps with both durability and function. Another thing to consider with natural brushes is the cost. Because they are sourced from animals, the cost is higher than synthetic types. 

Paint that Works with Natural Bristles

Natural bristles are a bit more challenging to work with, and they don’t work with all types of paint.  If you are using acrylic paint, natural bristles aren’t going to be the best option. 

One benefit of natural bristles is the ease of cleaning.  While you need to use care when cleaning the bristles, you can use soap and water or even a chemical thinner appropriate for the paint type you were using. (Source: Roben Marie)

Synthetic Bristles

Most paintbrushes on the market are made with synthetic bristles, typically a combination of nylon and polyester. These brushes are preferred by many because they are a bit more durable than natural bristles and are a bit easier to maintain.  

Another reason people choose synthetic bristles over natural ones is their ability to maintain their shape after use. 

The synthetic material the brushes are made of allows the bristles to move back into position after being used and washed. (Source: Artist-Run)

Paint that Works Well with Synthetic Brushes

Synthetic paintbrushes are an excellent option because they can be used with all paint types.  One thing that you need to focus on when using synthetic is how you clean the brushes. 

Typically, soap and water work well.  You should never use boiling water or chemicals on synthetic bristles because it can destroy them and make your brushes unusable. 

(Source: Trekell)

Is Natural or Synthetic Better?

You may be wondering which is a better option, synthetic or natural.  Ultimately, it comes down to your needs when it comes to choosing a paintbrush.  To help, you may want to consider these things.

  1. Level of painting ability
  2. Type of paint being used
  3. The surface being painted on

Each of the bristle types has pros and cons when it comes to completing a project with them. Before purchasing, it is vital to know the difference. If you can’t care for natural paintbrushes properly, it would likely be better to choose synthetic brushes.  

Are Natural Brushes Cruelty-Free?

When you look at the list of natural brush sources, you may be wondering if any animals were harmed to produce the brushes.  While it cannot be generalized across all brush types, most are cruelty-free.

Sometimes the term cruelty-free can be used rather loosely when describing the source of the paintbrush bristles.

Most companies that use animal fur for brushes get the fur from animals that have been used in the industry for other purposes, such as fur products. 

When products are labeled as cruelty-free, the company did not kill the animals for the specific use of making paintbrushes, but they were used in some way in the fur industry.  (Source: Jeff Chester)

Do Expensive Paintbrushes Make a Difference?

As you can see, the cost of paintbrushes can vary quite drastically.  Often, we have the understanding that more expensive means higher quality and better products.  While this may be the case for some items, this may not be true for paintbrushes. 

It is important to remember that paintbrushes aren’t helpful if you don’t understand proper painting techniques.  However, you may find they last longer and provide more defined and crisp lines when painting. 

If you are a beginning painter, it would be best to choose good quality paintbrushes at a reasonable price. 

(Source: Artwork Achieve)

What Happens if You Don’t Use Quality Brushes?

You may be wondering what happens when you choose to paint without quality paintbrushes. It is possible to paint without quality brushes, but you may end up spending more money in the long run.  When using low-quality brushes, you should be prepared for:

  • Inconsistent results
  • Brushes may not last as long
  • Bristles might start falling out
  • Lines may not be crisp

While it may be less expensive to use brushes that aren’t quality, you need to understand there are downfalls to spending less on a low-quality product. 

How Much Does a Set of Brushes Cost?

The price of artist paintbrushes varies based on the material they are made of.  There are very inexpensive entry-level brush sets that you can purchase for just a few dollars, and there are more professional brush sets that can cost hundreds of dollars. 

When choosing a set of brushes and looking at the price, you need to contemplate your end goal.  If you plan to devote a significant amount of time to master painting and hope to make a career in it, you may want to spend more on brushes. 

However, if you are simply a hobbyist in painting and don’t plan to make it a career, you can likely get away with spending less on a set of brushes.

If you are not quite sure what your relationship with painting will become, it would be a good idea to start with a quality entry-level set and then upgrade as your interest or time commitment increases. 

It is best to purchase brushes if you are uncertain gradually, so you aren’t stuck spending a lot of money only to find you don’t enjoy it. 

Where Can I Buy Quality Brushes?

You can find quality artist brushes both online and in many different stores. If you are buying brushes for the first time, it may be beneficial to visit an actual art store to get guidance on the brush styles and brands they carry.  

When you decide to purchase brushes, the best place to find a quality set of brushes would be at a craft/hobby store such as Michaels, Hobby Lobby, or JoAnn Fabrics.

Because these stores specialize in arts and crafts, you will likely find a more extensive selection to choose from here.  You may also have luck at some department stores like Wal-Mart or Target.  

Another location you can indeed find brushes would be online.  It is much easier to do when searching online if you know exactly what you are looking for. 

A good strategy may be to find the brushes in a local store and then see if you can find them for a lower price online. 

How Long do Paint Brushes Last?

When purchasing paint brushes, you may be wondering how long you can expect them to last.  While it would be great to have a solid timeline, there is no way to pinpoint the exact amount of time an artist’s paintbrush will last. 

It isn’t easy to make a definitive assessment of the lifespan of a paintbrush because many factors go into the life span of the brush. 

  1. How frequently is it used?
  2. Is it cleaned properly?
  3. How is the brush stored?

If brushes are used, maintained, and stored correctly, it is likely that they will last for between one and two years.  Remember, if you are not using or maintaining the brush properly, it will likely need to be replaced earlier.

The price of the brushes does not necessarily factor into the longevity of the brush. (Source: Painter Forum)

Final Thoughts

As you can see, purchasing a set of paintbrushes is not as simple as just going to the store and buying them.  You need to think carefully about using the brushes and the extent to which you would like to paint, meaning is this a hobby or a potential career.  

With these things considered, you will likely find brushes that can last for quite some time.

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