In this article we explore some of the best paint brushes for oil painting, as well as acrylics. There are many different types of paint brushes available on the market, and therefore it can be difficult to determine exactly which ones are best to use.
Enter any art store and you will see rows (or even aisles) of different oil paint and acrylic brushes! To help you sift through them all I will go over the best paint brushes available at different price points.
I have used quite a few different types of paint brushes over the years. So, I am excited to share with you (and dig into) some of my favorites here! Getting good oil paint brushes and acrylic brushes really makes a big difference. I always advise new painters to invest in quality brushes, and you will see a noticeable improvement in your paintings.
Best Synthetic Filbert and Bright Brushes for Oil Painting
Pros: Works with oil and acrylic paint
Very durable and sturdy, keeps shape.
Cons: Expensive compared to other brushes
One of my (current) all time favorite paint brushes for oil painting are the Princeton Aspen Brushes. These brushes do a great job at keeping their shape – unlike many other brushes I have used. They have thick bristles and are sturdy which makes them ideal for heavier use.
The brushes are almost as stiff as hog hair brushes but they aren’t as scratchy which helps to make smoother paint marks. The texture of the brush is in between a soft synthetic and natural bristle brush which I personally love. I also appreciate that no bristles fall out of these brushes! They are a wonderful all around sturdy brush that is great for indoor painting and ideal for outdoor painting.
You can find them in a large range of different brush types and sizes – my personal favorites are the filbert shaped ones! The one major downside to these brushes is that they are more on the pricier side when compared to other paint brush options.
Best Round Paint Brushes for Oil Painting (and acrylic)
Pros: Affordable, synthetic, available in multiple sizes.
Cons: Ferrule part of the brush is shiny so might bother eyes when painting outdoors in sunny conditions.
With time I have come to appreciate round brushes a great deal. Their shape offers a range of possibilities especially when you get the ones with a pointed brush tip like these round brushes by Escoda.
These Escoda brushes are quite similar to sable brushes but are more robust as they are synthetic bristles. The brush easily and quickly snaps back to its original shape. I love that the bristles are soft, yet still hold their form and don’t fall out even when used with heavier paint.
The best part about these brushes is the pointed tip as no matter how thick your brush is you can use that thin tip to paint in smaller areas. This will come in handy!
Best Bristle Oil Painting Brushes
Pros: Bristles firm and hold their shape well
Cons: Not as durable as other brushes, can fray easily.
I have been using Robert Simmons bristle brushes for a while now and really like to have some of them in my brush collection as they are a little more stiff and scratchy which can help add variety to the texture of my painting.
However, I only have a few of them at a time as have found that they don’t last me very long in comparison to other brushes. The bristles can potentially start falling out prematurely. That said, I paint far more often and harder than most other painters.
The advantages far outweigh the disadvantages as they give you a lot of control and help to create very good work. I would recommend them for advanced painters who are looking for more precision and a variety of textures.
Best Paint Brush Care
Once you have good quality paint brushes you need to take proper care of them. I recommend for you to follow proper brush cleaning methods, as this will lengthen the life of your brushes! Also, a good tip is to let your oil paint brushes soak in baby oil from time to time – this helps to condition the brush hairs.
Now over to you – let me know what your favorite oil painting (or acrylic) brushes are in the comment section below! I might even update this article with your suggestions 🙂