The Best Brush for Acrylic Paint on Canvas in 2021

The right brush decide the future quality of the painting as much as well stretched and primed canvas and artist-grade paint. Over time, you will learn what shape is good for what kind of work and what shape and size really work for you.

A beginner can start with buying some essential brush shapes and sizes or to buy a good affordable set. The best brush for acrylic paint on canvas is a synthetic, stiff and very durable paintbrush, like Princeton. If you don’t want to learn all shapes right now, buy a good set where you will have all your painting needs covered, like Mont Martre Paintbrushes set of 15.

Shapes, sizes, material – all of this and even how all parts of a brush were made are important for a good artist. It is not easy at all to pick a good brush today – there are tons of offers and of course they will all state great quality and numerous features.

I will give you The best brush on my opinion and the best brush set, but I will explain why: in my article there is no long text paragraphs, but each brush or brush set contain easy to read Pros and Cons and about 11 alternatives for brushes. I am sure after reading my Buyer’s guide you will be very confident about brush choice.

Table of content:

If you make a purchase via the Blick or Amazon links below I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps me support my blog.


What brush shape do I need?

TAKEAWAY: To start get 3 types of brushes: round one, flat, and a detailed round brush. Or, another life hack could be just to get a brush set with all shapes at once.

In fact, there are 8 main brush shapes that you will discover learning and experimenting:

Paintbrush Types

Usually, when you’re buying a set of brushes, you will have all main shapes and sizes.

Brush shapeUse and description
RoundHas a large belly with a fine point.

– can cover large areas easier
– good for detailed work
– create thin to thick lines

Must have: a mid-sized round brush.

Use with thinned paint 
Pointed roundHas a sharp pointed tip.

– good for detailed work, retouching
– good for portraits
FlatHas square, flexible ends

– can make long even strokes
– good for blending in large areas
– good for painting large areas
– toe and sides can be used for detailed work
– good for thicker application and impasto
– good for varnishing
BrightFlat with edges curved inward at tip, with shortish hairs.

– good for thicker application
– good for close work
– short and controlled strokes
FilbertFlat and oval-shaped end with medium to long hairs.

– good for blending
– can be used both for detailed work and large areas
Angular FlatFlat with angled hairs at the end.

– good for curved lines and filling corners and small areas
– can cover large areas as a flat brush
FanFlat brush with spread hairs.

– good for textural effects              
Detail RoundRound, hairs shorter in length. shorter handle.

– good for fine lines and detailed work

What sizes do I need?

Size of the brush includes length, diameter and width. Every shape can be in different sizes. The size of the brush it is a number: #8, e.i.

Normally,

  • small-size (#0-#6) brushes are great for detailed work
  • mid-size (#6-#14) brushes are quite universal, good for underpainting, coloring areas, and sometimes for details too
  • large-size (#14 +) brushes are great for painting large areas and washes. I use large brushes for abstract painting a lot!

Size range is: 20/0, 12/0, 10/0, 7/0, 6/0, 5/0, 4/0 (also written 0000), 000, 00, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 25, 26, 28, 30.

Sizes 000 to 20 are most common.

These “numbers” are not universal for brands, some brands may vary and if you are used to #4 of one brand, don’t assume it is the same for others. What to do with it? Make notes about brush sizes, check the product details about the length, diameter, and width of the brush before buying.

Short or long handle?

Brushes with longer handles are useful for easel work when you want to paint from a distance that allows you to see the whole work at once.

short handles are recommended for table-top painting where the artwork lies flat, especially with water media.

Width of the brush stroke is not equal width of the brush itself!

The actual width of the stroke varies according to the amount of pressure used, the angle at which the brush is held, the media used, and the flexibility of the brush hair.

The brush stroke will vary depending on how you hold your brushes too. Holding your brush close to the ferrule gives you the most control, great for painting details; holding near the end gives you lose strokes.

Natural or Synthetic Bristles?

TAKEAWAY: Choose synthetic brushes for acrylic painting.

Natural-hair brushes are not recommended for acrylic paint, because acrylics can damage natural bristles over time. They are better for oil painting and, in fact, can be more expensive than synthetic brushes.

Synthetic-hair brushes are made, generally, from nylon, taklon, or polyester and can be soft or stiff. They imitate nature hair but are easier to clean and perfect for acrylics. Synthetic brushes can handle water, while natural ones don’t like it.

As a beginner, you will have more controlled strokes with synthetic bristles.

What Brush do I need for acrylic painting?

TAKEAWAY: You need a brush with firmly connected parts, no rust on the ferrule, no falling bristles. If you are pressing the bristles against a flat surface, they do not bend too close to the ferrule. Check that there isn’t a gap between the bristles and ferrule, where paint could accumulate.

A paintbrush has 4 main parts: a handle, a crimp, a ferrule and bristles.

  • A handle helps us hold the paintbrush. It can be long or short, wooden or plastic.
  • A crimp secures the handle and the ferrule together.
  • A ferrule is a very important part – it firmly connects bristles and the handle. A good ferrule doesn’t rust or loosen.
  • Bristles are hairs of our paintbrush. With bristles, we apply the paint. Good quality bristles don’t fall. Can be natural or synthetic, for acrylic we choose synthetic, but we’ll talk about it later. Bristles have a belly – the wide center part of the brush, and a toe – the very ending of the brush bristles which actually touch the surface.

The Best Brush for acrylic paint on canvas

Princeton Acrylic Paint Brush is The best brush for acrylic painting for beginners

A great choice for beginners and intermediate painters. The manufacturer, Naohide Takamoto, produces brushes for 5 generations already – imagine the quality!

PROS:

  • affordable bestseller, $6.14 for flat #6
  • NextGen synthetic filaments, durable, strong
  • full range of shapes and sizes
  • smooth and controlled stroke
  • very comfortable handle

CONS:

  • don’t offer sets

11 Alternative brushes for acrylic painting

Buying brushes or sets depends not only on shapes, sizes and hair material, but on your budget. Some brands are more expensive, like Da Vinci

We picked 2 great brushes already, let’s have a look at good alternatives. Here is the recap table of all alternatives followed by a review for each of them. As we know, the price is very important for beginners, so I mention the price for flat brush #6 for each brand and the general price range to give you an idea.

Paintbrushes for acrylic paintingPrice for
#6 flat
Price range
Princeton Velvetouch Series 3950 Synthetic Brushes and Set (Best)$6.14$4.17-$29.78
Grumbacher Goldenedge Acrylic Paint Brush$11.15$8-$14.40
Blick Masterstroke Golden Taklon Brushes$6.17$4.05-$11.37
Blick Master Bristle Brushes$11.62$9.88 – $59.50
Blick Scholastic Wonder White Synthetic Brushes and Sets$2.84$1.30 – $260.79
Da Vinci Nova Synthetic Brushes$4.84 – $98.68
Da Vinci Top Acryl Synthetic Brushes$7.64 – $126.98
Loew-Cornell American Painter Brushes$4.39 – $6.09
Royal Langnickel Zen All Media Brushes$3.99$1.99 – $4.79
Utrecht Manglon Synthetic Brushes and Sets$7.69$6.32 – $32.99
Winsor & Newton Artisan Brushes$8.06$6.08 – $26.29
Winsor & Newton Monarch Acrylic Paint Brushes$13.79$9.70-$27.78

Grumbacher Goldenedge Acrylic Paint Brush

Grumbacher is one of the most famous brands when it comes to art supplies.

PROS:

  • synthetic durable bristles
  • controlled soft strokes
  • comfortable handle

CONS:

  • only limited sizes available
  • expensive

Blick Masterstroke Golden Taklon Brushes

PROS:

  • taklon bristles
  • bestseller
  • great control and absorbency
  • a big choice of shapes and sizes

CONS:

  • no sets

Blick Master Bristle Brushes

PROS:

  • high-quality hand glued brushes
  • high-quality durable bristles
  • bestseller
  • Lifetime Guarantee
  • one of the widest choice of shapes and sizes

CONS:

  • expensive
  • only one set of 4 shapes available

Blick Scholastic Wonder White Synthetic Brushes

PROS:

  • cheap
  • full range of sizes and shapes
  • sets available
  • good durable taklon

CONS:

  • student-grade quality

Da Vinci Nova Synthetic Brushes

PROS:

  • responsive and controlled strokes
  • short and long handles available
  • wood for the handle is from sustainable forest

CONS:

  • not all shapes have all sizes

Da Vinci Top Acryl Synthetic Brushes

PROS:

  • extra-strong, extra-smooth synthetic bristle
  • very durable hairs due to the “interlock” effect
  • short and long handles available
  • good for heavy-body paint, thick application, and impasto
  • sets available

CONS:

  • not all shapes have all sizes
  • not all shapes available

Loew-Cornell American Painter Brushes

PROS:

  • synthetic golden Taklon hair
  • handmade brushes
  • controlled strokes
  • high dexterity
  • good for heavy-body paint, thick application

CONS:

  • extremely small size and shapes range – only filbert, wash, and shader shapes available in 1-2 sizes.

Royal Langnickel Zen All Media Brushes

PROS:

  • lightweight
  • the handle is durable and waterproof
  • controlled strokes
  • cheap

CONS:

  • not all users liked the bristles


Utrecht Manglon Synthetic Brushes and Sets

PROS:

  • nice design: each shape has its own colored tag
  • excellent paint capacity
  • good with all kind of acrylics, including heavy-body
  • deep double crimping, very durable brushes

CONS:

  • only one set of 4 is available
  • pricey


Winsor & Newton Artisan Brushes

PROS:

  • retain spring after contact with water
  • controlled stroke
  • durable and last long
  • easy to clean

CONS:

  • only available for North America
  • expensive

Winsor & Newton Monarch Acrylic Paint Brushes

PROS:

  • long handles
  • variety of shapes and sizes
  • good quality bristles designed for acrylics
  • very responsive strokes

CONS:

  • expensive
  • not available in sets

The Best Brush Set for acrylic paint on canvas

Mont Marte Art Paint Brushes Set of 15 is The best brush set for acrylic paint on canvas

This is the set of 15 brushes: 2 filbert (#4 and #8), 4 angle (#2, #5, #10, #12), 2 round (#3 and #7), 2 flat (#6 and #11), 1 fan, 1 rigger (#3/0), 1 liner and 1 mop brushes – all you need to start painting.

PROS:

  • great for beginners
  • good variety of brushes in shapes and sizes
  • cheap $16.95 for 15 pcs
  • carry case included
  • handmade professional brushes

Check availability on Amazon and 2800 reviews

CONS:

  • good for beginners, the pro will switch to buying brushes individually.

11 Brush sets alternatives

Brush sets for acrylic paintingPrice
Mont Marte Gallery Series Acrylic Paint Brush Set of 6$8.99 for 6 pcs
Royal & Langnickel Short Handle Acrylic Paint Brushes$20.87 for 11 pcs
Jerry Q Acrylic Paint Brushes$8.99 for 12 pcs
da Vinci Acrylic Paint Brushes$25.99 for 5 pcs
LorDac Arts Paint Brush Set$17.90 for 7 pcs
Komina Acrylic Paint Brush Set of 15$19.33 for 15 pcs
Dainayw Artist Paint Brush 12 Pcs$8.98 for 12 pcs
Artbrush Tower 24 Piece Acrylic Paint Brush Set$5.69 for 24 pcs
D’Artisan Paint Brush Set of 15 for Acrylic Painting$35 for 15 pcs
Adi’s Art Pro Paint Brush Set of 12 for Acrylic Paint
+ case+sponge+palette
$24.99 for 12 pcs
Benicci Artist Paint Brush Set
+24 paint tubes+palette knife+sponge
$16.97 for 12 pcs

Mont Marte Gallery Series Acrylic Paint Brush Set

This is the set of 6 main shapes: 2 round (#6 and #16), 2 flat (#8 and #10) and 2 filbert (#8 and #10) brushes – all you need to start painting.

PROS:

  • great for beginners
  • cheap
  • good quality taklon bristles
  • good paint absorbency, smooth application

CONS:

  • only for beginners

Royal & Langnickel Short Handle Acrylic Paint Brushes

This is the set of 11 detail and short liner brushes in sizes 5/0, 10/0, 0, 20/0 and 3/0. It is not a universal set to go for a beginner.

PROS:

  • Finest quality soft synthetic bristles
  • short handles
  • good set for fine work
  • rust-resistent ferrule

CONS:

  • only for detailed work
  • limited sizes and shapes

Jerry Q Acrylic Paint Brushes

It is the set of 12 brushes: Round (# 10/0 #3/0 # 0), Flat (#2 #4), Long Liners (#20/0 #10/0 #5/0 #0 #2 #4 #6).

PROS:

  • cheap option
  • nylon bristles
  • nice variety of brushes
  • long handles for comfort

CONS:

  • only for beginners
  • no larger size available

da Vinci Acrylic Paint Brushes College Set

It is one the most well-known manufacturer and they offer several types of sets for beginners. The College Starter Set includes 5 brushes: 2 round (#2 and #6), 3 flat (#4, #8, #12).

PROS:

  • wood for handle from sustainable forest
  • the handle has a grip for more comfort
  • durable synthetic brushes
  • controlled strokes
  • easy to clean

CONS:

  • personally, I don’t like grips on handles, for me they are uncomfortable
  • pricey

This brand also sells brushes individually and they are extremely good.


LorDac Acrylic Paint Brushes Set

LorDac Set contains 7 brushes of different shapes: 3 Round, 2 Flat, 1 Filbert, and 1 Angular.

PROS:

  • decent durable bristles
  • smooth application
  • Travel Kit case included
  • Money-Back Guarantee
  • eco and vegan friendly
  • easy to clean

CONS:

  • only in sets

Komina Acrylic Paint Brush Set of 15

The Komina set is great for beginners, especially for children and students. This set includes 15 brushes and brush holder. The brand says that these brushes are good both for painting on canvas and body.

PROS:

  • handmade nylon brushes
  • protective brush holder included
  • 30 days money-back guarantee
  • 15 brushes included: all 8 main shapes and different sizes for round, flat, and angular flat brushes
  • affordable

CONS:

  • only in sets
  • I don’t really trust such cheap and multi-purpose versatile sets, but they are good to start for kids

Dainayw Artist Paint Brush 12 Pcs

This is a student grade set of 12 brushes:  flat, filbert, angle, round, liner, oval in different sizes.

PROS:

  • really cheap
  • dual-color nylon, chrome plated brass ferrules look durable
  • maney-back guarantee

CONS:

  • only for beginners
  • not really easy to maintain
  • can be less durable than alternatives

Artbrush Tower 24 Piece Acrylic Paint Brush Set

This set is amazingly full different sizes: size:#1,#2,#3,#4,#5,#6,#7,#8,#9,#10,#11,#12 for for 2 main shapes – round and flat.

PROS:

  • extremely cheap
  • 1-year replacement guarantee
  • wide range of sizes

CONS:

  • such a low price makes me question the production cost and quality.
  • the brand says the shapes in the set are round and flat, but for me flat doesn’t look flat at all, as bright – maybe.
  • only 2 main shapes

D’Artisan Paint Brush Set of 15

A professional artist set of 15 brushes with carrying case: 4 flat paintbrushes, 1 fan brush, 3 round brushes, 4 filbert brushes, 1 angle brush, 1 rigger brush, and 1 wide brush.

Sizes: 3/0,1,2,3,4,6,8,9,10,11,5/4

PROS:

  • synthetic + hog high-quality bristles (4 natural hog hair bristle brushes and 11 synthetic bristle brushes)
  • good for intermediate and pros
  • durable and ergonomic custom design
  • 15 brushes and a storage case included

CONS:

  • expensive

Adi’s Art Pro Paint Brush Set of 12 for Acrylic Paint

Great set for a beginner! You have brushes, a case, but also a palette! The set includes 12 brushes: 1 angle brush, 4 flat paintbrushes in different sizes, 1 filbert, 4 round paintbrushes, 1 liner brush, and 1 fan brush. 

PROS:

  • simple palette, Pop-up Carrying Case, and sponge included
  • good quality durable hand-picked brushes
  • double crimped ferrules
  • 1-year money-back guarantee

CONS:

  • a bit more expensive because case and palette are included
  • maybe not what a Pro expects, but great for start painting!

Benicci Artist Acrylics Paint Brush Set

Another great option for a beginner, which is Amazon Editor’s Choice by the way. This set can cover all needs of a beginner: 24 paint tubes, a palette knife to mix paint, a sponge and 12 different sizes and shapes brushes are included. This is all you need to try acrylic painting.

Paintbrushes: 3 round, 1 angle, 1 fan, 1 filbert, 1 bright, 3 liners, 2 flat.

PROS:

  • 1 palette knife, 24 acrylic paints, and sponge included
  • good quality durable double-clamped bristles
  • strong ferrules
  • 1-year money-back guarantee

CONS:

  • I would not expect much from the paint quality in the set for $17
  • if the set costs $17, how much brushes really cost?
  • only for beginners

How to store and clean acrylic brushes 

The 2 main ways to care for acrylic brushes is proper cleaning and storage.

The better you care and maintain brushes, the longer they will last without falling apart, because acrylic paint is very rough and harsh with bristles.

Cleaning

Always clean your brushes right after you finish painting session. If you will leave them with acrylic paint on them – it will destroy bristles very quickly. Never let you brushes dry with paint.

You can use water and soap or special brush cleaner. I recommend double washing brushes every time.

During painting, always keep 2 separate containers with water: one use to clean brushes and another to just have clean water to dip and wet brushes.

It is vital that brushes dry properly after cleaning!

Storing

The storage is another important thing. Always keep your brushes dry and facing bristles up.