Best Acrylic Paint Brushes – Jolly Mom

Acrylic paints are bold and beautiful, and whether you paint as a hobby or you’re a professional, you’ll know how important it is to have the right tools.

If you’re a complete beginner and don’t know this, we’re telling you now: having a good set of paintbrushes is the key to achieving your desired painting style and application.

Paintbrushes can be one of those products where amateurs fail to understand the difference between the cheapest brushes and the ones of a higher quality.

However, paintbrushes can differ dramatically depending on their brand, the materials they’re made of, their brush shape, and bristle quality.

In this article, not only have we put together a list of the best acrylic brushes out there, but we’ve also made a Buyer’s Guide, containing everything you need to know about brush shape, quality, and brands, so you can make an informed decision before you buy.

Short on time? Let’s take a look at our top pick

If you’re new to acrylics, or to painting in general, you might be wondering about the different brush shapes and the purpose of each. Here’s a quick breakdown of the standard brush shapes every amateur artist should have…

The two main brush types are flat and round, but they can be broken down into further subcategories like angular, filbert, round, fan, and comb.

Flat or rectangular brushes have square ends and flexible bristles that can hold a lot of paint. When used flat, they can make long, thick strokes and are well suited to filling in large areas of color. You can also use the tip and sides for more delicate lines and small touches.

Round and pointed brushes are characterized by their large belly that tapers to a fine point. These create bold strokes and smooth curves and can also render fine lines and details. They’re also widely used in watercolors.

Brush Size

For each brush shape, there are different sizes. These range from 0000 right up to size 24. Generally, mid-size brushes are the most versatile, small would be used for detail work, and large-size brushes are best for painting large areas.

If you’re new to acrylics, start with mid-sized brushes (sizes 6 to 8) and then branch out according to your painting style and ambitions.

Handle length

You may also notice that different brands of paintbrushes can have different length handles.

Long-handled brushes are great for easel work as they allow you to paint from a distance and see all of your work at once, while those with shorter handles are best for detailed work as they provide better control.

Bristle type

Paintbrushes usually have natural bristles or synthetic bristles. While natural bristles can be great for the heavy texture of oil paint, these aren’t best suited to acrylic paints as the natural hairs can be damaged by acrylic paint over time. Plus, natural bristles don’t fare well if they’re left sitting in water.

While Synthetic bristles are often cheaper, they’re actually better suited to acrylics and are a lot more versatile. Synthetic bristles come in a range of stiff and soft varieties – usually made from nylon or polyester – and are made to mimic the feel and performance of natural-hair bristles.

Synthetic bristles work well with acrylics because they aren’t damaged by the acrylic resin, are easy to clean, and can be left sitting in water.

While they don’t hold their shape quite as successfully as natural-hair brushes, high-quality synthetic bristle brushes are pretty durable if cared for correctly, and usually cost less.

If you prefer natural bristles, you can still use these with acrylics, but they need a more thorough cleaning to remove oils or turpentine, as these repel acrylic paint, and they shouldn’t be left sitting in water for very long.

Brush quality

You don’t exactly need to splash out on the most expensive brushes on the web, but quality is definitely something to consider, as cheap brushes often shed their bristles easily and this can be problematic and frustrating if these start coming off in your paint.

Look out for brushes that have double-crimped metal ferrules that won’t rust. Also, ensure the handles are coated and that the brushes won’t split when left sitting in water.

Price point

How much you spend on brushes is entirely up to you, and you should adjust your budget according to your experience in painting.

It’s likely that $5 brushes just aren’t going to cut it for an artist with relative experience, but for a kid or a beginner, these will probably do the job and won’t break the bank.

As you gain experience and start to understand more about different brush types and techniques, then you can branch out and spend a little more, if you wish.

It’s also worth shopping around the middle price point (around $10-$35) as this is where you’ll usually find that the brushes that come with a carry case, and perhaps a paint knife or watercolor sponge, too.


When painting with fast-drying acrylics you should clean your brushes quickly after using them, as it’s possible to destroy your brushes if you allow the paint to dry on the bristles. You can avoid your acrylic paint drying on the brush by only using one brush at a time.

Once you’re done using that one brush, you can clean it and move onto the next brush. Avoid getting paint on the ferrule and don’t rest your paintbrush in a cup of water with the bristles facing downwards, as you’ll end up with wonky bristles.

Before heading to the sink to rinse your paintbrush, squeeze out the excess paint from the bristles using a paper towel. Then swish the brush around in a cup of water to clean off any excess paint, and dry the brush using the paper towel.

Rinse your brush in lukewarm water and squeeze the bristles to get rid of any leftover paint. You can also use special artist’s soap to clean the bristles thoroughly. Once you’ve removed all of the paint, dry the bristles once more and store your paintbrush horizontally allowing it to dry thoroughly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need special brushes for acrylic paint?

No, you don’t. However, it’s best not to use brushes with natural bristles, as these are best suited to oil paints and don’t cope well with acrylics.

Because of this, the best brushes for acrylic paints tend to be those with synthetic bristles, and these are usually easier to clean and cheaper, too.

Can you use makeup brushes for acrylic painting?

Yes, you can. Make-up brushes tend to have synthetic bristles which makes them ideal for acrylic paints. Another reason why they’re well-suited to acrylics is that they have short bristles, which means you can have better control when painting.

Generally, makeup brushes have smooth, flexible bristles and come in as many variations as paintbrushes do: from fan styles to round, thin to thick. They’re also easy to clean and are pretty affordable when compared to the cost of high-end paintbrushes.

Some people also suggest that makeup brushes don’t shed as easily as cheap paintbrushes do.

How do you avoid brush strokes in acrylics?

If you want to achieve solid blocks of acrylic color without visible brush strokes, there are several ways to achieve this effect. You can start with a pre-gessoed smooth panel or apply your own gesso and wet sand between coats. You could also use a soft brush and use thinner paint with it, or alternatively, swap your brush for a spray, roller, or even a squeegee.

It’s also a good idea to select colors carefully – go for colors that are opaque, not transparent, as otherwise, it’s very difficult to avoid brush strokes. You could also try golden fluid acrylics rather than heavy body paints, or even house paints, as these have a “flatter” color.