14 Best Watercolor Brushes for Every Level of Artist

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Last Updated on January 5, 2023 by Dee

If you’re looking for the best watercolor brushes, look no further! In this blog post, we will discuss 14 different brushes and watercolor brush sets that are perfect for every level of artist.

Whether you’re just starting out or have been painting for years, we have the perfect brush.

So what are you waiting for? Read on to find out which brushes are best suited for your needs!

**Disclosure: I don’t buy brushes made from animal hair, so all the brushes I have recommended below are synthetic. If you are looking for natural hair brushes, you won’t find them here.

**This page may contain affiliate links to products I have used or recommend. If you purchase something from this page, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.**

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Best Watercolor Brush Sets

Da Vinci Nova Synthetic Brushes and Sets

Having the best brushes can make all the difference when painting with watercolors.

The Da Vinci Nova Synthetic Brush Set is one of the best options available, thanks to the unique blend of different widths and lengths of synthetic fiber.

This enhances the color-carrying capacity of the brushes, resulting in clean, even brushstrokes.

Whether using them with oils, acrylics, watercolors, mixed media, or for face and body painting, these brushes deliver great results. 

Da Vinci Deluxe Synthetic Watercolor Paint Brush Set with Wooden Storage Box

The Da Vinci Deluxe Synthetic Watercolor Paint Brush Set with Wooden Storage Box is great for watercolorists.

The set includes four brushes, one each of Casaneo Size 2 Round, Casaneo Size 6 Flat, Cosmotop Size 8 Flat, and Cosmotop Size 8 Flat Oval Wash.

Also included are a free painting cloth, brush soap, and a drying stand. The best watercolor brushes are ones that are made from top-quality materials, and this set does not disappoint.

The birch wood box is beautiful, and the brushes are top-of-the-line. This also makes a perfect gift for the watercolorist in your life.

Princeton Aqua Elite Synthetic Kolinsky Watercolor Brush Set

There are many different types of watercolor brushes available on the market, but the Princeton Aqua Elite Synthetic Kolinsky Watercolor Brushes are an excellent choice for those looking for the best possible performance.

These brushes are designed with innovative synthetic hair that is able to hold and release color evenly.

This makes it easy to achieve complex artwork with a consistent and smooth flow of paint.

In addition, the Aqua Elite brushes feature fine points and tapered edges, which makes them ideal for detailed work.

As a result, they offer both the precision and performance that artists need to create their best work.

[Related article: Gouache vs Acrylic Paint | What’s the best paint for you?]

Winsor & Newton University Brushes

If you’re looking for an affordable, high-quality brush that can be used for watercolor painting, then the Winsor & Newton University Brushes are a great option.

The smooth white polyester fibers allow for clean, flowing strokes and are soft enough to use with watercolors and stiff enough to use with slightly more fluid oils and acrylics.

The fiber offers excellent spring and shape retention, so your brushes will last a long time if you take proper care of them.

The handles are made of natural wood and finished with five coats of red lacquer to protect them from swelling during use or when exposed to solvents.

Whether you’re a beginner or a professional, the Winsor & Newton University Brushes are a great choice for watercolor painting.

Princeton Neptune, Synthetic Squirrel Brushes, 4 Piece Professional Travel Set

If you’re looking for the best watercolor brushes, look no further than the Princeton Neptune Synthetic Squirrel Brushes.

These brushes are designed with a beautiful blend of synthetic hair that is soft and supple, making them perfect for creating delicate details in your paintings.

In addition, the Neptune brushes are on of the softest and thirstiest brushes, meaning they drink up the pigment and hold a reservoir of water to deliver oceans of color with each stroke. 

ARTEGRIA Watercolor Brush Set

The ARTEGRIA Watercolor Brush Set is an excellent choice for watercolor artists for a number of reasons.

First, the brushes are designed specifically for use with water-based paints.

They come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, making them ideal for everything from precise detail work to large washes.

Second, the brushes have high absorption and a consistent flow, thanks to the soft synthetic squirrel bristles.

This ensures smooth paint application and better control.

Finally, the brushes are well-crafted and durable, with double-crimped ferrules and light-weight handles that feel good in your hand.

So whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned professional, the ARTEGRIA Watercolor Brush Set will meet your needs.

Dainayw Watercolor Brush Set

The Dainayw Watercolor Brush Set is a great choice for watercolor painting for various reasons. 

First, the set of brushes includes 4 Pcs of different sizes with Round #12, Flat #16, Oval #14, Dagger Type #12, which means that it can meet all of your watercolor painting needs. 

Second, the Dainayw Professional Watercolor brushes were created specifically for watercolor artists and skilled hobbyists, so you can be sure that they are of the highest quality. 

Finally, the handles are made of polished wood, providing a comfortable grip and ensuring that the brushes will last for many years. 

Best Individual Watercolor Brushes

Princeton Heritage Sable Brush – Round, Short Handle, Size 6

Princeton Artist Brush Neptune

da Vinci Watercolor Series 188 Size 7

da Vinci Brushes Casaneo Artist Brush

Winsor & Newton University Brush – Round, Long Handle, Size 8

Best Brush Pens and Watercolor Brushes

Tombow Dual Brush Pens

Arteza Real Brush Pens


Are synthetic or natural watercolor brushes better?

When it comes to watercolor painting, brushes are an essential tool. But with so many different types and brands of brushes available, it can be difficult to know which ones to use.

One important distinction is between synthetic and natural brushes.

Natural brushes are made from animal hair, while synthetic brushes are made from man-made materials.

Each type of brush has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Synthetic brushes are less expensive than natural brushes and are also easier to care for.

However, they can be less absorbent than natural brushes, making them less ideal for intense colors or large coverage areas.

On the other hand, natural brushes tend to provide a smoother paint application.

They are also more durable than synthetic brushes and can retain their shape better over time.

The trouble is, if you buy natural animal hair brushes, there is no guarantee that animals weren’t harmed in the process.

Personally, I don’t like the idea of using a brush made from an animal that may have been mistreated.

For this reason, I prefer synthetic brushes.

Ultimately, the best watercolor brush is the one that best suits your needs and preferences.

Experiment with different brushes to find the ones that work best for you.


Natural Hair Watercolor Brushes

Natural hair brushes are made from the hair of animals, such as sable, squirrel, goat, or hog.

How are natural watercolor brushes made?

Natural watercolor brushes take the hair from an animal and tie it to a handle.

The type of hair used will affect the performance of the brush.

For example, sable hair is considered the best type for watercolor painting because it is soft and absorbent.

Synthetic Blend Watercolor Brushes

Synthetic blend watercolor brushes are made from a mix of natural and synthetic fibers.

The synthetic fibers are often nylon or polyester, while the natural fibers can be anything from sable to hog hair.

Synthetic blend brushes offer the best of both worlds: they are absorbent like natural hair brushes but are also more affordable and easier to care for.

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How to choose the Right Brush for Watercolor Painting:

When buying a set of watercolor brushes to add to your art supplies there are various factors you need to consider:

Ability to Hold Water

The best watercolor brushes will be able to hold a lot of water so that you can achieve a smooth, even paint application.

Shape and Firmness

Different shaped brushes can be used for different effects.

For example, round brushes are good for painting straight lines, while flat brushes are better for large areas of color.

In terms of firmness, softer brushes are best for delicate work, while firmer brushes can be used for heavier applications. 

Size and Length

The brush size you need will depend on the scale of your painting.

You will need smaller brushes; for larger paintings, you will need bigger brushes.

The length of the brush is also important.

Longer-handled brushes can be helpful if you have trouble reaching the canvas, while shorter-handled brushes are more maneuverable.

General Feeling

Finally, choosing a brush that feels good in your hand is important.

Watercolor painting is a very personal activity, so you need to ensure you’re comfortable with how your brush feels.


Frequently Asked Questions about Watercolor Brushes…

Which brand of painting brushes are the best?

Several high-quality brands, including Escoda, Princeton, and Windsor & Newton, make great watercolor brushes.

Do you need special brushes for watercolor?

Yes, you must choose paintbrushes that are specifically designed for watercolor painting.

This is because watercolors are a very delicate medium and require brushes that can handle the paint.

What kind of brushes are best for watercolor?

The best brushes for watercolor painting are usually round or flat brushes.

These brushes are designed to hold a lot of water and provide an even paint application.

Are sable brushes good for watercolor?

Sable brushes are made from natural hairs and work very well with watercolor paints.

This is because sable hair is soft and absorbent, which allows you to achieve a smooth paint application.

Are sable paintbrushes made out of actual sable hair?

Yes, sable paintbrushes are made out of the hair of a sable animal.

Is human hair good for paint brushes?

No, human hair is not good for paint brushes. This is because human hair is not as soft or absorbent as animal hair, making it difficult to achieve a smooth paint application.

How do you make natural watercolor paint?

Natural watercolor paint can be made by mixing natural, organic ingredients like fruits, vegetables, and spices with water.

You should also add a binder to the mixture, like gum arabic, to help the paint adhere to the surface.

How do you make watercolor pigment paint?

Watercolor pigment paint can be made by mixing watercolor pigment with a binder, like gum arabic.

You can also add water to the mixture to thin it out and make it easier to apply to the surface.

How do you make natural blue watercolor?

Natural blue watercolor can be made by mixing a blue pigment with a binder, like gum arabic.

You can also add water to the mixture to thin it out and make it easier to apply to the surface.

natural watercolor paint

Are some watercolors made with honey?

Yes, some watercolors are made with honey. This is because honey is a natural humectant, which means it helps the paint retain moisture.

How do you make a plant-based watercolor?

Plant-based watercolors can be made by mixing plant-based ingredients, like fruits and vegetables, with a binder, like gum arabic.

You can also add water to the mixture to thin it out and make it easier to apply to the surface.

What can I use instead of watercolor paint?

Several water-based mediums, including gouache and acrylic paint, can be used instead of watercolor paint.

What watercolor brushes to start with?

As a beginner, it’s best to start with a round brush or flat brush.

These brushes are designed to hold a lot of water and provide an even paint application.

watercolor brushes

Are Raphael brushes good?

Raphael brushes are considered to be high-quality brushes.

They are made with a mix of sable and synthetic hair, which makes them very soft and absorbent.

Are Golden Taklon brushes good for watercolor?

Golden Taklon brushes are synthetic brushes designed to mimic the performance of sable hair.

They are very soft and absorbent, making them a good choice for watercolor painting.

watercolor brushes


There are a wide variety of watercolor paint brushes available on the market, making it difficult to choose the best watercolor brushes for your needs.

In my list above, you will find the best watercolor brushes for every level of artist, from beginner to professional. Remember, the best brush for watercolor is the one that best suits your needs.

So, take your time to experiment with different brushes until you find the perfect ones for you! Happy painting!

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