What is the first thing you look for when buying the best oil paint brushes? Perhaps, you consider your choices among the popular and trustworthy brands and compare a vast array of brushes. That’s probably a good start. But here’s what you should know more: you need to check the brush type, size, and shape.
The brush type can either be synthetic or natural, and both types provide impressive benefits. However, when it comes to oil paints, the best options are brushes with natural hairs. Contrary to synthetic ones, natural hair bristle brushes offer excellent absorption, shape resiliency, and fluid retention.
In addition to that, choosing the correct brush shape can make a huge difference to the final results. These brushes are labeled with numbers, indicating their size, where the ones with higher numbers are typically bigger. However, the sizes and measurements vary from one brand to another.
Furthermore, the size allows you to present various techniques and line widths. Round brushes are the most versatile and popular among all shapes, but there are more shapes to choose from, including flat, oval, fan, filbert, and more. Using the perfect brush shape lets you showcase amazing results and a beautiful piece of art.
Your skills, preferences, and needs also matter. Whether you are an experienced artist, a hobbyist, or a beginner, there are suitable brush types that will showcase the finesse and artistic elements of your oil paintings.
Having said that, I will explain more about oil painting brushes and their significant features in this in-depth review and buying guide.
Table of Contents
- Top 12 Oil Paint Brush Reviews
- 1. D’Artisan Shoppe Maestro Artist Paint Brush Set
- 2. BENICCI Paint Brush Set
- 3. ADIS&GUYS ART SUPPLY 4336965684 Paint Brushes Set
- 4. Virtuous Arts chen-t-068 Fine Paintbrushes
- 5. ARTIFY Nylon Paint Brush Set
- 6. Winsor & Newton 5903005 Artists’ Oil Brush (Filbert)
- 7. CONDA ABCD Paint Brush Set
- 8. BENICCI Professional Artist Paint Brush Set
- 9. Mluchee JA-56-UOP-89 Oil Paint Brush Set
- 10. VIKEWE Professional Paint Brushes Set
- 11. Mont Marte BMHS0036 Premium Paint Brush Set
- 12. MEEDEN 4336961911 Micro Paint Brush Set
- What to Look for When Buying Oil Paint Brushes
- What is the Best Brand of Oil Paint Brushes
- Do I Need Special Brushes for Oil Paint
- How Do You Clean Oil Paint Brushes
Top 12 Oil Paint Brush Reviews
1. D’Artisan Shoppe Maestro Artist Paint Brush Set
Some regard these D’Artisan Shoppe as outstanding quality brushes. I consider them the best brushes for oil painting because of their premium quality synthetic and natural hog bristles. I do not mean to exaggerate, but the effortless performance explains it.
First of all, the synthetic hog bristles amazingly mimic hog bristles, which I usually prefer for blocking large areas and blending colors. I mainly use them for oil paint, but these brushes are also applicable for gouache, watercolor, and acrylic.
They do not shed or flake out easily. Since the bristles are not overly stiff or soft, each brush grabs more paint and lays it down across the surface smoothly. Plus, the ferrules are rust-resistant and durable, reinforcing stability and strength.
Moreover, this paves the way for accurate brushstrokes and solid applications without worrying about bristle fallouts. The brushes also display remarkable shape resiliency, preventing the bristles from spreading that can cause messy paint smears.
The wide variety of brush sizes and shapes makes this set quite a steal. It contains 4 natural hog hair brushes and 11 synthetic brushes.
I also appreciate how you can freely execute your own painting styles due to the assortment of shapes: flat, fan, round, filbert, angled, rigger, and wide brushes. It comes with a case for compact and travel-friendly storage.
2. BENICCI Paint Brush Set
Nylon bristles are sometimes brushed off due to two common issues: they tend to leave brush marks and feel too stiff. Fortunately, that is not the case with these Benicci synthetic oil painting brushes.
I am glad that the manufacturer did not skimp on quality as these nylon bristles are better than expected. They are flexible but not super soft. They are not too stiff but durable enough to keep the bristles from shedding or falling out.
The highlight of these nylon bristles is that they can efficiently pick up paint and apply them seamlessly. Besides the flow rate, I notice that the brushes do not deform after every application.
Amazingly, the bristles give off a nice bounce, providing smooth and solid paint layers. That is something that I would like to see on my brushes, particularly with the smaller ones, as they can render more precise applications. Luckily, these brushes do not disappoint.
The variety of shapes and sizes is quite a treat. The brushes range from small to large sizes, with #½ as the smallest and #8 as the biggest. The shapes vary from liner, filbert, angular, fan, comb, glaze, and flat, allowing you to present preferred painting styles.
Aside from that, I want to highlight the ferrules of the brushes. Not only do the aluminum ferrules look elegant in bronze, but they are also designed to be durable to secure the bristles. Moreover, it comes with a palette knife and a sponge, which you can use to create impasto techniques and other artistic styles.
3. ADIS&GUYS ART SUPPLY 4336965684 Paint Brushes Set
Don’t you just love the sophisticated and minimalist hues of black and grey? That is definitely what these brushes are all about. But besides the impressive aesthetic features, this oil painting brush set from ADIS&GUYS ART SUPPLY has qualities that can compete with high-end brushes.
First and foremost, the brushes are made of nylon bristles, which lend a nice and springy feel. Therefore, they are responsive even when I go for various strokes whether they are thick or thin. What is more fascinating is that these brushes can maintain their shape, which deters any splays due to loose bristles or stray hairs.
Contrary to what some artists believe about nylon brushes, these ones provide ample softness, which is reliable for smooth and easy painting. I have tried it several times with oil paint and I am surprised at its absorption properties and flow rate.
Whether you are using small or large brushes, each efficiently picks up a lot of thick paint. Therefore, there is no need to dip them in the paint more frequently. When you lay down the paint and glide the brush across the surface, the soft bristles deliver silky-smooth finishes without leaving messy paint splatters or streaks.
In terms of versatility, this brush set offers a significant variety of shapes and sizes. It includes 2 angle brushes, 2 flat brushes, 3 filbert brushes, 1 rigger brush, and 2 round brushes. It is not as many as the other sets, but I am sure this variety can cover all your painting needs.
4. Virtuous Arts chen-t-068 Fine Paintbrushes
If you are like me, who is meticulous with super-fine details and intricate embellishments, I recommend these fine paintbrushes from Virtuous Arts, and trust me, this brush set is worth a try.
This brush set is specifically curated for finely detailed projects, particularly with oil paint as the primary medium. This 15-piece set includes round brushes (4/0, 3/0, 2/0, 0, and 1), flat brush (sizes 0 and 1), and liners (4/0, 3/0, 2/0, 0, and 1).
The brushes might seem limited to a smaller size range but I find them quite useful for highlighting delicate strokes like strands of hair, dog fur, or the dainty shades and streaks in flower petals.
Although these are synthetic brush types, the bristles are anti-shedding and incredibly durable. Each brush maintains its shape and holds a point very well, rendering precise points and super-fine lines for accurate detailing.
As they are designed with optimum lengths, the ergonomic handles provide additional comfort. This enables artists to maneuver and control the brushes easier, producing crisp edges and neat lines.
Moreover, these brushes are not only applicable with thick paint, such as oil paint. If you want to work with various media types, you can use them with acrylic, watercolor, and enamel.
5. ARTIFY Nylon Paint Brush Set
Of all the brands that offer high-quality oil painting tools, Artify is one of them. This French brand houses extensive collections of brushes, and this 24-piece brush set is a delightful feast that many oil painters would love to have.
The inventive selection of different brush shapes and sizes maximizes the function, allowing you to achieve varying strokes whether they are broad or fine. The set includes liner, flat, round, comb, filbert, and angular brushes that range from small to large sizes.
As I sift through the details, each brush features synthetic hairs made from high-quality nylon. The manufacturer ensures minimal hair loss, which seems factual since I have not seen any shedding or hair strays so far.
Moreover, these Korean nylon bristles provide optimum softness and flexibility that do not deform easily. It lends exact pressure feedback that lays down oil paint smoothly without any streaks. Plus, it offers excellent absorption so I do not have to dip it in paint many times.
Since the handles are made of natural wood, they feel comfortable and durable. Upon checking the ferrules, they did not seem wobbly. I can tell they are tight and sturdy, keeping the bristles secure at all times.
It is also nice to have these brushes in a portable carry case and organizer. Each brush fits perfectly in its designated pockets. Plus, you can let it stand or spread it out to see all the brushes.
6. Winsor & Newton 5903005 Artists’ Oil Brush (Filbert)
This #5 long handle brush is one of the Winsor and Newton oil paint brushes that is ideal for easel work and traditional oil painting. This filbert brush is innovatively handcrafted with interlocked Chungking bristles to prevent any fallouts.
Just so you know, chungking bristles are one of the bristle types that have been deemed popular with acrylics and oil paints. With that said, I think this bristle design and material are a good choice for this brush.
One more thing I noticed is that the oval and flat brush shape has a natural curve, which I find reliable for versatile applications. Compared to other long brushes I have used before, this one provides a nice spring and shape resiliency.
It is also a good thing that the bristles are not overly stiff or soft. It picks up paint well and releases it across the surfaces evenly. Therefore, it can cover areas smoothly and produce precise details.
Since it is oval-shaped, this brush works great when blending colors or brushing them out for soft edges or subtle features. Whether it is for a portrait or landscape, it can enhance the details with more artistic effects.
In terms of the handle design, the contoured body makes it more comfortable to hold and control. It also feels responsive even with gestural movements.
7. CONDA ABCD Paint Brush Set
If there is another set of brushes for oil painting portraits, landscapes, and abstracts, this 24-piece from CONDA is a stunning collection to invest in. They present great quality brushes that both experienced oil painters and beginners can enjoy using.
Similar to the Artify brush set, this one has an impressive lineup of brushes from small to large sizes and varying shapes. With such variety, you can tell that they are carefully curated for all types and widths of strokes and painting styles.
This innovative collection includes rigger, filbert, fan, angle, mop, flat, round, bright, and all-purpose brushes, which all can be used for several uses. The roll-up carry case makes it easy to store and check different brush types whenever you need them.
Although the vast selection may seem intimidating for beginners, each brush displays an ergonomic design that artists of all levels can easily use.
When it comes to its bristle design, the high-density nylon provides efficient absorption properties for oil paints. It can pick up paint and apply it on the surface effortlessly, leaving smooth paint quality.
The large brushes can produce solid colors, whereas the small ones can produce accurate applications. I love how the small brushes have also been useful for painting dainty decors and details.
The wooden handle features an optimum length and shape, providing a comfortable grip and enhanced control when painting. Moreover, the aluminum ferrules hold the bristles nicely and add a sleek touch as well.
8. BENICCI Professional Artist Paint Brush Set
I can’t help but look at these beautiful brushes for their elegant bronze ferrules and nicely tapered bristles. Not to mention that the combination of black and bronze make the brushes look very sophisticated and professional.
But besides the aesthetic features, these Benicci brushes have always been consistent with their quality. Like the ones I have used before from the same brand, this 12-piece set of nylon brushes has impressive snap and spring.
They also do not fall short of reliable absorption properties and shape resiliency. Due to these traits, the brushes can perform with a nice bounce and response without deforming their shapes.
The paint layers and details look vivid and realistic. I also love nylon bristles because they can render smooth colors without leaving brush strokes. But I am not saying that all nylon brushes are the same.
At least with these Benicci brushes, I can tell that the premium quality nylon bristles make these brushes exceptional. Aside from that, the aluminum ferrules feel sturdy and secure.
So far, I haven’t experienced any wobbles while using the brushes, especially with the smaller ones when coloring or drawing very fine lines and crisp strokes. There are also no bristle fallouts to worry about.
Among my favorites from this set is the fan brush, which I have been constantly using for adding textural effects and filling large areas. Since this one is synthetic, it is a lot easier to create subtle and gentle smoothing of brushstrokes.
9. Mluchee JA-56-UOP-89 Oil Paint Brush Set
If there is an oil paint brush set you could try for the first time, what would it be? I am sure there is a lot to check out but I know there is a lot to learn with painting using these brushes from Mluchee.
There are 15 sizes and 7 different types or shapes of brushes in this set. If that is not enough for a beginner, I don’t know what is. Plus, it has a palette knife and a sponge for mixing oil paints. This 18-piece set boasts a combination of liner, fan, round, comb, filbert, flat, and angled brush types ranging from sizes 1 to 13.
Aside from the assorted brush designs, the highlight of these brushes is the superior nylon quality. The soft and sturdy brush tips render nice and smooth textures, especially when filling large areas.
On the other hand, the liner and round brushes have been pretty useful and versatile for dainty painting strokes and accurate details. As each brush can hold a point and retain its shape, adding very fine details is a breeze, like when working on hairs, flowers, and even in the littlest details.
The larger ones did not fail to meet my expectations for crisp edges and solid colors. I especially found the fan and flat brushes dependable on this particular rendering. Amazingly, the brushes are nicely tapered, executing sharp and precise lines.
Moreover, the secure ferrules enhance the brushes’ efficient performance. Because the bristles are tightly clamped, there is nothing to frustrate about bristles falling off and spoiling your artwork. The handles also feel nice and comfortable to hold.
10. VIKEWE Professional Paint Brushes Set
Don’t get me wrong, but the very first thing I liked about this set is the multifunctional carry case. It features a convenient design that can turn into a pop-up stand so you can see the brushes in a neat and organized display. But when you are all set to go, it folds into a travel-friendly case!
Of course, beyond this handy carry case are great quality brushes for oil painting. At a first glance, the brushes look elegant with their metallic ferrules, black handles, and grey bristles. But as soon as I checked them, the nylon bristles have soft and durable tips that can elevate your painting skills.
Although cheap, the quality is definitely not substandard. As mentioned, the bristles are soft and can hold their shape, which I am looking for in a brush for flexible applications.
Aside from that, there are various brush sizes and shapes that are suitable for all kinds of painting. It includes 3 liner, 3 round, 2 angle, 4 flat, 1 fan, and 3 filbert brushes. This unique combination gives a nice balance between sizes and shapes, which can be useful for producing different painting strokes.
I personally like the liner brushes that are quite impressive when rendering complex strokes and delicate lines. Although these brushes are the smallest among the rest, the quality and performance are still on point.
The other brushes, particularly the larger ones, have versatile features that can cover large areas, produce solid layers of thick paint, and accentuate details with textural effects.
Moreover, the reinforced aluminum ferrules keep the bristles secure at all times. They are also anti-rust, keeping the brushes in their pristine and elegant condition despite getting wet most of the time.
11. Mont Marte BMHS0036 Premium Paint Brush Set
When it comes to natural and synthetic brushes, there are several brands to choose from but one of the best for beginners is this paintbrush set from Mont Marte. In terms of the price range, it is not very cheap but this brush set is relatively more affordable than high-end brands for oil paint brushes.
This set has 15 different brushes: liner, round, filbert, flat, angled, wide, and fan brushes. I must say that the combination of brush shapes and sizes is practical, suitable for various applications.
Quality-wise, each brush displays impeccable durability since some of them are made of hog bristles ( filbert #8, flat #10, fan #4, wide 5/4”) while the rest is from taklon (liner #3/0, round #1, #3, #6, filbert #2, #4, #9, flat #6, #8, angled #10, and wash #11,).
I know some artists would prefer to have a specific brush type in their stash. However, I think it is better to have both synthetic and natural brushes like the ones in this set. This helps determine any differences and take advantage of their respective benefits as well.
Having said that, it seems true with this premium brush set as I can indulge in the smooth finishes and layers of synthetic brushes. At the same time, the hog bristle brushes have been incredible with blending colors and producing artistic brush strokes and effects.
Both types have soft and flexible bristles that can hold their shape. The liner brush and the small round brushes work great with detailing, while the big ones blend and cover large areas.
Amazingly, all the brushes showed excellent absorptive properties. They pick up paint efficiently and apply them on the surface effortlessly. No streaks or messy paint blotches.
For easy transport and neat storage, these brushes come in a roll-up carry case. Each brush has its own pocket, keeping them secure and protected from damages at all times.
12. MEEDEN 4336961911 Micro Paint Brush Set
The top-rated oil painting brushes for detail painting should have the finest quality bristles, which I found with this MEEDEN micro paint brush set. This 6-piece set boasts brush designs with soft, flexible, and firm nylon hairs that render super-fine line widths.
This includes 6 detail brushes in sizes 0, 2/0, and 3/0. I admit that some brush sets already have smaller sizes, but I still consider these essentials, especially if you are into sharp lines, complex details, and delicate strokes.
The fascinating feature of these brushes is their excellent shape retention, which you will need to create very precise strokes. They can hold their point very well, making them reliable for rendering elaborate embellishments.
Besides that, utmost control is imperative with small brushes like these. Impressively, the handles are ergonomic and comfortable enough to hold. This also provides perfect control and stability when rendering minute details.
When it comes to the ferrules, the nickel-plated design reinforces the brushes’ durability. Since they are double-crimped, the ferrules keep the bristles secure so they will not wobble or fall off when painting.
What to Look for When Buying Oil Paint Brushes
Synthetic VS Natural Bristles
The lineup of artist oil paint brushes is typically divided into two types: synthetic and natural brushes.
When artists look for paint brushes for oil painting, one of the primary features they consider is the bristle type, whether it is natural or synthetic. In fact, the brush type makes a huge difference in the overall quality of your oil painting as well as the efficiency of your performance.
Both types have respective advantages when working with oil paint. However, the top-tier brushes are the ones with natural hairs. Many Reddit reviews also agree on this since natural hair brushes render remarkable properties in terms of absorption, fluid retention, and shape resiliency.
No wonder many experienced and professional artists go for natural hairs or animal hairs. Most of these brushes are made from Kolinsky sable bristles or Kolinsky red sable hairs, goat, hog, ox, squirrel, and pony. The only downside is that they are more expensive than synthetic fiber brushes.
That might be a slight issue, but the excellent spring and snap of most natural bristle brushes have been reliable for blending colors, blocking large areas, highlighting detail work and linework, and rendering subtle gradients as well as textural effects.
For those who do not like using natural bristle brushes or animal hairs on their brushes or perhaps, looking for a more affordable option, the best alternative selection comes from synthetic brushes. Many of these brushes are made of nylon, Taklon, or polyester fibers.
Although they are not completely similar to natural hair brushes, a lot of synthetic brushes mimic the function and performance of natural hairs. They can produce impeccably smooth finishes and exquisite detail work and linework since most synthetic fiber brushes can impressively hold a point. They also share similar benefits with natural hair brushes, such as excellent spring and snap.
Synthetic bristles are also much easier to clean compared to natural bristle brushes. Furthermore, beginners might find their first set of brushes among the synthetic ones since they are more affordable.
Brush Shape and Size
Oil paint brushes vary in size and shape, which can help you achieve your desired styles, consistencies, and artistic effects. Whether they are synthetic or natural, you can identify their sizes by the numbers on the handles.
Typically, the larger the number, the bigger the brush and vice versa. But remember that there are no standard sizes or measurements as they differ from one brand to another.
Meanwhile, the shapes of the brush let you work on particular techniques, strokes, or line widths. The shapes or types usually range from round, flat, oval, angled, mop, bright, rigger, filbert, fan, liner, and many more.
The round brush tips are the most versatile and are ideal for either small details or covering large areas. If you want to accentuate minute and delicate details, you can go for liner brushes or round brushes in smaller sizes.
Brush Handle and Ferrules
One way to tell if you are using good oil paint brushes at least is if they have ergonomic handles. Many of these brushes are innovatively handcrafted with natural wood for a rigid and stable structure. But what matters is the balance; if it feels comfortable in your hand, you will be able to control and maneuver it effortlessly.
You should also consider the ferrules of the brush. Some brushes feature anti-rust ferrules to ward off any potential damages since they can get wet sometimes. Some are double-crimped to ensure stability and durability.
Price Range and Availability
There is usually a significant gap in the price range between synthetic and natural bristle brushes, with the synthetic brushes falling under a more affordable range. However, a lower price does not mean they are cheap oil paint brushes.
Whether you are in the US, the UK, or anywhere across the globe, many brands offer premium quality paint brushes at a budget-friendly price range. Most of them are available in sets, allowing you to try brushes in different sizes, shapes, and bristle designs.
What is the Best Brand of Oil Paint Brushes
Some of the most trusted oil paint brushes brands that I have tried include D’Artisan Shoppe, Benicci, Artify, and Monte Marte. They offer a wide selection of great quality synthetic brushes that work well with oil paint. Plus, they have affordable brush sets that are recommended for beginners.
Reputable brands such as da Vinci, Winsor and Newton, Raphael, and Isabey are well-known for their high-quality natural bristle brushes. Although they are expensive, many artists prefer using them as they do not skimp on quality.
Do I Need Special Brushes for Oil Paint
Yes, you do. This type of paint has natural oils on it, making them thicker than enamels or acrylic paints. Therefore, you need high-quality oil paint brushes that can handle thick paint or the natural components of oil paint. Although many synthetic brushes present impressive properties that perform like natural bristles, natural hair brushes are the best option.
How Do You Clean Oil Paint Brushes
Typically, the first option is to clean them using paint thinner. You can soak the brushes in a container with paint thinner for about five minutes. Then, blot or press the brushes against paper towels to get rid of any excess paint. Lastly, rinse the brushes with water until they are completely clean.
However, if paint thinner is not available or you are sensitive to it, you can use linseed oil instead. The same process applies although this may take longer. You also have to rinse the brushes more frequently. Nonetheless, your oil paint brushes will look clean afterward.
In a nutshell, the best oil paint brushes should have optimum balance for enhanced comfort and control, excellent flow, and consistent shape resiliency or snap. No matter which brand or type of brush you choose, settling for these features will allow you to handle oil paint efficiently and execute your desired painting techniques.
Finding the perfect brushes may take some time and research. But with detailed guidelines like this, you can easily narrow down your options and decide on the brush type you really need.