10 Best Watercolor Brushes: Reviews of Quality Watercolor Brush Sets

High-quality watercolor brushes are essential painting tools for any artist but finding the right individual brushes can be expensive. By investing in a watercolor brush set, you will have all the brushes you need to complete your artistic projects while also saving money on your art supplies.

The 10 Best Watercolor Brushes Sets:

  1. Inspired Art Paint Brush 15-Piece Set
  2. Heartybay Paint Watercolor Oil Painting (black 12pcs) Brush Set
  3. Virtuoso 15-Piece Fine Paint Brush Set
  4. Mont Marte 15pce Art Paint Brushes Set
  5. D'Artisan Shoppe Maestro Series XV 15-Piece Art Paint Brush Set
  6. Magic Touches Red Sable (Weasel Hair) 6-pack Brush Set
  7. MEEDEN Professional Sable Hair Detail Paint 7 Brush Set
  8. AIT Art Select Red Sable Detail 7 piece Brush Set
  9. Winsor & Newton Cotman Short Handle Brush (7 Pack)
  10. ZenArt Turner Collection 14-piece Professional Artist Brushes Set (Overall Best)

Our Top Pick for the Best Watercolor Brushes

ZenArt Turner Collection 14-piece Professional Artist Brushes Set

Our top pick for the best watercolor brushes is the ZenArt 14-piece Turner Collection. Whether you are just starting off on your artistic journey or you want to take your painting to a professional level and explore lots of different painting techniques, this collection of superb brushes from ZenArt will inspire your creativity and reward you with a superior painting experience.

Check the price on Amazon

Invest in a High-Quality Watercolor Set

Watercolor painting is one of the most versatile painting mediums. If you are just starting to explore the fascinating world of watercolors, or need to add to your existing collection, a watercolor brush set is an excellent investment for any artist as it contains a range of brushes that can be used for all different types of painting techniques like:

  • Applying a wash for a background
  • Shading and blending colors
  • Creating special effects like sunlight on water and leaves
  • Adding intricate brush strokes to a still life or painting a doll's face or miniatures

Whatever type of art or hobby you enjoy doing: watercolor landscapes, building models or figurines, or face or body painting, watercolor brushes come in all different shapes and sizes: rounds, flats, brights (short flats), mops, filberts, and fans.

How to Choose The Right Watercolor Brushes

Types of Watercolor Brushes

Here are some of the leading types of watercolor brushes that can be found in a brush set:

Flat brushes have medium to long hairs and a flat metal ferrule and a square shape with a straight edge. They are designed for applying bold, sweeping strokes and for applying heavy paint, and the straight edge can create fine lines.

Round brushes have a round shaped ferrule and round shaped bristles, which is useful for applying lots of water and paint and creating thin to thick lines. Rounded brushes that have an extra pointed tip are excellent tools for fine, detailed work like spotting or retouching a painting.

A Filbert brush has a thick/flat ferrule and an oval shape and a soft rounded edge. Because of its unique shape, a filbert brush gives you a lot of painting versatility as you can use it to blend colors, create a variety of marks, thick and thin, add texture, and it is especially ideal for decorative painting.

Click here for a comprehensive list of brush shapes and uses.

Watercolor Set Size

A watercolor set can contain 6, 7, 12, 14 or 15 individual brushes that range in shape and size depending on the manufacturer. Here is a watercolor brush size chart that will give you an idea of the different sizes that are available.

Synthetic versus Animal hair

The bristles are the most important part of the watercolor brush as they interact with the paint and help you to create different effects on the paper or canvas or whatever type of surface you choose. Watercolor bristles are made out of synthetic fibers or animal hair.

Synthetic Fibers

Synthetic fibers like nylon or Taklon are more affordable and are a great choice for those artists who are just starting to learn the art of painting, like children and art students or people who paint occasionally. They are designed to mimic the effects of animal hair and work very very well with all sorts of mediums.

The downside of using synthetic fibers is that they are not as durable as natural hair and the fibers may be too smooth, or the brush may not hold or distribute the paint as well as a natural fiber brush can.

Animal hair

Watercolor brushes made from animal hair are highly prized brushes by professional artists as they are durable and they are better at maintaining their shape and texture over the long term. They do not shed as much as synthetic fibers. Animal hair can come from a goat, cow, camel, hog, squirrel, or a sable.

Although goat, hog, and squirrel hair make excellent paint brushes, sable hair, in particular, Kolinsky and/or red sable hair is regarded as the best fiber for watercolor brushes. Kolinsky/Russian sable hair is quite expensive so some manufacturers, like ZenArt, use a combination of both sable and synthetic which is a more affordable option than pure sable.

Handles

How a paintbrush feels in your hand will make all the difference to your overall painting experience. Long ergonomic handles provide comfort and balance while you work. Shorter handles are designed for fine, detailed work. Double-crimped metal ferrules ensure that the handle stays securely attached to the head of the brush.

Best Watercolor Brushes

1. Inspired Art Paint Brush 15-Piece Set

Inspired Art Paint Brush 15-Piece Set

Whether you love working with watercolor, gouache, acrylics, or oil, the Inspired Art Paint Brush Set is guaranteed to kick-start your creativity.

The Inspired Art collection contains 15 brushes: round brushes, Filbert brushes, flat brushes, fan brushes and rigger brushes in different sizes, which are all the tools you need to create your masterpiece.

The hand-crafted brushes are made of the finest and highest quality natural hair bristles, which are a combination of sable, hog and goat hair, which are far more superior to synthetic materials. You can expect excellent performance, and maximum durability over the long term as the brushes have double-crimped ferrules, and the long, ergonomic handles are well balanced and comfortable to hold. The bristles will retain their shape even after countless washes.

For extra storage and convenience, Inspired Art includes an innovative pop-up stand and portable protective case. All of the paintbrushes, pop-up stand, and the portable case, come in a stylish box which makes this collection the perfect gift for any artists among your family and friends.

The Inspired Art set is covered by a lifetime money back guarantee.

Pros

  • Superior quality
  • Great value for money
  • Ideal for professional, amateur, student or beginner
  • Can be used for watercolor, gouache, acrylics, and oil painting
  • Very good range of brush types and sizes
  • Combination of sable, hog, and goat hair
  • Double-crimped ferrules
  • Long, ergonomic handles
  • Bristles will not lose their shape
  • Pop-up stand and protective case
  • Attractive packaging
  • Perfect gift idea
  • Lifetime money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Ferrules can come away from the wood if not treated with care

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2. Heartybay Paint Watercolor Oil Painting (black 12pcs) Brush Set

Heartybay Paint Watercolor Oil Painting (black 12pcs) Brush Set

A highly versatile paintbrush collection, the very affordable Heartybay watercolor 12-piece brush set offers you a lot of painting versatility for all different types of painting applications and techniques. It contains 12 individual brushes like a flat brush, a round brush, an angled brush, a filbert and a fan brush that come in 8 sizes ( 3/8-inch, 1/4-inch, 1/2-inch, 5/0, 2, 4, 6, 8).

The synthetic watercolor brushes have nylon bristles which are soft and flexible and are designed to maintain their shape and will not shed, and once you have washed them, just run your finger through the bristles to reshape them.

For that extra control and comfortability, while you work, the brushes have short black wooden handles with a smooth finish, and the seamless nickel ferrules stay securely fastened and will not rust or split and are double-crimped for a long-lasting painting performance.

Pros

  • Good quality
  • Extremely affordable price
  • Ideal for watercolor, acrylic, and oil
  • Can be used for a wide variety of arts and crafts
  • 12 brushes in 8 different sizes
  • Durable synthetic nylon bristles
  • Soft and flexible bristles
  • Bristles will not spread or lose their shape or shed
  • Seamless double-crimped nickel ferrules won't rust or split
  • Easy to clean
  • Short wooden handles perfect for detailed work

Cons

  • Not ideal for professional painters
  • Nylon bristles do not hold pigment very well
  • No carrying case
  • Handles may come in a different color

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3. Virtuoso 15-Piece Fine Paint Brush Set

Virtuoso 15-Piece Fine Paint Brush Set

Unleash your inner artist with the Virtuoso 15-piece brush set. The set contains an excellent range of brush shapes and sizes, rounds, flats and liner brushes which are all the brushes you need for performing fine, detailed work.

The premium brushes have an ergonomically designed short and thicker-style handles that are easy to grip and are well balanced. The super-fine precision point faux hair bristles allows you to produce those fine lines and intricate details that larger brushes cannot achieve and can be used for other techniques like painting soft strokes, shading and blending.

You can expect your watercolor brushes to last as they are made with Virtuoso's unique anti-shedding bristle technology, and the durable bristles are secured attached to the double crimped metal ferrules.

You can also use the watercolor brushes for other mediums like acrylic, oil, and enamel paint.

The watercolor brushes come in a stylish carrying case.

Virtuoso offers a lifetime replacement guarantee on their premium watercolor brushes.

Pros

  • Excellent price
  • Premium quality synthetic brushes
  • 15 miniature art brushes
  • Large range of sizes and shapes
  • Ideal for arts and crafts
  • Designed for intricate and finely detailed work
  • Can be used for watercolor, acrylic, oil, and enamel
  • Sturdy double-crimped ferrules and precision bristle points
  • Durable faux hair bristles
  • Ergonomic shorter, thicker handles
  • Zip-up carrying case
  • Lifetime replacement guarantee

Cons

  • Not ideal for applying thick brush strokes
  • Uneven bristles
  • Bristles can fray easily

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4. Mont Marte 15pce Art Paint Brushes Set

Mont Marte 15pce Art Paint Brushes Set

Mont Marte is the Australian market leader in the art and crafts industry, and their superb ultra-fine hand-made Taklon professional-style brush set is the perfect choice for all levels of artists, students, teens, kids and beginner painters. The Mont Marte Paint brushes set includes 15 different brushes that will inspire you to explore all types of painting techniques: two Filbert brushes (sizes 4, 8); four angled brushes (sizes 2, 5,10,12); two round brushes (sizes 3,7); two flat brushes (sizes 6,11); a fan brush (size 0); a rigger brush (size 3/0); two liner brushes (sizes 2/0, 1/0); and a mop brush (size 9).

Designed for everyday use, the ultra-fine Taklon bristles are thick and smooth and maintain their shape and the wooden handle is long and comfortable to hold and will not bend or break. The bristles are firmly embedded into the aluminum ferrule which gives the brush extra strength and durability.

Keeping your premium watercolor brushes at their optimum working ability is important, and Mont Martre includes a durable and light-weight zip case which is perfect for traveling, and its easel-design allows for quick and easy accessibility to the right brush for the right task.

Pros

  • Great value for money
  • Very affordable price
  • High-quality professional style brushes
  • Ideal for students, teens, kids and beginner painters
  • Designed for everyday use
  • Great range of shapes and sizes
  • Hand-made ultra-fine Taklon brushes
  • Can be used for watercolor, gouache, acrylic, and oil
  • Thick and smooth bristles
  • Bristles will not lose their shape
  • Comfortable long wooden shaft
  • Durable design
  • Bristles are firmly embedded into the aluminum ferrule
  • Easy to clean
  • Durable zip-up carrying case and easel-display design

Cons

  • Bristles might be too soft for art applications

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5. D'Artisan Shoppe Maestro Series XV 15-Piece Art Paint Brush Set

DArtisan Shoppe Maestro Series XV 15-Piece Art Paint Brush Set

The creative possibilities are endless with the Maestro Series XV all-purpose brushes, which are perfect for all types of fine, detailed artwork and painting mediums such as watercolor, acrylics, gouache or oil paint. The 15-piece set includes 4 flat paint brushes; 1 fan brush; 3 round brushes; 4 filbert brushes; 1 angle brush; 1 rigger brush; and 1 wide brush so you can experiment in any style you want.

The bristles are a combination of synthetic and animal hair fibers. The synthetic fibers mimic soft natural sable and the Chungking hog hair, which is used in the fan or flat brush, is stiff and firm, which is ideal for creating beautiful watercolor sky washes and creating dynamic strokes and textural effects.

These superb quality handmade brushes are designed to last with anti-shedding bristles that are easy to clean. The durable seamless double-crimped anodized ferrules with a superior snap has long-lasting shine. The lightweight, varnished hardwood birchwood long handles offer exceptional balance and grip to reduce fatigue, and the shape and number is printed onto the handles for easy identification for budding artists.

These brushes come beautifully packaged in a stylish, compact and lightweight carrier/holder with magnetic snap locks for easy transportation and storage. Your valuable brushes will stay safe and secure as all of the 15 brushes have individual plastic slots in the holder, and the soft flap protects the bristles from being crushed when the flap is closed.

D’Artisan Shoppe offers a lifetime return and replacement guarantee on their premium quality brushes.

Pros

  • Very good value for money
  • High-quality handcrafted brushes
  • Extensive collection of 15 different brush shapes and sizes
  • Anti-shedding bristles
  • Ideal for watercolor, acrylic gouache, tempera or oil based paints
  • Can be used for fine, detailed arts and crafts, face painting and ceramics
  • Combination of soft synthetic fibers and natural hog hair
  • Lightweight, hardwood birch long handles offer exceptional balance and grip
  • Durable seamless anodized aluminum ferrules
  • Varnished paint on the handle does not peel
  • Easy to clean
  • Brush shape and number is printed onto handles for easy identification
  • Compact and stylish lightweight carrier has magnetic snap locks and easy-fold flap
  • Carrying case has individual plastic slots for the brushes
  • Lifetime return and guarantee

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Lightweight material makes the brushes feel flimsy

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6. Magic Touches Red Sable (Weasel Hair) 6-pack Brush Set

Magic Touches Red Sable (Weasel Hair) 6-pack Brush Set

If you need to enhance your painting with a range of brush strokes and artistic techniques, you need quality Filbert brushes and what better way to stock up your art supplies but with a professional quality red sable (weasel) watercolor Filbert brush set from Magic Touches. The 6-piece brush set is perfect for any artist and contains all the Filbert brushes you need, ranging in sizes: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12, which can grip for watercolor, gouache, acrylic and oil painting.

The brushes feature a combination of the finest quality blend of red sable and weasel hair which are well known for their soft and luxurious feel and an excellent capacity to hold and provide a smooth distribution of water and paint on all types of surfaces.

The Filbert's head has a new design, and the securely attached ferrules are made from high-grade copper, which ensures that the hairs will not fall out and will maintain their shape. The polished birchwood long handles are well balanced and will enhance your overall painting experience.

This paint brush set comes with a Digital eBooks like “CANVAS PAINTING 101”, “PENCIL DRAWING – A BEGINNER'S GUIDE”, and ” INTRODUCTION TO OIL PAINTING”, which are all ready to download after your purchase.

Pros

  • High-quality
  • Very good range of Filbert brushes
  • Good value for money
  • Ideal for all types of mediums
  • High painting performance
  • Made from the finest quality red sable and high-grade weasel hair
  • Newly designed Filbert brush head
  • Bristles are securely attached to the high-grade copper ferrules
  • Well balanced, polished birchwood long handles
  • Soft, luxurious bristles
  • Bonus digital eBooks

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Bristles may be too soft for some painting applications
  • No carrying case

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7. MEEDEN Professional Sable Hair Detail Paint 7 Brush Set

MEEDEN Professional Sable Hair Detail Paint 7 Brush Set

For a professional painting experience across a range of mediums like watercolor, gouache, acrylic, and oil, and all types of artwork and hobby-related projects, the MEEDEN 7-piece professional-grade brush set offers you a lot of painting versatility for fine, detailed painting at a very affordable price.

The paint brushes are made out of the finest quality professional grade pure sable hair which is highly prized for its softness, strength, flexibility, long life, ability to hold its shape, create accurate super fine lines and provide a generous paint-holding capacity.

The set contains 7 detailing brushes in sizes 4/0, 3/0, 2/0, 0, 1, 2, and 3, which are all the brushes you need for intricate art projects. Each quality brush has a seamless nickel ferrule that will not rust or crack and holds the bristles firmly in place, and the bristles will maintain their super fine point without any splitting or shedding hairs over your artwork.

Working with small detailed artwork or hobby-related tasks can be difficult, but not with the MEEDEN brushes. The brushes have an ergonomic designed anti-slip, short, triangular-shaped hardwood handle that has a dull polished rich brown spray lacquer, which makes the brushes comfortable to grip and provides that much-needed control for the most challenging projects.

Pros

  • Professional-grade brushes
  • Very good value for money
  • Designed for all types of arts and crafts that require fine, detailed work
  • Ideal for watercolor, acrylic, gouache, and oil
  • Very affordable price
  • 7 different sizes
  • Superfine sable hair is soft and flexible
  • Generous paint absorption and distribution
  • Bristles maintains a super fine point
  • Applies paint beautifully
  • Ergonomically designed hardwood handle
  • Dull polished rich brown lacquered antislip grip
  • Strong, seamless nickel ferrule

Cons

  • Bristles can fray easily
  • Bristles may be too delicate for some art applications
  • No carrying case

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8. AIT Art Select Red Sable Detail 7 piece Brush Set

AIT Art Select Red Sable Detail 7 piece Brush Set

Looking for affordable, pure Russian Sable paint brushes for fine, detailed work? Look no further than the AIT 7-piece brush set. This fabulous set of pure Russian sable brushes have been expertly hand-crafted in Germany and feature that famous high-precision German quality, which means these superior quality brushes will not rust, shed hairs, or fall apart.

The 7-piece set contains varied sizes and brush types: 3 round brushes, 2 mini liner brushes, 1 long liner brush and a flat shader brush, all of which will help you to create ultra sharp lines and finely detailed patterns for all types of intricate artwork.

Whatever your choice of art medium, watercolor, gouache, acrylics or oils, you can expect professional results as the pure Russian red sable hair provides excellent paint holding capacity with a smooth flow and excellent flexibility, spring and response right down to the tip of the brush.

You do not have to worry about the bristles shedding all over your artwork as the seamless double-crimped silver nickel ferrules are long lasting and will not come loose, rust or split, and the short birchwood handles give you expert control over fine detailed work.

AIT provides a padded box and protective caps on the brush heads which also protects their shape in transport.

A 1-year guarantee covers the watercolor brush set.

Pros

  • Superior quality pure Russian red sable hair brushes
  • Hand-crafted in Germany
  • Exceptional value for money
  • Affordable price
  • Excellent range of 7 different fine detail brushes
  • Ideal for watercolor, gouache, acrylics or oils
  • Anti-shedding
  • Durable double-crimpled seamless silver nickel ferrules which will not rust or split
  • Short birchwood handles give greater control over fine detailed work
  • Holds paint well and deliver a smooth flow of paint
  • Excellent flexibility, spring, and response
  • 1-year warranty

Cons

  • Bristles can fray or splay out easily

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9. Winsor & Newton Cotman Short Handle Brush (7 Pack)

Winsor & Newton Cotman Short Handle Brush (7 Pack)

Winsor & Newton are the experts in the art supply industry so you can expect their watercolor brushes to deliver a high-quality painting performance. The Winsor & Newton Cotman 7-pack brush set is the perfect tools for watercolor painting as the brushes are made of fine quality blended synthetic fibers of differing thicknesses. The thicker fibers give the brushes extra strength and spring right down to the tip, while the thinner fibers improve color retention and provide excellent flow and control of the paint on the paper or canvas surface.

To give you good control and maneuverability especially for fine, detailed painting techniques, the brushes have short blue polished handles that are well balanced and comfortable to hold. For long-term painting enjoyment, the painting brushes are strong, and the durable nickel-plated brass ferrules prevent corrosion, clogging of the hair filaments, and the brushes are easy to clean.

The Winsor & Newton pack will make a fantastic addition to your existing art supplies and contains a variety of brush shapes and sizes: two round brushes (size 1 and 6);, a rigger brush (size 2); a 1/4-inch Filbert brush; a 3/8-inch stroke brush; a 1/8-inch angled brush; and a fan brush (size 2); all of which are perfect for lots of different painting techniques.

Winsor & Newton also manufacture a watercolor round brush set that is made out high-grade Kolinsky sable hair.

Pros

  • High quality
  • Great value for money
  • 7 professional-grade watercolor brushes
  • Made of fine quality blended synthetic fibers of differing thicknesses
  • Soft filaments improve color retention and provide excellent flow and control of paint
  • Brushes are strong, resilient and durable
  • Bristles have very good spring right down to the tip
  • Good range of brush sizes and styles
  • Blue polished short handles are ideal for fine, detailed work
  • Durable nickel-plated brass ferrules
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Expensive price for synthetic brushes
  • Short handles may not be suited to some painting techniques

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10. ZenArt Turner Collection 14-piece Professional Artist Brushes Set

ZenArt Turner Collection 14-piece Professional Artist Brushes Set

The ZenArt Turner 14-piece collection set, which is inspired by the British landscape watercolorist J.M.W. Turner is an excellent investment for any artist. The 14-piece collection features two types of long-lasting brushes that are made of a black squirrel blend or Japanese synthetic fibers. Both of these high-grade materials hold just the right amount of water and paint to deliver a more precise flow of medium across the paper or canvas. In particular, the squirrel blend releases fluid easily and mixes paint well while maintaining the bristles' shape, control, and enhanced spring right down to the tip. This set offers a great range of brush shapes and sizes that can be used for lots of different painting techniques.

  • 1-inch cat's tongue brush
  • Round brushes (sizes 2, 3, 5, 7, 11)
  • One rigger (size 3)
  • Detail Round brush (size 000)
  • Filbert size (6)
  • Flat (size 8)
  • Angle (size 5)
  • Fan (size 3)
  • Flat (size 4)
  • A palette knife

The brushes are specially designed by artists and hand-crafted by master brushmakers and the ergonomic lacquered birchwood short handles are perfectly balanced, so you can expect professional-grade brushes that deliver a superior performance.

As shedding can be an issue with new, natural hair brushes as you break them in, each brush has a securely fastened rust-resistant nickel-plated ferrule that has been wet tested to reduce any shedding of the fibers.

To keep your fabulous art supply collection in optimal condition, ZenArt includes a beautiful satin roll up carrying case which is perfect for travel and storage and a 1-year warranty covers the collection.

Pros

  • Excellent quality
  • Comprehensive 14-piece collection of watercolor brushes and a palette knife
  • Ideal for watercolor, gouache and fluid acrylics
  • Very good range of brush types and sizes
  • Contains a squirrel hair blend and Japanese synthetic fibers
  • Designed by artists and hand-crafted by master brushmakers
  • Soft and firm bristles
  • Holds a lot of water and paint
  • Very good paint distribution
  • Ergonomic lacquered birchwood handles
  • Securely fastened rust-resistant nickel-plated ferrules
  • Wet tested to reduce shedding
  • Superior painting performance
  • Beautiful satin smooth carrying case
  • 1-year warranty

Cons

  • Expensive

Check the price on Amazon

Our Top Pick for the Best Watercolor Brushes

ZenArt Turner Collection 14-piece Professional Artist Brushes Set

Our top pick for the best watercolor brushes is the ZenArt 14-piece Turner Collection. Whether you are just starting off on your artistic journey or you want to take your painting to a professional level and explore lots of different painting techniques, this collection of superb brushes from ZenArt will inspire your creativity and reward you with a superior painting experience.

Check the price on Amazon

This article first appeared on morningchores.com Original Article

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