5 of the Best Brushes for Watercolor Right Now | Architect’s Collection

Some people believe that there is an artist in all of us. Waiting for the right moment or the right place to express itself and be set free, the best brushes for watercolor might help you set the artist free!

Even if there isn’t an artist inside you,  doing something completely different from your day job can sometimes be the difference between sanity and insanity.

It is for this reason that people pick up outdoor sports and extracurricular activities. Often we discover ourselves in those acts of curiosity.

Of course, quite often we become passionate about our day job. But for others, who like their work, and need a little extra to really discover who they are, artistic or adrenaline endeavors offer them aplenty.

Today, however, we’ll be taking artistic endeavors into consideration.

So painters and non-painters alike, both could benefit from the guide we’re about to illustrate.

Below we’re presenting a comprehensive guide on the best brushes for watercolor.

Let’s get started.

If you have found the best brushes for watercolor selection featured below useful we invite you to cast a glance over the best acrylic paint brushes, best brushes for oil painting, and the best sketchbooks for watercolor featured here on Architecture Lab.

Best Brushes for Watercolor

Featured Image via Roman Kraft@romankraft

Best watercolor brushes

Here’s the list of the 5 best brushes for watercolor right Now and take your art to the next level.

1. Golden Maple Paint BrushBest for Professional Detail Work

Golden Maple Detail Paint Brushes Set 10pcs Miniature Brushes for Fine...
  • DETAIL PAINT BRUSH SET: 10pcs miniature brushes...
  • Perfect for all sorts of detailing. Good for nail...

There aren’t many instances when you can figure out something’s quality just based on its looks. But that is the case here indeed.

The brush is manufactured by using high-end nylon hair. They have been imported from Japan. We liked these nylon hairs because they offer good water retention capacity.

While dipping in the color, and painting with various stroke angles, the water was firmly held by the hair bristles.

This also ensures that the tip is great in paint textures. The paint doesn’t leak, spread or stray on the paper.

Quite fortunately, the makers decided to go for triangle matte wood for the material chosen for the handles. This provides excellent grip and no breakage of material as well.

We didn’t notice any chips or deformities in the material handle when we unpacked the brushes. These brushes are well suited for acrylic paints and watercolors alike.

One thing we didn’t like was the sizes available in the packaging. Most brushes had little difference between each other.

  • Good nylon bristles
  • Strong wood for handle
  • Little variety in sizes
Brush Material: Nylon | Handle Material: Triangle Matte Wood | Shape: Various | Capacity: Good water retention capacity

2. da Vinci Red Sable Brush Set– Best for Versatile Miniature Painting

da Vinci Brushes 5359 da Vinci Watercolor Russian Red Sable Set 5359-5...
  • Excellent for watercolor, gouache, illustration,...
  • Excellent snap at the point with maximum water...

As a budding artist or experienced painter, you know having the right brushes can make all the difference in your work.

What caught our attention with the da Vinci brush set is the rounded assortment of five different sizes, ranging from crisp and detailed size 0s to more substantial brushes suitable for varied strokes.

Despite their more affordable price, these brushes are made of high-quality sable hair.

Moreover, the brush heads retain their tips remarkably well, ensuring consistent strokes without any streaks.

This durability and performance speak to the solid craftsmanship and overall value that the da Vinci Russian Red Sable Brush Set presents.

While the da Vinci brushes hold their own among competitors, they still don’t quite match up to the gold standard of the Series 7. If you’re a professional painter, you may desire a bit more springiness in your brushes.

In addition, some users might prefer the more extensive range of sizes available within the Series 7 line, allowing for greater versatility and functionality.

  • Comes with a versatile range of sizes, perfect for miniature painting 
  • High-quality sable hair bristles
  • Impressive water carrying capacity 
  • Less springy compared to Series 7 brushes
  • Limited sizes available compared to other high-end lines
Brush Material: Sable | Handle Material: Wood | Shape: Rounded | Capacity: Impressive water carrying capacity

3. Creativity Street Round Brushes– Best for Kids and Classrooms

Chenille Kraft 5173 Classroom Brush Canister 144 CT Assorted
  • Sold as 144/Pack.
  • Canister of paint brushes includes 24 each of...

Coming from Creativity Street, here you get 24 brushes of 6 colors each. That’s a mind-numbing total of 144 brushes. We think that is enough to never run out of different options for strokes.

The bristles, as we expected, are made of nylon. That is a good choice considering their water retention capacity and flexible build.

The handle of the brush is made of plastic. Similar brushes do offer wood design in this price range, but considering the quality of the plastic, we can’t complain much.

We liked the fact that it comes in a storage container. This ensures that the brushes aren’t lost easily while keeping them clean during storage as well.

And finally, the brushes are nontoxic. So rest assured, it is definitely safe for the kids to use.

However, not all is good here. The plastic, although hard, can be broken easily in clumsy hands. And the brushes while 144 in number, can be a headache to decide and use.

  • Storage container provided 
  • Nylon brushes 
  • Non toxic  
  • Hard but brittle plastic 
Brush Material: Nylon | Handle Material: Plastic | Shape: Round | Capacity: Flexible water retention capacity

4. US Art Supply Flat Hog Bristle Brushes

U.S. Art Supply 20-Piece Large Round and Flat Hog Bristle Tempera...
  • A fun 20-piece set of large 10 round and 10 flat...
  • The brush handles are easy to grip for excellent...

Manufactured by US Art Supply, these brushes ensured that we had a ball while testing them. These 20 brushes come in two shapes.

A large round and a large flat brush design. The volume of the brush is pretty high. This ensures ample paint retention in the brush.

The handles are well-made as well. We liked the wood build of the handles and the shiny metal-like build of the Ferrules.

Hog bristles, especially, hold a good amount of water and paint alike. It’s likely to be the favorite of you or your children.

Not only that, the handles are easy to grip as well. They fit well with children and adults alike.

And if you need to clean them, that’s fairly easy too. A simple soap and water solution should do the trick quite well.

This brings us to the only qualm we have of this product, it’s joint with the Ferrules.

We doubt if these brushes will last long.

  • Good paint retention
  • Easy to clean
  • Easy to handle 
  • Not the best joint at ferrules 
Brush Material: Hog Bristle | Handle Material: Wood | Shape: Large Round/Large Flat | Capacity: Good paint retention

5. Creative Mark Watercolor Brush

Creative Mark Scrubber Watercolor Brushes - Professional Watercolor...
  • Features: Made Of extra stiff white nylon, scrub...
  • Perfect For: Works well with All Watercolor Paper,...

These brushes from Creative Mark come with special scrubber technology. This enables them to lift color off of a palette easily.

The brush’s function is further strengthened by its string nylon fiber build.

The Ferrules really stand out. In our opinion, the nickel-coated ferrules stand out most among all the brushes that we’ve tested.

Creative Mark has provided three different tip sizes here. There is one which is really thin, and there is a medium-sized brush for all medium strokes. And finally, the thick brushes offer thick strokes easily.

These brushes are suitable for watercolor, charcoal, pastel, and even graphite colors.

One problem with these brushes is the lack of options. All you get is three sizes and that’s about it.

And of course, the materials used are all nontoxic and easy for children to use. Just be mindful of the nickel-coated ferrules, they are not sharp enough to cut but could be an irritant.

  • Good water retention
  • Excellent nylon bristles 
  • Non toxic 
  • Good build 
  • Lack of options 
  • Nickel coated ferrules could be irritating 
Brush Material: Nylon | Handle Material: Wood | Shape: Various | Capacity: Good water retention

Best Brush For Watercolor Comparison Table

Product Brush Material Handle Material Shape Capacity
Golden Maple Paint Brush Nylon Triangle Matte Wood Various Good water retention capacity
da Vinci Russian Red Sable Brush Set Sable Wood Rounded Impressive water carrying capacity
Creativity Street Round Brushes Nylon Plastic Round Flexible water retention capacity
US Art Supply Hog Bristle Brushes Hog Bristle Wood Large Round / Large Flat Good paint retention
Creative Mark Original Scrubber Watercolor Brush Nylon Wood Various Good water retention

Buying Guide For The Best Brush for Watercolor

We have formed a list of factors that you should keep in mind while buying a paintbrush for your colors.

Hair Material

When choosing a hair type or bristle type, always keep three things in mind. The performance, resilience, and cost. It is always a good idea to select a brush that has good paint retention.

The brush should also be able to distribute the paint material evenly on the surface of the canvas or paper.

Hard brushes usually end up spoiling the drawing material.

The best hair material is made of sable hair. It’s an animal found in the northeast region of Asia. And the best sable hair is called Kolinsky as it is savaged from a weasel in Siberia.

Due consideration can also be given to ox, squirrel, and goat hair as well. Although inferior to sable hair, they provide a decent cheaper alternative.


Of course, needless to mention that you must buy what suits you the best. If you are looking for thick strokes on a huge canvas, a brush with thick bristles and a draw area is a better choice.

Similarly, for something finer, go for thin bristles.

All around ability

For versatility, nothing beats a round brush. It can easily be used for broader strokes, and for linear and thin strokes as well.

If you’ve decided on buying a sable hair, we recommend going for round bristles for the all-around capabilities.


Again, for large canvases a large brush is a must. It is good to put large brushes to use in areas that do not require much detail.

And selecting a finer and thinner brush is the go-to choice in case you need to put in a lot of details.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best hair material for watercolor brushes?

The best hair material for watercolor brushes is sable hair, particularly the Kolinsky sable hair. However, if you are looking for a more affordable option, you can also consider brushes made from ox, squirrel, or goat hair.

What should I consider when choosing a hair material for my watercolor brush?

When choosing a hair material for your watercolor brush, consider the performance, resilience, and cost of the brush. Also, look for a brush that has good paint retention and can distribute the paint material evenly on the surface of your canvas or paper.

What is the best shape for a watercolor brush?

The best shape for a watercolor brush depends on your personal preferences and the type of strokes you want to create. If you want to create versatile strokes, a round brush is the best choice as it can be used for broad, linear, and thin strokes.

How do I choose the right size for my watercolor brush?

The size of your watercolor brush depends on the size of your canvas or paper and the level of detail you want to create. For large canvases, use a larger brush, and for detailed work, use a smaller brush.

Can I use synthetic brushes for watercolor painting?

Yes, you can use synthetic brushes for watercolor painting. They are more affordable than natural hair brushes and are also easier to clean. However, they may not have the same level of performance and resilience as natural hair brushes.

What is the difference between soft and stiff watercolor brushes?

Soft brushes are more flexible and absorbent, making them suitable for blending and glazing. Stiff brushes, on the other hand, are more resilient and suitable for creating bold and textured strokes. However, using a stiff brush for a long period can damage the drawing material.

How do I take care of my watercolor brushes?

To take care of your watercolor brushes, clean them with mild soap and water after each use, reshape the bristles with your fingers, and store them horizontally in a dry and cool place. Avoid using hot water or drying your brushes vertically as this can damage the bristles.

Watercolor stained hands


Selecting the perfect brush for watercolor painting can be a challenging task, considering the vast range of options available in the market.

It is essential to choose a brush that meets your specific requirements and preferences. From the above 5 best brushes for watercolor, here are the top three expert recommendations:

Golden Maple Paint Brush is an ideal option for those seeking high-quality nylon bristles and a strong wood handle, although it offers little variety in sizes.

da Vinci Red Sable Brush Set is a good option for individuals who appreciate versatile sizes, high-quality sable hair bristles, and impressive water-carrying capacity, but may not be suitable for professionals who desire more springiness in their brushes.

Creativity Street Round Brushes is the right choice for artists who need a large number of non-toxic nylon brushes with a convenient storage container, although the hard but brittle plastic handle might be a concern.

And for everything else, we’ll always be reachable.

Till next time.

Leave a Comment