Best Watercolor Brushes | Beginner & Professional Friendly


The right watercolor brushes are essential for any artist looking to create stunning watercolor paintings. These brushes not only ensure precision and control but also contribute to the overall quality of the artwork. With so many options available, choosing the best watercolor brushes can be overwhelming.

For professional artists, the Escoda Prado Synthetic Brush Set offers exceptional quality and performance. For beginners and hobbyists, the Heartybay Paint Watercolor Brushes Set provides a versatile and budget-friendly option. Consider your artistic needs, skill level, and budget before making a choice. 

We’ve carefully curated this list, reviewing the top watercolor brushes on the market. Our goal is to help you make an informed decision, so you can elevate your watercolor art and bring your creative visions to life with ease and confidence.

Best Brushes for Watercolor

Comparison of the Top Watercolor Brushes

BrushOverall ScoreBottom LinePrice
Winsor & Newton Cotman Brush Set
Winsor & Newton
80Great choice for both beginners and experienced artistsCheck Out On Amazon
Da Vinci Maestro Series 10 Brush Set
Da Vinci Maestro
82Known for their superior performance and durabilityCheck Out On Amazon
Escoda Prado Synthetic Brush Set
Escoda Prado Synthetic
84 Top Pick
Closely mimics the properties of natural sable hair
Check Out On Amazon
Silver Brush Black Velvet Watercolor Brushes
Silver Brush Black
82Blend of natural squirrel hair and synthetic filamentCheck Out On Amazon
ZenArt Fine Line Watercolor Brushes
ZenArt Fine Line
82Vegan-friendly, micro-paint brushesCheck Out On Amazon
Heartybay Paint Watercolor Brushes Set
Heartybay
84 Budget Buy
For casual painting sessions
Check Out On Amazon

Detailed Analysis of the Best Watercolor Brushes

1. Winsor & Newton Cotman Brush Set

Review - Winsor & Newton Cotman Brush Set

Overall Score: 80/100

Advantages:

  • High-quality synthetic bristles
  • Versatile performance for different techniques
  • Comfortable grip and balanced design
  • Good variety of brush shapes and sizes

Disadvantages:

  • Slightly higher price compared to other sets

Winsor & Newton is a well-known and reputable brand in the world of art supplies, and their Cotman Brush Set is no exception.

This set of watercolor brushes is a great choice for both beginners and experienced artists alike.

Brush Quality

The Cotman Brush Set features high-quality synthetic bristles that closely mimic the performance of natural hair brushes. The bristles are durable and maintain their shape well, even after extensive use.

The brushes have excellent snap and spring, allowing for precise brushstrokes and control.

Performance

The performance of these brushes is impressive, with excellent paint handling and flow control. They can hold a good amount of water and paint, allowing for smooth and even coverage.

The brushes work well with various watercolor techniques, such as wet-on-wet and glazing. They also maintain their sharp points and edges, making them suitable for detailed work.

Comfort

The Cotman brushes have a comfortable grip and balanced design, making them easy to use for extended periods. The handles are ergonomically designed and feel secure in your hand.

The brushes also have a good weight distribution, so they don’t feel too heavy or cumbersome.

Variety

This set comes with a good variety of brush shapes and sizes, including round, flat, filbert, and fan brushes.

This assortment makes it easy for you to experiment with different techniques and achieve a wide range of effects in your watercolor paintings.

However, some artists may prefer an even more extensive range of brush sizes and shapes.

Price

The Winsor & Newton Cotman Brush Set is priced slightly higher than some other brush sets on the market, but it offers excellent quality and performance.

While the price may be a bit steep for beginners, the investment is worthwhile considering the durability and versatility of these brushes.

They provide great value for money, especially for those who are serious about their watercolor painting.

2. Da Vinci Maestro Series 10 Brush Set

Review - Da Vinci Maestro Series 10 Brush Set-2

Overall Score: 82/100

Advantages:

  • Superior brush quality with natural kolinsky sable hair
  • Excellent paint handling and flow control
  • Comfortable and ergonomic handle design
  • Suitable for professional artists

Disadvantages:

  • Limited variety of brush shapes and sizes
  • Expensive price point

The Da Vinci Maestro Series 10 Brush Set is a top-of-the-line choice for watercolor artists who demand the best in terms of quality and performance.

Crafted using natural kolinsky sable hair, these brushes are known for their superior performance and durability.

Brush Quality

The Maestro Series 10 brushes are made with the highest quality kolinsky sable hair, which is known for its exceptional water retention and softness.

These brushes maintain their shape and sharp points even after extensive use, providing excellent control and precision.

The brush ferrules are made from rust-resistant materials, ensuring the longevity of the brushes.

Performance

When it comes to performance, the Maestro Series 10 brushes are hard to beat. They have excellent paint handling and flow control, allowing artists to create smooth and even washes with ease.

The brushes hold a significant amount of water and pigment, ensuring vibrant and consistent colors throughout your painting.

They are also suitable for various techniques, from wet-on-wet to detailed work.

Comfort

The handles of the Maestro Series 10 brushes are designed with comfort in mind. They have an ergonomic shape and a smooth finish, providing a comfortable grip even during long painting sessions.

The brushes are well-balanced, allowing for precise control without causing hand fatigue.

Variety

While the Maestro Series 10 Brush Set comes with a range of sizes, it primarily focuses on round brushes, limiting the variety of brush shapes available.

This may not be an issue for artists who primarily use round brushes, but those looking for a wider selection of brush shapes might find the set lacking.

Price

The Da Vinci Maestro Series 10 Brush Set is undoubtedly an expensive option, but for professional artists or those who are serious about their watercolor painting, the investment is worth it.

The superior quality and performance of these brushes justify the higher price point, as they provide exceptional value for those who demand the best.

3. Escoda Prado Synthetic Brush Set

Review - Escoda Prado Synthetic Brush Set-2
Top Pick

Overall Score: 84/100

Advantages:

  • High-quality synthetic bristles mimicking natural sable hair
  • Excellent performance for a synthetic brush
  • Comfortable handle design
  • Good variety of brush shapes and sizes
  • Affordable price point

Disadvantages:

  • Synthetic bristles might not suit purists who prefer natural hair
  • Might not hold as much water as natural sable brushes

The Escoda Prado Synthetic Brush Set is an excellent choice for artists seeking high-quality brushes without the premium price tag associated with natural sable hair.

These brushes are made with a synthetic material that closely mimics the properties of natural sable hair, resulting in impressive performance and durability.

Brush Quality

The Prado Synthetic brushes are made with Escoda’s Tame synthetic fibers, which are designed to replicate the characteristics of natural kolinsky sable hair.

Although not quite as luxurious as real sable hair, these brushes are still of high quality, providing an excellent alternative for artists who prefer synthetic materials.

The brushes maintain their shape well and are resistant to shedding, ensuring longevity and consistent performance.

Performance

Despite being synthetic, the Escoda Prado brushes deliver impressive performance when it comes to paint handling and flow control.

They hold a good amount of water and pigment, allowing for smooth washes and even color application.

While they might not hold as much water as their natural counterparts, they still provide a satisfying painting experience, especially for those transitioning from natural hair brushes.

Comfort

The Escoda Prado brushes feature comfortable, ergonomic handles that are easy to grip and well-balanced. They provide a pleasant painting experience, even during extended sessions.

The brushes feel light in hand, minimizing hand fatigue and allowing for precise control over your strokes.

Variety

The Escoda Prado Synthetic Brush Set comes with a good variety of brush shapes and sizes, catering to various painting techniques and styles.

From rounds and flats to filberts and liners, this set offers a versatile selection that can accommodate most artists’ needs.

Price

One of the most significant advantages of the Escoda Prado Synthetic Brush Set is its affordability.

The price point might seem expensive but it’s much more budget-friendly than natural sable hair brushes considering what you get for your money.

These brushes provide excellent value without sacrificing quality or performance.

4. Silver Brush Black Velvet Watercolor Brushes

Review - Silver Brush Black Velvet Watercolor Brushes

Overall Score: 82/100

Advantages:

  • Unique blend of natural squirrel hair and synthetic filament
  • Excellent water-holding capacity
  • Consistent, smooth application of paint
  • Wide range of brush shapes and sizes
  • Durable construction

Disadvantages:

  • Price may be higher than other options
  • Limited availability in sets

Silver Brush Black Velvet Watercolor Brushes are a top choice for many artists due to their unique blend of natural squirrel hair and synthetic filament.

This combination offers excellent performance, durability, and a wide range of brush shapes and sizes.

Brush Quality

The Black Velvet brushes feature a blend of natural squirrel hair and synthetic filament, which provides a luxurious feel and exceptional performance.

The bristles are soft yet durable, offering excellent resilience and longevity.

The high-quality construction of these brushes ensures that they maintain their shape and resist shedding, providing consistent results over time.

Performance

Silver Brush Black Velvet Watercolor Brushes excel in water-holding capacity and paint handling.

The natural squirrel hair combined with the synthetic filament allows for smooth and even application of paint, producing beautiful washes and fine details.

These brushes offer excellent flow control, enabling artists to create precise strokes and achieve desired effects with ease.

Comfort

These brushes come with comfortable, well-balanced handles that provide a good grip and minimize hand fatigue during extended painting sessions.

While not as ergonomic as some other options, the handles are still pleasant to use and allow for precise control over brush strokes.

Variety

The Silver Brush Black Velvet series offers a wide range of brush shapes and sizes, catering to various painting techniques and styles.

Whether you need rounds, flats, liners, or other specialty shapes, this series has you covered.

However, the brushes are more commonly sold individually rather than in sets, which may be a drawback for some artists.

Price

While the Silver Brush Black Velvet Watercolor Brushes offer exceptional quality and performance, their price point is higher than some other options on the market.

Nonetheless, many artists find that the investment is well worth it for the level of quality these brushes deliver.

5. ZenArt Fine Line Watercolor Brushes

Review - ZenArt Fine Line Watercolor Brushes-3

Overall Score: 82/100

Advantages:

  • High-quality synthetic bristles
  • Vegan-friendly and cruelty-free
  • Ergonomic handles for comfort and control
  • Suitable for fine detail work
  • Affordable price point

Disadvantages:

  • Limited to fine line and detail brushes
  • May not be ideal for larger washes or broader strokes

ZenArt Fine Line Watercolor Brushes are an excellent option for artists looking for high-quality, vegan-friendly brushes that excel in detailed work required for miniature paintings.

With their synthetic bristles and comfortable handles, these brushes provide both performance and value for money.

Brush Quality

The ZenArt Fine Line brushes feature high-quality synthetic bristles that mimic the performance of natural hair. They are soft, durable, and designed to maintain their shape even after extensive use.

As a bonus, these brushes are vegan-friendly and cruelty-free, making them an ethical choice for artists who prefer to avoid animal-derived products.

Performance

These brushes are specifically designed for fine line work and detailed painting. Their synthetic bristles offer excellent paint handling and flow control, allowing artists to create intricate designs with precision.

While not ideal for larger washes or broader strokes, the ZenArt Fine Line brushes excel in detail-oriented techniques.

Comfort

One of the standout features of the ZenArt Fine Line brushes is their ergonomic handle design.

The handles are shaped to provide a comfortable grip and prevent hand fatigue during long painting sessions.

This design ensures that artists can maintain precise control over their brush strokes while minimizing discomfort.

Variety

The ZenArt Fine Line series offers a range of detail-oriented brushes, including rounds, liners, and riggers.

While this selection is ideal for artists who primarily focus on fine line work, it may be limiting for those who require a wider range of brush shapes and sizes for their watercolor practice.

However, these brushes can be easily supplemented with other sets to create a more comprehensive collection.

Price

The ZenArt Fine Line Watercolor Brushes offer excellent value for money.

Their high-quality synthetic bristles and ergonomic handle design are comparable to more expensive options on the market, making them an attractive choice for artists on a budget.

6. Heartybay Paint Watercolor Brushes Set

Review - Heartybay Paint Watercolor Brushes Set
Budget Buy

Overall Score: 84

Advantages:

  • Affordable set with a wide variety of brushes
  • Comfortable grip and easy-to-clean bristles
  • Suitable for beginners and hobbyists

Disadvantages:

  • Not as durable as professional-grade brushes
  • Some users may find the bristles less consistent in quality

Brush Quality

The Heartybay Paint Watercolor Brushes Set features a mix of synthetic and natural bristles, offering a balance between durability and performance.

While not as long-lasting as professional-grade brushes, these brushes are perfect for beginners or hobbyists looking for a reliable set for casual painting sessions.

Performance

When it comes to performance, the Heartybay brushes provide decent paint handling and flow control, making it easier for you to experiment with various techniques.

However, some users may find the bristles to be slightly less consistent in quality compared to higher-end brushes. Despite this, the set still delivers satisfactory results for most casual artists.

Comfort

Heartybay brushes are designed with comfort in mind. The handles are lightweight and easy to grip, allowing you to paint for extended periods without experiencing hand fatigue.

Additionally, the ergonomic design of the handles ensures that you can maintain control and precision throughout your painting session.

Variety

One of the main selling points of the Heartybay Paint Watercolor Brushes Set is the variety it offers.

With 10 different brush shapes and sizes included, you’ll have a comprehensive selection to choose from, making it suitable for various painting styles and techniques.

This makes the set a versatile choice for artists looking to explore and experiment with watercolor painting.

Price

The Heartybay Paint Watercolor Brushes Set is incredibly budget-friendly, making it an attractive option for artists who don’t want to break the bank.

Despite the lower price point, the set still delivers a satisfactory painting experience, making it excellent value for money.

Conclusion

We’ve reviewed five top-rated watercolor brushes, each with their own unique advantages and drawbacks.

From professional-grade sets like the Winsor & Newton Series 7 to budget-friendly options like the ZenArt Fine Line Watercolor Brushes, there’s something for everyone’s needs and budget.

We recommend considering the brush quality, performance, comfort, variety, and price when selecting your ideal watercolor brushes.

Ultimately, the best choice will depend on your personal preferences and artistic requirements.

Take the time to explore these options and invest in the watercolor brushes that best suit your needs, enhancing your painting experience and artistic potential.

Mehak Verma

I love creating both traditional and digital watercolour art. Why? As a kid, transitioning from sketch pens to paint brushes and water soluble colours was a big deal. Hope you find what you're looking for on my website.

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