The best acrylic paintbrushes in 2023

Best acrylic paintbrushes - Princeton paintbrushes
(Image credit: Princeton Artist Brush Co.)

If you're planning on painting with acrylics then you'll need a specialist paintbrush. This kind of paint can be hard on brushes as its texture means it's tricky to clean off once dry, and you want your brushes to last. Although you can buy brushes with natural hair, the best paintbrushes for acrylic paint are normally synthetic because they're tougher. 

Below, I've selected the best acrylic paintbrushes based my own experience as an artist. I've tested each of these brush options with a range of acrylic paints and different approaches to evaluate their performance, durability and versatility. I've picked out options that I think are suitable for artists with different levels and styles – see the questions section at the bottom if you need pointers on how to choose.

You'll want to also ensure that you have the best acrylic paints. If you haven't decided which medium to work with, see our guide to the differences between acrylics vs oils, and check out the best watercolour pencils, too. Finally, you might want to consider one of the best easels to support your work. 

The best acrylic paintbrushes available now

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What brush should I use for acrylic paint?

Generally, the best paintbrushes for acrylic paint are synthetic rather than natural brushes since synthetic brushes are tougher, so they can cope better with the medium. All of our choices in our picks of the best acrylic paintbrushes are synthetic – some emulate the feel of natural hair but offer a firmer brush.

When working with acrylics, we recommend using a selection of different shape and size brushes – large brushes are useful for applying broad areas of colour quickly. Brush texture is worth considering too. Soft brushes suit blending and produce a smoother paint surface, while firmer brushes leave expressive marks and produce more textured effects.

How should I clean the best acrylic paintbrushes?

Whichever option you choose as the best paintbrushes for acrylics for you, it's important to clean your brushes thoroughly after use. Acrylic paints can be particularly hard on paintbrushes and they're difficult to clean off once dry. Whilst a lot of brushes suitable for oils work with acrylics, both are hard on brushes in different ways. Cleaning undiluted acrylic paint from brushes is similar to oil paint, but you just use water rather than spirit or oils.

Clean off as much paint as you can using a clean cloth or paper towel by wrapping the cloth around the ferrule of the brush and squeezing it with your thumb and forefinger. Work up towards the end of the bristles and repeat as many times as you need. You can use water in a jar or brush-washer to clean as much paint as you can from the bristles, and then use a brush cleaner for a thorough clean (see our complete guide to how to clean paintbrushes for recommendations).

Lancelot Richardson

Lancelot Richardson is an artist, painter, and freelance illustrator based in Brighton, UK. He tutors life drawing at independent art school Draw Brighton, and teaches in their online Patreon courses. He is also a freelance writer, producing articles on art and drawing. He works in both traditional and digital mediums.

With contributions from