The Best 10 Brushes for Oil Painting in 2024

By Milan Art Institute on June 26, 2024
The Best 10 Brushes for Oil Painting in 2024

Choosing the best brush for oil painting can significantly impact the quality and ease of your work. With so many options available, it’s essential to understand what to look for and which brushes are currently leading the market.

Investing in good brushes is crucial for any oil painter, whether you're a beginner or a professional. They provide precision, control, durability, and versatility, enabling you to achieve the best possible results. By enhancing your paint application and artistic expression, quality brushes ensure that your focus remains on your creativity, allowing you to produce work that truly reflects your vision.

Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the best brushes for oil painting in 2024.


Why the Brushes You Choose Matter

Choosing the right brushes for oil painting can significantly influence the quality of your work, help you create art collectors want, and affect your overall painting experience. Here’s why investing in good brushes matters:

  1. Precision and Control

    Quality brushes offer precise control, allowing you to create fine details and smooth transitions. This precision is crucial for intricate work, such as rendering facial features or delicate textures.

    High-quality brushes maintain their shape and performance over time, ensuring consistent results with each stroke.

  2. Durability and Longevity

    Brushes made with premium materials, such as Kolinsky sable or high-quality synthetic fibers, are more durable and can withstand the rigors of oil painting.

  3. Long-term Investment

    Investing in good brushes means you won’t have to replace them frequently, saving money in the long run. They retain their spring and shape, providing a reliable tool for years.

  4. Enhanced Paint Application

    High-quality natural bristles, such as hog or sable, have excellent paint-holding capacity, allowing for smoother and more even application. This is particularly important for techniques requiring a lot of paint, like impasto.

  5. Versatility in Techniques

    Good brushes can handle various techniques, from glazing to dry brushing, without losing their integrity. They enable you to explore different styles and methods effectively.

  6. Improved Artistic Expression

    With quality brushes, you can achieve the desired effects more easily, whether it’s creating fine lines, broad strokes, or textured patterns. The right brush can bring your vision to life more accurately.

  7. Confidence in Your Tools

    Knowing you have reliable brushes boosts your confidence, allowing you to focus on your creativity rather than worrying about your tools. This confidence can enhance your overall artistic expression and enjoyment.

  8. Efficient Workflow

    Good brushes are easier to clean and maintain, which is essential for oil painting. They resist damage from solvents and retain their shape after washing.

  9. Less Frustration

    Poor-quality brushes can lead to frustration, as they may shed bristles, lose their shape, or fail to hold paint properly. High-quality brushes minimize these issues, leading to a smoother and more enjoyable painting process.

2-AR502395Joe Rossi Photography Works

What to Consider When Choosing a Brush for Oil Painting

When selecting brushes for oil painting, several factors come into play:

  1. Bristle Type
    • Natural Bristles: Made from animal hair such as hog, sable, or squirrel, natural bristles offer superior paint-holding capacity and create rich textures. They are ideal for seasoned artists who appreciate textures and a high paint load.
    • Synthetic Bristles: Made from materials like nylon or polyester, synthetic bristles are resilient, hold their shape, and are easy to clean. They are perfect for both beginners and experienced artists looking for smooth, even strokes.
  2. Brush Shapes
    • Round Brushes: Versatile for detailing, outlining, and sketching with precision.
    • Flat Brushes: Ideal for making bold strokes, filling large areas, and creating crisp edges.
    • Bright Brushes: Perfect for short, controlled strokes and navigating tight spaces.
    • Filbert Brushes: Essential for blending, achieving soft edges, and crafting varied strokes.
    • Angle Brushes: Excellent for painting curves, angled shapes, and creating dynamic lines.
    • Fan Brushes: Ideal for blending backgrounds, creating textures, and painting elements like foliage or clouds.
  3. Brush Size
    • Small Brushes (0-2): Tailored for fine details and intricate work.
    • Medium Brushes (4-8): Versatile for a wide range of painting needs.
    • Large Brushes (10 and above): Perfect for covering large areas and making bold, expressive strokes.
  4. Quality and Brand

    Choose brushes that maintain their shape, have securely attached bristles, and provide a comfortable grip. Consider brands known for their craftsmanship and durability.

  5. Handle Length
    • Short Handles: Best for fine detail work and close-up painting.
    • Long Handles: Suited for easel painting and broad strokes, allowing a greater range of motion.
  6. Price

    Start with a basic set that includes a variety of shapes and sizes. As your skills grow, investing in higher-quality brushes will enhance your creative output.

AR502407Joe Rossi Photography Works

Best Brushes for Oil Painting

Here are the top 10 brushes for oil painting in 2024, each offering unique features to suit various artistic needs:

  1. Milan Art FEARLESS Master Oil Set or Mixed Media Brush Set

    Each brush in these sets were hand-picked by world-renowned artists Elli and Dimitra Milan. These brushes are everything the artist needs for any painting. Our carefully crafted set provides a mix of soft and firm bristles, suitable for a range of techniques. We created these brushes for ourselves because we were tired of trying to find good-quality, affordable brushes. Sold as a set or individually

  2. Winsor & Newton Series 7 Kolinsky Sable Brushes

    This series is renowned for precision, superior quality, and unparalleled detail and control.

  3. Da Vinci Maestro Series 10 Round Brushes

    They are crafted with Kolinsky Red Sable hair for flexibility and strength and are best for professionals needing durable, precise brushes for intricate work.

  4. Princeton Aspen Series Brushes

    These synthetic brushes mimic natural hair, ideal for heavy-bodied oils. They are best for artists looking for a durable, synthetic alternative to natural hair brushes.

  5. Escoda Clasico Series Brushes

    They are made from high-quality Chungking hog bristles and are perfect for expressive strokes. Best for painters who enjoy robust, textured strokes.

  6. Isabey 6227Z Kolinsky Sable Round Brushes

    Contains Kolinsky sable hair for fine details, high paint-holding capacity, and smooth application.

  7. Silver Brush, Limited Grand Prix Series

    These Interlocked bristles help with shape retention, making them ideal for impasto and heavy textures. They are also best for painters working with thick layers and bold strokes.

  8. Rosemary & Co, Ivory Series Brushes

    Created with strong synthetic bristles, they are excellent for heavy applications. They are best for artists seeking a high-quality, synthetic alternative for robust applications.

  9. Raphaël Paris, Classic 3572 Flat Brushes

    Constructed of fine hog bristles, making them ideal for broad strokes, large areas, and reliable flat brushes for expansive work.

  10. Grumbacher Gainsborough, Filbert Brushes

    Created with natural hog bristles, this line is great for blending, has soft edges, and is a versatile brush for various techniques.


How to Care for Your Brushes


Before walking away for the night, clean your brushes. The worst thing you can do for them is have them soaking in a jar.

  • Clean the paint off your brush by rubbing and wiping the excess paint off with a clean cotton cloth or rag.
  • Rinse with clean paint solvent. Only, when necessary, with a light detergent.
  • Reshape your brush bristles with your fingers.
  • Dry and store brushes sitting upright in a jar with the bristles upward or lying flat on a table.
  • Only use mild soaps to thoroughly clean your brushes if you won't paint for a while (a week or more). If you paint regularly, there is no need to use soap on your brushes all the time; only an occasional cleaning is needed.


If you have brushes that are too dirty and crusty, try using rubbing alcohol to break up the paint. If the brush is so dirty that you want to throw it away, soak it overnight in Murphy's Oil Soap before fully giving it up.


Regularly condition natural bristle brushes with brush cleaner or mild conditioner to keep them soft and pliable.

Masterful Brushstrokes

Choosing the right brush for oil painting or acrylic painting is an integral part of your artistic process. Artists who have command over their tools can leave their mark on the world boldly. The brushes you choose have a significant impact on the paintings you’re able to create. They can mean the difference between creating a just okay painting and a potential masterwork.

By considering the type of bristles, shape, size, quality, handle length, and price, you can select brushes that not only complement your style but also enhance your creative expression. Proper care and maintenance will ensure these brushes remain reliable companions on your path to artistic mastery.

If you want to learn more about how to paint with masterful brushstrokes filled with passion and emotion, enroll in the Milan Art Institute Mastery Program. This profound program can ignite your artistic journey and career.

Join the Mastery Program Waitlist for exclusive lesson previews and free artistic resources straight to your inbox. Begin your artistic journey today!


Milan Art Institute
Milan Art Institute

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