The 5 Best Acrylic Paints for Artists in 2024

Best Overall

Winsor & Newton

1
The top choice for versatility and high pigment strength, perfect for artists at all levels seeking premium quality.
Best for Professional

Golden

1 (2)
Renowned for its exceptionally smooth, thick consistency and vibrant color selection, making it the best for professionals.
Best for Students

Liquitex

1 (3)
Offers a great balance between quality and affordability, ideal for students and beginners exploring acrylic painting.

Acrylic paint hs been around for less than 100 years, however it has taken the hearts, brushes and canvases of many artists since its appearance, this versatile medium has been known for its bright colors, quick drying times, and simple application, which have made it an essential component of contemporary art today. 

In this article, we go into the acrylic paint world, learning more about acrylic paint, its types and characteristics and what you should consider before buying your first painting set. We’ll also be looking into the best offers on the market, so whether you are a beginner in the world of art or you want to take your art toolkit to the next level, we’ve got it all covered with top brands and sets to take your art to the next level.

What is Acrylic Paint Made Of?

Acrylic paint is made of pigment that is made of pigments that are suspended in an acrylic polymer emulsion (acrylic, silicones and water) that is water soluble but becomes water resistant once it dries.

While acrylic paint is quite new in the art world compared to other mediums, it is also quite popular due to the immense applications and uses it has, both artistic and industrial.

Types of Acrylic Paint

There are different types of acrylic paints, we can categorize them by their consistency, viscosity, texture, effects, etc. The ones you’ll come across more frequently are:

Heavy Body Acrylics:  These are very thick and have a heavy consistency, similar to oil paints, which makes them perfect for texture-heavy techniques like impasto and palette knife painting.

Fluid Acrylics: These are much more fluid that your usual acrylics, perfect for pouring and more spontaneous techniques.

Acrylic Mediums: While these are not paints per-se, acrylic mediums will be very useful to add effects to your art, turning a glossy painting into mate, or adding a layer of gloss to your painting, helping your acrylics stay fresh for longer or adding cracking effects.

Special Effect Acrylics: Acrylic paints that glow in the dark, have glitter on them or any other special texture fall in this category, perfect for special projects, crafts and adding special touches to your work.

Acrylic Ink: This type of acrylic is much more fluid, almost watery which gives it the name, perfect for creating watercolor-like effects, to be used with air brushes and for glazing without a glazing medium.

How to Choose the Best Acrylic Paints

Grade and Pigmentation

When looking for any art medium, we will always find student and professional grade supplies, and while this means a difference in price, this also represents a significant difference in quality, performance and durability of the medium we’re purchasing. If your budget allows it you should always go for professional grade supplies, however professional grade paint tends to be much more expensive upfront than student grade paint.

Student grade paint might be more affordable, but it’s less pigmented, applies unevenly, mixes weirdly in some cases and doesn’t last as long as professional grade paint. The pigment load is lesser and not pure, which means the colors end up looking washed off, muddy and dirty if mixed wrongly. Professional paint on the other side produces vibrant colors when mixed together, is very pigment so a title bit goes a long way and lasts much longer.

Viscosity and Texture

Acrylic paint comes in different consistencies for a reason, you can’t really thicken acrylic paint without affecting its behavior, and if you want to thin it to use it for pouring you can use water but acrylic paint should be only mixed up with a maximum of 50%, going beyond that will dilute the binder in the paint too much and using an acrylic medium might be too expensive which is why selecting the right viscosity and texture beforehand is very important. Think about what kind of art or what kind of project you want to make and buy your paint accordingly, remember to look for “high viscosity” “heavy body” “pouring” “ fluid” and similar words which should be clearly stated in the product information.

Lightfastness

Lightfastness refers to the ability of paint to resist fading when exposed to light, and while acrylic paint tends to have very high lightfastness due to the acrylic polymer, the quality of the pigment and the amount of other additives and fillers also affect the lightfastness oad permanence of the paint. Always look for paint with high lightfastness ratings, and if possible, make sure the brand or manufacturer provides proper testing beforehand.

Price

The price of acrylic paint can vary a lot, from the very cheap dollar-store craft paints to professional heavy body paints prices can go from $2 to $20 per tube, if you’re just starting, don’t go for the cheapest option, try to go for a high quality student-grade paint that fits your budget and if possible, an starter set of professional paint to learn color mixing and color theory. If you already have experience, then going for a professional acrylic paint brand is a no-brainer, try to go for the one that fits your budget the best or invest in tubes one at the time. 

Best Acrylic Paint Sets in 2024

  1. Best  Acrylic Paint Overall — Winsor & Newton Professional
  2. Best Professional  Acrylic Paint — Golden Artist Colors 
  3. Best  Acrylic Paint for Students — Liquitex Basics Acrylic Paint
  4. Best Budget  Acrylic Paint  — Blick Studio Acrylic Paint
  5. Best  Acrylic Paint for Beginners — Arteza  Acrylic Paint

#1. Best  Acrylic Paint Overall — Winsor & Newton

Selection Criteria

  • Grade and Pigmentation: Professional Grade, High Quality.
    • Our Score – 9/10
  • Viscosity and Texture: Low viscosity, Smooth, thick, buttery consistency with no stringiness.
    • Our Score – 9/10
  • Lightfastness: High Lightfastness.
    • Our Score – 9/10
  • Presentation: Color 12-Tube Set, 20ml. 
    • Our Score – 8/10
  • Price: $46.19
    • Our Score – 8/10

About Winsor & Newton Professional Acrylic Paint

Winsor & Newton has been producing paint for the longest time, and its acrylic paint is one of the favorites among artists who demand the best from their materials.

The paint feels smooth and creamy, making it easy to spread on your canvas or paper. Even though acrylic paint usually dries quickly, this paint gives you a bit more time to work with it, blending colors just the way you want.

Winsor & Newton Professional Acrylic Paints are formulated using a unique binder that ensures colors remain bright and permanent once dried, additionally, their range includes a wide spectrum of colors, each carefully selected and formulated to provide artists with the broadest possible palette without sacrificing purity and brightness.

The brand’s rigorous testing ensures that each tube of paint meets high standards of color consistency, permanence, and performance, plus they go amazingly well with all the mediums from the brand.

Pros

  • High pigment strength
  • Excellent durability
  • Wide color range

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Can dry quickly

2. Best Professional  Acrylic Paint — Golden Artist Colors

Selection Criteria

  • Grade and Pigmentation: Artist Grade, High Quality.
    • Our Score – 8/10
  • Viscosity and Texture: Low viscosity, Smooth, thick buttery consistency.
    • Our Score – 8/10
  • Lightfastness: High Lightfastness.
    • Our Score – 9/10
  • Presentation: Color 12-Tube Set, 22ml. 
    • Our Score – 8/10
  • Price: $49.97
    • Our Score – 8/10

About Golden Acrylic Paint 

Golden Acrylic Paints are a superb option for artists who prefer quality products and paints they can rely on, the main characteristic of Golden is the wide color range and high pigmentation of their paints. They also offer different textures to choose from, do you like your brush strokes to stand out or to work with textures? Then you’ll  like their Heavy Body paints, or do you prefer something smooth and thin for fine detailing like their High Flow paints? Either way, Golden definitely has you covered. This flexibility gives the artists the opportunity to experiment and find what really adapts to their style.

Golden stands for the lifelong performance of its paints as well, they use pigments that don’t fade, ensuring that your artwork remains as bright and vivid as on the day you painted it and they even label their paints with how well they stand up to light, so you know your art will last for years to come.

Pros

  • Exceptionally smooth
  • Highly pigmented
  • Great lightfastness

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Thicker consistency

3. Best  Acrylic Paint for Students — Liquitex Basics 

Selection Criteria

  • Grade and Pigmentation: Student Grade, Normal Quality.
    • Our Score – 8/10
  • Viscosity and Texture: Medium viscosity, very smooth and buttery consistency.
    • Our Score – 8/10
  • Lightfastness: Normal Lightfastness.
    • Our Score – 8/10
  • Presentation: Color 24-Tube Set, 22ml. 
    • Our Score – 9/10
  • Price: $36.41  
    • Our Score – 9/10

About Liquitex Acrylic Paint

Liquitex Basics Acrylic Paint offers a fantastic balance between quality and value, especially for those starting their learning journey who need a reliable paint to practice and use a lot. These paints are known for their consistency and ease of use, allowing for smooth application and blending, the colors are vibrant and although not as intense as professional-grade paints they’re very pigmented and accurate making it easier for beginners to experiment without the fear of overspending on expensive professional paint.

They can be used straight from the tube for thick applications or thinned down with water for more fluid washes and glazes, plus, they’re made to be lightfast, meaning your artwork will retain its color over time without fading.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Good for beginners
  • Versatile uses

Cons

  • Less pigmented
  • Variable consistency

4. Best Budget  Acrylic Paint  — Blick Studio

Selection Criteria

  • Grade and Pigmentation: Student Grade, Normal Quality.
    • Our Score – 8/10
  • Viscosity and Texture: Creamy and Thick, buttery consistency.
    • Our Score – 9/10
  • Lightfastness: Normal Lightfastness.
    • Our Score – 8/10
  • Presentation: Color 24-Tube Set, 21ml. 
    • Our Score – 8/10
  • Price: $33.27
    • Our Score – 8/10

About Blick Studio

Blick Studio Acrylic Paints are known  for delivering professional quality at an incredibly affordable price, making them a popular choice among artists working on a budget. These paints have excellent blending capabilities and a buttery texture that is similar to what more expensive brands offer. They also have a wide color range that is accurate and pure and keeps their brilliance and sharpness when mixed together.

While these paints may not have the same load of pigments as some professional paints , they maintain a good balance between quality and affordability which is crucial for those with a limited budget.

Pros

  • Cost-effective
  • Good pigment quality

Cons

  • Inconsistent thickness
  • May fade over time

5. Best  Acrylic Paint for Beginners — Arteza Acrylic Paint

Selection Criteria

  • Grade and Pigmentation: Artist Grade, High Quality.
    • Our Score – 8/10
  • Viscosity and Texture: High viscosity, smooth, creamy texture.
    • Our Score – 9/10
  • Lightfastness: High Lightfastness.
    • Our Score – 9/10
  • Presentation: Color 14-Tube Set, 120 ml.
    • Our Score – 8/10
  • Price: $52.00
    • Our Score – 8/10

About Arteza Acrylic Paint

Arteza Acrylic Paints are especially great for beginners because they combine quality, variety, and affordability all in one. These paints stand out with their easy-to-blend consistency and a broad selection of colors in a nice, easy to store box, making it simple for new artists to experiment and learn without feeling overwhelmed. The quality is comparable to more expensive brands, offering beginners a great painting experience. Despite their affordability, Arteza Acrylic Paints don’t compromise on quality, they offer good coverage and a satin finish that adds a professional touch to finished pieces. Additionally, the paints have been designed with longevity in mind; they are ACMI-certified non-toxic and possess excellent lightfastness, meaning artwork will preserve its color over time without fading.

Pros

  • Vibrant colors
  • Affordable
  • Non-toxic

Cons

  • Shorter lifespan
  • Less coverage

Acrylic Paint FAQ

What makes acrylic paint different from oil or watercolor paints?

Acrylic paint dries quickly, offers vibrant colors, and is water-soluble but becomes water-resistant when dry. Unlike oil paints, it doesn’t need a solvent for cleanup or thinning, and unlike watercolors, it’s more opaque and can be used on a variety of surfaces.

Can acrylic paints be used by beginners?

Absolutely! Acrylic paints are perfect for beginners due to their versatility, ease of mixing and cleaning, and the fact that they dry quickly, allowing for rapid progression in painting projects.

Do I need any special brushes for acrylic painting?

While no special brushes are required, synthetic brushes or those specifically designed for acrylic painting are recommended. They tend to hold up better to the quick-drying nature of acrylics and maintain their shape.

How can I make my acrylic paintings last longer?

To ensure longevity, use a primer (like gesso) before painting, apply a varnish over the finished piece to protect it from dust and UV rays, and store or display the painting in a place away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures.

Is it possible to mix acrylic paint with other mediums?

Yes, mixing acrylic paints with mediums can alter their texture, transparency, and drying time. There are mediums for thinning, thickening, adding gloss, and even extending the drying time of acrylic paints.

Can acrylic paint be used on any surface?

Acrylics are incredibly adaptable and can be used on a wide range of surfaces, including canvas, wood, paper, fabric, and ceramics. However, some surfaces might require preparation with a primer to ensure the best results.

What should I do if my acrylic paint dries on the brush or palette?

If paint dries on your brushes, soak them in warm water and use a brush cleaner to remove the paint. For palettes, soaking in warm water or using a palette scraper can help remove dried paint. To prevent drying, use a wet palette or keep your paints and brushes moist while working.

Are acrylic paints safe to use?

Acrylic paints are generally safe as they are water-based and non-toxic. However, it’s important to work in a well-ventilated area and avoid ingesting paint or getting it in your eyes. Always check the labels for any specific safety information.

 

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