The 5 Best Oil Paint Brushes for Artists

Best Overall


The Utrecht Natural Chungking Pure Bristle Brush Set features high-quality, natural bristles ideal for oil painting, offering exceptional paint load and control.
Best Synthetic


1 (2)
Princeton Catalyst Polytip Bristle Brushes are innovative synthetic brushes with a unique polytip design for a smooth, precise painting experience across various mediums.c
Best Budget


1 (3)
The ARTIFY Oil Paint Brush Set offers a versatile selection of brushes crafted for oil painting, designed for both beginners and professionals seeking quality and variety.

Deciding which brush to use for oil painting can be a little confusing. It is all about understanding a few key things.It’s like picking the right tool for a job. You want something that is comfortable when you hold it, works well with the paint you use, and helps you translate the image in your mind onto the canvas.Let’s break down what you need to know into simple, easy bits, so you can pick your brushes with confidence and focus on creating your masterpiece. Whether you are a newbie in painting or an experienced artist, choosing the right brush can completely change your art.

In this guide, we’ll walk through the essentials: the types of brushes available, what makes each kind special, and how to pick the ones that match your painting style and budget so that you make an informed decision and get the most out of your money and time. Let’s get started!

Understanding Oil Painting Brushes

Types of Brushes Used in Oil Painting

Just like in any medium, there are different types of brushes. The ones you’ll come across the most are:

  • Flat: Broad and flat with square ends; great for filling wide spaces and bold strokes.
  • Round: Rounded tip; versatile for detailing and sketching.
  • Filbert: Oval-shaped; offers a soft edge, perfect for blending and smooth brushwork.
  • Bright: Similar to flat but with shorter bristles; gives more control for thicker paints.
  • Fan: Spread bristles in a fan shape; ideal for blending, smoothing, and creating textures.
  • Detail Round: A finer version of the round brush for very small details.
  • Angular Flat: Flat with angled bristles; useful for precise strokes and filling corners.

Brushes can also be classified according to the material they’re made of, and in oil painting this is extremely important, as different materials give different results and are used for different techniques. We have natural and synthetic brushes., each with its own perks.

Natural Brushes are made from animal hair, like hog, ox or sable. They’re great because they have some unique properties like being able to hold a lot of paint and giving you smooth, very even strokes. They’re especially useful when you’re working in highly detailed pieces or with thin layers because of their precision but they’re also pretty expensive, and need a lot of care to maintain their shape. 

Synthetic Brushes are made from human-made fibers like nylon or polyester, and the technology behind them has gotten extremely good in recent years, up to the point they can almost mimic natural hair brushes’ performance perfectly. They’re very durable, easier to clean, easier to maintain and much more affordable than natural hair brushes. They’re also a cruelty free and vegan option.

Brush Hair Types and Their Properties

  • Hog Hair: These are the most popular and the most used brushes for oil painting, made from hog bristles, these brushes are very stiff and springy which makes them great for pushing around thick oil paint and creating nice textured effects. The Hog hair is split at the end, which makes laying paint easier, making the brush perfect for filling large areas, working on details or going for bold strokes. 
  • Sable Hair: Sable brushes are soft, smooth and hold a lot of paint, these brushes are great for detailing, smooth blending and pieces that need precise strokes. They’re very delicate and need a lot of care, so we don’t recommend them for beginners.
  • Mongoose Hair: These brushes are no longer recommended nor as common due to conservation efforts but were known for being a bit softer than hog but stiffer than sable, which made them the go-to brushes of many artists. They offered a middle ground, good for both detail and broader strokes. However, with advancements in synthetic brushes, you can find man-made alternatives that mimic these properties.
  • Ox Hair: Ox hair brushes are durable and have a good stiffness, less than hog bristle but more than sable. They are often used for flat and filbert brushes and can be a good choice for medium to thick applications of paint.

How to Choose the Right Brushes for Oil Painting

Determining Your Painting Style

There are artists that can paint with everything, however not all of us can, some of us paint chunky, freely, some of us revel in the details, even the smallest ones, and some of us blend and blend until the very end, and not every brush is capable of fitting all those needs.  Landscape painters need very different brushes than the ones portrait painters use so before going for a very expensive brush think beforehand, do I really need it? For example:

  • For Detailing: For those intricate details, you’ll want finer brushes like rounds or liners made with sable or synthetic fibers that can hold a point.
  • For Blending: Soft, smooth blends call for softer brushes. Flats, filberts, or even fan brushes can create those gentle transitions in color.
  • For Impasto: If you love to lay it on thick with texture, a sturdy hog bristle brush can move that heavy paint and leave you with those satisfying brush marks classical masters love.

Considering the Paint’s Consistency

Your paint’s thickness matters. Oil paint can range from buttery and thick to thin and fluid, and there’s a brush for every type. For thick paint, stiff brushes like hog bristle can handle the load, they push around the thick paint without bending too much. For thin paint , softer brushes, like those made from sable or synthetic sable will glide smoothly and are perfect for thinner paints or glazing techniques.


You’ll also have to find a balance between the prices of what you want and the budget you have, don’t go overspending on brushes you’ll most likely ruin s a beginner, learn how to use, clean and care for your brushes first and start small, all you need really is a flat brush, but you can add a couple rounds and a filbert and maybe an angle brush or a fan if you’re feeling fancy. Don’t go for the super cheap value packs either. It’s better to have a few good brushes than a ton of poor-quality ones. Look for brushes that don’t shed, have a good “snap” (spring back into shape), and hold paint well. 

Top Brushes for Oil Painting in 2024

  1. Best Overall Brush Set for Oil Painting — Utrecht Natural Chungking Pure Bristle Brush Set 
  2. Best Synthetic Brush Set for Oil Painting — Princeton Catalyst Polytip Bristle Brushes 
  3. Best Budget Brush Set for Oil Painting — ARTIFY Oil Paint Brush Set 
  4. Best Brush for Detail Work in Oil Painting — Da Vinci Maestro 2 Hog Bristle Rounds 
  5. Best Brush for Blending in Oil Painting — Silver Brush Limited Monza Series

#1. Best Overall Brush Set for Oil Painting — Utrecht Natural Chungking Pure Bristle Brush Set

Selection Criteria:

  • Type(s) and SIze(s): Flat(10, 12); Filbert(6) and Round(4).
    • Our Score: 8/10
  • Bristle Material: Chungking Pure Bristle Brush.
    • Our Score: 9/10
  • Price: $66.92
    • Our Score: 8/10

About Utrecht Natural Chungking Pure Bristle Brush Set

The Utrecht Natural Chungking Brush Set is a collection of high quality artists brushes that are made for serious oil painters, made with the highest grade of hog hair, this set offers excellent stiffness and natural split ends for smooth paint application. This set includes two flats, a filbert and a round, perfect for starting or to replace your most used brushes and refresh your toolkit. Thanks to the quality of the bristles, these brushes can load a good amount of paint and release it evenly on the canvas, making them suitable for both impasto techniques and thinner applications. Aimed at professional artists and serious students, these brushes offer the quality expected by those dedicated to their craft.


  • High paint load
  • Durable bristles
  • Smooth application


  • Pricey
  • Limited flexibility
  • Can shed bristles

2. Best Synthetic Brush Set for Oil Painting — Princeton Catalyst Polytip Bristle

Selection Criteria:

  • Type(s) and SIze(s): Round(8); Angle(6); Bright(6); Filbert(4); and Round(2/0).
    • Our Score: 8/10
  • Bristle Material: Synthetic bristle hair.
    • Our Score: 8/10
  • Price: $35.96
    • Our Score: 9/10

Princeton Catalyst Polytip Bristle Brushes

When talking about synthetic brushes, it doesn’t get any better than Princeton Catalyst, these brushes are the go-to synthetic brushes of many oil painters and for good reason. The poly-tip technology imitates the split ends that animal hair has, making the application resemble closely what you get with natural brushes. This also makes the brushes hold more paint, making the painting process more pleasant and the trips to the palette fewer.  These brushes are designed to be highly durable, maintaining their shape and stiffness over time even with heavy use. They are also easier to clean than natural bristle brushes and are less prone to damage from harsh cleaning agents. On the downside, they are more expensive than some other synthetic brushes, but their durability and performance are completely worth the price.


  • Unique polytip
  • Versatile use
  • Easy to clean


  • Synthetic feel
  • Less traditional
  • Some stiffness

3. Best Budget Brush Set for Oil Painting — ARTIFY Oil Paint Brush Set

Selection Criteria:

  • Type(s) and SIze(s): Round(4); Filbert(3, 5); Fan(0, 2, 4, 6, 8); Flat(0, 1, 2).
    • Our Score: 9/10
  • Bristle Material: Natural Hog Bristle.
    • Our Score: 8/10
  • Price: $25.99
    • Our Score: 9/10

About ARTIFY Oil Paint Brush Set

There’s nothing harder than looking for a well rounded, budget option for oil painting that lasts, performs well and doesn’t end up all over our canvas or on our palette, however we believe we’ve found gold with this set, it’s affordable but not overly cheap, it has a comprehensible and well rounded collection of brushes that will serve a lot of purposes and techniques, it’s durable, easy to clean, and have long, ergonomic handles that are very easy and comfortable to hold. This ARTIFY set offers a good quality-to-price ratio, making them accessible to artists on a budget or those just starting with oil painting who may not want to invest heavily in more expensive brushes right away.


  • Affordable
  • Diverse shapes
  • Easy maintenance


  • Less durable
  • Variable quality
  • Synthetic bristles

4. Best Brush for Detail Work in Oil Painting — Da Vinci Maestro 2 Hog Bristle Round

Selection Criteria:

  • Type(s) and SIze(s): Round(2).
    • Our Score: 8/10
  • Bristle Material: Natural Hog Bristle.
    • Our Score: 9/10
  • Price: $10.50
    • Our Score: 8/10

About Da Vinci Maestro 2 Hog Bristle Round

The Da Vinci Maestro 2 Hog Bristle Round Brushes stand out in fine detail work because of their high-grade Chungking hog bristles, which provide the tradeoff of stiffness and natural flagging to offer you perfect control and smooth paint application. These brushes are specially designed and crafted with utmost precision, which ensures that they maintain a fine point and retain their shape over time thus making them durable and consistently performing. They are known for their ability to both spread thick and thin layers, which gives artists the opportunity to create different textures and details which is why they are often favored by artists for detailed work.


  • Superior quality
  • Fine detailing
  • Long-lasting


  • Expensive
  • Limited sizes
  • Firmer feel

5. Best Brush for Blending in Oil Painting — Silver Brush Limited Monza 4 Fan

Selection Criteria:

  • Type(s) and SIze(s): Fan(4).
    • Our Score: 8/10
  • Bristle Material: Synthetic Mongoose Hair.
    • Our Score: 9/10
  • Price: $17.45
    • Our Score: 7/10

About Silver Brush Limited Monza 4 Fan 

The Silver Brush Monza 4 Fan brush earned its reputation due to some major factors. This brush is made of synthetic mongoose filaments providing a unique balance of softness and strength therefore it is excellent for mixing and blending of colors on the canvas. The fan shape of the brush helps in the dispersion of paint in an ideal way for soft transitions and blended gradations of color to happen, which are crucial for creating atmospheric effects and softening edges. In contrast to the stiffer bristle brush that leaves dark marks, the soft synthetic brush glides effortlessly over the surface and lets you have a more controlled and gentler blending. Additionally, synthetic bristles are more durable, which means the brush will keep its shape and performance even after numerous uses and cleaning.


  • Synthetic mimic natural
  • Durable design
  • Fine precision


  • Higher cost
  • Synthetic material
  • Limited flexibility
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