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When deciding on the best paint brush for your project, it’s important to consider the brush-head material as well as its size and shape. A quality brush will hold a good amount of paint, facilitate a smooth stroke, and won’t shed or split. Natural bristle brushes are made with coarse animal hair and are intended for oil and acrylic paints. A high-quality paint brush will feature bristle tips that have flagged, or split, ends that hold their shape and help hold and distribute paint better. The metal band joining the bristles to the brush handle is called a ferrule and keeps the bristles in shape and maintains their flex. Brushes come in many different shapes: from fan to round, with the most versatile being the trusted flat-headed brush. To help you choose, we’ve rounded up the best bristle brushes below.
Grumbacher Gainsborough Bright Oil and Acrylic Brush
These professional-grade brushes are handmade with a unique tapered design that causes the bristles to interlock, allowing them to hold more paint and helping the head to stay in its original shape. Made from high-quality Chungking hog’s hair, these brushes move paint around beautifully, whether you are glazing thin layers, blending, or scumbling. The hairs, which are securely set in a nickel ferrule, are pleasingly springy and maintain their structure. Each brush features an ergonomic handle that’s wider at the grip and thinner at the end to provide a nice balance. It’s also long-handled to accommodate loose gestures. Available in sizes between 1 and 14.
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Da Vinci Maestro 2 Hog Bristle Brushes
The hand-shaped bristles of these hog-bristle brushes interlock for better pigment-holding ability and are double oiled for extra spring and endurance. The nickel-plated brass ferrules are rust-resistant and keep bristles from falling out or bending. Manufactured via certified green processes and constructed with extra-long sustainable wood handles, these brushes are not only artist grade but environmentally friendly.
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Silver Brush Silverstone Premium White Hog Bristle Brushes
All the brushes in this line are made with premium white Chungking hog bristles that hit all the marks: They hold a lot of pigment, don’t shed, and resist unwanted splaying. Their natural flags also help carry color and lay it down smoothly and evenly. These brushes are available in a variety of sizes and shapes, but we want to spotlight the extra-large filberts in particular in sizes 14, 16, 18, and 20. These are ideal for large-scale canvases or murals, allowing for sweeping, consistent gestures. We also appreciate the extra-long nickel-plated ferrules that make these brushes more durable.
Winsor & Newton Winton Long Handle Brush, 3 Pack
Featuring high-quality hog-hair bristles, these resilient brushes are well priced for those on a student budget. You get a set of three versatile brushes that cover all shape bases: a round 4, a filbert 6, and a flat 8. Each brush has a long handle and is made with bristles hand-set into corrosion-resistant ferrules for a secure hold. The coarse hairs have a natural curve and retain their shape even after heavy use. They are quite stiff and don’t hold as much paint as higher-end brushes, but they are excellent for learning with.
Utrecht Rhenish Pure Hog Bristle Brushes
Named for the Rhine, where some of the company’s products are still made, these long-handle natural brushes are handmade to deliver excellent paint-holding capacity. The interlocked bristles have flagged ends that provide smooth and soft strokes, and they especially excel at moving heavy-body paints. The natural finish of the long and comfortable wood handle is aesthetically pleasing, but it is also a smart design for plein air painting as it doesn’t get hot in the sun.