BEST ACRYLIC PAINTS: A GUIDE TO BUYING ACRYLIC PAINTS

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Hey, do you get intimidated when you read terms like “high body” or “high flow” on acrylic paint sets at the art store? If yes, this article is purely for you!

Whether you are a professional painter or paint for hobby only, having the best quality acrylic paints according to the need of your painting, is super important. Just to ease your process of figuring out the best acrylic paint brands and types of acrylics will work for you we have a small guide below.

How to Pick the Best Acrylic PaintS?

While selecting the paint set you should consider four things: quality of the paint, permanence of the paint, its viscosity and hue.

Quality

Acrylic paints come in two grades i.e., professional and student quality. Professional acrylic paints have a wide color range and the pigments look more saturated when applied to the canvas.

If you are a beginner then you should opt for student quality as professional acrylic paints are expensive. And you can upgrade to professional once you have had a good experience painting.

Permanence

Permanence is the measure of how much of the color of the paint will fade when exposed to light. Generally, acrylic paints have higher permanence as compared to other paint media. Paints that have low permanence are called fugitive colors and they should be avoided if you aim for professional painting.

ASTM International, an organization for global standards classifies paints on its permanence. Any paint that has a rating of “ASTM I” means that it has high permanence. Similarly, other brands rate their paints as AA, A and onwards where AA is the best permanence.

Viscosity

Viscosity is the measure of how thick the paint is. Acrylics are known for their variety of uses, hence you should know what kind of work you are going to produce. If you are going for a traditional painting on canvas, you should go for heavy body acrylics and if your painting requires more staining or airbrushing techniques then fluid acrylics (thinner ones) should be your choice.

Hue

The most visually appealing aspect of buying acrylic paint sets is choosing ones that have great variety of colors. Some brands offer very basic hues from which you can create more hues while others offer fluorescent colors that might be the requirement of your work.

We know now that you have the basic idea of what factors to keep in mind while picking a paint set for yourself but we have also listed some of the common good quality acrylic paint sets to make your job easier.

Let’s have a look at some brands of acrylic paints.

Best Acrylic Paints

Winsor & Newton Galeria Acrylic Paint

The first acrylic paint set on our list comes from Winsor and Newton, a familiar brand in the world of art. Their Galeria Acrylic Paint Set caters well for beginners since it is designed to be beginner friendly. But make no mistake, the vibrancy of colors and the smooth consistency of the paints would give a professional look to your paintings.

It features a high level of pigmentation which adds to vibrancy and the depth of colors. Moreover, its butter-like consistency allows better coverage across the painting surface. When it comes to price, it is economical considering the results it produces.

In summary, Winsor and Newton Galeria Acrylics is a great combination of easy-to-use medium, professional looking results and affordable price. For someone who is new to working with acrylics, it is our top pick!

  • Easy to use
  • Vibrant Colors
  • Affordable Price
  • Beginner Friendly

Grumbacher Acrylic Paint Set

Grumbacher Acrylic Paint Set is a student grade paint set, and we consider it as an alternative to the Winsor and Newton Galeria Acrylics. Although it is not cheaper for student grade acrylics but it’s worth the money and let us explain to you why.

Its student grade label often undermines the actual quality this acrylic paint set offers. Don’t be mistaken by the fact that it is a student grade paint, as the quality and brightness of the colors resemble that of professional grade acrylics. It offers exceptional permanence for student grade acrylics and it is no surprise that they are rated at ASTM lightfast rating of 1-Excellent.

Their Academy Acrylics feature 48 colors but the paint set we are reviewing here consist of 6 colors (Burnt Sienna, Cadmium Yellow Medium Hue, Grumbacher Red, Raw Umber, Titanium White, and Ultramarine Blue). Hence, it is a great pick for beginners who are looking to limit their palette and practice mixing of colors.

  • Bright Colors
  • 6 Colors in set and 48 in Academy line
  • Excellent Permanence
  • ASTM Lightfast rating of 1-EXcellent
  • Affordable Price

Apple Barrel Acrylic Paint

Apple Barrel Acrylic Paint Set is a matte finish acrylic paint set with 18 colors in 2-oz bottles. The colors include White, Yellow Flame, Bright Yellow, Bright Magenta, Fuchsia, Jack-o-lantern, Flag Red, Purple Iris, Parrot Blue, Bimini Blue, Bright Blue, Too Blue, New Shamrock, Holly Branch, Nutmeg Brown, Melted Chocolate, Pewter Grey, and Black.

It doesn’t matter if you want to paint on canvas or on wood,  Apple Barrel Acrylic Set is your pick. It is formulated to be used on multiple surfaces. The paint gives uniform coverage and flows smoothly across different surfaces. The colors hold well against different surfaces and wont fade with time.

It is low priced but still provides great value for money spent. It is a nice pick if you are on a limited budget.

  • Suitable for craft painting
  • 18 Vibrant Colors
  • Matte Finish
  • Low Price

Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint

Liquitex is one of the earliest brands of acrylics and has been consistent in producing finest acrylic paints. This Liquitex Basics Acrylic Paint Set is a paint set that works spectacularly well with beginners and professionals alike.

This paint set offers supreme quality acrylics that incorporate high quality pigmentation to add strength and lightfastness to the colors as well as versatility to work with mediums to create different opacities. It works equally well on multiple painting surfaces, most notably canvas,paper, wood, stone and fabric. The paint set reviewed here includes a wide range of colors (48 colors). 

Although it might not seem to be a cheaper option but it offers great value for the money spent. Especially when you consider the quality, versatility and color options it provides you with. 

It is designed for beginners and professionals alike, but we consider it as the best option for intermediates who are ready to up the ante and venture beyond the beginners circle.

  • Suitable for intermediates
  • 48 Colors
  • Moderate Price
  • Professional looking results

M. Graham Acrylic Paint

M. Graham Acrylic Paint Set is one of the finest acrylics you can paint with. This paint set features 5 colors (Azo Yellow, Naphthol Red, Ultramarine Blue, Phthalo Green, Mars Black) and includes a bonus color i.e. Titanium White.

The quality of paints is very impressive as it uses high level pigments and is free from any form of extenders or adulterants. As a result, the colors are rich in vibrancy and they stand out wonderfully as you paint. Hence the M. Graham Acrylic Paint Set stands out for its colors.  

Additionally, these paints provide smooth coverage and blend well. The set containing 6 colors opens up opportunities for artists to mix and blend these primary colors to create new ones.

Considering all of these brilliant features, this paint set has an affordable price.  Combination of all these features makes it a suitable choice for intermediate and advanced level artists. 

  • Highly Vibrant Colors
  • Affordable Price
  • Suitable for intermediates and professionals

Liquitex Professional Acrylic Set

Liquitex Professional Acrylic Set is a step up from their BASICS Acrylics. Designed as professional grade acrylics, this paint set offers painting experience and results of highest order. 

Liquitex Acrylic Paint Set uses rich pigments along with acrylic resins to create paints with high color strength and vibrancy. The color shift observed from wet-to-dry is minimal and produces a smooth satin finish. Moreover, it is highly flexible, non-yellowing, resistant to UV and resistant to water when dry. 

It has a great balance when it comes to viscosity as the paint is neither too sticky nor too viscous. It offers the sweet spot in terms of viscosity which allows excellent surface drag. Therefore it enables easy handling and smooth coverage over the surface. Moreover, the paint is free of cracks after it has dried, even in case of Impasto application.

The set we are reviewing contains 12 colors (Cadmium Yellow Medium Hue, Cadmium Red Light Hue, Quinacridone Magenta, Ivory Black, Emerald Green, Phthalocyanine Green (BS), Phthalocyanine Blue (GS), Brilliant Blue, Bronze Yellow, Dioxazine Purple and 2x Titanium White) 

The price may seem expensive but you get the value in return for your money. Liquitex Professional Acrylic Set is the best option for professional painters.

  • 12 Colors
  • High Color Strength
  • Non-Yellowing
  • UV Resistant
  • Crack-free after dry
  • Easy Handling
  • Suitable for professionals

Winsor & Newton Professional Acrylic Paint

This brand consistently deliver excellent quality acrylics. Winsor and Newton Professional Acrylic Paint lives up to the reputation of being reliable and high end professional acrylics.

Winsor and Newton Acrylic Paints show elevated levels of acrylic resin technology. With their latest developments, they are offering paints with bright colors and minimal color shift. In their own words, Not only are our colors brilliant when wet but they remain as bright when dry – so what you see is what you get.”

The extender-free pigmentation allows for a butter-like consistency without strings and a clean satin finish in the end. The paints are modified in a way to extend the working time to approximately 20 to 30 minutes, giving more time to work with acrylics before they dry. 

Winsor and Newton Professional Acrylics include a wide range of colors to pick from. It serves as an equally brilliant alternative to Liquitex Professional Acrylics. If you are looking for artist grade acrylics, you can consider Winsor and Newton Professional Acrylics.

  • Minimal Color Shift
  • Bright Colors
  • Clean Satin Finish
  • Extender free
  • Extended drying time

FolkArt Gloss Finish Acrylic Enamel Craft Set

FolkArt Gloss Finish Acrylic Enamel Craft Set is designed for painting on glass and ceramic surfaces. Whether you want to paint on a wine glass or a ceramic bowl, then you would find this paint set handy.

It has buttery coverage (Not too thick nor too thin) which allows room for blending and shading.It provides a scratch resistant gloss finish with colors that sit perfectly on glass or ceramic surfaces. The set includes 16 colors (Wicker White, Yellow Light, Pure Orange, Parisian Pink, Lipstick Red, Perfect Purple, True Blue, Calypso Sky, Turquoise, Lime Green, Evergreen, Coffee Bean, Burnt Umber, Licorice, Silver Sterling, and Gold)

They are dishwasher safe and can be baked. The price is on the higher end and is worth the investment for skilled painters who know how to work on glass and ceramic surfaces.

  • Suitable for glass and ceramic surfaces
  • Great consistency
  • Scratch resistant gloss finish
  • Dishwasher Safe

Liquitex Professional Soft Body Acrylic Paint

Liquitex Professional Soft Body Acrylic Paint is low viscosity fluid paint, which is suitable for paint pouring, glazing and printing. 

The clarity and brightness of colors is achieved by using the latest resin technology. For pour painting, this property is must, so that colors appear vivid on their own and blend well with other colors at the same time. It dries fairly quick, allowing for application of masking and layering techniques. 

It is formulated with the right amount of body, so that it is neither too sticky nor too slippery. With perfect flowing paint, it enables great coverage over a large area. It comes in a specially designed bottle, that makes it fit for purpose. 

If you love acrylic pouring, then Liquitex Professional Soft Body Acrylic Paint is the perfect option to work with!

  • Suitable for pouring, glazing and printing
  • Perfect consistency
  • Vibrant Colors
  • Fit for purpose bottle

We hope that you would find this acrylic paint guide helpful. Let us know which of these acrylic paint set are your favorite!

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