paint tubes in a container

Best Acrylic Paint for Professional Artists in 2023

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
Get Smarter On Architecture and Design

Get the 3-minute weekly newsletter keeping 5K+ designers in the loop.

Enter your Email to Sign up


Unlike oil paints, acrylic paints are quick-drying, easy to use, and simple to clean up, and there are various colors available. As a beginner at acrylic painting, purchasing the right acrylic paint for your paint job can be a daunting process as the market has different brands, color selections to pick from, and variations. Trying to go through hundreds of acrylic paints to find the ideal one can be a hectic process making your new hobby seem challenging to start.

To ease your shopping experience, we have listed our top acrylic paints giving each one a review with their advantages and disadvantages and a detailed buying guide.

1. Crafts 4 ALL Acrylic Paint Set

Crafts 4 All Acrylic Paint Set - 24-Pack of 12mL Art...
  • Vibrant - Our acrylic paints are uniquely crafted to bring out...
  • Versatile - This acrylic paint kit works for most mediums...
  • Safe - Made with a non-toxic formula, our acrylic paint sets for...
  • Quality Art Kits - This craft paint has a premium consistency...
  • Back to School Supplies - Prepare for a great year of learning...

For beginners' paint sets, this acrylic paint set has a broad, vibrant color selection you can use to create different paintings. Crafts 4 ALL Acrylic Paint Set packs a wide range of color selection of twenty-four unique paint colors, making it a one-stop-shop for professional artists and casual painters. The vibrant colors have a high pigment, creating various colors that produce masterpieces to impress your teachers, judges, or coworkers.

Every acrylic paint in the package has excellent buttery consistency and viscosity with a high dry time. Unlike other acrylic paint brands, Crafts 4 All is ideal for a variety of surfaces such as plastic, canvas, glass materials, card decorating, art foam, and paper. Furthermore, the acrylic paint brand set packs bonus accessories, which are three extra paintbrushes.


  • It packs a set of 24 vibrant colors, including black and titanium white.
  • Water-based acrylic paint and thus easy to clean
  • A high-quality and durable set
  • Toxic-free product and thus creates vivid colors.
  • Suitable for a variety of surfaces
  • High pigment quality
  • Quick-drying time
  • A quick and smooth color blending on surfaces such as fabric and wood
  • Bonus accessories


  • It does not come with a pallet on a canvas, which is inconvenient.

2. Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint Set 

Liquitex BASICS 48 Tube Acrylic Paint Set, 22ml
  • WHY BASICS; Liquitex invented artists' acrylics back in 1955 and...
  • HIGHEST QUALITY PIGMENTS Basics uses the the same high quality...
  • VERSATILE Basics acrylic dries quickly and can be cleaned up with...
  • ADJUSTABLE Basics comes in a range of opacities, and can be...
  • SET INCLUDES Forty eight 22 milliliter (0.74 ounce) tubes; Colors...

The Liquitex Basics line is the best acrylic paint is an artist-quality set that packs 48 tubes each measuring 22ml, and works great for beginners. The smart packaging design is excellent as it can sit upright where the tube's bottom is the end where the paint comes out. The line of acrylic paints can be used on any porous surface, and it is excellent for any artist on a budget and professionals since the paint is UV resistant and doesn't yellow over time.

The Basic body paint is thin compared to the same brand's heavy body acrylic paints, such as the Liquitex Professional grade. They also have great pigmentation, can be easily washed with water and soap, it is odorless, providing excellent coverage. Another bonus reason for these acrylic paints is that they can be used as watercolors.


  • It has an affordable price.
  • The package is of a good design.
  • Allows hassle-free blending
  • Has vibrant colors
  • Beautiful satin finish
  • UV resistant and water-resistant acrylics colors
  • The line of acrylic is sold as a set, or you can buy individual pieces.
  • Wide color selection for a grade paint


  • Liquitex acrylic set is too small and not the best acrylic paint for large scale pieces and professional artists.

3. Utrecht Artists’ Acrylic Colors

This product cant miss from any list of the best acrylic paints for professionals. From Utrecht, established in Brooklyn, New York, being a famous company in the art world for producing the best professional gears to being a reliable acrylic paint for the past 50 years. You can buy the colors individually or buy the set of 65 packed in tube sizes of 2, 5, and 16 oz. You can purchase the large sizes for necessary colors, but you can buy the small size of 2 oz for the rarely used colors and therefore save some cash.

Utrecht Artists’ Acrylic Colors produces vibrant and high-quality colors, has a high pigment, and has the right saturation level. Each color is genuinely an artist-grade color, can evenly and accurately mix, and has different lightfastness and permeance, but the quality is topnotch in all of them. High-performance acrylic paint brands are quite costly, but the quality makes the price worthwhile.


  • High artist-grade quality from a trusted acrylic paint brand
  • Incredible color performance in all areas, whether vibrancy, permeance, lightfastness, or accuracy
  • It has a wide range of colors available.
  • It is available in various size options.
  • Sold individually and sold as an acrylic set of 65


  • Quite an expensive line of acrylic paints but worth the price for any professional

4. Chroma Atelier Interactive Acrylics

Chroma Atelier Interactive Acryl 80ml 7-Tubes
  • Atelier Interactive Acrylics allow the artist control over the...
  • Drying time can be extended and dry colors can be reactivated
  • Colors are smooth and buttery with a velvety satin finish
  • Exceptional pigment loading and lightfastness
  • Set of 7 colors in 80ml size tubes

Chroma Atelier Interactive Acrylics work best for artists who have experience with watercolors and are switching to acrylics but do not fully give you the acrylics painting experience. The acrylics act more like watercolors than acrylics but provide almost the same results with a velvet satin finish. The acrylics don't form a skin over any canvas or paper, so you can use water to wet the painting and control the spread again.

This acrylic paint does not dry quickly, and this works as an advantage as it helps to easily blend without any sense of urgency. Chroma Atelier is recommended if you do a lot of blending but no glazing.


  • The set has a reasonable price.
  • Easily blendsHigh performance in terms of accuracy and vibrancy
  • Very versatile as you can reactivate the paint
  • No sense of urgency to blend as it does not dry quickly


  • Less permanent than usual acrylics
  • It is not that lightfast.

5. Sennelier Artist Acrylique Set

Sennelier Artists Acrylic Set, Set of 10, Multi 7 Fl Oz
  • Paint has very little odor and dries rapidly to create a...
  • Made with high quality pigments, from the most demanding chemical...
  • Meets the ASTM D5098 standard
  • 21ml

This acrylic set comes with strong colors that pop out when they dry and a slightly soft texture packed in ten tubes of 21 millimeters. Sennelier Abstract Acrylics Set has a high-quality pigment load that provides a saturated color that retains its stability, opacity, purity, and clarity over time. These acrylic paints have a soft consistency and easy to mix and it is smooth on canvas paper.

The acrylics paints provide a water-resistant, permanent, non-cracking, and non-yellow film. These properties make it an ideal choice for blending, mixing colors, and glazing while maintaining a luminous color.


  • An ideal choice for blending and glazing while maintaining a luminous color
  • It can be used on various surfaces.
  • A soft and buttery texture when put on canvas.
  • Vibrant and saturated colors.
  • Durable colors and don't lose saturation.


  • The acrylics are not ideal for professionals.

What to Consider Before Buying the Best Acrylic Paints

1. Quality

There are two quality grades; The artist quality grade and the students quality grade. The artists' quality is the professional paints come in a broad range of colors, with a high permanence rating and high finely ground pigment concentration. On the other hand, the student grade paint has a small selection of colors, low pigment levels, and because of the fillers why come with it, the color strength has a possibility of being weak.

For a beginner or an individual on a budget, the student-grade acrylics paint sets can work fine, but you should upgrade to professional-grade acrylic when you start producing artwork you want to sell or would like to keep for a long time. Another way to save your coins is to purchase student grade acrylic paint for the earth colors that are almost as good and splurge in the intense colors. Other artists use the students' colors to paint under and the artists' quality to paint on top, saving money while producing outstanding results.

2. Color

Some colors are more expensive than others when it comes to artists' quality paints, but they are still cheaper than oil paints. The cost is higher because some pigments like the ones derived from cadmium are not easy to obtain, making the price go as high as thrice as much while the cheaper colors are mostly the earth colors. However, brands offer artists' quality paint in more affordable options because they have substituted the synthetic pigments you can find in a product by looking for the word hue written after the pigment name.

The hue colors have a lower permanence and color intensity but work fine, according to some artists. Fluorescent or iridescent paints, also known as specialty colors, are another option. They contain pigments that can be used either on their own or mixed with regular paint to create luminous effects.

3. Permanence Ratings

The permanence of paint is the combination of the aging properties and lightfastness or can also be put trying to quantify the permanency, aging factor, and how lightfast the particular pigment is. Permanence ratings vary from color to color, but before you purchase, make sure you check individual color permanency from the manufacturer's website. Every manufacturer uses its permeance scale, and an example of a scale is the Winsor Newton scale, which is as follows:

  • AA being extremely permanent,
  • A being Permanent,
  • B standing for moderately durable,
  • C for Fugitive.

Most quality acrylics have high permeance ratings when compared to watercolors or oils. For professional artists, excellent permeance or lightfastness rating is an important consideration, but this factor can be ignorable for casual artists.

4. Viscosity/ Consistency

Viscosity is the thickness or consistency of the acrylic paint. The heavy body acrylic paint has a thick and buttery consistency that retains brushstrokes and facilitates easy blending and color mixing. Notably, the heavy body acrylics have a consistency similar to the oil paint consistency.

On the other hand, fluid acrylics have a thinner consistency maintaining the same pigment concentration, which works best for dry brushwork, watercolor techniques, staining, and detail work. You can also use acrylic mediums and mix with regular paint to achieve an in-between consistency.

The type of consistency you pick is determined your the sting paint and your personal preference. For beginners, heavy body acrylics are the best because you can use water or a medium body acrylic to thin them.

5. Drying Time

Most artists prefer quality acrylics because they dry quickly, but this can be an inconvenience if the quality acrylic paint dries on the brush before you finish. Besides, acrylic paints can be a hassle for someone looking to mix paint on the canvas to create blending effects as they dry quickly and need a paint that stays wet for longer to achieve perfect blends.

However, you can extend your drying time while maintaining the permanence and versatility of acrylics by using a retarding medium or interactive acrylics, which are new quality acrylic paints with a retardant that slows drying time. Interactive acrylics are a perfect solution for individuals looking to replicate oil paints with acrylic quality paints.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the most significant difference between student grade and artist grade paints?

Artist-grade paints have a higher pigment concentration, excellent archival qualities, consistent blend, and a better acrylic polymer emulsion than those of the student grade paints. Student paints are ideal if you do acrylic painting as a hobby or as a decorative, but if you are acrylic painting a commercial piece, the artist grade paints are better since they will produce vibrant results. Besides, the artist-grade acrylic paints are easy to layer and blend and can last a lifetime with proper care.

2. What’s the best acrylic paint for beginners?

According to our review, the best acrylic paint for beginners is the Liquitex Basics Acrylic Set, and you can read our review above to find out why it works best for beginners.

3. What does acrylic paint work best on?

According to Winsor Newton, who is art supplies and acrylic paint producer, states that the general rule should be to avoid any surface that is too glossy or greasy. Additionally, any painter should avoid surfaces with too much texture as they can tear up your brushes.

The commonly used surface for acrylic painting is a canvas surface because it produces professional-grade results. It is readily accessible and quite affordable, but the best acrylic paint can also work on various surfaces. The surfaces can include hardwood panels, acrylic paper, impermanent materials, mirrors, fabric, watercolor paper, and boards.

4. What acrylic paint is best for canvas?

A thick heavy body acrylic paint works best on canvas as you use less as thin acrylic paints require an individual to use a lot more paint to achieve an opaque layer, and also, it can drip downwards in the event you are painting on an easel.

5. Can acrylic paint be used as body paint?

It would be best if you didn't use acrylics as body paint because some acrylic paints have toxic ingredients, even if they are labeled non-toxic. The paint keeps cracking, and you keep redoing it because the human skin is flexible and acrylic paints are not.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.