Updated: Sep 19
We've compiled a list of some of the best acrylic paints. Acrylic paint has been used since the 1950s and consists of colour pigment suspended in a acrylic polymer emulsion. The water solubility and fast drying times make them ideal for painting and depending on the water concentration (and paint body) they can often represent watercolour or oil paintings.
1. Golden Heavy Body Acrylic Paint - Best
The first acrylic colors offered by Golden, Heavy Body paints are known for their exceptionally smooth, buttery consistency. The Heavy Body palette includes the largest assortment of unique pure pigments in a 100% acrylic emulsion available to professional artists. These colors offer excellent permanency and lightfastness. There are no fillers, extenders, opacifiers, toners, or dyes added.
Golden Heavy Body Acrylic Paint
2. Winsor & Newton Professional Acrylic Paint - Second Best
Winsor & Newton Professional acrylic has a longer drying time than most acrylics allowing a wider window for artists to work with the medium before it completely dries. It has a rich, creamy texture that allows for it be worked. Winsor & Newton use a unique binder that allows the acrylic to remain the same colour when both wet and drying so colours do not darken over time. This allows for a higher degree of colour matching and accuracy.
Winsor & Newton Professional Acrylic Paint
3. Golden Open Acrylic Paint - Third Best
Golden Open acrylic is a pretty incredible paint that offers a drying time of 100x longer than conventional acrylics giving it a similar drying time to oil paint (depending on acrylic thickness and ratio of water etc). The ability to work this paint over a long period of time and keep paint on the palette puts this game-changing acrylic towards the top of the list. You can mix these paints with a medium if you want them to dry faster. Thinning the paint with too much water can create a thin paint film so it is advised to mix the paint with a medium instead to allow for fluidity without compromising the strength of the paint itself.
Golden Open Acrylic Paint
4. Liquitex Professional Heavy / Soft Body Acrylic Paint
Liquitex offers its professional acrylic in both soft body and hard body forms. The difference is essentially the thickness of the paint. Heavy body paint is essentially more suited to texture work while soft is more suited to detail and smooth finished work. The paint has a longer drying time than most traditional acrylics and uses a minimal amount of driers and fillers due to a high pigment content. Ultimately this gives the paint great UV resistance and colour longevity. There is also a minimal change in colour when the paint dries allowing for greater colour matching.
Liquitex Professional Heavy / Soft Body Acrylic Paint
5. Daler Rowney Cryla Acrylic Paint
Daler Rowney Cryla is professional and heavy body and amongst one of the most popular acrylic paints used by artists all over the world. The paint has a high amount of pigments allowing for greater lightfastness and UV resistance. The paint has a butter type texture making it incredibly pleasing to work with.
Daler Rowney Cryla Acrylic Paint
6. Holbein Heavy Body Acrylic Paint
A great thick, heavy acrylic. Made in Japan, they are also especially good for artists who prefer that their colors all carry roughly the same viscosity and lustrous sheen. The paints are heavily pigmented and offer spectacular coverage while delivering on color vibrancy. They also have wonderful flexibility to guard against cracking as well as a slower drying time than most acrylics, which provides more time for wet-on-wet working.
Holbein Heavy Body Acrylic
7. Sennelier Artist Acrylic Paint
Sennelier Artist Acrylic has been formulated to match with the Sennelier Artist Oil Paint texture and colours. The paint has a very good covering power with a strong consistency and a very smooth paste making it a great paint for blending. High quality pigments allow for a high lightfastness rating and great UV resistance.
Sennelier Artist Acrylic Paint
8. Winsor & Newton Galeria Acrylic Paint
Winsor & Newton Galeria falls into the student / artists on a budget category. It’s still a great a great paint to work with. Offering a vibrant and satisfying paint to work with at a much more affordable rate. The pigment level is lower though than in their professional range of acrylics so the lightfastness is not as good meaning the colours have a higher chance of fading over the time.
Winsor & Newton Galeria Acrylic Paint
9. Daler Rowney System 3 Acrylic Paint
Going off script but you’d be hard pressed to find an artist that hasn’t worked with Daler Rowney System 3 at some point. Art schools often buy this acrylic in the tub. It’s honestly a great student paint for its price. It’s probably one of the most affordable paints on the list and still offers a great soft body paint that is fun to work with. Some of the colours are not lightfast and the colours tend to darken slightly once dry. It’s still a great paint for artists studying and experimenting but not necessarily recommended for artists producing saleable works due to its tendency to fade over time.
Daler Rowney System 3 Acrylic Paint
10. Blick Studio Acrylic Paint
Smooth, lightfast, and permanent, with excellent pigment quality, color strength, and longevity, Blick Artists' Acrylics offer an exceptional combination of quality and value. Blick Studio Acrylic Colors are a great value for students and beginning artists. A buttery, oil paint-like texture holds impasto brush and palette marks when dry, and a high pigment concentration assures moderate lightfastness and UV resistance.
Blick Studio Acrylic Paint