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The Best Watercolor Pad - 2021

Last updated on October 12, 2021

We looked at the top 13 Watercolor Pads and dug through the reviews from 32 of the most popular review sites including and more. The result is a ranking of the best Watercolor Pads.

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Our Picks For The Top Watercolor Pads

Show Contents
Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  Best Overall

Arteza Wire-Bound 140 lb. Watercolor Pad

Don't Waste Your Money Seal of Approval

Arteza

Wire-Bound 140 lb. Watercolor Pad

Overall Take

Protective CoverYou can use this watercolor pad with both wet and dry media.

Experts Included
DWYM Crafts & Art Supplies Experts plus . Along with user reviews from Amazon.
  Economical Option

UCreate Acid-Free 140 lb. Watercolor Pad

UCreate

Acid-Free 140 lb. Watercolor Pad

Overall Take

Super HeavyweightThis watercolor pad is best for beginner to intermediate levels.

Experts Included
DWYM Crafts & Art Supplies Experts plus . Along with user reviews from Amazon.
  Eco-Friendly Option

Canson XL Series 140 lb. White Watercolor Pad

Canson

XL Series 140 lb. White Watercolor Pad

Overall Take

Textured PickIf you're concerned about your environmental impact, this watercolor pad is made using sustainable processes.

Experts Included
DWYM Crafts & Art Supplies Experts plus Gist Gear, Goriosi, Little Coffee Fox, Architect’s Resources, Sea Salt and Pepper, ProCartoon and 1 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon, Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff and Blick.
Pros
" Durable surface withstands repeated washes."
Cons
"This book only comes with 30 sheets of paper to use."
  Also Consider

Strathmore 400 Series 130 lb. Watercolor Pad

Strathmore

400 Series 130 lb. Watercolor Pad

Overall Take

Absorbent PadThe felt finish on the pages of this watercolor pad mean they soak up watercolors better than competitors.

Experts Included
DWYM Crafts & Art Supplies Experts plus Goriosi. Along with user reviews from Michael’s.
Pros
" STRATHMORE 400 SERIES WATERCOLOR - 140 lb. intermediate grade watercolor paper is popular with watercolorists of all levels. This versatile, felt finished paper is ideal for mastering watercolor techniques or finished pieces. This item is manufactured in United States."
Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, DWYM analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
20

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the watercolor pads available to purchase.
13

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products for our team to review.

View All Product Rankings

32

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: Gist Gear, Mom Dot, Top Best Review, Wow Pencils, Review Meta.

22,099

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including

Our experts reviewed the top 13 Watercolor Pads and also dug through the reviews from 32 of the most popular review sites including and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best Watercolor Pads.

DWYM is your trusted roduct review source. Our team reviews thousands of product reviews from the trusted top experts and combines them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

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Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in their category.

The Best Overall

Arteza Wire-Bound 140 lb. Watercolor Pad

User Summarized Score

9.6
1,318 user reviews

Our Take

If you're looking for a watercolor pad with a hard cover that protects the pages inside, this set is your best bet. The set includes two spiral-bound pads that each offer 64 pages. The pages are slightly textured and can be easily removed from the pad, should you wish to display them in a frame or turn them in as an assignment.


The Best Bang For Your Buck

Strathmore 400 Series 130 lb. Watercolor Pad

Our Expert Score

10.0
1 expert reviews

User Summarized Score

8.7
63 user reviews

Our Take

The felt finish of this watercolor pad, along with its page thickness, means it soaks up your watercolors better than competitors. This pad contains 12 sheets, but you can buy them in packs to save money. The pad is made in the U.S. for those who prefer to buy domestically.

What other experts liked

STRATHMORE 400 SERIES WATERCOLOR - 140 lb. intermediate grade watercolor paper is popular with watercolorists of all levels. This versatile, felt finished paper is ideal for mastering watercolor techniques or finished pieces. This item is manufactured in United States.
- Goriosi
December 22, 2018 | Full review

Overall Product Rankings

Arteza Wire-Bound 140 lb. Watercolor Pad

1. Arteza Wire-Bound 140 lb. Watercolor Pad

Overall Score: 9.9
Reviews Included: 1

UCreate Acid-Free 140 lb. Watercolor Pad

2. UCreate Acid-Free 140 lb. Watercolor Pad

Overall Score: 9.8
Reviews Included: 1

Canson XL Series 140 lb. White Watercolor Pad

3. Canson XL Series 140 lb. White Watercolor Pad

Overall Score: 9.7
Reviews Included: 10

Arches 140 lb. Cold-Pressed Watercolor Paper Pad

4. Arches 140 lb. Cold-Pressed Watercolor Paper Pad

Overall Score: 9.6
Reviews Included: 7

Strathmore 400 Series 130 lb. Watercolor Pad

5. Strathmore 400 Series 130 lb. Watercolor Pad

Overall Score: 9.5
Reviews Included: 3

Canson XL Series 98 lb. Mix Media Paper Pad

6. Canson XL Series 98 lb. Mix Media Paper Pad

Overall Score: 9.5
Reviews Included: 10

Chromatek Pens And Watercolor Pad

7. Chromatek Pens And Watercolor Pad

Overall Score: 9.2
Reviews Included: 1

Bellofy 98 lb. Sketchpad Artist Pro

8. Bellofy 98 lb. Sketchpad Artist Pro

Overall Score: 9.1
Reviews Included: 12

Pentalic 140 lb. Watercolor Field Book

9. Pentalic 140 lb. Watercolor Field Book

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 1

Strathmore 100 Series Youth Paint Pad

10. Strathmore 100 Series Youth Paint Pad

Overall Score: 8.9
Reviews Included: 8

Strathmore 440-1 400 Series Watercolor Pad

11. Strathmore 440-1 400 Series Watercolor Pad

Overall Score: 8.6
Reviews Included: 1

ARTEZA 140 lb. Watercolor Pad, 14 Sheets

12. ARTEZA 140 lb. Watercolor Pad, 14 Sheets

Overall Score: 8.5
Reviews Included: 3

Genuine Crafts 140 lb. Watercolor Paper Pad, 2 Pack

13. Genuine Crafts 140 lb. Watercolor Paper Pad, 2 Pack

Overall Score: 8.2
Reviews Included: 1

Our Watercolor Pad Findings


Arteza Wire-Bound 140 lb. Watercolor Pad

What We Liked: If you’re looking for a watercolor pad with a hard cover that protects the pages inside, this set is your best bet. The set includes two spiral-bound pads that each offer 64 pages. The pages are slightly textured and can be easily removed from the pad, should you wish to display them in a frame or turn them in as an assignment.


UCreate Acid-Free 140 lb. Watercolor Pad

What We Liked: Large families and classroom teachers will love this watercolor pad. The pages are acid-free, recyclable and loose, so you can easily remove them to share with siblings or fellow students. In addition to wet media, you can also use this pad with mixed media.


Canson XL Series 140 lb. White Watercolor Pad

What We Liked: Sustainability sets this watercolor pad from others in its market. Made using sustainable processes, this option helps those trying to reduce their carbon footprint. The pages are both acid-free and cold press, which also provides an extra level of durability.


Arches 140 lb. Cold-Pressed Watercolor Paper Pad

What We Liked: Each page of this watercolor pad is soaked in natural gelatin and air-dried. This process means your paint will have a luster, taking your creations to the next level. The page is made with long fibers, which gives it extra durability if you have to erase your pencil drawings.


Strathmore 400 Series 130 lb. Watercolor Pad

What We Liked: The felt finish of this watercolor pad, along with its page thickness, means it soaks up your watercolors better than competitors. This pad contains 12 sheets, but you can buy them in packs to save money. The pad is made in the U.S. for those who prefer to buy domestically.

Our Watercolor Pad Buying Guide

If you’re an artist, you know the importance of the materials you use. High-quality paints are essential for creations that jump right off the page. But the surface you’re painting on comes into play, too. For artists using watercolor pads, the paper inside those pads can either help or hinder your journey toward creating your next masterpiece.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

If you use pencils, you’ll also want to make sure you choose a paper that can stand up to your eraser. Look for papers made from long fibers that will erase cleanly. Acid-free, cold-press paper can handle multiple washings. Thicker, higher-quality paper will also better soak up the pigments in your paint.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

As you’re pricing around, keep in mind not only quality but quantity. It can be easy to be drawn in by a lower-priced pad, only to realize later that it only comes with a small number of sheets. A much thicker pad will last longer, saving you the inconvenience of having to go back to the art store.

Perforated pages can also come in handy when you’ve finished your piece of art. If you want to extract it from the notebook to display or give away, pages that rip out won’t have that smooth edge. A perforation will give you a handy page that you can show off as the piece of art it is.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

For some artists, sustainability is also an important factor. Some watercolor pads are built with the environment in mind, so you can definitely narrow your list by looking for that feature. You can also find watercolor pads that are made in the U.S. if that’s a priority for you.

DWYM Fun Fact

Watercolor paintings have been found that date all the way back to cave paintings drawn between 10,000 and 15,000 BC. Artists during that time tended to depict the world around them, and those paintings serve as historical documents today. Pigments were combined with either animal fat or spit to create paint, but over time, artists learned to combine water with the pigments. Ancient Egyptians painted on tomb walls, but they also used scrolls as a canvas. The first manmade pigment is attributed to Egypt, where a pigment called Egyptian Blue was invented around 4,500 BC. In the 1800s, scientists found a way to recreate this especially bright color of blue using chemistry, as Egyptians did.

The Watercolor Pad Tips and Advice

  • When it comes to paper, it’s the little things that make a difference. Some pads use long fibers in their page construction, which means they hold up well while working. If you’re also using your pad for pencil drawings, you won’t have to worry about wearing down the paper fibers when you erase.
  • The paper of some models is acid-free and cold press, which ensures it will last through even repeated washings. It’s also heavyweight, 140-pound paper with plenty of texture to help it soak up the pigments in your paint.
  • Art professors helped develop some paper pads, designing them specifically for the needs of art students. The perforated, true-size sheets are perfect for neatly removing the pad to display. It holds up well whether you’re using pencil, charcoal or watercolor. It isn’t quite as absorbent as competitors, though, which means you’ll have to allow your drawings a little more time to dry.
  • The pages of some pads are soaked in pure natural gelatin, then air-dried. That process enhances your paint, giving it a luster. It also helps keep tearing and lint to a minimum.
  • When you’re comparing prices, keep in mind the number of pages you get for that cost.
  • If the environment is important to you, it may help to know that some pads are made using sustainable processes.

About The Author

Avatar
Stephanie Faris 

Stephanie Faris is a novelist and business writer whose work has appeared on numerous blogs. She worked for the State of Tennessee for 19 years, the latter six of which were spent as a supervisor. She has written content for entrepreneurs and marketing firms since 2011. In addition to her online content, she is also the author of eight novels for Simon & Schuster, including the Piper Morgan chapter book series.