Don't Waste Your Money is supported by our readers. When you purchase an item through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The Best Colored Pencils - 2021

Last updated on October 30, 2020

We looked at the top 15 Colored Pencils and dug through the reviews from 70 of the most popular review sites including and more. The result is a ranking of the best Colored Pencils.

Best Colored Pencils

Why Trust The DWYM Score?

DWYM is focused on helping you make the best purchasing decision. Our team of experts spends hundreds of hours analyzing, testing, and researching products so you don't have to.Learn more.

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

Our Picks For The Top Colored Pencils

Show Contents
Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  Best Large Set

Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, 150-Count

Don't Waste Your Money Seal of Approval

Prismacolor

Premier Colored Pencils, 150-Count

Overall Take

Extra-Big SetIf options is what you're looking for, this colored pencils set with 150 unique shades is your best bet.

Experts Included
DWYM Crafts Experts plus Geek Wrapped. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" Colored Pencils come pre sharpened and are 7 inches long. They are thick and durable so they won't break easily. No color is repeated!"
  Best for Travel

Covacure Colored Pencils Set & Canvas Pencil Bag, 36-Count

Covacure

Colored Pencils Set, 36-Count

Overall Take

Attractive Pencil BagThese colored pencils have a pencil hardness that is 60% higher than other brands on the market, so you don't have to worry about them breaking.

Experts Included
DWYM Crafts Experts plus . Along with user reviews from Amazon.
  Best Erasable

Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils, 50-Count

Crayola

Erasable Colored Pencils, 50-Count

Overall Take

For Adults and KidsThis high-quality colored pencils set is great for both children and adults.

Experts Included
DWYM Crafts Experts plus . Along with user reviews from Amazon.
  Best for Serious Artists

Arteza Professional Colored Pencils, 72-Count

Arteza

Professional Colored Pencils, 72-Count

Overall Take

High-Quality SetThese colored pencils are sturdy and come in a protective metal tin.

Experts Included
DWYM Crafts Experts plus Concept Art Empire, Sam Be Awesome, 10 Bolt, All Best Tops. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
" These pencils are encased in a hardwood barrel and do not flake, break, or splinter when sharpening. You can use almost any pencil sharpener and never sweat extra breakage from too much force."
Cons
"Hardcover, least for me. While it keeps the pages flat and more protected, I like easy access, and opening it up quickly was difficult."
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.
22

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the colored pencils available to purchase.
15

Products Analyzed

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

View All Product Rankings

70

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: Createlet, Homesthetics, Top Ten Swag, Best Colored Pencils, Geek Wrapped.

155,706

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including

Our experts reviewed the top 15 Colored Pencils and also dug through the reviews from 70 of the most popular review sites including and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best Colored Pencils.

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.

Don't Waste Your Money Seal of Approval
Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in their category.

The Best Overall

Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, 150-Count


Our Expert Score

0.0
1 expert reviews

User Summarized Score

9.6
25,880 user reviews

Our Take

Whether you're an artist looking for premium colored pencils or a mom with several children, this extra-large set is an excellent choice. It includes 150 pencils with rich pigments that really make your creations come alive. Their thick cores also allow for implementing special techniques, like shading and shadowing.

What other experts liked

Colored Pencils come pre sharpened and are 7 inches long. They are thick and durable so they won't break easily. No color is repeated!
- Geek Wrapped

The Best Bang For Your Buck

Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils, 50-Count

User Summarized Score

9.2
667 user reviews

Our Take

All of the colored pencils in this box are pre-sharpened, so you can quickly get to creating your next masterpiece. The pencils are non-toxic and come with erasers for fixing mistakes and adding special effects to your pictures. Consumers will also appreciate that the wood used to make the pencils comes from planted trees, instead of natural forests.

Overall Product Rankings

Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, 150-Count

1. Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, 150-Count

Overall Score: 9.6
Reviews Included: 4

Covacure Colored Pencils Set & Canvas Pencil Bag, 36-Count

2. Covacure Colored Pencils Set & Canvas Pencil Bag, 36-Count

Overall Score: 9.4
Reviews Included: 1

Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils, 50-Count

3. Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils, 50-Count

Overall Score: 9.3
Reviews Included: 1

Arteza Professional Colored Pencils, 72-Count

4. Arteza Professional Colored Pencils, 72-Count

Overall Score: 9.2
Reviews Included: 8

Sudee Stile Colored Pencils, 120 ct

5. Sudee Stile Colored Pencils, 120 ct

Overall Score: 9.1
Reviews Included: 11

Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, 72 ct

6. Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, 72 ct

Overall Score: 9.1
Reviews Included: 18

Sargent Art Premium Coloring Pencils, 50 ct

7. Sargent Art Premium Coloring Pencils, 50 ct

Overall Score: 9.1
Reviews Included: 8

Crayola Presharpened Colored Pencils Set, 36-Count

8. Crayola Presharpened Colored Pencils Set, 36-Count

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 4

Castle Art Supplies Colored Pencils Set, 72-Count

9. Castle Art Supplies Colored Pencils Set, 72-Count

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 9

Shuttle Art Colored Pencils, 136 ct

10. Shuttle Art Colored Pencils, 136 ct

Overall Score: 8.9
Reviews Included: 14

Crayola Colored Pencils, 120 ct

11. Crayola Colored Pencils, 120 ct

Overall Score: 8.5
Reviews Included: 7

Scriptract Colored Pencils, 24 ct

12. Scriptract Colored Pencils, 24 ct

Overall Score: 8.4
Reviews Included: 1

Pluqis Premium Art Quality Colored Pencils, 24 ct

13. Pluqis Premium Art Quality Colored Pencils, 24 ct

Overall Score: 8.3
Reviews Included: 4

Artlicious Distinct Colored Pencils & Sharpener, 50-Count

14. Artlicious Distinct Colored Pencils & Sharpener, 50-Count

Overall Score: 7.1
Reviews Included: 5

Crayola Colored Pencils, 120 ct

15. Crayola Colored Pencils, 120 ct

Overall Score: 7.1
Reviews Included: 7

Our Colored Pencil Findings


Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, 150-Count

What We Liked: Whether you’re an artist looking for premium colored pencils or a mom with several children, this extra-large set is an excellent choice. It includes 150 pencils with rich pigments that really make your creations come alive. Their thick cores also allow for implementing special techniques, like shading and shadowing.


Covacure Colored Pencils Set & Canvas Pencil Bag, 36-Count

What We Liked: If you’re looking for a gift for the artist in your life, this colored pencils set is the way to go. You’ll get 36 vibrant colors and a sharpener that are all rolled up and neatly stored inside an elegant canvas bag. Artists can also wear the bag as a belt for easy access to the pencils.


Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils, 50-Count

What We Liked: All of the colored pencils in this box are pre-sharpened, so you can quickly get to creating your next masterpiece. The pencils are non-toxic and come with erasers for fixing mistakes and adding special effects to your pictures. Consumers will also appreciate that the wood used to make the pencils comes from planted trees, instead of natural forests.


Arteza Professional Colored Pencils, 72-Count

What We Liked: These colored pencils are break-resistant and come in a range of bright colors with non-toxic features. They are competitively priced and long-lasting.


Artlicious Distinct Colored Pencils & Sharpener, 50-Count

What We Liked: Each of the colored pencils in this set are non-toxic and created from a premium wood that is never taken from a rainforest. The pre-sharpened pencils have their color printed right on the pencil for easy identification right out of the box. As an added bonus, the set comes with a handy pencil sharpener.

Our Expert Consultant

Amy Markham   
Artist and art educator

Artist and educator Amy Markham is the creator of Starling, a podcast dedicated to helping artists develop depth in their creative practice. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, Amy has been an art educator since 2001. Today, she teaches middle school art at a school outside of Memphis, Tennessee. Her personal artwork explores myth-making and symbolic understandings. Through her brand, Starling Creative Living, she leads others to explore art production as a method for enriching their life experience.

Our Colored Pencil Buying Guide

For children, colored pencils are a cornerstone of fun activities. They are used at home and at school to make whimsical pictures, complete homework and doodle aimlessly.

However, in addition to being popular with kids, colored pencils are now also part of an adult pastime. These days, you’ll find adults — professional artists and beginners alike — creating beautiful works of art using colored pencils. Available in dozens of colors, the pencils are used for drawing, sketching, shading and coloring.

Coloring can help adults exercise their creative side while relaxing after a long day of work. Many people find coloring enjoyable because they get to pick different hues, create eye-catching patterns and drawings and focus on an entertaining activity.

Whether you’re a fan of coloring books or you like to come up with your own designs, colored pencils can help you achieve exactly the look you want. You can press down hard on the pencils to create thick lines, or lightly shade certain areas for a totally different look. The options are limitless with colored pencils.

DWYM Fun Fact

The way colored pencils are made is unique compared to other kinds of pencils. Regular pencils have a core that consists of graphite or clay. On the other hand, the core of colored pencils is made out of wax, pigments, binding agents and additives.

Pencils designed for professional use by artists usually have higher concentrations of pigments, as compared to pencils that are made for children or novices. Professional-grade pencils also boast the quality of lightfastness, which means that the pigment keeps its original color appearance when exposed to light, like that from the sun. Many professional-grade colored pencils are also resistant to water, whereas other colored pencils may not be.

Colored pencils that are made for children or beginners are often erasable, whereas professional-grade colored pencils are not. This can be an important quality for adults who are just starting to color for fun or relaxation. This way, if you accidentally color outside the lines or select the wrong color, you have the option to go back and erase and start again.

The Colored Pencil Tips and Advice

  • Regardless of whether you’re a professional artist or just dabbling in coloring, you’ll want to check the number of colors you get in a package when purchasing a set. For those that create intricate patterns and unique designs, you may be looking for a wide range of colors. If you already have many colored pencils and are just looking to add on a few additional ones, a smaller range of colors might work for you. The Arteza Professional Colored Pencils, 72 ct comes with 72 unique colors. On the other hand, the Covacure Colored Pencils Set, 36-Count comes with 36 different colors while the Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, 150-Count comes with 150 unique colors.
  • “You can buy colored pencils in sets or singly,” says our resident arts and crafts expert, Amy Markham. She’s an art educator and the creator of the art podcast Starling. “If you use one color more than the others in a set you can easily replace that one without having to purchase an entire set again,” she notes.
  • It can be frustrating when the core of the pencil breaks while coloring, and you have to pause your activity to sharpen your pencil. That’s why a break-resistant core is important for many coloring enthusiasts. The Arteza Professional Colored Pencils, 72 ct specify a break-resistant core. Other sets of colored pencils have a thick and robust lead core, which makes it difficult for them to chip and crack.
  • The core of your colored pencils also determines how useful they are for different drawing effects. “Hard-core pencils are best for creating sharp lines and drawing in details,” says Markham. “They are also great for lettering and outlines. Soft-core pencils are best for shading, blending and layering.”
  • There are two main techniques for using colored pencils: layering and burnishing. Layering is generally used at the start by coloring different colors on top of one another to create unique shades and tones. Burnishing involves additional layering and blending the layered colors until the appearance is smooth and shiny. For many artists and coloring enthusiasts, being able to layer, shade and blend colors is a vital factor when choosing coloring pencils. If the lead core is too hard, then the pigment won’t blend in and shading will not be smooth. The Arteza Professional Colored Pencils, 72 ct have a soft core designed to glide smoothly across the paper, while other models feature ultra-smooth and even color laydown.
  • Having a box or case to store your colored pencils makes it easy to manage the clutter that can come from having dozens of pencils. The Arteza Professional Colored Pencils, 72 ct comes in a metal durable, double-hinged storage tin case. The Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, 150-Count comes in a standard packaging box, while the Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils, 50-Count comes in a peggable, see-through window box.
  • For many people, professionals and novices alike, affordability is an important factor to consider when making a purchase. The Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils, 50-Count is a low-cost and very affordable option, while the Arteza Professional Colored Pencils, 72 ct and the Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, 150-Count are both higher in price.

About The Author

Avatar
Anam Ahmed 

Anam Ahmed is a copywriter and essayist based in Toronto. She has been writing on technology, travel, parenting, and business for over 10 years, and works with a number of high-profile organizations. She values finding the best products to make people's lives easier. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.