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The Best Colored Pencils

Last updated on June 1, 2023

We looked at the top 18 Colored Pencils and dug through the reviews from 58 of the most popular review sites including and more. The result is a ranking of the best Colored Pencils.

Best Colored Pencils

Our Review Process

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Our Picks For The Top Colored Pencils

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Product Overview
Key Takeaway
 Top Pick

Crayola Presharpened Colored Pencils Set, 36-Count

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Presharpened Colored Pencils Set, 36-Count

This eco-friendly set of colored pencils is made from reforested wood. It comes with 36 unique colors that make it a great choice for school projects. The pencils come pre-sharpened and are designed to last a long time, which means you won't need to spend money to replenish them any time soon.

Overall Take

Best for School ProjectsKids will love this set of colored pencils, which come in handy when completing a variety of school projects.

 Runner Up

Soucolor Smooth Pre-Sharpened Colored Pencils, 72-Count


Smooth Pre-Sharpened Colored Pencils, 72-Count

Looking to give your drawings color? This set of sketching pencils comes in 72 different shades from beige to light blue to deep red. They even come in an eco-friendly container for easy transport to a park or nearby lake, where you find yourself the most inspired to create.

Overall Take

Great for Young CreatorsHaving a budding artist in your household? These colored pencils make for an excellent birthday, Christmas or Easter gift.

 Strong Contender

Castle Art Supplies Premium Soft Touch Colored Pencils, 72-Count

Castle Art Supplies

Premium Soft Touch Colored Pencils, 72-Count

There isn't anything you can't create with this set of colored pencils. You'll receive an astounding 72 pencils that work well on a variety of mediums, including paper, wood and canvas. As an added bonus, all of the pencils are named and numbered for easy identification.

Overall Take

Storage Bag IncludedKeeping these colored pencils neat and organized isn't a problem, as it comes with a handy storage case.

 We Also Like

Leven Thickened Lead Break Resistant Colored Pencils, 36-Count


Thickened Lead Break Resistant Colored Pencils, 36-Count

Everything you need to unleash your creativity is included in this colored pencils set. The set includes 36 hexagonal-shaped pencils with vibrant hues, a built-in sharpener and a handy storage tube. Each of the pencils is constructed using a natural basswood and contain no toxins, so you can feel good about gifting them to children and teens.

Overall Take

Fun Hexagonal ShapeThese colored pencils also come in a triangular shape.

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.

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.

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.

Products Considered

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

Products Analyzed

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

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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, Best Reviews Guide.


User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including

Our experts reviewed the top 18 Colored Pencils and also dug through the reviews from 58 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.

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What to Look For

  • 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.
  • “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. Some sets 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. Some sets 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. There are colored pencils that come in a metal durable, double-hinged storage tin case. 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.

More to Explore

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.

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