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The Best Colored Pencils

Last updated on August 24, 2020

We looked at the top 13 Colored Pencils and dug through the reviews from 70 of the most popular review sites including Createlet, Homesthetics, Top Ten Swag, Best Colored Pencils, Geek Wrapped, Best Reviews Guide and more. The result is a ranking of the best Colored Pencils.

Best Colored Pencils

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Our Picks For The Top Colored Pencils

Show Contents
Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  The Best Overall
  The Best Value

Crayola Presharpened Colored Pencils Set, 36-Count

Crayola

Presharpened Colored Pencils Set, 36-Count

Overall Take

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

Experts Included
DWYM Crafts Experts plus Best Reviews Guide. Along with user reviews from Amazon, Walmart and Target.

Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, 150-Count

Prismacolor

Premier Colored Pencils, 150-Count

Overall Take

Extra-Large 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!"

Castle Art Supplies Colored Pencils Set, 72 ct

Castle Art Supplies

Colored Pencils Set, 72 ct

Overall Take

Vivid ColorsSince these colored pencils are highly pigmented, you'll enjoy the most vivid colors without having to press hard on the pencils.

Experts Included
DWYM Crafts Experts plus Wiki EZ Vid, Wow Pencils, 10 Bolt, New York Mag, All Best Tops, No Place Called Home and 1 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" They have sturdy and reliable leads, so shouldn't break if you accidentally press a little too hard."
Cons
"The colors are bold. It makes landscapes and portraits less realistic"

Arteza Professional Colored Pencils, 72 ct

Arteza

Professional Colored Pencils, 72 ct

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.
20

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the colored pencils available to purchase.
13

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.

153,789

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including Amazon, Walmart, Target, Michael’s and 4 others.

Our experts reviewed the top 13 Colored Pencils and also dug through the reviews from 70 of the most popular review sites including Createlet, Homesthetics, Top Ten Swag, Best Colored Pencils, Geek Wrapped, Best Reviews Guide 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.

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

The Best Overall

Crayola Presharpened Colored Pencils Set, 36-Count

Our Expert Score
9.2
1 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.6
4,448 user reviews
Our Take

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 Product Rankings

Crayola Presharpened Colored Pencils Set, 36-Count

1. Crayola Presharpened Colored Pencils Set, 36-Count

Overall Score: 9.6
Reviews Included: 4

Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, 150-Count

2. Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, 150-Count

Overall Score: 9.4
Reviews Included: 4

Castle Art Supplies Colored Pencils Set, 72 ct

3. Castle Art Supplies Colored Pencils Set, 72 ct

Overall Score: 9.3
Reviews Included: 9

Arteza Professional Colored Pencils, 72 ct

4. Arteza Professional Colored Pencils, 72 ct

Overall Score: 9.2
Reviews Included: 8

Artlicious Distinct Colored Pencils & Sharpener, 50-Count

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

Overall Score: 9.1
Reviews Included: 5

Sudee Stile Colored Pencils, 120 ct

6. Sudee Stile Colored Pencils, 120 ct

Overall Score: 9.1
Reviews Included: 11

Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, 72 ct

7. Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, 72 ct

Overall Score: 9.1
Reviews Included: 18

Sargent Art Premium Coloring Pencils, 50 ct

8. Sargent Art Premium Coloring Pencils, 50 ct

Overall Score: 9.1
Reviews Included: 8

Shuttle Art Colored Pencils, 136 ct

9. Shuttle Art Colored Pencils, 136 ct

Overall Score: 8.9
Reviews Included: 14

Crayola Colored Pencils, 120 ct

10. Crayola Colored Pencils, 120 ct

Overall Score: 8.5
Reviews Included: 7

Scriptract Colored Pencils, 24 ct

11. Scriptract Colored Pencils, 24 ct

Overall Score: 8.4
Reviews Included: 1

Pluqis Premium Art Quality Colored Pencils, 24 ct

12. Pluqis Premium Art Quality Colored Pencils, 24 ct

Overall Score: 8.3
Reviews Included: 4

Crayola Colored Pencils, 120 ct

13. Crayola Colored Pencils, 120 ct

Overall Score: 7.1
Reviews Included: 7

Our Colored Pencil Findings

Crayola Presharpened Colored Pencils Set, 36-Count

What We Liked: 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.

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.

Castle Art Supplies Colored Pencils Set, 72 ct

What We Liked: This colored pencils set arrives in a decorative tin and uses three trays to keep the pencils neat and organized. The quality wood pencil casing is easy to sharpen, while the soft touch lead glides on your paper with minimal effort. In fact, the colors are so smooth that you can actually blend them or layer them as needed.

Arteza Professional Colored Pencils, 72 ct

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.

It’s more than just creating pretty pictures. Coloring uses both sides of the brain. The logical side of the brain helps people to color inside the lines, while the creative side is involved in selecting colors. People also improve their fine motor skills while coloring, especially while working on intricate patterns and detailed drawings.

The act of coloring actually enables the frontal lobe to open, which is the part of the brain that controls organizational and problem-solving skills. This improves the level of focus. It allows people to concentrate on the physical action of coloring in the moment while putting other thoughts aside. This can be very relaxing for people who feel stress and anxiety. In fact, coloring can help relax the amygdala, which is the fear center of the brain. In some people, coloring can actually create a meditative state by calming and focusing the restless mind.

For people who have experienced trauma or are currently going through a traumatic time, coloring can help them control the body’s stress activation area, known as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system. This enables people to develop better coping mechanisms and higher levels of resiliency, which can help them navigate difficult experiences.

In addition to having many health and wellness benefits, coloring is also a great way to have fun and use your creativity. Many people find coloring enjoyable because they get to pick different hues, create eye-catching patterns and drawings and focus on an entertaining activity.

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 Crayola Presharpened 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. The Castle Art Supplies Colored Pencils Set, 72 ct has quality lead that is designed for an easy laying down of color.
  • 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 Presharpened Colored Pencils Set, 36-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 Presharpened Colored Pencils Set, 36-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

Alicia Bodine
Alicia Bodine 

Alicia Bodine is a New Jersey-based writer specializing in finance. With more than 15 years of experience, her work has appeared on leading financial publications. She's also a certified Ramsey Solutions Master Financial Coach.