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The Best Colored Pencils - 2021

Last updated on August 20, 2021

We looked at the top 16 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

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Our Picks For The Top Colored Pencils

Show Contents
Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  Best Overall

Amazon Basics Fine Point Colored Pencils, 72-Count

Don't Waste Your Money Seal of Approval

Amazon Basics

Fine Point Colored Pencils, 72-Count

Overall Take

Smooth ApplicationThe included storage tin that comes with these colored pencils has a built-in tray to keep the pencils from rolling around in the tin.

Experts Included
DWYM Crafts & Art Supplies Experts plus . Along with user reviews from Amazon.
  We Also Like

Prismacolor Premier Soft Core Colored Pencils, 72-Count

Prismacolor

Premier Soft Core Colored Pencils, 72-Count

Overall Take

Silky, Durable PencilsThese colored pencils are soft-core pencils for shading and shadow work.

Experts Included
DWYM Crafts & Art Supplies Experts plus BestReviews, Concept Art Empire, Wiki EZ Vid, New York Times Wirecutter, Parka Blogs, New York Mag and 9 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Michael’s.
Pros
" Color coded for easy identification of pencils. Durable box stores soft,waxy pencils securely."
Cons
"May be a little too pricey for some artists. Can become blotchy if used with too much tip force."
  Best for Kids

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 & Art Supplies Experts plus Best Reviews Guide. Along with user reviews from Amazon, Walmart and Target.
  Also Consider

Covacure Canvas Case Colored Pencils Set, 36-Count

Covacure

Canvas Case 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 & Art Supplies Experts plus . Along with user reviews from Amazon.
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.
23

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the colored pencils available to purchase.
16

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.

164,240

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including

Our experts reviewed the top 16 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.

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

The Best Overall

Amazon Basics Fine Point Colored Pencils, 72-Count

User Summarized Score

9.4
8,534 user reviews

Our Take

This set of colored pencils uses soft lead for a richer pigment. That means artists will be able to create vibrant pieces that truly stand out. There are a total of 72 pencils, which can be used for everything from shading to adding fine details to the drawing.


The Best Bang For Your Buck

Covacure Canvas Case Colored Pencils Set, 36-Count

User Summarized Score

9.4
1,250 user reviews

Our Take

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.

Overall Product Rankings

Amazon Basics Fine Point Colored Pencils, 72-Count

1. Amazon Basics Fine Point Colored Pencils, 72-Count

Overall Score: 9.6
Reviews Included: 1

Prismacolor Premier Soft Core Colored Pencils, 72-Count

2. Prismacolor Premier Soft Core Colored Pencils, 72-Count

Overall Score: 9.4
Reviews Included: 18

Crayola Presharpened Colored Pencils Set, 36-Count

3. Crayola Presharpened Colored Pencils Set, 36-Count

Overall Score: 9.3
Reviews Included: 4

Arteza Professional Colored Pencils, 72-Count

4. Arteza Professional Colored Pencils, 72-Count

Overall Score: 9.2
Reviews Included: 8

Covacure Canvas Case Colored Pencils Set, 36-Count

5. Covacure Canvas Case Colored Pencils Set, 36-Count

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 1

Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils, 50-Count

6. Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils, 50-Count

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 1

Castle Art Supplies Colored Pencils Set, 72-Count

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

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 9

Sudee Stile Colored Pencils, 120 ct

8. Sudee Stile Colored Pencils, 120 ct

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 11

Sargent Art Premium Coloring Pencils, 50 ct

9. Sargent Art Premium Coloring Pencils, 50 ct

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 8

Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, 150-Count

10. Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, 150-Count

Overall Score: 8.9
Reviews Included: 4

Shuttle Art Colored Pencils, 136 ct

11. Shuttle Art Colored Pencils, 136 ct

Overall Score: 8.9
Reviews Included: 14

Crayola Colored Pencils, 120 ct

12. Crayola Colored Pencils, 120 ct

Overall Score: 8.5
Reviews Included: 7

Scriptract Colored Pencils, 24 ct

13. Scriptract Colored Pencils, 24 ct

Overall Score: 8.4
Reviews Included: 1

Pluqis Premium Art Quality Colored Pencils, 24 ct

14. Pluqis Premium Art Quality Colored Pencils, 24 ct

Overall Score: 8.3
Reviews Included: 4

Artlicious Distinct Colored Pencils & Sharpener, 50-Count

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

Overall Score: 7.1
Reviews Included: 5

Crayola Colored Pencils, 120 ct

16. Crayola Colored Pencils, 120 ct

Overall Score: 7.1
Reviews Included: 7

Our Colored Pencil Findings


Amazon Basics Fine Point Colored Pencils, 72-Count

What We Liked: This set of colored pencils uses soft lead for a richer pigment. That means artists will be able to create vibrant pieces that truly stand out. There are a total of 72 pencils, which can be used for everything from shading to adding fine details to the drawing.


Prismacolor Premier Soft Core Colored Pencils, 72-Count

What We Liked: These colored pencils have a thick core and are made of soft wax. They blend easily, which makes them great for developing new and unique shades. It may be difficult to create sharp details with these pencils.


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.


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.


Covacure Canvas Case Colored Pencils Set, 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.

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 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.