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The Best Colored Pencils

Last updated on November 7, 2019

We looked at the top 10 Colored Pencils and dug through the reviews from 64 of the most popular review sites including BestReviews, The AZ Theme, My Modern Met, Concept Art Empire, Best Of Reviews, Drawing Advisor and more. The result is a ranking of the 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

Arteza

Professional Colored Pencils, 72 ct

Overall Take

High-Quality SetThe Arteza Professional Colored Pencils, 72 ct are sturdy colored pencils in a 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."

Prismacolor

Premier Colored Pencils, 72 ct

Overall Take

Silky, Durable PencilsThe Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, 72 ct are soft-core pencils for shading and shadow work.

Experts Included
DWYM Crafts 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."
  The Best Value

Sargent Art

Premium Coloring Pencils, 50 ct

Overall Take

Affordable, Pre-Sharpened SetThe Sargent Art Premium Coloring Pencils, 50 ct have durable and hard cores for longevity.

Experts Included
DWYM Crafts Experts plus Wow Pencils, Drawing Advisor, Createlet, All Top Ten Reviews, The Balance Small Business, Secret Asian Man. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" Hard lead allows to keep the sharp point and stay in the line while coloring"
Cons
"They take a bit longer and require more caution to sharpen than brands."

Sudee Stile

Colored Pencils, 120 ct

Overall Take

Massive Color SelectionThe Sudee Stile Colored Pencils, 120 ct have a wide range of colors in a durable encasement.

Experts Included
DWYM Crafts Experts plus BestReviews, Concept Art Empire, Geek Wrapped, The Review Index, BoosterWP Reviews, My Modern Met and 3 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" Pencils sharpen easily,blend easily, and erase without smearing."
Cons
"Colors can be harder to mix together. Harder tips are more prone to breaking over time."
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.
17

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the colored pencils available to purchase.
10

Products Analyzed

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

View All Product Rankings

64

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: BestReviews, The AZ Theme, My Modern Met, Concept Art Empire, Best Of Reviews.

61,528

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including Amazon, Walmart, Michael’s, Target and 3 others.

Our experts reviewed the top 10 Colored Pencils and also dug through the reviews from 64 of the most popular review sites including BestReviews, The AZ Theme, My Modern Met, Concept Art Empire, Best Of Reviews, Drawing Advisor 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

Arteza Professional Colored Pencils, 72 ct

Our Expert Score
0.0
4 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.3
752 user reviews
Our Take

The Arteza Professional Colored Pencils, 72 ct are break-resistant and come in a range of bright colors with non-toxic features. They are competitively priced and long-lasting.

What other experts liked
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.
- Concept Art Empire
Cheap! In their set of three for 13.99, that's less than 5$ per sketchbook! Heavier paper weight than Strathmore (by 8lbs) and competative pricing. (It's cheaper!)
- Sam Be Awesome
Bright colors with the guarantee of non-toxic features.These are known for their top quality lead and an affordable price
- 10 Bolt
These pencils are constructed of sturdy barrels and break-resistant cores to make them long-lasting. They are easy to sharpen to work excellently each time.
- All Best Tops
What other experts didn't like
You can’t replace individual pencils as the Arteza pencils are only sold in sets.
- Concept Art Empire
Hardcover, least for me. While it keeps the pages flat and more protected, I like easy access, and opening it up quickly was difficult.
- Sam Be Awesome
They are a bit waxier.
- All Best Tops

The Best Bang For Your Buck

Sargent Art Premium Coloring Pencils, 50 ct

Expert Summarized Score
9.7
6 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.8
3,893 user reviews
Our Take

The Sargent Art Premium Coloring Pencils, 50 ct is a well-priced option for beginners who want a wide selection of colors. The pencils are break-resistant, although they are not as smooth as some other brands.

What other experts liked
Hard lead allows to keep the sharp point and stay in the line while coloring
- Wow Pencils
Pencils come pre-sharpened well, with hard conical points.
- Drawing Advisor
July 30, 2019 | Full review
We absolutely loved this colored pencil set by Sargent Art when it came to both affordability and selection.But what really sweetens this deal from Sargent Art was the cost per pencil.When doing the math on their 24 pack, we saw that they only charge $0.21 per pencil – that’s cheap.
- Createlet
January 17, 2019 | Full review
Durability is one of the amazing features that make the pencil stand out of the crowd. The hard material in the production of pencils helps to increase its longevity.
- All Top Ten Reviews
July 11, 2019 | Full review
Sargent Art delivers a pack of 50 colored pencils for just a few bucks. That’s a price that’s really hard to beat.
- The Balance Small Business
February 28, 2019 | Full review
The pencils come pre-sharpened, which is good news when an artist needs to use them immediately after buying to complete an urgent job.
- Secret Asian Man
March 10, 2019 | Full review
What other experts didn't like
They need more pressure in order to make a bold line
- Wow Pencils
They take a bit longer and require more caution to sharpen than brands.
- Drawing Advisor
July 30, 2019 | Full review
It is not great for blending. The force is low when used.
- All Top Ten Reviews
July 11, 2019 | Full review
They are not as smooth as other brands, though. They struggle to give you accurate images or drawings too. Color differentiation is a bit of a problem too.
- Secret Asian Man
March 10, 2019 | Full review

Overall Product Rankings

1. Arteza Professional Colored Pencils, 72 ct

Overall Score: 9.7
Reviews Included: 8

2. Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, 72 ct

Overall Score: 9.6
Reviews Included: 18

3. Sargent Art Premium Coloring Pencils, 50 ct

Overall Score: 9.4
Reviews Included: 8

4. Sudee Stile Colored Pencils, 120 ct

Overall Score: 9.1
Reviews Included: 11

5. Castle Art Supplies Colored Pencils Set, 72 ct

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 9

6. Shuttle Art Colored Pencils, 136 ct

Overall Score: 8.9
Reviews Included: 14

7. Crayola Colored Pencils, 120 ct

Overall Score: 8.5
Reviews Included: 7

8. Scriptract Colored Pencils, 24 ct

Overall Score: 8.4
Reviews Included: 1

9. Pluqis Premium Art Quality Colored Pencils, 24 ct

Overall Score: 8.3
Reviews Included: 4

10. Crayola Colored Pencils, 120 ct

Overall Score: 7.1
Reviews Included: 7

Our Findings

Arteza Professional Colored Pencils, 72 ct

What We Liked: The Arteza Professional Colored Pencils, 72 ct are break-resistant and come in a range of bright colors with non-toxic features. They are competitively priced and long-lasting.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Sargent Art Premium Coloring Pencils, 50 ct

Best Value

Sargent Art Premium Coloring Pencils, Pack of 50 Assorted Colors, 22-7251 (Kitchen)


List Price: $9.41 USD
New From: $5.96 USD In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

What We Liked: The Sargent Art Premium Coloring Pencils, 50 ct is a well-priced option for beginners who want a wide selection of colors. The pencils are break-resistant, although they are not as smooth as some other brands.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, 72 ct

Honorable Mention

Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, Soft Core, 72 Pack (Office Product)


List Price: $45.67 USD
New From: $36.68 USD In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

What We Liked: The Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, 72 ct 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.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Sudee Stile Colored Pencils, 120 ct

What We Liked: The Sudee Stile Colored Pencils, 120 ct are easy to sharpen and made out of a thick core. They have 120 unique vibrant colors to choose from that come in a three-layered case. However, the leads don’t always match the color on the paper.

 

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.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

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 organization 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.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

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 and the Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, 72 ct both come with 72 unique colors. On the other hand, the Sargent Art Premium Coloring Pencils, 50 ct comes with 48 different colors while the Sudee Stile Colored Pencils, 120 ct comes with 120 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. The Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, 72 ct, the Sargent Art Premium Coloring Pencils, 50 ct and the Sudee Stile Colored Pencils, 120 ct all have a thick and robust lead core, which makes it difficult 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 the Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, 72 ct boasts ultra-smooth and even color laydown. The Sudee Stile Colored Pencils, 120 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, 72 ct comes in a standard packaging box, while the Sargent Art Premium Coloring Pencils, 50 ct comes in a peggable, see-through window box. The Sudee Stile Colored Pencils, 120 ct has a delicate carton with three layers, so it’s easier to find the color you’re looking for.
  • For many people, professionals and novices alike, affordability is an important factor to consider when making a purchase. The Sargent Art Premium Coloring Pencils, 50 ct is a low-cost and very affordable option, while the Arteza Professional Colored Pencils, 72 ct and the Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, 72 ct 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.