Best Cheap Colored Pencils: Top Brands Compared & Reviewed

Michael Daly
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You probably use colored pencils every day. Maybe you love coloring in as a hobby or are an artist who likes to sketch with them. Perhaps you are a student who relies on them to do well in their exams.

Whatever your usage, you should be looking for a good quality colored pencils. Following are the best colored pencils in terms of value for money, color quality, and brand reputation.

NameCategoryProduct
Prismacolor Scholar Colored PencilsBest OverallPrismacolor Scholar Colored Pencils
Doodle Designs Adult Coloring BookBudget PickDoodle Designs Adult Coloring Book
Reeves Colored PencilsUpgrade PickReeves Colored Pencils

1. Prismacolor Scholar Colored Pencils

Our rating: 9 / 10

Prismacolor Scholar Colored Pencils

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Pros:

  • Comes with a great case
  • Excellent for beginners
  • Includes a sharpener

Cons:

  • Bigger size might make it harder for children with smaller hands
  • Hard color blocks may not be suitable for all artists

Inktense Building Blocks, Soft Core, Wide.

When it comes to colored pencils, it's hard to beat the Prismacolor Scholar set. These artists-grade colored pencils have a solid core, soft-core layering structure, and with a fine tip. The result is an incredibly smooth coloring experience.

The Prismacolor Scholar's rich, bright colors are professional grade and are made in the US. These pencils come in a large set of 48 with a wide range of shades. These high-quality colored pencils are a real stunner on the artistic hobbyist's work desk. Prisamacolor Scholar's high-quality colored pencils also come with a durable storage case and a sharpener to make sure you can get good value for your purchase.

2. Castle Art Supplies 72 Colored Pencils Set

Our rating: 9 / 10

Castle Art Supplies 72 Colored Pencils Set

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Pros:

  • a) Premium quality set for a great price
  • b) Has every color you’ll ever need
  • c) Can be used for a variety of artistic endeavors
  • d) Comes with a sharpener
  • e) Excellent quality for a reasonably priced set

Cons:

  • a) Takes some time to sharpen the pencils
  • b) If you want extreme variety you might have to buy a second set, which is rather spendy

These are another set of colored pencils that we highly recommend. These pencils are not hard to get, and you can get quite a lot of them for a small amount of money.

They’re ideal for the beginner set, but they’re more than enough for the more advanced artist. The pencils come in a box that’s easy to store away. They’re also well-made, so you won’t have to worry about having to replace them anytime soon.

3. Sargent Art Premium Coloring Pencils

Our rating: 9 / 10

Sargent Art Premium Coloring Pencils

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Pros:

  • Comes with 50 different colors
  • Box and pencil body are made of metal material
  • The pencil has a square shape and made of plastic
  • Great for a variety of purposes
  • The pencils have a semi-opaque quality
  • Coloring pencils work great with all surfaces
  • Non-toxic lead
  • The lead can easily be sharpened
  • The lead is not too soft and allows for versatile coloring
  • They are easy to sharpen and can be resharpened many times

4. Faber Castell Premium Color Pencils

Our rating: 9 / 10

Faber Castell Premium Color Pencils

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Pros:

  • Variety of different color swatches
  • Variety of grades (hardness)
  • Features sharpened points
  • Made of high-quality, resistant wood
  • Comes in a durable box with a built in sharpener
  • Available in packs with 30 and 120 colors of different pack sizes
  • Very consistent in quality and size of each lead

If you’re someone who loves to draw and color, you may have come to a time when you’ve needed to bring out the big guns when it comes to colored pencils. While you might not need to do much serious coloring anymore after you graduate high school, most of us (it seems) still possess some drawing skills.

The de facto standard in colored pencils are these little wonders from Faber-Castell. They’ve been the industry standard for a long time, and for good reason. These are the best colored pencils for your money.

You can get these pencils in a variety of different pack sizes, and in a large variety of colors. Every single pencil in this set will be consistent in its quality. Also, the pencil lead is extremely consistent in shape and hardness, which is great for precision drawing.

5. Artlicious – 50 Premium Distinct Colored Pencils

Our rating: 9 / 10

Artlicious - 50 Premium Distinct Colored Pencils

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Pros:

  • Versatile colors
  • Great for a variety of coloring techniques
  • Sharpener is built into the base of the box
  • Cream-like consistency of the color
  • Very nice pigmentation and coverage

Cons:

  • Surfaces may cause minor staining
  • Colors do not blend smoothly, especially when applied to darker colored surfaces
  • Colors are produced overseas which may cause slow shipping

Colored pencils have been around as long as pencils themselves. There have always been a handful of the choice brands – but the options for these colored pencils has risen slowly to a peak demand with the advent of adult coloring books.

Colored pencils are vastly different than graphite pencils, as they are made by mixing pigments with various waxes, much like watercolors. The waxes used can make a large difference in the final product. The pencils are wax-based and can tend to be crumbly, or they may be soft and velvety.

6. Canson XL Series Mix Paper Pad

Our rating: 8 / 10

Canson XL Series Mix Paper Pad

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Pros:

  • Thicker paper
  • Wide array of colors
  • Value for money

004" Thick, White, Portrait

Canson XL Series Mix Paper Pad is great for colored pencils. This art pad enables you to create beautiful colored pencils using specialty color range. You don’t need to worry about the paper fighting the pencil medium.

It offers smooth texture that helps to keep your colored pencil vivid for longer. The texture is also optimized for ink, marker and charcoal.

7. Prang Groove Triangular Colored Pencils

Our rating: 8 / 10

Prang Groove Triangular Colored Pencils

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Pros:

  • Custom colors
  • Package size is larger than others
  • Sold in groups of 7

Cons:

  • Packaging could be more uniform
  • Not sharpened
  • Needs to be sharpened

8. Doodle Designs Adult Coloring Book

Our rating: 8 / 10

Doodle Designs Adult Coloring Book

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Pros:

  • Has a variety of original designs
  • Perfect for artists of all skill levels
  • Can be easily mixed and matched
  • Exercise for your brain
  • Perfect for coloring artists of all ages

Cons:

  • Designs can bleed through pages
  • Pressure sensitivity might be an issue for some users
  • No marker/brush included

Drawing and coloring has been known to cause stress relief. This adult coloring book by Doodle Designs has created their own special coloring medium formula that will allow you to produce a true color in your pages. And, the ink is dye-based, so it will not dry out in your pages like other inks would.

This also means that it is perfect for artists of all ages and skill levels. The range of designs are attractively illustrated; from 12 perforated pages, to four double-sided pages in the book. The designs were professionally crafted by design agency, Paper Doll’t.

This gives each illustration that extra flair. In addition to the fun and vibrant illustrations of a wide range of subjects, the paper is acid-free and archival-safe. These books are perfect if you love color pencils or fine-liner markers. The paper is also thick enough that using markers will not bleed through the pages.

9. Studio Series Colored Pencil Set

Our rating: 6 / 10

Studio Series Colored Pencil Set

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Pros:

  • Chamfered for smoother blending
  • Rich pigments are easy to blend
  • Made from recycled paper
  • Versatile enough for any art project
  • A variety of colors means you’ll have the right shade for every project
  • Decently priced for the complete set

Cons:

  • Some pencils have been reported to break easily
  • Reviewer reports the pack is on the heavy side, so it may not be as travel-friendly

We love that this set of colored pencils from Crayola is made from a recycled paper source. We also love the fun assortment of colors, the wide range of shades, and the variety of pencils in this set.

The Crayola colored pencil set is great for young and old alike. The bright colors liven up any project—poster, chart, mural, or caterpillar art. They’re ideal for beginners and first-time users because you get a whole range of shades. They’re also great for more experienced users who are looking for a more vibrant color selection.

10. Tropical Paradise Adult Coloring Book

Our rating: 6 / 10

Tropical Paradise Adult Coloring Book

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Pros:

  • Perfect for colored pencils
  • Includes a guide to drawing the featured design
  • Comes with a sharpener

Cons:

  • No picture variations
  • No blank pages for illustration

The Tropical Paradise Adult Coloring Book by Amazing Art is a fabulous tool to relieve stress and stimulate creativity. Tom Stone comes up with the most ingenious designs and illustrations to color.

This book is completely hand lettered and illustrated giving you tons of fun colorful stress relief drawings and patterns to color. From the casual designs to the intricate patterns, you’re sure to have a blast filling in the blacks in this book.

The pages are high-quality and thick and all the designs are hand lettered to add to the uniqueness of this book. The book does comes with an instruction page as well, should you have difficulties filling in the colors. This book is definitely one of our top recommendations if you love coloring books.

11. Reeves Colored Pencils

Our rating: 6 / 10

Reeves Colored Pencils

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Pros:

  • Variety of cases to pick from
  • Wide range of colors
  • Well-balanced and smooth laydown
  • High-quality price

Cons:

  • Case could be better
  • Good eraser but others dislike
  • Colored pencils can be less durable than drawing pencils or colored pens
  • Not much difference to grade 2 pencils

The Reeves Colored Pencils Set comes in cool sets of 18 (plus an eraser), 36, 144, and 216. They go beyond the typical 12-colors of other colored pencil sets and include bright, rich colors. The set includes a range of light, medium, and dark tones of the main 36 colors.

There are 36 eraser pieces that are non-toxic and made of polyurethane. While the price is a bit higher than other pencils, the quality, range of colors, and overall value make them a great buy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Which brand of colored pencils is best?

The best brand of colored pencils is the brand that works for you. We wanted to help ease the decision of choosing the best brand, so we compiled all the information on the various brands out there. This was put together by various experiences and studies of a number of our research team.

What are the best cheap colored pencils?

You may have always planned to buy the best colored pencils for yourself, but you might not have as much money to spend on them as you want. This is a problem that has frustrated many people when looking for colored pencils mainly because of the claim that better colored pencils can be found at a much higher price and the quality of the cheaper colored pencils is nothing compared to those that are more expensive.

As stated in this review, the general consensus is that Prismacolor Scholar Colored Pencils are the best colored pencils. This is still expensive, but cheaper consumers might want to consider Crayola Colored Pencils.

Is Cretacolor a good brand?

Welcome to my Cretacolor colored pencil review. If you’re asking yourself if Cretacolor is the best drawing pencil, I’m here to tell you that it is. That’s why I chose it for my illustration work. Here are some background information about this great brand.

Cretacolor is a German company which is well known for its commitment to color, lighting, and design. The company started its business back in 1911.

It remains a family owned company which continues to innovate and is considered to be among the most innovative producers of colored pencils as well as charcoal and pastel products. Over the years, the brand has garnered respect in a competitive and saturated market, driven by great art enthusiasts all over the world.

Is markers better than colored pencils?

That depends on your needs. Some events and projects call for the bold, bright effect that markers can deliver. Other times, the softer effect created by colored pencils is what you want. Colored pencils may not be as vibrant as markers, but they have a ton of advantages that make them the right choice for certain projects and activities.

The most important factor to determine whether colored pencils or markers are best for your purposes is the end product. For works of art that need to be displayed where the colors will be viewed up close, markers definitely win out, because the colors are so bright. For coloring books, which kids love to close and look at from a distance, colored pencils win out because they look softer and more realistic from a distance.

Conclusion

Colored pencils are one the most versatile art-making and coloring tools available in the market. They are available in so many shades, hues and colors, that you can practically do anything with them that you can think of. They are high quality, durable, affordable and portable.

There are so many reasons why they are the best on the market, but if you’re still trying to figure out what to buy, here are our recommendations or the best colored pencils around.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Prismacolor Scholar Colored PencilsBest OverallPrismacolor Scholar Colored Pencils
Doodle Designs Adult Coloring BookBudget PickDoodle Designs Adult Coloring Book
Reeves Colored PencilsUpgrade PickReeves Colored Pencils