people's choice

The Best Colored Pencils on Amazon, According to Hyperenthusiastic Reviewers

Photo: Xanthe Berkeley/Getty Images

Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy (like pillows), but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed (that’s four-to-five-star reviews and lots of ‘em) products and single out the most convincing. While we’ve written about the best pens, a writer’s favorite pencil, and the best notebooks, here we’ve rounded up the best-reviewed colored pencils on Amazon, just in time for back-to-school shopping. (Note that reviews have been edited for length and clarity.)

Best overall colored pencils

Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, Soft Core, 72-Count
$48 at Amazon

“These pencils are by far the best I have ever used! The pencils are quite easy to sharpen in a variety of sharpeners. The pencil core has a medium softness to it. The colors are very vivid and bright on several types of paper I have used them on. I have done comparison coloring with four different brands, and the Prismacolor Premier pencils were the best by far. I would highly recommend these pencils to the beginner as well as the most advanced colorist because of the high quality. I have also used several blending and shading techniques, and these pencils did quite well.”

Best colored pencils for preschool kids

Crayola My First Easy-Grip Colored Pencils
$6 at Amazon

“So happy I found these colored pencils!! They are excellent for my 2-year-old. She can hold them much easier than the skinny, round colored pencils. They don’t break like crayons and they mark easier. These pencils mark well even when they are dull. Sharpen easy, too. As some reviewers have pointed out, they are a bit shorter than regular colored pencils, but for little hands I think the shorter length works just fine. I have purchased three packs so far and will probably purchase more. They also have cute pictures of different animals. Highly recommend!”

Best colored pencils for elementary-school kids

Crayola Twistables Colored Pencils
$49 at Amazon

“My grandkids and I really like these Twistable colored pencils. They never need sharpening, the tips don’t break with a little pressure, and the clear barrel lets you see both the color and how much pencil is left. With 30 colors, you have a nice selection for most coloring projects. The case they come in has a color dot above the pencil location, so you can keep the colors in the same order in which they arrived. This helps with locating a specific color as like colors are next to each other. I recommend these Twistable colored pencils for kids age five to adults. This is a marvelous invention!”

Scentco Colored Smencils 10-Pack of Scented Coloring Pencils
$15 at Amazon

“I bought these to put in a prize box for my students and they just love them! All of the scents are extremely potent and there is an amazing variety … none of the scents go ‘unwanted’ and they smell delicious for months! I love that these are colored pencils and the colors match their scents. They are very pigmented and easy to use and sharpen.”

Best mechanical colored pencils

Pilot Color Eno 0.7mm Automatic Mechanical Pencil 8-Color Set
$10 at Amazon

“I completely adore these color pencils. As a math major, I must graph a lot of functions, and these pencils let me differentiate between noncontinuous lines and line transformations on one graph in a fun and distinctive way, yet I’m able to erase if I make a mistake. One advantage of the Eno lead is that it always writes, no matter how often I erase something, unlike the Crayola erasable colored pencils. The Crayolas erase well, but then the lead sometimes won’t stick to the paper anymore in that spot. These Enos don’t care how much or how often I erase, they’ll lay down another line, no problem.”

June Gold 72 Assorted Colored Mechanical Pencils
$20 at Amazon

“I don’t know how I would ever color without these pencils. I rarely if ever use my Verithins now because these pencils are much better, in my opinion. I use them for all of the tiny details in all of my work. I have colored an entire page with them, just to really put them to the test. They worked like a dream. They blend well and the pigment is beautiful. I haven’t got a single negative thing to say about them, except, more colors please! If you are a serious colorist or a not so serious colorist, you can’t go wrong with these pencils. You won’t be disappointed.”

Best coloring pencils for adult coloring books

Crayola Colored Pencils Pre-Sharpened 50-Count
$9 at Amazon

“In my opinion, for the price, these are the best adult coloring pencils. Dense, rich color. Not waxy like other cheap pencils. Points can be made ninja-sharp and don’t break as easily as others. For someone new to coloring, this is a perfect starter set. Fifty colors is plenty to get you going.”

Prismacolor Premier Verithin Colored Pencils, 24-Count
$13 at Amazon

“My favorite. I have tried all kinds of colored pencils since I got into coloring adult coloring books, and these are the best by far. Actually, I can’t go back now that I have found these. I bought a little hand sharpener, so I can have sharp tips all the time. These hard pencils give great color and shade well. The colors are beautiful. Unlike some companies, you actually get different colors in each pencil. Other pencils I have noticed call their pencils different names, but the colors are actually the same.”

Best metallic colored pencils

Faber-Castell Metallic Colored EcoPencils
$7 at Amazon

“I buy these pencils three boxes at a time. I love using metallics when coloring mandalas and for certain frames, etc. I tried all different brands of metallic pencils, but have settled on these as the best. These are very soft pencils, though you really can’t blend them. These are such a huge part of my coloring repertoire that I couldn’t color without them. I would suggest that you definitely should make a color chart of them because the color of the actual pencil is not well-represented by the paint on the pencil. Once you are familiar with the color of the pencils, I think that you’ll love them, too!”

Crayola 8-Count Metallic FX Colored Pencils
$3 at Amazon

“You can never go wrong with Crayola colored pencils! These metallic pencils are smooth and vibrant and have a bit of shine mixed in that leaves your pages of adult coloring books looking more glamorous. These are great for both kids just starting out and expert artist. They are easy to sharpen and have had no issues with doing so. I personally use these in adult coloring books and love them, and would buy them many times over as gifts.”

Best watercolor colored pencils

Derwent Colored Pencils WaterColour
$29 at Amazon

“I absolutely love these pencils! This has been the best purchase that I have ever made through Amazon. I love drawing and painting, but drawing always feels a bit dull, and painting doesn’t give me the control that I need. Combined, however, I have everything that I could want. The colors are bold even before adding water on top of them, but after the water is applied, it’s impossible to tell that the paint was drawn on, it merely looks like a highly skilled watercolor painting. This pencil set doesn’t leave anything to be desired.”

Artist’s Choice 72-Pack Watercolor Pencils
$20 at Amazon

“This is a wonderful selection of watercolor pencils in one pack. I’ve used these pencils many times in my career. I like this particular selection for its range of colors, ease of application, and conversion into a paint state. It works well for washes as well as detail. I’m currently working on a series of animal paintings, and I like how these allow me to go into a painting and create detail, but to then back out again by adding water in a calculated way, yet retaining the detail I desire! This is a great buy, especially when you consider how expensive art supplies can be. I think this is a steal!”

Best erasable colored pencils

Prismacolor Col-Erase Erasable Colored Pencil, 24-Count
$13 at Amazon

“These are by far the best colored pencils I have ever purchased. I use them for just about everything artistic and just recently began using them for sketching, rather than coloring. These pencils really deliver! They are worth every single penny. The fact that they are easily erasable make them five stars in my book. I will definitely continue to use these in the future, and I would recommend them to any level artist. They would be great for children also.”

Best colored pencils for artists

Faber-Castell Polychromos Colored Pencil Set in Metal Tin, 60 Pieces
$75 at Amazon

“I’ve officially tried every colored pencil on the market, from Crayola to Prismacolor, and finally bit the bullet and bought this set of Polychromos. These are, for me, hands down the best there is. They are insanely well-made and feel incredible in your hand. The leads do not break inside the shaft, and since they are oil-based, they don’t ‘bloom’ later with the yucky white wax film. This is a good kit to start with, with a nice range of colors.”

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The Best Colored Pencils on Amazon, According to Reviewers