people's choice

The Best Colored Pencils on Amazon, According to Hyperenthusiastic Reviewers

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Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy, 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 ones. 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. (Note that reviews have been edited for length and clarity.)

Best overall colored pencils

Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, Soft Core, 72-Count

“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 8ct Write Start Colored Pencils

“I have four children ages 7 and under (plus another due any day). So, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to discover how art supplies can lead to disasters. After marker tips had been chewed off by our first two children, I decided that markers and little children were not the best combination. These are wonderful very easy to grip, have cute designs on the side, don’t break, less messy than other coloring options. I definitely recommend these colored pencils for toddlers and preschoolers. I just wish they were more easily found in local stores.”

Best colored pencils for elementary-school kids

Crayola Twistables Colored Pencils

“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

“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 colored pencils for traveling

ARTEZA Colored Pencils Set of 48

“Nice set of colored pencils with a sturdy case. I found I liked the color lay-down better than with the set of Crayola set that I purchased at the same time. The Crayola set is a basic set though, not the higher-priced artist-quality set. This is a good place to start if you are not familiar with color pencils and want to find out what they can really do for your artwork. A nice way to get kids started, too.”

Best mechanical colored pencils

Pilot Color Eno 0.7mm Automatic Mechanical Pencil 8-Color Set

“I completely adore these colored 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

“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 colored pencils for adult coloring books

Castle Art Supplies 72 Colored Pencils Set for Coloring Books

“In my personal opinion these are the best pencils I have ever purchased, and believe me, I have purchased many. They go on so smoothly almost like butter and the colors are just so vivid. I believe these are better than the set I paid $100 for, which is the Prisma Premier 150 count. I sure wish they had a larger set of these, because I would definitely buy them. Will continue only purchasing these pencils from now on. Next, I need to find out if they make markers.”

Crayola Colored Pencils Pre-Sharpened 50-Count

“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

“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

“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!”

Best watercolor colored pencils

Wanshui Professional Watercolor Pencil Set (150-Count)

“I love the case they come in as well as all the wonderful colors. I did a color swatch and found some colors were softer than others. I love them and feel they would work best on quality coloring paper. They blend great when wet and would definitely recommend these to other colorists.”

Derwent Colored Pencils WaterColour

“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

“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

“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

“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.”

Best woodless colored pencils

Ashleigh Nicole Arts Woodless Colored Pencils Set - 36 Colors

“These are one of the top pencils I have used, and I have several hundred colored pencils. They are just a bit pricey but so well worth it! You wind up getting at least three times the pencil of any other brand considering it is entirely core. I have found of all the colored pencils I own, that they have the only true dark red color I have come across (Cardinal Red), now if they could figure out a way to make another true red about three to five tones darker, I would be just thrilled!”

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The Best Colored Pencils on Amazon, According to Reviewers