people's choice

The Best Adult Coloring Books, According to Hyperenthusiastic Reviewers

Photo: LUCY LAMBRIEX/Getty Images

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 products and single out the most convincing ones. (You can learn more about our rating system and how we pick each item here.)

And while we’ve written about lots of things that help you reduce stress — including the best CBD products, the best items for calming anxiety, and a highly-effective stress-treatment oil, — here we’ve rounded up the best adult coloring books, as praised by the most enthusiastic reviewers on Amazon.

Best-rated adult coloring book

Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book
$10

“So, you may have read about the new trend in ‘Adult Coloring Books.’ THIS is THE book that started it,” writes one shopper, who adds, “There are plenty of publishers who have tried to emulate what this book offers, (and I’ve been stupid enough to try others), and trust me, NO other book compares to Johanna Basford’s coloring books.” It’s so beloved, over 80 percent of reviewers gave it five stars, and many highlight the quality of the paper. “I would say this is by far the highest quality coloring book I have,” one reviewer writes, describing the paper as “amazing. It’s heavy weight and holds markers and colored pencil well.” Others praised the clarity of the coloring patterns. “Clearly defined shapes. It sounds basic, but I’ve used coloring books where the shapes aren’t finished. That makes for a frustrating color,” one customer writes. “The shapes in this book are all really well drawn.” And many reviewers liked the intricate patterns in the designs. “The drawings are intricate and wonderful. Real drawings, not just repetitive patterns. there is something for everyone here,” says one reviewer. Another writes, “The patterns are gorgeous and very intricate.”

Best-rated (less expensive) adult coloring book

Reviewers were pleasantly surprised by the quality of this coloring book, even at its low price. “I bought this book originally expecting to get what I paid for as the price is so low, but my expectations were exceeded the second I opened it,” says one. Another writes, “Very cheap price, lots of great designs, good quality paper.” Shoppers liked the variety of patterns in the book, too. “Different styles of coloring pages from paisley to mandalas and beyond,” writes one. Another says, “This book is a really good stress reliever, especially for the price! There is a great variety of patterns. Out of the 48 patterns, some of them are mandala like, others are just really nice designs. Some take longer than others, so I like that I can pick a design that I have time for.”

And now for some micro-picks for every type of adult coloring book you might be looking for. 

Best adult coloring book for stress relief

Adult Coloring Book: Stress Relieving Patterns
$7

“It is very much a stress reliever,” writes one. “Once I pick up the colored pencils and start coloring the world around me just fades away as I watch the pattern come alive on the page.” And many other reviewers looking to lower their stress levels loved this coloring book, with many saying that using it helped them relax. It also gave shoppers a sense of nostalgia. “Love this book…It is a stress reliever. I loved to color as a child so it also brings back memories of a time without stress,” writes one. Another says, “Childhood’s best memories and time passing recreated for our hectic adult lives. It’s great.” And one reviewer notes that the book’s layout lets you improvise, if you so choose: “The designs are simple to color but I love that they have a lot of space on each page outside of the design allowing you to do your own scribbles if you so see fit.”

Best adult coloring book for animal lovers

Animal lovers praised this coloring book highly, with one writing, “This is a wonderful coloring book with artistic drawings of animals that will delight any animal lover.” Another says, “I absolutely love this book. I am an animal lover so I knew this would capture my interest. I was not disappointed. Not only were there many different animals to choose from but the style was perfect.” Shoppers noted that the patterns in the book are intricate, which helped focus their minds as they colored. “I chose this one over the others because I really liked the animal theme. The patterns are a lot more intricate, so it required a lot more focus, which is important because it doesn’t give my mind any room to wander,” says one customer. “If you put in the effort, the final product is beautiful, so I always feel pretty accomplished even though I didn’t draw the picture myself.”

Best adult coloring book with hidden objects

Reviewers loved the addition of hidden objects and mazes in the pages of this coloring book. “Beautiful pictures, hidden objects, mazes and a surprise behind the castle doors. Highly recommend,” one raves, while another says, “The artwork is whimsical, detailed, and absolutely gorgeous. There are a few mazes, and a few pages which allow you to add something of your own creation.” Other shoppers praised the thick pages of the book. “I love that the pages can handle markers, too. They’re thick and of the best quality paper you can find in a coloring book,” one reviewer writes, adding, “The price you pay for this coloring book is about that of a child’s coloring book, so it is more than worth it!” Another says, “ The illustrations are on the front and back of each page, but the paper is a nice heavy quality so there is no bleed-through.”

Best adult coloring book for owl lovers

Creative Haven Owls Coloring Book
$5

Several shoppers bought this as a gift for bird-loving friends and family, including one who says, “I got this book for my mom, for her birthday, and she loves it! The drawings are very intricate, so you can really have fun creating your own thing. Also, if your a bird lover, which my mom is, you’ll get a kick out of the owls. Owls are cool.“ Another writes, “Bought for an owl enthusiast. She loved it.” And an owl fan weighed in, too: “I absolutely love this coloring book. It has some strange characters in it such as wizard owls, peace owls, wedding owls, love bird owls, priest/priestess owls, farmer owls, witch doctor owls and many more.”

Best fashion adult coloring book

“Great adult coloring book, especially interesting as a former costume curator. The fashion plates are wonderful,” writes on pleased customer. Other fashion lovers praised this book highly, too. “Gorgeous designs. I very much enjoy coloring these lovely fashions, and really like the quality of the paper as well as the pictures themselves,” says one. Another writes, “The person who drew these did a nice job researching the fashions of each era.” It even appealed to one reviewer who isn’t interested in fashion: “I really like this book, which surprised me because I am not into fashion…I colored 5 drawings straight away, and I intend to complete them all.”

Best swirl-style coloring book for adults