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The Best Colored Pencils

Updated Dec 11, 2022
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After considering dozens of colored-pencil sets and spending six hours testing 13 popular sets, including one marathon two-hour session with about 60 kids and parents, we’ve decided that our top pick for someone shopping for their first colored-pencil set is Prismacolor’s Premier Colored Pencils. In our tests, the pencils in this 24-count set were among the best at color application, blending, and durability. They lay down rich, vibrant color and are as fun to draw with as pencils from sets twice the price. We recommend this set for any beginning colored-pencil artist or coloring-book enthusiast, or even for a serious child artist.

Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils (24-count), the best colored-pencil set for beginners

Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils (24-count)

The best colored-pencil set for beginners
These perform as effectively as artist-grade pencils twice the price. They lay down vibrant color, blend nicely, and are easy to sharpen.
We recommend
Staedtler Ergosoft Triangular Colored Pencils (24-count), a good pencil set with a better case

Staedtler Ergosoft Triangular Colored Pencils (24-count)

A good pencil set with a better case
The Staedtler pencils equal our main pick in vibrancy and blending, but they’re more expensive. We think they’re worth it only if you want a standing case.
Another good choice
Prismacolor Scholar Colored Pencils (24-count), a great student-grade set

Prismacolor Scholar Colored Pencils (24-count)

A great student-grade set
This set comes in a narrower range of colors, and the pencil lead isn’t as buttery. But it’s a good choice for kids and adults who don’t mind the slightly harder lead.
Budget friendly
Prismacolor Premier Pencil Sharpener, the best pencil sharpener

Prismacolor Premier Pencil Sharpener

The best pencil sharpener
It has a sleek design, is easy to use and maintain, and can put a fine or medium point on most pencils.
We recommend

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