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9 Best Cheap Colored Pencils of 2023 | Reviews

Colored pencils are one of the mediums which children and professionals can use proficiently, shoulder to shoulder. 

Cheap Colored Pencils

The first thing worth mentioning is that they are also the easiest to use since they are portable and do not require preparation except for a quick sharpening, of course. 

While many out there may doubt the power of colored pencils still, good artists, however, create masterpieces through this medium. 

Therefore, if you’re a beginner inspired by colored pencil artworks, we recommend getting yourself started with these affordable, yet great quality pencils for practicing before proceeding to the high-end brands. These are also ideal if you are tied with a budget but still want good pencils for your drawings. 

Best Cheap Colored Pencils

Here is the list of the 9 best cheap colored pencils that provide great quality without breaking the bank.

1. Reeves Colored Pencils - Best for Beginners

Reeves Watercolor Pencil Set - Vibrant Colors for Beginners,...
  • SUPERIOR QUALITY PENCILS - Looking for the perfect set of...
  • 24 VIBRANT COLORS - Add water and release rainbows of...

Reeves colored pencils can be found in many well-known art stores. They deliver very good results and come at a very affordable price. 

Based on your requirements, you can find these pencils in three different sets of 36, 24, and 12. They also come in very simple and neat packaging which can be used by artists of any age. 

Experience 

We are surprised to find that these pencils are very smooth while applying - nearly as those expensive brands in the market. 

As a result of this feature, they become pretty easy to blend when we have to mix shades or layer them on our textured surface. The pigment firmly grabs onto the paper without flaking off after leaving the artwork untouched even for hours. 

The pencils also provide full coverage to every artwork and that’s something that exceeds our expectations from an inexpensive set. 

We would suggest this set for those who are still learning to blend with colored pencils, and they will work well for other basic purposes too. 

We can say that the only drawback with these pencils is that the number of colors is limited and that makes blending highly necessary if we want to create a desired shade outside their collection. 

But all in all, the pack is an ideal starting option or a gift for learners that comes at a very low price. 



Pros

  • The pencils deliver a smooth touch and a nice feel on the surface
  • They can be blended with ease on rough and textured surfaces
  • Great for achieving full coverage in drawings




Cons

  • Limited colors make blending necessary



Dimensions: 0.61" x 3.54" x 6.99" | Weight: 3.52 oz | Color: Multicolor | Blendable: Yes | No. of Pencils: 24

2. Studio Series Colored Pencil Set - Best Budget Option

Sale
Studio Series Colored Pencil Set (Set of 30)
  • 30 premium pencils in a spectrum of colors
  • They come ready to go with an included sharpener

The Studio Series Colored Pencil Set is made by a book publisher who is mostly known for his contribution to the adult coloring books collection with Doodle Design, Tropical Paradise, and more. 

The reason we included the set on this list is that it has most of the properties of good colored pencils, given that it comes from a manufacturer with much experience in coloring. 

Experience 

What we feel is worth mentioning first is how affordable this colored pencil set is. It's perfect for any artist with a highly restricted budget, or even better, for students who want to purchase art supplies from their own savings.

On top of this, the pack comes with a kneaded eraser and one good-quality sharpener, which we can say is free if compared to the overall price. Instead of having to choose from good brands and buy them separately, the ones included in the pack are more than enough to fulfill your needs. 

While the eraser may not be as good as those from higher-end brands, we find that it leaves patches of colors that are faintly visible and will disappear once covered with another shade. And personally, we find this additional feature to be good enough for something that technically came for free. 

However, they only have 30 shades in their color range for now, and this means we have to rely on blending to create the intended colors. 

But keeping that aside, the pencils blend very well on paper and deliver great results altogether. With the inclusion of an eraser and a sharpener, this is the perfect pack of colored pencils for learners and budgeted artists. 



Pros

  • This set contains colored pencils which blend pretty well on a paper surface
  • Very affordable, making these colored pencils accessible to anyone including students
  • It comes with an extra sharpener and an eraser




Cons

  • The number of colored pencils is limited only to 30 colors



Dimensions: 12.25" x 0.25" x 9.5" | Weight: 0.6 oz | Color: Multicolor | Blendable: Yes | No. of Pencils: 30

3. Prismacolor Scholar Colored Pencils and Sets - Best for Vibrant Artwork

Prismacolor Scholar Colored Pencils, Assorted Colors, 48...
  • High-quality art pencils designed for beginning artists and...
  • Soft, smooth leads for superior blending and shading

Not everyone will expect to find the brand name Prismacolor on this list because of their price range but their particular Scholar Colored Pencils and Set is surprisingly affordable so we had to include it here. 

The set contains a total number of 48 different shades with which we can produce more colors while mixing. 

Experience 

The pigments from the Prismacolor colored pencils are very rich and vibrant and they can make your drawings appear almost natural to the observer’s eye.

Working with these pencils is easier than expected since we don’t have to stress on each stroke because the colors are already vivid, which means only a few light strokes on one area are more than enough to provide full coverage. 

The reason the pencils are rich in pigments is that they contain wax in their core and therefore, they are smooth to work with. At the same time, it does not take too much time or effort to blend the colors because of the waxy ingredients.

Although the pack is slightly costlier than the others on our list, we still think it’s a worthy investment considering the inexpensive price tag. 

All in all, this is the ideal setting for those who are looking for a well-known and reliable brand. 



Pros

  • Pencils blend really easily, and that is what most artists look for in a good set of colored pencils
  • They provide vibrant pigments without having to add too much pressure or spend too much time In the process




Cons

  • A little costly for artists who are strictly looking only for cheap pencils 



Dimensions: 8.25" x 4.75" x 0.75" | Weight: 11.4 oz | Color: Multicolor | Blendable: Yes | No. of Pencils: 48

4. Blick Studio Artists Colored Pencils

Blick is one of the most popular brand names which many artists turn to when it comes to purchasing art supplies.

When it comes to colored pencils, their Artists’ Colored Pencils are sure to live up to your expectations too.

Experience 

This widely known brand is famous for its high-quality products, and sure enough, its colored pencils are no exception.

First of all, this set is pretty cheap compared to the contents inside. It’s a good choice for anyone who seeks to experience professional quality products at the lowest price possible. 

They are also available in 5 different sets including packs of 72, 48, 36, 24, and 12. We think they have a good range of sizes which can fit many requirements including children, students, beginners, and even professionals. 

If you are new to this brand and want to check out the effects of these pencils, you can start with the pack that contains a minimum number of 12 pencils at a very low price. 

The best feature about the Blick sets is that each pencil is also available for individual purchase. So if one of them either breaks or finishes, we can easily buy a new one without having to waste money on a whole new set. Therefore, there is no need to worry about working with a larger artwork. 

Moreover, the casing is made from cedar wood which makes the pencil very comfortable to hold while working, and that will add to the improvement in your drawing. 

But we can say the price for purchasing individually can be too much for some artists.

Nonetheless, there is more to gain than lose with these pencils because the lead core is also just the right size (3.8mm) to create perfect drawing strokes. So these are the perfect pick for everyone, ranging from learners to experts who are on a restricted budget. 



Pros

  • Blick colored pencils are available in 5 different set sizes, aiming to meet most drawing needs
  • They are comfortable to hold which is good for producing amazing results 
  • These professional-grade pencils come at a very low price if bought as a set 
  • Each color is available for individual purchase 




Cons

  • The price of buying an individual colored pencil is expensive



Dimensions: N/A | Weight: N/A | Color: Multicolor | Blendable: Yes | No. of Pencils: 72

5. Prang Groove Triangular Colored Pencils

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Prang Groove Triangular Colored Pencils, 3.3 Millimeter...
  • Triangular shape with grooves promote proper grip, even...
  • Smooth core delivers vivid, blendable colors and soft...

Prang is well known for producing art supplies that are affordable for everyone. For many years, it has been serving artists with wallet-friendly materials. 

Their colored pencils are great for young artists who are getting themselves familiar with this line of artwork. 

Experience

The colored pencils by Prang are neither too expensive nor too cheap, they come in a medium price range. 

Because they are targeting mostly young artists and children who have a passion for art, the shape of the pencils is carved in a triangular barrel so they are easy to hold while at the same time, allowing the user to dominate their strokes and control the outcome of the drawing. 

One aspect of these pencils that stand out from the rest is their lead core size, which is 3.3mm small. It serves both as a benefit and a loss for the artist, depending on how you want to use it. 

You will achieve more precision when working with a 3.3mm lead and enhance those minor details or highlights. But when it comes to large projects, it takes a lot of time and patience to see visible effects. 

Note that sharpening the triangular pencils does not require you to use a knife or blade. Instead, just a regular mechanical sharpener will work fine. We do recommend using a sharpener because the casing is really tough. 

If you’re looking forward to doing small and simple artwork without spending too much time on it, these colored pencils would be the right choice. Keep in mind they need pressure for leaving vivid marks and lines. 



Pros

  • Prang colored pencils are shaped in a triangular barrel to ensure comfort and full control while working set sizes, aiming to meet most drawing needs
  • The pencils are great for working on fine lines and little details 




Cons

  • The lead core of the pencil is very thin for working on larger artwork 



Dimensions: ‎7" x 9" x 0.5" | Weight: ‎4.8 oz | Color: Multicolor | Blendable: Yes | No. of Pencils: 24

6. Artlicious Colored Pencils

Sale
Artlicious Colored Pencils, 50 Colors, Colored Pencils for...
  • Complete Set - With 50 bright, bold drawing pencils to...
  • Strong Materials - Our premium adult coloring pencils are...

Artlicious is a brand that produces a lot of art supplies - from wet paints to multiple extras. And not to mention, they are all of the great quality too.

Since we are looking for colored pencils, expect to find one of the best quality at a very reasonable price from this name.

Experience

Despite being cheap, it took us by surprise when we compare it with the performance it delivers - it almost seems like a steal! 

Not only for this reason that we included this set on the list but also because it comes with a good-quality sharpener which saves us from spending more time and money in the search for one from a good brand. 

The pencils blend pretty well when mixed together and they offer opaque coverage after a few strokes or layerings. 

With 50 shades in the set, we find it to be a great deal given the very affordable price. Since they blend very well, we can mix two or more colors together if there is a shortage of one particular shade. 

One amazing aspect of the pencils is they don’t contain toxic chemicals or ingredients which means they are safe for kids to use as well. So, they would make a perfect gift set for your little one who shows a keen interest in colors. 

Another good feature we found with these pencils is that they have softcore lead. When it comes to sharpening, artists would take extra care of their soft leads by using either a knife or blade. But on the contrary, these pencils can be sharpened using both mechanical and electric sharpeners, and they still won’t damage the core. 

As far as we know, the only setback here would be the diameter of the core which is just 3.3mm. While we can achieve perfect strokes, this can also take a lot of time and energy when working on larger pieces. 



Pros

  • At a very low price, the pencils provide excellent performance 
  • Blending and mixing can be done easily with these colored pencils 
  • Since they are non-toxic, they are safe for children to use 
  • The soft lead core does not get damaged by either mechanical or electric sharpeners 




Cons

  • With a diameter of 3.3mm, it will be hard to create large drawings since it takes a longer time 



Dimensions: 7.25" x 0.7" x 7.75" | Weight: 11.5 oz | Color: Multicolor | Blendable: Yes | No. of Pencils: 50

7. Sargent Art Premium Colored Pencils

Sale
Sargent Art 09338000912 Pencils, 50 Count (Pack of 1),...
  • Supports Creativity: These neon colored pencils encourage...
  • Variety Of Colors: This set of neon colored pencils has an...

Here is another brand that offers 5 different set sizes of 52, 50, 36, 24, and 12 to ensure artists find the desired one for their drawing.

The 50-colored pencil set, for example, is one of the cheapest on the list. Sargent Art has done budget-conscious beginners and artists a great service for coming up with this set that can fit both budget and quality.

Experience

One might think that the fact that it's so cheap, the quality is definitely compromised. But before we go further, we would clarify that it is not.

Of course, they may not be as great as higher-end brands but they do deliver amazing results, nonetheless. They hold all the basic properties of good colored pencils for getting started. 

Because they are intended for beginners, the pencils are more than enough to fulfill this purpose. These are ideal for young artists and children to prepare themselves for a journey in this line of artwork. 

The size range is also highly admirable because then it prevents artists from getting the wrong set or colors which they probably do not intend to use. 

We would also recommend this pack for beginners who want to explore the world of drawings starting with a good set of colored pencils.



Pros

  • The pencils have most of the basic properties artists look for when getting started with this medium 
  • They are both beginner-friendly and easy to use
  • With a range of 5 different set sizes, artists can choose which one will best meet their requirements




Cons

  • Its properties suit beginners, but might not work for advanced artists or professionals



Dimensions: 8.11" x 7.56" x 0.71" | Weight: 10.2 oz | Color: Multicolor | Blendable: Yes | No. of Pencils: 50

8. Faber Castell Premium Color Pencils

Faber Castell Premium Color Pencils, 60 colour
  • New set of 60 Classic multi Colored Art Drawing Pencils...
  • Set of 60 color pencils with hexagonal barrel for a better...

If you’ve been around the world of art for some time, you’ll know that Faber-Castell is one of the most popular brands which deals with a variety of art supplies. 

When it comes to colored pencils, they also have a wide range of them, including their Premium Color pencils which we will review in a moment. 

And if you’re a beginner looking to find a trusted brand, we assure you that Faber-Castell is one of them. 

Experience

We find that the Faber-Castell Premium Color Pencil set is one of the best in terms of quality among affordable colored pencils. 

These particular pencils are ideal for intermediate or professional artists who are looking for affordable colored pencils with quality that’s enough to showcase their artwork. But that does not mean beginners should shy away from them as they can be good for learning how quality pencils work. 

No doubt, they are not the cheapest on the list but they are worth investing in if you want to get amazing display results. 

Similar to Prismacolor and Blick’s colored pencils, these are also very smooth and they make application very easy. Because of this, we don’t have to press too hard on the paper in order to achieve brilliant and colorful lines. Instead, just consistent light touches will do the work. 

And if you are looking for eco-friendly colored pencils, you’ll be glad to know the casing is made of 100% reforested wood, which means they have a lesser impact on our environment. 

We would recommend these for those who are conscious of the environment while still looking for good-quality pencils which are easily removable with kneaded erasers. 



Pros

  • These pencils are made from reforested wood, therefore, having a much lesser impact on our environment 
  • Soft and easy to work with, so you don’t need to put too much pressure on the application process 
  • Can be used by both learners and professionals




Cons

  • Might not fit the budget of some artists looking for cheaper options



Dimensions: ‎7.9" x 6.8" x 0.8" | Weight: N/A | Color: Multicolor | Blendable: Yes | No. of Pencils: 60

9. Castle Art Supplies Colored Pencils Set

Sale
Castle Art Supplies 120 Colored Pencils Set | Quality Soft...
  • MADE TO MAKE IT EASY Ultimate range of 120 pencils arranged...
  • SOFT YET DURABLE Latest advanced formulation by in-house...

Last on the list, we have these colored pencils by Castle Art Supplies, a band name that is known for producing a range of affordable art supplies. 

Likewise, the colored pencils also come at a very cheap price which is a pretty good deal compared to the number of 72 colors in the box. 

Experience 

Among all the other sets we mentioned, this one has got the most number of colored pencils which are available at a very low price. 

On top of that, the colors are all vibrant and rich in pigments, which makes this an even better deal. 

With that many colors, we are able to find a lot of shades, and this reduces the necessity to mix colors in order to find the perfect shade. 

The quality of these pencils is also not compromised as they can deliver amazing coverage with only a few strokes. The color sticks firmly to the paper, although they work better on a rough surface while producing natural pieces. 

For their price range, the pencils are almost as good as those from professional brands, ranging from the quality of the lead core to the comfortable grip. Moreover, each pencil has a number printed on the top to prevent the artist from confusing similar shades. 

Above all these, we feel that the box deserves its own attention as it is attractive and organized. It will make a perfect gift for someone who loves color 

We would say that the only drawback is that the case can consume a lot of space if you’re a traveling artist. 



Pros

  • Because the pencils are soft, they provide a smooth feel to your drawings 
  • They come in a very attractive box with a number of 72 different shades
  • The pigments are rich and they offer full coverage




Cons

  • The case may not consume too much space for the traveling artist



Dimensions: ‎14.29" x 7.48" x 1.34" | Weight: N/A | Color: Multicolor | Blendable: Yes | No. of Pencils: 120

Best Cheap Colored Pencils Comparison Table

ProductDimensionsWeightColorBlendableNo. of Pencils
Reeves Colored Pencils0.61" x 3.54" x 6.99"3.52 ozMulticolorYes24
Studio Series Colored Pencil Set12.25" x 0.25" x 9.5"0.6 ozMulticolorYes30
Prismacolor Scholar Colored Pencils8.25" x 4.75" x 0.75"11.4 ozMulticolorYes48
Blick Studio Artists Colored PencilsN/AN/AMulticolorYes72
Prang Colored Pencils‎7" x 9" x 0.5"‎4.8 ozMulticolorYes24
Artlicious Colored Pencils7.25" x 0.7" x 7.75"11.5 ozMulticolorYes50
Sargent Art Colored Pencils8.11" x 7.56" x 0.71"10.2 ozMulticolorYes50
Faber Castell Color Pencils‎7.9" x 6.8" x 0.8"N/AMulticolorYes60
Castle Art Supplies Colored Pencils‎14.29" x 7.48" x 1.34"N/AMulticolorYes120

Types of Colored Pencils

Wax-based colored pencils

Wax-based colored pencils are the most commonly used type of colored pencil, they have a wax core, which encases the colored pigment. The wax core is made from a combination of waxes, such as paraffin wax, carnauba wax, or other waxes.

Wax-based colored pencils have a high wax content and are easy to blend, making them ideal for creating smooth gradients and blending colors. Wax-based pencils produce a matte finish, which makes them well-suited for sketching and drawing.

Oil-based colored pencils

Oil-based colored pencils are another type of colored pencil, unlike wax-based pencils, oil-based pencils use an oil-based core instead of a wax-based one. This type of pencil has a higher pigment content and produces a more intense color.

Oil-based colored pencils are also more difficult to blend and create gradients with, as the oil-based core does not melt as easily as wax-based cores. Oil-based pencils are better suited for creating detailed, vibrant artwork, as they produce a glossy finish.

Buying Guide For The Best Cheap Colored Pencils

Color Variety

The number of colors available in a colored pencil set can greatly influence the decision of buying it. A wide range of hues, tints, and shades will allow a coloring artist to capture the desired range of tones and create a more vibrant and realistic end product.

Pigment Quality

The quality of the pigment used in colored pencils can make a huge difference in the vibrancy and longevity of the finished product. The high-quality pigment will look more vibrant and will be less prone to fading over time.

Lightfastness

Lightfastness is the ability of a colored pencil to resist fading when exposed to light. The higher the lightfastness, the more vibrant the colors will stay over time.

Durability

The durability of a colored pencil set is important for longevity. A set of pencils that is well constructed and features strong wood or metal casing will be less likely to break and last longer.

Blending Ability

A good colored pencil set should feature a variety of blending capabilities. Different types of pencils and different brands will have different levels of blending capabilities, so it is important to consider which type of pencils will be best suited for the desired effect.

Cheap Colored Pencils FAQs

  • What kind of quality can I expect from cheap colored pencils?

    While cheaper colored pencils may not provide the same vibrancy, lightfastness, or ability to blend as more expensive options, many affordable sets still offer reasonable quality. It’s essential to read reviews and do some research to find the best option within your budget.

  • Is it possible to find lightfast cheap colored pencils?

    While lightfastness is generally associated with more expensive colored pencils, several cheap options on the market have reasonable lightfast ratings. Look for pencils that specifically mention their lightfast properties and check user reviews to verify their performance.

  • Are cheap colored pencils suitable for blending and layering?

    Blending and layering abilities can vary among cheap colored pencils. Some may perform well, while others may be more challenging to blend or layer effectively. Experimenting with different techniques or using additional blending tools, like blending stumps, can help improve results.

  • How do cheap colored pencils differ from more expensive ones in terms of pigmentation?

    Generally, more expensive colored pencils have better pigmentation and color opacity, meaning that you can achieve stronger and richer colors with fewer strokes. Cheap colored pencils often require more layers and pressure to attain the same level of color saturation.

  • Conclusion

    Choosing the best cheap colored pencils can be a daunting task, but our thorough research and testing have provided great options for artists on a budget. These pencils perform well, offer a smooth touch, and are easy to blend, making them perfect for learners, students, and even professionals looking for affordable art supplies.

    From the above 9 best cheap colored pencils, here are the top three expert recommendations:

    The Reeves Colored Pencils deliver impressive results at an affordable price and are perfect for those still learning to blend or for basic purposes. With a smooth touch to the surface and great blending qualities, this pack is an ideal option for learners or as a gift.

    On the other hand, the Studio Series Colored Pencil Set offers excellent value for money and comes with an additional sharpener and eraser. This set is accessible to students and budgeted artists alike, making it a good option for those looking for a practical and complete pack.

    Lastly, the Prismacolor Scholar Colored Pencils and Sets may be slightly more expensive than other options on this list, but the rich pigments and easy blending make them well worth the investment. For those looking for a reliable and well-known brand, this set is the right choice.

    Remember, exploring your creativity doesn't have to be costly. With these affordable colored pencils, you can express your artistic vision while sticking to your budget. Happy coloring!

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