The Best Cheap Colored Pencils in the Market 2021 Edition

Oct 15, 2021 | 0 comments

Looking for the best cheap colored pencils? Continue reading because we’ve shared a list of 10!

Whether it’s for freeform drawing or for filling up a coloring book, colored pencils are great art tools to use to express your creativity. Using this tool is pretty much easy to use, you’ll only need colored pencils, a sharpener, and your paper or coloring book.

As we’ve already made a blog about the best colored pencils for artists and for adult coloring books, we decided to concentrate on the cheapest options for this post.

(Some links are affiliate links which means we earn a small commission if you purchase at no additional cost to you.)

Table of Contents

What to Avoid

What to Look For

The Best Cheap Colored Pencils

Blending Tools

Final Thoughts

What to Avoid

There are cheap colored pencils that are made with quality in mind and there are cheap colored pencils that are made cheaply to the core. So, regardless of a tight budget, you don’t need to settle with the latter.

Artist-grade pencils come with an expensive price tag, but there are cheap alternatives for them.

What you need to avoid are cheap colored pencils from unknown brands that do not have enough good reviews online. These pencils tend to be made poorly, fall apart easily, and have brittle or pale leads that are impossible to work with.

What to Look For

When it comes to purchasing colored pencils, workability is the one thing that you should look for. Factors like lightfastness, pigment quality, and soft cores are what you should look into. If you are still a beginner, you’ll want to have durable pencils that give off nice pigment when used in basic coloring techniques.

When choosing what colored pencil set to purchase, try to get a sample that you can test out first before investing in a complete set. Inspect the pencil if its lead is well-attached inside the wooden casing and if it’s good after sharpening.

Softer lead means that the pencils will blend easily and harder leads are great for detail work.

Also, note that wax-based pencils will tend to leave off a wax bloom. 

The Best Cheap Colored Pencils

Castle Art Supplies Colored Pencils Set

When it comes to affordable supplies, a go-to brand for many artists is Castle Art Supplies. Their colored pencil set comes in with 72 colors which is a very good deal with the price it comes with. The colors are all rich and vibrant, and they deliver great results with only a few strokes.

For this set’s price tag, the pencils are easily comparable to premium brands because of their core quality and ergonomic barrel shape. I think the only downside of this colored pencil set is how bulky its case is so if you are traveling, this is not the most portable tool to bring with you.

Reeves Colored Pencils

Reeves is another popular art supply brand and they produce quality products that also come at an affordable price tag.

The Reeves Colored Pencils glides smoothly on paper and are easy to blend when you want to layer and mix colors. The pigments show up firmly on a paper and the pencils provide results that can exceed your expectations from such an inexpensive set.

This colored pencil set is perfect for beginners who are still learning how to blend colors and other basic techniques using colored pencils. The only drawback of this set is it only has 36 colors, so you’ll have to mix and blend to get the exact shades you want.

Prismacolor Scholar Colored Pencils

Prismacolor is definitely one of the leading brands when it comes to producing high-quality colored pencils and we’ve featured this brand here in our blog one too many times. However, while Prismacolor does indeed deliver premium products, its popular variation Premier Soft Core Colored Pencils cost a fair chunk of money. Luckily, there is a cheaper option in the same brand.

The Prismacolor Scholar Colored Pencils offer 48 bright and vivid colors that come at a more affordable price. It is wax-based and it glides smoothly on paper that gives it a fair blend-ability.

This set may be more expensive compared to other cheap alternatives, but if you want to go with a reliable brand, this Prismacolor Scholar’s Colored Pencils are perfect!

Faber Castell Premium Color Pencils

Here’s another well-known brand when it comes to colored pencils – Faber-Castell. We’ve also featured this brand so many times in our articles as it’s definitely one of my personal favorites. This brand has a wide range of colored pencil sets and the Faber Castell Premium Color Pencils are definitely included in the best cheap colored pencils list.

If you are a beginner, Faber Castell is a solid and trusted brand you’ll want to rely on, and this is guaranteed by everyone.

The Faber Castell Premium Color Pencils is a cheap alternative to its expensive Polychromos cousin. This particular set is ideal for intermediate to professional artists looking for affordable yet good-quality colored pencils, but it’s also great for beginners to use. Note that these pencils may not be the cheapest on this list, but they are still relatively affordable than other high-quality ones.

This colored pencil is similar to the Prismacolor ones. They are smooth to apply on paper and you don’t need hard pressure to lay down the pigment. This set is also eco-friendly as its casings are made from 100% reforested wood.

Prang Groove Triangular Colored Pencils

This brand is well-known for having affordable products and their colored pencils are worth the try. The Prang Groove Triangular Colored Pencils are great for young artists who are still just starting out on their art journey.

This line is designed for beginners and children so they are made with triangular barrels for easy and comfortable grip. The downside of these colored pencils is that their core size is only 3.3mm small. It’s great for precision and detail, but it does not fair well for working on large projects.

If you are only doing small and simple pieces, this is one of the best cheap colored pencils in the market.

Artlicious Colored Pencils

Artlicious is another art supply brand that produces great quality products, namely paints and other extras. They also have colored pencils in their line and it’s of good quality at a really cheap price.

You’ll be surprised at how these pencils deliver because, for its price, you’ll never expect them to perform so well. The pencils blend easily when mixed together and the coverage is opaque even after just a few strokes. The set has 50 shades and it’s really a steal given its super affordable price. Another great thing about these pencils is they are non-toxic so they are safe for children to use.

Also, it comes with a sharpener, so it’s a really great value for your money should you decide to purchase it.

Crayola Colored Pencils

Crayola is an excellent choice when you are looking for cheap art materials. Their colored pencils are great for a wide range of use and they are designed for basic drawing and coloring. The basic color set of 12 can perform coloring techniques like blending and layering and can produce a smooth and vibrant pigment that’s actually workable.

Crayola Colored Pencils are excellent for practice purposes, they are affordable and extremely durable. It may not be the best when it comes to lightfastness and color intensity, but it is decent for beginners and children to use.

Marco Raffine Fine Art Colored Pencils

The Marco Raffine Colored Pencils are probably the cheapest wax-based colored pencils that can contest premium oil-based competitors. This brand from Japan is a great set considering its cheap price.

The leads are harder than a typical wax-based pencil so it can keep a sharp point which is great for working on details. The downside is it’s not as great when it comes to blending and creating smooth gradients, and the colors are not as bright compared to other brands.

This set is an affordable alternative when you’re looking for budget-friendly colored pencils so don’t expect too much as it can’t be compared to the quality of Prismacolor pencils.

Black Widow Monarch Colored Pencils

Another brand that made it to our best cheap colored pencils list is the Black Widow Monarch Colored Pencils. They are wax-based pencils that are buttery soft, similar to the popular Prismacolor pencils. Their colors are rich and vibrant, and they are easy to blend and work with.

This set comes in 48 colors and this particular set comes with a unique range of pastels that aren’t common in other sets.

The Black Widow Monarch Colored Pencils are a great alternative to Prismacolor pencils although the downside is it contains more wax so you’ll have to put on more layers of pencil to have decent coverage and fill your paper. And just like other wax-based pencils, this set does leave wax bloom in time.

Studio Series Colored Pencil Set

This colored pencil set was actually made by book publisher Peter Pauper Press that has made countless coloring books including Tropical Paradise and Doodle Designs.

The Studio Series Colored Pencil Set was designed to go together with their coloring books and it made it on our list because of its quality and affordability. It comes with a sharpener and a kneaded eraser which are very handy tools to have.

Extras aside, this set performs well. The colors blend and shade well, and they are fairly vibrant. Overall, this colored pencil set is a great set for a beginner who adores coloring books.

Blending Tools

If you want your cheap pencils to work like artist-grade pencils, you can use blending tools. There are blending techniques that can transform your work into a whole other level. There are blending tools that can help you achieve this and each tool works differently on different papers and pencils so make sure to test them out first.

We have a whole article for these blending techniques, read it here: 10 Ways on How To Blend Colored Pencils

Final Thoughts

Looking for the best cheap colored pencils in the market can be quite tedious especially when you don’t know which brand is good. There are so many brands crowding the marketplace and with a limited budget, it’s hard to find out which one performs the best.

Lucky for you, we’ve made your purchasing journey easy because the ones we’ve listed above are great options to choose from. I hope this blog helped you in your art journey. If we’ve missed your favorite cheap colored pencil set, feel free to comment them down below!

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