Best Colored Pencils for Adult Coloring Books In 2018

Adult coloring books are one of the hottest trends right now, they have exploded in popularity in recent years. They seemingly came out of nowhere to become an instant sensation that no coffee table could be without. They went from a niche product that sold in limited quantities to becoming one of the most sought-after kinds of book on the planet overnight.

The massive surge in popularity that adult coloring books experienced had a reasonably unsurprising knock-on effect for the pencil making industry. While premium and high-quality pencils had been around for a while, the additional huge demand led to many new products (and a few new brands) entering the marketplace.

For many people, it can be hard to tell the difference between a good pencil, and good marketing (if you’re not familiar with colored pencils). Some pencils have lovely artistic looking cases yet are of a similar style to a child’s coloring set, others look cheap but can be of an exceptional professional quality.

With that in mind, today we are going to take a look at what makes colored pencils good (and not so good), and we’re going to conclude with a review of what we think are the 4 best-colored pencil sets on the market in 2018.

Let’s get started.

What To Look For In A Good Set Of Colored Pencils

There are many things that can differentiate a good pencil set from a bad pencil set. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Binder Type

You may have come across people mentioning binder types in relation to colored pencils. This refers to the substance that is used to hold the pigment together in the core of the pencil. Different binder types result in pencils that have different properties.

Oil-based pencils have a reasonably hard core, they usually use some kind of vegetable oil as a binder. They are one of the most durable and hardy binder types, and as such many entry-level pencil sets on the market will be oil based. They’re a great option for people who are just getting into the world of adult coloring books for the first time as they can be reasonably forgiving. However, you may need to apply a little more pressure to them than products that use other binder types to get full vibrancy.

Wax based pencils are the other main kind of pencil that people commonly use with adult coloring books. As the name suggests wax is used to bind the pigment together instead of the oil we mentioned above. Wax based pencils are almost always softer than oil-based pencils which means that they can snap and break reasonably easy. However, they provide much better coverage and are generally more vibrant stroke for stroke.

Water-soluble pencils are another kind of pencil you’ll find on the market, but they’re not generally recommended for adult coloring books. The binder that holds the pigment together degrades when it comes into contact with water and it can create a watercolor style effect on the paper. Oil or wax based pencils are usually better unless you’ve got a dedicated adult coloring book that has been specifically designed for use with water-soluble pencils.

The Number Of Colors

It should not come as a surprise to you to learn that perhaps the most important thing to have in a good set of coloring pencils is a wide range of colors. The more you have, the more creative freedom you can utilize. A decent selection of colors also allows for easier and more intricate shading within the lines of your coloring book.

There’s no hard rule about the minimum amount of individual colors a good kit should have, but 30 is generally considered to be a decent amount that will not be creatively restrictive. Ideally closer to 50 is better, anything above this is considered excellent.

A Good Case

Many people overlook the quality of the case that a set of pencils comes in, but in our opinion, it’s almost as important as the pencils themselves. If you’ve not got a safe and secure place to keep your pencils when they are not in use then the tips of the pencils can become damaged. This is going to mean that you’re going to need to sharpen them before using them each time, and it’s going to shorten the life of your pencils a little bit too.

Ensure that any set of pencils you consider comes with a strong solid case. Preferably this will be made of some kind of metal, but hard plastic cases work well too. The most important part of the case, however, is the inner section that holds the pencils in place. Try and find a product that grips the pencils well (instead of having them bang around between the lid and the holder).

Admittedly the quality of the case and holder is difficult to research when you’re buying online, and it shouldn’t be a deal breaker. But it’s certainly something to bear in mind.

3 Best Colored Pencils For Adult Coloring Books We Recommend

So as you can see, there’s a whole heap of different factors you should be taking into account when you’re shopping around for colored pencils. While making this article we decided to review some of the most popular pencil sets that are commonly used with adult coloring books. Below are 3 products that we feel represent the best on the market in a wide range of price brackets.

Crayola Colored Pencils, 50 Count Set, Pre-sharpened

We’re willing to bet that most people reading this have already owned a set of Crayola pencils at some point or another (or at least used some). They’ve been one of the world’s leading pencil manufacturers for decades now, and they are still creating consistently high-quality products.

It’s important to set your expectations realistically with this set of pencils, they’re the cheapest product on this list and as such, they are slightly lower quality.

To be honest they’re what’s known as “student grade” yet Crayola is trying to market them as pencils for adult coloring books (they even have a slightly retro design to them). However, in reality, they are remarkably similar to the products that they make for children.

This being said, if you’re not super fussy and you’re just looking for a decent set of pencils with a wide range of colors to do some casual coloring with – then they’re a great option. Crayola makes some of the best pencils in the budget price bracket (that will not disappoint).

There are 50 excellent colors in a wide range of shades that are beautifully vibrant. They’re not going to be the best in the world for shading, but they do provide a sharp strong and precise tip that’s not going to break easily as they are oil based.

They come pre-sharpened in the box, and it even comes with a coloring and shading guide to get you started. It’s a great product that’s more than worthy of your consideration.

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Studio Series Colored Pencil Set

Studio series may not have the big brand name recognition of Crayola, and if this is your first time venturing into the world of adult coloring books then you’ve probably never heard of them. This is because they’re a premium pencil brand and they don’t make the kind of products that you’re usually going to buy for your kids.

When you first hold one of these pencils in your hand you instantly know they’re high quality, even before you put pencil to paper. They are ergonomically well designed and they’re not going to slip, chafe, or rub while they are in your hands. They are durable and the nibs are not going to crumble or break often.

The colors themselves are absolutely stunning, they’re vibrant and provide excellent coverage. They make blending and shading exceptionally easy and their super-precise points allow you to stay within the lines of your coloring book with ease (even in the super detailed sections).

The case is made of plastic, which isn’t the end of the world but we often prefer to see metal used instead. They come pre-sharpened but a high-quality pencil sharpener (and eraser) are included as standard. We particularly like the brief (but compressive) guide that’s on the back of the case. It provides you with several actionable tips that will almost certainly improve your coloring skills.

The only thing we’re not too happy about with this product is the limited amount of pencils that are included in the set. 30 is generally seen as the minimum you should be looking for if you don’t want to be restricted by the colors that you have available to you. But, that being said, while 30 is the minimum it’s also considered to be acceptable.

Overall this is a great product that’s prioritized quality over quantity and considering the price, it’s a great option. We recommend them to people who are just starting out in the world of adult coloring books and want a set of high-quality pencils (that are not going to break the bank).

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Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils

The final product we’re recommending here today is undoubtedly the best on our list, but it’s also the most expensive. If you’re looking for a comprehensive set of high-quality pencils and don’t mind paying around $25 for them – then this is a product that you should seriously consider.

These pencils have been specifically designed to be some of the best shading and shadowing products on the market. Unlike the other pencils we have mentioned today, these use wax as a binder instead of oil. This means that they have an exceptionally soft core that makes them vibrant and perfect for blending. The pencils mark the paper in a very different way to the reasonably traditional products above, and even if you haven’t picked up a pencil in the past 10 years – you’re going to instantly feel the quality difference.

Obviously, the most attractive thing for many people about this set of pencils will be the massive 72 colors that are included. This is a pencil set that is going to give you complete creative freedom with your coloring. You’re going to be able to pick very specific colors that are exactly what you had in mind. It also allows for exceptionally gentle gradients while shading, which makes it much easier to achieve a stunning final result.

This product is actually available in 132 pencil and 150 pencil varieties too. However, once you start getting to this number of pencils the price goes up dramatically. Unless you have a specific need for that many colors, 72 pencils will be more than enough for most people.

We particularly like the case that these pencils come in. Many pencil sets that have such a large number of color options will come in very long boxes that lay them out in a long line. While looking at them in a spectrum like this is incredibly satisfying – it makes storage difficult.

Prismacolor have gone for a layered design with this product, with each individual color block having a dedicated tray. It makes it easy to pick the perfect shade while making storage simple too. Also, its got a metal outer case for added protection – which we always like to see.

Overall this is a great product that has excellent reviews. And while it’s the most expensive on this list – it’s still only $25. It’s more than worthy of being added to the very top of your shortlist.

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Conclusion

So there you have it, a little bit of an introduction into the world of pencils for adult coloring books.

There are many other great products on the market that we didn’t mention here today, but we think that the ones we have covered above represent some of the best available in 2018.

You’re going to have hours of peaceful stress-free coloring if you use them, and they are all highly recommended.

Sean Green

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