Best Watercolor Paints

Watercolor paints are a wonderfully affordable way to explore your creativity. With a set of watercolor paints in your artist’s kit, you can easily create quality paintings to wow friends and family.

But with so many different types of watercolor paints available today, it can be confusing choosing the best watercolor paints for your needs.

Best Watercolor Paints

We’ve reviewed hundreds of products available on the market today to narrow it down to the best of the best. So you can be confident in the fact that these are the 5 best watercolor paints ready for you to purchase!

Whether you’re a professional artist or more of a hobbyist, these watercolor paints will be all you need to let your creativity flourish on the canvas.

There’s even a helpful buyer’s guide included below to show you everything you need to take into consideration before you hit purchase. We’ve even covered a few frequently asked questions so as to give you a little extra help!

In a hurry? Check out our top pick below! 

OUR TOP PICK

Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolor Paint, Half Pans, Set of 24, 24 Count

The Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolor paint set is the winner of our top spot for several different reasons. This particular watercolor paint set comes with 24 individual colors.

It is perfect for both professionals and beginners alike, meaning that you can easily use them regardless of your artistic experience.

What’s really great about this particular watercolor paint set is that Winsor & Newton have given you a great range of colors but at a more affordable price than expensive sets.

They have replaced some of the more expensive pigments with less pricey alternatives so as to be kinder on your wallet. All this while still maintaining the high-quality many people associate with the trusted brand.

This particular watercolor set features an excellent tinting strength, good working properties, and good transparency.

All crucial features to look for in quality watercolor paints! So you can rest assured that you are making the right choice with Winsor & Newton.

The Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolor paint set comes in an easy to transport container. All the paints are stored in this handy case which can also double as your mixing palette thanks to the snap out tray.

This will be essential for keeping all of your watercolor paints in one place ready for when you need them.

It even comes with its own paintbrush to give you everything you need to get painting your next watercolor masterpiece!

This particular watercolor paint set makes use of Winsor & Newton’s cartridge system. This makes it easier to store the paints in the same case. It can even make them easier to replace should you need to! 

Pros:

  • Set of 24 Winsor & Newton watercolors perfect for beginners or professionals.
  • Makes use of Winsor & Newton’s cartridge system for easy storage and replaceability.
  • Uses less expensive pigment alternatives for a more affordable watercolor paint set.
  • Features excellent tinting strength, transparency, and working properties.
  • Comes in an easy to transport container with an additional clip-on mixing palette and paintbrush.

Cons:

  • Some customers felt the pan holders could have been more tightly fitting in the container.

EDITORS CHOICE

Watercolor Paint Essential Set - 24 Vibrant Colors - Lightweight and Portable - Perfect for Budding Hobbyists and Professional Artists - Paintbrush Included - MozArt Supplies

Any keen artist will have everything they need in this MozArt essential watercolor paint set.

This beautiful watercolor paint set comes with a range of 24 vibrant colors to give you more range. The color palette has been carefully selected by artists, for artists.

All of the colors included in this watercolor paint set are strongly pigmented and rich in tone. They can easily be blended with one another to give you even more colors to play with. Perfect if you want to create a variety of pieces!

These particular watercolor paints are of superior quality. All of the paints are made of  high-quality, non-toxic paint that are perfect for professionals or beginners.

This watercolor paint set will make the perfect gift for any budding artists in your life!

What’s great about this particular watercolor paint set is that it comes in a sturdy metal tin. This will be great for keeping all of the paints in one handy place!

The lid of the tin has 3 partitions so that you can easily use it to mix your watercolor paints together for a greater color palette. It even comes with a paintbrush as part of the set to get you started.

This watercolor paint set is easily portable. Its small size means that you can easily pack it away in your bag to take with you for when your muse strikes you.

It also means that it won’t take up as much space when you need to store it. A great alternative to tons of watercolor tubes that will need a bulky box to store them!

MozArt prides itself on creating quality products. In fact, they are so confident that you’ll be happy with your new set of watercolor paints that they offer a satisfaction guarantee with this particular set.

Pros:

  • Range of 24 vibrant watercolor paints.
  • Constructed using superior materials for high-quality, non-toxic paints.
  • Comes in a sturdy metal tin that can double as a mixing palette.
  • Easy to transport and store thanks to its small size.
  • Comes with a satisfaction guarantee from the manufacturer.

Cons:

  • Several artists recommended using a different paintbrush.

BEST VALUE

MeiLiang Watercolor Paint Set, 36 Vivid Colors in Pocket Box with Metal Ring and Watercolor Brush, Perfect for Students, Kids, Beginners and More

The MeiLiang watercolor paint set has been designed to be perfect for use by both beginners and professionals. This particular watercolor paint set comes with 36 different colors to give you a greater color palette to choose from. 

All of the colors are highly pigmented and mix well with one another. They are all high-quality, so there’s no need to worry about a grainy or chalky feel to the paints once they dry.

The colors mix well with one another, too, which will be an asset for every artist.

The unique thing about this particular watercolor paint set is that MeiLiang has used Arabic gum as a binding agent when manufacturing the paints. This helps to increase the gloss of the paints, as well as transparency.

The Arabic gum helps to heighten the intensity of the colors on the page and will make the paint more soluble. Great if you’re looking for a high-quality watercolor paint set!

This particular watercolor paint set comes in a handy metal case that features an easy to open lid. The flip cover can be used as a mixing palette for you to do all of your mixing in one place.

The case features a metal ring under the case to make the paint set easier to hold when in use. MeiLiang has also included a paintbrush with this set to give you everything you need to get painting.

These paints are non-toxic to give you more peace of mind. This makes the watercolor paint set the perfect gift for kids or students, and will be a great way to encourage their creativity.

So you can rest assured that these paints are safe and easy to use!

Pros:

  • Set of 36 watercolor paints.
  • Highly pigmented colors that can be mixed together.
  • Uses Arabic gum as a binding agent for a glossier finish.
  • Comes in a handy metal tin for easy portability.
  • Non-toxic, high-quality paints that are suitable for artists of all ages.

Cons:

  • A few artists found the lid to be on the small side for mixing the colors.

RUNNER UP

Arteza Watercolor Paint, Set of 60 Colors/Tubes (12 ml/0.4 US fl oz) with Storage Box, Rich Pigments, Vibrant, Non Toxic Paints for The Artist, Hobby Painters, Ideal for Watercolor Techniques

The Arteza set of 60 tubes of watercolor paints are the ideal choice if you prefer your watercolor paints from a tube.

All of the paints included in this set are highly pigmented and will show up vibrantly on your canvas or watercolor paper. With 60 colors to choose from, you can rest assured that you will have the diverse palette you need.

The great thing about watercolor paints in tubes is that you can squeeze out only as much paint as you will need.

This is great for ensuring that you don’t waste any paint. Often to get the same vibrancy from watercolor paints in a pan, you have to use more paint.

What’s great about these particular watercolor paints is that each tube is carefully labeled with all the information you need to know.

They are labeled with each individual color’s name, as well as that shade’s opacity level, lightfastness rating, and pigment information.

All of these watercolor paints are non-toxic and have been ACMI-certified safe. Excellent for giving you more peace of mind! So you won’t need to worry about working with any potentially dangerous chemicals.

The great thing about these particular watercolor paints is that you keep them all together in the sturdy storage box which comes included.

Just the thing you’ll need to keep them organized and ready for when you need to use them next.

Pros:

  • 60 tubes of highly pigmented watercolor paint.
  • ACMI-certified safe, non-toxic paints.
  • Watercolor tubes are great for wasting less paint.
  • Every tube is labeled with the color name, opacity level, lightfastness rating, and pigment information.
  • Comes with a sturdy storage case.

Cons:

  • Some artists felt this set of watercolor paints was better suited to beginners.

RUNNER UP

Kuretake GANSAI TAMBI Watercolor 36 Colors Set, Handcrafted, Professional-Quality Pigment Inks for Artists and Crafters, AP-Certified, Blendable, Show up on Dark Paper, Made in Japan

The Kuretake GANSAI TAMBI watercolor 36 colors set will give a budding artist all the essentials they need to get started with watercolor painting.

This particular watercolor paint set includes an array of 36 different colors to help you create your next masterpiece. All of the colors that Kuretake has selected are found in nature, leaving you with opaque and vivid colors.

These Japanese paints have been designed so as to dry with a slightly shiny finish. What’s great is that these paints won’t leave hard edges when they dry.

This means that you can easily accomplish flat-washes, and even layer the colors with proper techniques.

The pans that these paints have been poured into are larger than pans seen on other watercolor paint sets.

This means that you can use larger brushes for your paintings should you wish to. Ideal if you want to use a variety of brushes when it comes to your watercolor paintings!

The paints in this Kuretake GANSAI TAMBI watercolor paints set have been ACMI-certified. The pigments are also water-based. So you can rest assured that these paints are non-toxic and safe to use!

This particular watercolor paint set comes with a protective sheet. This is to keep your pans from shifting in the paint set. It can also be used as a mixing palette.

Every box also includes a color chart so that you can easily distinguish between the colors in your paint set.

Pros:

  • Watercolor pan set with a range of 36 different colors.
  • Designed to not leave hard edges once dried.
  • Paint comes in larger pans so you can use a variety of brush sizes.
  • ACMI-certified non-toxic paints.
  • Comes with a protective sheet and a color chart.

Cons:

  • Doesn’t come with a paintbrush for beginners to use.

Best Watercolor Paints Buying Guide

Watercolor painting is a wonderfully rewarding hobby. Though with so many different types of watercolor paints available on the market, it can often be difficult to discern between them.

While it may be tempting to just buy the first set of watercolor paints that you stumble across, there are a few key factors that you will need to consider first before you hit purchase.

We’ve collated all the information you’ll need to make the right choice for you in this handy buyer’s guide. Take a look at the points below to see what you’ll need to think about before you commit to buying your new set of watercolor paints!

No matter whether you’re an expert or a novice, with this knowledge, you’ll be able to choose the right watercolor paints for your needs.

You can also skip ahead to our frequently asked questions. Take a look at everything you’ll need to think about below!

Pan vs tubes

The main thing to consider when it comes to buying the right watercolor paints for you is to decide which form you want to buy. Watercolor paints come available in two forms: pans and watercolor tubes. There are benefits and drawbacks to both.

Watercolor tubes are highly pigmented, meaning you don’t need a lot of them to get a vibrant color on paper. However, it can be very easy to squeeze out more than you need, wasting paint.

This type of watercolor paint is often tricky to use once dried. All you need to do to use watercolor tubes is squeeze out a little color onto your palette and dilute it with a little water.

Watercolor pans are available as hard, dry cakes stored in individual pans. These can be handy to transport around, and won’t take up a lot of space. They may need more paint to get the same vibrancy that you get with tube paints but are versatile.

Color range

The color gamut that your chosen watercolor paints are able to offer you will be crucial. The more colors in your palette, the more versatility it will have to you as an artist. Take a look at how many colors are included as part of the watercolor paint set.

If there are less than 24 colors, it will be important to think about how often you intend to use them. The fewer colors your chosen watercolor paints are able to offer you, the more mixing you’ll have to do to get a greater palette.

Portability

If you plan on joining a few art classes to practice your new watercolor paints with, then you will need to choose a set that is easy to transport. Unless they come in a handy case, watercolor tubes may be trickier to transport - not to mention organize.

Many watercolor pans are in smaller, more convenient tins which immediately make them easier to transport at a moment’s notice. These will also be ideal for any students who need watercolor paints as part of their art classes!

Pans will also keep the paints in an organized manner so you won’t have to guess which paint is which.

Easy to store

There’s nothing worse than choosing a watercolor paint set that is difficult to store when they’re not in use. Most pan sets come in smaller tins, so won’t take up much space when you need to store them.

Some watercolor tube sets may come with a sturdy case to help you keep them all together. If they don’t, it will be trickier to keep them all in one place. You will need to invest in a box of your own to store them in, as well as think about how much storage space you have to play with.

Value for money

Naturally, you’ll want to get the most affordable watercolor paints that you can while also getting good value for money. There are several factors to think about when it comes to value for money.

This will include the number of paints included in the set, as well as any additional accessories that may or may not be included.

Remember, cheaper paints may not be a safe bet. Often this means the manufacturer has used cheaper ingredients. This will show in your artwork. Take a look around for quality watercolor paints that are at an affordable price.

Additional accessories

Once you’ve decided what type of watercolor paint you want to buy, it’s worth thinking about what additional accessories you can get.

Most watercolor pan sets will come with a paintbrush to get you started. Several sets also let the tin double as a mixing palette.

Mixability

How easy are your chosen watercolor paints to mix? This will be important for giving yourself a greater color palette to play with. Especially if your chosen watercolor paint set comes with fewer colors!

The mixability of your watercolor paints will be crucial for creating beautiful works of art. If the colors don’t mix well, this will be reflected on your canvas or watercolor paper.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better - watercolor tubes or pans?

This is entirely down to personal preference! There are benefits and drawbacks to both types of watercolor paint. Tubes tend to be more highly pigmented and it’s easier to get more vibrant colors straight out of the tube.

However, it can be easy to squeeze too much out of the tube, and these often aren’t usable once the paint has dried. Watercolor pans are easy and convenient to use, but you may need to use more paint to get stronger, more vibrant colors.

Is watercolor harder than oil?

Again, this comes down entirely to personal preference. It is easier to get more vibrant colors with oil paints, and it can be easier to correct mistakes.

However, oil paints require more tools in order to use them, and are trickier to take with you on the go. If you’re a beginner artist and plan on taking your paints with you, watercolors are the better choice.

How do I choose a watercolor brush?

This will depend on the type of brush that you need. There are several different types of brush shapes to choose from, and the best watercolor brush for you will depend on the techniques you plan to use.

It’s important to consider what materials have been used to make the brush, as well as how much it is. You should look for a brush that is able to snap back into shape after you’ve used it.

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