Best Watercolor Paints | For Beginners & Professionals


Selecting the right watercolor paints is crucial for creating captivating and expressive artwork. The quality, color range, and other factors can significantly impact your final results. But with so many options on the market, which brand offers the best watercolor paints?

Winsor & Newton Pocket Box stands out as the best option due to its exceptional pigment quality, vibrant color selection, and high lightfastness. From the same company, the Winsor & Newton Set is a bit pricey, but it’s a worthwhile investment for artists seeking top-quality watercolor paints.

In this article, we will review top watercolor paint sets based on specific parameters to help you make an informed decision. Discover the best options available, and elevate your watercolor painting experience to new heights.

Best Watercolor Paints

Compare Top Watercolor Paints

Paint SetOverall ScoreBottom LinePrice
Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolor Paint Set
Winsor & Newton Set
84Known for its high-quality pigmentsCheck Out On Amazon
Daniel Smith Essentials Watercolor Set
Daniel Smith Essentials
82Excellent granulation and transparencyCheck Out On Amazon
Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolor Sketchers' Pocket Box
Winsor & Newton Pocket Box
88 Top Pick
Compact and portable packaging
Check Out On Amazon
Van Gogh Watercolor Paint Set
Van Gogh Set
84 High End
Excellent lightfastness
Check Out On Amazon
Arteza Watercolor Paint Set
Arteza Set
82Offers a wide range of colorsCheck Out On Amazon
Paul Rubens Artist Watercolor Paints
Paul Rubens Artist
82Resistant to fadingCheck Out On Amazon

Detailed Analysis of the Best Watercolor Paints

Our selections are a great choice for both beginners and advanced artists.

1. Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolor Paint Set

Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolor Paint Set - Review

Overall Score: 84

Advantages:

  • High-quality pigments
  • Good color selection
  • Durable and compact packaging
  • Excellent value for money

Disadvantages:

  • Lightfastness could be improved for some colors
  • Limited color range compared to professional sets

The Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolor Paint Set has consistently been one of my favorites. Here’s what you can expect from this fantastic set.

Pigment Quality

Winsor & Newton is known for its high-quality pigments, and the Cotman line doesn’t disappoint. The colors are vibrant, and they blend effortlessly on the paper.

When using these paints, you’ll notice that the colors retain their brilliance even after drying.

Color Selection

This set offers a well-rounded selection of 12 colors, perfect for beginners and intermediate artists alike.

Although the range might be limited compared to professional sets, the colors provided are versatile enough to create a wide variety of stunning watercolor paintings.

You can easily mix the colors to create any shade you need.

Lightfastness

The lightfastness of these paints is generally good, which means that your artwork will resist fading over time when exposed to light.

However, some colors may fade slightly faster than others. To ensure the longevity of your paintings, I recommend using UV-resistant glass when framing your finished pieces.

Packaging and Ease of Use

The compact packaging of the Winsor & Newton Cotman set is one of its standout features. The sturdy plastic case is designed for durability, and it also doubles as a mixing palette.

The half pans are easy to remove and replace, making it convenient for you to customize your color selection.

Price

Considering the quality of the paints, the Winsor & Newton Cotman set offers excellent value for money.

While it’s not the cheapest option available, the price is reasonable for the superior pigments and durable packaging. If you’re serious about watercolor painting, this set is worth the investment.

2. Daniel Smith Essentials Watercolor Set

Daniel Smith Essentials Watercolor Set - Review

Overall Score: 82

Advantages:

  • Exceptional pigment quality
  • High lightfastness ratings
  • Easy to mix and create a wide range of colors
  • Ideal for artists seeking professional-grade paints

Disadvantages:

  • Limited color selection in the Essentials set
  • Price may be prohibitive for some

When it comes to professional-grade watercolor paints, the Daniel Smith Essentials Watercolor Set is a top choice among many artists. Here’s what makes this paint set stand out from the rest.

Pigment Quality

Daniel Smith is renowned for its exceptional pigment quality, and this set is no exception. The colors are incredibly vibrant and have a smooth consistency that makes them a pleasure to work with.

I’ve found that these paints deliver excellent granulation and transparency, allowing me to create stunning watercolor effects in my artwork.

Color Selection

The Essentials set includes six colors, which may seem limited at first glance. However, these colors have been carefully selected to provide an optimal mixing experience.

By using the primary colors in this set, you can create a vast array of hues, allowing for endless possibilities in your artwork.

Lightfastness

One of the key features of the Daniel Smith Essentials Watercolor Set is its excellent lightfastness ratings. This means that your artwork will be resistant to fading over time, even when exposed to light.

You can be confident that your paintings will maintain their vibrancy for years to come.

Packaging and Ease of Use

The set comes in a compact cardboard box with individual tubes of paint, making it easy to transport and store. While the packaging may not be as durable as other options, it’s functional and convenient.

The tubes allow you to control the amount of paint you need, preventing waste and ensuring that your paints last longer.

Price

As a professional-grade paint set, the Daniel Smith Essentials Watercolor Set comes at a higher price point than some alternatives.

However, if you’re serious about your watercolor art and looking for exceptional quality, this set is well worth the investment.

3. Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolor Sketchers’ Pocket Box

Review - Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolor Sketchers' Pocket Box
Top Pick

Overall Score: 88

Advantages:

  • Affordable price for high-quality watercolors
  • Wide color selection in a compact set
  • Convenient and portable packaging
  • Suitable for both beginners and experienced artists

Disadvantages:

  • Pigment quality may be slightly inferior to professional-grade paints
  • Lightfastness can vary between colors

The Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolor Sketchers’ Pocket Box is an excellent option for artists seeking a high-quality yet affordable watercolor set.

I’ve personally used this set for sketching and painting on the go, and it has consistently delivered impressive results.

Pigment Quality

While the Cotman line is considered a student-grade range, the pigment quality is still impressive. The colors are vibrant and blend well, creating a variety of effects that are perfect for watercolor painting.

Although the pigments might not be as rich as professional-grade paints, they still offer a fantastic painting experience.

Color Selection

This compact set includes 12 colors, providing a wide range of options for your artwork. The colors have been carefully chosen to offer a balanced selection that can be mixed to create an extensive palette.

I’ve found this set to be versatile and suitable for various painting styles.

Lightfastness

The lightfastness of the Cotman watercolors is generally good, ensuring that your artwork will remain vibrant over time.

However, the lightfastness can vary between colors, so it’s essential to check the individual ratings for each paint.

Packaging and Ease of Use

One of the standout features of this set is its compact and portable packaging. The pocket-sized box includes a built-in mixing palette and a small brush, making it perfect for painting on the go.

The design is both functional and convenient, allowing you to create beautiful watercolor art wherever inspiration strikes.

Price

The Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolor Sketchers’ Pocket Box offers exceptional value for money.

The set provides high-quality watercolors at an affordable price, making it an excellent choice for both beginners and experienced artists looking for a cost-effective option.

4. Van Gogh Watercolor Paint Set

Review - Van Gogh Watercolor Paint Set
High End

Overall Score: 84

Advantages:

  • High-quality pigments for vibrant, lasting colors
  • Wide color selection with various set sizes available
  • Excellent lightfastness
  • Suitable for both beginners and advanced artists

Disadvantages:

  • Slightly higher price compared to other options
  • Packaging could be more compact for on-the-go use

The Van Gogh Watercolor Paint Set is a fantastic choice for artists looking for high-quality watercolors with a focus on pigment quality, color selection, and lightfastness.

I’ve been consistently impressed with the results.

Pigment Quality

Van Gogh watercolors are known for their high pigment quality, which translates to vibrant and long-lasting colors.

The paints are easy to mix and blend, allowing for a wide range of effects and techniques in your watercolor paintings. I’ve been able to create stunning artwork with the rich pigments in this set.

Color Selection

The Van Gogh Watercolor Paint Set offers a wide color selection, with various set sizes available to suit your needs.

Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced artist, you’ll find a set that matches your requirements. The colors are well-balanced and versatile, allowing you to create an extensive palette for your artwork.

Lightfastness

One of the standout features of this paint set is its excellent lightfastness.

The colors are rated to maintain their vibrancy and resist fading over time, ensuring that your artwork remains fresh and true to its original appearance.

This is an essential aspect for any artist looking to create lasting pieces.

Packaging and Ease of Use

While the packaging of the Van Gogh Watercolor Paint Set is durable and well-designed, it could be more compact for on-the-go use.

However, the paint pans are easy to remove and rearrange, allowing for customization of your palette. The included brush is a nice addition for those who are just starting out with watercolor painting.

Price

The price of the Van Gogh Watercolor Paint Set is slightly higher compared to some other options on the market.

However, considering the quality of the pigments and the excellent lightfastness, it is a worthwhile investment for those serious about their watercolor art.

5. Arteza Watercolor Paint Set

Review - Arteza Watercolor Paint Set

Overall Score: 82

Advantages:

  • Wide range of colors for versatile creativity
  • Budget-friendly option for beginners and hobbyists
  • Easy-to-use packaging with a compact design
  • Non-toxic and safe for artists of all ages

Disadvantages:

  • Slightly lower pigment quality compared to professional-grade paints
  • Lightfastness could be improved

The Arteza Watercolor Paint Set is a great option for those who are starting their watercolor journey or for hobbyists looking for an affordable, versatile paint set.

I find that the Arteza set offers a good balance between quality and value.

Pigment Quality

While the pigment quality of the Arteza Watercolor Paint Set may not be on par with professional-grade paints, it still provides vibrant and beautiful colors.

The paints are easy to work with and blend nicely, allowing you to experiment with various techniques and effects.

Color Selection

The Arteza set offers a wide range of colors, ensuring that you have the versatility needed for various projects and styles.

With 60 unique shades in the set, you’ll have no trouble finding the perfect hue for your watercolor creations.

Lightfastness

The lightfastness of the Arteza Watercolor Paint Set could be improved, as some colors may fade over time.

However, for beginners and hobbyists, this may not be a significant concern, especially considering the affordable price point.

Packaging and Ease of Use

The Arteza set features a compact and easy-to-use design, making it perfect for on-the-go painting or for those with limited storage space.

The paint tubes allow you to squeeze out the exact amount of paint you need without wasting any

Price

One of the standout features of the Arteza Watercolor Paint Set is its affordability.

This budget-friendly option offers excellent value for the money, making it an ideal choice for beginners and hobbyists who may not want to invest in higher-priced, professional-grade paints.

6. Paul Rubens Artist Watercolor Paints

Review - Paul Rubens Artist Watercolor Paints

Overall Score: 82

Advantages:

  • High-quality pigments for vibrant and intense colors
  • Excellent lightfastness ensures long-lasting artwork
  • Beautiful packaging, perfect for gifting
  • Easy to work with and blend for various techniques

Disadvantages:

  • Higher price point may not be suitable for beginners or budget-conscious artists
  • Limited color selection compared to some other sets

The Paul Rubens Artist Watercolor Paints are a fantastic option for artists who are looking to elevate their watercolor artwork.

I experiment with watercolors a lot and can attest that these paints provide exceptional quality and performance.

Pigment Quality

The pigments in the Paul Rubens Watercolor Paints are highly vibrant and intense, offering rich and smooth color application.

The paints are easy to work with, making it simple to create stunning gradients, blends, and special effects in your watercolor paintings.

Color Selection

While the color selection in the Paul Rubens set may not be as extensive as some other sets, the available colors are well-curated and provide a good range of hues for various styles and subjects.

The 24-color set offers a nice balance of essential colors and unique shades that can help elevate your artwork.

Lightfastness

One of the standout features of the Paul Rubens Watercolor Paints is their excellent lightfastness.

These paints are resistant to fading, ensuring that your artwork will remain vibrant and beautiful for years to come.

Packaging and Ease of Use

The Paul Rubens Watercolor Paints come in a beautifully designed metal tin, making them a perfect gift for the artist in your life.

The compact size and sturdy packaging also make it easy to transport and store your paints. The paint pans can be removed and rearranged, allowing you to customize your palette as needed.

Price

While the price point of the Paul Rubens Watercolor Paints may be higher than some other sets, the quality and performance of these paints justify the investment.

If you’re looking to elevate your watercolor art, these paints are well worth the price.

Conclusion

Each of the watercolor paint sets reviewed offers unique advantages, catering to different needs and preferences.

When choosing the best set for you, consider factors such as pigment quality, color selection, lightfastness, packaging, and price.

Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, so we encourage you to explore and experiment with different watercolor paint sets to find the one that best suits your artistic style and vision.

By investing in the right set, you’ll be able to create beautiful, vibrant, and long-lasting watercolor artwork that truly showcases your creative talents.

Mehak Verma

I love creating both traditional and digital watercolour art. Why? As a kid, transitioning from sketch pens to paint brushes and water soluble colours was a big deal. Hope you find what you're looking for on my website.

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