My Top Five Favorite Watercolor Paint Sets

Updated: Apr 6

Getting the right watercolors that are perfect for your artwork can be a daunting task. I've tried a number of different sets and these are my top five favorite so far. Just a heads up: I've included links to the watercolor sets so you can find out more about them. If you decide to buy something, I will receive a small commission. These paint sets are in no particular order.

Watercolor Paint Set #1

Kuretake Gansai Tambi Watercolors, 48 Colors


  • Highly saturated colors with a smooth and creamy feel

  • Nice big pans that feature a variety of colors


  • Some reviewers reported receiving cracked and broken paints.

  • More opaque than traditional watercolors

The Kuratake Gansai Tambi Watercolors are traditional Japanese watercolors. The set came with a ton of color varieties. I really liked how rich and creamy the colors were. I liked the large pans for when I needed to lay down a large gradient wash. They are a bit similar to goache in that the texture is fairly thick, but I was able to water the paints down easily to get a more transparent look. I really liked the blank color chart that was included, so that I could make myself a chart to keep track of color variations. The box that the set came in is pretty sturdy and it lasted about a year with heavy use before I needed to get a new set. Overall, I love the variety of colors, the ease of mixing, and I would buy this set again.

Watercolor Paint Set #2

Schmincke Horadam Aquarell Deluxe Wooden Box Set- 48 Large Pans


  • Perfect gift idea for any serious artist that loves watercolors

  • Quality watercolors in a beautiful box that lasts.


  • Expensive

  • Too large to be a travel set, but perfect for home studio

I received this set as a Christmas gift. It has beautiful German craftsmanship and the brushes that came with the set were high quality. The watercolors come in in a wide variety of choices and it's just a pleasure to paint with this set. The set comes with large pans or half pans. The palette that came with the set was a nice extra, but I use my own ceramic palette dish so it wasn't really necessary for me. If you are a serious painter, I would not hesitate to invest in this set.

Watercolor Paint Set #3

ARTEZA Watercolor Paint, Set of 12 Colors/Tubes


  • Affordable, high quality paints for beginning and intermediate painters

  • Highly pigments and most paints are easy to mix


  • Not the greatest for professional applications

  • Paints that come in the pans tend to crack easily

This set comes with a good assortment of basic colors. When I was first working with watercolors, I practiced a lot with these paints because they were affordable and I could allow myself to experiment without feeling guilty about the cost.

Tubes are better than pans as the paints in the pans tend to crack. These paints also have a creamy consistency that is somewhat like goache, but I found that they were easy to water down to get more translucence.

Overall, this is a nice set for beginners or kids who are serious painters and want to practice their technique without breaking the bank.

Watercolor Paint Set #4

Pelikan Transparent Watercolor Paint Set, 24 Colors


  • Super portable and easy to take on the road

  • Palette is removable and easy to use


  • The case is kind of big, but you get the cups so it's a toss up

  • The set doesn't come with white

I bought this set because I wanted to be able to go to the park or the zoo and paint without too much complication. Pelikan delivered with it's two cups that come attached to the paint set. There is also a removable palette that was super convenient to remove and give you more room to paint.

Colors are nice and transparent. They are easy to dilute and you get a nice range of tones. This is a nice set for intermediate to advanced painters that want to travel with a good selection of colors.

Overall, the two cups are a big selling point and I used this set for a long time because of the convenience. This would also be a good set for kids because you have everything you need in one place.

Watercolor Paint Set #5

Daler-Rowney Aquafine 24-pc Watercolor Travel Set


  • Nice, big mixing pans

  • Excellent lightfastness with rich, vibrant colors


  • Small set, but good for travel

  • Watercolors got a bit grainy over time.

The Daler-Rowney Aquafine 24-piece Watercolor Travel Set is made in England and the company has been in business since 1783. The set comes with a tiny, high quality brush and a nice assortment of colors. It's super easy to lay washes and layer color and most of the colors were nicely pigmented.

I loved this set for traveling and it was so easy to sit on the beach or at the park and paint with this little set. It comes in a metal pan that seems pretty sturdy, but over time it got a little beat up.

Overall, this is a nice travel set with a good quality brush and nice deep mixing pans. It's perfect for sticking in your purse and doing quick sketches while you're on the go.

#watercolors #paints #paintingsets #tubesorpans #womenartists #beginningpainting #artists #watercolorartists

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