10 Best Watercolor Paints 2020

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Painting is a total blast – you get to create anything you want!

Watercolor is especially fun and great for novice painters, so even those who don’t possess extraordinary artistic talents can still enjoy being creative with this type of paint.

The only problem is that there are many things to consider when buying watercolor paints!

You need to be informed before making a decision, because even though watercolors aren’t too expensive, a bad set of watercolors can totally ruin a painting session.

We’ve put together a comprehensive list of some of the best watercolor paints on the market along with some helpful buying tips and things to consider when you’re making your decision.

What to Consider When Buying Watercolor Paints

Every single batch of watercolors is different, so when getting started, there are many things to consider before making a purchase.

  • Color Variety. This is actually a major factor. It may be tempting to start out with a huge palette full of diverse colors so that you have all of the tools you need to create beautiful landscapes, cityscapes, or still life pieces – but if you haven’t painted in a while, the selection can be almost paralyzing.

If you’re not sure if you love the hobby or not, you may not want to invest in a comprehensive 32-color set. If you’re new, you might invest in a smaller set, but if you’re looking for a wide selection, then it’s better to opt for the larger set.

  • Liquid Vs. Solid. This is mostly a matter of preference, but still a large factor to consider when investing in a set of watercolors. Liquids are better at mixing up large batches of watercolors for larger paintings, and can also be used straight out of the tube for incredibly vibrant colors – but they’re messier and take longer to set up and clean up.

Solid “pan” watercolors are easier to use on the go, as they can dry back to a chalky consistency, and they’re usually stored in a portable container, but they are harder to use for large color batches, and can often be hard on paintbrushes due to their rough, scratchy surface.

Solid watercolors are best when you’re on the go, but if you’re working in a studio or at home, liquid can be a great choice.

Top 10 Watercolor Paints Comparison Chart

PictureNameTypePriceRating (1-5)
Picture
Name
Type
Price
Rating (1-5)
1. Shinhan Watercolors Artist PaintLiquid$$$4.9
2. Kuretake MC2036V Gansai Tambi 36 Color SetSolid$$$4.8
3. Sakura XNCW-24N, 24 Assorted Watercolors Field Sketch SetSolid$$4.7
4. Winsor & Newton Cotman Water ColorSolid$$$$4.7
5. Colore Watercolor Painting KitLiquid$$$4.6
6. Artists Loft Fundamentals Watercolor Pan SetSolid$4.5
7. Royal & Langnickel Watercolor PaintLiquid$4.5
8. Royal & Langnickel Aqualon Watercolor Painting Box SetLiquid$$$4.5
9. US Art Supply 12ml Watercolor Tube Artist Paint SetLiquid$$4.4
10. Reeves 24-Pack Water Color Paint SetLiquid$$4.4

What to Consider When Buying

Generally, brushes aren’t included with high-end watercolor sets – it is assumed you already have your own – so if you end up choosing a set from this list that doesn’t include them, you’ll need to purchase some separately.

Traditionally, watercolor brushes were made from red sable hair, but nowadays they’re usually made from nylon or other durable synthetic materials.

Compared to brushes for other painting methods, watercolor brushes tend to have shorter handles – water coloring requires many delicate, difficult strokes, so shorter handles help artists get closer to their paper or canvas, and allow them to have greater control over the free-flowing paint.

As you progress as an artist, you may prefer more traditional, natural materials – but synthetic brushes, such as this set by HeartyBay, are fantastic for beginners, as they’re durable and can hold large amounts of paint and water.

Don’t stress too much about what brushes are best for you, though – the important thing is that you get your paints, get your brushes, and get painting!

 Top 3 Best Watercolor Paints Reviews

1. Shinhan Watercolors Artist Paint Tubes Set

This set of liquid paints by Shinhan watercolors is, simply, one of the very best sets on the market. Made in Korea, these paints are crafted with the painter in mind, flowing beautifully over paper and canvas, with a workable texture that dries flat and matte, instead of chalky or shiny.

The colors are incredibly vibrant, too – perfect for capturing bright sunsets or sunrises, or other similarly vibrant scenes. Despite their vibrancy, they still blend easily together with one another, giving your finished painting that beautiful, watercolor flow that is the trademark of the medium.

The only potential drawback is the tubes are a bit small compared to some other choices – but will still last the occasional painter quite a while, and their vibrancy allows a very small amount of color to go a long way on the page.

Overall, the Shinhan Watercolors 30 color set is certainly one of the best watercolor paints on the market.

2. Kuretake MC2036V Gansai Tambi Color Set

This 36-color set by Kuretake is a spectacular example of a high-quality set of solid watercolors. These traditional Japanese watercolors come packed in a portable carrying case, (though each color can be removed from the case – helpful to avoid color contamination) and the paints themselves are incredible quality.

The white, for example, is nearly opaque when applied to the page – many other solid sets can’t maintain this level of vibrancy. Same with the black and other dark colors – rather than disperse into a grimy gray typical of lower-quality watercolors, the black and darks in this set remain lush and brilliant, yet still mix easily with other colors.

The solid “cakes” themselves are quite large as well – nearly two inches long and a full inch wide – so you get plenty of paint for your money, and those not painting every day will get many great sessions out of this product.

3. Sakura XNCW-24N 24 Assorted Watercolors Set

If you’re looking to just buy one product and get painting, this offering by Sakura is a great choice. It comes with 24 vibrant watercolors in a field sketch set carrying case, complete with a brush – no worrying about picking up another set of brushes, or finding some of your old art equipment.

The carrying case also comes with a portable palette – a removable piece of plastic with plenty of dividers to allow you to mix up 5 or more different colors on the go, making this a very convenient set if you tend to travel and paint quite a bit.

The top of the kit can even serve as a portable easel, allowing you to stick smaller pieces of sketch paper to it, making it exceptionally convenient.

Landscape artists especially, will appreciate the small size and convenience of this half-pan watercolor set, and any painter interested will love the quality solid watercolors and great design of this kit.