Top 5 Best Brands of Watercolor Paints: Top Picks for Artists in 2024

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Watercolors have the power to bring paintings to life with their transparency, allowing layers of colors to interact in a way that can create a vibrant or delicate luminosity. This type of paint has been favored by artists throughout history for its portability and the ease with which it can be manipulated and mixed. With watercolor, an artist can capture scenes with a freshness and immediacy that is difficult to achieve with other mediums.

Choosing the right watercolor paints is pivotal to the artist’s creative journey. As creators, we recognize that the best brands usually offer superior pigment concentration, lightfastness (the paint’s resistance to fading), and a harmonious balance of transparency and staining properties. These factors can significantly influence the final outcome of an artwork. In addition, some artists may place importance on the manufacturing processes of brands, preferring those that are environmentally conscious or that shun the use of animal by-products in their paints.

Working with top-quality watercolor brands can elevate an artist’s work from good to extraordinary. We understand that the right hues, consistency, and handling properties of the watercolor can shape an artist’s experience on the canvas. JSBracketAccess

Top Watercolor Paint Brands

In our search for the best watercolor paints, we focused on color variety, ease of use, and the overall quality. We understand the importance of both pigment concentration and transparency for the perfect watercolor creation. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned artist, our curated selection of watercolor paint brands will cater to your every artistic need.

1. Kuretake Gansai Tambi

If you’re seeking versatile watercolors that merge traditional hues with rich opacity, this set should be at the top of your list.


  • Richly pigmented, offering a nature-inspired palette
  • Capable of both light washes and gouache-like effects
  • Large pans accommodate various brush sizes


  • Some may find the paints less transparent than typical watercolors
  • Pans are relatively shallow, which may lead to quicker depletion
  • A slightly shiny finish, differing from traditional matte watercolors

Recently, we had the pleasure of using the Kuretake Gansai Tambi watercolor set. Immediately striking is the aesthetic appeal of the packaging; it speaks volumes of the care put into the product. The simple yet elegant green-washi overlay on the box is visually alluring.

Upon opening this set, we were treated to a stunning range of colors. These paints, inspired by natural hues, offer a vivid yet not overly saturated appearance. In use, they glide smoothly on paper and their semi-opaque quality adds a unique touch to the artwork. Despite our vast array of brushes, we found that the large pans made it incredibly simple to switch between fine tips and broad strokes with ease.

As we experimented, we noted the paint’s responsive nature to water. A little amount converted these rich colors into delicate washes, while using them with less water provided the boldness reminiscent of gouache. They reactivated beautifully on the palette, saving time and paint. However, it’s been observed that these paints wear down faster than expected, which may be a factor to consider for those who paint frequently.

In conclusion, the Kuretake Gansai Tambi watercolors invite users into the world of Japanese watercolor techniques. Their quality and versatility extend a warm welcome to beginners and professionals alike, though their unique finish and depth might differ from some artists’ expectations of traditional watercolors.

2. CHROMATEK Watercolor Set

We believe that this CHROMATEK Watercolor Paint Set is worth considering due to its versatility and comprehensive array of tools for artists at various levels.


  • Includes a variety of highly pigmented colors
  • Bundled with quality watercolor paper and diverse brushes
  • Offers access to instructional videos for skill development


  • Paint tubes might be less intense than professional grade sets
  • Synthetic squirrel brushes may not suit all painting techniques
  • Lightweight paper may pose a challenge for heavy washes

In our recent session, we found this watercolor set to be an all-inclusive package ideal for both beginners and hobbyists. The paint flowed smoothly onto the paper, creating vibrant washes that brought our ideas to life. The selection of 26 colors offered a broad spectrum, allowing us to mix an array of shades without compromising on the vibrancy.

The inclusion of eight synthetic brushes gave us the flexibility to play with different strokes and techniques. Their fine points and capacity to retain water enabled us to execute detailed work with ease. The additional water blending brush pen was particularly useful for on-the-go painting, giving us a water reservoir right at our fingertips.

The watercolor paper in the kit impressed us with its ability to withstand multiple glazes and scrubbing. However, we did notice that it may not tolerate overly saturated washes as well as heavier, professional-grade papers. Artists who enjoy working with a lot of water may need to adjust their technique accordingly.

Overall, our hands-on experience suggests that the CHROMATEK Watercolor Paint Set strikes a smart balance between quality and value, making it a solid choice for those wishing to explore watercolor painting or enhance their collection.

3. LIGHTWISH 24-Color Watercolor Set

For those seeking quality and vibrancy in their watercolor work, the LIGHTWISH 24-Color Watercolor Set is a contender not to be overlooked.


  • The color range is brilliant and vibrant, offering a spectrum of possibilities in our paintings.
  • These watercolors possess an impressive purity of pigment, allowing for precise mixes and beautiful overlays.
  • The portables make it effortless for us to transition from studio to plein air settings without fuss.


  • The set’s weight is a tad hefty, which might be a hindrance for those of us who prefer lighter travel kits.
  • The case’s seal may not be as tight as we’d like, potentially leading to issues while transporting.
  • There have been some concerns regarding the durability of the product over multiple uses.

Upon first opening the LIGHTWISH Watercolor Set, we were immediately struck by the palette’s thoughtful design. The colors laid out before us were as inviting as a spring garden, just waiting for the brush to kiss paper. With watercolors, the joy often lies in the subtlety of the colors, and in this respect, the set did not disappoint. From the lightest whisper of hue to a deep, impactful shade, every stroke brought satisfaction.

In our work, we found that the colors came to life on the paper with a vivacity that reminded us of pricier professional sets. Mixing these watercolors was a delight—pigments melded on the palette yielding exquisite secondary shades without muddying. This allowed us to explore a myriad of tones and depths on our artistic journey.

The feel of the brush within this LIGHTWISH set gliding across the paper was smooth and unencumbered, a testament to the quality of materials. However, while working with it outdoors, one of our team members noted the case felt more secure in the studio. Despite this, we managed to create without any significant complications related to the product’s portability and we would happily use it again for our next project.

4. Nicpro Watercolor Set

We think this kit is a must-have for those stepping into the vibrant world of watercoloring; it offers quality, variety, and convenience in one package.


  • Rich, vivid pigments offering a wide spectrum of colors
  • Durable, synthetic squirrel brushes for precise strokes
  • Comprehensive set with added accessories for immediate use


  • Tubes are smaller than some professional-grade counterparts
  • Limited paper quantity for those who practice frequently
  • Brushes may require a gentle hand to maintain shape

The Nicpro Watercolor Paint Kit comes with an impressive range of 24 colorful tubes, allowing us to express our creativity without feeling restricted. We were especially fond of how easily each hue could be mixed, creating seamless blends on the palette that translated beautifully onto paper.

Accompanying the paints, the synthetic squirrel brushes provided an unexpectedly pleasant experience. They held the paint well and gave us a level of control comparable to higher-end professional brushes. Their resilience to frequent use also impressed us.

The kit’s completeness is a big plus, especially when inspiration strikes and you’re eager to get painting. From the practical palette to the handy color wheel and a pad of watercolor paper, it made our foray into painting as uncomplicated as possible, no additional shopping trips required. The paints’ non-toxicity was another reassuring aspect, allowing us to focus solely on our art without concern.

5. Artecho Watercolor Extravaganza

If you’re yearning for a broad spectrum of hues and a great quality experience, look no further.


  • Diverse color selection including metallic and fluorescent shades
  • High pigment concentration yielding vivid results
  • Handy, complete set with additional tools for convenience


  • Small color pans may require frequent restocking
  • Water brush pen can be tricky to manage for newcomers
  • Metal case, though secure, adds weight for travel

The Artecho set promises a kaleidoscope at your fingertips. Upon opening the sturdy tin, we’re greeted with an astonishing 128 colors. It’s more than enough to ignite the painter within anyone, from rookies to seasoned pros. These colors aren’t just numerous; they’re radiant and deeply pigmented. A simple dab on the paper unveils their bright potential. We find the metallics especially delightful—they add a shimmer to our work that catches the light in the most enchanting ways.

Working with this Artecho set feels like having a portable studio. Beyond the paints, the inclusion of watercolor papers, brushes, and a water brush pen transforms any space into our creative oasis. We just pop open the tin, spread our tools, and commence with our craft. It’s particularly gratifying how everything one needs is neatly packed, ready for artistic whims whenever they strike.

Yet it’s not without its hitches. We’ve noticed that beginners might struggle initially with controlling the flow from the water brush pen. Mastering its use requires a bit of patience and practice. Additionally, for those who paint frequently, the color pans may deplete swiftly. They are, however, an invitation for artists to explore and mix, discovering new shades in the process.

In essence, Artecho’s set is quite a catch. It covers the spectrum in color and convenience, encouraging us to let loose our imagination wherever we go.

Buying Guide

When we set out to select watercolor paints, we prioritize pigment quality. High-quality pigments yield vibrant colors and better lightfastness, meaning our artwork retains its color over time. It’s also key to look at the transparency level, which refers to how much light passes through the paint layers, influencing our work’s luminosity.

We consider the permanence rating, usually indicated on the paint tube or pan, which informs us about the paint’s durability once applied. Additionally, the consistency of the paint is important; some artists prefer tubes for their thicker consistency while others may opt for pans or cakes for convenience and portability.

Key Features to Evaluate

  • Pigment Quality: Ensures color vibrancy and overall finish.
  • Transparency: Dictates how light passes through the paint layers.
  • Permanence: Indicates color durability once applied.
  • Consistency: Affects application and technique adaptability.

In terms of quantity, we assess our project’s scope to decide on the size of the paint tubes or pans. We also know that artist grade paints are typically of higher quality than student grade, making them a better investment for serious artwork despite the higher cost.

Remember to check the color selection offered by the set. Having a wide range of colors can be beneficial, but we also appreciate sets with more mixing potential which encourage us to create custom hues.

Lastly, it’s practical to consider the manufacturer’s reputation for quality and consistency in their products. While we are not naming brands, known manufacturers tend to maintain a standard that artists can rely upon.

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, we aim to clarify common inquiries regarding watercolor paints that both beginners and professional artists may have.

What are the top-rated watercolor paints for professional artists?

Our research shows that brands like Schmincke Horadam, Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolors, and Sennelier L’Aquarelle are highly regarded among professionals for their superior pigment load, lightfastness, and consistency.

Which watercolor paint brands are recommended for beginners?

For those starting out, we recommend Cotman by Winsor & Newton, Van Gogh watercolors by Royal Talens, and Sakura Koi Watercolor Kits. These brands offer good quality at an affordable price, easing the learning curve for beginners.

How do Daniel Smith watercolors compare to other professional brands?

Daniel Smith watercolors are celebrated for their vast range of colors and unique granulating pigments. They hold up well compared to other professional brands due to their excellent lightfastness and intense color payoff.

What are the distinguishing qualities of professional grade watercolors?

Professional watercolors are characterized by their high pigment concentration, reliability in color and performance, and greater permanence. They offer a wider range of colors and are formulated to produce more vibrant and long-lasting results.

Can you list some watercolor brands that are favored by artists?

Apart from the previously mentioned brands, artists often favor M. Graham, Holbein, and QoR. These brands have been commended for their exceptional quality, color intensity, and ease of use.

What should one look for when choosing watercolor brushes to complement high-quality paints?

When selecting brushes, one should consider the brush’s ability to hold water, point well, and spring back into shape. Quality brushes are often made of natural hair, like Kolinsky sable, but there are synthetic alternatives that perform similarly.

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