Best Watercolor Paints – Buyer’s Guide & Reviews

No matter how much experience you have with painting, sometimes the idea of choosing which watercolor paints to use can be daunting. Do you think it’s simple to just go out and grab some watercolors?

Think again, there are a few types you need to be aware of depending on how serious a painter you are and what type of painting you wish to produce. To find out what I think are the best watercolor paints, read on!

At a Glance: Our Choice Of The 5 Best Watercolor Paints On The Market

Note: The links above take you to more information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon. If you do purchase something we get a small commission, which has absolutely no effect on the eventual price that you pay.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

Buyer’s Tips: Key Considerations

Types? There are types?

  • Yes! I’m so sorry but there are different types of watercolor paints out there. If you’re a beginner painter just messing around with watercolors or someone on a tight budget, the student’s quality paints would be best for you. Any serious painters or those who have a bit more to spend, the artist’s quality paints get you your money’s worth in transparency and permanence.


  • Please don’t think you need to go out and buy every color under the sun. You probably won’t be able to afford it as there are too many out there! Buy a small range of several colors and see how you get on.

Best Watercolor Paints – Product Round-up and Reviews

Winsor and Newton Cotman Pocket Box

Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Colour Paint Sketchers' Pocket Box, Half Pans, 14-Pieces

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This is a student’s quality set which includes a plastic box with 12 assorted colors of the Winsor Newton brand. The range of colors are perfect for anyone starting out and wishing to explore mixing.

The box includes an integral mixing palette in the lid which is useful for anyone wanting to keep their accessories to the minimum


  • ​Great price, affordable student quality
  • Good range of colors for the beginner painter
  • Pocket box is small and neat


  • Only one brush is included
  • Pigments have been replaced with cheaper alternatives (the reason for the good price)
  • Only 12 colors. A lot of painters can require more

Let’s take a look at this product…

Holbein W403

Holbein Artist's Watercolors Set of 18 5ml Tubes W403

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These artist quality watercolors are a fantastic choice for anyone wishing to improve their paintings or try out a different quality brand. This set comes with 18 tubes of paint in various colors, each with 5ml.

The paint is easy to squeeze out of the tube; mixed with water the colors create an amazing texture and transparency that is a standard set by Holbein.


  • ​Amazing artist quality paints
  • Great variety of colors
  • The set is small and easy to carry anywhere


  • More expensive
  • Only 5ml in each tube
  • No mixing palette included

Let’s take a look at this product…

Artistrove Watercolor Field Sketch Set


Umiko Watercolors, for The Apprentice of The Craft - Now Including 20 Cold-Pressed Watercolor Postcards & Everything You Need to Become a Master of Watercolors-Get Your Set Today Before Its All Gone!

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This student grade set is my personal favorite for painting on the go. This set is a little more expensive than the Winsor and Newton yet it has 24 assorted watercolors to choose from.

I love the Artistrove for its handy case includes two brushes and a tiny mixing palette allowing me to paint wherever and whenever I choose.


  • Great price for the amount of colors you get
  • Nice case
  • Artistrove uses a higher concentration of grounded pigment with high permanence


  • ​Mixing palette is extremely tiny
  • Paints are very small, won’t last as long as the Winsor
  • Brushes are quite small

Let’s take a look at this product…

Sennelier Metal Box

Sennelier Watercolor Metal Box 12 Tube Set

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Ahh the Sennelier brand is perfect for any painter wishing for professional-grade watercolors. This set includes 12 tubes of various colors, each one consisting of 10 ml. The metal case holder is beautiful and, unlike plastic cases, will last a lifetime.

This artist quality set is of an extremely high standard and sets the tone for any painter wishing for the best materials.


  • ​10ml is a fair enough amount of paint
  • Metal case is great and will last
  • High quality watercolors


  • ​Most expensive pick on the list
  • Can get more colors in other sets
  • No mixing palette

Let’s take a look at this product…

Reeves 24 pack

Reeves 8494252 24-Pack Water Color Paint Set, 10ml

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Reeves 24 pack is the student grade watercolor set perfect for any beginner wishing to experiment in their painting. Each tube is 10ml and the wide range of colors available here means any painter can easily find a color mix to suit their needs.

For anyone on a tight budget, this is the purchase for you as the price is extremely low for the amount of paint you actually get.


  • Cheap
  • Great assortment of colors
  • Good amount of paint in each tube


  • ​Not as good quality as others on the list
  • No mixing palette
  • No brushes included

So, Which Should I Buy?

There you have it my friends, my picks for the best watercolor paint you can currently purchase. Do you have a little extra money or are a serious painter? The Sennelier is perfect. Need to buy paints at a low price? Try the Reeves.

I would say my overall winner in this group would be the Artistrove. It’s great for traveling and easy to pick up and go. The amount of colors you get is fantastic for the price and yes it is student grade but it is probably one of the best student grade paints I have come across. The Artistrove wins my vote!