What is the Softest Colored Pencil?

I tested over 40 different colored pencils to figure out which one was the softest! There were definitely some surprises. For example, Pelikan made it into the top 13, while Caran D’ache Luminance was towards the bottom! But as I pointed out in the video, softness is only one of many different factors that make for a good colored pencil.

See below for a complete list of all colored pencil brands tested, as well as the top 13 softest and their prices.

Colored Pencil Comparison Worksheet

Get the free worksheet here and watch how I use it to compare Prismacolor Premier vs Polychromos colored pencils:

Favorite Colored Pencil Paper


Top 13 Softest Colored Pencils


All Colored Pencil Brands Tested

Arteza Expert
Artist’s Loft
Bic Color Collection
Black Widow
Blick Studio Artists’
Bruynzeel Holland
Caran D’Ache Luminance
Caran D’Ache Pablo
Castle Art Supplies
Crayola Color Escapes
Crayola Twistables
Derwent Coloursoft
Derwent Inktense
Derwent Procolour
Faber-Castell Polychromos
Jane Davenport Magic Wand
Koh-i-Noor Polycolor
Koh-i-Noor Tri-Tone
Koh-i-Noor Woodless
Marco Raffine
Pelikan Buntstifte
Pentel Arts
Prismacolor Col-Erase
Prismacolor Premier
Prismacolor Scholar
Prismacolor Verithin
Sargent Art
Sargent Art Construction Paper
Soho Urban Artist
Spectrum Noir Colorista
Spectrum Noir ColourBlend
Staedtler 1270
Staedtler Ergo Soft
Studio Series Deluxe Premium
Tombow 1500 Series
Tombow Irojiten
Tombow Recycled
Winsor & Newton Studio Collection
Zebra Zensations

6 comments… add one
  • Dee Jan 7, 2019 @ 16:55

    Pismacolor prism

  • Allisa Jan 7, 2019 @ 17:57

    Thorntons Premium Super Soft Core is really soft

  • Diana Jan 9, 2019 @ 17:43

    What about Schpirerr Farben, Sudee Stiles, Colore, and Marco Renior? All are very soft to work with, I love them, though I don’t prefer them to be too soft.

  • Teresa Jackson Jan 12, 2019 @ 19:22

    I was really surprised by the results. I was sure from other reviews I had read and seen that Caran D’Ache Luminance would be right up at the top. I don’t own any but considered trying them and other brands of “soft” pencils whenever I get a bit frustrated at Prismacolor’s quality control issues. I have had a love-hate relationship with these pencils since at least the late 1970s (they tend to dip in quality whenever they change company hands). I keep buying them however, and whenever I do choose to color with them, they are just so lovely to work with and self-blend beautifully. I also used Prismacolors in the past on unfinished wood projects, cloth (making cloth doll faces, etc), and other surfaces such as air dry clays where they impart a rich, creamy opaque color that lasts (I usually add a paint on varnish to these surfaces). Right now, Faber Castell Polychromos are fast becoming a favorite pencil, but they are a different animal than the Prismacolors. I don’t find FB as difficult to lay down and blend, but it depends on what I’m doing with them and what kind of effect I’m going after. It’s fun to try different brands because they are all a bit different (and what kind of paper you use them on makes a big difference as you have pointed out). I love your videos and website. Thanks for all your hard work and your beautiful artwork. I just ordered your digital swatch book and will be having a lot of fun with it!

  • Sandy Oct 19, 2020 @ 9:15

    What about Derwent Coloursoft?

  • Robin Jeree Apr 11, 2021 @ 17:11

    prismacolor? or derwent coloursoft (my favorite so far)

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