Staedtler Colored Pencils Review

Visual Appeal
Overall Ranking

Staedtler Colored Pencils

12-72 count pack

Wax core

Hexagonal barrel



Very Durable

Decent Price


Poor Blending

Not a Very Good Color Selection

Overall Dull Intensity

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Staedtler Colored Pencils Review

Updated by Brandon F. on July 13, 2020

Coming in hexagonal (and now triangular!) offerings, Staedtler colored pencils are another budget pencil line that tries to adhere to the standards of some of the higher-end companies while still having an attractive price point.  By having a relatively hard wax core, these pencils are easy to sharpen and are quite durable, but many consider them to be “too” waxy, and in a related complaint the color they put off can be considered quite dull. 

Not a terrible choice for the price but you can still do better.  They originally came in sets of 12-36 but are now available in a triangular 72 pack set.

Visual appeal – 2/5

Since these are more oriented for beginners, they are much easier to work with.  This is partially through the inclusion of a quite hard wax core.  This allows an artist to apply a lot of pressure without fear of breaking the pencil. It also helps to control color depth by essentially limiting how much (or how little) color you can put down.

Unfortunately, they might have gone a bit too far.  The colors across the board are a bit dull, and this is especially noticeable in the darker colors.  The brights are somewhat better but by no means industry-leading.  The color choices are lacking, and even in the largest offering (36 pieces) a majority of the final twelve pencils are earth tones.  Combined, this limits how versatile these are when it comes to picture ideas.

As an update, you can now purchase a 72 pack of these pencils.  They come in their new packaging and barrel shape but also introduce many new colors to the mix.  But while there are many more pencils to choose from, there is still a lot of overlap between various colors.  For instance, several of the yellows are almost identical despite being “different” colors according to the labeling.

You will likely find yourself having to reach into other sets to find that “perfect” color.  That being said, the colors the pencils try to represent do come out very similar so what you see is what you get (just perhaps a bit lighter than you would hope for).

Usability and Durability – 3/5

These pencils are very durable, and the hard inners of them make them easy to sharpen as long as you have the proper artist sharpener (which is recommended for any pencil you get).  The new triangular shafts feel good on the hand and will assist in drawing control.  These two attributes are good to have for pencils that are designed to be in classroom settings.

As mentioned earlier, if you want to get a deep color on your work you need to be prepared to have to work it in with a lot of hand pressure and also make multiple passes over the same area.  This can increase the likelihood of the lead tip breaking so you need to find a happy medium between pressure and not abusing the pencils.  There will also be a rather waxy aftermath due to the high wax content of the core.  This can play a part in blending ability, which these are only so-so at.  And, as you might expect, it means that you will see a waxy sheen.

Packaging and Presentation – 3/5

Staedtler Colored Pencils come in a standard cardboard box.  It does a fine job of holding the pencils and providing adequate protection, but it isn’t something to get excited over from a visual standpoint.  The pencils’ outside is fully submerged in their respected color and the company name is printed in white.  There is also a small stamping that identifies the brand and color pencil type.

The most unique characteristic is the semi-recent update to a triangular barrel.  A triangular barrel is a minority in the colored pencil world and, while we enjoy it, it may not be for everybody.  Make sure you test our triangular colored pencil before spending a lot of money on a set.

Cost – 3/5

These are a great price in the budget range, which means you could get a set for not a lot of money.  And this makes them great competition for brands such as Crayola and Prang.  However, you get what you pay for here.  Light color, average blending, waxy “feel”, etc. make these a hard sell for an aspiring artist even at their low price-point.  But for those on a tight budget, you may have to settle some.  And in classroom settings, simply having a durable pencil might be a higher priority than actual color performance.

Overall Ranking – 3/5

Staedtler Colored Pencils are a well-built pencil set that will last you a while and is right at home being pushed into the paper, but this is more out of necessity than design.  These sets were made for classroom settings and should be able to handle the wear and tear much better than other, more expensive, set. 

You could get by with these, especially as a casual hobbyist, but if you want to explore the color wheel and experience some deeper colors shop around, even if it costs you a bit more.  However, recent updates to the pencil size (up to 72) are appreciated and are evidence that Staedtler is on the right track.

BestColoredPencils tests and reviews colored pencils and more to find the best products for you. When readers buy our reviewed picks, we earn affiliate commissions that help support our work.
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