Which art sets are best?

Whether you’re an aspiring artist or an experienced crafter, an art set is a useful tool to add to your creative collection. Art sets are handy to have around because they take out the guesswork in picking out the best tools and supplies. Since they already come with many of the essentials, you’ll save yourself time and money getting the basics.

It can still be tricky to find the right art set for you, especially if you’re just starting out or if you’re changing mediums. That’s why it’s important to know your skills and preferences. If you want something with variety and enjoy using watercolors, graphite or pastels, consider the Royal & Langnickel Mixed Media Travel Art Set.

What to know before you buy an art set

Art sets come with a variety of supplies. Some are perfect for multimedia artwork, while others are for painting or drawing. Here are the top things to consider when selecting an art set.

Artistic medium

  • Multimedia art: These sets usually include a mix of supplies, including colored or graphite pencils, watercolors and acrylics. They also come with a couple of erasers and a pencil sharpener or two. Kits that have paints may also include a small palette.
  • Painting: A painting art set is a great option for a budding painter. Most of these sets come with different types of paints, including oil paints, watercolors and acrylics. In some cases, the art set container transforms into a makeshift easel, which is perfect for those who don’t want to buy one separately.
  • Drawing: Perhaps the most popular option is the drawing set. These sets often contain a combination of colored pencils, hard and soft graphite pencils, watercolor pencils and charcoal. Some sets come with conte crayons, which are a combination of graphite, clay, charcoal and pigment. Nearly all drawing sets come with erasers and pencil sharpeners as well.

Set size

As with anything else, there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to an art set. While a 180-piece set may be perfect for a professional or highly dedicated artist, it could be too much for a beginner. Conversely, a smaller art set with only a dozen or so pieces may be too simplistic for someone who needs greater variety.

A good rule of thumb is that bigger, higher quality art sets tend to be more expensive and might be a better investment for those who already have a dedication to a specific medium.

Skill level

Some art sets come with drawing guides or booklets to help aspiring artists get started. Others are for artists with more advanced skills. Choose an art set based on your current skill level. If you’re feeling ambitious, pick one that’s only slightly more advanced to give you room to grow.

Age range

Art kits geared towards older artists like teenagers or adults often come with finer tools or more delicate supplies than those made for younger kids. Art sets made for kids may utilize washable art supplies so they clean up more easily.

What to look for in a quality art set

Essential supplies and tools

Whether you’re interested in a mixed set with an array of tools or something with a more specific purpose in mind, a high-quality art set should have everything you need. Find kits that are relatively complete and ready to use as soon as you open it.

If you’re getting a paint set, for example, it should come with multiple tubes of paints, a palette, brushes and an easel. On the other hand, if your medium is the pencil, look for a set with an assortment of colored and graphite pencils, erasers and differently sized pencil sharpeners.


Art sets come in different kinds of containers. Some sets come in metal containers that click shut to keep everything organized and safe. However, these containers may flip open if you handle them roughly or toss them into a bag. Other sets that have a zippered case are sturdier and are less likely to open on their own.

Painting sets often come in wooden boxes that can turn into a small, standing easel. Still other sets come with carrying handles for those who like to draw or paint on the go.

Additional accessories

While uncommon, a few art sets include a sketchbook. A sketchbook is a handy tool for those who want to get started with their art right away. Some sets also come with extra supplies like a second eraser or pencil sharpener.

How much you can expect to spend on an art set

Premium quality art sets and those designed with professional artists in mind can cost up to $150. However, most beginner or mid-range sets cost between $15-$50.

Art set FAQ

Can art supplies expire?

A. Some supplies do expire, but with proper care, most art supplies last a couple of years. To make your supplies last longer, store them in a dry, cool place away from direct sunlight. And always make sure to properly seal your paints to prevent them from drying out.

Are art sets kid-friendly?

A. Some art sets are nontoxic and come with washable paints or other materials. However, things like oil paints may be toxic and should only be used in a well-ventilated area. When getting a child-friendly kit, check the ingredients and any warnings on the labels to make sure they’re age appropriate. Always supervise a child when using an art kit to make sure they don’t accidentally swallow or choke on any of the supplies.

What are the best art sets to buy?

Top art set

Royal & Langnickel Mixed Media Travel Art Set

Royal & Langnickel Mixed Media Travel Art Set

What you need to know: This mixed media set comes with an assortment of supplies for casual and dedicated artists alike.

What you’ll love: It’s a premium kit that comes in a sturdy wooden box and has a wide selection of mediums. You can experiment with oil and soft pastels, watercolor pencils, a graphite pencil, brushes, pallets and more. It’s a great, all-around set for artists who want a little adventure and variety for their creative outlet.

What you should consider: This set doesn’t include pens or charcoal. There is only one graphite pencil, which is good for outlines but not for complete drawings.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top art set for the money

US Art Supply Deluxe Mega Painting and Drawing Set

US Art Supply Deluxe Mega Painting and Drawing Set

What you need to know: Whether you’re a novice or intermediate artist, this 162-piece art set has everything you need to draw, sketch or paint your next masterpiece.

What you’ll love: Packaged in a durable wooden box for easy organization, this kit has watercolor paints, pencil crayons, pastels and wax crayons. It also comes with several paint and sketch pads, 10 plastic palettes, 15 brushes and a color mixing wheel.

What you should consider: Although this is perfect as a budget-friendly kit for newer artists, it’s not the best quality and the colors could be more vivid.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Royal Brush Essentials Art Sketching and Drawing Beginner’s Art Set

Royal Brush Essentials Art Sketching and Drawing Beginner’s Art Set

What you need to know: This set comes with 32 pieces and is perfect for complete novices or those starting out with a new style of art.

What you’ll love: Organized in a small wooden box, this kit contains three charcoal pencils and six graphite pencils in different colors. It also has three blending stumps, a sanding block, artist pad, artist guide booklet, miniature mannequin, pencil sharpener and a standard eraser.

What you should consider: Designed for complete beginners, this set is not good for those looking to improve their existing skills.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Angela Watson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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