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10 Best Watercolour Paints UK 2023

Choosing watercolour paints can be tricky, especially if you're a beginner. Fortunately, whether you want to get into botanical painting or urban sketching, you're in the right place. Our article breaks down your decision; helping you tell your Derwent from your Faber Castell and your Arteza from your elbow. 


We've selected the ten best watercolour painting sets for artists to buy from Amazon and eBay, ranking them so you don't have to. There are solid watercolours, tubes of paint and even some watercolour brush pens. All easy to use and great value for money, many come with watercolour brushes, sponges and mixing palettes included in the price. 

Last updated 27/01/2023
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Table of Contents

How to Choose Watercolour Paints in the UK

Key Points to Consider
  1. Consider the Advantages and Disadvantages of Pans, Tubes, and Brush Pens
  2. Select a Watercolour Paint With 24 Colours or More to Reduce Mixing.
  3. Go for Sets With Painting Tools Such As Brushes and Sponges to Save Time and Money
  4. Opt for Watercolours With Built-in Palettes to Keep Everything Contained
1

Make Sure to Explore the Pros and Cons of Pans, Tubes and Brush Pens

Make Sure to Explore the Pros and Cons of Pans, Tubes and Brush Pens

Choose Classic Pans if You Want a Portable and Low-Effort Option Suited to Smaller Scale Pieces of Artwork

Solid blocks of watercolour paint, popularly referred to as pans are neatly contained in a single set or box; none can go astray, and they're easy to take on-the-go. Another benefit is that they can be blended together and usually come with mixing space built into the lid of their box, allowing you to create new colours without a separate palette. There is no faffing with multiple tubes or fiddly lids, and much less mess in general!


Now to the downsides. Solid pans of watercolour paint can sometimes break in transit or become crumbly after a long time without use, but a more significant drawback is that they're not as well suited to painting large areas as the blocks are so small. Instead, they're better for smaller brushes and smaller-scale pieces of artwork. 


Compared to tubes, it is also difficult to control how much of each colour you want to use when mixing a new shade. The final and biggest disadvantage of watercolour pans is the fact the little blocks of colour are so close that they can become tainted with the shade of a neighbouring pan, making them tricky to clean.


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If You'll Like to Have Complete Control When Mixing, Opt for Tubes

The positives of tubes are pretty convincing. Firstly, you have complete control over colour mixing, as you can use as much or as little from whichever tube you like. Overall the concentration of pigment used in watercolour tubes is higher than it is in pans, so if you're careful, they should last a long time when blended with water. 


The key benefit has to be that you can cover a large surface area on your page simply by squeezing out a bigger quantity of paint and using a larger brush. On the negative side, tubes with tiny lids can be awkward and inconvenient, you may lose your favourite shade, or a lid could go missing, causing a tube to dry out.


Paint tubes are generally messier – you'll find paint on your fingertips and tabletops more often than with pans. Finally, you may waste time searching for the right colours, rather than having everything you need in one handy palette. 

Consider Brush Pens if You Want a Watercolour Paint That Controls Water Quantity

Another option you might like to try is the brush pen – a pen-shaped tool with a soft tip that is pre-filled with water and can be re-filled again and again. These are a top pick for experienced painters who already know how paint reacts with water to create the desired effect. 


That said, maybe you're a beginner and feel like your command of the humble pen could be translated into watercolour painting, in which case we think they could be fun for newbies, too.


However, it's important to say that just as with the regular brush-and-colour technique, practice really does make perfect. There is no magical product that can make you an instant watercolour genius, but a brush pen can definitely save time as you have colour and water in one convenient place!


Browse our 10 best coloured pencils in the UK!

2

Pick a Watercolour Paint With About 24 Colours or More to Reduce the Need for Mixing

Pick a Watercolour Paint With About 24 Colours or More to Reduce the Need for Mixing
Source:amazon.co.uk

The more colours in your watercolour set, the less mixing you'll need to do. An average, generous paint kit will have about 24 colours. This means you'll have the whole rainbow and a couple of shade variations, plus black and white. With packs like this, you need not make a mess or waste time mixing colours you end up discarding.


Other kits, including some on our list, have close to 50 colours. This may be overwhelming for new users, but could equally provide great inspiration and help you create natural-looking, realistic images thanks to the broad range of mixable shades. 


If you choose a set with fewer colours, look out for the basic primaries of red, yellow and blue. Get yourself a decent palette and mix up a rainbow to your heart's content! Minimal sets are also a pertinent pick if you want to invest in more costly, well-known arts brands – you can mix up myriad colour results without paying more. 

3

Look Out for Watercolour Sets That Come With Their Own Brushes or Sponges to Save Money and Time

Look Out for Watercolour Sets That Come With Their Own Brushes or Sponges to Save Money and Time

To save time and money on shopping separately, look out for a watercolour set that comes with its own brush, brushes or sponge for neatening and soaking up excess liquid. However, with cheaper packs, you may find the brush thrown in is of pretty average quality. 


But if you're giving watercolour painting a go for the first time, or just for fun, you'll still be able to create lovely images, knowing you've kept to your budget. Higher-end paints tend to come with equally great quality brushes

4

Check if It Has Built-in Palettes to Keep Things Contained

Check if It Has Built-in Palettes to Keep Things Contained

When it comes to watercolours, you don't want to be mixing the water with the paint – let alone the colours themselves – directly on the paper. It's good to have some space to mix water in with your colour before your brush hits the page.


If you're using solid pans of colour, the water can be blended in on top of the pan, but you won't have much room for manoeuvre. Luckily with pans, there's usually a built-in palette or at least space in the lid where you can blend your paint more freely. When it comes to tubes, you will need to get hold of somewhere to mix your colours, but a recycled pot or lid from around the house can be ideal and save a few pennies. 


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10 Best Watercolour Paints in the UK

This ranking has been compiled by the writing team at mybest UK via careful evaluation of the points made in the buying guide and thorough research of each product and comparing multiple verified customer reviews across the EC sites used.
Popularity
Products
Image
Price
Click to purchase
Key features
1

Faber-Castell

Watercolour Paints

Faber-Castell Watercolour Paints 1枚目

£33.30

High Mid

Fine Quality Watercolours in an Exceptional Range of Tones

2

Derwent

Watercolour Art Supplies Gift Box

Derwent  Watercolour Art Supplies Gift Box 1枚目

£29.99

High Mid

A Stylish Gift Box Filled With a Basic Range of Top-Notch Paints That Blend Easily

3

Crafts 4 All

Watercolour Paint Set

Crafts 4 All Watercolour Paint Set 1枚目

£12.99

Low Mid

Spectacular Range of Paints With Exquisite Pigment

4

Arteza

Premium Artists Watercolour Paint Set

Arteza   Premium Artists Watercolour Paint Set 1枚目

£15.99

Mid

High-Quality Tubes With a Great Price to Pigment Ratio

5

Daniel Smith

Watercolour Essentials Set

Daniel Smith Watercolour Essentials Set 1枚目

£28.79

High Mid

Professional Quality Tube Paints That Mix to Perfection

6

Winsor and Newton

Cotman Watercolours

Winsor and Newton Cotman Watercolours 1枚目

£12.49

Low Mid

Best-Selling Paint Box Beloved by Watercolour Artists Everywhere

7

Royal and Langnickel

Watercolour Paint Tubes

Royal and Langnickel Watercolour Paint Tubes  1枚目

£8.35

Low

A Comprehensive Set of Watercolour Tubes With High Quality Paint

8

Chalkola

Watercolour Brush Pens

Chalkola Watercolour Brush Pens 1枚目

£19.95

Mid

An Ideal Option for Controlling Water Drops With Handy Squeezy Brushes

9

MozArt

Watercolour Paint Essential Set

MozArt Watercolour Paint Essential Set 1枚目

£13.49

Low Mid

Excellent Colour Range and Top Quality Pigment

10

Kathryn Coyle

Watercolour Craft Kit

Kathryn Coyle Watercolour Craft Kit 1枚目

£15.00

Mid

A Cheap and Cheerful Craft Kit of Mixable Colours

If you don't see the product you're looking for, you can request that it be listed.
No.1

Faber-CastellWatercolour Paints

Watercolour Paints Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Watercolour Paints Image 2
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£33.30
High Mid
Reference price
£33.30
High Mid

Fine Quality Watercolours in an Exceptional Range of Tones

The top advantage of these lovely Faber-Castell watercolours has to be the vast range of colours. Team that with the fact you'll have all 48 of your colours in one place, with even a squeezy water brush, a sponge and lots of mixing space built-in, and we think you're onto a winner. These award-winning watercolours also blend perfectly.


We also love the interesting range of pre-mixed colours; there are rich and earthy tones, sweeter pastels and jewel tones alongside your staple black and whites. Such a carefully-curated range really allows you to create subtle, natural and realistic pieces of art. The price, volume of colours and additional tools make this our perfect pick.

Was this Ranking helpful?
No.2

Derwent Watercolour Art Supplies Gift Box

Watercolour Art Supplies Gift Box Image 1
Source:whsmith.co.uk
Reference price
£29.99
High Mid
Reference price
£29.99
High Mid

A Stylish Gift Box Filled With a Basic Range of Top-Notch Paints That Blend Easily

For the artist in your life, you cannot go far wrong with this charming watercolour gift set. Derwent is a renowned name in art supplies and specifically watercolour painting. This box contains twelve tubes of the highest calibre, heavy-pigment paints that can be blended blissfully and work well on even the poorest quality paper


Included in the pack are four natural brushes which allow you to paint in different width brushstrokes. There's also a mini palette with six deep sections, well-spaced to avoid accidentally blurring one new shade into another. Presented in a wooden box, this watercolour set is a joyful and good-value gift to a friend or yourself. 

No.3

Crafts 4 AllWatercolour Paint Set

Watercolour Paint Set Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Watercolour Paint Set Image 2
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£12.99
Low Mid
Reference price
£12.99
Low Mid

Spectacular Range of Paints With Exquisite Pigment

Now to bring out the big guns. Choose this colossal collection if you want to go wild with colour and have ambitious painting projects in mind. The pigment is good quality, but the price is totally unintimidating. There are enough shades not to require over-the-top mixing, but the blending options are great too.


The shades have quite a light, bright, quality and err on the more pastel side, while the high pigment in the paint reduces the risk of fading. With three soft, silky paintbrushes providing variety in terms of painting techniques, this is a really wonderful and all-encompassing set which we think is splendid value for money!

No.4

Arteza Premium Artists Watercolour Paint Set

Reference price
£15.99
Mid

High-Quality Tubes With a Great Price to Pigment Ratio

Pick these terrific tubes if you want a big set of bold colours and are willing to pay a little more for a refined class of paint. Remember, sometimes it really does make a difference to the overall result! Though the specs (24 x 12 ml tubes) are the same as product number 7, most reviewers name the superior quality of Arteza paints, especially on the right kind of paper.


You will need to pick up a palette and brushes separately, but the extra effort is worthwhile since these paints come in a range of subtle, carefully mixed shades. A tiny dot goes a very long way here and reviews glow with enthusiasm for the long-lasting quality of the paints and sophistication of the colours when mixed together. 

No.5

Daniel SmithWatercolour Essentials Set

Watercolour Essentials Set Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Watercolour Essentials Set Image 2
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£28.79
High Mid
Reference price
£28.79
High Mid

Professional Quality Tube Paints That Mix to Perfection

The kaleidoscope of colours you can mix with this stunning paint range is second to none. Who would have known just six basic shades could achieve a whole rainbow? These paints are ideal for advanced watercolourists who know their stuff and get a thrill from mixing and taking colour risks. The quality is fantastic and the highly-pigmented paints last brilliantly.


While we adore these paints, they're quite an investment, and we do recommend them to experienced colour mixers. For newer artists, we suggest finding a Daniel Smith colour mixing chart to support the process. Beloved by those in the know and for good reason, these paints sit effortlessly on paper and blend beautifully. 

No.6

Winsor and NewtonCotman Watercolours

Cotman Watercolours Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Cotman Watercolours Image 2
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£12.49
Low Mid
Reference price
£12.49
Low Mid

Best-Selling Paint Box Beloved by Watercolour Artists Everywhere

A great kit for budding watercolour lovers or old-hands, this little palette is a big hit on the paint charts. Winsor and Newton are the absolute dons of the watercolour world and the paint quality here is exceptional; really very minimal quantities are needed to create dreamy sweeps of colour. 


The set is lovely and compact too, so it's ideal to stow in your backpack for when inspiration strikes on-the-go. The mini brush is very small, meaning if you have grander projects in mind, you'll need to find a bigger one. There's not a world of mixing space in the lid, so be aware of that if you decide to buy. 

No.7

Royal and LangnickelWatercolour Paint Tubes

Watercolour Paint Tubes  Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£8.35
Low
Reference price
£8.35
Low

A Comprehensive Set of Watercolour Tubes With High Quality Paint

What we think you're going to love about this paint tube set is the boldness and intense pigment of the paints, especially considering the friendly price tag. Royal and Langnickel is among the top arts materials brands you can buy in the UK, known for their high-end products and thoughtfully designed tools. This set is no exception.


A small drawback of this product is the lack of brushes and mixing palette, and – as with all tubes – the potential to lose a particular colour or for paints to dry out. Take good care of this set, however, and it's an affordable, effective tool with which even beginners can learn their craft and thrive.

No.8

ChalkolaWatercolour Brush Pens

Reference price
£19.95
Mid

An Ideal Option for Controlling Water Drops With Handy Squeezy Brushes

If you want to experiment with the amount of water you blend with your paint, try these effective brush pens. Perhaps you're new to watercolours and like the idea of a pen as it's something you're used to; there is a certain knack to squeezing out water at just the right moment, but once you've nailed it, these paints are very effective.


With 28 rather gorgeous and subtle shades, you can create elegant lines and exquisite detail. Mixing will have to be done in a separate palette, but the colour variety is already pretty sophisticated so you might leave that process down to a few natural leaks or layers once you've put paint to paper. 

No.9

MozArtWatercolour Paint Essential Set

Watercolour Paint Essential Set Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Watercolour Paint Essential Set Image 2
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£13.49
Low Mid
Reference price
£13.49
Low Mid

Excellent Colour Range and Top Quality Pigment

This palette of paint is another ideal option for beginners hoping to experiment with the joy of watercolours and avoid over-spending. The range of reds and blues is impressive, and while there are just two shades of green, endless more can be mixed up in the compartments of the tin lid. 


This set comes with a slim, good quality watercolour brush, which has a very fine tip, so is best suited to small, detailed scenes. The biggest perk of these paints is that they're all together in one place and the pigment is top quality, meaning only a little is needed on your brush. 

No.10

Kathryn CoyleWatercolour Craft Kit

Watercolour Craft Kit Image 1
Source:argos.co.uk
Reference price
£15.00
Mid
Reference price
£15.00
Mid

A Cheap and Cheerful Craft Kit of Mixable Colours

A good shout for a tighter budget, this craft kit is perfect for beginners wanting to try out watercolour painting. It comes with 12 half pans of essential colours, 9 watercolour sheets, 2 brushes, 1 pencil, and 1 eraser - everything you need to get started.


On the downside, while it has everything you need, you may want to purchase a carrying case if you plan on taking this kit around so that you won't lose any of the pieces. With only 12 colours available, you'll also be limited to painting smaller portraits

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Watercolour Paint Be Used on Canvas?

If you wish to paint on canvas using watercolours, we recommend using a canvas made specially for them. Watercolour canvases are ideal for artists who enjoy working with watercolours but prefer the look and feel of canvas. They are available in a variety of forms, including stretched canvas, canvas boards, and canvas pads.

Can You Paint Watercolour Over Acrylic?

Watercolor can be used over acrylics and vice versa. They can be used independently or in combination with one another, depending on the sort of painting and the effect you wish to achieve.

Written and researched by Annie Hopkins

Top 5 Watercolour Paints

No. 1: Faber-CastellWatercolour Paints

No. 2: Derwent Watercolour Art Supplies Gift Box

No. 3: Crafts 4 AllWatercolour Paint Set

No. 4: Arteza Premium Artists Watercolour Paint Set

No. 5: Daniel SmithWatercolour Essentials Set

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The descriptions of each product are referenced from content available on manufacturer, brand, and e-commerce sites.
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