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Faber Castell vs Prismacolor

faber castell vs prismacolor

If you are thinking of trying out colored pencils, there are typically two brands that come to mind – Faber Castell and Prismacolor. However, professional-grade colored pencils can be quite expensive, so you will need to choose carefully between Faber Castell vs Prismacolor. That way, your choice will surely be the brand you will be happy with.

In this article, you will hopefully become more knowledgeable about these two-colored pencil brands. You will also have a better chance of choosing the one that you will be using for a very long time.

Faber-Castell vs Prismacolor Compared

Points for Comparison Faber-Castell Prismacolor
Binder Material Oil-based Wax
Build Quality Excellent Slightly above average
Number of Colors 120 150
Lightfastness Excellent Poor
Color Mixing Excellent Average
Durability Excellent Above average
Price A bit expensive Half the price of Faber-Castell

Faber Castell vs Prismacolor – Which is Better?

We will be comparing the different qualities of Faber Castell colored pencils vs Prismacolor colored pencils to give you an idea of which brand is best for you.

Binder Medium

binder medium

Faber-Castell colored pencils use an oil-based medium to hold the pigments while the ones from Prismacolor use wax. What this means is that they have very different consistencies – with the Faber-Castell colored pencils being a bit softer than the Prismacolor pencils, giving the former higher initial color saturation.

Build Quality

Generally speaking, Faber-Castell pencils are built tougher compared to Prismacolor. This is not to say that Faber-Castell pencils are the best made of all. It is just that Prismacolor pencils are just not that well-built. In fact, there is a high chance of finding at least one pencil with a cracked casing.

In most cases, the cracks are not that serious and should not affect the pencils’ performance at all. However, the damage does get worse over time, so you might want to consider it.

Number of Available Colors

number of available colors

If you are thinking of collecting the entire lineup of colors for each brand, you will discover that you will get a larger collection when you go with Prismacolor, which has a total of 150 different shades. On the other hand, the Faber-Castell lineup is not too shabby at all with 120 colors in its collection.

However, if you do not intend to collect the entire lineup of colors, both brands do come in several sets of colors.


Lightfastness is the tendency of colors to fade or discolor when exposed to light, specifically exposure to ultraviolet light. In this case, Faber-Castell is the clear winner when compared to Prismacolor. Prismacolor colored pencils have quite poor lightfastness, which means you will need to store your finished drawings properly.

Faber-Castell’s colored pencils have a higher rating when it comes to lightfastness. They get an outstanding 80% rating. On the other hand, Prismacolor only got a rather dismal 20% rating. This means if you want to display a drawing made using Prismacolor pencils, you should make sure that it is kept away from direct sunlight.

Color Mixing

In this area, the Faber-Castell colored pencils are much better compared to the ones from Prismacolor. This is in large part due to the binder that Faber-Castell uses. Because Faber-Castell uses oil binders, there is a lot more color with each swathe of the pencil compared to the wax binder used by Prismacolor.

Also, because the wax binder used by Prismacolor is quite soft, you can usually get away with blending three colors before the combination gets a bit too muddy. With Faber-Castell, since you will need fewer strokes to get your ideal results, it is less likely to muddle.


color pencil durability

You will find yourself sharpening your colored pencils more often when you are using Prismacolor pencils. This is again due to the wax binder used to hold the pencil lead together. The core of these pencils is quite soft, so if you put a bit too much pressure on the tips, they will easily break.

Faber-Castell colored pencils use significantly harder oil-based binders to hold the graphene and colored pigments. This makes the Faber-Castell pencils a bit more robust and less prone to breaking. However, if you are a fan of smudging pencil marks, you will find that the Prismacolor pencils are better suited for said purpose.


If your budget permits it, you should get the high-end Faber-Castell colored pencils. However, for less than half the price of the full Faber-Castell set, you can get the full Prismacolor set. You will get 150 colors when you get the Prismacolor set compared to the 120 colors you can get from the Faber-Castell set.

You can probably argue that you are getting better quality products with Faber-Castell colored pencils. However, if you are a beginner at using colored pencils, you probably won’t notice the differences that much anyway. In this regard, it is best to get the brand that fits your budget.


In the battle between Faber-Castell vs Prismacolor, it seems that Faber-Castell is the clear winner. However, the Prismacolor does have a couple of advantages over the Faber-Castell which could make it better for you to choose it especially if you are just a beginner at using colored pencils.

In the end, you should take your budget and personal needs into consideration first before you choose which brand of colored pencil to use.

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