If you are new to the world of watercolor painting, then you’ve probably spent some time considering which paints you prefer and discovering your favorite brushes and surfaces. However, the palette that you choose may be just as important as any of these other factors.
If you are trying to find the best watercolor mixing palette, then the following reviews will be indispensable. After testing the performance of dozens of watercolor palettes, these are the contenders that rose to the top.
They all are affordable, functional, and made from quality materials. Accordingly, you can trust any of them to help you on your journey as an artist. After looking at factors such as portability, the number of pigment wells, the presence or lack of a lid, and how easy each palette is to hold while painting.
Best Watercolor Palettes:
1. 12 Pcs Paint Tray Palettes Plastic for DIY Craft Professional Art PaintingView at Amazon
This product is definitely a bargain. Nonetheless, each of these palettes is made from sturdy molded plastic that really stands up to time and use.
These are suitable both for adults and children, and they can easily be packed up to take on the go. Each package contains 12 plastic palettes, with each one featuring 10 wells around the perimeter of the circular piece.
In the middle is a central reservoir where pigments may be mixed. These palettes clean easily after use, and they stack efficiently for quick storage. Because of their lightweight, these are the perfect palettes to take with you when you travel.
Many users remark that this is the best watercolor palette for beginners. This is partly because these palettes are inexpensive, but also help that they are light, durable, and wash easily. People appreciate that this product has deep wells that hold plenty of paint.
Several mentions are made of how suitable these palettes are for children, and people have discovered lots of creative ways to use this product. The most frequent complaint with regard to these palettes is their overall size. At a diameter of 6.7″, some people say that it is just too small.
With one dozen plastic palettes for a good price, it’s hard for anyone to go wrong with this set.
- 12 in a package
- Deep wells
- Might be too small for some artists
2. Darice 97789 13-Inch-by-10-Inch, 20-Well PaletteView at Amazon
A true value at less than four bucks, this is a cheap watercolor palette that performs well. The 13″ by 10″ rectangle features 20 wells. This makes this item ideal for mixing colors.
Whether you are a crafter or a fine artist, you’ll appreciate this palette that works equally well for watercolor, oil, and acrylic paints. Each of these Darice palettes is equipped with 20 wells.
These include four large and eight small round wells as well as four square wells and an additional four square wells with slanted bottoms. The palette is quite sturdy and quickly washes after use. Made by Darice, shoppers can trust that this product is perfect for any creative project.
Fans of this palette typically heap praise on it. Many of them like its large size and how easy it is to use. Also frequently mentioned is the palette’s sturdiness and how easy it is to clean. The variety of good sizes also seems to be a big plus for many users, and several reviews contain remarks that praise this palette for not staining.
However, some people do say that watercolors tend to bead up a bit on the surface of the palette, which may be a downside.
For its low price and variety of good-sized wells, this palette from Darice is definitely worth taking the plunge.
- Large size
- Many wells
- Watercolors may bead up on the somewhat hydrophobic surface
3. Artlicious – Paint Tray Palettes with Thumb Hole – Best for Acrylic, Oil, Watercolor Paints & Paint Brushes (3 Pack)View at Amazon
A three-pack of these palettes may be purchased for an extremely affordable price point. Other sets of six or 12 palettes also are available for suitably affordable prices. This product deserves to be named the best watercolor palette because it has a thumb hole and the traditional contours of a high-quality wooden palette.
If you like the idea of being able to use an inexpensive version of a much higher-end palette, then you can’t go wrong with this product. Artlicious designed these palettes to have a total of 10 wells. These include four irregularly shaped wells and six round wells.
The entire palette is made of molded white plastic, which ensures that it is lightweight, sturdy, and easy to clean. These palettes are suitable for use with all water-based media. This palette’s value for money, sturdiness, and durability all are mentioned in numerous consumer reviews.
People frequently remark that these palettes are just the right size, and the thumb hole is definitely a huge advantage from a standpoint of ergonomics and convenience. This product also is said to clean quite easily. In one case, a painter left acrylic paints in their palette overnight, yet it still washed clean the next day.
Still, some more serious painters find this palette a bit undersized for their purposes.
With its thumb hole and traditional palette shape, this is a smart and economical substitute for a much higher-end palette.
- Good value for money
- Shaped like a traditional palette
- May be too small for serious painters
4. Mijello Airtight Watercolor 18-Well Blue PaletteView at Amazon
With a good price tag, this is the best portable watercolor palette. You can go anywhere with it because it’s equipped with an airtight light. Also, this palette is light so you’ll hardly notice it when you have to get up and go.
This product from Mijello is a folding watercolor palette so that it can be conveniently transported even when it contains paint.
In the bottom half of the palette are two large mixing areas with 18 color slants surrounding them.
The package further includes a removable clear tray that can be used to ensure the mixture of true colors. This leak-proof product is ideal for the painter who doesn’t want to be restricted to the studio.
When closed, this palette measures 10.5″ by five inches. When open, its dimensions are 10.5″ by 10 inches.
People frequently are pleased by how functional this palette is. Some artists even say that they can fit pencils, erasers, brushes, and a paper towel or two inside for an all-in-one pack.
Users say that although the palette is quite light, it still feels really sturdy in their hands.
A pigment chart may be inserted under the clear tray so that it can always be seen, and the palette’s portability is seen as a huge plus. However, some people report that they wish the outside of the palette wasn’t so slick so that they could grip it more securely when painting.
Great for travel, this Mijello palette is ideal for beginners and seasoned artists.
- Includes an airtight lid
- Several wells
- Comes with a clear tray for more pigment-mixing options
- The exterior of the palette is slippery, making it hard t hold while painting
5. Art Alternatives Wooden Palette – OvalView at Amazon
This traditionally shaped palette includes a thumb hole and is equally easy to use by left-handed and right-handed artists. Measuring 11.75″ by 15.75″, this palette will satisfy almost any painter – this choice is easy on the budget.
Constructed of wood, this palette is sturdy but lightweight. Unlike plastic palettes, it does not have any wells, which makes it more like a traditional artist’s palette. This means that cleaning it is more of a chore. Water may be able to wash away some paints, but others will require acetone and a cloth.
The palette arrives unfinished, and this may be ideal for some painters. If you are an oil painting, you may choose to finish the wood with shellac or linseed oil. However, finishing is not required. Fans say that this palette is of decent quality and fits well in their hands. The lightweight of the item is praised as is the affordable price.
Many people remark that having a large, wooden palette makes them feel like “real” artists. Comments further are made about how easy it is to blend colors on the wooden surface. The most common complaint relates to how difficult it is to clean. Plastic may be a better bet if this is a concern for you.
If you want the feel of an authentic artist’s palette at an economical price, consider choosing this item.
- Made of wood
- Includes a thumbhole
- Ergonomic and portable
- Requires more effort to clean than a plastic palette
6. Martin Universal Design Watercolor Palette, Blue CaseView at Amazon
As the manufacturer boasts, this palette is able to keep colors fresh for several weeks. This is one of the features that make this Martin Universal Design product the best watercolor palette for travel.
Leakproof and airtight, the blue case that encloses the plastic trays makes this palette perfectly portable. Inside the case is a palette that is divided into two large mixing areas and 24 slanted wells.
On the other side of the case is a removable plastic mixing tray. This provides artists with plenty of room to experiment with blending pigments. Both plastic trays may be removed from the case for easier cleaning. This palette is quite large, making it ideal for artists who want to use a wide variety of colors.
Artists say that they love the versatility and portability of this product. Having 24 slanted wells and three large mixing areas is considered a huge advantage. Described as being large and sturdy, people say that they have dropped this palette and observed no significant damage.
Perhaps the most common complaint is that the top mixing tray tends to fall out when opening the case.
For being an excellent palette at home or on the road, this Martin Universal Design product deserves a chance.
- Comes with an airtight lid
- The case has a sturdy latch
- Plenty of wells and mixing areas
- The top mixing tray is liable to fall out
7. Bellofy Palette Painting Pad – Disposable 80 Sheets – 9×12 inchesView at Amazon
This is a completely different type of palette. This product actually is a palette painting pad with 80 sheets. A hardcover protects the sheets, which are bound at the top with tape. They easily tear out of the book, and the environmentally friendly paper is disposable.
Each sheet in the pad is coated with poly so that you don’t have to worry about the paint bleeding through to the next sheet. This means that you are always left with a clean palette when you tear away the sheet you’re using.
Thanks to this smart palette, there is no more cleanup. When you are done with the sheet, just throw it away. The pad measures a portable nine inches by 12 inches with 400 GSM paper. The manufacturer provides a 100 percent, money-back guarantee, so you really can’t go wrong. Many artists say that it’s impossible to beat this deal if you want quick cleanups.
Of course, there are numerous suggestions concerning keeping your paint away from the edges of the pages so that they don’t stick together. People praise it for being so easy to use, and they especially cite its usefulness when used outside of the studio.
A revolutionary idea that radically changes the idea of cleaning up after a painting session, new and seasoned painters will want to try this.
- No clean up required
- Thick paper
- Bound in a sturdy hardcover
- Take care to keep paint away from the edges of the pages or they may stick together
8. MEEDEN Porcelain Watercolor Paint Palette Rose Designed Tray for Artist Watercolor Gouache Painting ColoringView at Amazon
The ceramic paint palette measures six inches in diameter. It is an eco-friendly product that’s designed to look like a rose. The interiors of the uniquely shaped wells are stain-resistant and completely smooth. Thanks to the ceramic material, this palette is ideal for mixing colors and easy cleaning.
The underside of this palette features a heart-shaped groove to make it easier to hold onto while painting. Compatible with tempera, oil, acrylic, gouache, and watercolors, this product also may be used for beading and other craft projects.
This is a compact, lightweight palette that looks a bit like a work of art itself. Fans say that this palette fits well in their hands, and they love the number of intricately shaped wells. Comments that this palette really dresses up their studio are frequent from the beginning and experienced artists.
Some critics remark that this palate really is designed for small, detailed work because the wells are pretty small. If you are working on a project that’s sizable, you might be better off with a more traditional design.
With aesthetic beauty and usefulness too, this is a fantastic palette to add to your collection.
- Beautiful design
- Made of quality ceramic
- Easy to hold while painting
- May be too small for some projects
9. Loew-Cornell 950B PaletteView at Amazon
This 17-well folding palette is a recommended watercolor palette because it’s suitable for use by every level of artist. Made from plastic, it’s possible to use this product with virtually any medium. These are available singly or in two, three, or four packs.
Because it folds, this palette features two usable surfaces. On one side is three pans for mixing. The other side contains 12 smaller wells and an additional two mixing pans.
All of the wells are flat. Other features include a storage spot for two brushes and a slot for the thumb.
Many people remark that these palettes are a great value, though some people comment that they have trouble with watercolor paints beading up on the surface.
Some solved this issue by rubbing a magic eraser across the surfaces. Because it feels sturdy, people believe that it will last quite a long time, and they appreciate the larger mixing spaces.
The compact size and portability also are praised by fans.
An economical and functional choice, this palette would complement any artist’s supplies.
- Compact and portable
- A good number of wells and mixing areas
- A slot for the thumb
- May need to treat it with a magic eraser to keep watercolors from beading up on the surface
10. Transon Paint Palette Box 36 Deep Wells Airtight Stay Moist with 1 Paintbrush and 1 Paint TrayView at Amazon
Priced at a good price, this plastic palette box is a tremendous deal. It features 36 extra-deep wells and a soft, airtight lid to keep your paints secure. The 32 smaller wells and the four larger wells each are one inch deep. On the underside of the lid are grooved line markings for each of the wells.
This means that the lid fits on the palette in a really compact manner. Additionally, the design helps to prevent paint from drying out. Inside this value, the pack is an oval-shaped mixing tray plus a paintbrush that’s designed for highly detailed work. Fans love the many, deep wells that this palette contains.
Also praiseworthy are the flexible, secure lid and the four larger wells, which are suitable for keeping heavily used colors. If there’s a complaint about it, it relates to the smell of the plastic.
Great for travel or the studio, this versatile palette is right for every artist.
- Plenty of wells
- A flexible, secure lid
- Deep wells to store more paint
- May be smelly
Tips for Choosing the Best Watercolor Palettes
Several factors must be considered when choosing a watercolor palette. Chief among these is whether or not the palette needs to be portable.
Porcelain palettes can be ideal for mixing and storage, but their heavier weight and breakability make them less suited to use during travel. Accordingly, if you’re looking for a travel palette, wood or plastic may be better.
You’ll also want to consider how many pigment wells the palette has. Ideally, the palette will be large enough to hold all of the colors that you frequently use but not so large that it holds all of the pigments you own.
A palette of that size might be too heavy and cumbersome to use even in the studio.
It’s also important to weigh your budget. You could spend a fortune on an incredibly fancy palette, but do you really need something so deluxe? You can get excellent performance from really affordable palettes so don’t feel the need to go overboard.
Flat or Slanted Wells
You further might think about whether or not you prefer wells with flat or slanted bottoms.
Some artists swear by one or the other, but a mix usually is a better idea because it gives you increased flexibility. This way, you’ll always have what you need at your disposal.
Many artists swear by having a palette with a cover. This is because a cover makes the palette portable and keeps all sorts of dirt and debris, like pet hair, out of your pigments.
However, if you are unsure about having a lidded palette, consider just using aluminum foil or plastic wrap as a cover.
Making the Decision
With most of these palettes being so affordable, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to give each of them a try. All of the bases are covered here with entries including wood, ceramic, and plastic.
Consider whether or not you need your palette to be portable before making a purchase, and also give some thought to how many wells you need. Above all, be open to experimenting and trying various products to find the best palette for watercolor projects