The 6 Best Charcoal Pencils in 2024

Best Overall


A versatile and comprehensive set of high-quality charcoal pencils, ideal for both detailed and broad charcoal artwork.
Best White


Premium white charcoal pencils, perfect for adding highlights and dimensions to charcoal drawings.
Best Black

Winsor & Newton

Exceptional black charcoal sticks, known for their smooth application and deep, rich blacks, ideal for artists seeking intensity and variation in shading.

best charcoal pencilsThe art of drawing is a craft that has been practiced for centuries, with the use of various materials such as graphite, ink, paint, and charcoal. Of these materials, charcoal is one of the most versatile and expressive mediums a creative mind can pick up.

And when it comes to using charcoal, the best tool to have in your arsenal is a charcoal pencil. These compressed charcoal sticks are great for capturing intricate details, creating dramatic contrast, and conveying emotions in a way other tools simply cannot.

But with so many brands and types of charcoal pencils out on the market, it can be challenging to know which ones to trust. Sure, most people will tell you to choose Derwent charcoal pencils, as they are considered a leader in the industry, but do they match your specific needs? That’s why, as self-proclaimed charcoal enthusiasts, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to test out different brands, weights, textures, and shades in order to present you with the ultimate guide on the best charcoal pencils.

Benefits of Charcoal Pencils

Are you frustrated by the limitations of your sketching tools? Charcoal pencils may be the solution. These versatile tools are beloved by artists for their ability to add depth and nuance to drawings.

Unlike graphite pencils, charcoal drawing tools can create a range of effects, from smoky to sharp. They also allow for blending and layering, giving complete control over tone and texture.

Incorporating charcoal drawing into your practice can improve your creativity and skill. So try out one of the top six charcoal pencils from our list today and unleash your inner artist.

Selection Criteria for the Best Charcoal Pencils

There are various aspects to consider when purchasing a charcoal pencil to guarantee you get the best one for your needs. Whether you’re a seasoned artist or a budding creative, we’ve got everything you need to take your sketches to the next level. Unleash your inner artist and explore the vast world of hard and soft pencils, where the only limit is your imagination.

Here are some important things to check for:

Charcoal Soft, Medium, and Hard Lead Grade

There are various grades of charcoal pencils available, ranging from very hard to very soft and everything in between. Lines drawn with a hard charcoal pencil are brighter and more precise, but soft pencil lines are darker and better for shading. A B-grade pencil is softer than an A-grade pencil; yet, if you require a tougher pencil, go for an H rating.

Overall, you should look for charcoal pencils with just the right blend of supple lead and solid wood case. However, you’ll need to experiment with a few different ones to find the one that works best for your craft.

Before deciding on a final grade for your artwork, try to think about how much depth and shading you want to include, and then you can decide which lead grade is the right one for your canvas.

Charcoal Type

Pencils for charcoal drawing are created from a variety of natural charcoal particles, including compressed charcoal and vine charcoal options. Compressed charcoal pencils are denser and provide a more regular line, whereas vine charcoal sticks are lighter and more frail, making blending and smearing easier. Choose the type that best suits your artistic style and preferences according to your needs.

Pencil Mechanism

Consider the construction and durability of the pencil. Look for pencils with sturdy hardwood cases that are less likely to break. It’s also beneficial if the pencil has a dependable mechanism for advancing or retracting the charcoal core, allowing you to use it comfortably and without waste. You can find options that come with a kneaded eraser for ease of use.

Individual Dark Charcoal Pencil or Charcoal Pencil Set

Charcoal pencils are frequently sold separately or in sets. Consider acquiring a set of multiple grades of charcoal pencils if you’re just starting out in order to experiment and get familiar with your options or even if you need a variety of tones. Some sets also include blending stumps or erasers, which can be beneficial for charcoal work.

Top Product Recommendations for the Best Charcoal Pencils 2023

  1. Overall Best Charcoal Pencils: Faber-Castel 24 Piece Pitt Charcoal Set
  2. Best White Charcoal Pencil: ARTEZA White Charcoal Pencils
  3. Best Black Charcoal Sticks: Winsor & Newton Artists’ Willow Charcoal
  4. Best Soft, Medium, and Hard Charcoal Pencils: Sunshilor Charcoal Pencils
  5. Best Complete Charcoal Set: Cretacolor 400 30-Black Box 20-Piece Charcoal Set
  6. Best Budget Charcoal Pencil Set: Brusarth Professional Charcoal Drawing Set 6 Pieces

1. Overall Best Charcoal Pencils—Faber-Castell 24 Piece Pitt Charcoal Set

Faber-Castel 24 Piece Pitt Charcoal Set


Charcoal Drawing Pencil Selection Criteria

  • Quality – 10/10
  • Lead Grade – Extra soft, soft, medium, hard
  • Charcoal Type – Compressed charcoals
  • Pencil Mechanism – No
  • Number of Pieces – 24

About Faber-Castel 24-Piece Pitt Charcoal Set

When it comes to charcoal art, one company stands out above the rest: Faber-Castel. The Faber-Castel 24 Piece Pitt Charcoal Set is a masterwork that has cemented its place in the industry. From professional artists to enthusiasts, this kit has received universal praise for its exceptional quality and performance.

To begin with, the variety of charcoal grades in this collection allows artists to experiment with various tonal values and obtain amazing results by using a variety of soft, medium, and hard charcoal sticks. Each stick’s smooth texture and rich, velvety finish allows for seamless blending and shadowing, making it an absolute joy to work with.

Furthermore, the durability and consistency of Faber-Castel’s charcoal sticks are unrivaled. The sticks are precisely made from high-quality materials, resulting in minimal breakage and maximum durability. These charcoal pencils retain their integrity, offering consistent results with every use, whether you’re producing small details or expressive strokes on your canvas.

The set’s packaging is both functional and aesthetically beautiful. The durable and compact metal tin organizes the charcoal sticks, protecting them from damage and making them easy to travel. The smart inclusion of a kneaded eraser and blending stump adds to the set’s versatility and ease.


  • High-quality art supplies
  • Great set for the art student and professional artist alike
  • Comfortable to use on the go, as the tin case keeps them safe even when thrown in a bag
  • A wide variety of lead grades allows for different strokes and artistic results
  • The set comes with a blending stick


  • Difficult to sharpen charcoal pencils
  • Does not come with a pencil sharpener or charcoal powder

2. Best White Charcoal Pencil—ARTEZA White Charcoal Pencils

ARTEZA White Charcoal Pencils

Charcoal Drawing Pencil Selection Criteria

  • Quality –  10/10
  • Lead Grade – Medium, hard
  • Charcoal Type – Compressed charcoal
  • Pencil Mechanism – No
  • Number of Pieces – 12

About ARTEZA White Charcoal Pencils

The ARTEZA White Charcoal Pencils are an excellent choice for artists looking for a versatile and high-quality tool for their creative activities on black canvas. These pencils provide a great experience, especially for those wanting to add depth and highlights to their black charcoal pencils designs.

The capacity of the ARTEZA White Charcoal Pencils to make smooth and brilliant white lines on varied surfaces is one of their distinguishing properties. These pencils glide effortlessly across the surface of dark-toned paper or mixed media projects, leaving behind sharp and opaque markings that engage the eye. The white pigment’s richness and intensity allow for stunning contrasts and highlights, bringing depth and dimension to any artwork.

Furthermore, the pencils’ long-lasting and sturdy core provides continuous performance and lifespan. Artists can use these pencils for extended periods of time without fear of them becoming dull or cracking. The ergonomic design and pleasant grip of the pencils improve control and precision, allowing artists to execute their ideas easily.

Unlike regular graphite pencils, this product is also versatile in its application. The pencils can be used for a variety of artistic techniques, such as intricate drawing, sketching, blending, and highlighting. Their capacity to generate fine hues and delicate gradients enhances the artistic possibilities, allowing for complex and expressive artwork.


  • High-quality results for highlights and drawing on dark paper
  • The set comes with a mix of 12 medium and hard pencils
  • Ergonomic shape so you can use them for extended periods of time


  • Difficult to sharpen; would be easier to use a specialized knife or blade
  • Consistency is closer to soft than the medium grade
  • Color may appear more greyish than bright white, on especially dark backgrounds, when used as a highlighter

3. Best Black Charcoal Sticks—Winsor & Newton Artists’ Willow Charcoal

Winsor & Newton Artists' Willow Charcoal

Charcoal Drawing Pencil Selection Criteria

  • Quality – 10/10
  • Lead Grade – Thin, medium, and thick short-length sticks
  • Charcoal Type –  Vine charcoal sticks
  • Pencil Mechanism – No
  • Number of Pieces – 12

About Winsor & Newton Artists’ Willow Charcoal

Winsor & Newton is a name linked with high quality and craftsmanship when it comes to charcoal art. Willow Charcoal by Winsor & Newton Artists is a tribute to their passion, providing fellow professionals with experience and tools that bring their artistic thoughts to life.

The Artists’ Willow Charcoal is distinguished by its exceptional texture and adaptability. These charcoal sticks are made from high-quality willow wood and have a unique combination of softness and strength. The smooth and velvety texture allows for easy application, while the firmness of the charcoal allows artists to apply varied levels of pressure to achieve a variety of tonal values. These charcoal sticks provide great control and precision, whether you’re producing big and dramatic strokes or subtle and delicate details.

Another noteworthy feature of this product is its deep and rich black color. The charcoal’s profound darkness adds a compelling richness to the artwork, allowing for startling contrasts and dramatic effects. The ability to use this charcoal to create both bold and delicate hues adds depth and realism to drawings, boosting the overall effect.


  • Great for dramatic broad strokes and thin lines, as they come in a variety of sizes
  • High-quality pigments
  • A good option for darker tones


  • Packaging such a fragile object should be more robust, as some sticks were broken
  • Not a great option for when you start exploring charcoal as it requires a certain level of skill to use successfully

4. Best Soft, Medium, and Hard Charcoal Pencils—Sunshilor Charcoal Pencils

Sunshilor Charcoal Pencils

Charcoal Drawing Pencil Selection Criteria

  • Quality – 9/10
  • Lead Grade – soft, medium, and dark values
  • Charcoal Type – Compressed charcoal
  • Pencil Mechanism – No
  • Number of Pieces – 12

About Sunshilor Charcoal Pencils

The Sunshilor Professional Charcoal Pencils Drawing Set is an absolute must-have for both beginning and advanced artists looking for a comprehensive and high-quality charcoal pencil set. This collection provides adaptability and precision for diverse drawing and sketching approaches with its amazing range of 12 soft, medium, and hard charcoal pencils.

The clean and uniform application allows the pencils to glide across the paper with ease, providing for smooth blending and shading while allowing for superb control and giving consistent results every time.

The selection of soft, medium, and hard charcoal pencils allows artists and newcomers to this medium to experiment with a wide range of tonal values in order to produce depth and dimension in their artwork by combining aggressive and dark lines with subtle and light tones. The pencils’ adaptability extends to several media, making them suited for a wide range of tasks, from sketchbooks to canvas.

Another outstanding feature of the Sunshilor Professional Charcoal Pencils Drawing Set is its durability. The pencils are made of high-quality materials that will not shatter and will provide long-lasting performance. Artists can use these pencils for extended periods of time without having to constantly sharpen or crumble them.


  • An excellent option for artists of all skill levels
  • Three charcoal pencils level values
  • Great for expressive artwork due to their versatility, smooth application, and durability
  • Hexagonal, ergonomic shape
  • Allows for the traditional effect of charcoal with better regulation and less disruption


  • Not very easy to sharpen; as the wood shaves down, the tip becomes too fragile

5. Best Complete Charcoal Set—Cretacolor 400 30-Black Box 20-Piece Charcoal Set

Cretacolor 400 30-Black Box 20-Piece Charcoal Set

Charcoal Drawing Pencil Selection Criteria

  • Quality – 10/10
  • Lead Grade – Soft, medium, and hard pencils
  • Charcoal Type – Compressed charcoal and vine options
  • Pencil Mechanism – No
  • Number of Pieces – 20

About Cretacolor 400 30-Black Box 20-Piece Charcoal Set

The Cretacolor 400 30-Black Box 20-Piece Charcoal Set exemplifies the brand’s dedication to great quality and innovation. This collection provides artists with a selection of charcoal sketching tools that spark creativity and produce amazing results.

This set’s variety is one of the main reasons that it initially caught our attention. This product allows artists to have a wide range of alternatives to explore with 20 pieces of charcoal drawing tools, including charcoal sticks, pencils, and a lump of sketching coal. This adaptability allows for limitless experimentation with various textures, lines, and tonal values, allowing artists to stretch their creative limitations even after they feel they are accustomed to this medium.

The charcoal in the Cretacolor 400 set is simply unparalleled in quality. The charcoal sticks and pencils apply smoothly and consistently, gliding across the canvas. They are precisely created to produce rich and deep blacks in artwork, allowing for dramatic contrasts and intriguing effects. The charcoal powders have a distinct feel and blending ability, giving painters more creative options.

Furthermore, the set comes in a stylish and robust black box that organizes and protects the charcoal tools. This handy packaging makes the set portable, allowing artists to capture inspiration on the road.

Overall, the Cretacolor 400 30-Black Box 20-Piece Charcoal Set is an excellent alternative for artists looking for unrivaled quality and diversity in their charcoal artwork. This set opens the door to endless creative possibilities because of its diverse toolset, great application, and durability. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a budding artist, investing in the Cretacolor 400 set will surely take your work to new heights of perfection.


  • Wide variety of charcoal pencils for drawing
  • One of the best charcoal pencils sets as it offers products to all levels of artists
  • Low on binders


  • The vine charcoal appears to be of low quality, having a central core that shouldn’t be there

6. Best Budget Charcoal Pencil Set—Brusarth Professional Charcoal Drawing Set 6 Pieces

Brusarth Professional Charcoal Drawing Set 6 Pieces

Charcoal Drawing Pencil Selection Criteria

  • Quality – 10/10
  • Lead Grade – Soft, medium, and dark options
  • Charcoal Type – Compressed charcoal
  • Pencil Mechanism – No
  • Number of Pieces – 6

About Brusarth Professional Charcoal Drawing Set 6 Pieces

The Brusarth Professional Charcoal Pencils Drawing Set is an affordable option for artists looking for high-quality charcoal pencils. This cheap choice, with its collection of six well-crafted pieces, is a good beginning place for both novices and seasoned artists exploring the world of charcoal drawing, without needing to break the bank.

The lead is rich and smooth, blending easily on the paper and enabling seamless shading and highlighting, just like more expensive options on the market. The pencils come in a variety of tonal values as well, allowing artists to create depth and complexity in their work.

This product’s construction is strong, allowing for a pleasant grip and minimizing breakage during use, despite its low price point. The pencils’ endurance ensures that they can survive the demands of regular drawing sessions without sacrificing performance.

Also, the Brusarth Professional Charcoal Pencils Drawing Set has soft, medium, and hard leads supplying artists with a variety of hardness levels, so you can experiment with diverse approaches and obtain a wide range of effects, from powerful, dramatic strokes to delicate, small details, without the need to buy more products.

While this kit does not feature a large assortment of charcoal tools, it can serve as an inexpensive introduction to charcoal sketching. As their talents develop, artists can easily expand their collections with additional accessories.


  • More than one hard charcoal pencil,
  • The set holds six pencils for such a low price point
  • Great art supply for art classes as it is a budget option for people who are now learning


  • No white pencil
  • No kneaded erasers


In conclusion, the world of art is one that is constantly evolving, with new styles and mediums emerging every day. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to choose the right tools to bring your art to life.

However, one thing is for certain: no artist’s toolkit is complete without a set of charcoal pencils. The softness of their pigment, the ease of smudging, and the rich depth of their shades make them a staple in the art world.

Whether you’re a budding artist or a seasoned professional, the best charcoal pencils are a must-have for any collection. So, whether you choose the natural beauty of vine charcoal or the versatility of compressed charcoal sticks, use them with freedom, creativity and ultimately let them become the extension of your imagination and ingenuity.

Overall, the Faber-Castel 24 Piece Pitt Charcoal Set unquestionably deserves to be regarded as a great option to consider. This set is a must-have for every charcoal artist because of its great quality, remarkable performance, and clever design.

Finally, the Winsor & Newton Artists’ Willow Charcoal exemplifies the brand’s dedication to excellence in art supplies. This charcoal set provides artists with an outstanding instrument for expressing their creativity, thanks to its impeccable texture, rich pigment, and durability. Whether you’re a professional artist or an enthusiastic hobbyist, the Artists’ Willow Charcoal is another great option for anyone looking for a natural elegance in their charcoal artwork.

We hope you found our analysis of the top charcoal pencils of 2023 to be helpful. Consult our associated guides for further sources of comparable items for the artistic lifestyle.

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