I gave up using colored pencils in elementary school years ago. The quality of the pencils (neither which were the brands I will be discussing here) were so mediocre, I thought they took away from the quality of student work. So, I was curious to see what other pencils had to offer.
First of all, the Rose Art pencils are the size of normal pencils. Most any pencil sharpener you will come across in an elementary school will sharpen them. The Prang pencils are fat and triangular. You will need to use a pencil sharpener that is probably the size of the fat pencils that are used in Kindergarten. However, included in the Prang set is a pencil sharpener that will work on average pencils and the fat ones. Since students need frequent access to sharpeners when using colored pencils, it is a bonus to have ones that come with the sets.
Both sets of pencils come sharpened right out of the box. This is such a wonderful thing when you go to use them the first time. Otherwise, you are investing long periods of time just to prepare the pencils before a lesson.
The first test that I thought of for checking the quality of pencils, was how many strokes with a pencil I could get before I needed to sharpen the pencil. At around 100 strokes, both pencils would have benefitted from sharpening.
What I noticed more with this experiment though was the quality of the color. The Prang (top color on the photo) laid down a thick, rich color the entire time. The Rose Art (bottom color on the photo) laid down a much lighter, weaker color throughout. At times it felt as though when I was using the Rose Art pencil, the lead was scratching the paper rather than laying down color.
I pressed down heavily when using both pencils, as I remember frequent lead breakage from my old classroom brand. Neither of the leads in these pencils broke.
One other perk of the Prang set is that it includes gold and silver. These are highly prized colors by elementary artists. These were not colors that were included in the Rose Art.
If I ordered colored pencils again, my choice would definitely be with the Prang. I am not sure what they cost, but the quality of the pencil makes it worth it.
Nic Hahn, aka "Mini Matisse," has also done a comparison with these pencils. I will be curious to go back and read her review now.