Top critical review
October 7, 2016
With all due respect to the glowing reviews for this product, I must respectfully weigh in here. I've used Prismacolor Premier colored pencils for the past 25 years. Having recently purchased a large set for my older daughter on Amazon, I can say with 100% confidence that this brand has declined STEEPLY in quality. I compared my old set of 72 with her new set, and even being considerably older than my own child, the original Prismas are distinctly higher in quality. Her new set came with SERIOUSLY off-centered leads, wooden shafts that are either cracked or completely different colors from one half to the other, and most concerning, the cores in many of the pencils seems to be waxier and clumps/flakes no matter what we do. I even found one pencil stamped with a misspelled color name; not a deal-breaker in and of itself, but clearly another indication of the level (or lack thereof) of quality control.
I believe that many of the higher reviews for this product are from before the company began cutting corners...a search online will quickly reveal that cracked wood, broken leads, off-centered cores, and other issues have been present for several years now. I'm not new to these pencils; I know every trick in the book for sharpening, warming the cores, and handling them with care. Notwithstanding, when the product arrives damaged (after I paid for overnight shipping to reduce the amount of jostling/handling they'd otherwise receive), it's disheartening at best.
I contacted Prismacolor directly about this issue, and was told that if I sent them photos of some of my damaged pencils, they would send me a return mailing label with which I could send back the set. And then I could wait seven to 10 business days, as another set was sent from Mexico to Tennessee, and then ultimately back to me. While I appreciate the offer to replace them, I see no point in going through all of that in order to get the same product AGAIN, this time with additional transit concerns and no guarantee that the pencils would be any better than what I currently have.
There's no disputing that Prismacolor has chosen to make some changes to their production, be it in quality control, materials, manufacturing, or all of the above. Their steep decline in pricing reflects that reality; a 72-count set used to run more than $1 per pencil, and now sells for half that price. I almost NEVER write reviews on Amazon, but felt strongly that if someone could avoid my costly mistake it would be worth it; maybe if more people did the same, the people manufacturing Prismacolors would bring back the "Premier" that once made them such a great product.