Crayola and Cra-Z-Art are two of the most popular and recognizable brands of crayons, markers, colored pencils and other art supplies for children. But when it comes to quality, longevity, variety and overall experience, which brand comes out on top? There are good arguments on both sides, so let’s take a detailed look at how Crayola and Cra-Z-Art compare.
Crayola has a very long history as an American icon. The company was founded in 1885 as Binney & Smith in Easton, Pennsylvania. They developed one of the first dustless chalks for classrooms and began making colorful wax crayons in 1903. The Crayola brand name was coined in 1904, combining the French word “craie” (chalk) with “ola” from “oleaginous” (oily). Crayola introduced their signature box of 8, 16, 24 or 32 crayons in 1958. Today, Crayola produces over 1,500 types of crayons, colored pencils, markers and other art tools. The Crayola brand has become synonymous with coloring and creativity.
Cra-Z-Art, on the other hand, has a much shorter history. The company was founded in the 1950s in Randolph, New Jersey and was initially called The Muralo Company. They manufactured paints, brushes and other art supplies for artists and crafters. In the 1990s, they changed their name to Cra-Z-Art to focus on the youth art supplies market with safe, affordable products. While not as iconic as Crayola, Cra-Z-Art has gained a following for providing a quality alternative at a lower price point.
Variety of Products
One of the biggest differences between Crayola and Cra-Z-Art is the sheer variety of art supplies that Crayola offers. Crayola has an overwhelming selection of crayon boxes, colored pencils, markers, modeling clays, paints, craft kits and more. Some of Crayola’s most popular items include:
- Crayons – 120+ box colors, large & jumbo sizes, glitter crayons
- Colored Pencils – 50+ colors, watercolor pencils
- Markers – Broad line, fine line and washable markers
- Modeling Compounds – Model Magic, Modeling Clay, Silly Putty
- Paints – Fingerpaints, tempera paints, sidewalk chalk
- Craft Kits – Make your own crayons, slime, jewelry, Room Décor kits
In comparison, Cra-Z-Art has a smaller line-up of products focused primarily on wax crayons, colored pencils, markers, sidewalk chalk and basic craft paints. However, one unique offering from Cra-Z-Art is the Sands Alive! magical sand art kit. Cra-Z-Art doesn’t have the volume of specialty coloring tools that Crayola boasts.
|120+ Crayon Colors
|64 Crayon Colors
|Numerous Marker Packs
|Limited Marker Selection
|Dozens of Craft Kits
|Basic Craft Paints
|Specialty Items like Glitter Glue
|Unique Sand Art Kit
Deciding between the color quality of Crayola and Cra-Z-Art products is largely a matter of personal preference. Here are some key similarities and differences:
- Crayola crayons produce rich, vibrant colors that are smooth and easy to blend.
- Cra-Z-Art crayons have bright colors but the wax tends to be softer and prone to breaking.
- Both brands offer color names to spark creativity and imagination.
- Crayola colored pencils have highly pigmented color and smooth laydown.
- Cra-Z-Art colored pencils require more passes for true color saturation.
- Crayola markers have consistent ink flow and intense colors.
- Cra-Z-Art markers can sometimes be streaky or watery.
Overall, Crayola products tend to provide truer color representation, better blending ability and more consistent performance. But Cra-Z-Art offers comparable color options at an affordable price point for casual coloring and crafting.
Given the brand recognition and superior quality, Crayola products do come at a higher price point than Cra-Z-Art. Let’s break down the cost differences across some top-selling items:
|24 Count Crayons
|64 Count Crayons
|12 Colored Pencils
|10 Washable Markers
Across the board, Cra-Z-Art products are approximately 50% cheaper than the Crayola equivalents. Over time, this cost savings can really add up, making Cra-Z-Art the more budget-friendly option.
When it comes to finding these products in stores, Crayola once again has the advantage in availability and visibility. Crayola crayons and art supplies can be readily found at:
- Office Supply Stores
- Grocery Stores
- Drug Stores
- Dollar Stores
- Warehouse Clubs
- School Book Fairs
- Arts & Crafts Stores
- Online Retailers like Amazon
Cra-Z-Art products have less store saturation. They are most likely to be found at:
- Office Supply Stores
- Dollar Stores
- Warehouse Clubs
- Online Retailers
Crayola’s dominance in the category leads to greater availability both in brick-and-mortar stores and online. Cra-Z-Art tends to be limited to big box retailers and dollar-type stores.
Art supplies are all about inspiring creativity in children and both Crayola and Cra-Z-Art understand that kid appeal is key. Here’s how they compare when it comes to the all-important fun factor:
- Crayola uses colorful, recognizable branding that kids love.
- Special themed crayon sets and creative product names spark kids’ interest.
- Cra-Z-Art compensates for less brand recognition with low prices.
- Bright colors and fun product packaging appeals to young artists.
While Crayola has an edge with popular licensed themes and character tie-ins, both brands effectively capture childrens’ excitement and imagination. At the end of the day, it’s about finding that inspiration to create.
A big consideration for parents is how messy different art supplies might be. Here’s how Crayola and Cra-Z-Art stack up:
- Crayola washable markers and fingerpaints live up to their claims and come out of clothes and off surfaces.
- Cra-Z-Art washable markers are comparable to Crayola in mess factor.
- Crayola colored pencils are low-mess and easy to contain.
- Cra-Z-Art colored pencils have higher risk of breaking and getting pieces everywhere.
- Crayola crayons are less prone to snapping and creating a waxy mess.
- Cra-Z-Art crayons tend to break more easily due to the softer wax.
Overall, Crayola products seem to be engineered to minimize mess, staying true to lines and surfaces. Cra-Z-Art products are more prone to crumbling and transferring color where it doesn’t belong.
Performance Over Time
Durability is another important differentiator between Crayola and Cra-Z-Art products. Here is how they hold up over time:
- Crayola crayons maintain their shape well even with pressure applied.
- Cra-Z-Art crayons tend to get flattened and worn down with heavy use.
- Crayola markers retain ink flow even if uncapped for a while.
- Cra-Z-Art markers dry out quicker when uncapped.
- Crayola colored pencils keep their fine tips without excessive sharpening.
- Cra-Z-Art colored pencil tips wear down and break faster.
While no art supplies will last forever, Crayola products are engineered for longevity even under frequent use by children. Cra-Z-Art items show wear and decline in performance sooner.
|Holds shape under pressure
|Gets flattened with heavy use
|Ink maintains good flow
|Markers dry out more quickly
|Fine tips withstand sharpening
|Colored pencils break more easily
When it comes to art supplies for kids, safety is the number one priority for parents. Here’s how these brands compare:
- All Crayola products meet ASTM safety standards for art supplies.
- Crayola uses child-safe, non-toxic materials washed and inspected for purity.
- Cra-Z-Art states their products meet or exceed all safety requirements.
- Both brands clearly label non-toxic and washable items.
- No safety concerns identified with either brand.
Crayola clearly outlines their strict safety protocols for toy manufacturing. While Cra-Z-Art does not provide the same level of detail, there are no specific health or hazard risks associated with their art supplies compared to Crayola.
When weighing all the factors of variety, color quality, cost, availability, appeal, mess, durability and safety, Crayola emerges as the superior brand overall. The iconic Crayola name has stood for creativity and quality for over 100 years. While more expensive, Crayola crayons, markers, colored pencils and other art supplies deliver vivid color, longevity, kid excitement and reliable performance. However, Cra-Z-Art should not be overlooked, especially for casual coloring, crafts and art projects on a budget.
Cra-Z-Art provides a comparable product line at an affordable price point. Their crayons, markers and colored pencils allow kids to explore their creativity, albeit with some compromises on color intensity, durability and mess-factor. At the end of the day, it comes down to individual child preferences and parenting budget considerations when choosing between these top coloring brands.