I bought the U.S. Art Supply 36 color watercolor pan set for $7.99. I thought it was charming. I could look at every color and know exactly what color it would be when I painted with it. On the other hand, artist quality paint like Daniel Smith yellow ochre ($10.46) is so pigment rich that most colors are unidentifiable in the palette — I need a color card just to know what the colors are.
The U.S. Art Supply watercolor pan set claims to be safe for ages 3 to infinity, so I feel that I’m their target customer. By the way, there are lots of vendors selling this product under various branding and prices. I looked around and bought the cheapest.
UPDATE: It turns out that these cheap paints are abrasive enough to chew up synthetic brushes. Once again a truism is proven to be true: you get what you pay for. Caveat emptor!