When you’re looking to get started in tarot, you might not have any idea what to look for to find the best tarot cards. (Even if you’re experienced in the art of tarot, you might be looking around for something new or make sure you’re covering all your bases!)
Tarot is a deeply spiritual practice, and everyone wants something different for their tarot deck. There are so many tarot decks available out there that it’s impossible to sort through them all. This list has done the work for you so you can spend your time and effort focusing on learning and honing your craft.
Below you’ll find my picks for the 20 best tarot decks for beginners with 4.5-5 star ratings in a variety of styles and traditions from Amazon.
Since the original publication of this post, I have purchased and reviewed over 30 decks of tarot cards, including decks which have been removed from this list. Between taking tarot courses, reading books, and being active in online tarot communities, I am immersed in the world of tarot.
These tarot decks are ones that I can personally recommend for every budding tarot reader.
If you’re curious (or in a hurry) here are our top picks:
|✅BEST ESSENTIAL DECK: Radiant Rider-Waite Tarot Cards|
|✅BEST MODERN DECK: Modern Witch Tarot|
|✅BEST FOR DEPTH OF READING: Crowley’s Thoth Tarot (not for complete beginners)|
|✅BEST ARTWORK: Light Seer’s Tarot|
|✅BEST FOR COMPLETE BEGINNERS: Witchy Cauldron Beginner Tarot Deck|
Scroll to see these cards in depth!
What to look for in a Tarot Deck
If you’re a beginner, start here and learn some background info so you can know what to look for. If you’re not a newbie, skip ahead to check out my recommendations!
Sometimes called Waite-Smith, or Rider-Waite-Smith cards, this was the set of tarot cards published in 1909 that has set the standard for decks today.
Pamela Colman Smith is the artistic who illustrated these traditional decks under the direction of Dr. Arthur Edward Waite, who was a scholar of occultism. Her artwork is public domain, so you may see many publishers and producers that use her exact artwork, or maybe even modernize it.
The Major Arcana are the 22 trump cards. These cards are overarching themes for growth and spiritual development in our lives. Typically, when you pull a major arcana card, this is a larger concept for your life that may span over months or even years.
The Minor Arcana are the suit cards, and there are 56 cards in this group. The minor arcana cards point to events or people in your life. These are smaller things that might be happening in your life or might need your attention.
78 Card Deck
When tarot decks include both major and minor arcana, they’ll have 78 cards. Sometimes there are bonus cards, so you may see decks that say 80 cards and have 2 bonus cards in the major arcana. Most of the cards below are 78 card decks.
Whether you’re a beginner or not, finding a tarot deck with a guide booklet is crucial for your success when you first start using your cards because each deck is slightly different. You want to get a good feel for your deck as you practice using them.
Many tarot cards available out there are printed cheaply. The printing may be blurry or discolored. The paper may be too thin.
Unfortunately, this comes with the territory. If you purchase a deck of cards that is $25 or less, you run this risk. However, a deck that is less than $25 may be a better starting place than buying an expensive deck. Keep this in mind that you may see reviews that discuss a poor quality in some of the less expensive tarot decks.
Can I buy my own first deck of Tarot cards?
It’s common, especially in certain spiritualities or religions that you’re supposed to be gifted your first set of tarot cards. So can you buy your own first deck of tarot cards?
Don’t let old stuffy rules invade your own personal practices.
Do I need to start with a Rider Waite Deck?
I highly recommend starting with a Rider-Waite deck, but it is not necessary. I did not. Everyone’s journey is different. If you’re not going to start with a Rider-Waite deck, I do recommend learning a bit about the origins of the cards and original meanings in order to have a well-rounded, balanced interpretation of your card readings, as well as learning to do readings based on the artwork and reading symbolism.
These best tarot cards include:
•Essential & Classic Tarot Deck
•Modern Tarot Decks
•Artistic Tarot Decks
•Cultural Tarot Decks
The 20 Best Tarot Decks for Beginners
The 5 Essential Tarot Decks You NEED to Know
1. ☆BEST ESSENTIAL DECK: Radiant Rider-Waite Tarot Deck and Book ☆
‣4.75″ x 2.75″
When it comes to best tarot decks, this is an absolute must. The Rider Waite deck with artwork by Pamela Colman Smith is the deck that most other decks are based on.
Pamela Colman Smith’s artwork is now public domain, so anyone can use it can use it to create their own deck. This particular deck has similar coloring, but it has been updated and added shading to make it more dynamic.
Aside from the stunning new digitized coloring, one of the draws to this deck is that it comes with a 272-page booklet by Avia Vemefica that helps any budding tarot reader learn the Rider-Waite system.
PROS: Essential. Book is great for beginners. Artwork has been perfected.
‣78 card deck
‣4.72 x 2.75″
Many tarot readers who have been in the game for a while use this deck religiously.
It is majestic, bright, and dynamic artwork on borderless cards. The characters are diverse and the images speak of magic and fantasy.
Because the publisher is Llewellyn, you can expect very flimsy cards. Unfortunately, this is just standard for publication with Llewellyn, and a great many decks are published with them. If card thickness is a pet-peeve of yours, you might stay clear of this deck.
(This is called the “Royale” version because it has been updated. You may be able to find the older version of these if you look around.)
PROS: Stunning artwork, well-known and trusted deck, borderless
CONS: Thin cardstock
3. ☆BEST FOR IN-DEPTH READING: Thoth Tarot ☆
‣78 card deck
‣5.5 x 3.75″
The Thoth Tarot is much like a cult classic. Everyone knows it, but it’s a particular taste.
It is incredibly complex, with lots of hidden meaning on the cards, so if you’re contemplating this deck, you may want to purchase a companion book that will help you read it.
There is also a “small” deck, which is a little less expensive, but more importantly, it’s better for smaller hands. (And it includes 2 additional cards.)
Energetically, this deck is very intellectual and head-based, rather than heart or gut based. At least, that is my personal read on the energy.
I do not recommend that this be your very first deck! But it is definitely a deck you should know, and if you take your craft seriously, then even as a somewhat beginner, you can dip your toe into this one.
PROS: Complex and deep
CONS: Different than Tarot-Waite (if you already know TW), can take a while to learn
‣63 card deck
‣4.75 x 2.75″
Another essential when we’re talking about best tarot cards for beginners.
The Wild Unknown Tarot deck is divided into 5 suits: Earth, Water, Air, Fire, and Ether. The artwork is very unique, multi-media art with pen (black and white) with rainbow colors.
Admittedly, some of the reviews are less than positive and talk about a devilish or negative energy that these cards have. I don’t find that at all, and I highly recommend these. It is a very blunt deck, but has a nice, warm energy. Very balanced.
PROS: Unique perspective, good if you need a blunt deck
CONS: Potentially cheeky
5. ☆BEST ARTWORK: Light Seer’s Tarot Deck ☆
‣2.75 x 4.75″
Contemporary and expressive, these best tarot cards of 2021 captures the essence of modern spiritual life.
Although these cards are reasonably new, they quickly became one of the most popular borderless tarot decks available.
The artwork is instantly recognizable, and the second you see a card from this deck, you know immediately where it’s from!
If you read any negative reviews, just be aware: the original production of these cards in 2019 did have some quality control issues, including the paper they were printed on. Since last year, they have updated their production and print them on much more high quality paper.
Energetically, this deck is quite polarized. There are some amazing positives you’ll find here, but also some intense heartbreaks.
A truly beautiful artistic choice when looking for best tarot cards!
PROS: Well-known and trusted deck, beautiful modern artwork, borderless
15 More BEST Tarot Decks
‣2.75″ x 4.75″ card size
The Field Tarot is a surprisingly different selection of artwork. Mostly minimalist and very textural, the different colors and textures on these cards really pop.
What I love most about this deck is how intuitive it is. Rumor has it that Hannah Elizabeth Fofana was pregnant when she created this deck, which contributed to her explosive creation of these cards. It is very balanced between feminine and masculine, light and dark.
Read my full review of the Field Tarot Deck here! (It’s my all time favorite deck!)
PROS: Balanced, creative, textures and shapes
CONS: Low diversity of body shapes and ages
‣4.7 x 6.3″
With ethereal artwork and characters from folktales around the world, this tarot deck is a truly stunning choice.
Plus, it’s a very good price for a high quality deck used by many tarot readers. If you’re interested, there is a companion book of these folktales written by the same author as the tarot cards, Yoshi Yoshitani. Both book and cards deck have a minimum of 90% 5 star ratings! Reviewers remark on the beautiful aesthetics and high quality of cards.
PROS: Diverse and worldly, beautiful artwork
‣62 card deck
‣4.75 x 2.75″
The Akashic Tarot is an excellent tarot deck for beginners! It includes a guidebook which is pretty substantial and helpful with interpreting the cards.
Obviously, with only 62 cards, it does not follow the traditional Rider Waite. The four suits are Roses, Scrolls, Forces, and Keys. Each suit has its own color, which makes reading go quicker.
I love the artwork, lots of layers, textures, and mixed media. The characters look like they are set in Medieval England, but they are very diverse in body, skin-color, and age!
It’s published by Hay House, so the card quality is excellent.
PROS: Diverse, stunning artwork, accurate readings
‣78 card deck
‣2.74″ x 4.5″ card size
‣Large detailed guidebook
These awesome, modern tarot cards are symbolic of the Rider-Waite cards with more modern, diverse characters and definitely warrants a spot amongst the best tarot decks for beginners.
This is a full deck of cards, and it usually retails around $40, but most of the time you can find it on sale for more than half off at Amazon.
While it may seem like this would be a fluffy deck with not a lot of substance (understandable), it’s actually quite a serious deck. I find it to be more witchy than many of the decks that are marketed toward witches.
This is another deck that is published by Llewellyn, so you automatically know the cards are super thin.
PROS: Extremely diverse characters, stunning artwork, easy to read, witchy
CONS: Thin cardstock
10. The Star Tarot
‣78 card deck
‣5.38 x 3″
As expected, the Star Tarot uses stars, astrology, the cosmos for its inspiration and meaning.
The artwork of the Star Tarot is dark and deeply symbolic, and this deck is easy to read, especially after using it for a week or two.
With thick, matte cards that have gilding on the sides, it’s a high quality product. The Star Tarot also comes with a 240 page large guidebook that goes into detail about the symbolism on each card.
There were some quality control issues on this latest edition that have been fixed, so if you read any negative reviews, just know that those issues are likely a thing of the past.
This essential tarot deck is a little pricier than most of the other decks in this list, but it is well worth it! (Coming from someone who has a LOT of decks!)
Energetically, if you have kenophobia (fear of empty spaces), or agoraphobia (fear of open spaces), you may struggle with this deck.
PROS: Excellent quality cards with stunning and dark artwork
CONS: More expensive
11. Fountain Tarot
‣79 card deck
‣5 x 3.25″
These awesome, modern tarot cards are symbolic of the Rider-Waite cards with more modern, diverse characters.
The Fountain Tarot has stunning artwork and was created with a very different aesthetic in mind. Not only are the oil paintings unique, but the box is holographic, as are the sides of the cards. Very high quality. A perfect addition to the list of best tarot decks.
One of the unique features of this deck is the addition of a “Fountain” card. This is the same concept as the “Field” (the energetic “field” or “fountain” in which everything exists) from deck #6 above.
If you’re looking for depth, this is a FANTASTIC choice. The energy of this deck will absolutely rock your world!
PROS: Excellent quality art and card quality, Addition of the “Fountain” card.
‣78 card deck
‣2.375″ x 4.375″
This is a Spanish deck, but it includes both both Spanish and English on the card front themselves. While this deck is not as popular as many of the others on this list, it is absolutely stunning, and I would go so far to say that everyone who takes tarot seriously should own this deck.
This deck is ultimately more difficult for tarot beginners. The booklet does not contain detailed information, and you need to know a little bit about Rider-Waite to get accurate readings.
HOWEVER: If you are a tarot beginner hoping to learn more about reading meaning from the visuals on the cards, I find this deck to be perfect because of the high level of visual cues in the cards.
Read my full review of Tarot de Carlotydes here, and why it’s one of my favorites for visual symbolism!
PROS: Great visual cues to read visually, great for small hands
CONS: Not an in depth booklet (makes it more difficult for beginners)
13. Fairy Tarot
‣78 card deck
‣5.5 x 3.9″
Set in Glastonbury, England, these cards are an absolute fantasy! The illustrations are beautiful, with fairies and princes and princesses.
This particular deck was originally published by Radleigh Valentine with Doreen Virtue, who has renounced tarot and all new age practices.
But this deck is geared toward self-care and self-esteem, with a lot of messages like “embrace your true purpose,” “seek out an intellectual solution,” and “wear your invisible crown.”
PROS: Fun and lighthearted
CONS: Lacks diversity
14. ☆BEST MODERN DECK: The Modern Witch Tarot Deck ☆
‣56 card deck
This is one deck that I don’t have, but it’s far too popular not to include in this post.
These awesome, modern tarot cards are symbolic of the Rider-Waite cards with more modern, diverse characters. These cards have 11,000+ ratings with an average of 5☆s!
They are less expensive, but they also don’t have a full deck, and the guidebook is sold separately.
PROS: Diverse, modern, popular, easy to read
CONS: lacking the major arcana, guidebook sold separately
15. Dark Wood Tarot
‣78 card deck
If you’re just starting on your tarot journey because you want to use tarot as a tool to discover more about your shadow self, this might be the best tarot deck for you.
With artwork that looks like an edgy comic book style, they’re seductive, dark, and will inspire your curiosity.
I know women with this tarot deck and they say they found it easy to connect with the cards and the cards have never steered them wrong!
Again, this deck is published by Llewellyn, so the cards are going to be on the thin side. (When you check out the reviews on Amazon, you’ll notice a lot of negative reviews for this reason, but, alas, it’s just the publisher.)
PROS: Great for shadow work, easy to read cards
CONS: Poor cardstock quality
READ MORE: 45+ Best Gifts for Wiccans
16. Good Karma Tarot
‣78 card deck
‣128 page beginner’s guide book
While so many cards are modeled after the Rider-Waite cards, these have completely original art and stylings, making it a daring, yet fun choice for best tarot cards to learn tarot.
This awesome tarot deck is specifically geared toward beginners, but is overall an excellent deck for anyone to use. It has no less than a 4 star rating on Amazon!
PROS: Geared toward beginners, diverse, everyone loves this deck!
‣Focus on African Diaspora and what it means to be African descent
A higher price point for these tarot cards shouldn’t dissuade you from checking these out! This best tarot card deck is exquisite, gorgeous, and stunning.
The artwork is brightly colored collage style with some Christian themes and African styles, patterns, and peoples. The cards are printed on high quality, thick cardstock and they’re easy to use. A guidebook is included.
You can’t really tell the artwork style from the cover of the box, so you’ll definitely want to head over to Amazon to look at the cards.
PROS: Beautiful cards, support black artists & entrepreneurs, high quality cards and packaging
CONS: These are the most expensive deck on this list, retailing at $69.00.
‣3.5 x 5.5″
If you’re looking for an artistic tarot deck, this is a great choice. The Cosmic slumber tarot deck features stunning painted imagery with bright and contrasting colors.
A guidebook comes with it, which is “provoking and intimate”, very helpful for both new and experienced tarot practicers. Be sure to check out the reviewer images to see all the wonderful artwork in this one!
This deck can have very different energy to whoever is using them to read, so you may or may not resonate with this deck.
PROS: Brightly-colored artwork, very visual deck with a unique energy
‣5 x 3″
This elegant and timeless art nouveau deck is highlighted with gold foil. It has an extra 2 cards in the major arcana (which accounts for the total of 80 cards.)
The cardstock for these cards is very sturdy, so if you’re picky about card thickness, you’ll like these cards!
This is another deck that seems to have very different energy to whoever is using the cards or doing the reading! So you may love this one or hate it!
PROS: Stunning art nouveau designs, “tried-and-true” deck
CONS: Not diverse at all
20. ☆BEST FOR LEARNING TAROT: Witchy Cauldron Beginner Tarot ☆
‣3.5 x 5.5″
The ULTIMATE tarot deck for beginners, the Witchy Cauldron Beginner Tarot is great because it includes the Rider Waite image, associations with zodiac signs, yes or no, keywords and other interpretations right on the card.
This is super helpful when you’re just learning. I would absolutely not do a reading for another person with this deck, but when it comes to learning the cards, this deck is the most prime deck you can invest in.
PROS: Learn tarot the easiest way!
CONS: Only use these for yourself
9 MORE TAROT DECKS FOR FUN!
Let’s be clear, there are a TON of tarot decks out there, and there’s something for everyone. Sometimes you just need a fun set of tarot cards to keep things light. These 9 more tarot card decks are just for kicks! Check them out!