Rider Waite Vs Smith Waite: Which One is Best?

Are you getting confused between the Rider Waite Vs Smith Waite decks? Well, we will help you to find out the differences. Both are the traditional deck. They have the same meanings and have a difference in the printing process.

The Tarot deck tradition is ancient and goes back to the 15th century. The meaning of the cards has evolved from generation to generation and from region to region. The two major variations in Tarot decks are the Rider Waite deck and the Smith Waite deck.

The Rider-Waite tarot deck was designed by artist Pamela Colman Smith in 1910 and published by William Rider & Son in 1911. The first tarot deck was printed in English and the most popular until the 1980s when the Tarot Decks of Robert Wang and the Aquatic Tarot appeared and gained popularity in the USA and Europe. The deck is still in production by US Games Systems, which purchased the company in 1988.

Decks from the Rider-Waite-Smith tradition are the most popular among Tarot readers. They are typically known as the best deck to introduce beginners to the Tarot. Many of the decks from this tradition follow closely to the original drawings by Pamela Colman Smith. Key differences include:

Last update on 2021-09-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Rider Waite Tarot Card

The Rider Waite tarot deck is a famous tarot deck on display at the British Museum and the Museum of Modern Art. It is the most iconic tarot deck in history and most popular among English-speaking tarot readers, with numerous books and websites referencing it. It has continued to be reprinted and marketed since some of the imagery has been updated.

Rider-Waite Tarot Deck
308 Reviews
Rider-Waite Tarot Deck
  • The cards were drawn in 1909 by Pamela Colman Smith under the...
  • Smith's vibrant drawings transformed the standard tarot deck.

Last update on 2021-09-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Rider Waite is the most traditional and oldest deck that follows the archetypes images drawn originally by smith’s hand. US games first published this deck on January 01, 1971. It comes in the English language. Pamela Colman Smith originally fabricated the deck in 1909 under the direction of author Arthur Edward Waite. It weighs 7.8 ounces and has a dimension of 4.9*2.9*1.2 inches.

Read:- Best Rider Waite Tarot Deck Review


  • The deck is heavy, thick, and is of high quality.
  • The cards are vibrant and have original artwork.
  • The cards are sturdy, and its small booklet provides all the informative information.


  • They have a slight depiction of printing quality.
  • The booklet lacks valuable information.

Smith Waite Tarot Card

The Smith-Waite Tarot Deck is one of the most popular tarot card decks. The deck featured colorful and vibrant images of the major arcana and minor arcana. The major arcana cards don’t have any suits. The major arcana cards also have titles and numbers on them. The minor arcana cards are divided into four suits. A different symbol represents each suite. The Minor Arcana cards are numbered from one to ten.


Last update on 2021-09-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Smith’s Waite deck is the faithful reproduction of the original deck. It is a reedition deck to Commemorate Pamela Colman Smith. US games first published this deck on September 20, 2013. It comes in the English Language. It weighs 15.2 ounces and has a dimension of 3*1.25*5 inches.


  • This is a sturdy deck and comes in a large size.
  • The card stock is excellent, sturdy, and comes with a matte finish.
  • The card has an antique design that gives a vintage look.
  • The cards are soft and are easy to shuffle.


  • There is a printed quality issue need to check it while buying.

Review of the Differences Between Rider Waite & Smith Waite

There is a quiet difference between the two decks though they have the same structures and symbols. Both the decks are sturdy, easy to shuffle, and provide each card interpretation. It just has a slight difference in design.

Rider Waite deck comes with a full yellow color, but Smith Waite deck comes with a muted color.

The Rider Waite deck comes in a simple pale design with clear images. On the other hand, Smith Waite comes in an antique design.

The back of the Rider Waite deck has a Gradient design, and Smith Waite doesn’t have a gradient design.

Smith Waite features a full pictorial scene, and rider Waite features depict full scenes with figures and symbols.

The Rider Waite deck is not soft but glossy. On the other hand, the Smith Waite deck is soft but doesn’t have any gloss.

The ride Waite deck has 56 pages, and smith Waite has 84 pages.

Last update on 2021-09-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Finale Verdict

So, we hope that you have got the differences between the rider Waite and smith deck. Both have the same theme, but the color and design are different. In considering both the deck, we suggest you select any of the deck which you want. Both are perfect in features and provide all the information. But in the case of the colors and design, Smith Waite is better than the rider Waite. If you want a classy design, not want the boring attractive yellow color, then go with the Rider Waite deck.

Happy shopping.

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