9 Top Oil Paints Rated for the Serious Oil Painter

9 Top Oil Paints Rated for the Serious Oil Painter

Top oil paints rated in this article are given a detailed description and a price comparison chart.

Are you a serious oil painter and would like the top oil paints rated?

Have you ever found yourself in front of the rows and rows of oil paints unable to decide which ones were best suited for you?

Are you confused by the many manufacturers of oil paints and their claims?

9 Top Oil Paints Rated

I’ve sorted through the many manufacturers and rated the top oil paints so that it will make it easy for you next time you are making your supply list for your studio. Top oil paints rated in this article also have a detailed description with a price comparison.

I first give you a brief description of Professional Grade vs. Student Grade. Knowing which oil paint is best suited for your particular needs will not only save you money but valuable time that you could otherwise be using to work in the studio.

Top oil paints rated in this article are given a price comparison. They are also given a detailed description to help you sort out the differences between each manufacturer.  Once you understand and balance your particular needs as an artist with the benefits of each oil paint described, you will be able to make the best choice possible in choosing your oil paint brand.

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  1. Hi Richard. Thanks for your excellent question. Windsor Newton is an excellent oil paint and I highly recommend it as I have used it myself. I rank it 6th in my ratings because there are other manufacturers that have higher quality standards than Windsor Newton. I have to rank Old Holland and some of the others higher because of the fact that they use absolutely no fillers, only pure pigments and the highest level mixing oils in their manufacturing process. Also, I gave Windsor Newton a professional/student rating because their prices are lower and more affordable for student and beginners. Old Holland oil paints and some of the others are extremely expensive and most students can’t afford them. Thanks again.

  2. I have used Lucas Studio Oil paints which are economical and have a juicy consistency which is great for plein air painting and impressionistic painting. Also, Classico oil paint which is Italian made and comparable to the Lucas Studio and also economical.

  3. I have used just about all of the paints listed at one time or another. Where I live, we do not have a fine art supply, so we are limited to Michael’s and Hobby Lobby, but I do order a lot of my supplies. It just never fails that you can be in a spot where you have to have something. I love the Holbein paints. I have bought Old Holland, but it is so dry–it loses it’s oil or something. It is so stiff, I can hardly squeeze it out of the tube. I’ve thought about cutting it open and working in some oil and putting it back in the bottom of the tube. I am partial to Grumbacher Red. It’s such a true red. I hope it doesn’t get so bad that I don’t want to use it anymore.

    I do know that you get what you pay for. I taught a couple of ladies that bought sets of paint, on sale, very inexpensive, student grade. You could hardly mix it, the pigments were really weak. Now one of the paintings she did is fading, and she asked me why–I think it was the cheap paint. I know there are some problems with Alizarin Crimson. What brand do you recommend for it? I buy different colors in different brands, because I like them. I am one of those art supply junkies!

    Thanks for the information. I will pass it on to my artist friends. Very interesting.

    • When I was still a student, I had the exact same experience as your friend. I did some nice paintings with very inexpensive paints. Within a year or so the paintings had completely faded away. There was no color left. It’s like it just evaporated off the surface. Nothing was left. Can you believe that?

      For alizarin crimson, I recommend Gamblin Oil Paints. It’s on my list. And there is a link there to the website. They are not expensive but good quality. But you won’t find them at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby. Winsor Newton oil paints are always good for any color and you can find them at Michael’s and Hobby Lobby.

  4. schmincke and winsor&newton

  5. I have been painting since the early 70’ies and have tried just about all oil paints over time. I have found no brand or maker that surpasses Utrecht brand oil paint. I use all painting techniques in my work and none come close to their versatility. My early paintings still have that brilliance of color and coverage that I demand.

    • Edward J. Nemec says:

      In the early 80’s I managed the Utrecht store in Philadelphia, taking the store from about 150K to over 3.5M in 3 1/2 years. I know their products well as a professional painter and I knew the quality that the family owners put into their product. Now it is a public compnmay and the quality still is there. Funny, I left Utrecht to work for M. Grumbacher, New York and did quite well at both companies.
      Ed Nemec
      Santa Fe, NM 87507

  6. plz tell me,which brand ,except old holland,others,i can afford will be best for traditional realist oil paint for painting in layers,glazing,etc

  7. old holland is out of my budget

  8. Mark SIbley says:

    Michael Harding should be in this list.

  9. Old Holland can seem expensive but if you want vibrant color in oranges, yellows and reds then pony up. In the long run they are more than worth it. In my studio I also use Talens Rembrandt series, Maimeri for certain translucent effects and Jack Richeson. The Jack Richeson line is actually the old Shiva line that some of us old timers relied upon back in the 60’s. It is quite inexpensive compared to the other brands and is quite good. I’ve been using it for about 50 years with no loss of color. The best advice I can give is to experiment. Most likely you will find yourself gravitating to certain brands for specific colors. I also make use of Sennelier, Holbein, Daniel Smith, Weber and Gamblin. So explore and see what works best for you.

  10. I have been painting since 1968 and for me the best oils in the market are Old Holland

  11. Gamblin is far superior than any other oil paints of the market and the safest

    • Gary Bolyer says:

      Hi Sushma,
      Thanks for your comments. I would disagree with you on this point. There are many other oil paint brands that are far superior to Gamblin. Old Holland is by far and away the most superior oil paint on the market. Period.
      Thanks again,

  12. can you write a bit more about sennelier oil paints,its pros and cons

    • Gary Bolyer says:

      I consider Sennelier to be an excellent oil paint. They are high quality, dense pigments with excellent coverage. They are very expensive. And sometimes I have seen them to be a bit oily, by that I mean the pigment seems to separate from the oil in the tube. I have seen this on several occasions. But overall, the quality is excellent.

  13. Can you do a list for acrylic paint and watercolors? I spent an hour at Dick Blick last week and got too confused so I am using what I have for now.
    Windsor Newton(Gallera)

    • Gary Bolyer says:

      Windsor Newton is a good quality professional paint. The list for top oil paint brands works for watercolor and acrylic as well. If you stay with these major brand names, you can’t go wrong.

  14. Good blog Gary. I do an underpainting with Golden acrylics – blocking in large areas and shapes. I want to use Old Holland oils for the final painting on top of the acrylics. Do you have any concerns with this process?

  15. Hi Gary. I’ve been using Shiva for 40 years, mostly always trying to accomplish Winslow Homer’s brush strokes, ha ha. Recently, I think I had some mixing trouble with Richeson cerulean but their cads have always stayed strong. Worried about the changes the family company went through. Can you suggest another oil in Shiva’s price rage? I use safflower oil because I’m wet in wet a lot.

  16. Gerry Meade says:

    Hi…I am trying to paint with water mixable oils. I am using Daniel Smith brand. They seem to be very much like regular oil in texture and feel. I have allergies, that is why I am using water mixable oils. What is your take on water mixiable oils? Thanks, Gerry

    • Gary Bolyer says:

      Mixable oils are okay, but kind of gimmicky. I am familiar with them but have never used them myself. You may want to switch to acrylic paints or watercolor if you are allergic to oil paints and mediums.

  17. In our country we have sennelier and w&n,I have tried both but I am still confused,I prefer heavy pigment load and permanence forever plz help

  18. I have been using Charvin oils (and Sennelier) for several years. I love the quality of Charvin for the price. Also, their premixed colors make for fast, consistent color.

  19. I use Gamblin. I am most happy with their quality. I also use some colors of Sennelier as I like some of their colors better.

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