Best Oil Paints UK. 

best oil paints

Best Oil Paint Brands: A Comprehensive Review.

You might be a professional artist looking for a high-quality paint to compliment your skills, or just starting out looking for the best paints to start with. Regardless of your experience, the best oil colours you choose can make a big difference on factors like texture, shading, and so on.

If you’re looking for the best oil paints, then you’re in the right place. I’ve put together a list of the best oil pigments, best oil paints and best oils that will help give your artwork a professional look regardless of what level you are on.

Getting Started With Best Oil Paints

The first thing to know when shopping for the best oil paints is that there are different grades available. Student grade paint or professional level best oil paint. Professional artists will want to be sure that they pay specific attention to the best professional oil paint brands.


Here are the “best of the best” when it comes to oils.

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** Top 6 Reviews **

best oil paints

1. Gamblin Artist Oil Colours Introductory Set


  • Luscious – intense – pigment-rich colours that last
  • Set contains nine 37ml artist-grade colours-Solvent Free gel-primed wood panel
  • Wood panel handcrafted in North America from sustainably forested birch
  • Cradled panel measures 12.25 x 6.5 x 1.75 inches
  • American made – sustainably produced – quality set

As a professional artist and I wanted to buy a new set of oil paints that were of professional high grade. I looked into Gamblin Artist Oil Colours Introductory Set and found them for the best price here. The reviews were amazing and the price was perfect! I found these to be excellent oils paints due to the intense pigment-rich colour that lasts and is long-lasting. The colour seems to be more luscious and vibrant than others I have tried after using this set for a while.

paint brushes

2. Ohuhu Oil Paint Set,


  • 24 Oil-Based Colours
  • Oil Paint Set
  • 12ml x 24 Tubes
  • 24 VIBRANT OIL-BASED COLOURS: Titanium White, Lemon Yellow, Medium Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Flesh Tint, Orange, Rose, Vermilion, Scarlet, Crimson Red, Prussian Blue, Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Cerulean Blue, Emerald Green, Sap Green, Viridian, Violet, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Raw Umber, Payne’s Grey and Ivory Black

Although I did read a negative review about these, the general consensus was that these were really good quality oil paint for the price. I decided to try them out and I’m glad I did. The texture of the paint was great, which allowed it to load well on the brushes and applied smoothly. The size of the tubes is on the small side so something to be aware of to avoid any disappointment.

This set of oil paints is perfect for beginners and students rather than professionals. Affordable, it’s a great buy and worth the investment to get you off to a good start.

3. ZenART Non-Toxic Oil Paints for Professional Artists


  • 8 x Large 45ml Tubes
  • The Infinity Series
  • Portrait Palette

Limited Palette:

The keyway to sweet-looking portraits begins with using few colours of oil paints. The tones include Earth Colours, Roscolux® Shades and Halftone Colours – these work well for realistic skin tones; however the palette is not limited to figurative paintings.

Ready To Paint Alla Prima (Wet In Wet):

These professional grade oil-paints are made from high quality, non-toxic materials. You will experience a richly soft feel right when you open the tube and see easy colour mixing for impasto painting.

Pure and Vivid Colours In Large 45ml Tubes:

For best results, try to use a single pigment where possible and avoid mixes with split pigments.

Toxin Free & Eco Friendly:

These paints are safe to use, containing only non-toxic pigments free from harmful solvents and driers that would otherwise be found in toxic paints. The paint has no animal products so they’re suitable for vegans

Certified To Astmd4236:

These oil paint sets conform to the toughest international standards and come with a full money-back guarantee.

My Review:

So what did I think of the ZenArt oil paints? Well to start, there’s no need to worry about running out of paint too soon with this set as the tubes are typically larger than with other sets tested. The paint is of high quality. The colour mixture is perfect in any hue you need. The oil paints are of superb quality, and the limited palette allows any artist to use them for their portrait work.

4. Magicfly Professional Oil Paint Set


  • 40 Tubes (18ml/0.6oz)
  • Colours include: Classic, Metallic Gold, Silver & 3 White Colours
  • Rich & Vibrant
  • Non-Toxic Oil Paints for Canvas Painting
  • Oil Paint Supplies Suitable for Artist, Kids, and Beginners

I used this set of oil paints to complete a recent piece I was commissioned for. I started by priming my canvas with the recommended gesso and then created a large background wash in the desired colour. The metallic golds, silvers and white colours were especially nice for shading purposes.

I really enjoyed using them to achieve the desired look. I found the paint to be a bit thick and viscous with good coverage after being brushed on. The colours did not dry out as quickly during washes, allowing more time for blending before needing additional mixing of paint.

I would recommend these paints to anyone looking for a relatively inexpensive set of high quality oil paints.

5. Winsor & Newton Winton Oil Colour Paint

Professional and student grade


  • Well known oil paint brand
  • Basic Set,
  • Ten 21ml Tubes
  • Sold as a Set of 10 colours
  • Individually formulated colours
  • High quality oil colours at a moderate price
  • Lightfast, permanent and inter mixable with other brands
  • Convenient 21ml. tubes

A top brand, I find the Winsor and Newton Winton oil paint to be one of my favourites. It is a great set for beginners and amateurs alike as well as people who are just getting started in their art careers.

The colours are all traditional, lightfast, permanent, and inter mixable with other brands. They are sold as a basic set of ten 21ml tubes (white, yellow ochre, burnt sienna, burnt umber, cadmium red deep hue, french ultramarine blue virdian hue), which may not seem like much but there are so many different ways you can mix the colours in order to get just about any colour or shade you want.

The Winton oil colours are smooth with a buttery consistency, easy to blend, thicker than some brands and come in convenient 21ml tubes.

6. Sennelier Oil Paints / Sennelier Artist Oils

  • Quality traditional and modern pigments
  • Top respected oil paint brand
  • Made with pure, first-press safflower oil
  • Pigments are ground very slowly with extreme care to an extra-fine consistency
  • 21ml

If you want to achieve an old school look, you can’t go wrong with these Sennelier oil paints. These are not your ordinary oil paint sets. They come in an assortment of colours with a convenient 21ml tube for each colour.

The colours in this set are exquisite; they’re easy to blend and the pigment is ground very slowly to a fine consistency. All of these oils are high-quality and have excellent clarity and resistance against yellowing, which means that the colours will last through many years of wear and tear.

The sensuous buttery texture is comparable to no other oil paint brands out there, it’s something that will satisfy artists who like expressionist painting styles thanks to its ability to be blended

The Best Oil Paints – Professional Grade Paints and Student Grade

It’s difficult to find the best paint for beginners or professionals, but with a little research and directed focus, it can be done. Choosing the right oil paints for your painting session can be complicated but hopefully, with the above reviews and details, I have helped you in your search.

Vibrancy and Brightness

There are some major differences between student grade and artist-grade, with the most sizeable difference being vibrancy. Artist-grade paints derive from a single pure pigment source, giving it vibrant and bright colours.

Oil paints that are a mix of semi-professional and professional will deplete more easily and may not have the right proportion.

Oil Paint Composition

Oil paints are made from a pigment sourced for the colours desired, mixed with oil. The lower the pigment, the lower the quality of the oil paint for a number of reasons.

Lower pigment content results in duller colours, and it can also have an effect on the ageing of a painting. Cracking, fading, yellowing, or chipping of the paint can happen with cheaper brands.

Artist-grade paint will typically not be loaded with these extra adulterants, but this of course increases the price per tube.

Most student-grade oil paints do have a lower pigmentation content. This is good for the student budget, and as the paints are designed for learning and not for paid gallery-ready work, will do the job just fine.

Consistency Of The Best Oil Paints

The best oils will have a consistency that is solid enough to be applied smoothly but not too thick so that it takes hours of effort before being able to complete your masterpiece on canvas or paperboard surfaces.


Paint is best at retaining its original colour if it has a high lightfastness rating. This means that the paint will not fade, crack, or yellow over time due to exposure to sunlight and other natural light sources.

Artists have been painting with oil paints for centuries because of their vibrant colours and durability. However, there are some best oil paints that are best in class when it comes to maintaining vibrancy and brightness after years of use.

ASMT D4303 is a rating system for oil paints that indicates how lightfast they are. The best oil paints for beginners and professional artists have an ASTM code of 1-3, with 1 being the best rating. This deals with how well the paint will preserve its colours when exposed to UV light under normal conditions.

Which One Should You Get?

Deciding between oil paints doesn’t need to be a challenge. I have taken the guesswork out of the process for you and hope you like my choices. Obviously, your budget, skill level, and what the oil paints are to be used for will all impact the best choice for you personally.

Do I Need Professional Artist Grade Oil Paints?

There are a number of best oil paints for professional oil painters and beginners, but it is best to ask yourself what kind you need before deciding.

If your work will be displayed in public or sold under your name, then the best oil paints for professional artists will definitely be the right choice. These will have more vibrant colours that will last longer and resist fading over time as mentioned above.

However, before getting carried away and jumping in with a super expensive set of oil paints, it may be worthwhile getting a small tube if possible to test it out first.

Student Grade Paints

There is no doubt that the best oils for beginners are those that are best for your budget. They typically aren’t as bright and vibrant but do get the job done to an extent. Hobbists and students alike will enjoy using Student Grade Paints, being free to create without fear of wasting a lot of money. Student Grade Paints are great for school projects, or even to practice painting with before moving up to the better ones.

Oil Paint – Do You Get What You Pay For?

As with anything, with oil paint brands, you do indeed get what you pay for. Artist-grade oil paints cost more for several reasons but ultimately give the best, longest-lasting results. The pigmentation in the oil paints allows them to be smoother and more vibrant.

They will also have a much higher level of lightfastness, meaning that they won’t discolour with UV rays or age due to oxidation over time. When you compare the cost per millilitre between artist grade and student grades, you’ll see a huge difference between the two. It’s recommended to stay away from cheap paint.

Best Brushes For Oil Paints

There is a vast range of brushes available for oil paints and they come in a variety of materials. These include Sable, Goat hair, Synthetic bristles and even Squirrel hair! As there are so many to choose from, each with pros and cons, it’s an article for another day for sure.

How To Clean Your Brushes After Using Oil Paints?

After use, it is a good idea to clean your brushes thoroughly as soon as possible. To do this, you can use a water-based solvent such as turpentine and/or mineral spirits. These will help break down the paint and allow the best brushes to be cleaned thoroughly before they are dried.

Turpentine and mineral spirits can also be used as paint thinners to print the canvass before use.

A good option is Gamsol as it is odourless.

Popular, Most Common Oil Color Names

Here are some of the most common oil colours found in sets:

  Cadmium Yellow Light

  Cadmium red light

  Cadmium Red Medium

  Cadmium Orange Hue

  Permanent (Arylide) Rose

  Raw Sienna Hue

  Burnt Umber

  Ivory Black or Lamp Black.

oil painting brush sizes

Oil Painting Tips

When I first started, I only used acrylic paints. When I wanted to try painting with oils, I found that it was much harder than using acrylics. It took me a while to get used to the consistency and to find specific colours.

I use oils for some paintings but for others, it’s better to use acrylics. So one tip is to choose the right paints for the right work.

1. Start With Small Paintings

Painting small is a great way for artists of any level to experiment without risking too much investment. You can work with canvas boards or even paper. Be sure to prime the surface before painting. Small paintings are also great for practising your skills. Have fun with it!

2. Get Organized

Gather your paints, tools, and supplies in a well-ventilated area like the kitchen or living room where you can keep visible canvasses as a reminder to help spur creativity. It will also make the painting process smoother and more pleasurable, which should increase your passion for spending time painting. Painting a lot improves anyone’s work. This is what learning art really means: making more and more pieces of your own, working to get better in the process.

3. Invest in Brushes

One of the most fundamental tools in art is also one of the least expensive. It’s worth it to get good brushes because they really help to get the best finish. Buy several types of brushes. Brushes will last for years if you take care of them well.

4. Take Some Lessons

If you’re serious about making art, you can’t learn everything on your own. A lot of people see a painting or drawing and say something like: “I could’ve done that.” However, it takes a lot of skill and practice to bring something from your imagination onto canvas. That’s why it’s worth it to take lessons from an artist with experience.

5. Prime Your Painting Surface

Prime the surface of your painting if you are using oil paints or acrylics, it’s important to prime them before. This should be done with a special primer for your chosen paint type. Priming prevents peeling and cracking.

6. Understand Color and Color Mixing

Most of your colours will be mixed from the pigments you choose. Learning more about colour and mixing colours will help you make better decisions when choosing your pigments.

The Color Mixing Bible is an excellent resource on the subject, highly recommended.

7. Work With What You Know

Don’t try to paint a portrait if you’re terrible at drawing faces. If you need to improve the skill, try practising with simple shapes and forms, that way it doesn’t feel like a challenge.

8. Use a Limited Painting Palette

If you are just starting out, choose only two or three pigments to work with. The ZenArt limited Portrait Palette is a good example of a limited palette that can achieve great results.

9. Start With an Oil Sketch

If you’re a beginner or not used to painting with oils, sketching is always a good idea. It helps the artist better understand values and how light interacts with shadows. An oil sketch can be done on canvas or a primed board.

10. Watch Videos

There are so many videos out there that it’s possible to learn from all different kinds of artists. If you’re having trouble with a particular skill, there is usually a video out there that can help.

11. Keep an Art Journal

It’s always good to practice and learning from mistakes is important for growth. It should definitely be in art journal format because this way it saves time when you are scanning the internet for tips and tricks on how to improve.

12. Work From Experience and Imagination

This one should be a given, but so often beginners fall into the trap of just imitating their favourite artists without adding anything of themselves to what they’re doing. Making your art your own is key to developing your skills.

13. Research Artists You Like

This is another way to really learn from the best, it’s very easy to find artists online that you can follow and study their techniques. The internet is a very powerful tool for visual artists.

The best ways to improve are generally practising everyday and learning as much as possible along the way. Most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy yourself along the journey.

14. Practice what you’ve learned

More often than not, practising will be done in isolation, but it’s important to take your skills out into the world and apply them in new situations. The more variety you have, the better those skills can become.

15. Understand Paint Order

Oil paint dries in layers, which can be frustrating for a beginner who is still learning how to build up an image. It’s important to know what paint needs to go where and in what order. If you don’t understand this concept it will be hard to learn the basic skills of oil painting like blending and glazing.

16. Cold Pressed Linseed Oil

Cold-pressed linseed oil is perfect to use as a glazing medium. It doesn’t dry as fast as some other oils so it can be used to achieve a smoother finish. It is always good to let the oil paint dry for a while before applying another glaze because otherwise, you risk removing parts of the previous layer.

Oil paints are best when they are mixed with a suitable medium, such as linseed oil. Linseed oil is good for oil painting because it preserves the lightfastness of paintings and doesn’t yellow over time.

Other artist grade oils that can be used include walnut oil, poppyseed oil, and safflower oil. Walnut oil is a favourite of mine.

17. Clean Your Brush

A must-know tip for any artist, cleaning your brushes properly will extend the life of them. And it’s not terribly difficult to do either.

18. Keep It Tidy

I know this may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to not overload yourself with too many tasks. Make sure you are setting aside time for everything that needs to be done and remind yourself of deadlines. If there isn’t enough room on your work table or desk for everything, consider getting an artist easel.


The best oil paints for beginners and professional artists will vary from person to person. However, there are a few things that most people can agree on such as the importance of using linseed oil or other artist-grade oils in their painting mediums.

In addition, it is important to know what paint needs to go where and in which order because if you don’t understand this concept then it will be hard to learn basic skills like blending and glazing with your chosen medium.

It’s also good practice not only to keep at improving your skills but take them out into the world by applying them in new situations – whether they’re public or private settings- so you have an opportunity to grow your abilities further than just practising every day alone.

The internet should never be underestimated as a learning tool for artists because there are so many sources of information to be found on it.

So grab your materials and start oil painting today!

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Adam has made a name for himself in the illustration industry and is a passionate blogger and writer on the subject of art, illustration and graphic design.

His artwork has been featured in countless publications and used for very well-known media projects. As a professional illustrator for over 20 years, Adams media outlets, a wealth of knowledge, and experience enable him to consult and advise artists and illustrators in this country (from York and Manchester to Southampton and London) and all over the world.