Best Oil Paints For Professionals

Best oil paints for professionals

Looking for your next set of professional standard oil paints, then read on to find the best 5 options for you…

Did you know the famous “Mona Lisa” and our all-time favorite wallpaper “The Starry Night” are both oil paintings?

We might call those oil paints golden artist colours; “The Scream,” “Girl With A Pearl Earring,” “Creation Of Adam”, all of these masterpieces are made in oil paints.

Oil paints, a medium consisting of pigments suspended in drying oils; the outstanding facility with which fusion of tones or color is achieved makes it unique among fluid painting mediums; at the same time, satisfactory linear treatment and crisp effects are easily obtained.

Oil paintings have existed since the 15th century, and as such the world’s oldest paint manufacturer “Devoe Paint” has now manufactured oil paints for quite a long time. Nowadays there are hundreds of oil paint brands competing every day to become the best oil paints for professionals so which to choose?

If you’re hunting for some of the best oil paints for artists, this article is for you. We’ve included our favourite oil paints here, ranging from student-grade paints to artist-grade oil paints to professional grade oil paints and premium sets, including some of the major ranges on the market. We tried our best to highlight the best (and in some cases worst) features to give you our honest reviews.

Hopefully, by the end of the article, you will be sure about choosing between the different types of oil paints.

01) Van Gogh Oil Color Paint

Superior Set 32 x 20ml Tubes + 2 x 60ml Tubes With Wooden Box 

Van Gogh Oil Color Paint mainimage


  • Have a buttery consistency with an excellent tinting strength
  • Extremely high pigment load
  • Consistent thickness
  • Vivid colour range
  • Uniform level of gloss


This oil paint brand superior box set includes 32x20ml tubes. The box set also includes talens 75ml odorless white spirit, talens 75ml painting medium, talens 75ml retouching varnish, talens 75ml painting varnish glossy, 60ml talens painting paste, a flat hog bristle artist paint brush, a round hog bristle artist paint brush, a filbert ox hair artist paint brush, a round ox hair artist paint brush, a flat synthetic hair artist paint brush, a painting knife, a double palette cup, a tube with 3 charcoal sticks, a wooden palette, a cleaning cloth, and a color mixing brochure. 


When looking for a great set of oil paints, this Dutch-crafted Van Gogh range is for you. A buttery oil that features excellent tinting strength, a high level of pigmentation for intense colors, a uniform degree of gloss and thickness amongst colors, and good to excellent lightfastness ratings. Easy to mix and use.

These oils are great for a beginning oil painter all the way up to professionals. They are sometimes known as student-grade oil paints but are far more than that. For the price, they are very good. They thin down and keep intensity very well!

It’s honestly the best gift you can buy for someone.

02) Gamblin Artist Oil Color Paint

Professional Curated Collection of 24 Assorted Colors – 37ml Tubes

Gamblin Artist Oil Color Paint main image


  • Formulated using pure pigments and cold pressed linseed oil
  • High tinting strength
  • Permanent paintings that will be radiant for generations
  • High-quality paint


This is a curated bundle set created by Jerry’s Artarama that includes the top 24 colors of 37ml tubes in the Gamblin Oil Paint line for professional artists. 


We’re sure you’ll agree that the quality of these oil colors is exquisite. Art materials are always best when made by those who appreciate the potential in the artist’s mark, and this oil paint is exactly that. These paints go on as creamy and the pigmentation is vibrant!

This oil paint set can surely be listed among the best oil paint brands. This is classed as a student grade paint but once again, is far beyond and if you are thinking of buying something which really appreciates your creativity then go for this bundle of oil paint.

03) Michael Harding’s Artist Oil Colours

Plein Air Oil Paint Painter Set, Ten 40ml Tubes

Michael Harding's Artist Oil Colours main


  • Colors offer great coverage, with vibrant and true colors
  • Buttery consistency, easy to handle, and to manipulate texture
  • No fillers, extenders or driers are added, preventing brittleness though increasing drying time
  • Balanced drying process
  • High-quality paint


The Plein Air Painter Set contains 40ml tubes of: Titanium White No. 2, Yellow Lake, Cadmium Red, Alizarin Claret, Ultramarine, Cobalt Blue, Terre Verte, Burnt Umber, Yellow Ochre, and Unbleached Titanium Dioxide.


All of their claims about the oil paints performance are true. No fillers or other additives are there. The colors are perfect which makes it one of the best oil paint brands. While they may seem expensive, you will considerably use less paint since the oil paint has pure pigmentation.

Despite the high price range, you should purchase this set of oil paint to experience one of the top oil paint brands in the world. You get what you pay for is certainly true with Michael Harding’s Artist Oil Colours.

04) Bob Ross Landscape Oil Full Set of 14 Paints

(200ml Tubes)

Bob Ross Landscape Oil Full Set of 14 Paints main image


  • Pigment rich colors
  • Smooth buttery consistency
  • High-quality paint
  • Easy to handle
  • Has water mixable oils


These 14 Bob Ross Landscape oil paint colors are specially formulated to have a stiff, but smooth consistency that is necessary when using Bob’s wet-on-wet oil painting technique. These pigment-rich oil colors yield an endless number of natural color combinations and are easy to work with. This is a student-grade oil paint set but, (yes, as you know), they’re far more than that yet again. 


If you’re trying to paint along with Bob Ross these oil paints are a must! You can try to mimic Bob’s technique using these oil paints and see the magic of how your paintings will look almost identical to his.

Though the prices have recently increased the oil paints set is definitely worth the money. These oil paints are listed as artist-grade oil paints (please see above as I may not have emphasised enough about these paints being of a higher standard), but the performance will surely amaze you and convince you of their true professional rating.

05) R&F Handmade Paints 2950 Oil Pigment

Stick Set of 12 Colors – Painters Dozen

R&F Handmade Paints 2950 Oil Pigment main image


  • The result is an oil stick with a lipstick soft consistency
  • Handmade in small batches
  • More delicate, pure pigment and bright colors
  • Works as single pigment colours
  • The quality is excellent


R&F Pigment Sticks are available in over 100 beautiful colors. The sticks are available in three sizes: 38ml, 100ml and 188ml. Proudly made by hand in the USA.


These are one of the best oil paints compared to other brands. They are a bit expensive. The set has 30 vivid colors. They are also fun to use.

You do need more colors of these than you do with tube paints. But the purchase will be worth the money.

General Information About Oil Paints

The main advantages of oil paints are their flexibility and depth of colour. They can be applied in many different ways, from thin glazes diluted with turpentine to dense thick impasto. Because it is slow to dry, artists can continue working the paint for much longer than other types of paint. The most common types of oil in oil paints are linseed oil, walnut oil, poppy oil, and safflower oil. The choice of oil used in paint impacts the properties of the color and the final outcome of an artwork.

Different oil paints may result in more yellowing or affect drying time.

Different brands have different colours, but good pigments are always necessary to ensure colour vibrancy and longevity – a pigment needs to be light-fast or it’ll fade over time. A range doesn’t need a vast array of colours as long as it has the main, frequently used, useful ones. The consistency of the colour is important. The standard is a smooth, buttery paste, not stringy or long or tacky. When choosing oil paint, watch out for the term ‘convenience mixtures’, as this means the paint contains multiple pigments, which may replace genuine pigments. This can be useful as it can stop you from needing to buy multiple tubes to mix, or they may come in unique colours such as in the ranges of Gamblin or Old Holland.


Oil paints are a popular medium for professional artists for good reason – they offer incredible flexibility and depth of color. If you’re an artist looking to take your work to the next level, investing in a quality set of oil paints is essential. In this roundup, we’ve featured some of the best oil paints on the market today, all of which offer excellent pigmentation, consistent color, and smooth texture.

With that said, please remember, whilst I’ve tried to describe their attributes it’s always best to try products for yourself before making a purchase as only you as the artist will really know what paint best suits you 😉

So, what are you waiting for? Get creative and start painting your next masterpiece.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article and found it helpful in your search for the best oil paints.

Happy painting!


Which brand is best for oil painting?

Some of the most famous and best student-grade oil paints brands are Michael Harding oil paints, Williamsburg, Gamblin Artist, Sennelier oil paints and Old Holland classic oil colors.

What kind of drying oils are used in oil paints?

Commonly used drying oils include linseed oil, poppy oil, walnut oil, and safflower oil.

What causes paint separation?

Insufficient surface prep is the main culprit behind crack attacks. Less oil is recommended to coat, so extra oil is separated.

What is the best surface for oil paints?

The most common surface for oil colours, and one that has been used for centuries, is stretched primed canvas. Many professional artists paint on different surfaces – canvas, wood, and paper.

Is oil painting easy?

Getting started with oil painting is fairly easy, though oil paintings for beginners are often avoided due to the price of the required materials.

Will I be ok starting off with a set that is not as high-quality paint tubes?

This depends, some sets like some of the ones listed above are marketed as student or artist grade when they are in fact professional.

So just because a set may appear low quality, this is not always the case, and they be in fact high-quality paints. The main thing is to simply get started as a beginner, you’ll soon find what works and what doesn’t.

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Written By Adam Rushton

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.