There is a very large choice of oil paint out there. And the price range is equally large! A tube of oil paint can be as cheap as a couple of $ but it can go up to over $400 (check this cerulean out or this original Chinese vermillion) for a single tube of paint.

An art materials store like the US based Dick Blick or the UK based Jacksons has around 23 different brands of oil paint in stock. And that's not counting the water-based oils, alkyds, and oil sticks. So what are the best brands, where to find the best quality paint? I hope this overview of my favourite brands will be of some use to you.

Of course I have not tried out all brands, but I will share what I know, like and can recommend.  If I learn to love another brand not listed here I will amend this post accordingly. Please do add your own experience and favourites in the comments!

I also created a video about my favourite oil paints. You can watch it below.

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. This means that I earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase through these carefully chosen links. It will cost you nothing  extra and you would support this blog for which I would be most grateful.

Sophie’s Favourite Oil Paints


American brand of fantastic quality. Amazing grey tones and earth colours. Spreads far and wide, fabulous pigment load. Fluid paint. Good for glazing and delicate thin paint applications.
Starts at £12.60 / $13.95 for series 1, 40ml tube. website


Sophie Ploeg oil painting


Michael Harding

British brand of paint. Rich and deep jewel colours, spreads easily and mixes beautifully. Lots of info on Harding’s website.  
Starts at £6.20 / $8.78 for series 1, 40ml tube. website


Sophie Ploeg Oil painting


Winsor & Newton Artists Oils

British brand of oil paints. Long history and well established brand. Excellent all-round paint, suitable for all types of application. Good value for money.  
Starts at £5.80 / $6.30 for series 1, 37ml tube. website


Sophie Ploeg oil painting

Old Holland

Traditional and long established Dutch paint brand, making fantastic professional paint. Huge choice of colours, many unique to Old Holland. Thick and buttery paint. Suitable for impasto. Will need a medium for thinner applications, as can feel a bit dry at times.
Starts at £7.20 / $10.19 for series 1, 40ml tube. website


Sophie Ploeg oil painting

Schmincke Mussini

Beautiful paint from a German brand. Each colour has its own unique mix of ingredients such as linseed oil, damar resin and safflower oil. Beautiful luminous paint, with a unique smell, especially in transparent earth colours. Fluid paint. Some people don’t like damar in paint.
Starts at £8.30 / $12.18 for series 1, 40ml tube. website


Sophie Ploeg oil painting


Talens Rembrandt

Dutch paint of great quality. Probably my first oils, if I remember correctly. Great colours, nice fluid paint. Affordable pricing. Can be a little oily.
Starts at £5.60 / $8.43 for series 1, 40ml tube. website


Sophie Ploeg oil painting

Other paints

I also use Langridge (see my review and buy here), an Australian paint which I did not include as it is not for everyone (although an amazing paint) and  Blockx, a Belgium brand of paints, which I don’t know well enough to include in my favourites. I’ve only got a couple of tubes. 

Student Paints

I am not sure I know of any really bad paints (unless you count the stuff you can buy in the kids department of a stationary store) so it is probably hard to go wrong. You get what you pay for so you cannot expect professional quality from an affordable student brand.  Well-known and rated student brands are Winsor & Newton Winton, Talens Van Gogh, and Daler Rowney Georgian. But even as a student, I would recommend going for the professional range if you can afford it. 

Prices are taken from Jacksons and Dick Blick.

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About the author

Sophie is an artist, art historian, tutor, author and blogger. She writes on oil and pastel painting, art history and the life of an artist. She paints portraits and still life and specialises in painting drapery and lace.

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  1. Hello Sophie,
    I read through your various comments on your favourite oil paints. Its given me some idea
    on which I might be able to change from one brand to another. For many years I have been
    using a brand called Lukas (German I think). My usual Art Shop does not stock them any more.
    What is your view on Lukas? Do you know of a Art Shop I could buy the brand from? Could you
    name a brand that is similar in quality?
    I would be grateful for some feedback.
    Kind Regards,
    Tom McMahon

    1. Hi Tom, thanks for your comment. I think Lukas is still widely available, for example, Lukas Studio here at Jackson’s. There’s also Lukas 1862 in some online shops like Great Art and Jerry’s Artarama. Lukas 1862 says it has ‘driers’ in them. I don’t know what that means but that often refers to solvents and other nasty ingredients. Do they smell of solvents? It also contains beeswax and sunflower oil. Sunflower oil is generally not used for oil paints so I wonder why they are using this. I don’t know if all those additives are a good idea. I could not tell you. I have never tried them, I must admit, so I cannot say much about them. If it was me, I would work with an oil paint brand that has less potential problems. But that’s just me and I’ve never tried them (nor will I ever). Hope that helps!

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