The Ultimate Naphthol Red Vs Cadmium Red Comparison!

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Although the popularity of the various red colors come and goes with the various trends, most reds are seeing a decent spike in their popularity right now resulting in more and more questions being asked by the community. We have already gone over some of the questions that we have noticed people asking but we have seen a steady increase in requests for a naphthol red vs cadmium red comparison article.

We can definatley see why so many people have reached out to ask for a comparison article as both naphthol red and cadmium red are very similar colors. Even if you see them side by side it can be hard to tell the differences between the two with naphthol red often being is taken for cadmium red.

Although the deep red color of naphthol red is consistent, there are a number of darker and lighter hues for cadmium red. This can change the results and look of the paint once dry but for this article, we are only going to be going over regular cadmium red and not going into the hues it has available as that makes everything complex and difficult to compare to naphthol red.

Naphthol Red Vs Cadmium Red Comparison

Naphthol Red Top Left, Cadmium Red Bottom Right.

The main difference between naphthol red and cadmium red is that naphthol red is usually fluorescent where as cadmium red is usually a regular paint. That said, there are a large number of naphthol red paints on the market that are not fluorescent these days further confusing matters.

It is difficult to show the fluorescent nature of naphthol red digitally so you are unable to see it in the color complex above. That said though, there are a more and more naphthol red options on the market without the fluorescent hints with them looking very similar to in the color sample above.

The popularity of cadmium red has managed to last literally centuries with it being one of the most popular red colors. That said though, its popularity is slowly fading due to there being a number of potential bans for cadmium based products due to increasing cadmium levels in the water supply in North America and Europe.

The Naphthol Red Color!

Naphthol red has been able to capitalise on the potential issues and bans with cadmium red with its popularity growing considerably over the last five years or so. That said though, the fluorescent nature of naphthol red does not make it a direct one for one swap with cadmium red and something like pyrrole red Is often a better option.

Even the none fluorescent variants of naphthol red tend to be ever so slight darker than cadmium red and although pyrrole red is still slightly darker, it is a better one for one swap. That said though, a none fluorescent naphthol red is probably the next best alternative,

On the flip side of this though, the fluorescent Naphthol reds dominate the space and cadmium red just can’t compete due to it not having any fluorescent Variants. Although the fluorescent paint niche is only small, it is a strong area for colors like naphthol red to dominate.

The Cadmium Red Color!

Cadmium red as well as the other cadmium based colours have been popular options for centuries with it always being one of the more popular red colors available. It offers you some great versatility due to it being easy to mix with other colors to get the most out of your palette as possible.

Although cadmium red is still one of the most popular red colors available right now, its popularity has definatley faded a little over the last few years. This is due to the proposed bans on all cadmium based products in North America and Europe.

Due to these proposed bans on cadmium red, many artists have been trying other red options with pyrrole red usually being the color that has managed to gain the most popularity from artists looking at other reds. That said though, naphthol red has been gaining in popularity due to artists trying other reds too.

What Is The Difference Between Naphthol Red And Cadmium Red?

The main differences between Naphthol red and cadmium red is that the fluorescent variant of naphthol red is fluorescent. The non-fluorescent variant of naphthol red is slightly darker than cadmium red too by the smallest margin offering a slight difference there too.

Unlike some colors, both naphthol red and cadmium red are easy to apply to your paper or canvas too. This helps to make them both very beginner friendly and ensure that you are able to get good effects from them on your paper even if you are brand new to arts and crafts.

Due to there being fluorescent and non-fluorescent variants of naphthol red, you will have to check the label of the paint prior to purchasing it. Although the fluorescent Variant of naphthol red is the most common at the time of writing by far, the non-fluorescent variant is gaining in popularity.

Should You Use Naphthol Red Or Cadmium Red?

When it comes to if you should add naphthol red or cadmium red to your paint collection, we would usually recommend cadmium red to our readers at the time of writing. It tends to be a better option in many cases due to it being a great red while also offering more versatility to naphthol red.

That said though, this will depend on what you need for the piece of artwork that you are working on. If you are working on a fluorescent Piece of art then the fluorescent Variant of naphthol red may be the better option for you and your needs but this is a very niche case.

For the majority of people, cadmium red is usually going to be the better option in most cases though. This is why it is still the more popular red with an absolutely huge number of artists carrying it in their paint collection.


That brings our article going over our naphthol red vs cadmium red comparison to an end. We hope that you have found it helpful and that we have been able to help you decide on the shade of red that you will add to your collection. In our opinion, cadmium red is going to be the better option in the majority of cases so that would be our default recommendation.