The Ultimate Pyrrole Red Vs Cadmium Red Comparison!

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Although the popularity of the various red paints seems to come and go with a constant support level for general art, we have noticed more people reaching out to ask for a pyrrole red vs cadmium red comparison recently. Due to this, we have decided to publish this article going over these two popular reds as they are very close to each other.

With both colors being so close to each other, we often see one mistaken for the other in artwork and we can definatley see why. Thankfully, there are some subtle differences between the two that can help you tell the differences between them and help you understand the use cases for each.

Now, with both pyrrole red and cadmium red, there are a number of different hues available that can drastically change the color of the red once dry. This can reduce in one looking lighter than the other in different situations so for this article, we are only focusing on the regular colors for bother options.

Pyrrole Red Vs Cadmium Red Comparison

Pyrrole Red Top Left, Cadmium Red Bottom Right.

The differences between pyrrole red and cadmium red are very subtle and hard to tell but pyrrole red is usually a touch darker than cadmium red once dry. Although this can change if you are adding water or a medium, for the most part, pyrrole red will always be that little bit darker than cadmium red.

The color of a decent pyrrole red paint tends to be much more consistent than cadmium red too helping it score points for most people. Not only are there less hues available for pyrrole red but the actual pigments are more consistent offering a more consistent color.

Although the majority of reputable cadmium red paints on the market do use high quality pigments that are very consistent and offer a nice red when dry. The cheaper cadmium reds can use inconsiderate pigments though and the thread of cadmium based paints being banned every few years also causes potential issues.

The Pyrrole Red Color!

Although cadmium red is more consistent at the time of writing, pyrrole red is rapidly growing in popularity because of it being such a great alternative to cadmium red. There has been multiple issues in both North America and Europe with cadmium levels in the water supply increasing with potential bans on cadmium products being proposed and over turned.

This helped spike the popularity of pyrrole red due to it being such a great alternative to cadmium red and the fact that it tends to be more consistent in the color that it delivers has helped to score it more points with many painters and artists keeping it. Pyrrole red can also workout to be cheaper than cadmium red if there is a proposed ban on cadmium based products at the time of reading this due to many people stock piling cadmium based paints.

Although pyrrole red does technically offer you less versatility than cadmium red due to it being slightly darker, the difference is so small that we doubt that it will even matter to most of our readers. The darker color of pyrrole red can also help score it points for adding gentle red tints to darker colors that cadmium red can struggle to do.

The Cadmium Red Color!

Cadmium red has been one of the most popular red colors for decades with its popularity only increasing with each year that passes. Although the issues with higher levels of cadmium in the water supplies in various locations has resulted in a number of potential bans, the press seems to lead to stronger sales once the bans are rejected.

Although there are plenty of reports from people who have confirmed that they have dropped cadmium red for pyrrole red, there seems to be more people adding a decent cadmium red to their collection. This is why cadmium red is still one of, if not the most popular red paint on the market at the time of writing and has been for some time.

What Is The Difference Between Pyrrole Red And Cadmium Red?

The main difference between pyrrole red and cadmium red is the slightly darker color of pyrrole red. This is due to the based pigments used in each color naturally resulting in a darker red for pyrrole red once the mains have been left to dry.

This difference is also the main reason that pyrrole red tends to be more consistent in the color it is able to provide you too. On the flip side of this, the darker red color and more consistent color is also why it offers less versatility with less hues being available.

The main weakness of cadmium red is the fact that it is cadmium based and although it is controversial, we do think that cadmium products will at least be controlled if not banned out right in the next decade. If the cadmium levels in the water supply continiue to increase then the likely hood of a ban becomes more and more likely.

Should You Use Pyrrole Red Or Cadmium Red?

At the time of writing cadmium red is still the more popular paint color by a long shot even though pyrrole red has been catching up quickly. We usually also recommend that our readers go with cadmium red over pyrrole red too if possible due to you being able to get more versatility out of it.

With so many of our readers being new to arts and crafts or on a tight budget, adding a tube of cadmium red to your collection just offers more bang for your buck. This helps to ensure that your art supplies go further and that you get the most out of them for the lowest possible price possible.

That said though, the more consistent color and price of pyrrole red does definatley score it points over cadmium red in our opinion. With so many artists having switched over from using cadmium red to pyrrole red it does seem like many people agree with us too with it being a solid contender for the top spot.


That brings our article going over our pyrrole red vs cadmium red comparison to an end. We usually try to make sure that we have an obvious winner for our readers but this one is just too close to call when it comes to their colors once both paints are dried on your paper or canvas.

Cadmium red has the advantage of increased versatility where as pyrrole red has the advantages of a more consistent color and cost. Although pyrrole red is slightly darker, it is only by a very small amount with many people struggling to tell the differences between the two.