Why Oil Painting Is So Expensive!

Our content may have affiliate links that can result in commissions for qualifying purchases, full details in our privacy policy.

With more and more people starting to look at taking up with acrylic painting or oil painting as a way to pass the time, be creative, and express themselves, we have noticed more and more people reaching out with a number of questions between the two. Once of the more frequent questions that we have noticed people asking time and time again is based around why oil painting expensive when compared to acrylic painting.

With so many of the people who are considering taking up acrylic painting or oil painting being beginners, we know that a large number of them are on a budget or trying to keep their costs as low as possible. This is why learning why oil painting equipment and the oil paint tubes are more expensive and how you can help minimise your initial costs when first getting involved in oil painting.

If you are new to oil painting and are trying to get your first oil painting set, this can really help you keep your costs low. So many people make the same mistakes of thinking that a higher price means higher quality and this is not the case. With some oil paints, their higher price points at due to unique pigments that offer a stronger color but are usually not needed for most beginners and many intermediates.

Is Oil Painting Expensive?

Oil painting does tend to be more expensive than acrylic or water color painting due to the formulas of the oil paints costing more to produce. There are additional costs associated with oil painting such as the various mediums that acrylic painting does not have too pushing the initial costs up even more.

We already have a dedicated article online going over if you even need a medium for oil painting that may be worth reading if you are a beginner. The majority of people do choose to use an oil medium with their oil paints to improve the performance in various ways so our ultimate oil paint medium guide may also be worth reading.

So not only is a tube of oil paint usually more expensive than some acrylic paint of the same color, the additional mediums can also pump the coast up further. In addition to this, come oil painting mediums are more expensive than others so going with refined linseed oil is usually the best option for beginners or anyone looking to keep their initial costs as low as possible.

Why Oil Painting Is So Expensive?

The price of oil paints are more expensive due to needing to actually have oil in their formula where as acrylic paint simply uses water. Due to oil costing more than water, the additional costs to produce the paints is then past on to the customer.

In addition to that, some of the pigments used for some oil paint colors are more expensive than their acrylic paint counter parts too due to the pigments that are used with water based paints not working in an oil based formula. This further increases the costs of oil paint tubes too pumping their costs up even higher.

Although there are entry level options for oil paints that are considerably more expensive than the intermediate and professional options, they are still more expensive than the acrylic paint alternatives. When it comes to the price points of the intermediate and professional oil paints on the market, the prices really can sky rocket to over $100 per tube in some cases but the majority of our readers will never need those products.

The Most Expensive Oil Paint Brand On The Market!

There are a number of very expensive oil paint brands on the market that have some individual tubes for over $100 with Old Holland Classic usually being the most expensive brand. Most people will never need their products though and the cheaper alternatives are often enough for many people.

Although there are multiple expensive brands when it comes to oil paints, Old Holland Classic Oil Colors are usually the most expensive due to the excellent quality and ingredients in the paints. Although some of their colors can be around $50 per tube, their higher price point tubes can be over $100.

Unless you are a professional level oil painter, it is unlikely that you need these products though and there are a number of high level oil painters who use much cheaper oil paints with great results. Thankfully, with oil painting, your technique and skill can come into play and help you get excellent results with cheaper paints if needed.

How Much Do You Need To Get Started With Oil Painting?

You can usually get started with oil painting for between $50-$100 depending on exactly what you want to do. Although there are some cheaper beginner kits on the market, most of them are waste of time with them being a waste of money too.

Thankfully, there are some exceptions out there where you are able to get a decent, cheap oil paint set that will offer excellent performance and results for the cheapest possible price. If you are new to oil painting and want to keep your costs down these are well worth looking into.

Provided you choose well, your beginner set will often serve you well as an intermediate oil painter too helping to keep your costs as low as possible throughout your oil painting career. As with most things, if your available budget does increase then you can invest in more expensive oil paint sets or individual tubes of paint as and when required.


That brings our article going over if oil painting is expensive or not to a close. Although oil painting is more expensive than some of the other types of paining available, oil painting does offer unique textures, colors, and looks that are simply not available with other paint types. This is one of the reasons that oil painting is increasing in popularity with many people taking it up for these unique aspects that are not available with other paint types.