Winsor Yellow Vs Cadmium Yellow – The Battle Of The Yellows!

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With yellow being such a core color for so many painters, we often see a large number of people reaching out to ask various questions about the different yellow paint colors available on the market right now. For todays article, we are going to be focusing in on our ultimate winsor yellow vs cadmium yellow color comparison.

Cadmium yellow is one of the most popular yellows on the market by far but does have some potential supply issues as well as potential bans in some locations. Due to this, a large number of people have been looking for other yellows that can closely match cadmium yellow with winsor yellow being a very popular option.

We have been seeing a steady number of people reaching out about using either winsor yellow or cadmium yellow over the last few months so we wanted to publish a dedicated article. Our hope is that we will be able to help our readers decide if they should be using winsor yellow or cadmium yellow for their arts and crafts as well as if winsor yellow is a suitable substitute for cadmium yellow for their needs.

Winsor Yellow Vs Cadmium Yellow Comparison!

Winsor Yellow Top Left, Cadmium Yellow Bottom Right.

Although winsor yellow is ever so slightly darker than cadmium yellow, the two are very close to each other when dry when it comes to their color. This should allow most people to use the two colors interchangeably with each other without having too many problems in their artwork.

Unlike some of the other popular alternatives for cadmium yellow, winsor yellow is easy to source while also being a very similar proce to cadmium yellow too. This should allow the majority of our readers to quickly and easily make the switch if required.

At the time of writing, there are a number of proposed bans for cadmium based paints putting the supply of cadmium yellow at risk. This is due to the levels of cadmium in the water supply steadily increasing and many local authorities wanting to restrict all cadmium based products. This means that even though cadmium yellow is currently one of the most popular yellows on the market, you may soon be forced to switch anyway.

The Winsor Yellow Color!

Although winsor yellow is ever so slightly darker than cadmium yellow, they two are close enough for the majority of people to easily switch between the two if needed. This makes winsor yellow one of the leading alternatives for cadmium yellow if the color does end up getting banned.

Winsor yellow is also close enough to cadmium yellow for you to get just as much versatility out of the paint as you would when using cadmium yellow when mixing it with other colors too. This ensures that if you do use winsor yellow, the versatility of your palette won’t suffer and you should still be able to get as much out of the paint as you would if you use cadmium yellow.

You could make the argument that winsor yellow is more consistent than cadmium yelllow too due to there not being any hues of winsor yellow on the market. Although it is rare, we do see reports from people who have been in a rush an accidentally purchased a hue of the color that they were trying to by instead of the main color.

The Cadmium Yellow Color!

Cadmium yellow as well as the other cadmium based colors have been very popular options for centuries and have seen multiple surges in popularity over the last few decades. This has resulted in cadmium yellow becoming one of the most commonly used yellows on the market due to its beautiful color.

On the flip side of this though, the spikes in the popularity of these cadmium colors has also potentially led to an increase in the cadmium in the water supply in multiple locations in North America and Europe. This is why there are a number of proposed bans for all cadmium based products in these locations but to date, none have been auctioned and put in place.

These proposed bans have actually resulted in some people stock piling tubes of cadmium yellow due to the artist liking the color so much. In reality though, cadmium yellow is often easily replaced with colors like winsor yellow and there is no need to stockpile the tubes of the paint.

What Is The Difference Between Winsor Yellow And Cadmium Yellow?

The main difference between cadmium yellow and winsor yellow is that cadmium yellow is cadmium based where as winsor yellow is essentially a very slight hue of hansa yellow. This does result in the winsor yellow being slightly darker than cadmium yellow but its pigment is safe to use so winsor yellow shouldn’t have any issues due to its pigments as cadmium based colors can.

With winsor yellow being a slight hue of Hansa yellow And hansa yellow being such a popular option, many people will simply stick to the tubes of hansa yellow. This is the only thing that really goes against winsor yellow as there is a very popular variant of its pigment chart available already.

Both colors tend to be very similar to each other when it comes to their ease of application with them both being very beginner friendly too. If you are new to painting then there should be no issues with using each color with both being easy to use directly out of the tube although you may want to add a medium if you are using an oil based paint.

Should You Use Winsor Yellow Or Cadmium Yellow?

At the time of writing, cadmium yellow is considerably more popular than winsor yellow. This can make it harder to find tubes of winsor yellow as many arts and crafts stores will not stock it as standard and will have to order it in specifically for you.

This is why most people will get rarer colors such as winsor yellow online rather than at their local arts and crafts store. You can quickly and easily order a single tube of winsor yellow online and often have it delivered the next day. If your local arts and crafts store have to order in winsor yellow for you then they may need you to purchase multiple tubes rather than just one to make it worth their while.

This supply issue can score points for cadmium yellow due to you being able to go to your local arts and crafts store and pick up a tube that day and use it instantly. The slightly lighter color of cadmium yellow does technically offer you more versatility than winsor yellow two but the difference really is minimal and not worth factoring in.


That brings our winsor yellow vs cadmium yellow color comparison article to an end. In our opinion, both colors are excellent options with cadmium yellow slightly taking the lead due to it being easier to find in local stores allowing you to get tubes of cadmium yellow that day.

That said though, if the potential bans for cadmium based colors does come into play then you will not be able to find cadmium paints anywhere pushing winsor yelllow and the other yellows up in popularity. In our opinion, winsor yellow is one of the better alternatives for cadmium yellow making it the obvious option in this situation.