Tunes, bands, and orchestras all rely on the clear and unmatched sound and tone of a well-oiled trumpet, whether it’s Miles Davis’s ‘So What,’ Handel’s The Trumpet Shall Sound, the Reveille at a Remembrance service, or a school band recital.
Valve oil is essential for both the playability and the longevity of your horn. It adds a layer of protection to the soft metal valve casings and prevents valves from getting gummed up with the tiny shavings of metal worn off the valve’s surface.
But there are many different valve oils on the market, plus all the oils already in use around your house. So, how do you choose the right one for your instrument? In this post we’ll talk you through everything you need to know plus review the best trumpet valve oils on the market. Let’s get started.
Quick Answer: The Top Valve Oils for Trumpet
Best Rated Trumpet Valve Oil Reviews
Now we come to the recommendations. The five oils listed here have consistently high results and have earned their solid reputations and loyal customer base. They are listed randomly and not in order of preference or recommendation.
1. Blue Juice Valve Oil
Blue Juice is a petroleum oil with a medium viscosity. It is long-lasting and fast-acting, and its makeup increases valve speed and effectively reduces friction. It also contains anti-corrosion properties.
- A bottle will last you a long time
- Users have found a few drops will last nearly a month before needing to re-oil
- Maintains its viscosity well, resistant to moisture
- Users have found that it smells like gasoline
- Can leave a ‘coating’
- Stains felt blue
- Users found the lid difficult to open
2. MusicNomad Trumpet Cleaning And Care Product
- Pure, synthetic, long-lasting, pro-strength formula
- Non-toxic, odorless, and petroleum free
- Scientifically designed to provide long-lasting, fast valve action
MusicNomad is a synthetic valve oil, utterly free of petroleum. This oil is odorless, a pure, non-toxic formula that is fully biodegradable and made in the USA. It is designed for long-lasting smooth valve action and comes in a dropper bottle for easy application.
- Some users report not having to reapply oil for three months since first use
- Easy application with the narrow nozzle
- Good price
- No smell
- The bottle hasn’t held up in shipping in some cases, causing leakage
- Users have found the cap difficult to remove
- Viscosity is a bit too thick for a trumpet with tight valves
3. Monster Premium Synthetic Valve Oil
- Will last LONGER than any other valve oil you try or your MONEY BACK!
- Anti-corrosive formula PROTECTS your instrument LONGER and BETTER
- Developed by PROFESSIONAL MUSCIANS
Monster is so confident you will like their product that they offer a money-back guarantee if you don’t. The synthetic oil is very light and designed by professional musicians. The anti-corrosive formula contains Teflon and is formulated to protect your instrument as well as loosen sticky valves.
- This valve oil also works on plastic trumpets
- Does a good job cleaning out any buildup
- Allows valves to move freely and easily, even when the horn is cold
- Easy application with the bottle flow design
- Some users report that Monster valve oil will stain felts a yellow or brown color
- May leave a yellow residue behind
- Pricey for the size of the bottle
- The smell can be off-putting
4. Ultra-Pure Oils UPO-VALVE Professional Valve Oil
Another synthetic valve oil option, Ultra-Pure has a mid-range viscosity without creating any buildup or stains. It is non-toxic, non-flammable and odorless, and will keep your valves moving quickly and freely for a long time.
- Users find their valves are freed quickly, with the oil lasting longer than other products
- Applicator distributes the lubricant efficiently
- Minimal residue
- It comes in a refill bottle size
- It doesn’t mix well with other oils, so ensure you clean your horn very well first
- It seems to evaporate faster than other oils
- Some users report valves still slowed down, especially when cold
5. Yamaha Regular Synthetic Valve Oil
- Regular viscosity formula is good for all around use in any piston valves.
- 60ml dropper-top bottle with a childproof cap.
- Yamaha synthetic valve oil is more consistent than traditional oils, giving it better stability in different temperatures.
Yahama’s synthetic oil is a mid-range viscosity oil that brings reliable stability in almost any temperature. The formula contains a corrosion inhibitor that will help to ensure the life of your horn. This oil is long-lasting and evaporates smoothly, and comes in a child-resistant container for safety.
- Users report being able to go weeks before needing to re-oil valves
- Good bottle size lasts a while
- Users report their trumpet is both easier to play and sounds better after application
- Yamaha oil doesn’t stain
- Minimal smell, virtually odorless
- Bottle design is not optimal; oil can come out too quickly
- Thinner oil that may not be as effective on older instruments
How to Choose Trumpet Valve Oil: A Buying Guide
Even within weeks of playing a new trumpet, you’ll find that the valves don’t glide like they used to.
Sticky valves are a nightmare for trumpeters, whose parts typically include fast movement.
Using valve oil is the best way to keep your valves moving quickly and smoothly.
It is also essential for protecting your instrument, new or old, from corrosion and rust inside the valves.
Types of Valve Oil
There are two types of accepted valve oil: petroleum and synthetic. The difference between the two is found deep inside the oil — to the molecules.
- Molecules in petroleum oils = various sizes
- Molecules in synthetic oils = same size
What does this mean?
All valve oils will eventually evaporate as the moisture from your breath and the valves’ movement breaks it down.
But that evaporation process will happen differently depending on whether your oil is petroleum or synthetic.
The following distinction in valve oil is its viscosity. Essentially, viscosity is the thickness of a fluid.
Imagine pouring a drop of molasses into a funnel and then pouring some water.
The water flows much more quickly because it has a very high viscosity or liquid thickness.
The molasses will move much more slowly, meaning it has a low viscosity.
Petroleum oils generally have a lower viscosity than their synthetic counterparts.
The smaller size molecules that exist in petroleum will be thinner and evaporate more quickly.
So when your valves glide easily, that is due to the smaller molecules giving you that speed and a thinner viscosity.
Once those are gone, you’re left with the larger molecules, making your stops feel sluggish, as you’re left with a thick viscosity.
Petroleum oils also have a distinct and sometimes powerful smell.
Synthetic Valve Oils
The consistent molecule sizes in synthetic oil mean the viscosity is also consistent.
When the oil breaks down, it will do so all at once, and your horn will become hard to play.
Players have found that synthetic oils are more reliable and last much longer than petroleum ones.
Tip: If you have used petroleum-based oils in the past and want to switch to synthetic oil, clean the valve and valve cluster very well to get rid of residual buildup and residue first.
Oils Not to Use
Save yourself time and repair money by keeping any of the following away from your horn:
Silicone-based oils – These oils catch and keep moisture inside, which will lead to corrosion. If the label says ‘shake well,’ don’t use it.
WD-40 – Please leave it in the workshop; this is not for trumpets. It, too, welcomes in moisture and allows corrosion to start setting up camp.
Sewing machine oil – This oil will damage your trumpet’s valves; avoid it at all costs.
Olive oil or any cooking oil – If you want to gum up your valves truly and surely, this is how to do it.
Spit – It’ll work, but not for long because your saliva is basically water, and that evaporates very quickly.
How to Use Valve Oil
We have a complete guide of how to oil trumpet valves here, but here’s a quick recap of how to do it. trumpet.
- With a lint-free cloth, meticulously clean all valves and casings first. Toothpaste is a good scrubber too, but ensure you remove it all entirely afterward.
- Two options: lay the trumpet on a secure, flat surface or wrap your fingers around the valve casing and tilt your horn to about a 45-degree angle.
- Open valve caps and pull valves partway out. Do not remove altogether.
- Drop 3 or 4 drops into the valve casing using steady but gentle pressure, slide the valve up and down a few times to help the oil coat the casing
- When the valve is depressed, twist it back into position.
Conclusion: Which Should You Buy?
Deciding on which valve oil is the best for your horn can be difficult with so many options on the market.
Before buying, consider the age of your instrument and think about what has and has not worked in the past and the temperatures you’ll be playing in.
If you’re still wondering which one to go with, we’d recommend either the Blue Juice Valve Oil or the MusicNomad Valve Oil as two of the best valve oils for trumpet.
They produce consistently high results, freeing up valves, keeping them smooth for long durations with minimal smell, and protecting your horn from corrosion and rust.