The Best Juice for Your Golden Goose
An instrument is only as good as your maintenance routines, and trumpets are no exception. Even a professional-grade trumpet will fall quickly into disrepair if not properly cared for. It’s not all jazz and swing and cocktail parties. A trumpet needs love, but more than that, a trumpet needs oil.
A good oiling will take your trumpet from scream to dream in no time at all. It gives the metal a protective coating, lubricates valve movement, and ultimately allows you to play to the best of your abilities.
So, to keep your valves feeling vivacious and your own particular brand of jazz, silken as possible, we’ve rated and reviewed five of the very best trumpet valve oils available at the minute, sure to give your pride and joy the relief it needs to keep on tooting. A one, a two, a one, two, three, four...
Got One of Those Intense ‘Whiplash’ Style Teachers?
No worries, hornblower. Here’s our top pick right here, so you can limber your trumpet up in good time for your next rehearsal.
OUR TOP PICK
Concocted by trumpet tooting chemical engineer, the beautiful thing about Blue Juice Valve Oil besides its gorgeous pelagic hue is the consistency.
It’s the reason so many brass musicians swear by it. It’s not thick enough to clog your valves or to prevent a good flow and coverage, nor is it too thin, wearing out before you’ve even finished your set.
Obviously, it depends how often you play and how you store your trumpet, but you can expect a single oiling to last a fair while. It’s also very fast-acting, forming that essential layer before any debris has a chance to stick, enabling you to pick up and play faster than ever before.
Valve oil is almost always toxic, so enclosures and caps are incredibly important. Blue Juice is sold with childproof security caps, which is essential considering it looks like a delicious bubblegum flavor beverage or liquor.
Beneath the safety cap is a pretty precise applicator. It outputs droplets rather than a flow to prevent over oiling.
Blue Juice is a petroleum compound packed full of antimicrobial enzymes that keep the inner workings of your trumpet clean as a whistle.
You can even drip a bit down your lead pipe. Saliva is full of streptococcus, bacteria that can have acidic properties, so giving the raw brass a little bit of disinfectant will keep it shiny and smooth.
- Nice blue hue
- Has antimicrobial properties for keeping your pipes sterile
- Creates a lining quickly
- Just the right consistency
- Lubrication lasts for a long time
- Created by a trumpet playing chemical engineer
- Super affordable and a bottle lasts a while
- Child safe cap
- Precision applicator
- Very toxic
- Does not mix with other oils, so make sure you give your brassy bad boy a good cleaning before application
If your trumpet has a monel or steel valves, La Tromba T2 is 100% the valve oil for you. The silicone-free formula is designed specifically for use on these kinds of valves, providing long-lasting lubrication.
If you’re an everyday jammer, you can expect one treatment to last a week. If you’re a once in a while kind of tooter, it’ll last even longer.
The bottle comes with a precision applicator, which is great, but the cap isn’t the most secure design ever made. You should definitely wrap it up before traveling, but even if it does leak ever so slightly, there are no health concerns.
T2 is completely non-toxic, making it the unicorn of the valve oil industry, as it’s generally accepted that valve oil is mega poisonous and can even be fatal if consumed.
Performance-wise it doesn’t get much better than La Tromba. It’ll turn sluggish, or even jammed, mechanisms buttery smooth in seconds. The difference is stark as night and day.
One slick of T2 and you’ll be playing like you never knew you could, leaving your friends and bandmates thinking you’ve sold your soul to el Diablo at an eerie crossroads.
We think it’s actually quite a pleasant smell, but it should be noted that T2 does have a faint odor that some may find annoying, but it’s a small price to pay for La Tromba’s quality.
If this all sounds great to you, but alas…you rock the brass valves, you need not despair. La Tromba’s T1 solution can be used on any brass instrument.
- Precision applicator
- Long-lasting lubrication
- Makes for buttery smooth valves
- Synthetics are better for the environment
- Designed specifically for steel and monel valves
- T1 formula is available for brass valves
- Pleasant scent
- A little more expensive than other valve oils
- Cap doesn’t seal all that well
- Some may not like the scent
Our third special oil for limbering up those arthritic valves is an incredibly popular synthetic solution perfect for any vegan jazz cats out there.
Amazingly, MN703 Valve Oil is another completely non-toxic formula from a company that refuses to test any product on animals. We weren’t even aware trumpet oil was tested on animals, and now it haunts our dreams.
Music Nomad doesn’t just ride for all the cute little critters out there, they ride for musicians too! For every unit they sell, a small amount goes towards their music advocacy project, an online resource for independent musicians to guide them in their careers.
But enough of all this do-goodery. Is this oil’s performance as amazing as its morals? The happy answer is, yes! It’s one of the most popular valve oils for a reason, most notably, it’s longevity. This stuff will keep your pistons pumping fluidly for ages, and it’s completely odorless and biodegradable too.
It’s a fast-acting formula, so you won’t have to wait for it to do battle with the gunk in your trumpet before you feel the effects. It provides an exceedingly slick coat almost instantaneously, giving you that silken, buttery feel that makes putting your trumpet down nigh on impossible.
With the swing in your soul, trumpet in hand, and a bottle of this in your pocket, You’ll be playing like Louis himself.
Enclosure-wise, the only problem we can find with this oil is that sometimes the cap doesn’t seal all that well, many customers claiming it arrived leaking, but this could be as much to do with couriers as it is with the bottle itself.
- Not tested on animals
- Portion of proceeds go towards a music advocacy project
- Incredibly fast-acting and lasts a really long time
- Very slick
- Completely odorless
- Very popular, tried and tested product
- Precise dropper applicator
- Great price
- Fully biodegradable
- Cap sometimes doesn’t seal correctly
Sliding on into our penultimate position, we have another petroleum-based mineral oil, for all you traditionalists out there.
As it clearly states on the bottle, this stuff is FAST! If you want your valves to feel as though they’re made of the air itself, Al Cass oil is the way forward.
It’s also a pretty respectable all-rounder oil. What continues to amaze us about it is the fact that it doesn’t really gum up much at all as petroleum-based oils are one to do, making the full cleaning process much easier.
Often the worst enemy of valve oils is extreme temperature, especially mineral-based products, but Al Cass bucks the trend once again. You can play your trumpet up to and above 22-degree heat and your valves will still be loosey goosey.
Al Cass is almost completely odorless so if you’ve got a sensitive nose, this could be the one for you, and as far as bottles and caps are concerned, it seems pretty solid. The short dropper style nozzle allows you to be precise when you need to be, and leakages are rare.
An important thing to note about Al Cass is that it’s one of the thickest oils on the market, making it great for vintage trumpets whose valvular mechanisms aren’t as flush as new builds.
- Thicker than most valve oils, making it ideal for use on older instruments
- Very fast lubricant
- Performs surprisingly well in high temperatures for a petroleum-based oil
- Good applicator
- Petroleum-based oils aren’t sustainable products
If this was a compilation of the best branded valve oils, our final choice with its trumpet monster mascot would be top of the pack.
This oil probably provides you with the most physical protection than any on our list due to what are known as copper passivators which are basically chemicals that stop yellow metals from being as volatile and reactive. The actual science is way more complex, but that’s the gist of it.
The passivators and advanced adhesion also make Monster Oil wonderfully effective on misshapen or damaged valves, and it’s pretty long-lasting too.
Monster Oil is the product of a collaborative effort between professional musicians and aerospace engineers. That’s right, brass monkeys, this oil is a derivative of oils used by NASA for space travel, cool, right?
It means it’s reliable not just as a lubricant, but as a solvent that can really blast through the grime that builds up in your trumpet.
Unlike some of our other picks, you can get monster oil at various degrees of viscosity, so no matter what kind of horn you honk, they’ve got the perfect oil for you.
- Cap seals well
- Drop applicator
- It’s a reworking of oils used by NASA on rocket ships
- It’s chock full of copper passivators
- Works as a cleaning solvent
- Lubricates really well and for a long duration
- Good for misshapen valves
- Comes in pretty small bottles for the price
Best Trumpet Valve Oil Buying Guide
If you’re still unsure which grease is good enough for your trumpet, have a quick look at our buyer’s guide where we’ll fill you in on vital pre-purchase considerations.
Synthetic Vs Petroleum
The biggest debate when it comes to trumpet valve oil is whether synthetic or petroleum oils are better for the job. Synthetics do seem to have taken over most of the market at this stage, but there are many players who swear by traditional mineral oils.
So, what’s the difference? Well, for one thing, synthetics don’t really have an expiration date, whereas natural mineral oils do start to break down after around three years. Since companies push to make the longest lasting product on the market, expiration has become a real consideration, especially if you only oil once every few months.
Another oily feather in the synthetic cap is that it’s much better for the environment. We all know that harvesting Earth’s natural resources is destroying the planet and contributing to global warming, so it’s nice to know you’re not playing as bigger part in the chaos.
Bringing yet another one home for synthetics is gum-factor. Gumming is the nasty residue that doesn’t dissipate between oilings. It happens more with mineral oils as they’re normally an amalgamation of different kinds of oil with different sized molecules.
The smaller molecules evaporate faster than the bigger ones left behind to form the dreaded gunk that leads to sticky valves.
Striking one last nail in petroleum’s coffin, synthetic oil tends to perform better in extreme temperatures and lasts longer in general too.
So, why did two petroleum oils make it onto our list?
Not all petroleum-based valve oils are made equal. Some are far better than others. It has to do with the manufacturing process, additives, and testing.
Even though synthetics are much better on paper, the really well made mineral oils are still amazing products that may suit you or a particular trumpet more than synthetics.
Over-oiling is the worst thing you can do to your trumpet besides throwing it out of a 3rd story window. The best way to avoid this is to use an oil with a dropper nozzle allowing you to apply the oil in a measured and precise manner.
Note - This is something you should be particularly aware of when using natural petroleum-based oils as they can leave a residue.
A leaky oil bottle is obviously not ideal, but somehow it’s quite a common problem in the industry.
Even some top of the line products - ones on our list no less - seem to have problems with their caps sealing correctly. This may be due to storage or delivery issues, but it’s no good nonetheless.
Consistency is one of the most important factors to consider before buying your valve oil as different trumpets require different viscosities.
Newer trumpets tend to have valves that fit closer to the casing, so you’ll need a much thinner oil to prevent sluggish performance. As trumpets age, their valves wear slightly, so a thicker oil is more suitable.
If you have children or pets around, this is especially pertinent. Most valve oils are incredibly toxic. If ingested in any volume, it can even be fatal. But don’t worry. They are harder to come by, but as you’ve seen from our list, there are non-toxic products available.
Some oils are designed for use on particular metals, so it’s always a good idea to make sure it’s appropriate for your valves.
Companies usually make sure to dampen smells as much as possible or at least make them quite pleasant, but you still may prefer to avoid them.
You can find scentless variants of both kinds of oil, so if you’ve a favorite, you can stick to it and still protect your nose, hurray!
The good news is that you’re not going to have to remortgage your house to afford any valve oil, but some are pricier than others. Many trumpet players, especially those who need to oil more frequently, like to keep things as cheap as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best valve oil for trumpets?
It depends on the kind of trumpet i.e. what the valves are made of, how old it is, if it’s damaged in any way.
At least one product on our list should suit pretty much any kind of playable trumpet out there.
How often should trumpet valves be oiled?
As often as is necessary for optimal performance, but keep in mind that the more you oil, the more you should be doing full cleans.
Generally speaking, oiling once a week should suffice. That’s if you play every day. For less tooted trumpets, you may even get away with once a month as long as you’re using a quality synthetic oil.
Can valve oil kill you?
Yes, if it’s toxic, it can indeed kill you if ingested. That said, even non-toxic oils will make you ill if swallowed, so never have a swig, no matter how thirsty you are...even if it looks as delicious as Blue Juice.
Can I use WD40 on my trumpet valves?
As it’s a silicone-based oil, it’s best not to. It will eat away at the surfaces of some metals.
Aren’t you a lucky bunch of brass blowers, five of the very best oils on the market at the minute, all neatly displayed in one space for your viewing pleasure.
Each of these oils is amazing in its own right, and if you need any further proof, just check out all the awesome reviews.
Valve oil is a very personal thing, so we can’t tell you exactly what will work best for you. It’s likely that you’ll have to try a few out before you find that extra special sauce for slinky playing. Good luck and happy oiling.