Everyone has their preferred choice of valve oil, but does it really matter which one you use? As long as your valves run smoothly and don’t stick at the worst possible moment (like when you’re playing that solo at the Albert Hall!), then surely they will all do the job? In the fizzy drinks world some people like Coca-Cola, others prefer Pepsi and some might choose a supermarket own brand as they feel it’s better value.

blue-juice-valve-oilWhat’s in the Bottle?

Regardless of the brand of oil it is difficult to obtain an exact breakdown of the additives used. (It’s a bit like the Coca-Cola secret formula). Each bottle generally states ‘Contains petroleum distillates’ with a warning not to swallow / keep out of the reach of children. Some brands quote other elements that they feel are good sales points but other than that there isn’t much detail. Not that it really matters though, as long as you don’t try and drink it, the main point is they will stop your valves from sticking. All of our best sellers are reliable options and work well, so the question is are you a Waitrose or an Aldi shopper? (I’m an Aldi fan by the way!)


Some Best Sellers

Rocket Professional Valve Oil (RMV001)

rocket-valve-oilA great value option for all you Aldi shoppers out there, reminds me of the Besson oil that was around until a few years ago. Made in the USA it doesn’t claim to do anything other than lubricate your valves but is one of our best sellers, mainly due to it’s price. Perfect for children who are normally over generous when applying and deposit as much on the floor as they do on the valves!

Holton ‘Electric’ Valve Oil (H3250)holton-valve-oil

Another basic valve oil from a very reputable company, although if I’m honest I’ve no idea where the ‘Electric’ bit fits in? Maybe your valves work better in a thunderstorm?!

Blue Juice Valve Oil (BJ2)

Without doubt the ‘daddy’ of valve oils and our best seller by some distance. Differentiated by it’s distinctive blue colour and claims to be ‘Fast, long-lasting. Helps keep horn clean internally.’ Many consider the idea that it will help keep your valves clean as reason enough to choose it over other oils.

Denis Wick Advanced Formula Valve Oil (DW4930)

denis-wick-valve-oilA super popular brand. It’s labelling claims it is an Advanced Formula (‘Top Secret’ of course) with PTFE (aka Polytetrafluoroethylene – which was originally discovered by the makers of Teflon.) The marketing blurb goes along the lines of ‘microscopic PTFE particles help ensure a fast action and effective protection from wear’.


So, which one’s right for me?

If you want my honest opinion, I don’t think it really matters. All of the oils above will do the trick so whichever you choose it shouldn’t let you down. No doubt you’ll have friends or colleagues who’ve had good and bad experiences with some of the above and that will probably influence your choice. However, a lot of the time it’s not actually the fault of the oil, more lack of maintenance by the player. Regular cleaning is arguably more important than the oil you choose! Don’t just keep applying fresh oil on top of old as eventually it will congeal and any new oil applied will make things worse rather than better. Clean your valves and valve casing out every couple of months and whichever oil you opt for should do the job just fine.

About the author

Andy is a Director of Normans Musical Instruments and has worked within the business for over 20 years. During this time he has been involved in all areas from Sales and Marketing to Operations and Web Development so has experienced both Normans and the wider Musical Instrument industry from many aspects. Originally a Brass player, Andy has developed a good working knowledge of a wide range of instruments and is always keen to augment his understanding when an opportunity arises.




  • AndyH 01/07/2014 at 7:54 pm

    I was hoping for some sort of review of the valve oils, but this just seems to be reporting which sells better. What does that tell us about the oil? Nothing at all. It tells us more about the success of the marketing strategy, or how people feel about the name, or the colour of the bottle.

    In the opinion of the instrument repairer I go to, Blue Juice is probably the worst thing you can possibly use. When I was using it, it would turn to glue if I left an instrument unused for a few days – the valves wouldn’t move without a lot of coaxing. It’s taken quite a while to get rid of the residue too, by repeatedly cleaning and using a different oil.

    Mr Repair Man sold me some Holton Electric valve oil, which has been a lot better – my valves mostly don’t get stuck now, provided I don’t over oil. When they do, I take them out and wipe them with kitchen roll, then put them back. I only add more oil if they seem to need it.

    I understand some people swear by tap water, with a few drops of washing up liquid per cup full. I haven’t had the courage to try that though. Maybe that inspired the song “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles”?

  • tedtedsen 14/12/2015 at 9:06 pm

    my exprtience is yamaha regular for newer trumpets they have tighter valves when new i also tryed Al cas it makes the sliders black and dirty the yamaha did not ??

  • Humberto Sanon 08/09/2017 at 10:03 am

    Regards for helping out, great info .

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