Please note that this is our list of the best paid icon sets. We have also written a separate list for the best free icon sets for UI design.
A good quality icon set is an invaluable asset in UI design, but choosing one isn't always easy! There are hundreds of icon libraries on the market today, with new icon sets launching every week. We've been researching icons for two years now and created this list of the best icon sets on the market today so you don't have to!
It's important to note that many incredible icon libraries for UI design are 100% free and open source. That doesn't mean you should necessarily use a free icon library. Not all icon sets are created equal, especially if you're looking for icons designed specifically for UI design. Investing a little bit of money in a premium icon library can make a huge difference.
When we were bulding Untitled UI v1.0 back in 2021, we meticulously combed through dozens of open source, free, and paid icon sets looking for the perfect fit. We even spoke to some icon designers and web designers about creating a custom icon set. Many free icon sets were incredibly high-quality, but the vast majority fell short in terms of quality, consistency, or scale – often a combination of all three.
That being said, before investing in a premium icon library, we recommend checking out a few different icon sets from our list of the best free icon sets for UI design. These are 100% free for commercial use and will help give you an idea of what works and doesn't work in your design project before spending any money. Many premium icon libraries in this list also provide a free set of icons that are free to download and trial in your user interface.
It's best to pick an icon set from the start
Choosing an icon library for your design project or specific purposes upfront can be a huge investment of time. But what a lot of UI designers and web designers don't realise is how much more work is involved switching to another icon library later on!
Investing a little time upfront to choose a good icon set means you won’t be picking and choosing icons from different icon sets as you go. This paradox of choice becomes a nightmare because as your icon set grows, you invariably introduce different design styles from different icon libraries. This leads to messy and inconsistent UI design, even to the untrained eye.
This also builds design debt. Eventually, you or other UI designers will need to address this and manually switch everything to a more premium and consistent icon library. Nothing stands out more in modern UI design than inconsistent icons and even a free set is a better option than multiple paid icon libraries!
How to choose an icon set for your project
As we've covered, choosing a high-quality icon set from the start will save you a lot of time and resources later on. There are a wide range of different icon libraries on the market, usually these are designed for specific purposes.
Some icon sets are better suited for web design and some are specically crafted for UI design and web applications. If you're new to icon design, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. Here are a few key things that we recommend you look out for when choosing an icon set:
- The icon set should be large enough: You probably don't need an icon library with 10,000+ icons and 6 different styles for your project, but 100 icons isn't going to be enough. 250+ is a good starting point for a UI design or web design icon library.
- The icon set should be consistent: High-quality icon sets are visually and optically balanced. This means they "look good" and are consistent in weight, corner radius, and size. Inconsistent and unbalanced icons are very easy to spot, especially in UI design and web applications because icons are placed in close proximity to each other.
- The icon set should suit your brand: Icon libraries come in a wide range of different design styles that change how they "feel". Round and playful icon libraries probably won't suit a more serious B2B web application. Often, premium and paid icon libraries are designed for specific purposes and have distinctive styles — some will work well for your project and brand and others won't.
Before investing any money in a paid icon library, check out some free icon libraries to trial a few different styles from free icon sets. This will help you get an idea for what looks and feels right for your user interface or design project. You might even find one that is perfect and they're 100% free for commercial use! If in doubt, choosing a neutral icon library is usually a safe bet.
We've written more on what makes a good icon library and a more detailed guide on how to choose an icon set here.
Now, onto the list! No one wants to sift through an exhaustive list of 50+ free icon sets, so we've deliberately kept this best icons list selection concise. We've included only what we believe are the absolute best premium icon libraries.