The factors influencing the oxidative stability of different commercial olive oils were evaluated. Comparisons were made of (i) the oxidative stability of commercial olive oils with that of a refined, bleached, and deodorized (RBD) olive oil, and (ii) the antioxidant activity of a mixture of phenolic compounds extracted from virgin olive oil with that of pure compounds andα-tocopherol added to RBD olive oil. The progress of oxidation at 60°C was followed by measuring both the formation (peroxide value, PV) and the decomposition (hexanal and volatiles) of hydroperoxides. The trends in antioxidant activity were different according to whether PV or hexanal were measured. Although the virgin olive oils contained higher levels of phenolic compounds than did the refined and RBD oils, their oxidative stability was significantly decreased by their high initial PV. Phenolic compounds extracted from virgin olive oils increased the oxidative stability of RBD olive oil. On the basis of PV, the phenol extract had the best antioxidant activity at 50 ppm, as gallic acid equivalents, but on the basis of hexanal formation, better antioxidant activity was observed at 100 and 200 ppm.α-Tocopherol behaved as a prooxidant at high concentrations (>250 ppm) on the basis of PV, but was more effective than the other antioxidants in inhibiting hexanal formation in RBD olive oil.o-Diphenols (caffeic acid) and, to a lesser extent, substitutedo-diphenols (ferulic and vanillic acids), showed better antioxidant activity than monophenols (p- ando-coumaric), based on both PV and hexanal formation. This study emphasizes the need to measure at least two oxidation parameters to better evaluate antioxidants and the oxidative stability of olive oils. The antioxidant effectiveness of phenolic compounds in virgin olive oils can be significantly diminished in oils if their initial PV are too high.