Choosing paint colors is hard enough, but these days consumers have to decide among dozens of paint brands — plus different quality levels within those brands. And then there’s price. Will paying $100 a gallon get you a better paint than if you pay $30 a gallon? It’s almost as maddening as choosing between Paper White and Whisper White. Here’s help.
You may think of Consumer Reports as a resource for buying cars and electronics, but the nonprofit magazine also tests paints, grading them on the traits consumers say are most important. Exterior paint is judged on its appearance after tests that simulate multiple years. Interior paint is evaluated for factors including its ability to cover old colors in a single coat, whether it can withstand scrubbing, and its mildew and fade resistance.
In the most recent rounds of testing, a remarkable four out of the top five interior and exterior paints were hardware store brands. So, right away, we know you don’t have to buy a premium brand to get great paint. On the other hand, the very cheapest paints, those that cost between $17 and $27 a gallon, didn’t make it into the top five. “Generally, spending more money does not always equate to a better paint,” said Rico De Paz, paint-testing program leader at Consumer Reports. “But it’s probably a good idea to stay away from the most inexpensive brands at most retailers without checking our ratings first.”
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