Best Interior Paint Selection

Best Interior Paint of 2020 (Review and Buying Guide)

Choosing the best interior paint is no easy task. Not only do you need to find the perfect color and tone, but you also have to be careful that you’re not bringing harmful chemicals into your home.

We can all breathe easier now that paint manufacturers are reducing the amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs)–the noxious chemicals that make paint smell like paint–in their products, as a result of stricter federal standards. VOCs can cause headaches and dizziness and are linked to air pollution, smog, and respiratory problems.

More manufacturers now make low-VOC paints that comply with the even-tougher limits set by California’s regional South Coast Air Quality Management District. Earlier low-VOC paints lacked the durability and sheen selection of higher-VOC finishes, but now some low-VOC paints top Consumer Reports ratings.

You’ll find the VOC level listed on the can. Some paints even claim to contain zero VOCs, but take note—some of those low and zero-VOC products aren’t the highest scoring in the tests, so don’t always assume they are better. (See “Behind the green labels” below.)

So without further ado, here are the best interior paint products you can buy!

Ranking The Best Interior Paint Products On The Market

Rust-oleum Painters Touch Latex Paint

Rustoleum Painters Touch Interior Paint

Check Latest Price

Rust-oleum’s Painters Touch Latex Paint is a versatile formula that can be used as both an exterior and interior paint. It can competently cover wood, metal, plaster, unglazed ceramic, and masonry surfaces. This water-based acrylic, low-odor formula can resist chipping, cover areas of up to 120 sq ft, and offer long-lasting protection.

This product is ideal for those looking for easy results. Simply sand down your surfaces with a 180 or 200 grit sandpaper, degrease, and paint! If done correctly, your walls can be touch dry in 30 minutes! Founded in 1921, Rust-oleum a brand name that professional painters have come to rely on. It’s a brand name that you can trust.

Base: Water-based acrylic paint
Available Colors: Multiple colors
Finish: Variety of finishes
Can Size: Half pint, 1 gallon

 

Benjamin Moore Advance Waterborne Interior Alkyd Paint

Benjamin Moore ADVANCE Waterborne Interior Alkyd Paint

Check Latest Price

There are a number of paints in the Benjamin Moore range that could be on this list. The Regal Select line is great, but for solid interior painting, we recommend the Advance range. This paint is easy to apply, features excellent leveling properties, and promises serious adhesion to a wide range of surfaces.

It’s a water-based paint that can be applied to interior surfaces in a variety of ways. While it’s rollable and brush-able, and because it’s also spatter resistant, it can easily be sprayed too! For the best results, we recommend applying this paint over a good primer on a properly sanded and prepared surface. 14 days after application, this paint will be hard, tough, and last a lifetime!

Base: Water
Available Colors: All colors
Finish: Satin
Can Size: 1 gallon

 

Diamond Brite Oil-based All-purpose Paint

Diamond Brite Paint 31550 1-Gallon Oil Base All Purpose Enamel Paint

Check Latest Price

Next, we have this oil-based paint from Diamond Brite. Though it has a low price-tag, PPG Diamond Brite’s paint is high in quality. It’s a mildew-resistant paint with an alkyd finish, excellent stain removal, that can be used on interior and exterior surfaces.

This is a high-gloss enamel paint with heavy-duty durability. It’s ideal for high-traffic areas since it can easily resist abrasion, the effects of harmful chemicals, and natural degradation. This paint can provide great coverage over a variety of surfaces, including wood, drywall, plaster, masonry, metal, wallpaper, stucco, brick, aluminum, and cinder block. Plus, it dries very hard, in around 10 to 12 hours after application.

Base: Oil-based enamel
Available Colors: 12 color options
Finish: Gloss
Can Size: 1 gallon, 1 quart

 

Glidden One Coat

Glidden One Coat Primer and Paint

Check Latest Price

If you’re looking for an easy, stress-free painting experience, then consider this one. As the name suggests, Glidden’s One Coat product only requires a single coat of paint for great coverage. It’s a paint and primer combo, so all you have to do is prep your surface, and get painting!

This low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint provides great coverage, exceptional hide and stain block, in one low-odor, low-stress package. This paint is available in an incredibly wide range of colors and in flat, satin, and semi-gloss finishes.

We recommend this paint for use in bathrooms, kitchens, and nurseries. Why? Because it’s a washable paint, which means that you can scrub it clean if necessary, without harming the paintwork!

Base: Water-based acrylic paint
Available Colors: Multiple colors
Finish: Variety of finishes
Can Size: 1 gallon, 1 quart

 

Behr Premium Plus Paint and Primer

Behr Premium Plus Paint

Check Latest Price

There are plenty of good paints available from Behr. However, for the best results, we’d recommend using this paint brand’s Premium Plus Paint and Primer. Like others on this list, it’s a combination of both paint and primer, which will make your next room painting adventure quick and easy.

For the best results, Behr recommends that you use this paint in a low-traffic area, or on interior walls, and ceilings. It’s actually very good for ceilings since it has a non-reflective finish. What’s more, it’s scrubbable. If someone puts a scuff mark on your paintwork, then you can tackle it with a scrubber without damaging the finish. It also touches up well if you need to go over any spots that you might have missed!

You can find great deals on this paint on Amazon, but if you can’t source it there it’s always readily available at Home Depot too.

Base: Acrylic latex
Available Colors: All colors
Finish: Flat, Gloss, Satin
Can Size: 1 gallon

 

Valspar Professional Premium Indoor Paint

Valspar Professional Paint

Check Latest Price

Valspar Professional paint is exactly what it says it is: a paint made for professional painters. There certainly are cheaper products on the market and more expensive paints too, but this one offers top-quality coverage at a reasonable price point.

Aside from the affordable price tag, what makes this paint great is its low-odor and low-VOC formula, with low splatter properties. A little bit of this paint goes a long way, so while it might be more expensive than some others on this list, you don’t need to use buckets of it for complete coverage.

It’s one of the best interior paint options out there, and a great choice for areas like your living room, kitchen, and bedrooms, especially if you’re looking for a long-lasting finish.

Base: Latex
Available Colors: White
Finish: Flat
Can Size: 1 gallon

 

Zinsser Perma-White Interior Paints

Zinsser Perma-white mold and mildewproof interior paint

Check Latest Price

Zinsser is one of the top brands in the industry. This company is famous for making high-quality products, and some of the best interior paints available. If you weren’t aware, Zinsser is actually part of Rust-oleum, so you can rely on the quality of their products. Our favorite from their range is the Perma-White line.

Zinsser’s Perma-White is an inexpensive paint that resists dirt and moisture, is mold and mildew-proof, and stain resistant! It’s also self-priming, so you can get straight to painting without too much effort.

In terms of bang for your buck, this has it all. What’s more, Zinsser also gives this paint a 5-year guarantee. Not many interior paints make bold claims like that.

Base: Water
Available Colors: All colors
Finish: Flat, Semi-Gloss, Satin,
Can Size: 1 gallon

 

The Spruce Best Home by KILZ

The Spruce Paint by KILZ

Check Latest Price

Our last entry on this best interior paint list is the Best Home range from The Spruce and KILZ. The Spruce is an online resource for home improvement, DIY, and gardening tips, and KILZ is a well-known and popular paint brand. The Best Home range is a collaborative effort that has garnered rave reviews.

The paint is a long-lasting 100% acrylic formula with a designer look that can resist wear and tear, and look great at the same time. It’s a low VOC paint with a low-odor, that can be applied with a brush, roller, or spray. And since it’s designed with busy families in mind, it has a super-fast dry time too.

The Spruce’s Best Home paint is available in three sheens, and a choice of 32 colors!

Base: Water-based acrylic
Available Colors: 32 colors
Finish: Semi-gloss
Can Size: 1 gallon

 

How to choose the best interior paint for your house

Many aspects of paint performance depend more on the quality of the base than on the color. The tint base largely determines the paint’s toughness and resistance to dirt and stains, while the colorant determines how much the paint will fade. Here’s how to pick the right interior paint for different rooms in the house.

Coverage. Lower grades–typically dubbed good, better, or contractor grade–haven’t performed as well in the tests. If a top-of-the-line paint can cover all but the darkest colors in two coats, lower-quality paints might need three or four. The best paints can now cover in just one coat. Some even claim to eliminate the initial, primer coat.

Don’t buy strictly by brand. Manufacturers tend to reformulate paints frequently to improve performance and comply with tougher regulations. That means the paint you loved last time may not do as well this time around.

Think carefully about color. A hue that looks great in the store could turn you off once it’s on your walls. Use the store’s color-sampling products and retailer and manufacturer computer programs. Most stores sell 2-ounce sample jars so you can test a paint before buying a large quantity. Manufacturers also offer large color chips, which are easier to use than the conventional small swatches.

Try out samples on different walls and at various times of the day. Fluorescent light enhances blues and greens, but it makes warm reds, oranges, and yellows appear dull. Incandescent light works well with warm colors, but it might not do much for cool ones. Even natural sunlight changes from day to day, room to room, and morning to evening. Color intensifies over large areas, so it’s better to go too light than too dark in a given shade.

There’s more to paint than coverage. The best interior paint for your home should be environmentally-friendly too.

Green recommendations

Consumer Reports tests only premium lines from major brands, which tend to perform best over time. For the first time in the paint tests, decorator favorite Benjamin Moore Aura has made it to the top of the ratings, beating three-time winner Behr Premium Plus Ultra Satin. Both are low in VOCs and cover great, but Aura’s sheen did not dull when cleaned. Both the Aura Satin and new Regal Select Semi-Gloss from Moore also leave a smoother finish and stand up better to scrubbing.

But Aura is twice the price of Behr, which performed almost as well. So in terms of value, Behr remains a winner too.

Behind the green labels

Some paint brands promote their green credentials on their cans, highlighting certifications that are self-awarded or from independent groups. But those certifications don’t guarantee top performance.

Generally, the best green labels are seals or logos indicating that an independent organization has verified that a product meets a set of meaningful and consistent standards for environmental protection and/or social justice.

Six different certifications are noted below: Asthma & Allergy Friendly ( Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America), Greenguard, GreenSure (Sherwin-Williams ), Green Promise (Benjamin Moore), Green Seal, and Green Wise.

Asthma & Allergy Friendly

This certification comes from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. The foundation measures VOCs emitted during application and prohibits certain harmful chemicals. Companies pay $7,500 or more to have paints tested and use the logo. Among the tested paints, Valspar+ (Lowe’s) has it– the satin and matte finish products were among the better products tested, though not top rated.

Greenguard

Greenguard Logo

This certification by the Greenguard Environmental Institute requires manufacturers to measure off-gassing from drying paint and allows only trace levels of VOCs, including formaldehyde and styrene. Manufacturers measure emissions from drying paint and also pay Greenguard to have the paint tested, along with at least $3,000 to use the Greenguard logo.

GreenSure

GreenSure Logo

GreenSure certification was created by Sherwin-Williams, is self-regulated, and covers only the company’s products. Paints with the GreenSure logo must have VOCs of 50 grams per liter or less, be free of certain other chemical substances, and meet durability requirements. Sherwin-Williams Duration line has the logo but scored low in the tests.

Green Promise

Green Promise Logo

Green Promise was created by Benjamin Moore, covers only its products, and requires VOCs of 50 grams per liter or less. It also requires paints to use zero-VOC colorant, according to the company. The high-scoring Aura, Natura, and Regal Select lines have it.

Green Seal

Green Seal Certified Logo

This independent group requires limits on VOCs, bars certain other hazardous substances, and assesses performance. Companies pay Green Seal $2,500 to $9,500 to have paints evaluated and to use the Green Seal logo.

Green Wise

Green Wise Logo

The Green Wise certification limits VOCs and odors and prohibits certain chemicals. As part of their $20,000 membership fee, companies have products tested and can license the logo from the Coatings Research Group Inc. (CRGI), an industry organization. Royal Interiors paints by Ace, which were recommended in the tests, have this logo.

Lead hazards and paint

This common toxin is a concern if you sand or scrape off old paint in a house built before 1978 because older layers are likely to contain lead. A lead-test kit can reveal it by changing color, though some kits may be difficult to use.

In Consumer Reports 2007 and 2008 tests, the Abotex Lead Inspector Kit; the First Alert Premium Lead Test Kit LT1; the Homax Lead Check 5250; and SKC LeadCheck Instant 225-2404 Sampling Test Kit all were judged simple, fast, and relatively inexpensive to use. But the testers found that correctly reading the color levels takes some practice.

You should choose a lead kit based on the paint color being tested. If you’re color-blind, don’t use a kit that turns pink or red. Also, note that lead test kits use one of two chemicals—sodium sulfide or rhodizonate—to detect lead by color change. Consider buying one kit of each type to test paint of all colors. Follow instructions exactly.

If an item tests positive, remove it from use. For exact lead levels, you should have it screened professionally, according to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements and guidelines.

Also remember that if your home was built before 1978, any remodeling pro you hire will have to comply with the EPA’s Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule. It requires workers to trap dust and debris, among other steps and applies to any work that might disturb lead-based paint in a home.

Paint disposal and recycling tips

Check Earth911.com to find a paint recycling center in your area. If you can’t recycle the paint, you can throw latex paints (but not oil-based) into the trash if they’re solidified. Ways to do that include drying it by leaving the lid off in a well-vented area and mixing in an absorbent material, such as kitty litter or sawdust, in a 1-to-2 ratio to paint.

Also, consider donating your unused paint; Habitat for Humanity takes donated building materials and sells them in affiliated ReStore resale outlets. Listing unused paint on websites such as craigslist.com or freecycle.org is another option.