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Interior paint

A new winner tops our tests

Consumer Reports magazine: March 2012

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It’s official: Benjamin Moore beats Behr by a nose as our top-performing interior paint in two of our three major categories. Our tests show that these Benjamin Moore finishes are better than earlier products at maintaining their gloss after cleaning. Both also leave a smoother finish and stand up better to scrubbing. But they are more expensive than the Behr paints, which performed almost as well.

Some testing details:

Low VOCs become the norm. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are linked to air pollution and respiratory problems. All of our top paints are now claimed to meet even the toughest, southern California limits of 50 grams per liter or less. More of the best we tested have zero-VOC claims as manufacturers get better at making greener paints perform.

More paints save you some hassle. The ability to hide the old finish with one coat continues to top shoppers’ wish lists, which is why we weight this attribute most heavily in our tests. Almost half of our top picks are also made to go on over old finishes or even bare wood and wallboard without the usual prime coat.

Some paints have hidden costs. Because many inexpensive paints require more coats for hiding, you might have to buy more than you bargained for.

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