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What's behind our paint Ratings?

Experts at our National Testing and Research Center tested 38 models in paints to see which ones perform best.
We look for:
  • Overall score
    Overall score includes primarily a paint's hiding performance, and resistance to staining, gloss change , scrubbing, sticking, mildew, and fading, along with surface smoothness,. VOC level does not factor into the overall score. Most results were developed from tests of white and medium-tint bases in the flat/matte, eggshell/satin and semi-gloss finishes.
  • Hiding
    Hiding reflects how well a paint covers dark colors mainly with one-coat.
  • Staining
    Staining shows how well a paint resists tough oil and water based stains.
  • Gloss change
    Gloss change notes the change in appearance when a paint is cleaned aggresively.
  • Scrubbing
    Scrubbing shows how a paint holds up to many abrasive cleanings.
  • Surface smoothness
    Surface smoothness indicates an absence of roller, brush or run marks when the paint is dry.
  • Resists mildew
    Best at resisting mildew growth. Best for bathrooms, laundry rooms and other damp places.
  • Resists sticking
    Best at not remaining tacky when dry. Best for windows, doors and shelves.
  • Resists fading
    Best at maintaining its color in strong sunlight. Best for very sunny spaces.
  • Self-priming
    Paint does not require use of a primer prior to painting bare walls or wood or walls previously painted with semi-gloss or high gloss finishes.
  • Claims zero VOCs
    Paint contains no VOCs (volatile organic compounds).


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Recommended paints

Recommended paints are standout choices with high scores. They include CR Best Buys, which offer exceptional value. When narrowing your choices, weigh features, price, and attributes that matter to you.
  • Buying Guide
  • Ratings
You shouldn't need a chemistry degree or the experience of a professional painter to buy paint. We generally test premium lines from major brands, which tend to perform best over time. And we've found that some of the best-performing paints and stains cost less than lower-scoring lines. If you're looking for information about paints, Consumer Reports is your best resource. Our paint reviews will give you honest buying advice that you can trust. Use our paint buying guide to discover which features are most important to consider. We also provide unbiased ratings and paint reviews to help you choose the best paint for your needs.

Paint buying guide

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 contributes to hiding and how much the paint will fade. Here's how to pick the right one for the job:

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