Paints in Consumer Reports' ratings range from $17 to $105 per gallon. But a higher price doesn’t guarantee quality. Here’s how to lower your costs without sacrificing your satisfaction:

1. Use an online paint calculator to determine how much paint you’ll need. You’ll find these handy tools on the websites of paint retailers and manufacturers. “Pay attention to whether the calculator is assuming one or two coats,” says Consumer Reports' paint expert, Enrique de Paz. “If you’re using one of the top-rated paints to cover old paint, assume that you will need only one coat.”

2. Search manufacturer and retailer Facebook pages for coupons, rebates, and news about sales.

3. Consider buying paint in 5-gallon containers. It's usually cheaper than buying five 1-gallon cans of the same finish. The larger containers are ideal when tackling big jobs.

4. Ask about “oops” paints or “mis-tints.” These are containers that have been returned or left at a store after a consumer had change of heart about a finish. We’ve seen “oops” cans for $9 or less per gallon. If only a gallon is available and you need two for your job, buy a gallon of the regular version in the same color and mix them together to get a consistent color.

5. Shop during the week leading up to three-day holiday weekends, including Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. That’s usually when you’ll find sales.


Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the May 2017 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.