A freshly painted side of a house with blue exterior paint

Exterior paints have improved significantly in recent years. As a group, they're now more durable and less prone to cracking and fading, which means they should hold up for several years. But there are still considerable differences among the 15 products in Consumer Reports’ exterior paint ratings.

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To determine which paints are likely to last the longest on a house, CR's test engineers paint pine panels and place them on the roof of our headquarters in Yonkers, N.Y. They set the boards to face south and tilt them to intensify the effects of sun and weather. A year of CR’s severe testing is equivalent to about three years in real time. The results give us a sense of how paints will look after nine years on a house. 

“These are the only paints we test that will resist cracking, fading, dirt, and mildew after nine years," says Enrique de Paz, the chemist who oversees CR’s paint tests.

This doesn’t mean they’re the only exterior paints in our ratings worth considering. The paints we test cover a wide price spectrum: $19 to $72 per gallon. And performance doesn't necessarily correspond with cost.

Zones that are sunny, hot, and dry require a paint that resists cracking and fading. Warm, humid areas call for mildew resistance. Desert homes and urban dwellings need paint that resists dirt.

Upgrading your home's exterior? We also test replacement windows, roofing, siding, and wood stains.

Below are Consumer Reports’ five top picks for paint in our test for appearance after nine years.

5 Top Exterior Paints

Top Picks

1

Appearance after 3 years
Appearance after 6 years
Appearance after 9 years

2

Appearance after 3 years
Appearance after 6 years
Appearance after 9 years
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