Exterior paints have improved over the past decade. They’re more durable, and less prone to cracking and fading. Consumer Reports’ latest exterior paint tests show what you can expect after a paint has been exposed to sun, rain, snow, and wind for years. It’s not always pretty.

One year of our severe testing is equivalent to about three years of normal weathering. After three years of testing, the results give you a glimpse of how the paints will look after nine years. "You'll need to spend $30 or more per gallon for an exterior paint that holds up for nine years," says Rico de Paz, Consumer Reports' expert on paints and stains. "Our tests found that cheaper paints don't last as long and you'll have to repaint sooner."

The Longest Lasting Exterior Paints

Most of the paints in our tests are self-priming, which eliminates a step, says de Paz. And a number of the paints will look good for eight to 10 years, including Behr Premium Plus Ultra, $39, and Clark+Kensington, $35, which scored the highest and made our top picks list. At almost twice the price is Sherwin-Williams Emerald Exterior, $72, which is also a good choice. Prices are per gallon. You'll find other paints to consider from Benjamin Moore, California Paints, Glidden, and Valspar in our full exterior paint ratings and recommendations.

Consider Your Climate and Weather
Sunny, hot and dry climates require a paint that resists cracking and fading. Warm and humid areas call for mildew resistance, and desert homes need paint that resists dirt. You’ll see which paints did well in each of these tests in the features and specs section of our exterior paint ratings. And check the weather forecast before you paint. Daytime temperatures between 50° and 90°F with little wind are best for exterior painting. 

Picking Your Paint
Start with our paint buying guide, then check our exterior paint ratings. Our tests have found that a brand’s flat, eggshell, and semi-gloss paints perform similarly overall, so we combine the scores to make it easier for you to compare brands.

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