Matt is a professional painter and freelance writer, sharing his knowledge, house-painting tips, and product reviews.
Benjamin Moore vs Sherwin Williams Paint
Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams, two of the leading paint brands in the United States, offer some of the best products for interior and exterior painting. I've used both paints a lot, but Sherwin Williams is what I use more than any other brand, not only for performance quality, but also for convenience, since their stores are close to where I paint.
If you're reading this, then you want to know if both brands are equal in quality, or if one is better than the other. Having used various paints from both brands, I don't believe one is better than the other as a whole. Both Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore have premium paints and lower quality paints that perform differently.
Per Gallon Pricing Differences
Most paint, with the exception of Behr and some paints sold at major home centers, are expensive at full price. Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore aren't far off from each other in pricing when comparing similar paints from each brand.
The cost largely depends on paint sales and contractor pricing too. Contractors get discount pricing based on their sales volume at the store, cutting the price by as much as 30% per gallon. Homeowners can also get paint discounts by opening a store account, but the discounts are usually less than what a contractor gets.
Both brands run big sales year round that can save you big money if you wait for the next sale. Sherwin Williams has the best sales, including the Blue Bucket sale they run usually two to three times per year, as well as their spring sale for paint and stain. These sales events can save you hundreds of dollars if you wait for them.
Both Brands Are Pricey
The high end paints sold by both brands are a bit overpriced without contractor pricing or a paint sale. For example, Aura, a top of the line paint by Benjamin Moore, is $72 per gallon for the interior matte finish as of this writing. Aura is an excellent paint, but I wouldn't pay full price for it. Emerald latex paint from Sherwin Williams, a paint advertised as comparable to Aura, is almost the same price.
The pricing goes up from there for hybrid paint (water-based alkyd). The list price for Emerald urethane enamel, a hybrid paint from Sherwin Williams that I use a lot for cabinet painting, is $93 per gallon. Less expensive paints include Duration Home and SuperPaint, both by Sherwin Williams, and Benjamin Moore's Regal and Ben.
Paint Coverage and Durability
With paint, you do usually get what you pay for in terms of quality and coverage. The high-end paints from Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore aren't cheap, but you can expect much better coverage when brushing and rolling, as well as enhanced durability.
Cheap paint usually doesn't cover as good as a pricier, higher quality paint, and brush marks won't level out for a smoother finish. Cheap paints also tend to leave a banding effect in corners, especially along ceiling edges, from cutting-in. The banding is more noticeable with darker colors, but when using a high quality paint, the color is consistent over the surface.
Some people swear Benjamin Moore is better than Sherwin Williams, or the other way around, but both companies have great products. I've used both paint brands for over 20 years. Aura is, by far, my favorite Ben Moore paint. The paint rolls on as smooth as butter and covers really well. I've painted quite a few homes with Regal Select too, an all in one paint and primer. I find that the Select covers much better than their regular Regal version.
The Sherwin Williams paints I use the most are Duration Home for painting walls and Emerald urethane enamel for trim and cabinets. Both products are very durable. The products SuperPaint, Cashmere, and ProClassic are also good options to consider.
The Best Color Fan Deck
Both paint companies have a massive selection of thousands of colors. I own the fan decks from both brands, but my customers choose colors from my Sherwin Williams fan deck the most. I have their newer fan deck with a larger color selection.
I would say if you're looking for grey, a popular color choice for interior painting, either brand has an awesome selection to choose from, but I really like the grey color options in the Sherwin Williams fan deck. Color matching between the two brands isn't a problem.
Questions & Answers
Question: I'd like to paint the exterior of my home, which is the better brand for this task?
Answer: I'm sure Behr has some good exterior paint too, but I've always used Sherwin Williams Duration with great results. The paint is thick and covers well with good durability. I've never had a callback using that product. It's expensive, but it lasts. I definitely recommend it. Super Paint from Sherwin Williams is good too. I used that paint for many years before upgrading to Duration.
Question: What's the best paint for kitchen cabinets? I find behr satin too thick, Benjamin Moore regal semi gloss..not a fan.
Answer: From Sherwin Williams, Emerald urethane and ProClassic enamel are both good products for cabinets. I've started using their Pro Industrial Multi-Surface Acrylic with good results. This product is allegedly very comparable to PPG Breakthrough. It dries fast and hard and levels really good when sprayed, but it's best for airless spraying, not brushing and rolling. Benjamin Moore sells a product called Advance that's a popular paint used on cabinets, but I have no personal experience with that product. I do know that Advance has a very slow dry time, even slower than Emerald urethane. I can only recommend products I have experience using. Pro Industrial Multi-Surface Acrylic, Emerald urethane, or ProClassic, are good options to consider. When looking at paint options for cabinets, consider the hardness of the finish and the dry time. I wouldn't use Regal semi-gloss on cabinets. It's too soft for that purpose.
Question: I am painting the exterior of my Tudor house and garage. The house exterior is wood beams, stucco and brick. The house is 91 years old. I personally like Benjamin Moore but my painter is insisting on Sherwin Williams. Is that because of cost?
Answer: Both paint brands offer great products, but the painter might want to use Sherwin Williams because maybe he has more experience with the particular paint he wants to use. Maybe he's never used Benjamin Moore and doesn't feel comfortable using a new product on a large project. Pricing is probably a factor too. Most contractors get discounts on Sherwin Williams paint. Discounts can be as high as 40 percent off. Some private paint stores that sell Benjamin Moore products offer discounts too. I would ask the painter what Sherwin Williams product he wants to use on your home. Make sure it's one of their premium paints and not a cheap, low quality one.
© 2019 Matt G.
Michael on April 03, 2020:
From your point of iew best possible for shore exterior concrete ceiling balcony.
Matt G. (author) from United States on November 05, 2019:
If you're referring to using Sherwin Williams Porch and Floor enamel on interior oak trim, no, I would rather use their Emerald urethane enamel, or Pro Classic.
Doris Christensen on November 05, 2019:
Enjoy our article. Do you recomend painting worn oak treads with Sherwin williams Deck and porch paint
Matt G. (author) from United States on October 02, 2019:
I would use a bonding primer made for surfaces prone to peeling. Then apply two coats of Duration paint (Sherwin Williams). I use Duration on most of my exterior projects. It's very durable, but make sure you're scraping and sanding thoroughly and priming.
DJA on October 02, 2019:
I have wood windows on a 100 year old home. Every few years I have to scrape, prime, and finish. Which brand has a better primer/finish to make this an easier and less frequent task. TY