How to Choose the Best Paint for Your Cabinets—Plus 8 Brands to Shop

Cabinet paint should be durable and easy to clean.

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Best Paint for Cabinets

Courtesy of Home Depot, Lowe's

One of the most costly areas of the home to renovate is the kitchen, which is especially true if you want to replace your cabinets. But rather than investing in all new units, consider giving your existing cabinetry new life with a fresh coat of paint. As long as your cabinets are safe to use, painting them and adding new hardware is a simple DIY way to transform your kitchen.

Just as there are certain types of paint that are best suited to your walls, the same considerations apply when painting your cabinets. "What I recommend most often, is a product specifically intended for painting cabinets," says Amy Wax, architectural color consultant and creator of the Color911 App.

Amy Wax has served as an interior paint color expert and exterior paint color consultant for homeowners and businesses, has helped with color palette development for a number of major paint manufacturers, and is creator of the Color911 App.

What to Consider When Buying Cabinet Paint

In addition to selecting a paint specifically designed for cabinets, you'll also want to take into account the paint's base and finish.

Paint base

Cabinet paints can be oil-based, latex, alkyd, and acrylic. While each base has its own pros and cons, there are some options that are preferred over others.

  • Oil-based paint: Oil-based paint is a popular choice for cabinets. "The oil-based paint dries harder, making it more durable for places where there will be more wear and tear and hands-on use," says Wax. Oil-based paint also has the ability to self level, eliminating visible brush strokes and giving you a smoother appearance. One downside to oil-based paint is that it will start to yellow or change to a lightly warmer color over time.
  • Latex paint: Another option for painting cabinetry is latex paint, which dries quickly, has stable colors, and is easy to apply. However, latex paint is a thinner product that doesn't level out. "You will likely see the imperfections on the surface or brush strokes once the product is applied," says Wax.
  • Alkyd paint: Similar to oil-based paint, alkyd paint is durable, dries quickly, and has a smooth finish. The paint won't fade over time, making it a great option for high touch areas like the kitchen.
  • Acrylic paint: Acrylic paint can withstand high temperatures without cracking, making it ideal if you have cabinets over a stovetop. "I have had success with an acrylic paint with urethane applied, creating an enamel-like product giving the cabinets a smooth, harder finish that will maintain its color and durability," says Wax.

Paint Finish

Whether you're choosing a paint for your walls or your cabinets, there are certain finishes that are best suited to certain projects. "Cabinets need to wear well and wash easily," says Wax. "The best finish for that would be satin or semi-gloss."

  • Satin:  The satin or low luster finish has a less reflective sheen, but enough of a sheen that the surface is sealed and protected, says Wax. Satin finishes are also easy to clean.
  • Semi-gloss: The higher sheen would be a semi-gloss finish, which makes the finish a bit more reflective, says Wax. Cabinets with this sheen tend to look more clean.

With all of these factors in mind, here are the best paint for cabinets.

01 of 08

Benjamin Moore Advance Interior Paint

Benjamin Moore Advance Interior Paint

Courtesy of Benjamin Moore

This premium quality waterborne alkyd paint delivers a durable satin finish that can withstand repeated washing. "With a silky-smooth reflective quality, Advance is a waterborne alkyd paint that dries smoothly with a furniture like finish," says Wax. "Both durable and non-yellowing it dries hard, wears well, and is available in a variety of gloss finishes."

Price at time of publish: $80

02 of 08

BEHR Hybrid Urethane Alkyd Semi-Gloss Enamel Paint

BEHR Hybrid Urethane Alkyd Semi-Gloss Enamel Paint

Courtesy of Home Depot

Available in a range of custom colors, this paint provides the performance and durability of a traditional oil-based paint with the ease of use of a water-based paint. Offering a professional quality finish, the product provides expert leveling, minimizing the appearance of brush strokes and imperfections.

Price at time of publish: $47

03 of 08

Farrow & Ball Wood Primer & Undercoat

Farrow & Ball Wood Primer & Undercoat

Courtesy of Farrow & Ball

If you have wood cabinets you want to spruce up, consider this option from Farrow & Ball. The primer and undercoat is designed for use on bare or previously painted interior and exterior wood. It creates a smooth, protective base and is available in four shades to complement your topcoat for a durable fish.

Price at time of publish: $129

04 of 08

Sherwin Williams Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel

Sherwin Williams Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel

Courtesy of Sherwin-Williams

Designed for cabinets, doors, and trim this enamel paint resists yellowing, unlike traditional oil-based coatings. What's more, it creates a hard durable finish that withstands wear and tear and frequent cleaning. "This paint is preferable for many because it is a water-based product giving it the ease of use, with the durability of an enamel," says Wax.

Price at time of publish: $109

05 of 08

Beyond Paint All-in-One Refinishing Paint for Cabinets

Beyond Paint All-in-One Refinishing Paint for Cabinets

Courtesy of Amazon

Designed specifically for cabinets, this all-in-one-paint requires no stripping, sanding, or priming. It has an acrylic base, meaning it can withstand the humidity and temperature fluctuations of kitchens without cracking. Available in more than 12 shades, you're sure to find one that complements your space.

Price at time of publish: $114

06 of 08

Benjamin Moore INSL-X Specialty Coatings

Benjamin Moore INSL-X Specialty Coatings

Courtesy of Home Depot

The ultimate satin enamel paint finish for cabinets, this product is known for its super smooth finish. "This cabinet coat, with it’s urethane-acrylic formula, dries hard and is a great product for the high use cabinetry it is designed for," says Wax. "This product wears well and gives you the durability you need."

Price at time of publish: $63

07 of 08

BEHR Alpenglow Semi-Gloss Enamel Low Odor Interior Paint & Primer

BEHR Alpenglow Semi-Gloss Enamel Low Odor Interior Paint & Primer

Courtesy of Home Depot

Formulated with a finish that resists mildew and stains, this paint and primer has a semi-gloss finish that gives cabinets a reflective sheen. It has a 100 percent acrylic base that is easy to apply and won't diminish over time.

Price at time of publish: $38

08 of 08

Valspar Satin Base Cabinet and Furniture Paint Enamel

Valspar Satin Base Cabinet and Furniture Paint Enamel

Courtesy of Lowe's

This oil-enriched enamel paint dries to a smooth factory-like finish. Plus, it is resistant to fading, scratching, and scuffing, providing a durability that is needed when it comes to kitchen cabinets. The oil-based formula means you won't see any brush marks when the paint dries.

Price at time of publish: $60

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