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There are many great paint brands that claim their products are the best on the market, but few of them are of the track record and consumer confidence of both Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore. The Sherwin Williams vs. Benjamin Moore debate has been going on for a long time, but is there really an objectively superior paint between the two? Let’s have a look at the Sherwin Williams vs. Benjamin Moore debate, unpack both paints, and see if there really is a superior paint brand between the two titans of industry.
Table of Contents
Why Are We Talking About This?
Let’s face it, the market is saturated with paint brands that claim they have the highest quality paint at the best prices. In reality, when it comes down to the quality of paint, you usually get what you pay for. Companies with the most experience and funds for research and development tend to have the best paint products. Now, this doesn’t mean that newer brands don’t have high-quality products, as there are newcomers in the paint market that offer good quality paints at reasonable prices.
However, it is mostly legacy brands that offer a unique combination of durability, good coverage, impressive finishes, good texture, versatility, and a wide range of colors to choose from.
This makes sense considering that brands like Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore have had over 120 each to research, test, and perfect their respective paint formulas. Even with their research, it would take newer companies at least half this amount of time to improve upon this level of success, not to mention cultivate the level of brand loyalty these companies have earned throughout the years. All of that being said, these brands have very similar consumer bases, paint ranges, levels of customer service, and after-service tracking. It can therefore be difficult to decide which is better if you’re looking for high-quality paint for your next project. You therefore might be wondering which of these two brands is objectively superior since they’re so closely matched.
Well, that is the problem with comparing paints. While one brand might excel in one area, another brand might beat it in an area it lacks, and vice versa. However, when a company has been around for over 130 years, it’s safe to say they’ve probably worked out most of the kinks, leaving virtually nothing between Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore. You would then do well with either of these brands, with the only variable being the intended application and your personal preference for paint.
However, if you’re still on the fence, let’s have a look at each brand and some of the key areas that might get you to tip one way or the other if you ever find yourself needing to choose between these two awesome brands.
History of Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore
Before we get into the actual paint, we thought we’d give you a brief rundown of each brand, where they come from, how long they have been in business, where they started, where they are now, and how they came to be in the first place. While their older paint companies like Devou Paint (started in 1745) are more closely matched and tend to be more recognized by consumers.
Sherwin Williams Paints
Sherwin Williams Paints was started all the way back in 1866 when Henry Sherwin invested in an existing paint company by the name of Truman Dunham and Co. In the year 1870, the latter partnership dissolved, at which point Henry Sherwin formed the predecessor to the company we all know and love today, with then partners Edward Williams and A.T Osborn. Now that Sherwin had his new company he would need his first manufacturing plant, at which point he would acquire a cooperage business from a company called Standard Oil in 1873. At this point, the company was known as Sherwin, Williams, and Co.
It wasn’t until the 16th of July 1884 that the company we know as Sherwin Williams would officially be incorporated.
This happened after A.T. Osborn sold his interest in the company and opted to retain retail rights. The company would simply grow and expand from this point onward, acquiring various other assets and brands until it would eventually be dubbed the largest coating manufacturer in the United States back in the early 20th century.
As with all companies that become this large there were those that sought to take it over. In the case of Sherwin Williams, it was Gulf and Western Industries that sought to take it over, but Sherwin Williams successfully avoided this and would recuperate by acquiring various other assets throughout the 1980s through to the 1990s. Today, Sherwin Williams has over 2,500 stores!
Benjamin Moore Paints
If you’re in the mood for a story about the American dream then the Benjamin Moore origin is just what you’re looking for. The company was founded by two brothers Benjamin and Robert who came to New York in the year 1872 all the way from Ireland. The two brothers would use just $2000,00 to start the Moore Brothers company in 1883. Starting from nothing, they understood the commerce of relationships and stood to only sell their “Moore’s Prepared Calsom Finish” only through independent retailers.
The company was originally started in New York but would eventually set up its headquarters in New Jersey where it would soon begin distributing its products to over 75 different countries.
The cool thing about Benjamin Moore products is that the foundation of their business plan hasn’t changed since its inception. Their products have always been sold through independent retailers such as specialized craft and home improvement stores, and even family-owned retail stores whether they be small or large.
While Benjamin Moore had always been a family-owned and operated business, the company would eventually be acquired by Berkshire Hathaway in the year 2000, a company that retains ownership of this high-quality paint brand to this day! Benjamin Moore is famously known in the industry for introducing the world’s first computerized color-matching system, a revolutionary concept that is quite commonplace today.
Product Lines and Offerings Comparison
As we mentioned previously it can be difficult to say which brand is objectively better. However, discussing the product range of each brand and comparing which is better for a particular application can give you a good idea as to which is better for your next project.
That being said, let’s have a look at some products offered by each brand and which is better in a given scenario.
Interior Painting Comparison
Interior paint needs to be durable, hold its finish, and be able to stand up to forces like impact, abrasions, heat, moisture, and stains with ease. Therefore, we’ll have a look at the best interior paint from each brand to see how they stack up against one another. Keep in mind that this will be a comparison of only the top-of-the-range interior paints from each brand and that each offers many more options.
REGAL SELECT (interior) by Benjamin Moore
Regal Select is the cream of the crop when it comes to interior paints from the Benjamin Moore team. With a wide range of colors to choose from, excellent adhesion, beautiful finishes, incredible durability, impressive coverage, and ease of use, it’s easy to see why this Benjamin Moore all but blows Sherwin Williams out of the water with this one. Regal Select is the choice of well over half of all professional painters, and it’s easy to see why.
Regal beats out Sherwin’s best interior paint by a country mile in every single metric with this line of paints, offering a 100% pure acrylic paint that is low in VOCs and can be used indoors without you having to step outside for air between coats.
You really can’t do much better than Regal Select in this price range, and if you would like a step up you’ll be paying around $25. more dollars for the Aura range, which uses the same formula but is VOC free and is a bit thicker, providing better coverage and colors that are a bit more intense. That being said, either of these is objectively superior to the Sherwin Williams offering in the same class.
So, aside from longevity and durability, what are you paying for? Well, we’re fairly certain that the Benjamin Moore team would argue that you’re paying for their exclusive Gennex color technology which according to them provides a much more vibrant color that lasts for far longer than other paints in its class. Is it worth it? If you’re willing to pay the price, we think it is.
SUPERPAINT by Sherwin Williams
If you’re looking for a great quality exterior paint that’s a bit more affordable than that offered by Benjamin Moore, then look no further than the Superpaint line from the Sherwin Williams team. Whether you’re a DIY enthusiast or a professional contractor, this range has been used and trusted for years and has the quality and durability for virtually any application. What’s so special about this paint? Well, like its Benjamin Moore counterpart, it offers incredible adhesion, color quality, versatility, and durability, and happens to be incredibly user-friendly.
While all of this is great, it also offers you superior value for money compared to Regal Select, allowing you to purchase far more Superpaint and cover a larger surface area.
The formula differs from the Regal Select paints, opting for an acrylic-latex mixture instead of a 100% acrylic mix. This does make the mixture a bit less durable by comparison, but it’s also the reason this paint is slightly more affordable. If you’re concerned about durability, you should know that not only is this paint self-priming, but it will last you around 7 years on average before a touch-up is needed.
Whether you’re a fan of Sherwin Williams or not, you have to admit this paint offers incredible value for money. This paired with the fact that it can be used both indoors and outdoors and costs $20,00 less per gallon than its closest Benjamin Moore counterpart means that it’s just as (if not more) popular.
Exterior Paint Comparison
Exterior paint is usually a big and important purchase. The paint you choose not only needs to be just the right color, but it needs to be durable enough to withstand the elements, insects, moisture, mold, and anything else the outdoors can throw at it. While the choice is ultimately yours, here are the best offerings from Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams respectively.
REGAL SELECT (Exterior) by Benjamin Moore
That’s right, the Regal Select range is available in both an interior and exterior version! The exterior version offers many of the same creature comforts as its interior counterpart, providing you with the coveted Gennex color quality, great coverage, incredible ease of use, and of course increased durability. The party piece of the Regal Select exterior range has to be its self-priming feature. If you’ve ever tried to paint an outdoor surface, then you probably know how much time and effort priming can take up.
You can look forward to skipping over all of that hard work if you choose to go with this objectively superior paint from the Benjamin Moore team.
Is Benjamin Moore paint good for exterior use? Those who have used the paint have said that it’s rather forgiving when it comes to coverage and uniformity, making patchy bits on the exterior of your home practically invisible! Just like its interior counterpart Benjamin Moore has opted for the 100% acrylic formula, offering you incredible durability with the absolute minimum number of VOCs they could muster.
All of this quality and ease of use does come at a price though. If you’re looking to get your hands on a gallon of Regal Select exterior paint it’s going to run you around $75,00, a pretty penny. Is it worth it? Well, considering that two coats of this paint will last you close to a decade in reasonable conditions we think that it could be a worthwhile investment if you’re willing to pay the price.
DURATION AND EMERALD by Sherwin Williams
Let’s say that you’re looking for a high-quality exterior paint and you don’t want to break the bank completely. Well then, the Sherwin Williams Duration and Emerald range might be just what you’re looking for! These paints have a color quality that matches the highest-tier quality aura range from the Benjamin Moore team, along with similar durability, and longevity, and it’s washable too. Unlike the pure acrylic formula offered by the Benjamin Moore team, Sherwin Williams offers a high-quality pure latex formula that’s sure to make the exterior of your home glimmer.
If you’re concerned about pure latex paint being used for exterior applications, you can rest assured that the surface of your outdoor workpiece will be safe for at least eight to 10 years!
Is Sherwin Williams paint good for the bank? Yes, we think that much is clear, but a lower price tag definitely doesn’t mean inferior quality when it comes to this paint. However, the one drawback is that this paint is quite thick, and those who have used it think it might not be the greatest paint for newcomers or those with little experience painting larger exterior surfaces.
This applies regardless of the application method, so be sure to get a few practice runs in if you’re new to painting. This paint is around $30,00 more expensive than the Superpaint range, which is still cheaper than its Benjamin Moore counterpart, but if you want the top-shelf stuff you can try out the Urethane Trim Enamel range if you can spend some extra cash and don’t want to change brands.
Quality and Performance
A good paint should be able to perform as advertised within its intended application. Some brands claim to have the best formulas on the market, but when it comes down to it many brands fall short, so how do you know which ones to trust? Both Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore have proven that they can walk the walk as well as talk the talk, but which one is objectively better?
Benjamin Moore Paint Performance
Is Benjamin Moore a good paint when it comes to performance? The Benjamin Moore brand of paints is more expensive than Sherwin Williams by a country mile. Does this mean that they perform better? Well, aside from the fact that Benjamin Moore sells its paints through independent retailers exclusively which up’s their price significantly, we’d have to say yes, and it’s not just us. In 2022 insider interviewed five professional painters to offer their opinion on the two largest paint brands in the United States, and many of them agree that Benjamin Moore’s paint is simply far superior in terms of performance. This seems to be true across all metrics including coverage, durability, color quality, longevity, after-sales service, and even color matching.
Is Benjamin Moore a good paint in terms of value for money? Well, yes, especially when considering bang for buck
While we all love getting more bang for our buck, the reality is that if you’ve got more money to spend on developing your product, and you’re selling to a relatively wealthy target market, you’re going to have a high-quality product that you’ll be able to sell at a high price. This seems to be the Benjamin Moore business plan, and for all intents and purposes, it seems to be working. Is Benjamin Moore a good paint then? Absolutely.
Remember, Benjamin Moore’s top-tier paint formulas tend to be pure acrylic, rather than acrylic-latex or latex like other brands. This makes their paint more expensive to produce, but it does mean that the color produced by the paint is intense, vibrant, long-lasting, and robust. This also increases the versatility of their paint and makes it easier to use for people of all skill levels.
Sherwin Williams Paint Performance
Is Sherwin Williams paint good when it comes to performance? Sherwin Williams paint performs incredibly. While Sherwin Williams paints are a bit more affordable compared to Benjamin Moore, they perform pretty much the same when it comes to major metrics like coverage, color quality, variety, versatility, durability, and ease of use. However, when it comes down to it, most professionals agree that they would rather go with the more expensive Benjamin Moore brand.
Why? Well, According to Micheal Camper from M&M Paints, using a cheaper paint generally means you’ll need to apply more coats, either costing you more in labor or forcing you to use more of your own time and effort.
This seems to be a running theme when it comes to Sherwin Williams paints, as even though most experts in the aforementioned interview with Insider said it performs beautifully (and that they even prefer it in certain instances) if they had a choice, they would almost always choose Benjamin Moore. Does this mean that Sherwin Williams is the inferior paint? No.
Sherwin Williams seems to have Benjamin Moore Beat when it comes to value for money as well as less viscous paint types. When asked what paint is best for painting something common like kitchen cupboards, it was agreed that water-based alkyd paints like the ones in the Sherwin Williams ProClassic range were better-suited price and performance-wise when compared to their Benjamin Moore counterpart. That being said, if you are willing to apply an extra coat or two and put up with a slightly less user-friendly paint, then Sherwin Williams is pretty much just as good as Benjamin Moore.
However, it would seem that you are getting your money’s worth when forking out the extra couple of dollars for Benjamin Moore products.
Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore: Price and Value
So, it pretty much goes without saying that Benjamin Moore products are more expensive than Sherwin Williams ones. Does this mean that Sherwin Williams products are inferior? Well, yes and no. Benjamin Moore prides itself on providing the highest quality formulas and would have you pay the price for this tier of paint, but is it necessary? Let’s put it this way. If you’re hiring a professional to paint your living room and you’d like them to use the highest quality Benjamin Moore paint, it’s going to run you about $90,00 a gallon for their Aura collection.
They’ll likely only need to use one coat and you’ll have objectively superior color and longevity, not to mention you’ll save a ton of time and effort on your part.
Now, let’s say you hire a professional to paint your living room using Sherwin Williams’ Emerald range, how much does Sherwin Williams paint cost?. The paint is going to run you about $76,00 per gallon, provides a similar color, but doesn’t cover flat spots as well, meaning you save some money, but the contractor will likely have to use more paint, costing you more per hour in labor.
Essentially, the costs will even out due to the extra labor involved in the touch-ups needed along the way, and depending on the size of the space you are painting the one-off cost of the Benjamin Moore paint might actually end up costing you less. Additionally, since Benjamin Moore’s formulas tend to be more durable, they could cost you less in the long run as well.
After Sales Service and Convenience
Regardless of the incremental differences in price, the paints are pretty expensive, so what exactly are you getting for your money? After-sales service and on-the-job support are important when it comes to high-end products like this.
So let’s have a look at some of the pros and cons of the customer service these top-tier brands offer.
Locations and Availability
Benjamin Moore products are sold by roughly 7500 privately owned businesses, whereas Sherwin Williams products are sold by around 4700 major corporately owned retail chains. While research has found that Benjamin Moore had more locations, the business hours of these establishments could vary considerably, as well as the products they have available.
While both companies had a large range of colors to choose from, upon further investigation, Michael Camper from M&M paints found that when it came to more vibrant colors like dark reds and alike, Benjamin Moore had a wider variety and better quality of colors when compared to the Sherwin Williams collection.
Additionally, Sherwin Williams only offered +/-1700 colors whereas Benjamin Moore offered a whopping +/-3500.
While one would expect the service for Sherwin Williams to be more cartelized due to being distributed by large companies, customer service for both brands largely depended on the manager of a particular branch/store and was therefore largely subjective but entirely serviceable according to reports.
Color Samples and Visualizers
When it comes to color samples, Sherwin Williams offers both color chips and a visualization on its website, whereas Benjamin Moore only offers the latter. Both websites allow you to upload photos and visualize your space in the intended color, with the only difference being that you need to register using your Email address for the Benjamin Moore one, and not with the Sherwin Williams one. The Sherwin Williams site offered a color snap tool, in which you could upload a picture with a certain color that you want, click on a tool, sample the color in the picture, and the website would then show you which color in the Sherwin Williams range is closest to it.
A pretty cool tool that could save you quite a bit of time.
When it comes to color sample jars both companies offer a purchase service where samples are sent to you. Sherwin Williams offers you $32,00 of paint for $10,00, whereas Benjamin Moore offers you 8 ounces for around $6,00. Sherwin Williams sample availability can sometimes depend on the stock, but Benjamin Moore’s can be picked up in-store or delivered. As for actual consultancy regarding color choices, Sherwin Williams does offer a free 30-minute virtual color consultancy to all homeowners. Benjamin Moore unfortunately does not have a service in the same vein as this at this time.
Now that you know what Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore paints are, which one costs more, where they can be found, which brand is better, and what some industry experts think, maybe you should shop around and try these brands for yourself? When working with paint ensure that you always wear a face mask, gloves, and some eye protection.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Does Sherwin Williams Paint Cost?
Sherwin Williams is one of America’s leading paint brands, but have you ever wondered how much it costs? How much does Sherwin Williams paint cost? Well, the most popular interior paint by the brand should run you around $73.
Is Benjamin Moore Better than Sherwin Williams?
Since these brands are so similar and widely used, is Benjamin Moore better than Sherwin Williams? Objectively speaking, Benjamin Moore products are more expensive, but they tend to be more versatile and long-lasting according to professionals in the industry.
How Much Is a Gallon of Sherwin Williams Paint?
Sherwin Williams paint is known for being more affordable than its industry counterpart Benjamin Moore. How much is a gallon of Sherwin Williams paint, though? Well, a gallon of its more popular Superpaint range will run you around $73.