Wondering if one type of spray paint is better than another for painting wood? I was too. So I grabbed 6 popular spray paints, and 2 popular primers to compare them.
I did a simple scratch test to see what paint stuck the best, but I was also able to see what sprayed the best, and what had the best coverage. Here is what we found to be the best spray paint for wood furniture.
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One of these days I want to spray paint a piece of furniture, but I need to know what the best spray paint is to use before I do that. Haha
Best Spray Paint For Furniture
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- Bin Shellac Based Primer Spray Paint
- 123 Primer Spray Paint
- Color Place Spray Paint
- Krylon Color Maxx Spray Paint
- Rustoleum 2x Spray Paint
- Behr Spray Paint
- Rustoleum Gloss Protective Enamel Spray Paint
- Krylon Fusion Spray Paint
Spray Paint Comparison
Alright, to set up the test, I cleaned up an old beat-up coffee table that I got for free.
Then I took it outside, and taped it off into 3 sections.
One for BIN Shellac Based Primer, another for 123 primer, and another for no primer.
Yep, you might have noticed too, I didn’t scuff sand this before I primed it either.
So many people want to skip the prep and go right into the paint. So that’s how I tested this one out.
I’m really curious to see how it turns out without sanding!
I ended up getting a lot of overspray on the no primer part, so I quickly wiped that back off.
And then I let the primer dry for 2 hours.
The primer felt rough, so I lightly sanded it to smooth it out a bit.
Applying Spray Paints
Here are the spray paints that I used.
The budget friendly Color Place, Krylon Color Maxx, Rustoleum 2x, Behr, Rustoleum Gloss Protective Enamel, and Krylon Fusion.
They were all gloss, and black. Except for the 2x that I couldn’t find in my local stores in black. So I settled for dark green instead. Haha
Before we sprayed each of them, we taped off each section, and shook the cans really well for a couple of minutes each.
And then I sprayed the Krylon Fusion Spray Paint.
The Rustoleum Gloss Protective Enamel.
Behr Spray Paint.
Rustoleum 2x Ultra Cover.
Krylon Color Maxx.
And Color Place.
Within 30 seconds of finishing, I sprayed another coat back over each section.
Coverage And Spray
After the first coat, here were my thoughts.
The Color Place and Krylon Fusion didn’t seem to have as good of coverage when compared to the others.
Behr Spray Paint looked the most impressive to us at this point.
The rest of the spray paints seemed to be about the same -neither really good or really bad at this point.
After 20 more minutes, I sprayed another coat over each section.
This time, I paid more attention to how they sprayed and I have to say I really liked the way the Krylon Color Maxx sprayed.
The Rustoleum 2X and the Behr sprayed great as well.
The Krylon Fusion, Color Place, and the Rustoleum Gloss Protective Enamel didn’t seem to spray as nice and evenly as the others, but they still got the job done.
Then after spraying the second coat I left it to dry for a week.
Here’s what they all looked like 7 days later.
Difference in Sheen
Can you tell that the sheens are a little different between all of them? All the cans are labeled as glossy. But the Behr, Rustoleum 2x and Krylon Color Maxx are glossier than the others.
Before diving into the scratch test, I removed all of the tape, and I made little labels to help identify what was what.
You might notice that the primer came off in some spots when I removed the tape. That’s because I put the tape on so soon after priming, so the primer in those spots never stood a chance.
Scratch Test 7 Days After Application
I started my scratch test by testing the primer. Remember, I didn’t sand this table before painting because so many people want to skip sanding.
Thankfully the BIN shellac primer and the 123 primer held very well when I scratched it with my finger nail.
When I dug in with my fingernail, I was able to scratch it a tiny tiny tiny bit.
So, I know that the primer was doing a good job of sticking to the table. I’m sure that if I would have scuff-sanded before, it would have held even better.
Krylon Fusion Spray Paint
Then I scratched at the Kyrlon Fusion Spray Paint.
The no primer section scratched off very easily.
The 123 primer scratched off a little less easily, but some of the scratching took off the primer too.
And the BIN primer section only scratched off a little bit, but only scratched off the paint, and not the primer.
Rustoleum Gloss Protective Enamel
Then I tested the Rustoleum Gloss Protective Enamel.
The no primer section scratched off very easily again.
The 123 primer section scratched less easily again, and the scratches were down to the wood again.
But the BIN primer section didn’t really scratch at all!
Behr Spray Paint
For the Behr Spray paint, the no primer section scratched off easily, but not as easily as the other no primer sections so far.
The 123 primer section left marks, but I had a hard time actually scratching the paint off.
And the BIN primer section was the same as the 123 primer section! It left marks, but I didn’t scratch the paint off much.
Rustoleum 2x Ultra Cover
The Rustoleum 2x spray paint was similar to the Krylon Fusion Spray paint.
The no primer section scratched easily, except for where the finish on the table was down to bare wood. That part held well. Haha That proves that scuff sanding beforehand definitely helps paint stick better.
The 123 primer section did a little better, but still scratched off, and even took the primer with it.
The BIN primer section scratched off some too… and it even took the primer with it.
Krylon Color Maxx
The Krylon Color Maxx in the no primer section scratched off pretty much like the other no primer sections.
The 123 primer section scratched a little less, but the primer scratched off too.
And the BIN primer section scratched off, but less than the 123 primer section… and still the BIN primer scratched off a little bit too.
Finally, the color place spray paint.
I was blown away. The no primer section barely scratched. And it scratched only where there were scratches on the table before.
The 123 primer section didn’t hold up as well, but it took the primer with it.
And the BIN primer section held up really well. It scratched in one spot where there was a scratch on the table before.
The Best Spray Paint For Wooden Furniture So Far
Overall, the paint and primer scratched more easily in the spots where there were already scratches in the table before being painted.
If there weren’t so many scratches, the paint and primer probably would have held up better.
I’m sure that sanding out the scratches and sanding to remove the sheen would have helped the paint stick.
Does a certain spray paint stick out in your mind right now as a winner?
I thought that Behr with either primer, Rustoleum Protective Enamel with BIN primer and then the color place with no primer or BIN primer did the best.
Out of all the no primer sections, Color Place blew the others out of the water.
Before I really decided on what the best paint was though, I waited another 39 days and did another scratch test.
Scratch Test 46 Days After Application
So a total of 46 days after I sprayed on the spray paint, I scratched at the paint again.
Krylon Fusion Spray Paint
The Krylon Fusion spray paint held up so much better than before. I didn’t get any scratching from both of the primer sections. The no primer section scratched a tiny bit.
Rustoleum Gloss Protective Enamel
The Rustoleum Gloss Protective enamel no primer section continued to scratch.
But I had to work really hard to get the 123 primer and BIN primer sections to scratch a tiny bit.
Behr Spray Paint
The Behr spray paint did about the same as before. It didn’t leave as many marks behind as before though!
Rustoleum 2x Ultra Cover
The Rustoleum 2x Ultra Cover spray paint did about the same as before as well. The best section was the 123 primer, by a little bit. Followed by the Bin primer section. The no primer section was definitely the worst as it still scratched off more.
Krylon Color Maxx
Krylon Color Maxx was pretty similar to last time too.
And the Color Place spray paint was very similar to the last time too.
The Best Spray Paint For Wooden Furniture
Okay, it’s so hard to compare all of these paints and really choose a winner. There were definitely some that were better than others, but no spray paint made it out of this test without scratching.
Like I said earlier, if I would have sanded before, I bet the results would have been better than they are.
Also, if there weren’t scratches in the surface before I painted, that would have helped the paint chip less, because a lot of the scratches were in the exact spots where scratches were in the table.
But still, some paints held better than others.
Behr spray paint was probably the best overall. It didn’t hold up well with no primer, but it held up very well with 123 primer and BIN shellac primer.
Rustoleum Protective Enamel with the BIN shellac primer was also a top contender.
After a month of drying, the Krylon Fusion Spray Paint with both primers did very well too. It did decent in the no primer section as well.
And then I was completely shocked, but the Color Place spray paint, the cheapest of them all, did better than some of these other more expensive spray paints.
The no primer section in the end was by far better than any other no primer section. But it did pretty well in both of the primer sections as well. Especially for a cheaper spray paint.
Color and Sheen Options
But, another factor of this comparison is the variety of colors and sheens that you can get in each of these types of spray paints.
Krylon and Rustoleum Spray Paints have 50+ color options in at least gloss, satin and flat sheens.
Behr spray paint comes in only 21 colors and in either gloss or flat sheens.
And Color Place comes in either black or white, and only in gloss sheen.
So, what spray paint do you think won overall?
Watch the full video of us putting these spay paints to the test right here!
Can you Spray Paint Wood Furniture Without Sanding?
This test proves that you CAN spray paint wood furniture without sanding. But you will need to prime with a bonding primer before using spray paint.
The areas that were not primed before using spray paint, for the most part, didn’t hold up very well to a simple scratch test.
And even then, where we primed, the results weren’t as good as I had hoped.
The results, no doubt, would have been more durable if we would have taken the time to lightly sand the furniture with 220 grit before priming and painting. We see this where the paint AND primer both scratched off.
The sections of the table that were worn down to raw wood adhered better than the sections that had the original finish on them still.
So yes, if you want an okay paint job, you can spray wood furniture without sanding.
If you want the painted finish to be as durable as possible, you’ll need to sand and prime before spray painting wood furniture.
So if you decide to go the extra mile to get the most durable finish, then check out our post with all the details on How to Prepare Furniture For Painting.
How to Spray Paint Wooden Furniture
I hope that this comparison helps you when you want to spray paint your wooden furniture.
If you’re confused about the exact steps you should take when spray painting furniture, here are the steps I will be taking.
- Clean with Krud Kutter
- Lightly Sand the Surface with 220 Grit Sandpaper to Scuff Up the Surface
- Prime with BIN Shellac Primer
- Spray 2 Light Coats of Spray Paint
- Spray a Compatible Polyurethane Topcoat to add Durability
You might notice I threw the scuff sanding and topcoat in that lineup.
I think the results of this test would have turned out better if I would have scuff sanded the table and top coated the spray paint.
I know from years of experience that scuff sanding always helps paint stick, so it only makes sense that spray paint could really benefit from it too. It will only make your paint job stick better!
Check out this Antique Dining Table that we spray painted gold!
And then top coating with a clear coat could definitely help the paint be more durable.
I’m not 100% sure that any topcoat is compatible with all of these different spray paint options, so I’m not going to recommend a specific one right now.
But most brands of spray paint also have a clear topcoat available too.
I would read the back of that brand’s (that you are using) topcoat can to make sure it is compatible with the spray paint you are using.
I’ll be back soon (I hope) with a furniture makeover using only spray paint!