This is the time of year when most of us take a good look at our homes and start planning a room refresh. We’re spending more time inside, the holiday decorations have come down and we have the time. New year, new me, right? And all the major paint manufacturers have released their 2022 colour predictions so that may have got you thinking about paint (Check out the colour trends for 2022 here).
If you’re a DIY aficionado, you probably already have a favourite paint manufacturer but it’s good to know the differences between the two biggest players. Benjamin Moore vs Sherwin Williams is a question that comes up whenever someone asks me for paint recommendations. As a designer I need to keep an open mind because sometimes you need to see 5,000 paint colours before the “perfect” one appears. Taking sides in this battle would not be good business as a colour consultant.
Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams dominate when it comes to paint and the world of interior design. These are the tried and true and we all love them for a myriad of reasons.
If you’re new to DIY projects or you’ve been using one of the other companies, it’s always good to understand what makes these two big guys different and similar.
There’s long been conversations about taking a colour from the Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams paint lines and colour matching it at Behr, Cloverdale, Dulux or whatever store is convenient to you. Read on because you may better understand why your designer has begged you not to do that. It’s not just a matter of saving a few bucks. Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams are superior in their technology and it shows in the application.
BENJAMIN MOORE VS SHERWIN WILLIAMS
How many of us have made our paint decisions based on price? Probably most of us at one time or another. The adage of “you get what you pay for” is so true when it comes to paint. Do the math on what it costs in the end with a paint that requires four coats versus one or two coats. There is a false economy when you get an inferior product that takes more of your time or even worse, more of your money paying a painter to apply the extra coats.
In Canada a gallon of Benjamin Moore Aura paint (the most expense in their catalogue of paints) is in the neighbourhood of $95/gallon. Regal Select is another very popular option with homeowners and is a bit more reasonable at approximately $82/gallon.
Sherwin Williams Emerald is the most expensive product and is $75/gallon. If you’re committed to Sherwin Williams but not the price of Emerald, try their more reasonably priced HGTV Home at approximately $50/gallon.
NOTE – these prices are all Canadian dollars
Yes, these are definitely more expensive than Behr or Dulux but again, how many coats does it take?
have you ever colour matched a Benjamin Moore paint at another retailer? There’s a reason we do that. The colour selection from both big guys is far and away the best you’ll find. Benjamin Moore has 140 shades of just white!!!!!
Which one do you think offers more colour selection? If you said Benjamin Moore, you’d be correct. They have over 3500 unique colours in their collections. Sherwin Williams is a respectable 2nd place with over 1700 colours across all their collections. I’d say you should be able to find what you’re looking for between these two manufacturers.
This is where we start to see the value in what you’re buying. As mentioned above, the other paint manufacturers don’t compare in coverage. They’re thin and they run, leaving drip marks across your walls.
Both Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams have great coverage in their paints. Even so, there are colours that will always cause coverage issues – bright, clean colours are more opaque than colours that have dark or muddy undertones to them.
If you decide to use a fresh, bright yellow, red, green or blue you’ll need to plan for extra coats, regardless of the paint you select.
A gallon of Benjamin Moore paint is advertised as covering approximately 400-450 square feet. Sherwin Williams is a bit less at 350-400 square feet. Even with a deeply saturated colour, a gallon will easily do an average sized room.
In my experience as a designer working with all the paint manufacturers I would have to say that in terms of coverage, Benjamin Moore requires less to cover, spreads more easily and is more durable.
Compared to other paint retailers, both Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams are superior in their durability and washability.
If you need a paint with an extra insurance policy, for high traffic areas, Sherwin Williams has Duration which offers minimal rub off when you wash the surface. It also doesn’t have as much shine after being washed as more traditional paints.
Prefer Benjamin Moore but still need that high durability paint? Scuff X is their go-to for washability without fading or shine.
In 2018 Wirecutter, a New York Times company conducted some research into the differences between paints from all manufacturers and at all price points. They spoke to professional painters across the United States. When factoring in coverage, durability, cleanability, and color selection Benjamin Moore’s Regal paint came out on top with Sherwin Williams Cashmere paint as the runner up.
Regardless of where in North America you live there is bound to be a Benjamin Moore retailer close by. They have over 7500 independently owned paint stores across North America.
Sherwin Williams has less retailers but still offers an impressive 4500 stores across Canada, North America, Caribbean and Latin America.
Both Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams have outstanding research and development teams that focus on quality manufacturing. I think it’s safe to say you couldn’t really go wrong with either of these manufacturers.
Maybe (fingers crossed) I’ve been able to show you the value in paying for the best. Next time you’re tempted to take the luscious colour you picked from Sherwin Williams and having it colour matched somewhere else you’ll remember what you read here. Just don’t do it!! If you’ve ever asked yourself who would win in the Benjamin Moore vs Sherwin Williams battle, you can decide for yourself now.