Anyone who has used a brush to paint metal objects understands how challenging it is to create a flawless, even paint coat. Plus, there’s all the hassle of cleaning up using solvents. If your current to-do list includes refreshing your patio furniture or changing the color of the legs on your desk chair, you should consider tackling the project with a can of spray paint.
Spray paint is an efficient way to change a dull, plain surface into a bright, vibrant, colorful one in seconds. A high-quality product will seal out moisture, protecting the metal from rusting when exposed to the elements. However, spray painting metal is a little more in-depth than painting wood or brick, so it’s essential to make sure you buy the best spray paint for your DIY projects.
We’ve researched a range of metal spray paint brands to find the best products on the market. Below we will break down the ten best spray paints for metal surfaces and explore the most important features of each one.
View the Best Spray Paints for Metal, Below.
- Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch 2X
- Krylon ColorMaster Paint + Primer
- Rust-Oleum Stops Rust Gloss Protective Enamel
- Krylon Fusion All-In-One Spray Paint
- Rust-Oleum Universal All Surface Spray Paint
- Krylon Premium Metallic Spray Paint
- Rust-Oleum Stops Rust Satin Protective Enamel
- KILZ 10009 Interior Original Primer
- Rust-Oleum Specialty Metallic Spray Paint
- Rust-Oleum Stops Rust Flat Protective Enamel
1. Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch 2X
The Best Ultra-Matte Spray Paint for MetalRead Customer Reviews →
The ultra-matte finish of this spray paint creates a no-shine, vintage appearance on your metal surfaces. This Rust-Oleum paint has Double Coverage Technology - each application has twice the coverage, allowing you to finish your painting project quicker.
The comfort spray tip helps prevent finger fatigue when working on larger projects, and the nozzle even works at any given angle to get those hard-to-reach places. Both are great features when you're painting patio furniture. The fast-drying formula is touchable in twenty minutes and works best when applied in thin, light coats. Each can of spray paint covers up to 12 square feet.
Why We Like It: Matte finish spray paints add a vintage look to your projects, bringing out their natural beauty. Rust-Oleum’s 2X Ultra-Matte goes on quickly and easily, drying to create a smooth, durable top coat that will last a long time. It's suitable for indoors or outside.Check Price on Amazon ➞
2. Krylon ColorMaster Paint + Primer
The Best Paint and Primer Spray Paint for MetalRead Customer Reviews →
The ColorMaster Paint K05160202 from Krylon is a versatile metal spray paint ideal for other surfaces such as wood, plastic, and brick. It’s durable enough to be an excellent choice for outdoor furniture, but the high-quality finish works well for indoor items too. Krylon’s Covermax technology ensures a smooth, even coat that won’t chip off or scratch.
The Krylon ColorMaster paint comes in a wide range of colors and finishes, making it a versatile option for painting any metal object you have in mind. It’s formulated to withstand UV exposure and stays vibrant and bright for a long time, regardless of how long it spends outside. This makes it ideal for outdoor furniture. Without the need to prime before painting, this is one of the best paints available for a metal surface.
Why We Like It: Krylon’s ColorMaster Paint + Primer works double-duty to cut down on prep work and allow you to apply fewer coats of paint. With a range of finishes and colors available, you’ll be sure to find one perfect for your project.Check Price on Amazon ➞
3. Rust-Oleum Stops Rust Gloss Protective Enamel
The Best Rust-Resistant Spray Paint for MetalRead Customer Reviews →
If you’re working on a project that has developed some corrosion, this one should be at the top of your list! Known as the #1 rust-preventative paint on the market, the oil-based formula by Rust-Oleum is ideal for use on patio furniture, wrought iron gates and fences, wheelbarrows, and outdoor light fixtures.
The ultra-durable gloss paint provides superior coverage in every can and is available for purchase in 48 popular colors. The gloss finish provides a tough top coat. Not only that, it's the easiest of all the finishes to clean. Using a product like this one, you can quickly update your patio furniture to a new color, giving it a new look.
Why We Like It: Rust-Oleum features a leading corrosion preventative product: Gloss Protective Enamel. It’s easy to apply and available in many colors, breathing new life into your metal items while protecting the surfaces from the weather with an ultra-durable top coat.Check Price on Amazon ➞
4. Krylon Fusion All-In-One Spray Paint
The Best No-Prep Spray Paint for MetalRead Customer Reviews →
With five times stronger adhesion than competing products, the Fusion All-In-One spray paint by Krylon makes prep work easy. There’s no need for sanding or priming. Shake your can, and go! Backed by a No-Peel Guarantee, this spray paint provides durable, long-lasting coats of paint guaranteed to last.
Whether your project is inside or out, furniture or picture frames, Fusion delivers superior durability and excellent coverage. The big button spray tip works at any angle, allowing you to get into those nooks and crannies. The excellent spray pattern means no drips or runs, and your project is touchable in half an hour.
Why We Like It: Krylon knocked it out of the park with their Fusion All-In-One spray paints. Each can is easy to use and offers superior adhesion to even metal, backed by their No-Peel Guarantee.Check Price on Amazon ➞
5. Rust-Oleum Universal All Surface Spray Paint
The Best Budget-Friendly Metallic Finish Spray Paint for MetalRead Customer Reviews →
Rust-Oleum’s Universal All-Surface Spray Paint is available in just about any metallic finish you can think of. From desert rose gold to black stainless steel, you can quickly and easily make your items look like modern, upscale metal. This product is fantastic for updating the legs on your indoor furniture.
With no need to prime separately, each coat of this all-surface spray paint delivers superior coverage and durability, regardless of whether you're painting metal, plastic, or wood. The patented trigger design eliminates finger fatigue during use and can be sprayed from any angle for easy application. Each 11 ounce can of spray paint covers up to 15 square feet and is touchable in 30 minutes.
Why We Like It: Available in many metallic finishes, the All-Surface spray paint by Rust-Oleum is a quick and easy way to update your house numbers or patio furniture and get a modern look.Check Price on Amazon ➞
6. Krylon Premium Metallic Spray Paint
The Best Premium Metallic Finish Spray Paint for MetalRead Customer Reviews →
This Premium Metallic Spray Paint by Krylon lends a smooth, glossy finish that resembles metal plating to your indoor metal painting projects. Available in a handful of popular metal colors - gold, chrome, copper, sterling silver, pewter (no rose gold)- you can quickly and easily add a bit of sophistication to your home’s decor or your latest craft projects.
This premium spray paint is fast drying and can be applied at temperatures between 50°F-85°F so you can even work in the basement or garage. Each spray can covers up to 20 square feet - this is an excellent coverage area.
Why We Like It: The Premium Metallic Spray Paint by Krylon delivers a smooth, bright finish that makes your painting project look like it’s been plated instead of coated with a spray can. You get a high-end look at a fraction of the cost.Check Price on Amazon ➞
7. Rust-Oleum Stops Rust Satin Protective Enamel
The Best Satin Finish Spray Paint for MetalRead Customer Reviews →
Rust-Oleum has done a fantastic job expanding its product line to offer customers excellent corrosion-resistant painting products in various finishes. The Protective Enamel spray paints are available in a satin finish in 25 different colors. A satin finish is thought to be the most versatile of the different paints - it offers a durable finish, covers minor imperfections better than semi-gloss, and stands up well to cleaning.
The oil-based formula is a leader in rust prevention, helping to seal out moisture and keep your metal furniture or decor from rusting when exposed to rain, snow, or high humidity.
Why We Like It: Rust-Oleum’s Stops Rust Protective Enamel's satin finish is available in more than two dozen colors. If you’re looking for a highly versatile spray paint - especially for outdoor furniture - this product offers you more than the primary color options.Check Price on Amazon ➞
8. KILZ 10009 Interior Original Primer
The Best Primer Spray Paint for MetalRead Customer Reviews →
If you need a high-quality spray metal primer for your project, look no further than this. KILZ Interior Original Primer is a fantastic product for prepping metal for spray paint. It helps hide the previous color, blocks odors, and creates a stain barrier on your interior projects, including metal surfaces. A separate product like this is great if you want your furniture to be a lighter color.
This white pigmented product lays down an ideal base coat with a fast-drying aerosol, increasing the adhesion success of your final color coats. Surfaces are ready to recoat in an hour, and each spray can covers up to 25 square feet, making it ideal if used for small projects.
Why We Like It: This spray paint is an excellent option for small metal projects. It helps to seal the metal and hide the previous color well before applying your final color coat, without the hassle and clean-up involved with brush painting.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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9. Rust-Oleum Specialty Metallic Spray Paint
The Best Specialty Metallic Spray Paint for MetalRead Customer Reviews →
Spray painting metal with metallic paint can lead to a tacky, shoddy paint job if you purchase inferior paint. Rust-Oleum’s Specialty Metallic Spray Paint is formulated to create an ultra-bright, shiny look consistent with true metal surfaces. It contains actual metal flakes in the paint and is available in gold, brass, copper, or silver - (no rose gold).
Before you know it, you can easily update your lamps, picture frames, or candle holders, turning them into beautiful, eye-catching decor pieces. This product is ideal for indoor decor projects, including metal, plastic, and wood but shouldn’t be used outdoors, especially on patio furniture.
Why We Like It: Rust-Oleum’s Specialty Metallic Paint provides high-end results, giving your metal or plastic items a bright, reflective finish. Real metal leafing flakes set this specialty paint apart from competitors’ products for a dazzling coat of paint.Check Price on Amazon ➞
10. Rust-Oleum Stops Rust Flat Protective Enamel
The Best Flat Finish Spray Paint for MetalRead Customer Reviews →
Flat enamel spray paint is a wonder product when you’re trying to hide imperfections. But due to the special formulation, you’re often limited in color options. That isn’t the case with this product - Rust-Oleum’s Flat Protective Enamel comes in a handful of colors with a flat top coat finish. Choose from black, white, red rock, or brown to fit your needs.
The oil-based formula has excellent corrosion resistance, ranking as the #1 rust-preventative paint on the market. Seal and protect your metal furniture or garden decor with this protective enamel, keeping oxidation at bay and your items looking updated and fresh for longer.
Why We Like It: Rust-Oleum’s Stops Rust Flat Protective Enamel provides excellent corrosion resistance while helping to hide imperfections - perfect for patio furniture that has seen better days. Choose from a handful of colors to update your indoor or outdoor metal items quickly and easily.Check Price on Amazon ➞
What to Look For When Buying a Spray Paint for Metal
While not as difficult as working with plastic pieces, spray painting metal takes a little extra effort than working with brick, concrete, or wood. This might mean a little extra prep work before painting, and it certainly means taking an extra moment to find the perfect spray paint. Don’t just walk into your favorite store and grab the first one that grabs your attention.
Metal projects require a spray paint specifically designed for metal so that the paint adheres well to the substrate. This bond keeps the paint from flaking or scratching off, allowing the metal underneath to show through and corrode.
Beyond looking for use on metal surfaces, you should also consider some other features when purchasing a paint for your upcoming project. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of the features you should consider when looking for the best spray paint for metal.
Spray paint comes in two different types depending on the base used to formulate the product: water-based and oil-based. Water-based spray paints are made using latex. They don’t smell as strongly as oil-based paints and clean up easily with soap and water. On the downside, they typically require you to prime the metal surface before you can apply coats of paint. Some people don’t like or want the added steps of priming.
Oil-based paint is more commonly used than water-based. It’s very durable and rarely needs a base coat underneath, regardless of the condition of the surface. An oil-based paint formulation does mean, though, that you need to use mineral spirits or another solvent to clean up your brushes, hands, and any overspray.
The can’s nozzle dictates the spray pattern and also determines how comfortable the paint is to apply. For quite a while, manufacturers gave little thought to the nozzle design and how comfortable it was to use. Today, product developers consider ergonomics when designing items, increasing comfort so that users get a better experience.
Spray cans with the old-school, smaller, narrow nozzles will cause your finger to fatigue and cramp quickly. This occurs because you’re pushing a small surface area. This nozzle type isn’t ideal for big projects but works fine for small jobs.
A wider nozzle has more surface area to put pressure on, so you’ll be able to work longer without finger fatigue and discomfort.
If you experience chronic pain in your hands or joints, look at purchasing a comfort grip attachment to use on the spray can. These nifty gadgets fit over the top of the can and turn it into a spray gun. The two-finger trigger reduces fatigue and discomfort while keeping your hands clean as well.
When shopping for the best metal spray paint, quickly flip the can over and take a look at the drying specs on the label. There are two critical times listed: how long until the paint is dry to the touch and how long until you can recoat. If you’re in a hurry, look for paint that dries quickly.
We tend to rush projects to get them done as quickly as possible. This often means cutting corners and not following the drying specs listed on the spray paint can. As much as you may not want to hear this, waiting for the recommended time is essential when spray painting. The thickness of the paint, paired with the base material, determines how long until the paint dries and fully cures, allowing the item to be used without damaging the paint. Adding more coats too soon will compromise the adhesion and durability of the paint.
To get the maximum life expectancy out of your paint and delay repainting as long as possible, make sure you’re using interior or exterior paint, depending on your project. There is a difference in durability between the types. While it may seem like a minor thing to worry about, it’s important for longevity.
Some spray paints for metal are labeled for indoor use only, while others can be used for indoor and outdoor projects. Indoor paints are generally less durable than outdoor paints, meaning their coats are less resistant to temperature fluctuations, precipitation, or UV exposure. If indoor paint is used on outdoor items, the surface may fade or crack, allowing the metal underneath to oxidize.
Outdoor spray paints are designed to hold their color vibrancy well and avoid fading or cracking due to environmental conditions. They can survive a wide range of weather conditions, from rain to sun, maintaining a high level of bright and vibrant color even if left out for an extended period.
Look for a paint labeled as “rust-resistant” if you need outdoor metal spray paint for furniture, doors, mailboxes, etc. This feature means you get a higher level of protection from both moisture and UV radiation. Your items will stay bright and vibrantly colored, no matter the weather conditions they’re exposed to.
As formulation technologies advance, spray paints become available in more and more colors. Twenty years ago, you’d find the primary ROYGBIV colors and maybe an extra shade or two. Today you can walk into any hardware store, and you’ll see an entire aisle or wall adorned with a range of spray paint types and colors.
Unfortunately, since you’re working with metal, you may have a slightly limited selection compared to wood or concrete projects. If you’re looking for a specific color, you may have to settle on a brand that isn’t your favorite or choose a different color in a brand you know and love.
When we talk about a paint’s finish, we’re talking about the sheen the paint coat gives off based upon how it reflects light. The different finishes have varying looks but also differences in durability and washability.
The glossier the sheen, the more durable the finish, and the easier the paint is to wash. The duller the sheen, the better the paint is at hiding imperfections.
- High-gloss paints have a hard, durable finish that’s easy to clean, but they show every flaw in the paint and surface material.
- Semi-gloss paints are still easy to clean and have high durability, but they’re slightly less glossy.
- Satin paints have what is described as a velvety appearance. They are less durable than semi-gloss but are hard to touch up.
- Eggshell paints have a minimal sheen, only displaying a slight luster when the sunlight hits them. They are good at hiding minor imperfections but don’t wash as well.
- Matte finish paints, sometimes also called a “flat finish,” are very dull with absolutely no sheen. They are fantastic for hiding imperfections but don’t wash easily at all.
Every can of paint lists a suggested coverage area on the label, usually measured in square feet. This is an important feature to look at when buying one; it’ll ensure you purchase enough paint for the project at hand. Keep in mind that these numbers are estimates achieved in test settings and may vary slightly when you’re painting. It’s always best to err on the side of caution and purchase more than you think you’ll need.
When spray painting metal, the object needs to be free of dirt, debris, and oxidation and then sanded, so it’s as smooth as possible. Sometimes the spray paint you get requires a separate primer application, while other types are a combination of paint and primer in one. Ensure you check the label to determine what surface prep is required and if a separate primer is needed. Incorrectly prepping your item will affect the adhesion and durability of the paint.
Spray painting your metal items is more straightforward than working with tricky plastic projects, but it still entails a bit more than painting wood or brick. But updating your furniture or other metal items doesn’t need to be an overwhelming, daunting task! Knowing how to choose the best spray paint for metal ensures you end up with a durable, long-lasting finish with excellent adhesion and rust resistance.
After reading through the product reviews listed above and the points discussed in the buying guide, you should have enough confidence to open your revered shopping app or walk into the local hardware store and buy the best spray paint for your project.