9 Best Paints for Kitchen Cabinets of 2020 – Reviews & Top Picks
Repainting your kitchen cabinets can be an easy, inexpensive way to refresh your kitchen. But if you buy the wrong paint, you could end up with a messy, unattractive paint job. Out of the hundreds available, how do you decide which paint to order?
Don’t worry, we’re here to help you buy the perfect type of paint. To help you shop, we tested quite a few paint brands and came up with this guide to the nine best paint brands for kitchen cabinets. For each type of paint, we’ve written comprehensive reviews, covering price, consistency, included accessories, type, and warranty so you can choose the best brand for your kitchen.
If you want to know more about the available features, take a look at our buyer’s guide, which will walk you through your options.
A Quick Comparison of our Favorites
|Best Value||INSL-X PRODUCTS||
|Premium Choice||Rust-Oleum 263231||
The 9 Best Paints for Kitchen Cabinets – Reviews 2020
1. Nuvo Cocoa Couture Cabinet Paint Kit — Best Overall
Our overall top pick is the Nuvo Cocoa Couture Cabinet Paint Kit, which is fast-drying, low-odor, low-VOC water-based acrylic paint that also works as a primer. Though it’s on the pricier end, this paint is sold in a kit that includes many useful painting tools.
This paint works well on wood, laminate, and primed metal kitchen cabinets. The kit includes two 31-ounce cans of paint, a roller arm, two roller covers, a brush, and two stir sticks, plus a detailed set of instructions. The Cocoa Couture color is a rich, dark brown with a somewhat muted satin finish, and Nuvo offers a choice of other colors. We liked that this paint includes a hardening agent, which makes it more durable in a busy kitchen.
In testing, we found that this paint dried very quickly and conveniently didn’t require priming. It was fairly thin, though, and required multiple coats to fully cover cabinets. Despite the hardening agent, it may chip. Nuvo offers a one-year warranty on this kit.
2. INSL-X PRODUCTS Enamel — Best Value
Are you looking for the best paint for kitchen cabinets for the money? You may want to try the INSL-X PRODUCTS CC4510099-04 Enamel, which is a low-cost, low-odor, and mildew-resistant white paint.
This water-based paint doesn’t need a primer, as it sticks well to many surfaces. It’s sold in a choice of satin or semi-gloss finish and has mold and mildew resistance. In testing, we found it scratch-resistant, with an attractive sheen and an impressively low odor.
We did find that this paint, which feels somewhat thin, is streaky and may chip under heavy wear and tear. It also has a slight blue tint.
3. Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations — Premium Choice
If you’re willing to spend a bit more, you may appreciate the Rust-Oleum 263231 Cabinet Transformations kit, which includes many useful accessories and several layers of paint.
This kit, which works well on wood, melamine, metal, and laminate cabinets, includes deglosser, bond coat, decorative glaze, decorative topcoat, glazing cloths, scrub pads, and stir sticks, plus a useful instructional DVD. Conveniently, you won’t have to strip or sand your cabinets, and the kit is designed to cover up to 102 square feet. You have a choice of espresso or white colors.
This is a time-consuming kit, with many steps to follow. We found that the deglosser didn’t work especially well, though the glaze and topcoats were thick and simple to apply. The result was not especially chip-resistant. Rust-Oleum offers a satisfaction guarantee.
4. Retique It Renaissance Chalk Finish Paint
If you’re interested in a chalk finish, the Retique It Renaissance Chalk Finish Paint could be a good choice, though it doesn’t dry quickly and may streak or bubble. It’s specifically designed for furniture and cabinets.
This pricier kit, which comes in a wide range of colors, includes a quart of paint, 13 ounces of clear wax, four ounces of dark wax, a two-inch paintbrush, a 1.5-inch wax brush, and a one-inch wax detail brush. The paint is non-toxic, with an impressive zero volatile organic compounds, and is, therefore, safe to use indoors even if you don’t have great ventilation. This paint is 100% acrylic with a chalk finish and doesn’t require a lot of coats.
In testing, we found that it didn’t dry very fast and was somewhat streaky, with visible brush strokes. We also found some bubbling, and even with a few coats, the colors were not particularly strong.
5. Rust-Oleum Interior Chalked Paint
The Rust-Oleum 285140 Interior Chalked Paint is a low-cost water-based paint option with a choice of colors. It’s not the most effective paint and tends to be streaked or patchy.
This paint, which is low-VOC, water-based latex, is easy to clean up with soap and water. You can cover a generous 150 square feet of cabinets with one tub. It dries to the touch in about 30 minutes and can be painted with a topcoat after two to four hours. You’ll have to buy the topcoat separately, as this paint isn’t sold in a kit.
In testing, we found that wood stains may bleed through, and the paint goes on somewhat streaky and patchy. It’s not thick enough for smooth, even coverage.
6. General Finishes JQ Oil Base Gel Stain
If you’re looking for a wood stain, the General Finishes JQ Oil Base Gel Stain could be for you. It’s a very fairly priced gel stain that unfortunately doesn’t dry quickly and is more difficult to apply.
This low-priced gel wood stain, which can be applied with a cloth or a foam brush, is designed to be thicker, soaking less into the wood and leaving a more even finish. Oil-based and with a satin finish, this stain comes in a range of colors.
In testing, we found that a little of this stain went a long way, making it a good value. It has a very strong smell and doesn’t dry quickly, remaining sticky for a surprisingly long time. It’s also messy to apply and drips quite a bit.
7. Giani White Diamond Countertop Paint Kit
Giani’s White Diamond Countertop Paint Kit is a somewhat pricey acrylic paint kit that’s designed to work on countertops, producing an effect like granite. It’s a more challenging and lengthy application process, and we found the results less than durable.
The topcoat paint included in this kit is low-VOC, low-odor, water-based acrylic, and can cover a smaller 35 square feet. The kit is made up of 12 ounces of primer, six ounces of greystone, six ounces of quartzite, eight ounces of white limestone, and 16 ounces of glitter topcoat, plus a six-inch roller arm, two roller pads, a four-inch paint sponge, a two-inch foam brush, and a practice board.
The included DVD has useful instructions, but we found the process time-consuming and the steps numerous. The kit is more difficult to apply attractively, as it takes a somewhat artistic touch. We also found that the finished countertops were fairly likely to chip or stain. Giani offers a one-year warranty.
8. Diamond Brite Paint 40400 Kitchen Latex Paint
The Diamond Brite Paint 40400 Kitchen Latex Paint is reasonably-priced and simple to apply but is also thin and not very durable.
This paint is a semi-gloss latex with mold and mildew protection. It can be applied in many ways, though there aren’t any included painting tools, and you may need to purchase a separate primer.
When we tested it, we found this paint fairly thin, requiring several coats. It also takes a long time to dry, remaining tacky for longer than expected but does dry to a nice sheen. We found the result less durable, nicking and chipping easily.
9. KILZ L211104 Interior Latex Primer
Our least favorite kitchen cabinet paint is the KILZ L211104 Interior Latex Primer, a combined primer and sealer that’s conveniently water-based but doesn’t include colored paint or a topcoat.
This latex primer is somewhat more expensive but can cover up to 300 square feet of cabinet surfaces. It dries quickly, becoming dry to the touch in about 30 minutes and dry enough for a second coat in an hour. This primer doesn’t work well on laminates or metal, and you’ll have to fully prepare the surface you’re painting it on, so it won’t save you time.
In testing, we found this primer fairly scratch-resistant and durable, fully sealing in surfaces, but it’s pricey and doesn’t include painting tools and other necessary paint layers.
You’ve read through our list of the nine best paint brands for kitchen cabinets. But which will best suit your kitchen? Keep reading for our quick guide to your options.
There are many types of cabinet paints, though most are either acrylic- or latex-based. Many are water-based, which is easier to clean up while painting. Oil-based paints can only be cleaned with chemical solvents.
You’ll probably want to consider your cabinet surfaces, as paints are designed to work best on different surfaces. If you’re working with wood, consider whether you’d like a stain or a paint. For any surface, you’ll want to think about how much preparation it will require. Do you need to sand or strip it? Do you need to purchase a separate primer or topcoat?
You may also want to think about your finish. You can choose among many types of finishes, from the matte, chalk-like end to satin and glossy finishes.
If you’re looking to paint your countertops, you may want to purchase paints that are specifically designed for that purpose.
How much time are you willing to spend painting your cabinets? The drying time of the paint you choose can affect the length of your whole project, because you’ll have to wait for it to dry between coats, before applying a topcoat, and before using your cabinets. Some paints dry as quickly as 30 minutes, while others take several hours or even days to fully dry.
Odor and Toxicity
If you’re painting your cabinets inside, you’ll want to make sure you have good ventilation to avoid inhaling too many paint fumes. If you don’t have great ventilation options, you may want to look for paints with low odor levels and low or no volatile organic compounds. VOCs are harmful gases that are emitted by products like fuel oil and paint. They can be irritating to your eyes, nose, and throat, and some can even cause cancer. Avoiding paints with high VOC levels is especially important if you have children or pets in your house.
Do you need painting tools, or are you just looking for paint? Many of the paints we reviewed here are sold in kits, which include useful tools like paintbrushes, stir sticks, and rollers. If you already have the tools you need or prefer to purchase them separately, you may want to look for paints that aren’t sold in kits.
Our top pick is the Nuvo Cocoa Couture Cabinet Paint Kit, a fast-drying, low-toxicity paint kit that doubles as a primer and includes useful painting tools. If you’re shopping on a budget, the INSL-X PRODUCTS CC4510099-04 Enamel offers good value, as a durable, mold-resistant paint with a choice of finishes. Are you looking for premium paint? You may want to try the Rust-Oleum 263231 Cabinet Transformations, an accessory-packed kit that includes a range of glazes and tools.
Refreshing your kitchen can be as simple and inexpensive as repainting your cabinets. But choosing the wrong paint can make your project much harder and your kitchen less appealing. We hope this list of 2020’s nine best paints for kitchen cabinets, complete with comprehensive reviews and a quick buyer’s guide, helps you to shop quickly and confidently. Enjoy your new kitchen!
- A Quick Comparison of our Favorites
- The 9 Best Paints for Kitchen Cabinets – Reviews 2020
- 1. Nuvo Cocoa Couture Cabinet Paint Kit — Best Overall
- 2. INSL-X PRODUCTS Enamel — Best Value
- 3. Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations — Premium Choice
- 4. Retique It Renaissance Chalk Finish Paint
- 5. Rust-Oleum Interior Chalked Paint
- 6. General Finishes JQ Oil Base Gel Stain
- 7. Giani White Diamond Countertop Paint Kit
- 8. Diamond Brite Paint 40400 Kitchen Latex Paint
- 9. KILZ L211104 Interior Latex Primer
- Buyer’s Guide