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9 Best Paints for Kitchen Cabinets of 2020 – Reviews & Top Picks

The-Best-Paint-for-Kitchen-CabinetsRepainting 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

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Nuvo Nuvo
  • Fast-drying
  • Water-based acrylic paint
  • Can work as a primer
  • Best Value
    Second place
    INSL-X PRODUCTS INSL-X PRODUCTS
  • Doesn’t need a primer
  • Low-cost
  • Mold and mildew-resistant
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Rust-Oleum 263231 Rust-Oleum 263231
  • Easy to follow instructional DVD
  • Covers up to 102 square feet
  • Don’t have to strip or sand surfaces
  • Retique It Retique It
  • Non-toxic
  • Low-odor with no VOCs
  • 100% acrylic paint
  • Rust-Oleum 285140 Rust-Oleum 285140
  • Low cost
  • Low-VOC
  • Water-based latex paint
  • The 9 Best Paints for Kitchen Cabinets – Reviews 2020

    1. Nuvo Cocoa Couture Cabinet Paint Kit — Best Overall1-Nuvo-Cocoa-Couture-Cabinet-Paint-Kit

    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.

    Pros
    • Fast-drying, low-odor, and low-VOC
    • Water-based acrylic paint
    • Can work as a primer
    • Includes hardening agent for added durability
    • Includes roller, brush, and stir sticks
    • Rich, dark brown color with a satin finish
    • One-year warranty
    Cons
    • Thin paint requires multiple coats
    • Prone to chipping
    • More expensive

    2. INSL-X PRODUCTS Enamel — Best Value

    2-INSL-X-PRODUCTS-CC4510099-04-Enamel

    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.

    Pros
    • Doesn’t need a primer
    • Low-cost and low-odor
    • Mold and mildew-resistant
    • Choice of satin or semi-gloss finish
    • Scratch-resistant
    Cons
    • Feels somewhat thin and streaky
    • May chip with heavy use
    • May have a blue tint

    3. Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations — Premium Choice

    3-Rust-Oleum-263231-Cabinet-Transformations

    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.

    Pros
    • Includes deglosser, bond coat, glaze, and topcoat
    • Painting accessories like stir sticks and glazing cloths included
    • Easy to follow instructional DVD
    • Covers up to 102 square feet
    • Choice of espresso or white
    • Glaze and topcoat are easy to apply and thick
    • Don’t have to strip or sand surfaces
    • Satisfaction guarantee
    Cons
    • More expensive
    • Very time-consuming process
    • Deglosser doesn’t work well

    4. Retique It Renaissance Chalk Finish Paint4-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.

    Pros
    • Available in a wide range of colors
    • Kit includes a quart of paint, wax, and brushes
    • Non-toxic and low-odor with no VOCs
    • 100% acrylic paint with chalk finish
    Cons
    • Doesn’t dry very quickly
    • More expensive
    • Tends to be streaky, with visible brush strokes
    • Weaker color and may bubble

    5. Rust-Oleum Interior Chalked Paint5-Rust-Oleum-285140-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.

    Pros
    • Low cost and low-VOC
    • Water-based latex paint
    • Covers up to 150 square feet
    • Dries to touch in 30 minutes and fully in two to four hours
    • Choice of colors
    Cons
    • Doesn’t include topcoat or painting tools
    • Wood stains may bleed through
    • Paint is streaky, thin, and patchy

    6. General Finishes JQ Oil Base Gel Stain

    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.

    Pros
    • Well-priced and good value
    • Can be applied with cloth or a foam brush
    • Thicker for a more even finish
    • Oil-based wood stain with a satin finish
    • Range of colors available
    Cons
    • No included accessories
    • Strong smell
    • Doesn’t dry quickly
    • Harder to apply

    7. Giani White Diamond Countertop Paint Kit

    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.

    Pros
    • Intended for countertops, producing a granite effect
    • Low-VOC, low-odor, water-based acrylic paint
    • Covers up to 35 square feet
    • Includes primer, minerals, topcoat, tools, and instructions
    • One-year warranty
    Cons
    • Time-consuming application process
    • Difficult to apply attractively
    • More expensive
    • Less durable result

    8. Diamond Brite Paint 40400 Kitchen Latex Paint

    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.

    Pros
    • Reasonably-priced
    • Easy to apply
    • Semi-gloss latex paint with mold and mildew protection
    Cons
    • No included painting tools, primers, or topcoats
    • Fairly thin, requiring multiple coats
    • Dries slowly and remains tacky for a long time
    • Less durable, easily nicking and chipping

    9. KILZ L211104 Interior Latex Primer

    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.

    Pros
    • Combined primer and sealer
    • Water-based latex
    • Can cover up to 300 square feet
    • Dries quickly
    • Fairly scratch-resistant and durable
    Cons
    • Doesn’t work well on laminates or metal
    • Surface must be fully prepared
    • Doesn’t include paint, topcoat, or tools
    • Fairly expensive for what it includes

    Buyer’s Guide

    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.

    Type

    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.

    Drying

    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.

    Paint-for-Kitchen-Cabinets

    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.

    Kits

    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.


    Conclusion

    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!

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