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Consumer Reports: Is Pricey Paint Worth It?

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Consumer Reports tested more than 60 paints to see what you get paying top dollar.

    Designers showcase paint from the British company Farrow & Ball because of its luscious colors. But Farrow & Ball costs around $100 per gallon, two to three times more than other paints. Consumer Reports included it in its tests of more than 60 paints to see what you get paying top dollar.

    All the paints face the same tough tests. One tests for stain resistance. Another checks how well each paint can cover dark paint.

    The expensive Farrow and Ball paint couldn’t cover well with one coat. But a much less expensive Behr paint from The Home Depot did much better.

    NBC 5 contacted Farrow and Ball, this was the company's response:

    Farrow & Ball paints are designed to be a two coat system, so while we are disappointed that Consumer Reports did not rate our paint more highly, they acknowledge that the paint covered when two coats were used as advised. To build a unique depth of colour, two topcoats of Farrow & Ball paint should always be applied. Consumer Reports also stated that it was easy to match our colours claiming that the matched colour “was only about one percent lighter.” At our home in Dorset, England, we meticulously test every batch of paint for colour accuracy to Delta Ecmc and Delta L to a target of 0.7, a colour variation unnoticeable by the human eye.

    And as for Farrow & Ball’s beautiful colors, Consumer Reports sent a secret shopper to The Home Depot to see how closely it could match a sample of Farrow & Ball with its Behr paint. Back at the labs, testers compared the color. The color difference was within one percent.

    Farrow & Ball paint did do a good job in the stain-resistance test, but so did Satin Enamel Behr Premium Plus Ultra. It earned top ratings and costs $34 a gallon.

    There’s another advantage to Behr Premium Plus Ultra. Unlike Farrow & Ball, it’s a primer as well as paint. So you don’t have to cover bare surfaces with a primer first.

    You can find Consumer Reports’ tips for getting a perfect paint job here.


    Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website.