Giving your car a fresh coat of paint breathes life into the aging machine. You can make your vehicle look like new again at a relatively inexpensive price if you’re a do-it-yourself kind of person. Paint shops charge thousands of dollars for a full autobody paint job. There’s no need to spend so much money when with the right tools and the best car paint you can get the job done at a fraction of the price with a little time and attention to detail.
We reviewed over two dozen different car paints to give you an idea of what your best options are. Don’t settle for subpar paint when it comes to your vehicle. When looking through these various car paints, we made sure to look for important attributes such as overall finish, ease-of-use, and customization options to make sure we found the best DIY car paints around.
After considering all of the different car paints we came across, we’ve chosen Dupli-Color Jet Black as our car paint top pick. It is a high-quality paint that is ready to spray, has excellent coverage, and is a part of Dupli-Color’s extensive and user-friendly Paint Shop Finish System. Jet Black is but one of many available colors available from Dupli-Color, and the step-by-step paint system in which they are all a part is an excellent guide for beginner and advanced car painters alike.
In This Article
The 5 Top-Rated Car Paints
|Best Overall||Dupli-Color Jet Black||4.0|
|Runner Up||Rust Bullet Automotive Rust Inhibitor Paint||4.6|
|Best Budget Buy||Dupli-Color Perfect Match||4.1|
|Best Acrylic Car Paint||Rust-Oleum Automotive Gloss Clear Coat||4.1|
|Best Metallic Car Paint||Dupli-Color Deep Blue Metallic||4.0|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Our Top Pick: Dupli-Color Jet Black
The most important layer in Dupli-Color’s Paint Shop Finish System, Dupli-Color Jet Black is a high-quality paint that pairs perfectly with other Dupli-Color products to create the ultimate car paint finish. Though we’re highlighting the universally handsome Jet Black variant, this line of Dupli-Color car paints come in a variety of astounding colors. As part of the Paint Shop Finish System, you can combine different colors and effects by layering a unique combination of primer base, paint, and candy coat to create the look you desire.
Dupli-Color has been in the automotive paint business for over 60 years, and in that time they’ve developed countless paint colors and have been known to perfectly match OEM factory paints. Whether you’re in the market for a DIY custom paint job or you’re looking to refinish the original paint on your classic car, Dupli-Color has the products you need to get the job done right.
Jet Black and other paint colors are ready to spray with no mixing or reduction required. This easy to apply paint has excellent coverage, and it dries so fast that Dupli-Color provides no recoat window, meaning you can start your next coat right away without waiting for it to dry in the sun. Because this paint is easy to apply and looks fantastic when all is said in done, it takes our car paint top pick. The added benefits of being a part of Dupli-Color’s multi-step Paint Shop Finish System goes a long way to making this a great DIY complete automotive paint that amateurs can use to learn the ropes and professionals trust for a clean finish.
Dupli-Color Jet Black Key Features:
- Ready to spray with no mixing or reducing required
- No recoat window and dries fast
- Part of a multi-step complete automotive paint system with clear instruction
- Over 60 years of automotive paint history behind the product and paint system
Our Runner Up Pick: Rust Bullet Automotive Rust Inhibitor Paint
When it comes to versatility and rust prevention, look no further than Rust Bullet Automotive Rust Inhibitor Paint. Rust happens when water and oxygen exposure cause iron and steel to oxidize. Whether water gets collected in pockets in the underbody of a vehicle during rough storms, salt from winter roads kicks up to where it doesn’t belong, or your wheels sling mud all over your chassis– rust becomes a daunting inevitability, and it will bring your vehicle to ruin. Fight back against this entropy with a thick coat of Rust Inhibitor Paint on your vehicles weakest points.
This automotive paint requires no primer or top coat. Simply spray, roll, or brush it onto your vehicle as desired. Though this won’t be the most aesthetically pleasing car paint on the list, it is still a fresh coat of paint that is available in a variety of colors. The utility of Rust Bullet’s automotive paint far outweighs its lack of sparkle, especially for work trucks and all vehicles that take an above average beating on the regular.
Though it is possible to use this paint as a full vehicle body car paint, it can also be used as an accent paint on underbody areas that see the most wet weather abuse. This versatile paint is ideal for iron and steel components. Users applaud this Rust Inhibitor Paint for its toughness and ease-of-use. Chip and UV resistant, this paint was made to last. To stop rust in its tracks, a person would usually have to sand down the rusted area to the bare metal, but this paint can be slathered right on top of rust, bare metal, and old paint. This paint will save your car’s life by eliminating rust and preventing it from ever occurring again.
Rust Bullet Automotive Rust Inhibitor Paint Key Features:
- No need for primer or top coat
- Kills rust and prevents it from returning
- UV and chip resistant
- Spray, roll, or brush on
Best Budget Pick: Dupli-Color Perfect Match
Perfectly match your car’s current paint with Dupli-Color Perfect Match spray paint. Ideal for repairs or partial paint jobs, this automotive spray paint can be matched to your vehicle’s original paint color and sprayed in light layers for an even coat that will be unnoticeable when compared to the vehicle’s original paint. When scratches and rust need to be covered there’s no need to repaint your entire vehicle. Choose the wallet-friendly option of repainting your car in small, as-needed sections. This high-quality paint will look as good as new and blend right in with the rest of your vehicle.
Other than vehicle repairs, Dupli-Color Perfect Match can also be used to completely cover smaller vehicle paint jobs such as car wheels or a motorcycle gas tank. The possibilities are endless. This premium automotive paint covers well and dries in as little as 30 minutes.
Many Amazon reviewers agree that this spray paint was the perfect solution for their small to medium sized automotive paint projects. People praise the perfect color match and the even coverage they are able to attain from the paint can’s spray nozzle. There are many great images to see of work-in-progress car paint projects, as well as before-and-after pictures showcasing how great Dupli-Color Perfect Match looks when the painting is complete. Take a look for yourself!
Dupli-Color Perfect Match Key Features:
- OEM factory-matched colors
- EZ Touch 360-degree spray nozzle
- Dries in 30 minutes
Best Acrylic Car Paint: Rust-Oleum Automotive Autobody Paint
The acrylic lacquer basecoat formulation of Rust-Oleum Automotive Autobody Paint pairs with its accompanying primer and clear coat to provide a polished finish worth savoring. By design, acrylic paints have an understated appearance that, when paired with a glossy clear coat, give off an air of classy refinement. Even coating and balanced layering are vital to a good looking acrylic paint, and the smooth coverage of Rust-Oleum’s car paint is sure to provide the finished look you desire.
Fast drying, durable finish, and ready to spray– this acrylic paint ticks all of the boxes on the DIY car paint list. You’ll be able to spray this paint with any sprayer, as it’s been pre-thinned, and coat layer after layer right away due to its lack of recoat window. This stuff dries fast!
Tried-and-true, this automotive industry standard does the job you expect of it with no fuss. Rust-Oleum is a well established automotive paint brand. If you choose this paint for your next project, we’d recommend also picking up Rust-Oleum’s primer and clear coat products to perfect your car paint process.
Rust-Oleum Automotive Autobody Paint Key Features:
- Ready to spray, pre-thinned
- Understated acrylic finish
- Pairs with accompanying primer and clear coat
Best Metallic Car Paint: Dupli-Color Deep Blue Metallic
Coat your ride in a sparkling finish that will catch attention with Dupli-Color Deep Blue Metallic car paint. Metal flakes and powder are infused into this exhilarating blue paint which glistens under both the sunlight and streetlights. Whereas acrylic paint has an understated appearance underneath its glossy clear coat, this metallic paint reflects light at every angle, causing it to glow with street appeal. You’ll be driving downtown in style.
Supported by Dupli-Color’s patented Paint Shop Automotive Lacquer System, this Deep Blue Metallic paint is but one step in the complete car paint process. Pair your metallic paint with a strong primer and an enticing candy coat for the ultimate eye-catching paint job. Following the system’s step-by-step process is easy, and adhering to each step is important to make sure you have the best DIY experience and outcome possible.
No mixing or reduction is required for this ready to spray metallic lacquer. Users love the shimmer of Dupli-Color’s metallic paints, especially when paired with a candy top coat.
Dupli-Color Deep Blue Metallic Key Features:
- Paint infused with metal powder and flakes for the ultimate sparkle
- No mixing, reduction, or recoat window
- A part of Dupli-Color’s Paint Shop Automotive Lacquer System
Who Should Buy Car Paint
Anyone embarking upon the journey to repairing rust damage, rock chips, and scratches will need to also need to consider whether they will be painting over the repair body surfaces themselves or hiring a professional to do so. DIY automotive painting is easier than it appears and much more cost-effective than paying an automotive body shop to do the work. Watch some instructional videos and consider doing the job yourself. Make sure to choose the appropriate types of paint for the job. Below we’ve listed touch up paint and small project paint options among our list of best car paints to help you find exactly the right paint you need.
Those who are looking to completely paint their car will need gallons of high-quality car paint to do so in addition to primer, clear coat, and optional candy and other effect coats. If you’re tackling a large car paint project, take a look at our buying guide to the best paint sprayers to make sure you’ve got the best equipment for the job. Once the work is done you’ll want to keep it looking good, which is why a great car cover will come in handy.
Even if you are paying someone else to paint your car for you, it may be wise to purchase the paint yourself to ensure the exact color and finish you desire.
Important Features to Consider
There are a few important considerations to think-through before purchasing car paint.
- How big is the job? It is essential that you plan out the entire project before purchasing car paint. If you are repairing minor paint scratches, you will likely only need a small paint kit or a touch-up paint pen. Larger repairs, or small projects such as painting a set of wheels, will require no more than a couple of spray cans. Full body painting will take gallons of paint to complete. It’s best to know how much you need so that you can order it all at once, especially if you need to match a specific paint color that the manufacturer must mix on demand.
- Additional layers. You have your paint, but do you need primer as well? You likely do. Most paints require several coats of clear coat on top for maximum protection. Some paints do not require all of this additional layering, and some paints are best matched with specific top coat products for maximum luster. Research your car paint and ensure you have all of the necessary layers for the job.
- The finished look. The way the paint looks when all is said and done is just as dependent on your preparation and other product choices as the basecoat of paint itself. Choosing deluxe candy coats can give a stellar effect to your paint, but a proper clear coat and polish will make a subdued acrylic paint shine as well as any new car on the dealer lot. Some people prefer a flat matte finish over a glossy look. Some prefer accent colors that contrast their base coat. What do you prefer?
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best type of car paint to use?
It all depends upon your intended project and desired outcome. We’ve laid out many of the best car paints available for you to use on our list, but each provides a different finished look than the others, and some excel at certain qualities such as rust prevention and heat resistance. Use our list as a guide to choose the best paint for your scenario.
What are the two types of automotive paint finishes?
The two standard types of automotive paint finishes are acrylic and metallic. Acrylic paint is the standard seen on most vehicles straight from the dealership lot. Acrylic paints are high-quality paints with a reserved, modest finish. Metallic paints call attention to themselves with lustrous sparkle derived from metal powders and flakes infused within the paint.
What is a 2-stage paint job?
A 2-stage paint job is the most common and suggested way of painting a car. On top of a layer of primer you would paint a base coat of paint in the color you desire in as many coats as are needed. Once the base paint has dried, stage 1 has been completed. In stage 2 you would apply a clear coat to protect and embellish the base coat of paint underneath.
What is needed to paint a car?
A plan and base knowledge of how to paint a car are vastly important. Once that is taken care of, you’ll need the paint itself as well as any primers or clear coats you intend to layer the paint with. A paint sprayer is needed in most cases except for small jobs where a spray can or touch up pen is all that is required. Wear gloves, safety glasses, a breathing mask, and clothes that you don’t mind covering with paint. Paint your car in a well-ventilated area and use painter’s tape and plastic to cover everything you do not want to get paint on.
Other Car Paints We Reviewed
We looked at 20 other car paint products. Even though they didn’t make our five best car paint list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for your automotive painting projects. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing. We’ve broken them down into car body paints, spray cans, and touch up paints to help you find the best car paint for the size of project you’re looking to complete.
Car Body Paints
Custom Shop’s metallic paints are designed for a sparkling finish. Full-body coverage is among the best you’ll find, and the easy application is finished with rapid dry times so that you can slap on the second coat right away.
- 18 color options
- Easy application that covers well and is forgiving to the user
- Exceptionally bright and brilliant sparkle
This basecoat is infused with Kandy sparkle and crushed pearls for a shiny finish that can take center stage on its own or serve as a foundation for a multi-layered candy finish.
- Infused with powdered pearls and metallics
- Doubles as a foundation and finish
- 20 color options
A beautiful basecoat with enough shine that no top coat is needed, this universal paint is available in an endless selection of colors. Intermix with other neons, graphic colors, and metallic basecoats to create your desired look.
- Endless color options
- Universal base coat that can be mixed or layered with a multitude of colors and effects
- Can be top coated with acrylic lacquer or urethane enamels.
Full coverage comes after 3 or 4 coats which can then be cleared for a final finish or used as a base coat for Kandy enhancements. The paint is pre-thinned at a 2:1 ratio, but can be thinned further to create an eye-catching transparent effect.
- Pre-thinned paint at 2:1 ratio
- Clear for a finish or use as a base coat
- SHIMRIN glamour metallic basecoat
Available as a complete kit from Restoration Shop, this Electic Blue Metallic car paint comes with a pint of Wet-Look Polyurethane Hardener, a handful of nylon automative strainers, and some wood paint mixing sticks.
- 288 stock colors available and infinite combinations
- No reducer is required for paint sprayers
- Single stage high gloss paint
Restoration Shop metallic paints are chemical and solvent resistant, as well as chip and scratch resistant. The vivid colors will not fade, and the metallic sheen has been designed for an even sheen that will remain durable for years to come.
- AE acrylic enamel
- Excellent gloss and metallic control
- Manufactured in the USA
This Jet Black Gloss top coat from Restoration Shop is easy to use and of professional quality. Reviewers praise this Jet Black Gloss car paint for its excellent coverage and ability to cover mistakes. Use of high-quality paint sprayers is recommended for a superior finish.
- Reflective strips for safe carrying at night
- Packable down into its own convenient storage pocket
- Padded shoulder straps
Skip the kit if all you need is paint. This 1 gallon of Ralley Green Metallic paint from Restoration Shop is easy to use and intended to tackle any amount of automotive refinishing you need to complete. Order as much or as little as you require.
- Infinite color combinations
- Acrylic enamel
- Custom color database reaching as far back over a century
Tunnel Ram produces a two-component medium drying urethane finish with low gloss for a modest, flat look that stands out from the crowd because it is not trying to stand out. This complete ready-to-spray kit is manufactured to the highest automotive industry standards.
- Low gloss finish
- Complete ready-to-spray kit
- Pre-flattened with a 30-degree satin primer appearance
Spray Cans for Small Projects
Durable enough to withstand the offroad abuse seen on dirtbikes and ATVs, ColorRite Off Road Paint is available in most OEM paint colors and applies in one easy step– no clear coat required. This is a great option to repair those offroad scratches and dings.
- OEM color match
- No clear coat required
This pair of factory matched paint and gloss clear coat are the perfect solution to minor or major automotive body repair. Cover an entire fender or wheel in your color of choice, then bathe it in a luxurious clear coat for that like-new shine.
- Factory matched color
- Gloss clear coat
Able to be used as a ground coat for more elaborate color combinations or simply clear coated to show off its own splendor, the Kustom Canz Base Metallic Purple is a versatile paint in a highly functional can.
- Easy to spray resulting in even, consistent coverage
- Paint can be a base layer or clear coated for a quick finish
- Available in multiple colors and paint reservoir sizes
The Candy Orange and other lustrous colors from Kustom Canz are best applied over a shimmering base layer. This specific color is best set on top of a silver metallic base, but you can pick and choose your own combination for a unique look.
- Requires a 1k or 2k clear coat
- Shimmering candy finish
- Applicable over any color base
Paint your car parts in plastic for the ultimate level of durability. Wheels, emblems, and even body segments will look unique in a hard plastic finish that will withstand damage and exposure better than any pure paint can.
- Flexible, will not crack, chip, or become brittle in extreme weather conditions
- Specialty rubber coating available in many colors
- Protects the paint underneath
Specialty paints such as this Caliper Paint from PlastiKote are designed for specific purposes. Show off your brake calipers with this great paint that can withstand hot brake temperatures up to 500 degrees. Bright calipers can really set off your car’s paint job, bringing the complete look to a whole other level.
- 500-degree temperature resistance
- UV and water resistant
- Allows calipers to become part of your car’s unique design
Another specialty car paint product, the VHT Metal Cast spray paint is perfect for your metal and chrome surfaces. This can withstand temperatures up to 500 degrees and holds well onto metal surfaces, creating a like new metal shine that you can’t get otherwise.
- 500-degree temperature resistance
- Anodized metallic finish
- Oil and gas resistant
Touch Up Car Paint
Factory matched paint and clear coat pens are the best option for repairing minor imperfections on your vehicle’s body. Attention to detail is important, and you won’t be able to get more perfect than with a paint pen in your hand.
- OEM factory-matched paint pen and clear coat pen
- Highly accurate paint control
The Dupli-Color All in 1 Paint Pen can scratch away old paint and rust with its abrasive tip and then apply a combined primer and paint formula on fine or thick scratches. A thin pen end and thicker brush end allow you to control how much paint you apply.
- Abrasive tip to remove debris
- Fine pen brush and thicker brush for different paint applications
- A paint and primer formula can be applied first and then covered by a clear coat finish
One part sampler kit, another touch-up kit, this 8 Color Kandy Kit from House of Kolor is ideal for multi-colored vehicles or for those who have a variety of cars in their garage. Airbrush or hand paint as needed to fix up your vehicles.
- 8 colors in 4oz. containers that are ready to spray
- Basecoat that mimics a Kandy finish for ease of use
- Re-reduced to 2:1, no thinning required
Factory-matched paint and clear coat pens, Touch Up Express has paint pens for just about every modern vehicle on the market. These simple markers will feel familiar in your hand and are easy to use. Reviewers praise the pens for their simple function and the company for its top-notch customer service.
- OEM factory-matched paint and clear coat pens
- Durable urethane finish
- made in the USA