Different Types Of Spray Paint – Need To know

The general perception about spray paint is that it is a liquid paint that comes packed in an aerosol spray can. However, in the past few years, the trend of spray paint has increased and there is a large variety of spray paints available in the market and new products are being added every day. Depending upon your skill level and project requirements you need to choose a specific type of spray paint.

To make an informed decision it is crucial to understand different types of spray paints. You must understand how these paints work and what is the best spray paint for a specific application. If you are interested in different types of spray paints, this guide is a real treat for you. I’ve discussed all types of spray paint that are currently variable in the market. Also, I’ve added the pros, cons, and some pro tips to help you get a trouble-free experience while working with spray paints.

Types Of Spray Paint

Types Of Spray Paint

Types Of Spray Paints Based On Composition

1. Standard Spray Paints

Spray paint has multiple applications from finishing touches to decoration, repairing, and graffiti art. These paints are widely used in wood painting applications and interior design applications, repairing, and many more. Spray paints use the propellants that push them out of the nozzle. Depending upon the formula, ability to adhere to various surfaces, type of propellant they include, and type of finish, spray paints have been divided into various categories.

Standard spray paints are also known as general-purpose spray paint. You can use these paints in various indoor and outdoor applications. The paint comes in standard aerosol packaging with a nozzle attached at the top of the container. These paints use standard propellants like dimethyl ether. Some general-purpose spray paints contain a mixture of propane and butane as propellants.

General-purpose spray paint is available in a wide range of colors and works best with dark basic shades like black, blue, red, and green. These paints are a little thin in composition and therefore they play really well with porous surfaces. In non-porous surfaces like metal or glass, the paint drops off before drying. Therefore I do not recommend standard spray paint for non-porous success.


  • Highly affordable
  • Easily available
  • Quicks drying formulas


  • Not good for porous surfaces

2. Oil-Based Spray Paints

Oil-based spray paints are also very popular for their high-strength formula and ability to resist water. Most oil-based spray paints offer a glossy finish on non-porous surfaces. Oil-based paints are thin in consistency and need multiple coats to help them get fully absorbed and adhere to the surface. The paint works best with non-porous surfaces like metal and glass. The biggest perk of oil-based spray paint is that you can use it on any surface.

DIYers prefer oil-based spray paint for multiple surfaces like tin, metal, plastic, and wood. These paints are more durable than latex paint and fight well against moisture and UV. This feature makes the oil-based spray paint equally suitable for indoor and outdoor applications. These paints use oil as a solvent and come in a relatively thick composition. Therefore their drying time is not very quick. You may need to wait as long as 24 hours to let the paint adhere and cure to the surface.

However, sanding or priming is not necessary in every case. Oil-based paints are messy and are not easy to clean. You may need a special paint removal product to remove the paint. Since oil-based paint is durable there is no need to add a clear coat or paint protection coat on top. There are not too many oil-based spray paint colors available in the market, especially when you compare them with a variety of standard spray paints.


  • Strong durable finish
  • Wok with all types of surfaces
  • Easy to use
  • No need for an additional clear coat
  • Moisture resistant-ideal for outdoor


  • Take longer to get fully cured
  • A little tricky to use

3. Acrylic Or Latex Spray Paints

Acrylic or latex spray paints are water-based formulas that usually come in aerosol packaging. Also, these paints come in can packaging and can be applied with a sprayer. These paints contain water as solvents are less toxic than oil-based paint. The paints are used for indoor applications since they fade quickly. Also, these paints are easily damaged by water.

Latex paints are also water-based paints but are relatively thicker and more durable than regular acrylic paints.  Latex paints are also known as emulsions. These water-based paints have wide applications in outdoor painting and the automotive industry for their ability to resist moisture.

Latex paints are available in a wide range of colors and consistency. These paints are pretty easy to apply. Also, it is pretty easy to remove acrylic paint. These paints cure really well on porous surfaces like canvas and wood. Also, you can use thick varieties for solid materials like plastic or metal. Latex paints are thin and flexible enough to be painted with an aerosol can or airless sprayer.


  • Non-toxic formula
  • A wide range of colors is available
  • Quick drying formula


  • Lack weather resistance

4. Enamel Spray Paints

Enamel spray paint is widely used in professional-grade painting applications like car painting and old furniture painting. Enamel paint is famous among people for its quick drying formulas and glossy sheen finish. Enamel spray paint usually comes in can packaging and you need a paint sprayer for application. The biggest advantage of enamel paint is its ability to adhere to outdoor elements. From moisture to UV and dust these paints fight well against all the damaging factors.

These spray paints have a wide application in fence painting, car painting, outdoor furniture painting, and wall painting. These paints are also used to restore old cars and wooden furniture. Most of the enamel paint features an oil-based formula. However, you can find a few options with water-based formulas. Enamel paints are less thicker than regular oil-based spray paints and dry up more quickly.  Also, these paints feature a homogeneous composition allowing you to get a smooth and even finish with a few coats.

These paints work best with hard surfaces like metal, wood, or plastic. Coming to the downside enamel paint has a strong pungent odor. You cannot work with enamel spray paint without proper ventilation. Also, these paints are highly flammable and you must work with proper safety measures to avoid any risk. Since enamel paints are designed for professional use, these paints are a little more expensive than regular spray paint.


  • Highly weather-resistant
  • Offer ultra-smooth glossy finish
  • Can restore the old cars and furniture
  • Quick drying formulas
  • Pretty easy to handle


  • Expensive
  • Strong odor and flammable

5. Lacquer Spray Paints

Lacquer paints are also known as transparent finishes or alkyd oil-based paint. These paints have the shortest drying time and are much more flexible than many other spray paint types. Lacquer is basically a resin-based solution that is used with an oil-based solvent. The paints go through an emulsification process and offer a transparent and glossy finish. Lacquer is available in a wide range of colors and also allows you to toxic different colors to get a particular shade.

When it is combined with the pigment it offers a fully opaque finish in the end. Lacquer paint is composed of two to three components including a resin, a pigment, a filler, and a binder. If the pigment is removed you get a transparent surface. So the paint is also used as a protective layer on previously painted surfaces. These paints are thin and can only be used with a sprayer. The biggest perk of lacquer paint is that it dries up very quickly.

It takes a few minutes to get fully cured. It has a wide application in car paintings and furniture paintings. Its flexible structure adheres really well to the uneven surface and there is no need to sand the surface before lacquer paint application. Lacquer paint is only suitable for hard surfaces and you can’t use them for porous surfaces as it quickly gets absorbed giving a light faded-like finish. Lacquer paint contains harmful components and you must wear safety equipment while working with lacquer spray paints.


  • Highly flexible
  • Allows you to experiment with different colors
  • Offers both transparent and opaque finishes


  • Not good for porous material

6. Epoxy Spray Paints

Epoxy spray paints are mostly used for protection against heat and rust. These paints feature high-strength formulas and endure the damaging factors really well. It features a thick composition and is mainly composed of polymers and adhesives. Epoxy binds the metal and wood really well and protects them from heat and moisture.

The best part of epoxy paints is that they’re not harmful. Epoxy paints are used in various appliances like refrigerators, ovens, dishwashers, and laundry washing machines. Also, epoxy spray paint is used in automotive parts to help them fight rust and corrosion. Since the paint is waterproof it’s pretty easy to clean the items painted with epoxy paints.

Epoxy paints have wide applications in preserving antique and vintage items. Epoxy spray paints are thick and you need an HVLP sprayer to apply even layers. The average drying time of the epoxy spray paint is 6 days. It may take one whole week to get fully cured. Since epoxy paints are made for protection, there isn’t a big variety of colors available.


  • Highly durable-rust proof
  • Wide application
  • Preserves the antiques


  • Takes 7 days to fully cure

7. High Heat Spray Paints

High heat spray paints are made for surfaces that are subjected to high temperatures. These paints can withstand high temperatures up to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit. High heat sprays are used in engine parts, stoves, and ovens. These paints need professional-grade equipment and specific conditions for application.

High heat spray pants are also preferred for outdoor painting since they are highly weather resistant. These paints cure very well on both porous and non-porous surfaces making them suitable for wood-burning grills, fences, and doors. These paints resist rust and corrosion making them suitable for automotive parts.

However, high-heat spray paint is now available in DIY-friendly packaging. These paints are less expensive and help you make custom creations with maximum strength and durability. However, high-heat spray paint does not feature food-grade formulas and there they are only applied outside the appliances. These paints are not applied to the surfaces that come in direct contact with the food.


  • Withstand high temperatures
  • Offer ultra smooth finish
  • Available in DIY-friendly packaging


  • Can be toxic

8. Chalkboard Spray Paint

Chalkboard spray paint is designed to create an erasable surface. These paints are used on a flat surface that you can dry erase after writing with chalk. Chalkboard paints are usually water-based and are non-toxic. These paints are pretty easy to handle and you can change any wall or flat surface in your home into a fun place for your kids.

The main components in the chalkboard paints are carbon black, glycol, talc, opacifiers, silica, and acrylic. You can buy moisture-resistant chalkboard spray paints. Also, you wipe out the painted surface with a damp cloth. However, it will fade over time and you need frequent touch-ups to keep it in the best shape.

Chalkboard paints are available in airless spray packaging. Also, you can use these paints with an airless sprayer. Chalkboard paints are water-based and take around 4 to 5 hours to get fully cured. However, these paints are thin and therefore you cannot use them on porous surfaces.


  • Highly affordable
  • Easy to handle
  • Non-toxic formula


  • Not for porous surfaces

Spray Paint Finishes

Depending upon the final finish spray paint is divided into the following categories

1. Satin Spray Paint

Satin spray paints are used in art and craft projects since they allow you to get custom finishes. These are oil-based paints that come with multiple finishes from glass to semi gl0ss. These paints are available in a wide range of colors. Satin paints are usually preferred by DIYers to make decorative items and create custom designs.

2. Rust Prevention Spray Paints

Rust prevention spray paints have the same purpose as high heat paint and epoxy spray paints. These spray paints are fully waterproof and make the items completely rust-proof. These oil-based paints are widely used to paint automotive parts, outdoor furniture, and fences.

3. Metallic Finish Spray Paints

These paints contain metallic components like aluminum and offer a high sheen metallic finish. These paints have a reflective sheen and are widely used in interior design projects.

4. Flat Finish Spray Paints

Flat finish spray paint offers a matte-like finish and is used in various art and DIY projects.

5. Glossy Finish Spray Paints

These paints come with a high sheen formula and offer a reflective high gloss finish in the end. Most of the oil-based paints are high gloss paints.

6. Textured Finish Spray Paints

Textured finish spray paint offers a unique texture when cured. These paints have a wide application in furniture painting and making interior design.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Different Types Of Spray Paints?

Different types of spray paint include general-purpose spray paints, oil-based spray paint, enamel spray paint, epoxy spray paint, and high-heat spray paints. Also, you can find various varieties like high gloss finish spray paint, rust prevention spray paint, and flat/matte spray paint.

What Type Of Spray Paint Is Best?

If you are looking for spray paint for indoor painting applications latex spray paint is the best option. If you want to paint outdoor furniture or some other outdoor items, oil-based spray paint or enamel spray paints are the best options.

What Type Of Spray Paint Is Most Durable?

Epoxy spray paint and enamel spray paint are the strongest types of spray paint. Epoxy spray paints are highly resistant to heat, moisture, and UV making them exceptionally durable in tough outdoor environments. Enamel paints are also weather-resistant and promise durability even in outdoor painting applications.

Is Spray Paint Waterproof?

Not all spray paints are waterproof. Latex or acrylic spray paint can be water resistant but not waterproof. However, enamel paints, high heat spray paint, and epoxy spray paint are fully waterproof and fight corrosion and rust very well.

What Spray Paint Is Best For Metal?

Enamel is the best spray paint for metal. Enamel paint comes in thick consistency and adheres really well to the metal. These paints are desired for car painting applications and offer an ultra smooth durable finish for all metal surfaces.

Wrapping Up

I’m hopeful that this post will help you understand different types of spray paint types and how they work. Depending upon your project requirements you must consider the drying time, composition, consistency, and finish of the paint before making an investment. Also, it is recommended to buy spray paint from reliable brands to get the best out of them.

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