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How Much is a Gallon of Paint? Factors to Consider

If you’re thinking about doing some painting at home, consider how much a gallon of paint costs first.

Ready for renovations? Some might consider that a rhetorical question. But even something as simple as a new paint job takes time and preparation.

Plus, there are the costs to consider. Which leads us to today’s burning question: how much does a gallon of paint cost? Let’s discover how much a gallon of paint is, what the hidden costs are, and whether expensive paint is worth it.

Key Takeaways

  • A gallon of paint costs between $15-$120 depending on brand and quality.
  • Factors affecting paint price include paint finish, brand, and square footage.
  • Additional painting costs include paint samples, painting tools, personalized paint, and labor costs.
  • High-end paint is worth it for its smoother application, fewer coats needed, and better resistance.

How Much is a Gallon of Paint?

Paint can on yellow background

Paint has an insane price range per gallon because of the many different brands and quality levels.

Lower-End Paint

Paints on the lower-end of the quality spectrum usually cost around $15 to $20 on average. You can definitely expect low-quality, flat-finish paint if you’re spending less than $15 for 1 gallon.

Higher-End Paint

With high-end paint, you can spend as much as you’d like. Good quality usually costs around $40 to $50 per gallon, but there are paints out there that cost up to $120 per gallon.

Factors that Affect Paint Price

A gallon of paint price is influenced by a series of different factors you might not even be aware of. These apply whether it’s a bedroom, living room, or any other room in your house.

Paint Finish

The finish you choose for your paints will directly impact how much the paint costs. Here are a few things to remember:

  • Because of their greater longevity, paints with a high-gloss finish often carry a higher price tag than those with a lower sheen.
  • Paint with a flat finish can be purchased for as little as $13 per gallon.
  • High-gloss paint can be purchased for approximately $35 per gallon.
  • Paints with a mid-sheen are considered average at approximately $17 per gallon.
  • Depending on the brand, the paint cost can range anywhere from $50 to more than $100 per gallon for specialized kinds.
  • Exterior paint usually costs more than interior paint.


Naturally, paint costs differ from one brand to another, so let’s look at some of the common prices.

Paint Brand Price Range/Gallon
Sherwin-Williams $44 – $55
Benjamin Moore $48 – $55
Behr $29 – $35
Dunn Edwards $15 – $35
Olympic $25 – $30
Ace Paint $31 – $39
Valspar $30 to $40

Square Footage

You’d be surprised at how many people estimate how much paint they need simply by looking at the room. To determine how much paint will cost you, you have to do some math or turn to an online calculator that does the math for you based on your input.

Not only do you have to calculate the square footage of the paintable area, but you have to consider that the resulting number of gallons is only good for one coat.

The texture of your wall will also affect how much you need. Orange peel, stucco textures, and unfinished drywall will all require more. Also, different paint finishes have different coverages, so be sure to read the can.

Do the math properly because if you need a lot of paint gallons, it’s more cost-effective to buy 5-gallon paint buckets instead of 1-gallon ones.

Additional Painting Costs

These might not apply to you but double-check just in case.

Paint Samples

It is typical practice for a pint-sized sample pail of paint to cost anywhere from $1 to $5. People who aren’t sure what kind of paint they want on their walls will benefit greatly from trying out some of these samples.

You can just brush some paint on the wall to get a general sense of what the finished product would look like.

Painting Tools

A paint job isn’t just about the paint itself but also about materials such as rollers, paint brushes, tarps, painter’s tape, protective masks, etc. Tools and supplies start at $20, but high-quality products can cost you more than $100.

Personalized Paint

Because of technological advancements, most of the larger stores can now match paint to virtually anything. They will enter the color into the machine, and then the system will determine the correct paint color code. But customized paints will incur additional costs.

Labor Costs

The cost of employing a professional painter will change according to the scope of the work. They’ll take into account the total square footage of the space, number of coats required, how tall the ceiling is, and how complex the job is overall.

How Much Paint Do I Need?

It’s not difficult to calculate how much paint you’ll need for a project. Even though every room will include surfaces you don’t paint (like doors and windows), it is still important to measure the whole room.

Measure the length and the width of the room. If you multiply this figure, you will get the square footage of the entire surface. Calculate the surface of the non-paintable areas and subtract them from the total.

Once you have the square footage of the paintable surface, you need to determine how much you can cover with one gallon of paint. Do this by dividing the area by the paint coverage list on the can, and you’ll see how many gallons are needed to cover the entire area.

How to Save Costs on Paint

If you’re looking to save money on paint, here are some tips to get you started.

  • If you want to purchase at a chain store like Home Depot or Lowe’s, seek coupons on eBay offering a discount of ten percent to save on your purchase.
  • There are occasional sales of forty percent off that can be seen at larger stores like Sherwin-Williams.
  • Don’t make the mistake of trying to save too much money on your paints. The lower the paint price, the lower the quality could be.
  • Think about buying your paint in larger volumes. A paint bucket that holds one gallon of paint will be more expensive per gallon than a 5-gallon paint can.

Is High-End Paint Worth It?

Some people mistakenly think that cheap paint is helping them save money. However, high-quality paint is a much better choice in the long run. It runs smoother, takes longer to dry (which reduces the odds of visible brushstrokes), and is more resistant.

With high-end paint, you also don’t need to apply as many coats (one or two is enough, whereas the cheapest paint requires three or four coats).

Paint is made using three main ingredients: pigments (color particles), resins (pigment binders), and solvents (the liquid that suspends the other two ingredients). Solvents will evaporate when the paint dries after helping pigments spread evenly across the painted surface.

Cheap paint is diluted with extenders and fillers and has more resins and pigments, which leads to inconsistent paint coats.


Is It Cheaper to Buy Paint by the Gallon or 5 Gallon?

Paint sold in 5-gallon containers will always be cheaper compared to 1-gallon containers.

Is Paint Cheaper at Home Depot or Sherwin-Williams?

Home Depot has a partnership with Behr, which sells its paint exclusively on Home Depot’s website. Sherwin-Williams is more expensive than Behr, meaning that paint is cheaper at Home Depot.

What Brand of Paint Do Professional Painters Use?

Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams are two of the most popular paint brands available today.

As a result, most painting contractors turn to these two manufacturers when looking for high-quality paint for their projects. Painters working professionally worldwide have had a lot of success with these paints for several years now.

The Verdict

So, how much is a gallon of paint? You should know that various factors, including brand, quality, and paint finish, influence the paint’s cost. Don’t forget to consider the hidden costs before you set aside money for your renovation project.

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About the Author

Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond is a USA TODAY Bestselling Author and Award-Winning Interior Designer. Using her years of hands-on experience, she now writes about design and DIY. She currently resides on the rocky East Coast of Canada with her family and slobbery bulldog.