best paint for metal surfaces

Best Paint For Metal Surfaces

When it comes to painting metal surfaces, it can be a little tricky especially if you have no prior experience with painting metals.

We understand that experience is one of the key factors for getting a stunning painting job done on metal, but one of the major secrets is getting the best paint for metal surfaces because not all paints will do the job.

In this article, we looked at the factors to consider for choosing the best anti rust paint for metal. Also, we have made reviews on the best products that will make the job easier even for beginners.

So don’t just buy one yet until you have gone through our detailed resources, starting with the comparison table below:

Best Paint for Metal Surfaces

What Kind Of Paint To Use On Metal?

best anti rust paint for metal

Generally, there are two types of paints that are recommended to use in painting metal. You can either use a water-based acrylic paint or oil-based paint. The good thing is that most paints have got the correct label on the container (for metals).

Oil-based paints take a longer time to dry. Also, it requires a good brush that will not shed while painting otherwise; you will get a shady job.

On the other hand, water-based acrylic paint is available in a spray can or paint-on application. This makes the job easier and quicker.

You can get the same result if you use either of them. It just depends on the quality of the prepping done.

Read Also: Best Spray Paints for Metal

Metal Surface Paint Reviews

1. Rust-Oleum 7250830  – best paint for rusty metal

It is made to be rugged and will easily bond to just any metallic surface you want to paint. It is an Oil-based paint that produces a durable protective coating on the painted surface.

Whether for indoor or outdoor projects, you are good to go. While some paint tends to do better on different weather conditions, rust oleum has proven to resist and thrive in any weather.

Oil-based paints have always been tagged as slow-drying paint. Fortunately, this has proven to dry faster than others. Within 20 minutes of application, you can conveniently touch and re-coat if necessary.

That is not all to it because, the product has excellent resistance to abrasion, fading, and chipping.

We love the finish. It gives you a shiny finish with metallic flakes reflections. We think it is also economical because a can of 11 oz can cover up to 15 square feet for smooth surfaces.

  • Good surface coverage per can
  • Fast drying time
  • Rustproof
  • Allows you to spray hard-to-reach areas
  • Comfortable and wider finger pad reduces fatigue during continuous spraying
  • We didn’t find any noteworthy downside

2. Rust-Oleum 249082 Painter’s Touch

Sometimes, the need may arise when we need to paint items of different materials with the same texture. For such cases, a versatile paint that will stick to almost anything will be the best. The rust-oleum painter’s touch is recommended for this.

It is a versatile paint that can be used for a range of materials including wood, plaster, metal, masonry, and unglazed ceramic.

It uses an Oil-based formula to produce a solution that is low in odor and provides long-lasting protection. The paint is thick, which makes it excellent in hiding imperfection. This feature is also made possible because of the satin finish.

Read Also: Rustoleum Galvanized Metal Primer Review

Just like the previous, it dries to the touch in 20 minutes. A can of 12-Ounce can cover up to 12 square feet surface.

It is easy to use and with the design of the spray nozzle, you get to conserve the content, thus reducing wastage. You can get a perfect coat at any spray angle.

There is no limit to what you can use the painter’s touch for. Surprisingly, it is recommended for spraying a car exterior.

  • It is economical to use as it reduces wastage
  • Dries to touch in 20 minutes
  • It can be used on a range of materials
  • Low odor oil-based formula
  • Minimizes surface imperfections
  • There are limited colors to choose from

3. Krylon K05130107 ColorMaster

Krylon color master also gives you the options to paint all your items with the same texture and finish. With this product, you can paint almost any material conveniently without any hassle. One thing we like is the availability of a range of finish.

Whether for plastic, metal, or wood, you can be sure of a perfect bond. It is designed rugged, so it can be used both for indoor and outdoor projects. It remains tough and resistant to changes in weather.

It allows you to get the job done faster with its fast drying time. Typically, it dries in 10 minutes so you can re-coat if necessary. Of course, this is one of the features of acrylic paints, so we couldn’t have expected less.

Read Also: Krylon Spray Paint Review

You can be sure to get your preferred color because it is available in a wide range of colors. These colors remain bright when used outdoors with no risk of fading.

Overall, the spray paint is easy to use. Your metallic surface will be looking professionally done even if handled by a novice.

  • Available in a wide range of colors
  • Easy to use
  • Dries in 10 minutes or less
  • It is economical
  • For use on plastic, metal, and wood
  • The nozzle tends to drip off paint if you spray down

4. Rust-Oleum Automotive 251582

The Rust-Oleum Automotive paint is specially designed to paint the metallic parts of autos that are subjected to high temperatures. Of course, the paint is versatile, so it can be used on other metallic items other than autos.

Typically, metallic parts exposed to high temperatures will easily get corroded and disfigured. Luckily, the Rust-Oleum automotive paint is here to counter these effects.

It is highly resistant to temperature up to 500F. Surface sprayed with the paint creates a high gloss anodized look.

Read Also: Best Automotive Paint for Beginners

Whether for interior or exterior use, the paint is a perfect choice for the job. The paint also features a fast drying time of 10 minutes. It is oil and gas resistant and features a formula that stops rust.

Rust-Oleum Automotive paint is the right choice to bring those rusted metal items back to its original glory.

  • Resistant to high temperature up to 500 degrees F
  • Suitable for both interior and exterior use
  • Easy to use and maneuver because of its “Any-angle spray technology”
  • Highly resistant to rust and corrosion
  • Much complains about the finish of the product
  • Limited color options

5. Rust-Oleum ultra cover

If you need to complete a bigger project requiring more paint, or perhaps you’d prefer using a brush for application, then the ultra cover paint from Rust-Oleum is here for you.

It is used for all indoor and outdoor projects. It is also good for all surfaces including wood, masonry, metal, plaster, or unglazed ceramic. With the use of this oil-based acrylic formula, it gives resistance to major defects such as chipping and fading.

The paint is available in a ½ pint container and can cover at least up to 30 square feet. Painting metals with the rust-oleum ultra cover is fast because of the fast drying time of 30 minutes.

No matter the type of application (brush or spraying) you use, the paint goes on smoothly on the surface and gives you a metallic finish and providing an excellent hide.

Unfortunately, the product is only available in just 2 colors which include metallic gold and copper. Because of this choice of color and finish, we are confident to say that it is one of the best paint for outdoor metal surfaces.

  • Suitable for both interior and exterior use
  • Great on multiple surface material
  • A good choice for both brush and spray application
  • Lasts longer than ordinary paints
  • There are only 2 colors to make a choice

6. Dupli-Color Gunmetal Premium Acrylic Enamel Spray Paint

This product combines the formula of a primer and paints to give you maximum protection against rust. This multi-purpose paint can be applied to a wide range of materials including metal, plastic, wood, concrete, and fiberglass.

The paint boasts of its quick application since it does not require sanding. However, depending on how rough the surface is, we still recommend prepping before application.

With a fast drying time of 25 minutes, your project can be completed faster than you’d thought. With a wide range of applications, Dupli-Color finds its application on both automotive and home projects.

One thing we love with this product is the availability of a range of colors. There are over 16 colors and finish to make a choice.

Dupli-color paint has been used often on autos, but do not be confused, the paint can be used for domestic purposes and on any metallic surfaces including doors.

  • It is available in a wide range of colors
  • Quick-drying time
  • It has got great coverage, making it economical
  • No prepping, no sanding needed

7. Krylon K02203 General Purpose paint

As the case of most of the paints reviewed here, the Krylon general purpose paint can be used on a lot of surfaces including wood, wicker, plaster, glass, ceramic, paper mache, paper, metal, and plastic surfaces.

Unfortunately, while other paints can be used for both indoor and outdoor projects, we do not recommend using this product for outdoor projects because it is not rugged enough to withstand changes in temperature and weather.

The Krylon paint is easy to use, so we recommended it for beginners who wish to do simple DIY projects at home.

The paint is available in at least 6 bright colors that give a durable finish. Your project can be completed faster than you think, thanks to its fast drying time.

It is available in a 12 oz spray can. Depending on the surface, a container can cover at least 25 square feet. If you want a high-gloss metallic appearance on your items, then this is a product to go for.

  • It is available in 6 color options
  • Suitable for a wide range of material
  • It gives a high-gloss metallic finish
  • Great coverage per can
  • It has a fast drying time
  • It can only be used for indoor projects

8. Krylon K01505000 High Heat Spray Paint

The Krylon high heat spray paint will resist temperature up to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit. So if you intend spraying metal surfaces that are exposed to extremely high temperatures, then you have got the right paint.

We like the turnover time. It gets dried to touch in 15 minutes after application and after an hour, it is ready to be handled. The paint does not only give you a lovely surface finish, but it also provides optimum protection against rust.

There are up to 5 different colors to choose from including black and white which makes it good for recoating cooktops and outdoor grills.

Read Also: Rustoleum Rusty Metal Primer Review

You are not only restricted to using it for metals subjected to high temperatures. It can find its application in other domestic items made from wood and plastics.

It is available in 2 finishes (flat and satin finish). With good coverage, the paint is economical.

  • Good coverage which makes it economical
  • Withstands up to 1200 degree Fahrenheit temperatures
  • Protects against rust
  • Dries to touch in 15 minutes
  • There are some few complain about the spray nozzle ejecting chunky blobs while spraying

9. POR-15 45401 Rust Preventive Coating

If you have got a metallic surface that is constantly exposed to moisture or conditions that enhance rusting and corrosion, then you may have to paint the surface more frequently than expected.

Luckily, the POR-15 45401 rust-preventive paint, has been designed to deal with this by featuring a formula that provides permanent protection from rust.

If you do not want to go through all the stress of prepping, then this will be the right choice because the paint can be applied directly on the rusted surface – no need to remove rust before applying.

The advanced formula is designed to work on the toughest jobs where permanent protection against corrosion and rust is a must.

The paint dries to a rock-hard and non-porous finish that won’t crack, peel or chip. It prevents rust from further reoccurrence by protecting the metal from further exposure to moisture.

POR-15 45401 rust-preventive paint is one of the best paint for metal surfaces and to permanently stop rust. It is not beginner-friendly, so only use when you’ve got to do a professional job.

  • Available in 1-gallon container
  • It is self-leveling so you can easily get an even coat despite its thickness
  • A variety of colors available
  • Gives permanent protection from rust
  • It is not beginner-friendly, hence, not suitable for DIY projects

10. Rust-Oleum 329598 Chalked Ultra Matte Paint

The first thing we like about the chalk paint is the availability of a range of colors. There are about 13 colors to choose from.

The paint is a multi-purpose paint that can be used on a range of materials which includes wood, metal, ceramic, and canvas.

It has got excellent adhesion on metals especially when properly prepped. Suitable for painting indoor items because of their low odor. It is easy to clean up with soap and water.

It doesn’t have an excellent drying time compared to others. It dries after 30 minutes of application. The chalk ultra-matte paint has got good coverage. Typically, 30 oz paint can cover up to 150 square feet and only needs one coat.

Whether brush-on or spraying, it is easy to apply using your preferred method of application. The major downside with the product is the fact that it can’t be used for outdoor projects

  • Great for DIY Projects
  • Easy soap and water clean up
  • Low Odor
  • One coat coverage on most surface
  • It is not suitable for outdoor projects
  • It is not the best for metals compared to others

Best Anti Rust Paint For Metal | Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

best paint for rusty metal

You can easily identify metallic paint from its label. Most paints have got a list of materials the paint can be used on.

However, we may not depend on labels, especially if you want to do a more professional job. There are some factors you may need to consider before buying one.

Indoor or outdoor use

Even though there are paints, made for metal surfaces, not all may be suitable for both indoor and outdoor projects. Some paints are produced for indoor and outdoor use as most of the products we have reviewed above. On the contrary, other few paints are also tagged as indoor use only.

Indoor paints are not as durable as those designated for outdoors because they may not possess resistance to most defects caused by weather and UV sunlight. Using the right paint for the right purpose will ensure that your project lasts longer.

Choose rust-resistant paint for surfaces prone to moisture

If you have surfaces that are exposed to moisture, then you can be sure to always get a rusted surface in a  short time. For such surfaces or items, it is better to use rust-resistant paints. Outdoor metal furniture, metal railings, and doors fall under this category.

Rust-oleum stops rust and so it is one of the best Paint for rusty metal.

Use high-heat paint on heat-generating surfaces

If you intend to paint surfaces that are subjected to high temperature, then there are also paints designed for this. Auto engines, outdoor grills, and cooktops fall within this category.

Using regular oil-based paint will only produce blisters or peel off when subjected to such high temperatures.

Rust-Oleum automotive paint is one product that can be used for such purposes as it can resist high temperatures up to 500 degrees F.

Your preferred method of application

The common methods of paint applications are spraying, brushing, and dipping. You should consider your preferred choice before buying one. If you intend to use a brush, then you shouldn’t buy paints that come in spray containers.

If you prefer spaying, then spray paints are great. On the contrary, if you intend to use sprayers, then you should buy the products that come in containers rather than spray cans.

Metallic paint or metallic finish

Do not get confused. They are two different things. Metallic paints are paints that can bond with metals or in the worst condition, will bond when an appropriate primer is used.

However, some paints may be advertised as “metallic finish.” Such paints may not be made for metals, but has only got that metallic flakes reflection finish. Always make sure to read the labels carefully to understand what you are buying.

Read Also: How to Use Vinegar Remove Paint from Metal

How To Paint Rusted Metal

What Kind Of Paint To Use On Metal

As long as a metal has still got the strength to serve the purpose, with the right paint, you can restore it to its original glory. So in this section, we will walk you through the steps on how to paint rusted metal.

What you will need for the job

  • Rust-inhibitive primer
  • Rust-oleum paint
  • Angle grinder
  • Corded drill
  • A wire brush

Step 1

The first step is to clean off the surface and get rid of loosed rust and paint flakes. Depending on how much damage the rust has done on the surface, start brushing off the surface with a wire brush. Scrub thoroughly until you get a smooth surface as much as possible.

If the surface is not smooth enough, you can apply a drill with a wire wheel to scrub the surface intended to be painted. This should be done for heavily rusted and pitted metals.

Step 2

We do not recommend painting or spraying paint directly over the rusted surface. So next, you’d want to prime the surface. Use a special primer that chemically converts rust to a paintable surface.

Coat deeply the metal surface with the primer until you can no longer see any imperfection. Then spray the recommended rust paint over the prepared surface.

Safety Precaution When Painting

Paints contain toxic chemicals that can threaten your health if inhaled frequently. So it is recommended to always wear a respirator mask.

Also, try as much as possible to spray outside or in a well-ventilated area. Wear eye goggles when prepping a surface, especially when getting rid of the rust or paint flakes.

Best Paint For Outdoor Metal Surfaces FAQs

Can you spray paint metal?

This is one question that has always been asked and we will give a straightforward answer. Yes! You can spray paint metal. Whatever means you want to use for painting metal, you will get a good result. The secret to spraying metal lies in the preparation of the surface.

Ordinarily, it will be difficult for paint to bond with a metal surface, but with proper priming and using the right primer, you can get a nice job done.

Read Also: How to Remove Paint from Metal Door

What is the best exterior paint for metal railings?

There is not designated paint specially designed for metal railings, but there are many paints out there that can be used for this purpose.

Since you will be painting an exterior metal, you need a paint that can withstand temperature and designed for outdoor purposes.

What paint to use on metal doors?

For metal doors, it makes sense to use a paint that gives a metallic finish. Of course, you can use any of the paints we have reviewed above, but when it comes to doors, we’d prefer paints that are not too colorful and gives you a shiny finish with metallic flakes reflections. The Rust-Oleum is a perfect fit for such cases.

Can you mix metallic paint with regular paint?

We have never been in support of mixing paints except you can ascertain if they are made with similar formulas. Just as you cannot mix interior paint with exterior paint, so also, you should not mix metallic paint with regular paint.

Depending on what you intend to achieve, you can add glazing liquid to metallic paint to give it a more translucent look. However, it is important to note that this reduces the drying time of the paint.

How do you paint metal surfaces?


  • Remove Old Paint and Rust. Use a wire brush to remove any loose or flaking paint and as much surface rust as possible.
  • Scuff Up the Metal. If the metal doesn’t have paint on it or it’s smooth, take a scuffing pad and rub it along the metal.
  • Prime the Metal.
  • Apply Paint.
  • Allow the Paint to Cure.

How do you get paint to stick to metal?

To properly prepare new metal surfaces, use mineral spirits to remove grease and apply a rust-inhibitive primer before painting. For painted surfaces that are in sound condition, remove dust with a clean, dry cloth, de-gloss the surface with light sanding, and wipe with mineral spirits to ensure good adhesion.

What kind of paint do you use on metal panels?

First and foremost, the right type of paint should be selected. Acrylic latex paint works well for bare metal roofs or painting over old paint coats. The combination of oil-based alkyd paint and a galvanized metal primer can work well too, ensuring that the paint is locked in and adhered in the right manner.

What is the most durable paint for metal?

Oil-based paints are the most durable.

You’ll achieve a more uniform finish if you first apply an oil-based primer (e.g., Rust-Oleum Clean Metal Primer, $8.98 per quart on Amazon). However, you can apply oil paint directly to metal because it contains no water, and therefore there’s so no risk of rust.

Can I paint metal without primer?

As long as you properly prepare the surface before primering it is certainly OK to apply. Be aware that primers are not durable- their only job is to create better adhesion between the surface and the paint, and sometimes to seal out the original color. It is a bad thing to allow it to let it unpainted for too long.

Is latex paint good for metal?

The best paint choices for metal surfaces are Oil or Enamel based Paints. They are usually the best option for metal surfaces. Sure latex paints can work however, they are nothing compared to oil or enamel based paints for metal surface types. Oil-based paints are durable and resist stains, chips and marks.

Will spray paint rub off metal?

Spray paint doesn’t rub off, provided you use the right product, the right way, for the job. If it rubs off, you fix it by using the right product, the right way, for the job.

Is enamel paint good for metal?

Most paints are made for fibrous and porous materials, and metal often needs a little extra consideration when it comes to painting. Enamel paint is one viable option for painting metal of all kinds.

Can corrugated metal be painted?

Use metal primer and metal paint for this paint job. Give your corrugated metal a scrub before painting. Metal roofing, including corrugated metal, can last 100 years, notes Ask the Builder. You’ll need to do prep work, but time, attention and a fresh coat of paint will do wonders for the corrugated metal on your home.

What is the best paint for galvanized metal?

acrylic coatings
Most acrylic coatings will adhere directly to cleaned galvanized metal. A weathered galvanized surface develops a layer of white rust, which must be removed to ensure good adhesion of the coating.


The best paint for a metallic surface is the one that will easily stick to metals, whether they are smooth or rusted. We have reviewed only the best products in the market so that you can complete your painting project without the fear of buying the wrong one.

 They are not only the best but more importantly, they are the best paint for rusty metal.