Rustoleum vs Krylon

Rustoleum vs Krylon: Which is Better? (2024 Guide)

Rustoleum and Krylon are two of the most sought-after spray paint brands and I love both of them. In fact, both brands offer some of the best spray paints for wood surfaces that I highly recommend.

But which brand makes the best paint, and which is overall superior?

In this guide, I’ll compare Rustoleum vs Krylon based on color options, durability, coverage, and much more. Let’s dig in!


In my opinion, Rustoleum spray paint is slightly better than Krylon. But it’s not by a ton. Krylon products, especially their spray paints, are far from low-quality. In fact, Krylon products are strong and visually appealing, and there’s a wide selection too.

Rustoleum vs Krylon Spray Paint

Rustoleum Spray Paint

Color & Sheen Options

When it comes to color and sheen options, both Rustoleum and Krylon have much to offer. Regarding paint colors, I’m talking about hundreds of choices with both brands.

That said, Rustoleum makes browsing their color selection online much easier. Basically, you select the base color you want, and then they’ll show you all the variations available.

On the Krylon site, you have to scroll through a long list and keep hitting “See More”. Obviously, this has nothing to do with their paint quality, but it is relevant because it could prevent you from finding the paint color you need.

And both brands offer a variety of sheens, ranging from matte to ultra-glossy.

So in this category, the brands are virtually neck and neck, with an ever so slight edge going to Rustoleum.

The bottom line is: whether you use Rustoleum spray paint or Krylon, you’re sure to get an attractive color that stays looking good for many years.


In the category of durability, Rustoleum reigns supreme, which shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise—you’d expect a product with rust in its name to deliver at least decent rust protection, right?

But Rustoleum paints and finishes go beyond that. They are specially formulated to be impervious to rust and other erosive elements, and the protective coating they form will last for years.

Now, to be clear, Krylon spray paint offers durable protection as well, but some products are better than others. So if you want first-rate rust-protection properties, choose Krylon Supermaxx over regular Colormaxx.

Krylon ColorMaxx

Either way, you’ll be getting a quality, anti-rust paint, and that’s exactly what you’ll need if you’re looking to paint an outdoor structure that’ll be subjected to rain, intense UV rays, etc. 


Coverage is an important factor to consider when selecting a spray paint, and it should always be considered in relation to price—but more on that later!

Rustoleum products tend to offer more coverage than Krylon’s, but in most cases the difference is negligible.

That said, it’s also true that Krylon Fusion should cover more area, especially since comparable Rustoleum spray paints easily cover dozens of square feet more.

Krylon Fusion

Of course, how much space a spray paint can cover is in large part determined by the surface’s porosity, and you must keep this in mind whether you’re using Krylon paints or Rustoleum.

Ease of Application

Whether we’re talking about Rustoleum spray paints or Krylon, we’re talking about easy-to-use products that are even accessible to those who’ve never done spray painting before.

Of course, primer should be used no matter which product you select, as primer helps with adhesion and color retention.

And usually multiple coats are required, unless the paint is on the thicker side.

Finally, regardless of whether you’re spraying Rustoleum or Krylon spray paint, you can spray vertical surfaces without having to worry about drips forming as the paint dries.

Drying Time

If drying time is a major concern of yours, go with Krylon aerosol paints over Rustoleum options, as Krylon dries in just a few minutes, whereas Rustoleum could take more than an hour to dry completely.

Of course, how long it takes the paint to dry depends on a variety of factors. For instance, if you’re using a thicker formula, whether it’s Rustoleum or Krylon, you can expect a longer drying process.

Similarly, if you’re applying paint when atmospheric conditions aren’t great, you have to deal with a longer drying process.


Since Rustoleum and Krylon paints can be successfully applied to a range of materials, including metal surfaces, it’s fair to say both brands put out highly versatile products.

It’s also fair to say that both Rustoleum and Krylon paints can be used to great effect for a wide variety of painting projects, in large part because they have similar properties.

And both brands even put out specialty paints for various surfaces, and this too indicates attention to versatility, which I wholly support.

Specialty Paints

Both brands make specialty paints for different applications, but the one I’m most familiar with is Rustoleum plastic paint.

Once fully cured, this paint gives the surface it’s applied to a plasticky feel, but it’s more durable and bolder (color-wise) than other paints.

Krylon also makes plastic paints, but I haven’t had a chance to test any of them out. I have, however, been able to use their epoxy-shield specialty paint, and this is a first-rate product all around.


The majority of spray paints aren’t the most eco-friendly products, and this is definitely something you should consider before choosing spray paint for a paint job.

That said, both brands do put out products that are less toxic and less harsh on the environment. The only problem is these products don’t offer optimum rust protection, as they’re without necessary chemicals.


By now, it should be clear that Rustoleum and Krylon products are more similar than they are different, so it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that they’re similarly priced as well.

This is good because you won’t be out a lot of money if you choose one brand over the other and don’t like the results you get.

Now, regarding what I said earlier about coverage, it’s good to consider this with price because a spray paint that delivers more coverage for less money is excellent in terms of cost-effectiveness. Of course, the results have to be high-quality for this to be the case.

Pros & Cons of Rustoleum

Rustoleum Pros

  • Rustoleum products ensure more durable protection against rust, mold, UV rays, and other elements.
  • Rustoleum products work on wood, metal, plastic, and other surfaces, so they’re more versatile.
  • A range of sheens are available, from flat finish to glossy.
  • Rustoleum products are high-quality yet affordable, so they can be used by pros and amateurs alike.

Rustoleum Cons

  • Rustoleum products take longer to dry, usually because they’re more viscous.
  • Rustoleum products with an oil-based formula tend to be more toxic.

Pros & Cons of Krylon

Krylon Pros

  • Krylon products dry quicker than other paints, so painting jobs don’t take as long.
  • Krylon paint will also serve as a protective layer, preventing moisture damage.
  • Krylon paints with a glossy sheen are well-balanced, so they won’t reflect blinding light.
  • Krylon spray cans are easy to use, so they’re best for vertical, overhead, and hard-to-reach surfaces.

Krylon Cons

  • Krylon spray paints don’t cover as much area as other spray paints.
  • It’s hard to find Krylon specialty paints because of the way their website is laid out..

You can also check out this video comparing both spray paint brands!

Tips for Using Spray Paint

Clean & Prep Beforehand

It’s absolutely vital that you clean and prep the surface you intend to paint before you let a single drop come out of the can.

If you thoroughly clean the surface so it’s free of all dirt and buildup, the paint will adhere better, and achieving a smooth, uniform finish will be far easier.

Plus, you won’t have to worry about dirt bleeding through once the paint is dry.

And if you’re going to be spray painting a wood surface, you need to sand it beforehand so the paint doesn’t have a hard time entering the wood’s pores.

Continuous Motion

Spraying in a continuous motion is essential, and it doesn’t matter whether you spray from side to side or from top to bottom—the important thing is that you continue spraying until the surface is totally covered.

Spraying this way will also help you avoid laps and drips, so achieving a consistent finish all the way through will be easier.

This is why it’s so essential to only use lightweight, compact, and easy-to-maneuver cans; without one of these it’ll be much harder to spray in one uninterrupted motion.

Spray When Conditions Are Ideal

You should only spray paint when atmospheric conditions are favorable. In other words, you shouldn’t use spray paint when it’s too hot or too cold, and there shouldn’t be too much humidity.

If you apply spray paint when conditions are ideal, it’ll dry properly and possibly even faster than expected.

Can Rustoleum Be Sprayed Over Krylon and Vice Versa?

Yes, you could spray Rustoleum paint over Krylon paint, so long as you use a primer that can completely block out the old finish before painting. The same goes for Krylon.

But I recommend removing any old paint before adding a new coat, regardless of the paint you choose. That’s because paint adheres better to clean, bare surfaces, and this way you don’t have to worry about bleed-through.

Is Primer Needed Before Spray Paint?

If you’re going to be using spray paint for a project, it’s best to use primer beforehand. Primer will help the spray paint adhere to the surface, and it’ll also help the paint dry properly.

Of course, if the spray paint dries properly, it’s going to be strong and visually appealing.

All you’ll need is one coat of primer, and it should only take 30 minutes to an hour to dry.

Note: If you’re applying primer to metal or plastic, you won’t need as much as if you were applying it to wood, which is naturally more porous.

Looking for a primer for your project? Check out this Kilz vs Zinsser primer comparison to find out which is best!

Should Spray Paint Be Sealed?

Yes, spray paint should be sealed with water-based polyurethane or another sealant after it’s fully cured.

Water-based polyurethane is my personal preference because this clear-coat finish will protect any kind of outer surface without discoloring it.

I know, both Rustoleum and Krylon can stop rust, but it’s better if you don’t have to put this quality to the test; this way the attractive colors stay intact for longer.

Final Thoughts

To recap, Rustoleum spray paint is generally better than Krylon spray paint, but that doesn’t mean Krylon spray paint can’t be the right paint for the paint job you have.

Basically, if you want an extremely durable and eye-catching paint that’ll keep its good appearance for a long time, choose Rustoleum.

And if you want a quick-drying, easy-to-apply spray paint that’ll look good no matter what surface it’s applied to, choose Krylon.