What Is the Best Paint for Kitchen Cabinets?

As a cabinet painting professional, I'm always looking for the best of the best of finishes for cabinets. 

Best paints for spraying cabinets

The best finishes for spraying cabinets in house are European waterborne urethanes. Brands such as Milesi and Renner are in my opinion at the top of line for quality and durability.

Best Paints for brushing and rolling

Homeowners who want to brush or roll should use Acrylics such as Benjamin Moore Advance, or Sherwin Williams Emerald Urethane paints. Many professionals have had good success with either one of these. 

The BM Advance paint has a little more open time or dry time, which means you have a little more time to brush out your paint before it hardens and leaves ugly brush marks. This makes it a good option for inexperienced or first time painters. The down side is that it drys slowly and should not be re-coated for 24 hours. This should be ok for most homeowners, but if you need a quicker turn around time, go with SW Emerald Urethane

I don't recommend cabinet paints by Behr or Valspar. Also never use regular latex paint on cabinets, as that is much to soft and should only be used on walls etc.

Primers for refinishing cabinetry

First of all never use a "paint and primer as one" combination. This may be fine for painting walls but is not a good option for cabinetry. No matter what the paint reps may tell you, proper prep such as cleaning, sanding and priming are very important when it comes to painting cabinetry. 

When painting existing cabinets, you will want to use a stain blocking primer. Many painting professionals are having success with these two products - Zinsser BIN shellac primer, or Zinsser Coverstain oilbased primer. Stay away from water based stain blocking primers such as Zinsser Bullseye 123. Kiltz may be good, but the smells and VOC's are terrible.

Pro's and Cons: Bin shellac is good for stain blocking but some have had some issues with adhesion to certain existing finishes. To get around this, some pros use a waterborne primer such as Stix (which is not stainblocking) and then using BIN over top of that for it's stain blocking properties. And, yes, stain blocking is primer is important because stains even under existing finishes will migrate into the new paint causing discoloration. So if using Stix primer, be sure to add one or two coats of BIN.

Coverstain on the other hand has excellent stain blocking properties as well as good adhesion. The downside is the smell is stronger since it's an oilbased product. Make sure to use a good respirator and have good ventilation!

For best results, plan to do two coats of primer. Paint all exterior faces and both sides of the cabinet doors. an average kitchen could take 2 gallons of primer if brushing and rolling and 3 gallons if spraying.

  • BIN Shellac can be cleaned up with Denatured alcohol.
  • Stix is water-based and can be cleaned with water and a little mineral spirits.
  • Coverstain must be cleaned with mineral spirits or paint thinner.

See our recommended products below.

Proper prep is key to success!

Remember that it doesn't matter how good your paint is, this does not replace proper cleaning, sanding, and prep. This is really the determining factor whether you paint job will fail or be a success.

For more info on prepping and tools such as best brushes and rollers see our blog on prepping cabinets for paint.

Cabinet painting services

If you want us to professionally paint your cabinets, contact me here. You can also save money by painting your cabinets yourself with a brush and roller and have us professionally spray the doors which are the prominent part of the cabinetry.

Happy painting!

Raymond Glick

Homestead Cabinet Design

white painted kitchen

Chantilly Lace painted Kitchen

I'd love to hear from you! Leave me a comment or question below.

Recommended products

By purchasing products through the links below, we receive an affiliate commission. This does not cost you any more, and helps us produce valuable content like this for this site.

Excellent rollers for painting cabinets
Liners for interiors
Sprayer for homeowners