The Best Spray Paints for Metal

Don’t fight with a brush or roller when you can simply use a can of spray paint to quickly and easily paint a variety of metal structures, appliances, and metalworking projects.

Best Overall

The Best Spray Paint for Metal Surfaces Option: Krylon K02732007 Fusion All-In-One Spray Paint

Krylon K02732007 Fusion All-In-One Spray Paint

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Best Bang For The Buck

The Best Spray Paint for Metal Surfaces Option: Rust-Oleum 249115-6 PK Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover

Rust-Oleum 249115-6 PK Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover

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Best Heat-Resistant

The Best Spray Paint for Metal Surfaces Option: Rutland Products 80 Hi-Temp Spray Paint

Rutland Products 80 Hi-Temp Spray Paint

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Spray paint is used on metal for a variety of purposes, including decorating a metalworking project, renewing the color on a car’s wheel wells, or even sealing a grill against rust, provided the spray paint is rated for very high temperatures. With this in mind, it is important to choose a spray paint that is designed for use on metal. Otherwise, it won’t have the same adhesion and may simply chip or flake off.

The best spray paint for your next project will depend on a range of factors. For instance, if shoppers will be using the paint for their metal shed, they’ll need a product that’s made to withstand sun, rain, and temperature fluctuations. Shoppers might also want to consider the color, drying time, and whether they need a separate primer and spray paint or an all-in-one product. Take a look at the top spray-paint selections below, and then read on to find out what you need to know before choosing the right product for your project.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Krylon K02732007 Fusion All-In-One Spray Paint
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Rust-Oleum 249115-6 PK Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover
  3. BEST HEAT RESISTANCE: Rutland Products 80 Hi-Temp Spray Paint
  4. BEST RUST RESISTANCE: Rust-Oleum Stops Rust Hammered Spray Paint
  5. BEST FOR OUTDOOR METAL: Krylon K05539007 COLORmaxx Spray Paint and Primer
  6. BEST DECORATIVE: Montana Cans Montana Marble Effect Spray
  7. BEST FOR ROOF: Rust-Oleum 285217 Roof Accessory Spray Paint
The Best Spray Paint for Metal Options
Photo: pixabay.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Spray Paint for Metal 

Whether shoppers are picking out spray paint to touch up their metal shed or to add a pop of color to their latest metalworking project, there are several factors to consider, including drying time, durability, type of paint, and whether or not it can withstand the elements or extreme temperatures.

Type of Paint 

When buyers are deciding on spray paint for repairs or touching up a metalworking project, they will want to consider paint that is designed for the material and the environment. This can include choosing a water-based acrylic or an oil-based enamel or spray paint that’s specifically intended for indoor or outdoor use. For instance, an indoor spray paint may not have the same water resistance and durability as outdoor spray paint but may come in more color options. Shoppers will want to think about where the project or item they want to spray paint will be situated when making their decision.

Some spray paints have a range of finishes, such as gloss, matte, satin, flat, hammered, textured, or metallic, that can give metal surfaces a certain look. Also, if shoppers don’t have time to apply a primer beforehand, they might want to invest in combined spray paint and primer that makes it easier for the paint to adhere to metal.

High Temperature Range 

One common use for spray paint that is designed to be used on metal is to paint the barbecue, grill, fire pit, and other hot-to-the-touch surfaces. However, for spray paint to be effective in these applications, it needs to be resistant to extremely high temperatures so that the paint doesn’t peel, melt, or otherwise degrade due to exposure to the heat.

Shoppers will want to keep in mind that metal conducts heat much more efficiently than wood, plastic, and many other materials. This means that even if they are not painting a grill or fire pit, there may still be the risk of the paint being exposed to high temperatures. It’s important to consider the roof or walls of a metal work shed that is out under the hot sun all day. Those surfaces can get extremely hot, so shoppers will want to choose their spray paint wisely.

Durability

Durability is an important consideration, especially if the spray paint will be used outdoors or in any high-traffic or high-heat locations. Spray paint for indoor use normally has a lower durability requirement because it is sheltered from the elements and is often used for more decorative purposes.

Spray paint intended for outdoor use must take into account exposure to moisture, changing temperatures, and even the intensity of the sun. Buyers will want to make sure that they invest in a product that has UV resistance if the object will be regularly in the sun; otherwise, the paint will fade and chip. Even if there are several coats of paint on an object, the paint will quickly degrade if it’s not rated for the environment. Using the wrong spray paint could even cause significant problems by trapping moisture against the metal instead of protecting it.

Drying Time 

If shoppers will be painting an object in an isolated or covered area, then the drying time may not be as important to them; but if they are painting exterior objects, like a shed or grill, they will want to be sure that the paint will dry before the object is exposed to rain, snow, or high heat.

Generally, water-based spray paints will dry at a much quicker rate than oil-based paints, though each spray-paint product will have its own drying time determined by the specific product formula. The manufacturer will typically list the drying time on the product details and on the packaging so that buyers are aware of the drying time before they buy the paint.

Our Top Picks

The products below were chosen for quality and price. Check out this list to discover some of the best spray paints for painting metal surfaces.

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This spray paint is something of an all-purpose option for metal projects with several beneficial features that make it an ideal choice for a variety of situations. Having primer already mixed in greatly reduces the amount of time it takes to apply a smooth, clean coat to projects. Users also have the freedom to choose from over 50 color options in seven different styles: metallic, gloss, satin, matte, hammered, or textured.

The oil-based spray paint can be used inside or outdoors; though, to get the best results, it should be applied when the ambient temperature is between 55 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The paint takes 20 minutes to dry to the touch and 1 hour to cure fully, providing excellent rust protection once it is cured.

Product Specs

  • Type: Oil-based
  • Drying time: 1 hour
  • Finish: Matte, flat, satin, gloss, metallic, textured, or hammered

Pros

  • All-in-one primer and spray paint
  • Over 50 different color options and 7 finishes
  • All-purpose metal formula can be used indoors and outdoors
  • Dries in just 60 minutes

Cons

  • Powerful paint odor

Get the Krylon All-In-One spray paint on Amazon or at Lowe’s.

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Save money by investing in this value pack of spray paint that is designed for use on metal, plastic, vinyl, drywall, mortar, brick, and other masonry materials. Shoppers can choose from over 100 different colors and finish combinations to ensure that they’ll find the right spray-paint six-pack to complete their job. Each can of spray paint contains 12 fluid ounces of paint and covers up to 12 square feet, allowing users to cover up to 72 square feet with all six cans.

This spray paint can dry within 20 minutes, but it takes 48 hours to cure fully after application. The reason for this is that the paint has an oil-based formula that takes longer to dry, but it is abrasion- and impact-resistant so that the coat of paint will provide metal objects protection for years. This spray paint is also a low-odor product so users won’t have to worry about noxious fumes making it difficult to breathe.

Product Specs

  • Type: Oil-based
  • Drying time: 20 minutes
  • Finish: Matte, metallic, flat, gloss, high gloss, satin, semi-gloss, or ultra matte

Pros

  • Resistant to impact damage and abrasions
  • Can be used on a variety of materials
  • Over 100 different color and finish combinations
  • Low-odor option

Cons

  • Takes 48 hours to cure fully

Get the Rust-Oleum Ultra Cover spray paint on Amazon or at The Home Depot.

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Stoves, cast-iron grills, hibachis, fire screens, grates, smokers, and more can get chipped and scratched during use. However, with this can of Rutland Products 80 Hi-Temp Spray Paint, these items can be touched up or completely repainted. The heat-resistant spray paint can withstand temperatures of up to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, making it a great option, even for stove pipes or chimney caps.

Users can apply this spray paint to steel, cast iron, aluminum, and brick for a renewed appearance. The paint also provides a layer of protection against rain, sleet, snow, and UV radiation. While it can be used on the exterior of the grill, it is not made for direct food contact, so it should not be used on grill grates or any other surfaces that are typically used for cooking or food preparation.

Product Specs

  • Type: Oil-based
  • Drying time: 24 hours
  • Finish: Flat

Pros

  • Withstands up to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Suitable for grills, stoves, smokers, and more
  • Weather- and UV-resistant
  • Can be used on a variety of materials

Cons

  • Not for direct food contact

Get the Rutland Products spray paint on Amazon or Ace Hardware.

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Rust can be a problem inside and outside the home, though the items and structures in the yard are much more susceptible to rusting than the majority of appliances inside the home. With that in mind, the Rust-Oleum Stops Rust Hammered Spray Paint is designed to protect against rust but also to prevent moisture from seeping through the paint to the metal below.

The oil-based enamel paint comes in 15 color options, each with a hammered appearance that helps to hide imperfections like dents or chips in older objects. This spray paint takes 4 hours to cure fully, and the manufacturer recommends applying two coats for the best results. The paint can also be used on wood, concrete, and other masonry materials.

Product Specs

  • Type: Oil-based enamel
  • Drying time: 4 hours
  • Finish: Hammered

Pros

  • Weather- and corrosion-resistant finish
  • Protects against rust and moisture
  • Can be used on wood, concrete, and other masonry materials
  • Outdoor formula resists abrasion, fading, and chipping

Cons

  • Only available with a hammered finish

Get the Rust-Oleum Hammered spray paint on Amazon or at The Home Depot.

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When painting the work shed, garbage cans, fence brackets, gazebo frame, or any other outdoor metal structure or object, invest in a spray paint that protects the metal against rust. This paint keeps the metal surface safe from rain, snow, and UV radiation so that the appliance or structure doesn’t rust and corrode.

The paint comes in a wide range of color options, and shoppers can choose their ideal finish: flat, gloss, satin, metallic, matte, semi-flat, or semi-gloss. The nozzle on this paint allows users to spray it in any orientation, though for the best results it should be applied when the ambient temperature is between 55 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The paint dries to the touch in 20 minutes, but it takes 48 hours before it is fully cured.

Product Specs

  • Type: Oil-based
  • Drying time: 48 hours
  • Finish: Flat, gloss, satin, metallic, matte, semi-flat, or semi-gloss

Pros

  • All-in-one spray paint and primer
  • Creates a protective barrier against moisture, rust, and corrosion
  • Resistant to rain, snow, and UV radiation
  • Adjustable nozzle can be sprayed in any orientation

Cons

  • Takes 48 hours to dry fully and cure

Get the Krylon COLORmaxx spray paint on Amazon or Paint Supply.

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This spray paint is an excellent option for reviving the look of old appliances and creating metalworking art pieces. The acrylic paint sprays on in threads of black that resemble the pattern of natural marble when applied to a flat surface. The pattern produced by the spray paint depends on how close or far the can is away from the intended surface, the movement of the hand while spraying the paint, and the amount of paint applied.

The nozzle on this spray paint makes it easy to apply from a variety of angles, with each change in angle slightly affecting the spray pattern for a unique finish. After the paint has been applied, it takes 24 hours to dry properly. Use this matte black paint on metal, but it is also suitable for paper, cardboard, primed canvas, wood, glass, ceramics, porcelain, stone, and polystyrene.

Product Specs

  • Type: Acrylic
  • Drying time: 24 hours
  • Finish: Matte

Pros

  • Unique marble effect
  • Can be used on a variety of materials
  • Built-in safety seal to prevent accidental discharge
  • Dry to the touch in just 60 minutes

Cons

  • Not suitable for complete cover

Get the Montana Cans spray paint at The Home Depot or Lowe’s.

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To keep the home in good condition, it’s important to stay on top of necessary maintenance tasks, like replacing broken shingles or touching up the stacks, vents, and other roof accessories. Use this Rust-Oleum Roof Accessory Spray Paint to give the roof a renewed look that matches or complements the surrounding shingles.

The spray paint is a durable, oil-based product that is made to withstand the elements. It boasts a high level of rust resistance and UV protection as well as a fast-drying formula that takes just 20 minutes to dry to the touch. However, the spray paint only comes in weathered-wood brown and rustic slate brown.

Product Specs

  • Type: Oil-based
  • Drying time: 20 minutes
  • Finish: Matte

Pros

  • Superior rust and UV protection
  • Durable finish that is suitable for outdoor use
  • Fast-dry spray paint dries in just 20 minutes
  • Designed for use on exterior roof accessories

Cons

  • Limited color selection

Get the Rust-Oleum Roof Accessory spray paint on Amazon or at The Home Depot.

Our Verdict

For a product with a built-in primer and over 50 different color choices, the Krylon All-In-One spray paint is a great option. However, if shoppers need more than one can of spray paint, then the Rust-Oleum Ultra Cover spray paint is a more affordable choice that comes in a six-can value pack and boasts an oil-based, wear-resistant formula that is ideal for outdoor use.

How We Chose the Best Spray Paints for Metal

The selection process for this list of the top spray paints for metal involved researching a wide range of acrylic paint, latex paint, and high-heat spray paint. It was necessary to consider the drying time of each product as well as the durability of the spray paint to determine the suitable use of the paint for various applications around the home.

Similarly, it was important to include products that are intended for indoor use and spray paint options that are designed to withstand the elements so that they could be applied to outdoor surfaces. Additionally, the type of paint factored into the final list of the best spray paints for metal. Water-based latex is typically made for indoor applications, while an oil-based enamel or acrylic paint is a good option for outdoor use.

Tips for Using Spray Paint for Metal

There are a few important tips to keep in mind when spray-painting metal. It’s recommended to set up both indoor and outdoor projects in a well-ventilated location to reduce the risk of inhaling harmful vapors. If users need to work inside with metal spray paint, they ought to make sure that the windows and doors are open to improve the airflow through the room. It’s also a good idea to set up one or more fans.

The application method for spray paints is a continuous sweeping motion. To learn how to use spray paint, users should direct the spray nozzle towards the target surface and start to move their arm through a sweeping motion. They should not push down on the trigger until their arm is in motion to avoid overspraying the starting location. Similarly, they should release the trigger before they finish sweeping across the project to prevent over spraying in the finishing position. Users should apply the spray paint in light coats for rust protection or to paint metal projects.

  • Choose a well-ventilated location to work.
  • Use a sweeping motion to apply the paint.
  • Spray in short spurts rather than a constant stream.

FAQs 

If you still have questions about the best spray paint for your next metalworking project, read below to find the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.

Q. How long does it take for spray paint on metal to dry? 

The drying time for spray paint on metal can vary depending on the type of paint, the thickness of the coat applied, or even the humidity in the air. However, on average you should wait at least 24 hours to ensure that it is properly dried.

Q. What type of paint adheres to metal?

For spray-painting metal, you can use either water-based acrylic or oil-based paint. One tip to remember is that if you are painting an object that will be heated, like a barbecue, then you will need high-heat spray paint for metal.

Q. How do you paint metal with spray paint?

Prepare the surface by removing any rust, cleaning the material, and applying a primer. After the primer has had time to dry, you can use the spray paint can in a well-ventilated area to apply the spray paint, ensuring that you have properly covered any areas that you don’t want to be painted.

Q. Do you need a primer to paint metal?

A primer is a great option to ensure that the spray paint properly adheres to the metal, though it is only necessary if the metal will be exposed to water. Many spray paints for metal include primer, so if you choose one of these options, you won’t need to apply a separate layer of primer.

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Timothy Dale

Contributing Writer

Timothy Dale is a home improvement writer who has been in the industry for several years. In his work for BobVila.com, he has written a number of how-to articles related to yard maintenance, vehicle repair, and home renovation, not to mention a wide variety of buying guides and articles on DIY projects. He always ensures readers get the information they need to tackle their next project.

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