Best Metal Paint Reviewed 2020

best metal paint

You can paint just about anything these days. There are specialist products designed to cover just about any surface, which of course extends to metal paint. No, this is not an article about paint with a healthy respect for Iron Maiden, Metallica, Black Sabbath and the other pioneers (although there might be a potential gap in the market there…). Paint for metal surfaces needs to meet some unique requirements not posed by other surfaces.

In much the same way that, for example, exterior wood paint needs to have some degree of damp and moisture resistance to prevent the material from taking on moisture and compromising its look, finish and structural integrity, metal paint needs to protect. Metal surfaces are all over the home and are often at risk of rust and corrosion if not looked after properly, which is where metal paint steps in.

Of course, not all metal paints are created equally. Some will offer different standards and levels of protection as well as different finishes, depending on the type of metal surface they’re designed for. To make the choice a little bit easier for you, here are a selection of the very best metal paints available to buy today.

NameCoverageDry TimeCost
Hammerite Direct to Rust Metal Paint12 m2 /l2 hours££££
Rustins Quick Drying Metal Paint12 m2 /l2 hours£
Dulux Quick Dry for Wood and Metal12 m2 /l16 hours££
Rust-Oleum Universal Paint12 m2 /l2 hours££
Hammerite Direct to Galvanised Metal Paint12 m2 /l6 hours£££

Hammerite Direct to Rust Metal Paint

Who says metal has to be shades of grey or black? Hammerite’s Direct to Rust metal paint is available in a massive 22 different colours, meaning you’ll never be stuck for choice on what to pick to jazz up your metal while protecting it. It also dries to a clean high gloss finish to make surfaces look brand new. Another big selling point of this paint is the 3-in-1 functionality, saving you time and effort with a primer, undercoat and topcoat all in one.

The paint is designed with durability in mind; it comes with a guaranteed 8 years’ protection, keeping out moisture by creating a barrier that seals out damp. The high levels of protection and durability make it suitable for both indoor and outdoor usage. It’s also quick drying and although it will need a couple of coats, goes a long way and is good value to boot.


  • Lots of colours
  • 8 years protection
  • Indoor and outdoor
  • Decent value


  • Relatively thick

Rustins Quick Drying Metal Paint

A water-based quick drying paint from Rustins, this dries to a pretty and understated matt black sheen suitable for both metalwork and wood. As a paint with a high water content, it would be necessary to pair it with a rust-inhibiting primer first (when working with metal). The finish brings to mind the classic look of flat black wrought iron, both classy and understated.

Thanks to a formula that’s low in VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) the paint has a very low odour, and as such is as suitable for inside use as it is outside. As well as being quick to dry, the paint itself also goes a surprisingly long way, making it a very good value option. A good consistency also makes this straightforward to apply, wrapping up what is a good quality paint with a high standard of finish at a very reasonable price.


  • Quick drying
  • Low odour
  • Good value


  • Limited rust protection

Dulux Quick Dry for Wood and Metal

If it’s vibrancy you’re looking for, perhaps you should consider Dulux’s Quick Dry gloss paint, suitable for wood as well as metals. The ‘Orange Fizz’ variant (pictured) is a particular favourite but there’s a rainbow of 15 colours in total to choose from, giving you plenty of choice in how you jazz up your metalwork. The formula is quick to dry, needing around an hour for touch dryness and 6 hours to be fully dry.

A low odour formula makes this safe and easy to use indoors, but it’s also just as at home in outdoors applications. Another useful facet of the paint is its self-undercoating composition, making the process slightly easier. The resulting gloss finish is wipeable for easy cleaning, and is also actively resistant to fading and yellowing to keep your surfaces looking fresh for longer. As is often the case with Dulux paints, this comfortably walks the line between value and high quality.


  • Colour options
  • Durable
  • Low odour


  • Thinner consistency

Rust-Oleum Universal Paint

Rust-Oleum’s All-Surface Universal paint is a versatile paint for a myriad of household applications, from wood and tiles to metal radiators and more. It does this with a high level of quality and a dazzling spectrum of different colours, giving you a great amount of choice. Key to its appeal is the combination of paint and primer in one convenient tin, saving you time, effort and money in the long run.

It’s suitable for use both indoors and outdoors thanks to a strong and durable formula, which even extends to the capacity to be painted directly to rust. As an oil-based paint it’s got a good level of resistance to moisture and dampness, strengthening its utility for interior and exterior applications. Drying time is around 8 hours, although it will be dry to the touch in around 2 hours.


  • Versatile applications
  • Paint straight to rust
  • Lots of colours


  • Strong odour

Hammerite Direct to Galvanised Metal Paint

Galvanised metal is metal that has been treated, most often by dipping into and coating with molten zinc, to offer enhanced corrosion resistance among other benefits. With this treatment comes the need for a slightly more specialised paint, and Hammerite are the brand to see you right here. This paint is specially formulated to be applied directly to galvanised metal surfaces, and without the need for a primer or undercoat – it only needs one coat.

This naturally gives even more protection to a surface already treated to be corrosion-proof. The added rust and moisture protection will extend the lifespan of your metal surfaces a significant amount. It produces a smooth metallic finish when dry, and is available in copper (pictured) and other colours such as silver, subject to availability. It’s easy to use, and with the level of protection it offers, justifies a higher price tag – worth it for the specialist job it does very capably.


  • High standard of protection
  • Easy to use
  • One coat application


  • Expensive

Which Metal Paint To Go For?

Metal paint has some very specific features and requirements that need to be covered. It has to help protect the metal surfaces from rust and corrosion, which if left untreated or unprotected would seriously compromise the integrity of the metalwork. In the grand scheme of things, a spot of paint is going to cost significantly less than replacing, say, a radiator – with that in mind, here are our picks for the best overall and best value metal paints.

Best Metal Paint – overall, the Hammerite Direct to Rust Metal Paint is the standout winner here. The specificity for metal, with inherent rust proofing and moisture resistance, paired with a significant range of colours and a really high quality finish, make this fully worth the investment.

Best ValueRustins Quick Drying Metal Paint is the best value option here. It may not have the same specificity for a metal surface, being water based, but it still does a fantastic job covering up metal. As long as it’s been appropriately primed, the coverage and protection is hard to knock at this price point.

Metal Paint FAQ

How to paint metal

As with any painting project, the first step is to ensure that your surface is clean and dry. Remove any residue, be it paint or dirt, from your surface and if necessary apply a rust-inhibiting primer. Additionally, if there’s any damage to the metalwork that could be repaired, such as dents or small rust patches, ensure these are repaired before beginning to paint. Then, it’s simply a case of using the appropriately sized brush or roller to apply one or two coats as needed/directed by the manufacturer instructions.

How to remove paint from metal

Removing paint from metal is a relatively straightforward process, as long as you are careful not to damage the surface in the process. For flaky bits of paint, a stiff wire brush should do the job. For larger paint layers, most paint thinners/strippers will be sufficient to lift the paint off.

How to paint rusted metal

Painting rusted metal is a case of first treating the rust, then painting over the area to prevent it happening again. Depending on the extent of the rust, scrape away the surface rust with a wire brush or clean away as much as possible, before applying a rust-inhibiting primer. From there, you should be able to paint over using your metal paint of choice.

What paint to use on metal

Fundamentally, the best kind of paint to use on metal is one that is oil-based, for one very simple reason. Metal paint is designed to inhibit/prevent rust, and if you weren’t using an oil-based paint it would be a water-based paint. But, of course, water doesn’t exactly inhibit rust.

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