Best One Coat Paint Reviewed 2020

best one coat paint

In life, there are but a handful of constants. There’s death, there are taxes, but there’s also the little-known third constant which is how waiting for paint to dry only to need another coat if the stuff is a total pain. It can be a frustrating thing, going to do a DIY project that you’ve been excited about getting started with for a while and hoping it’s something you can get done in an afternoon, or maybe a day. Weekends just aren’t long enough the majority of the time.

But there is a way! One coat paints have been around for a while, with the sole purpose of providing you with a high quality lick of paint that won’t span over multiple weekends because of how long you have to wait for them to dry before another coat needs doing.

Of course, it’s very easy to call something a one coat paint and be done, but it needs the quality to back it up. It’s no good if the finish is thin and patchy, meaning you have to apply a second coat which defeats the entire point. In short, not all one coat paints are created equal, and so it’s our job to make things simple and streamlined. With that in mind, here is our selection for the best one coat paints out there for you to buy today.

NameFinishCoverageDry TimeCost
Johnstone’s One Coat SatinSatin9 m2 /l2 hours££
Dulux Once GlossGloss12 m2 /l4 hours£
Crown Solo One CoatSatin14 m2 /l4 hours£
Rainbow The One Multi-Surface PaintGloss12 m2 /l2 hours££££
Johnstone’s Woodcare One Coat Shed and FenceMatt6 m2 /l3 hours££

Johnstone’s One Coat Satin

Johnstone's One Coat Satin

With this One Coat satin paint, Johnstone’s offer a smart product to meet the requirements and demands of the ever-expanding one coat paint market. First and foremost it’s a very pretty paint, with the mid sheen satin finish available in a good spectrum of common household shades that are sure to blend in seamlessly wherever they’re used (coffee cream is a particular favourite, and not just because it contains the word ‘coffee’).

As you’d expect from a self-undercoating one coat paint such as this it’s very quick to dry, achieving touch-dryness in around 2 hours. This comes from the water base to the paint, which also allows it to remain very low odour, enhancing how easy it is to use. It’s also a fairly versatile choice, usable with the majority of indoor woods and metals, while remaining a fairly good value option.

Pros

  • Decent colour selection
  • Nice finish
  • Fairly versatile
  • Quick drying
  • Low odour

Cons

  • Quite thin

Dulux Once Gloss

Dulux Once Gloss

Dulux’s Once paint range aims to meet the mission statement of one coat paints my making a high quality product that lives up to the one coat requirement. This comes thanks to a formula that has an excellent consistency, at a good balance between so thick that it needs watering down, and too thin to consider using at all. The finish of the paint is a glossy high sheen one, and Dulux offer the paint in a small range of whites and ‘cool neutrals’.

The paint lives up to its moniker with a drying time of just 4 hours (touch dry) or 16 hours (fully dry). It’s even good for a variety of applications; as well as being suitable for wood and metal, it can also be used indoors and outdoors, furthering its versatility and value. Value is also a point worth mentioning, as you can get hold of a large volume of this without too much investment.

Pros

  • Good value
  • Great finish
  • Versatile

Cons

  • Limited colours

Crown Solo One Coat

Crown Solo One Coat

Crown’s foray into the world of one coat paint culminates with the Solo range. A satin finish, sitting neatly between matt and gloss, it’s available in the Pure Brilliant White colourway for simple but effective decorating options. It’s usable on a variety of interior wood and metal surfaces, making it additionally quite a versatile choice for home decoration.

As a one coat paint, it is naturally water-based which carries several advantages. Primarily, the water base means that it dries fairly quickly and will be dry to the touch in 4-8 hours, and fully dry in 12-24. It’s also low odour, which makes it easy to use, is easy to clean both on the painted surface and off the brush/roller you’ve used, and top of everything else is very good value.

Pros

  • Good finish
  • Easy to clean
  • Low odour

Cons

  • One colour available
  • A little slow to dry

Rainbow The One Multi-Surface Paint

Rainbow The One Multi-Surface Paint

Rainbow Paints’ The One represents a very competitive choice for a paint that ticks almost every box in terms of versatile applications. Available in a few different colours for the gloss finish, with bold yet understated shades that are sure to complement any room, other colours are available with different finishes. Additionally, it’s versatile enough to be used on a wide range of surfaces inside and out including but not limited to brick and masonry, metal, plastic, UPVC, and wood.

Naturally, as a one-coat paint, both paint and primer are combined here meaning that as long as it’s coated evenly, one layer is all that should be required for bold colour. Additionally, it’s very hard-wearing which makes it a great candidate high traffic applications. Additionally, being water-based means that it dries quickly, while a VOC-free (Volatile Organic Compound) formula keeps things free of unpleasant paint fumes.

Pros

  • Versatile
  • Lots of colours
  • Low odour
  • Quick drying

Cons

  • Expensive relative to other paints

Johnstone’s Woodcare One Coat Shed and Fence

Johnstone's Woodcare One Coat Shed and Fence

Technically a little different to the rest of our list as an outdoor-specific paint, this is nonetheless worth a mention as one coat outdoor paints are a little less common. With this, Johnstone’s offer up a high-quality specialist outdoor wood paint with all the quality you’d expect from the household brand. It’s available in 4 different hues to colour-match most gardens, and is enriched with wax to maximise weatherproofing. As such, it’s especially good against rain and excess moisture.

As outdoor woods have a tendency to absorb paint, making more than one coat necessary, Johnstone’s inclusion of wax in the formula helps to mitigate this to create a one-coat formula. It’s guaranteed for 3 years of protection and colour retention, and also dries very quickly for extra ease of use. Additionally, for an outdoor paint it’s also exceptional value at a moderate price for 9 litres of paint.

Pros

  • Good value
  • Wax enriched
  • Decent colour range

Cons

  • Very thick formula

Which One Coat Paint To Go For?

A one coat paint has to be just that – one coat. It’s no good if the finish isn’t all it’s cracked up to be so that you have to go over it more than the once. That’s why we’ve collated all these products for you, and that’s also why we’re concluding here with our two final picks: the best overall one coat paint, and the best value one coat paint.

Best One Coat Paint – All in all, Rainbow The One Multi-Surface Paint is the best one coat paint available to buy. It achieves this by merit of its versatility, colour options and general good quality. So, while there are other paints that may go further for the price, you do get the quality should you choose this.

Best Value – For value, Dulux Once Gloss has the best combination of quality and price. It’s cheap without being cheaply made, because it leaves a good finish with minimal odour or time wasted waiting. It doesn’t have the best colour selection (for gloss) but if you’re willing to try other finishes there’s a bit more choice to be had.

One Coat Paint FAQ

What is one coat paint?

This is not a trick question! It’s very simple; a one coat paint is as simple as it sounds, and requires only one coat of paint to achieve complete coverage. While a lot of paints may need a primer to go underneath as well as multiple layers of paint, one coat paints are typically a blend of paint and primer to take this step out.

What is the best one coat coverage paint?

While that is the point of our list, to break down what the best choice is, you’re broadly looking for something that offers excellent coverage from that single coat, so that you don’t have to go over it (even in smaller patches). Other important factors are the odour and the drying time; a one coat paint is designed to be easy to work with and less time-consuming than other paints, so it extends to these other factors too.

How good is one coat paint?

One coat paint will do the job for the vast majority of household applications, both indoor and outdoor. However, it is fair to acknowledge that they are not perfect, and a one coat paint is only as good as 1. the brand and 2. your painting skills. You don’t need to be a magician with the brush, but getting a good quality paint and applying it sensibly and carefully is a lot of the battle. Also, should you be painting over an already-bold colour, one coat paint won’t necessarily cover it all up – the best bet here is to remove existing paint first.

How to apply one coat paint

The trick to getting the most out of one coat paint is in the deftness of your application as well as your preparation. Clean and, if necessary, sand down your surfaces. Apply the paint with either brush or roller depending on your preference, and be sure to apply a good amount to the tool of choice. While ‘good’ is of course fairly vague and imprecise, what you’re aiming for is a brush that’s not over-saturated with paint, as this will cause it to drip and sag as it dries, but equally you need enough paint to actually create an opaque finish.

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