How Much Does a Gallon of Paint Cost?

Last Updated on February 14, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

If you’re planning a painting project, one of the most important factors to consider is the cost of paint. The price of a gallon of paint can vary widely depending on the type, brand, quality, and finish.

This article will break down the factors that influence the cost of paint so you can budget for your painting project effectively. We’ll also provide tips to help you save money on paint.

How Much Does a Gallon of Paint Cost?

The average cost of a gallon of interior latex paint ranges from $25 to $50. Premium interior paints by brands like Benjamin Moore or Sherwin-Williams tend to cost around $50 per gallon. More budget-friendly options from brands like Behr can cost as low as $25 per gallon.

For exterior paint, expect to pay a bit more. The average cost of a gallon of exterior latex paint is $35 to $70. Exterior paints need to withstand temperature fluctuations, UV rays, and moisture, so they are formulated to be more durable.

Oil-based paints, both interior and exterior, are more expensive than latex, ranging from $45 to $80 per gallon. They provide a glossier, harder finish but contain harsh VOCs.

At Home Depot, you can find BEHR PREMIUM PLUS interior paint for prices that range from $20 to $40 per gallon.

Glidden Premium interior paint costs between $20 to $30 per gallon.

Forbes writes that flat paint costs an average of $10 to $70 per gallon, while eggshell and satin paints are in a similar price range.

The price of ben® Interior Paint is $52.99 per gallon on the official website.

The type of paint, surface being painted, brand, and finish determine the final cost per gallon. Carefully compare products to find one in your budget.

Impact of Brand on Paint Pricing

The brand of paint has a significant impact on the cost per gallon. Here is a brief overview of price differences between major brands’ mid-range offerings:

  • Behr – $25-$35 per gallon
  • Benjamin Moore – $50-$60 per gallon
  • Sherwin-Williams – $50-$65 per gallon
  • PPG – $35-$45 per gallon
  • Valspar – $30-$40 per gallon

The more premium brands like Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams use higher quality pigments and resins. Their paints generally provide better coverage and durability compared to more budget-friendly options.

You might also like our articles about the cost of Certapro painters, the price of a can of spray paint, or the cost to paint a car.

However, less expensive brands like Behr have improved their formulations over the years. They offer excellent quality for the price.

Choosing the Right Finish

The finish of the paint impacts its appearance and pricing. Here are the three main types of paint finishes:

  • Matte – No shine, hides imperfections ($25-$35 per gallon)
  • Satin – Low sheen, velvety appearance ($30-$50 per gallon)
  • Gloss – High shine, reflective ($35-$55 per gallon)

Higher sheen paints like gloss are more expensive because they contain more resins. Gloss and satin finishes are ideal for areas like trim, cabinets, and doors. Matte is well-suited for walls.

Factors Influencing Paint Costs

Many factors beyond the brand affect the cost per gallon of paint:

  • Quality – Better coverage, durability, and longevity lead to higher prices.
  • Specialty features – Paint and primer combos, mold/mildew resistance, and VOC-free formulations come at a premium.
  • Quantity purchased – Buying in 5-gallon buckets saves $5-$10 per gallon compared to quart and gallon sizes.
  • Shelf display – Prominently displayed paints usually cost a few dollars more per gallon.
  • Accessories – Containers, rollers, brushes, drop cloths, and tape increase the total project cost.

A professional painter always considers the features they need to determine the most cost-effective paint for your project.

How Much Paint Do You Need?

Painting a wallTo estimate how much paint to buy, calculate the square footage of the area being painted. One gallon of paint covers approximately 400 square feet of properly prepared interior surface area. Exterior painting requires 200-300 square feet per gallon and more coats of paint due to surface irregularities.

Measure room dimensions (length x width) for total square footage and then just buy paint needed per square foot. For a 10′ x 12′ room, you need approximately one to two gallons of paint. Include 20% more for cutting in edges.

Buying too little paint leads to a mismatched appearance. Getting too much wastes money on unused paint. Measure accurately and purchase the right amount.

Tips for Saving on Paint Costs

Here are some ways to get the best deals on paint for your home improvement project:

  • Shop sales at home improvement stores for discounts up to 50% off.
  • Check paint store websites for online promotions, coupons, and rebates on gallons.
  • Buy budget paint lines from major brands to save $10-$20 per gallon.
  • Purchase larger 5-gallon buckets instead of gallons to save per volume.
  • Buy paint and primer together instead of separate products.
  • Opt for flat or matte finishes which are significantly cheaper than satin or gloss.
  • Choose quality paint for longevity over repeatedly repainting with cheap paint.


The cost of a gallon of paint depends mainly on the type, brand, quality, and finish. On average, interior latex paint costs $25-$50 per gallon and exterior ranges from $35-$70.

Top brands cost $50+ per gallon while budget options are $25+. Improving coverage, durability, and sheen increases prices. With proper planning and some bargain hunting, you can find quality paint for your home painting project on any budget.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does 1 gallon of paint cover?

One gallon of interior latex paint covers approximately 400 square feet of wall space if applied to a properly prepared surface. Exterior paint covers less – around 200-300 square feet per gallon.

Coverage depends on the paint quality and surface porosity. High-quality paint can cover more area in a single coat.

Is 5-gallon paint cheaper than 1-gallon?

Yes, 5-gallon buckets of paint are more economical than buying paint by the quart or gallon. Buying in bulk 5-gallon amounts can save $5 to $10 per gallon compared to smaller volumes.

The larger pail size allows for bulk discounts from the manufacturer. If you need 10+ gallons of paint for a large project, a 5-gallon bucket is the most cost-effective option.

Can 1-gallon paint a room?

It depends on the room size, but one gallon of paint is usually enough to paint a small to medium-sized room like a bedroom or dining room. To determine the exact amount needed, calculate the square footage of all the walls.

Most rooms under 150 square feet can be painted with approximately one gallon of paint. Larger rooms over 300 square feet often require two gallons. Include more for ceilings, trim, and cutting in edges. Measure your room to ensure you buy enough paint in the right color.

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