How does $100 per gallon paint compare to others?

Designers showcase paint from the British company Farrow & Ball because of its luscious colors. But Farrow & Ball costs around $100 per gallon, two to three times more than other paints. Consumer Reports included it in its tests of more than 60 paints to see what you get paying top dollar.

All the paints face the same tough tests. One tests for stain resistance. Another checks how well each paint can cover dark paint. The expensive Farrow and Ball paint couldn't cover well with one coat. But a much less expensive Behr paint from The Home Depot did much better.

And as for Farrow & Ball's beautiful colors, Consumer Reports sent a secret shopper to The Home Depot to see how closely it could match a sample of Farrow & Ball with its Behr paint. Back at the labs, testers compared the color. The color difference was within one percent.

Farrow & Ball paint did do a good job in the stain-resistance test, but so did Satin Enamel Behr Premium Plus Ultra. It earned top ratings and costs $34 a gallon.

Consumer Reports says there's another advantage to Behr Premium Plus Ultra. Unlike Farrow & Ball, it's a primer as well as paint. So you don't have to cover bare surfaces with a primer first. You'll find more tips for choosing paints on the Consumer Reports website.

Farrow and Ball Response

In quick response to the Consumer Reports review, Farrow and Ball says their paint is not formulated to be a no-primer, single-coat paint like Behr. To the contrary, Farrow and Ball recommends two coats of it's paint to build the unique and lasting color and finish. They point to their paint's strong performance in the stain test.

"We advise our customers to apply two topcoats of Farrow & Ball paint to achieve our long-lasting and highly regarded finish and Consumer Reports acknowledges that our paint covered when applied as advised, and not when using only one coat.", argued Director Sarah Cole in her response posted on the Farrow and Ball website.

The company says their paints are made with the finest ingredients, age-old methods, and no VOCs. (volatile organic compounds found in many paints, that release fumes and pollutants into the air). Cole says when used as directed, Farrow and Ball paints build a unique and lasting depth of color.