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Behr Premium Plus vs. Marquee Paint: What’s the Difference?

In this comparison of Behr Premium Plus vs. Behr Marquee, I break down the similarities and differences to help you choose the best paint for the job.

You’ll learn how these two paint lines compare in terms of:

  • Performance
  • Finishes and colors
  • Price
  • What experts think
  • Reputation
  • And much more

So, if you’re preparing for a painting project but can’t decide between Behr Premium Plus and Marquee, keep reading.


Use the links below to navigate the comparison:


Understanding Paint Quality

Before diving into how Premium Plus and Marquee perform, it’s important to understand what makes a paint higher quality than another.

The key is in the formula, of course. And while some formulas make the paint more expensive upfront, their longevity ends up saving you money over time.

To get the most from your paint, keep these factors in mind:

  • Pigments
  • Special Additives
  • Binders
  • Liquid Ratio

These are discussed in more detail below.

Pigments

In general, there are two types of pigment found in paint: prime and extender.

Think of prime pigments as the ingredients that offer color, texture, and coverage quality. Titanium dioxide is an example of a costly, high-quality prime pigment.

Extender pigments are fillers that add bulk to the paint, like diatomaceous silica or clay. They can provide different benefits like controlling sheen, resisting mildew, or blocking stains.

High-quality pigments can be ground finely, while cheaper ones tend to be rough. If you rub paint between your thumb and index finger and feel a lot of grit, chances are it is a less expensive formula.

Special Additives

Each additive features a specific benefit and works with the pigments and binders. For example, there may be preservatives to keep the paint fresh, a dispersing agent for uniform pigment or ingredients to fight bacteria and mildew.

Binders

Behr offers latex paints primarily, although some oil-based options are available. Latex paints are water-based and contain binders like acrylic. The binders help the paint adhere to surfaces and maintain paint integrity over time.

Higher quality binders, such as finely-ground acrylic, improve the paint’s application and maintenance.

Liquid Ratio

A top-quality paint has a higher ratio of solids to liquids. The solids are the pigments and binders. The liquid acts as a vehicle to transport the pigments and binders but offers no performance benefits.

Note: Behr offers safety data sheets that break down the ingredients in each formula. You can access them here.

Now that you understand the basics of paint quality, let’s discuss the differences between Behr Premium Plus and Marquee.

Coverage

Premium Plus and Marquee are both high-quality formulas. They offer paint and primer in one for quick, complete coverage.

However, Marquee is the only Behr paint formulation that offers a one-coat guarantee. This guarantee only applies to the One-Coat Color Collection and some selected Behr colors.

Behr Marquee One Coat Guarantee

Marquee paint has a higher ratio of solids to liquids and a more robust profile than Premium Plus in terms of coverage.

Behr says Marquee is the most advanced formula they’ve created. Yet, the performance of Marquee can vary depending on the project.

For example, some Marquee users report that it may take additional coats, especially if you’re trying to hide a dark color with a light color.

The surface you’re painting on matters, too. Textured, porous exterior surfaces will likely need two coats. In short, you might need more than one coat, so plan for it.

Whether using Premium Plus or Marquee, it’s probably good practice to plan for two coats.

Even with a one-goat paint like Marquee, a two-coat application further reinforces durability by providing extra protection against nicks and scratches.

Use the Behr paint calculator tool to determine how much paint you will need for your project.

The bottom line is that Behr Marquee provides significantly better coverage than Premium Plus.

Durability

Premium Plus Interior is designed to block and resist stains and endure scrubbing. It’s ideal for low-traffic areas.

Behr Premium Plus Paint

Premium Plus Exterior resists moisture, fading, and stains in all climates. Even after nine years, it still had a good appearance in independent product tests.

Marquee Interior has superior durability with enhanced adhesion and stain blocking properties; you can even scrub it clean if it gets dirty. It is ideal for any room, especially high-traffic areas.

Marquee Exterior has increased fade protection, dirt resistance, early rain resistance (as soon as 60 minutes after application), and excellent adhesion on multiple surfaces.

Marquee has built-in mildew resistance. In comparison, Premium Plus doesn’t have this benefit.

The takeaway here is that both are quality paint choices, but they are better for different applications. Marquee has the greater coverage and durability of the two.

Odors and VOCs

VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are chemicals often found in paint that serve several purposes, including how it flows and stays fresh.

They are also present when the paint has special properties, such as rust resistance.

VOCs evaporate into the environment while you paint. They can range from minimal (even zero) to very high.

The higher the VOCs, the worse it is for the environment and your health, and paint with higher VOCs tends to have a more pungent odor.

Most emissions are released during painting and within two days of drying.

Paint in a well-ventilated area, and don’t use the room for a couple of days after you’re done while the vapors dissipate.

VOCs are present in the base paint and the pigment added to that paint. It’s best to choose zero to low-VOC paint base to offset any additional VOCs a pigment may contain.

Premium Plus and Marquee are both UL GREENGUARD Gold Certified. That means they give off low chemical emissions indoors, therefore reducing indoor air pollution and chemical exposure.

Both lines are also certified by MPI Extreme Green Performance, a designation given to products that contain VOC readings of 50 g/l or less, are durable, and relatively environmentally safe.

Premium Plus Interior has very low VOCs and low odor. In some cases, depending on the finish, it includes zero VOC emissions.

The Marquee line generally has more VOCs than Premium Plus, but it still qualifies as a low VOC formula.

Finishes

The finish refers to how the paint appears after drying. It can range from non-reflective to brilliant and shiny.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the finishes Behr offers. As you’ll see, Premium Plus and Marquee have different finishes available.

Flat: A non-reflective finish suitable for low-traffic areas and on interior walls. Ceilings are one the best places to use this finish. Flat is easy to touch up as needed. Premium Plus is available in flat, but Marquee is not.

Matte: A reflective finish with low luster and perfect for hiding imperfections. It is durable enough for cleaning and touches up well. It works well for interior, low-traffic areas like bedrooms and formal dining rooms. Marquee is available in matte, but Premium Plus is not.

Eggshell Enamel: A finish that appears as velvet. It is very smooth and soft. Eggshell enamel is excellent for resisting dirt and mildew. It fares well in moderately busy areas such as hallways and living rooms. Both paints are available in eggshell.

Satin Enamel: A finish that resembles the reflectiveness of a pearl. It has some sheen to it, but not overly so. It’s easy to clean and suitable for moderate to high-traffic areas like hallways, kitchens, trim, cabinets, outdoor shutters, and interior furniture. Both paints are available in satin.

Semi-gloss: This finish is highly reflective with a noticeable sheen. Its wear-, mildew-, and moisture-resistant, ideal for high-traffic and high-moisture areas like kitchens, bathrooms, doors, and cabinets. Both paints are available in semi-gloss.

Hi-gloss: The most brilliant finish; it boasts a shiny appearance, almost like glass. It’s the most durable when it comes to wiping away dirt and grime. It’s excellent for trim, kid’s rooms, doors, windows, and cabinets. Premium Plus is available in hi-gloss, but Marquee is not.

Price

Behr Marquee is much more expensive than Premium Plus. Prices will vary based on the finish you choose, but overall, Marquee will cost you more.

Flat/matte is the least expensive in both lines because it offers the least amount of durability. High-gloss is the most costly, but it is also the most durable. In short, the more sheen, the higher the price.

To get a better idea of how Behr Premium Plus and Marquee prices compare, refer to the chart below:

PaintView Price
Behr Premium Plus Interior (Flat)HomeDepot.com
Behr Premium Plus Interior (Eggshell)HomeDepot.com
Behr Premium Plus Interior (Satin)HomeDepot.com
Behr Premium Plus Interior (Semi-Gloss)HomeDepot.com
Behr Premium Plus Exterior (Flat)HomeDepot.com
Behr Premium Plus Exterior (Satin)HomeDepot.com
Behr Premium Plus Exterior (Semi-Gloss)HomeDepot.com
Behr Marquee Interior (Matte)HomeDepot.com
Behr Marquee Interior (Eggshell)HomeDepot.com
Behr Marquee Interior (Satin)HomeDepot.com
Behr Marquee Interior (Semi-Gloss)HomeDepot.com
Behr Marquee Exterior (Matte)HomeDepot.com
Behr Marquee Exterior (Satin)HomeDepot.com
Behr Marquee Exterior (Semi-Gloss)HomeDepot.com

Colors

Behr Premium Plus and Marquee offer the same color options. You can explore Behr’s colors with multiple color tools, designs to help you choose the right one.

Behr Premium Plus versus Marquee colors

One such tool is the Behr Paint Visualizer. It allows you to choose colors and paint a virtual room to give you an idea of the aesthetics of your finished product.

Another is the Color Discovery Tool, which asks you what room(s) your painting and the desired mood you’re going for before recommending a suitable palette.

What Experts at The Home Depot Say About Behr Premium Plus and Marquee

I wanted to know what the experts at Home Depot thought of Behr Premium Plus and Marquee, so I reached out to two local Massachusetts stores and asked the question:

What’s the difference between Behr Premium Plus and Marquee?

I also inquired about Behr Ultra, which is the company’s other popular paint line.

The answers confirmed my research and testing:

Marquee is the most durable and provides the best coverage. Premium Plus features the lowest VOCs and the least expensive, and Ultra is the best option for defending against scuff marks, blocking stains, and resisting mildew.

The paint department at the Mansfield, MA, Home Depot said, “in terms of quality and price, Marquee is number one, Ultra is number two, and Premium Plus is number three.”

They mentioned that Marquee is generally a one-coat paint, offering the best durability and hidability. Ultra can be a one-coat paint in some circumstances, but often you’ll need two for best results. Premium Plus is always a two-coat paint.

If you have an area where stains are the norm, Ultra is the only Behr paint containing stain blockers in its formula.

The representative said that Premium Plus is often the preferred choice for homeowners who are renting or selling because it is cost-effective. Plus, there’s not as much emphasis on how long it will last when selling or renting a home.

Finally, although all lines are low-VOC, Premium Plus has the lowest levels.

The paint department at the Natick, Massachusetts, Home Depot agreed, saying Marquee is the best quality paint of Behr’s three main lines. Ultra held the middle ground, and Premium Plus came in third place.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that Premium Plus isn’t a good option. It’s just the most basic. Premium Plus is desired for its low-VOC formula, but if you’re looking for a one-coat solution, it falls short.

The paint expert at the Natick store mentioned that Premium Plus is considered a “no-VOC paint” due to the low levels, but when you add color, you also add some VOC (though negligible). It’s also the lowest-odor paint that Behr offers. Ultra and Marquee are also low-VOC, but not as low as Premium Plus.

Ultra is the best choice for scuff defense. It offers the most stain resistance and boasts built-in mildew resistance. As a result, it’s ideal for moist environments like kitchens, bathrooms, and basements.

What’s also attractive about Ultra is its price point for the quality. It’s right between Premium Plus and Marquee. In addition, it flows like the paint you’re “used to,” meaning it’s easy to apply and not overly thick.

Marquee covers really well, but it’s hard to work with because it’s thick and sticky. If you do brushwork and roll immediately after, it can stick to the roller.

The representatives also brought up that Behr Marquee’s one-coat guarantee is Behr’s guarantee, not Home Depot’s. So if you use Behr Marquee and your job requires two coats, you have to contact Behr to process a refund.

What Others Are Saying About Behr Premium Plus and Marquee

Now you know what the experts at Home Depot have to say, let’s find out what the DIY community and independent product review sites think.

The following is a snapshot of the consensus in the marketplace for Premium Plus and Marquee.

Interestingly, Premium Plus is often found on more “best paint” lists than Marquee, perhaps because it is more affordable. 

Premium Plus

Reviewers on HomeDepot.com give Premium Plus mostly positive ratings, but some were disappointed in its finish, sheen variation, and the need for multiple coats. Those who recommend the paint gave it high marks for durability, color choices, low splatter, and affordability.

Reviewers on Behr.com, on average, give it five stars, no matter the finish. Many raved about its inclusion of primer and one-coat coverage. Some reviewers complained about the coverage and finish. Keep in mind that many poor ratings were more than seven years old, while reviews in the last three years are primarily favorable. Perhaps Behr addressed those issues from long ago.

The Spruce recently chose its nine best exterior paints, and Behr Premium Plus won the top spot as best overall. They noted its “exceptional covering ability” and recommended it for DIYers. With a choice of several finishes and a formula that resists mildew, moisture fading, and stains, it’s a top choice.

Business Insider calls Behr Premium Plus the best exterior paint overall. Reviewers focused on the paint’s longevity (10+ years) even in harsh weather conditions. They also liked the versatility, pointing out that you can use it for all sorts of projects and on multiple surfaces, including wood and vinyl.

Country Living awarded Behr Premium Plus the honor of being the best zero-VOC paint in a top-ten list of paints. They loved that it’s GREENGUARD certified, low-VOC, low-odor, mildew-resistant, and easy to scrub clean as needed.

BobVila.com put out a buyer’s guide to interior paints and called out its top picks. Behr Premium Plus Interior Satin Enamel came in second just after the higher-end Benjamin Moore Regal Select. The reviewers praised its low odor, zero VOCs, uniform coverage, and quick drying time.

Marquee

Reviewers on HomeDepot.com gave Behr Marquee a four-star rating (out of five). Positive reviews focus on the quality of the coverage, color, finish, and fast drying time. Those disappointed in the paint cited needing to use more than one coat, blotchy coverage, and thick consistency that made it difficult to apply.

Reviews on Behr.com are mostly positive. The main focus of the reviews was coverage. Most were astonished by the one-coat coverage, but a small number of reviewers were not impressed, noting that they needed more than one coat.

Consumer Reports tested Marquee interior paint and gave it a good rating for its ability to hide dark colors with one coat. It also got a top rating for stain resistance.

Country Living named Behr Marquee Interior Matte as exhibiting the “best coverage” in a top-ten list of best paints. They called its stain resistance a bonus but focused on how well the formula hides old paint.

The Spruce rated the best one-coat paints, and Behr Marquee made the list because of its range of color offerings, quick drying time, and thick formula that hides imperfections.

Bottom Line: Should You Use Behr Premium Plus or Marquee?

Now that you know how Premium Plus and Marquee compare, it’s time to make a decision.

Here’s a brief recap of the differences between Behr Premium Plus and Marquee:

Performance: Both are premium paints, but only Marquee offers a one-coat guarantee. With Premium Plus, you will need at least two coats. Marquee is more durable than Premium Plus.

VOCs: Both are low-VOC paints, UL GREENGUARD Gold-certified, and MPI Extreme Green Performance-certified. Yet, Premium Plus has fewer VOCs and less odor than Marquee.

Colors and finishes: You can choose any of the Behr colors for either paint, but they do not come in identical finishes. Premium Plus comes in flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, and hi-gloss. Marquee comes in matte, eggshell, satin, and semi-gloss.

Price: Behr Marquee paint is more expensive than Premium Plus.

Reputation: From professionals to DIYers and product reviewers, feedback on both Marquee and Premium Plus is mostly positive. Behr is a respected brand.

With paint, you typically get what you pay for, which holds true with Behr Premium Plus and Marquee.

If you have the budget, go with Marquee. It provides better coverage and durability, and, in most cases, you’ll only need one coat. If you’re looking to save money, Premium Plus is an excellent choice. It may not hold up as well as Marquee, but it’s an affordable low-VOC paint that gets high marks across the industry.

You can learn more about both options on Behr.com and HomeDepot.com.

Andrew Palermo Founder of Prudent Reviews

Andrew Palermo - About the Author

Andrew is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Prudent Reviews. He’s been studying consumer buying behavior for over a decade and has managed marketing campaigns for over a dozen Fortune 500 brands. When he’s not testing the latest home products, he’s spending time with his family, cooking, and doing house projects. Connect with Andrew on LinkedIn or via email.

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