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

Are you trying to decide between Behr Premium Plus and Behr Ultra?

Behr Ultra is advertised as the better-quality paint, but is it worth the higher cost?

In this comparison of Behr Premium Plus vs. Ultra, I break down how they measure up in terms of performance, durability, ease of use, price, and more.

You’ll learn the key differences and why those differences matter.

I also reveal what paint experts say about both options.

So, keep reading if you’re ready to get started on your next project but need help picking between Behr Premium Plus and Ultra.


Use the links below to navigate the comparison:


Behr Premium Plus vs. Ultra: Comparison Chart

Behr Premium PlusBehr Ultra
TypeInterior and ExteriorInterior and Exterior
Paint and PrimerYesYes
VOCs< 5 g/l< 50 g/l
GREENGUARD CertifiedYesYes
ColorsOver 1,400 options Over 1,400 options
Interior Dry Time2 hours before recoat2 hours before recoat
Exterior Dry Time2 hours before recoat4 hours before recoat
Coverage per Gallon250-400 square feet250-400 square feet
Interior Volume Solids33-43%37-46%
Exterior Volume Solids33-40%35-45%
Interior FinishesFlat, Eggshell, Satin, Semi-Gloss, High-GlossFlat, Eggshell, Satin, Semi-Gloss
Exterior FinishesFlat, Satin, Semi-GlossFlat, Satin, Semi-Gloss
Stain Blocking TechnologyNoYes
Scuff and Mar ResistanceNoYes
Appearance✔✔✔✔✔
Easy to Clean ✔✔✔✔✔✔
Mold & Mildew Resistance✔✔✔
Ease of Application✔✔✔✔✔✔
Durability✔✔✔
Coverage/Hide ✔✔
Price$ (view on HomeDepot.com) $$ (view on HomeDepot.com)

Similarities Between Behr Premium Plus and Ultra

Before I break down the differences between Behr Premium Plus and Ultra paints, let’s review their similarities.

Interior and Exterior

Both Premium Plus and Ultra are available as either interior or exterior paints.

Paint and Primer in One

Behr Premium Plus and Ultra are both paint plus primer combos. They can be applied directly and don’t require you to purchase a separate primer. I suggest you use a minimum of two coats to get the best effect.

Exterior Finishes

For exterior jobs, Behr Premium Plus and Ultra are available in the same finishes: flat, satin, semi-gloss.

Coverage Area

Premium Plus and Ultra cover between 250 and 400 sq. feet per gallon. Behr recommends applying at least two coats for either paint, so you’ll need the same amount of paint regardless of the line.

Interior Paint Dry Time

These paints require one hour before they are dry to the touch and at least two hours to dry before applying a second coat. Exact dry times for both will vary depending on the humidity and design of your project space.

Colors

Behr’s full range of color options is available for both paint lines. The website provides several useful tools to help you navigate the extensive color collection, including the ColorSmart™ room visualizer and the Behr Color Discovery matching tool.

Behr paint colors on display
Behr paint colors

Cleaning

Behr Premium Plus and Ultra are easy to clean. Use plain soap and water, and avoid exposing the paint to harsh chemicals, abrasive materials, or freezing temperatures.

Where It’s Sold

All Behr paint, including Premium Plus and Ultra, is sold exclusively at The Home Depot stores and HomeDepot.com

Differences Between Behr Premium Plus or Ultra

Now let’s examine the key differences between Behr Premium Plus and Ultra paint lines.

Interior Finishes

The finishes for each of Behr’s interior paints vary.

Behr Premium Plus interior paint comes in four finishes:

  • Flat
  • Eggshell
  • Satin
  • Semi-gloss
  • High gloss

The finish options for Behr Ultra are:

  • Flat
  • Eggshell
  • Satin
  • Semi-gloss

As you can see, Premium Plus offers a High Gloss finish. Behr Ultra does not include this option.

VOCs

Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs, are chemicals that evaporate into the air when the paint dries. These compounds can cause unpleasant side effects when you breathe them in, such as trouble breathing, dizziness, headaches, or even fainting.

In addition to these symptoms, the EPA has labeled certain VOCs as potential carcinogens. Therefore, avoiding VOCs is a priority for safety-conscious homeowners.

Ideally, paint will have “zero” VOCs — which denotes a level of 5 g/L or below (these are considered “trace amounts” that don’t impact the rating). However, any paint below 50 g/L is still considered “low VOC” and is safe to use so long as you ensure proper ventilation.

Behr Premium Plus Paint
Premium Plus zero-VOC paint

Behr Premium Plus boasts a zero VOC label, meaning it’s safer to use indoors and less odorous than paint with higher VOC levels.

Behr Ultra is low-VOC. It’s still safe to use, but it may leave behind a strong “wet paint smell” for a couple of days (depending on the room’s ventilation).

Volume Solids

Volume solids are the components of a paint’s formula that remain behind once it has completely dried. Generally speaking, higher volume solids equals better quality paint.

A higher level of volume solids means that the paint will cover more surface area, go on thicker, and last longer than those with lower levels. It also means that the paint will be more expensive.

Behr Ultra has a higher level of volume solids than Premium Plus, so it provides thicker coverage…but at a higher cost per gallon.

As you’ll see in the chart below, volume solids vary by finish and paint type (interior vs. exterior).

Swipe to view the entire chart on mobile.

FinishPremium Plus (Interior)Premium Plus (Exterior)Ultra (Interior)Ultra (Exterior)
Flat43%40%44%45%
Eggshell41%N/A38%N/A
Satin39%36%40%37%
Semi-Gloss35%35%37%35%
High-Gloss33%33%46%N/A

Exterior Paint Dry Time

Due to the higher amount of volume solids, Behr Ultra takes longer to dry than Behr Premium Plus.

Behr Premium Plus paint is dry to the touch within one hour, and it’s ready to recoat in two hours. Behr Ultra takes two hours before it’s dry to the touch and will need four hours before it’s ready to recoat.

Stain and Scuff Blocking Technology

One of Behr Ultra’s main selling points is the stain- and scuff-blocking technology within its formula. The formula is also antimicrobial, meaning it resists mold, mildew, and bacteria.

Behr Ultra One Gallon Paint Can

Premium Plus does not include any stain or scuff-resistant technology; therefore, it’s not as durable and will fade sooner than Ultra. Also, scuff marks are more likely to show on walls painted with Behr Premium Plus.

Price

Behr Ultra is more expensive than Premium Plus, though exact pricing varies by finish. Overall, you can expect to pay about $12 more per gallon for Ultra vs. Premium Plus.

The chart below makes it easy to compare prices across all finishes.

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 Ultra Interior (Flat)HomeDepot.com
Behr Ultra Interior (Satin)HomeDepot.com
Behr Ultra Interior (Semi-Gloss)HomeDepot.com
Behr Ultra Exterior (Flat)HomeDepot.com
Behr Ultra Exterior (Satin)HomeDepot.com
Behr Ultra Exterior (Semi-Gloss)HomeDepot.com

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

Nobody knows Behr paint better than the people that sell it every day. So, I reached out to the paint department at several Home Depot stores to get their expert opinion.

When I spoke to each expert, I asked the same question:

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

The paint specialist at The Home Depot in Salem, New Hampshire, said, “Ultra is thicker, provides better coverage, and includes a scuff-resistant finish. If you rub furniture against the wall, it’s less likely to show a mark.”

He went on to say, “Premium Plus is not as thick, doesn’t contain the scuff-resistant finish, and doesn’t cover as well. You can get away with one coat with Ultra if you’re painting a dark color over white or a very light color. With Premium Plus, you almost always need two coats. The only advantages of Premium Plus are the lower cost and lower VOCs.”

The paint specialist at The Home Depot in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, said, “Here’s the real difference. Despite what it says on the can, Premium Plus does not include primer. Because it doesn’t include primer, it’s Behr’s only zero-VOC paint. But that also means its coverage isn’t as good. If you’re interested in coverage, Ultra is the best option.”

When I asked if Ultra is worth the higher price, he said, “Absolutely. Ultra is a high-quality paint that will last longer. Only use Premium Plus if you’re renting, plan to move soon, or don’t mind applying another coat in five years or less.”

What Others Say About Behr Premium Plus and Ultra

I analyzed thousands of customer reviews on HomeDepot.com to find out what customers think about Behr Premium Plus and Ultra.

People love how smooth and easy Premium Plus goes on walls. It’s easy to work with and washes out of brushes and rollers without much effort.

The most common complaint about Premium Plus is poor coverage. Reviewers say it spreads easily but requires two, sometimes three, coats. They also aren’t pleased with its durability. Many reviewers say they need to touch up their walls every few years.

The reviews for Ultra are more favorable than Premium Plus. People praise its coverage and adhesion. They also called out how bright and vibrant their walls look after painting with Ultra. People also mentioned that Ultra is easier to apply than Behr Marquee, the brand’s thickest, most premium paint.

Similar to Premium Plus, the most common complaint about Ultra is its lack of coverage. Many reviewers expected it to cover in one coat, but they actually needed two coats. Some even say they needed three coats of Ultra to cover darker colors or certain surfaces like doors and trim. Some people say the paint is too thin, causing it to drip or sag after applying it to the walls.

There is a range of opinions about both options. But the overall sentiment about both is positive. You can read through all the reviews on HomeDepot.com for more details.

Bottom Line: Should You Choose Behr Premium Plus or Ultra?

Now that you know the differences and similarities between Behr Premium Plus and Ultra paint lines, it’s time to decide which is best for your project.

Before I give you my recommendation, let’s recap the key takeaways:

  • Both lines offer interior and exterior paints with a paint-and-primer-in-one formula.
  • Premium Plus and Ultra come in flat, eggshell, satin, and semi-gloss finishes, but Premium Plus is also available in high-gloss.
  • Both exterior paint lines come in the same finishes: flat, satin, semi-gloss.
  • Both cover 250-400 sq. feet per gallon.
  • Behr paints all come in the same extensive range of colors, and they are easy to wash. Just use soap and water.
  • Behr Premium Plus paint comes in four exterior finishes, whereas Ultra comes in three.
  • Premium Plus is a zero-VOC paint, while Ultra is low-VOC.
  • Behr Ultra has a higher level of volume solids and a longer drying time than Premium Plus.
  • Behr Ultra paint contains stain- and scuff-blocking technology, and the formula is antimicrobial. Premium Plus does not contain scuff-blocking or antimicrobial additives.
  • Behr Ultra costs approximately $12 more per gallon than Premium Plus.

Behr Ultra has higher volume solids and is a thicker and more durable paint. Its performance and overall quality are a step up from Premium Plus.

If you can afford the higher cost, you’ll get better results with Ultra, especially if you’re painting high-traffic areas prone to scuffs and other damage.

Behr Premium Plus is a budget-friendly option that performs well in lower-traffic areas, but it won’t last as long as Ultra. However, if you’re looking to save money, it’s a great option.

Learn more about these paints and compare their prices on 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 studied consumer buying behavior for 10+ years 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 via emailLinkedIn, or the Prudent Reviews YouTube channel.

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