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Benjamin Moore Ultra Spec 500 vs. Regal Select (Paint Comparison)

Are you preparing for a paint project but can’t decide between Benjamin Moore Ultra Spec 500 and Regal Select?

What are the key differences? Is Regal Select worth the higher price?

In this comparison of Benjamin Moore Ultra Spec 500 vs. Regal Select, you’ll learn how these paint lines differ in coverage, durability, washability, dry time, VOCs, price, and more.

By the end, you’ll be able to confidently choose the right paint for your needs and budget.


Use the links below to navigate the comparison:


Benjamin Moore Ultra Spec 500 vs. Regal Select: Key Takeaways

Here’s a quick breakdown of the differences between Benjamin Moore Ultra Spec 500 and Regal Select

Exterior Paint: Regal Select comes in interior and exterior versions. Ultra Spec 500 is an interior paint only.

Paint and Primer: Regal Select is a paint and primer in one, making it convenient for painting over new drywall or bold colors. Ultra Spec 500 is paint only; you need to prime the walls before using it.

Resin Type: Regal Select is a 100% acrylic paint. Ultra Spec 500 paint contains acrylic copolymer resins that are less durable.

Finishes: Ultra Spec 500 is available in flat, low-sheen eggshell, eggshell, satin, and semi-gloss. Regal Select is available in flat, matte, eggshell, satin, and semi-gloss.

Volume Solids: Regal Select has a higher volume solids percentage, which means it’s thicker and provides better hide, coverage, and durability in fewer coats. Ultra Spec 500 requires additional coats to achieve the same level of opacity and protection.

VOCs: Ultra Spec 500 is a zero-VOC paint containing less than 5 grams per liter (g/L) of VOCs in all its finishes. Regal Select maintains low VOC levels across most of its range, with less than 50 g/L. The exception is the semi-gloss finish, which has VOCs under 100 g/L.

Dry Time: Regal Select typically dries quicker than Ultra Spec 500 (1-2 hours vs. 2-3 hours), but exact times vary by finish. Environmental factors like humidity and temperature can also affect drying times.

Coverage: Ultra Spec 500 covers 350-400 square feet per gallon, while Regal Select Interior offers better coverage at 400-450 square feet per gallon.

Stain Resistance: Regal Select features stain-release technology that makes cleaning easier than Ultra Spec 500.

Price: Regal Select interior paint costs between $67 and $86 per gallon. Ultra Spec 500 costs between $35 and $44 per gallon.

Should You Choose Ultra Spec 500 or Regal Select?

Regal Select, with its superior coverage, durability, and stain resistance, is a worthwhile investment if you’re painting a home you plan to live in for several years. Ultra Spec 500 is a budget-friendly contractor-grade paint. It’s ideal for new builds, rental properties, or spaces where longevity and richness of color are not top priorities.

Difference 1: Exterior Paint

Regal Select is available in an exterior version, while Ultra Spec 500 is not.

Regal Select’s exterior paint is formulated to endure outdoor conditions, offering enhanced resistance to UV rays, moisture, and temperature changes.

Difference 2: Paint and Primer

Regal Select offers painters the convenience of a paint and primer in one. The integrated primer makes Regal Select especially useful when painting over new drywall or dark, bold colors that require extra blocking power.

Benjamin Moore Regal Select paint and primer
Benjamin Moore Regal Select paint and primer

Ultra Spec 500 is just a paint coating. When using this paint, you need to coat the walls with a separate primer. As a cost-effective contractor-grade paint, Ultra Spec 500 is commonly paired with specialized primers for large renovation or new construction projects where maximum efficiency is critical.

Benjamin Moore Ultra Spec 500
Benjamin Moore Ultra Spec 500

So Regal Select simplifies for DIYers, while Ultra Spec 500 gives pro painters more customization (and a lower cost).

Difference 3: Resin Type

Regal Select is a 100% acrylic paint. Acrylic resins are known for creating a resilient paint film, which means Regal Select can withstand wear and tear better over time.

Ultra Spec 500 is an acrylic copolymer paint. While it shares some characteristics with 100% acrylic paints, such as flexibility, quick drying time, ease of cleaning, and suitability for various surfaces, the copolymer composition offers a slightly different balance of properties.

Regal Select also contains higher levels of titanium dioxide compared to Ultra Spec 500. Titanium dioxide is a pigment that significantly enhances the paint’s hiding power or opacity. So, with higher levels of this pigment, Regal Select delivers richer, more vibrant colors and better coverage in fewer coats.

Difference 4: Finishes

Ultra Spec 500 interior is available in flat, low-sheen eggshell, eggshell, satin, and semi-gloss.

Regal Select interior offers a slightly different range with flat, matte (instead of low-sheen eggshell), eggshell, satin, and semi-gloss finishes.

Regal Select exterior comes in flat, low lustre, and soft gloss.

The chart below makes it easy to compare finish options across both paint lines:

Finish TypeUltra Spec 500 InteriorRegal Select InteriorRegal Select Exterior
Flat
MatteX
Low-Sheen Eggshell X
Eggshell
Satin
Low Lustre X X
Semi-Gloss 
Soft Gloss X

Difference 5: Volume Solids

Understanding “volume solids” is crucial when comparing paints like Benjamin Moore’s Ultra Spec 500 and Regal, as it significantly impacts the paint’s coverage and durability.

Paint comprises four main components: pigment, binder, solvent, and additives. When the paint dries, the solvent evaporates, and the binder hardens, leaving behind pigment, binder, and additives.

Volume solids refer to the proportion of these remaining components (pigment, binder, additives). Essentially, it’s what remains on the surface after the paint dries.

Higher volume solids in paint typically mean a thicker texture and better coverage with fewer coats. Additionally, paints with more volume solids offer more surface protection, enhancing resistance to elements that could degrade the paint over time.

The volume solids content in Ultra Spec 500 and Regal Select varies depending on the finish. Generally, Regal Select has a slightly higher volume solid percentage, especially in eggshell and matte finishes.

The charts below show the volume solids percentage across both paints.

FinishUltra Spec 500 InteriorRegal Select Interior
Flat42%43.9%
MatteN/A43%
Low Sheen Eggshell41%N/A
Eggshell42%44.8%
Satin41%38.2%
Semi-Gloss40%35.5%
FinishRegal Select Exterior
Flat42%
Low Lustre43%
Soft Gloss42%

Difference 6: VOCs

VOCs are chemicals found in many products, including paints. They are released into the air as the paint dries.

High levels of VOCs can have short- and long-term adverse health effects, which is why they are a concern, especially for indoor air quality. VOCs are also responsible for the pungent odor often associated with fresh paint.

Ultra Spec 500 is a zero VOC paint, containing fewer than 5 grams per liter (g/L) of VOCs across all finishes. It’s a safe, low-odor paint ideal for interior projects. Zero VOC paints are particularly beneficial for spaces that require immediate occupancy or have limited ventilation.

Regal Select Interior is considered a low-VOC paint. Most of its finishes contain less than 50 grams per liter (g/L) of VOCs. However, it’s important to note that the semi-gloss finish has a slightly higher VOC level at less than 100 g/L.

Regal Select Exterior maintains low VOC levels across all finishes, with less than 50 g/L. It’s a safe and more environment-friendly option for exterior painting projects, without the high odor levels associated with traditional exterior paints.

Difference 7: Dry Time

Regal generally dries faster than Ultra Spec 500, but the exact time varies by finish.

Benjamin Moore Ultra Spec 500 coverage per gallon
Benjamin Moore Ultra Spec 500 coverage per gallon

Here’s a comparison of the time required before a second coat can be applied for each finish:

FinishUltra Spec 500 Dry TimeRegal Select Dry Time
Flat2-3 hours1-2 hours
MatteN/A1-2 hours
Low Sheen Eggshell2-3 hoursN/A
Eggshell2-3 hours1-2 hours
Satin4 hours1-2 hours
Semi-Gloss4 hours3 hours

Regal Select Exterior has a recoat time of about 4 hours. However, the actual dry time varies based on environmental factors such as temperature and humidity. Higher humidity and lower temperatures can prolong drying, while drier and warmer conditions can speed it up.

Difference 8: Coverage Per Gallon

One gallon of Ultra Spec 500 covers 350-400 square feet per coat. Regal Select Interior offers enhanced spreading rates, covering 400-450 square feet per gallon. So you’ll get the same or better coverage proactivity from Regal Select when painting indoor spaces.

Regal Select Exterior covers 300-400 square feet per gallon, depending on the finish. The Soft Gloss option has exceptional coverage at 450-500 sq ft per gallon.

Difference 9: Stain Release Technology

Regal Select incorporates proprietary stain release technology that Ultra Spec 500 lacks.

Special additives boost the paint’s resistance to stains from food, pets, kids, and dirt by not allowing them to set into the finish.

Difference 10: Price

Regal Select is more expensive than Ultra Spec 500. A gallon of Regal Select interior paint costs between $67 and $86, depending on the finish, with glossier finishes being pricier. In contrast, Ultra Spec 500 is priced between $35 and $44 per gallon.

What Paint Experts Say

To get an expert opinion on Regal Select and Ultra Spec 500, I went straight to the source and spoke with a Benjamin Moore product specialist.

When I asked about the differences between the two paint lines, she said, “Regal Select is a 100% acrylic paint, and Ultra Spec 500 is an acrylic copolymer. Because of that, the resins in Regal are more expensive and durable. Regal Select also has higher levels of titanium dioxide, which provides better hide and more dense, richer-looking colors.”

When I asked if Regal Select is worth the higher price, she said, “Ultra Spec 500 is a contractor-grade paint. It’s mostly used on new builds because contractors don’t want to invest in more expensive paint knowing that the future homeowners will likely repaint it anyway. If you’re painting a rental property and want to save money, go with Ultra Spec 500. But if it’s your long-term home, Regal Select is worth the higher price.”

I also spoke with an independent paint expert at ACE Hardware in Millis, Massachusetts, and he said, “Most homeowners choose Regal Select in an eggshell finish because it will last longer and it’s easier to clean. Ultra Spec 500 is a contractor-grade paint that professional painters buy in large quantities. It’s good if you’re selling your house and don’t want to invest much money into freshening it up, but Regal Select is a much better paint if you plan to stay in your home for a while.”

Should You Choose Benjamin Moore Ultra Spec 500 or Regal Select?

So, should you use Ultra Spec 500 or spend more for Regal Select?

The right paint for you depends on your budget and needs.

Regal Select costs more, but its 100% acrylic formula and higher titanium dioxide levels make it an objectively better paint. It covers better, the colors are richer, it’s easier to clean, and the finish lasts longer. If you’re painting your home and plan to stay there a while, Regal Select is worth the higher cots.

But if you’re painting a rental unit, investment property, or rarely-used room where long-term durability is not a priority, Ultra Spec 500 is a decent contractor-grade paint that will save you money.

Andrew Palermo Founder of Prudent Reviews

Andrew Palermo - About the Author

Andrew is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Prudent Reviews. He began his career in marketing, managing campaigns for dozens of Fortune 500 brands. In 2018, Andrew founded Prudent Reviews and has since reviewed 600+ products. When he’s not testing the latest cookware, kitchen knives, and appliances, 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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