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Which Valspar Paint Line Is the Best? (With Comparison Chart)

Are you preparing for an upcoming project but can’t decide which Valspar paint line to use?

What are the differences between Reserve, Signature, Ultra, 2000, Defense, and Duramax? What are the key factors to consider?

In this guide, you’ll get a side-by-side comparison of the best Valspar paints. You’ll learn how each paint line differs in price, finishes, coverage, durability, VOCs, and more.

I also reveal what paint experts say about Valspar’s offerings and share which ones they recommend the most.


Use the links below to navigate this guide:


Best Valspar Paint Line: Key Takeaways

If you only have a minute, here is a quick summary of the key differences between Valspar’s paint lines. I provide more detailed information about each option throughout the full guide.

Valspar Reserve is the brand’s premier interior paint. It offers exceptional one-coat coverage and long-lasting, vibrant color that uniquely resists fading over time. The premium stain-blocking formula also makes Reserve highly scrubbable and durable. It’s best for high-traffic areas prone to scuffs and stains.

Signature is Valspar’s second-best interior paint after Reserve. Its 100% acrylic latex formula provides excellent hide and coverage. The ScuffShield technology creates a protective barrier that resists scrapes, scuffs, and stains, making Signature especially suitable for family rooms and hallways.

Ultra is one of Valspar’s most affordable options at just $29-$39 per gallon. As an interior and exterior paint, it offers decent coverage and its ScrubShield additive means you can scrub the surface without causing damage or fading the color. Ultra is an excellent choice for areas prone to spills, like kitchens and playrooms.

Valspar 2000 is a thin, contractor-grade vinyl copolymer paint. Most DIYers should avoid this paint because it doesn’t cover well and requires excessively long dry times between coats. It’s best for new builds, rentals, and flips but doesn’t provide the long-term durability most homeowners expect.

Defense is Valspar’s best-performing but most expensive paint. The formula includes advanced water-beading technology and its Rain-Ready technology protects freshly painted surfaces from rain damage after just one hour.

Duramax is another quality exterior paint at a lower price point. It resists fading, cracking, and peeling despite harsh weather conditions.

Comparison Chart of Valspar Paints

Swipe to view the entire chart on mobile.

ReserveSignatureUltra2000DefenseDuramax
Paint Type100% acrylic latex100% acrylic latex100% acrylic latexVinyl copolymer100% acrylic latex100% acrylic latex
Interior or ExteriorInterior onlyInterior onlyInterior and Exterior (High-gloss finish is both)Interior onlyExterior onlyExterior only
Paint and PrimerYesYesYesYesYesYes
VOCs< 50 g/l< 50 g/l< 50 g/l< 50 g/l< 50 g/l< 50 g/l
Colors1,800 options1,800 options1,800 options1,800 options1,800 options1,800 options
Dry Time2-4 hours for recoat2 hours for recoat2 hours for recoat (interior) Overnight (exterior)4 hours for recoat2-4 hours for recoat4 hours for recoat
Coverage Per Gallon400 sq ft200-400 sq ft400 sq ft (interior) 300-400 sq ft (exterior)350-400 sq ft300-400 sq ft300-400 sq ft
Interior Volume Solids42-47%37-46%35-45%27-40%N/AN/A
Exterior Volume SolidsN/AN/A35-45%N/A37-43%39-48%
Interior FinishesFlat, eggshell, satin, and semi-glossFlat, eggshell, satin, and semi-glossFlat, eggshell, satin, and semi-gloss,  high-glossFlat, eggshell, satin, and semi-glossN/AN/A
Exterior FinishesN/AN/AHigh-glossN/AFlat, Satin, Semi-GlossFlat, Satin, Semi-Gloss
Key FeatureColor Stays True LongerScuffShield TechnologyScrubShield TechnologyContractor-grade paintRain-ready technologyFlexShield365 Technology
Price Per Gallon$49 – $59$39 – $49$29 – $39$22 – $29$65 – $71$51 – $58

Valspar Reserve

Reserve is Valspar’s most premium interior paint. It’s a 100% acrylic latex interior paint that comes in flat, eggshell, satin, and semi-gloss finishes.

Valspar Reserve one gallon can
Valspar Reserve

It’s the brand’s priciest interior paint, ranging from $49 to $59 per gallon. But the performance and durability justify the cost.

With 42-47% volume solids depending on the finish, Reserve has the highest concentration of pigment and binders of all Valspar interior paints. The thick formula delivers excellent hide and coverage in fewer coats. While marketed as having one-coat coverage, painting from dark colors to light often requires two coats for best results.

A key feature of Reserve is its Color Stays True Longer technology, which slows fading and keeps the vibrant color looking fresh for years. This paint also includes a stain-blocking formula that makes it highly scrubbable and resistant to scuffs.

Reserve an excellent option for walls, trim, and ceilings. It adheres exceptionally well to drywall, plaster, masonry, wood, and primed metal.

With outstanding hide, coverage, and durability, Valspar Reserve is best suited to high-traffic areas like hallways and kids’ rooms where scrubs and scuffs are inevitable. The exceptional fade resistance also makes it ideal for rooms with ample natural light.

Valspar Signature

Signature is Valspar’s second-most premium interior paint, only behind Reserve. But like Reserive, it’s also a 100% acrylic latex interior paint. And it’s available in the same finishes: flat, eggshell, satin, and semi-gloss.

Valspar Signature one gallon can
Valspar Signature

Priced between $39 and $49 per gallon, Signature costs slightly less than Reserve but is more expensive than Valspar Ultra (which I’ll talk about next).

The main difference between Signature and Reserve is in the concentration of pigments and binders. Signature has 37-46% volume solids, which is slightly less than Reserve, but still results in excellent coverage compared to standard paints.

One benefit of Signature’s thinner formula is that it dries faster than Reserve. It’s dry to the touch in 30 to 60 minutes and ready for you to recoat in two hours (vs. 2 – 4 hours for Reserve).

Another benefit of Signature is its ScuffShield technology. This additive creates an invisible protective layer that resists scrapes, scuffs, and stains. It makes the paint more durable and scrubbable over time.

With excellent hide and coverage paired with ScuffShield durability, Valspar Signature works well for high-traffic areas prone to wear, like hallways, family rooms, and kids’ bedrooms. The scuff resistance gives it an edge over standard paints.

Valspar Ultra

Ultra is one of Valspar’s most affordable paint lines. It ranges from $29 to $39 per gallon, depending on the finish.

Valspar Ultra one gallon can
Valspar Ultra

Like Reserve and Signature, it’s a 100% acrylic latex paint. But unlike those more expensive options, Ultra is an interior and exterior paint. The interior version comes in flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, and high-gloss. The high-gloss version of Ultra is a hybrid paint — you can use it both indoors and outdoors.

With 35-45% volume solids, Ultra offers decent hide and coverage compared to other affordable paints like Behr Premium Plus and Glidden Premium. But its solids content is significantly lower than Reserve or Signature.

With Ultra, you will save money per gallon, but you’ll always need at least two coats. However it dries fast and is ready for the second coat after just two hours.

Like Signature’s ScuffSheild, Ultra’s ScrubShield Technology creates an invisible barrier that allows you to wash off stains while protecting against scuffs.

Ultra is an excellent choice for family rooms, kids’ rooms, kitchens, and bathrooms where stains are likely. The high-gloss exterior formula works well on trim, doors, siding, brick, and outdoor furniture.

Although Ultra isn’t as thick as Reserve and Signature, its durability and scrub resistance make it a reliable (and affordable) option for the inside and outside of your home.

Valspar 2000

Valspar 2000 is a contractor-grade paint made with vinyl copolymer resins. While this makes it more affordable, it’s not typically recommended for DIY projects.

Valspar 2000 one gallon can
Valspar 2000

Professional painters commonly use this paint for new home constructions and commercial spaces, where eventual repainting is anticipated.

The lower volume solids content (27-40%) means that Valspar 2000 is thinner than other Valspar paints like Reserve or Signature. You might need multiple coats for full coverage, which impacts both your budget and time.

Additionally, Valspar 2000 takes longer to dry, with a 4-hour wait before recoating.

Only use Valspar 2000 for:

  • Large-scale projects where budget constraints are a primary concern.
  • Situations where a professional painter is involved, who can maximize the potential of this contractor-grade paint.
  • New construction and commercial spaces, where a temporary coat of paint is needed before the buyers or tenants repaint it.

Bottom line — Valspar 2000 is a low-cost paint for large projects, rentals, flips, or rooms you don’t use often. It doesn’t offer the same coverage and durability as higher-end Valspar paints, but it can save you hundreds or thousands in the short term (depending on the size of your project).

Valspar Defense

Valspar Defense is the brand’s best exterior paint. It’s available in flat, satin, and semi-gloss finishes, and the prices range from $65 to $71 per gallon.

This paint includes Advanced Water Beading Technology, which actively repels water throughout the year, safeguarding surfaces against moisture damage. This feature is particularly crucial in maintaining the integrity of exterior paint, especially in regions with frequent rain or high humidity.

That said, this technology comes with a notable drawback when repainting. The water-repellent properties make it challenging for new paint to adhere to the surface, so extensive surface preparation is necessary before applying a new coat. Sanding or using a primer becomes essential to ensure the new paint bonds effectively.

Another standout feature is the Rain-Ready Technology, which protects the paint from runs, blisters, or watermarks in as little as one hour after application. This quick-set feature saves time and provides peace of mind that your freshly painted surfaces are safeguarded against sudden rain.

Valspar Defense also has exceptional resistance against fading, cracking, and peeling. The formula includes a mold-, mildew-, and algae-resistant finish. These properties make Defense an excellent choice for areas exposed to the elements and prone to organic growth.

Valspar Defense is well-suited for homes in areas with frequent rain or high humidity.

Whether you’re painting siding, trim, or outdoor furniture, Defense ensures that your effort will yield lasting, beautiful results.

Valspar Duramax

Duramax is another quality exterior paint available in flat, satin, and semi-gloss finishes. At $51 to $58 per gallon, it’s more expensive than Ultra (exterior) but less than Defense.

Valspar Duramax
Valspar Duramax

The key feature of Valspar Duramax is its FlexShield365 Technology, which ensures the paint goes on thick, forms a strong bond, and seals hairline cracks. This additive protects surfaces from weather-related damage, ensuring the paint won’t crack, peel, or split, even in harsh weather.

Although Duramax doesn’t offer premium weather protection technologies like those in Valspar Defense, such as Advanced Water Beading and Rain-Ready, it still resists fading, cracking, and peeling. And since it costs around $13 per gallon less than Defense, Duramax is an excellent value.

What Paint Experts Say

I talked directly with a product specialist at Valspar to get an expert opinion on the best Valspar paints. When we spoke, I asked:

What is the difference between Valspar’s paint lines? Which do you recommend the most?

She said, “We make good, better, and best paint. Reserve is the best, Signature is the better, and Ultra is the good. The 2000 line is builder-grade paint usually used in new construction and sprayed on. It doesn’t cover as well as the others because the formula has fewer solids.”

When I asked about the specific differences between the top three interior paints, she said, “Reserve has the highest percentage of solids, so it covers the best and requires only one or a maximum of two coats. Signature is our best-selling paint line because it’s less expensive than Reserve but provides excellent coverage and comes with ScuffShield. Ultra is a good-quality paint that, once fully cured, will last as long as Signature. But you might need a third coat to get the same coverage.”

She warned, “The ScuffShield in Signature’s formula gives the paint a little more sheen. So if you normally prefer a satin finish, go with eggshell or flat if you use Signature paint.”

When I asked about Valspar’s exterior paints, she said, “Defense and Duramax are both flexible, weather-resistant paints, but Defense is our best exterior option. Defense has a water-wicking additive that prevents water damage. It’s a huge benefit, especially if you live in a region where it rains often.”

I asked which Valspar paint lines she recommends for most homeowners, and she said, “Signature is our top-selling interior paint. The customers I talk to daily love it. Defense is our best exterior paint, but since it has the water-wicking additive, painting over it requires a lot of sanding and surface prep. So only use it as the top coat.”

In other words, Valspar Defense does such a great job repelling rain that new coats of paint won’t adhere to it well.

I also reached out to paint experts at two Lowes stores. These folks sell Valspar and get feedback from customers every day.

I asked the expert at Lowe’s in Amherst, New Hampshire, if Reserve is worth the high price or if Signature is just as good. He said, “Reserve uses a different, higher-quality formula — similar to what Sherwin-Williams uses. Reserve’s formula is more vibrant than Signature’s and includes anti-microbial properties that Signature doesn’t, making it more resistant to mold and mildew. Reserve offers better coverage and durability and is worth the higher cost since you only need one coat in many situations.”

Another paint specialist at Lowe’s in Bedford, New Hampshire, said, “Reserve is thicker and more mold and mildew resistant. If you’re painting a dark color over a lighter color, Reserve is a one-coat paint. You’ll likely need two coats if you’re painting a light color over a dark color. Signature is always a two-coat paint. They advertise its ScuffShield Technology, but the reality is the Reserve formula includes the same scuff protection.”

When I asked if Reserve was worth the higher price, he said, “Reserve and Signature are both good-quality low-VOC paints, but Reserve is becoming more popular since it offers better coverage and lasts longer.”

FAQs About Valspar Paint

Below are answers to the most frequently asked questions about Valspar paint lines.

Which Valspar paint is best for interior walls?

Valspar Reserve is the best paint for interior walls. It stands out due to its one-coat coverage, ultra-rich, fade-resistant color, and premium stain-blocking formula. With Reserve, you get a vibrant, long-lasting finish with minimal effort.

Which Valspar paint is best for bathrooms?

Valspar Reserve is also the best paint for bathrooms, thanks to its superior coverage, durability, washability, and stain resistance. Choose higher sheen finishes like satin or semi-gloss because they resist moisture and water streaks more effectively.

Which Valspar paint is best for kitchen cabinets and furniture?

The best Valspar paint for kitchen cabinets and furniture is the Valspar Cabinet & Furniture Oil-enriched Enamel. This acrylic-alkyd hybrid paint is specifically formulated for cabinets and furniture. It dries to a smooth, factory-like finish with minimal brush marks.

Which Valspar paint is most affordable?

Valspar 2000 and 4000 are the most budget-friendly interior paints. Both are considered contractor-grade paints. For average DIYers, Valspar Ultra is an affordable choice for both interior and exterior applications.

Which Valspar paint has primer?

All the Valspar paints discussed in this guide, including Reserve, Signature, Ultra, and others, are formulated as paint and primer in one.

Which Valspar paint has the lowest VOCs?

All the Valspar paints I’ve covered in this guide maintain low VOC levels, with an industry-accepted standard of <50 g/L.

Where can you buy Valspar paint?

Valspar paint is widely available at Lowe’s home improvement stores. It’s also available at various independent retailers across the United States. To locate the nearest supplier, use the store finder on Valspar’s website and enter your zip code.

Bottom Line: Which Valspar Paint Is the Best?

From a pure performance and durability perspective, Reserve is Valspar’s best interior paint and Defense is its best exterior paint. Both paints are formulated to go on smooth, cover well, resist fading, and last long. If budget is not a concern, go with those two paints.

But if you’re looking for the most well-rounded paint lines, consider Signature for interior projects and Duramax for exterior. These paint lines are more affordable while delivering excellent results.

Overall, Valspar is a trusted American paint brand that has been in business for over 200 years. No matter which Valspar line you choose, you’ll get quality results at a reasonable price.

If you can’t find the right paint in Valspar’s lineup, consider Behr. Valspar Reserve competes with Behr Dynasty and Marquee for top-level quality, while Signature aligns with Behr Ultra for performance at moderate prices. Valspar Ultra compares well to Behr Premium Plus as a reliable mid-range option. Learn more in my in-depth comparison of Behr vs. Valspar.

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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