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Dunn-Edwards vs. Benjamin Moore: Which Paint Is Better?

Are you starting a new paint project and trying to decide between Dunn-Edwards and Benjamin Moore?

Is one brand better than the other? In what ways? What are the most significant variations between the two?

In this comparison of Dunn-Edwards vs. Benjamin Moore, you’ll learn how they differ in coverage, durability, VOCs, colors, availability, pricing, and more.


Use the links below to navigate the comparison:


Paint Lines

Dunn-Edwards and Benjamin Moore both offer a range of interior, exterior, and specialty paints. Let’s quickly review each brand’s most popular paint lines.

Benjamin Moore Paint Lines

Benjamin Moore offers four main paint lines to suit varying budgets and needs.

Aura is Benjamin Moore’s luxury paint line and features the brand’s proprietary Color Lock technology, which stands up to contact and rubbing. Aura is Benjamin Moore’s highest volume solid-containing product, justifying its premium price tag of $99 per gallon.

Benjamin Moore Aura
Benjamin Moore Aura

Regal Select is Benjamin Moore’s longest-standing and best-selling line, and it’s offered in interior and exterior varieties. It provides a durable finish and is best suited for high-traffic areas. This paint benefits from stain-release technology that makes cleaning easier. An extensive range of finishes means you can purchase Regal Select in any sheen.

Benjamin Moore Regal Select paint gallon
Benjamin Moore Regal Select

ben is Benjamin Moore’s user-friendly paint option, letting you leave the lid off without worrying, thanks to its extended open time. This product is also self-priming and zero-VOCs. ben is the most affordable paint line offered by Benjamin Moore, with a gallon of paint starting at $53.

Benjamin Moore ben
Benjamin Moore ben

Advance offers high coverage and low VOCs and is recommended for a hard furniture finish on indoor and outdoor projects. Advance provides a selection of sheens for its interior line and is available in high-gloss for exterior projects.

Benjamin Moore Advance
Benjamin Moore Advance

Benjamin Moore also offers specialized paint products for specific jobs, including the Floor & Patio Latex Enamel or the INSL-X Cabinet Coat.

Check out this guide to get more details about the differences between each Benjamin Moore paint line.

Dunn-Edwards Paint Lines

Dunn-Edwards has an extensive list of paint lines that span four categories: Professional, Premium, Ultra-Premium, and Deluxe.

Exquisite is Dunn-Edwards’ top-tier interior product, advertised as its deluxe line. It’s most similar to Benjamin Moore Aura. Only available in Matte finish, Exquisite boasts ChromaStay Technology, making it washable and stain-, scuff- and fade-resistant. This product is ideally used on high-end projects where low VOCs are preferred. Exquisite starts at $78.50 per gallon.

Everest is an ultra-premium interior line with low odor, zero VOC, and self-priming. The Everest line delivers excellent flow and leveling. In competitor tests, it proved the best product for sag resistance and blocking (when two painted surfaces come into contact and don’t peel or transfer). The line comes in four finishes and starts at $67 per gallon. This line is comparable to Benjamin Moore Regal Select in performance and price.

Suprema, also featured in Dunn-Edwards’ ultra-premium category, is an interior line of ultra-low VOC acrylic latex paints. This product has exceptional hide and outstanding durability. It comes in five finishes at a more affordable price of $60.50 per gallon.  

Aristoshield rounds out the ultra-premium roster with interior and exterior versions. This enamel product gives an oil-like finish and is best suited for doors, trim, cabinets, and metal surfaces. An added benefit of Aristoshield is that it can be used as a direct-to-metal coating on prepared surfaces.

Spartawall is Dunn-Edwards’ premium indoor acrylic line. Easy application and extremely low odor make this product a good option for painters of any skill level. Outperforming competitor brands in durability, Spartawall will keep its original appearance for longer. Five finishes are available.

Evershield is an exterior line of 100% acrylic paints best used on properly prepared masonry — concrete, tilt-up, block, stucco, plaster, wood, and exterior metal. Offering a wide array of finishes starting at $72 per gallon, Evershield is an excellent option if you’re looking to prevent UV color fade, mildew, water intrusion, or peeling.

Spartashield is an easy-to-apply 100% acrylic exterior paint that self-levels and offers exceptional sag resistance. With the most finishes available of all Dunn-Edwards products, Spartashield allows you to choose from six different levels of sheen.  

Dunn-Edwards also offers several Professional paint lines:

  • Acri-hues exterior
  • Acri-build exterior
  • Versaflat (interior and exterior)
  • Versawall (interior and exterior)
  • Versasatin (interior and exterior)
  • Versaglo (interior and exterior)
  • Versagloss (interior and exterior)
  • Acri-wall interior
  • Contractor’s Edge interior
  • Quik-wall interior
  • Super-wall RTU interior
  • Ultra-scrub interior

Volume Solids

Nearly every paint brand lists volume solids on their spec sheets. But what exactly does the term mean? Why should you look at volume solid percentages when choosing paint?

When you look into a can of paint that hasn’t been mixed recently, you may see a separation of liquid layers. That’s because the paint is made up of liquid and solid components.

The liquids (water and thinner) make it possible for you to roll the product onto a surface, while the solids (pigment, binding components, and additives) are the parts that will stay on that surface once the liquids dry.

Knowing a product’s volume solid percentage will help you determine how much paint you need for any given job, roughly how much drying time you should expect, and the relative value of your purchase.

Typically, you’ll want to look for a higher percentage of volume solids in your paint. These products provide better coverage and staying power. However, they’re also more expensive than low-volume solid alternatives.

For most paint brands, volume solids vary by finish within a paint line.

You can see in the following tables that Dunn-Edwards’ top line, Exquisite, and Benjamin Moore’s top two lines, Aura and Advance, have the highest percentage of volume solids.

On the other hand, Dunn-Edwards’ Spartawall and Benjamin Moore’s ben have the lowest volume solids.

Interior Volume Solids

Swipe to view the entire chart on mobile.

FlatMatte/VelvetEggshellSatin/Low SheenSemi-GlossHigh-Gloss
Dunn-Edwards ExquisiteN/A45.5%N/AN/AN/AN/A
Dunn-Edwards Everest40%40%40%N/A40%N/A
Dunn-Edwards Suprema41%40%40%37.2%37.7%N/A
Dunn-Edwards Spartawall37.5%39.0% ±36.0%36.0%36.0%N/A
Dunn-Edwards AristoshieldN/AN/A37.5%39.1%37.2%39.3%
Benjamin Moore AuraN/A48%48%42%40%N/A
Benjamin Moore Regal Select38%43%41%40%36%N/A
Benjamin Moore ben32%N/A35%N/A39%N/A
Benjamin Moore AdvanceN/A49%N/A39%37%42%

Exterior Volume Solids

FlatMatte/VelvetEggshellSatin/Low SheenSemi-GlossHigh-Gloss
Dunn-Edwards AristoshieldN/AN/A37.5%39.1%37.2%39.3%
Dunn-Edwards Evershield39.5%39.1%38.4%38.0%37.9%38.0%
Dunn-Edwards Spartashield41.0%39.0%38.0%37.8%37.0%36.0%
Benjamin Moore Aura46%44%N/A40%38%N/A
Benjamin Moore Regal Select42%43%N/AN/A42%N/A
Benjamin Moore ben35%33%N/AN/A35%N/A
Benjamin Moore AdvanceN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A42%

VOCs

Volatile organic compounds, also known as VOCs, will also appear on spec sheets for paint products. 

When the liquid components of paint dry, VOC solvents within that liquid solution also evaporate. During the evaporation process, you may smell a strong odor due to VOCs being emitted into the air.

Some paint lines release VOCs into the air and compromise air quality for several days after your project is finished.

VOCs don’t only exist in paint products. They can be found in pesticides, aerosols, and scented room deodorizers.

Most people learn to live with the scent of paint following a project, but they shouldn’t have to live with the health consequences.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, VOCs have carcinogenic components and can damage your nervous system and vital organs long-term. In the short term, VOCs may result in headaches and dizziness. 

To minimize these risks, choose a low-VOC paint (anything under 50 grams per liter).

Regardless of the VOC level of the product you choose, always remember to protect your skin and eyes, have adequate ventilation in the room, and leave the space to dry for a few days once your project is complete.

All of Benjamin Moore and Dunn-Edwards lines are categorized as low-VOC products. Both brands also offer zero-VOC options (Dunn-Edwards Everest, Benjamin Moore Aura, and ben).

You can compare VOC levels at-a-glance in the following chart:

Interior Paint VOCs (g/l)Exterior Paint VOCs (g/l)
Dunn-Edwards Exquisite50 g/lN/A
Dunn-Edwards Everest 2 g/lN/A
Dunn-Edwards Suprema50 g/lN/A
Dunn-Edwards Spartawall15 g/l (available in a zero VOC variation)N/A
Dunn-Edwards Aristoshield50 g/l50 g/l
Dunn-Edwards EvershieldN/A50 g/l
Dunn-Edwards SpartashieldN/A45-50 g/l
Benjamin Moore Aura0 g/l46.8 g/l
Benjamin Moore Regal Select< 50 (Semi-Gloss < 100 g/l)< 50 g/l
Benjamin Moore ben0 g/l< 50 g/l
Benjamin Moore Advance44 to 48 g/l46 g/l

Where It Is Sold

Another key difference between Dunn-Edwards and Benjamin Moore is where you can buy it.

Benjamin Moore paint retailer
Benjamin Moore paint retailer

Dunn-Edwards is a regional brand with storefronts only in select states in America.

There are 149 company stores and 90 dealers located in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Kentucky, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. Dunn-Edwards’ website lists all store locations so you can find the closest retail location to you.

Benjamin Moore paints are more widely available than Dunn-Edwards. You can purchase Benjamin Moore products at 7,500 independently-owned paint and hardware stores across the United States, including ACE Hardware. Unlike Dunn-Edwards, Benjamin Moore is available in all 50 states.

Check out the Benjamin Moore store locator to find a retailer near you.

Colors

Benjamin Moore offers a staggering 3,500+ colors. Dunn-Edwards is not far behind, offering a sizable selection of over 2,000 shades.

Benjamin Moore Color Selection

All paints created by Benjamin Moore benefit from its proprietary Gennex Technology, which helps resist color fading and withstand harsh weather conditions. The technology also means that it is nearly impossible to replicate its colors if you hope to color-match other paint brands.

Both companies offer free paint swatches and low-cost samples that you can have delivered to your home.

To help you choose the perfect color, Dunn-Edwards sells a small handheld tool called the InstaColor iD, which can pair with the mobile app ColorReader to match the exact color of a surface.

Dunn-Edwards also offers professional color consultations. The in-store color consultations are complimentary, and any in-home or online consultations will cost between $15 and $360, depending on your needs.

Benjamin Moore offers several tools to help you select the perfect color for your space:

  • Search Color by Family, Trends, or Collection allows users to compare the various colors by family. It also predicts upcoming color trends in the next year and generates palettes for each collection.
  • Color a Room allows you to choose from stock room photos to test the many color options virtually.
  • Personal Color Viewer has the same functionality as Color a Room but allows users to upload their own photos to get a sense of what that color would look like in their finished space.  

Benjamin Moore also offers these tools through its app to compare colors in the store or on the go.

Price

Nearly every product in the Dunn-Edwards and Benjamin Moore lines fall within the $40-80 per gallon range. Dunn-Edwards is slightly more affordable than Benjamin Moore overall, but prices vary significantly by line.

Benjamin Moore’s Aura, starting at $90 per gallon, and Dunn-Edwards’ Exquisite, at $79 per gallon, are the most expensive options for each brand.

Benjamin Moore ben, starting at $53 per gallon, and Dunn-Edwards Spartawall, starting at $48 per gallon, are the most affordable.

You can compare the prices of each brand’s paint lines in this chart:

PaintPrice Per GallonView Price
Benjamin Moore Aura Interior$89.99AceHardware.com
Benjamin Moore Regal Select Interior$74.99AceHardware.com
Benjamin Moore Ben Interior$46.99AceHardware.com
Benjamin Moore Ben Exterior$55.99AceHardware.com
Benjamin Moore Regal Select Exterior$74.99AceHardware.com
Dunn-Edwards Exquisite Interior$78.50DunnEdwards.com
Dunn-Edwards Everest Interior$67.00DunnEdwards.com
Dunn-Edwards Suprema Interior$73.00DunnEdwards.com
Dunn-Edwards Spartawall Interior$54.50DunnEdwards.com
Dunn-Edwards Aristoshield Interior/Exterior$75.00DunnEdwards.com

What Others Say About Dunn-Edwards and Benjamin Moore

Benjamin Moore earns more accolades than Dunn-Edwards from professional painters and media outlets. Part of that is because it’s available nationwide and is more recognized. But another factor is that its performance is second to none.

Here’s what others are saying.

After interviewing eight professional painters, The New York Times Wirecutter named Benjamin Moore Regal Select the Best Interior Paint. They chose ben as the Best Budget Pick in the same category.

Regal Select was celebrated for its outstanding coverage, durability, and cleanability. ben was referred to as Regal Select’s little brother, offering slightly less coverage but for a great price.

Benjamin Moore Aura paint was the winner of Best Color Selection in The Spruce’s roundup of Best Exterior Paints. They praised its spreadability, color selection, and limited stickiness as justification for the title.

In a J.D. Power Paint Satisfaction Survey, Benjamin Moore was rated as the Best Interior Paint Brand by 5,804 customers. This rating was based on application, availability, and durability. 

Better Homes and Gardens rated the Benjamin Moore ben line’s soft gloss finish as the best overall option for exterior paint, citing durability, vivid colors, and mildew resistance as key benefits.

I recently interviewed 12 professional painters, and almost all praised Benjamin Moore for its durability, washability, and hide.

Although Dunn-Edwards doesn’t get as much praise from independent outlets, the brand has excellent reviews from its loyal customers.

Homeowners and contractors praise the fabulous selection of colors, the incredible customer service, and the overall quality of the products.

They also love that Dunn-Edwards paints are formulated to protect against UV fade and withstand hot climates, which makes sense since the company launched and still has its roots in Los Angeles.

But from 2019 onwards, a trend of negative reviews emerged. Customers complained about issues with peeling, fading, and the availability of products (or lack thereof).

Bottom Line: Should You Use Dunn-Edwards or Benjamin Moore Paint?

Now that you know the differences between Benjamin Moore and Dunn-Edwards, it’s time to decide which paint to use.

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

  • Both brands offer a range of paint lines. Benjamin Moore Aura and Dunn-Edwards Exquisite are the most premium (and expensive) options, and Benjamin Moore ben and Dunn-Edwards Spartawall are on the lower end.
  • Volume solids in Benjamin Moore and Dunn-Edwards’ luxury lines are above 45%. Their budget lines also reflect similar measurements between brands, although Benjamin Moore’s interior ben line is the lowest at 32%.
  • Benjamin Moore and Dunn-Edwards both offer low- and zero-VOC paint lines.
  • Dunn-Edwards has more limited distribution, with 149 company stores in select states. Benjamin Moore paint is easier to source across America at 7,500 independent paint and hardware stores, including ACE Hardware.
  • Benjamin Moore offers over 3,500 colors, while Dunn-Edwards provides around 2,000.
  • Benjamin Moore has several free color selection tools, including a mobile app. Dunn-Edwards only offers free in-store consultations. Their handheld color measuring tool, along with their in-home and virtual consultations, all come at a fee.
  • Benjamin Moore is better known and featured on many “Best Paint” lists, while customer reviews of Dunn-Edwards are typically good but have been relatively negative in the last few years.

Ultimately, both brands offer quality paint at a range of prices. Both are trusted by homeowners and professionals, and both have been in business for decades.

It’s less about picking between Benjamin Moore and Dunn-Edwards and more about choosing the paint line that suits your needs and budget (and is available near you).

If you still can’t decide, go with Benjamin Moore. It’s more accessible and offers more tools to help you pick the perfect color.

Plus, it’s a tried-and-true brand that consistently earns top ratings from independent testing outlets.

I recommend Regal Select for most jobs. It’s the best-selling line, offering excellent coverage and stain resistance. It’s one step down from Aura in terms of solids and thickness (and price), but it’s easier to work with and a much better value.

If Regal Select is outside of your budget, consider ben. It’s an affordable zero-VOC paint that’s easy to apply and looks excellent on walls.

Learn more about these brands on DunnEdwards.com, BenjaminMoore.com, and ACEHardware.com.

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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