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Farrow & Ball vs. Benjamin Moore: Which Paint Is Better?

Benjamin Moore is a household name in paints, offering a staggering 3,500+ color choices at various price points.

Farrow & Ball is a boutique company based in the United Kingdom that partners with designers like Kelly Wearstler to develop its unique color collections.

Does boutique equal better quality? Which paint is the best value?

In this comparison of Farrow & Ball vs. Benjamin Moore, you’ll learn how these two brands compare in areas like color, durability, VOCs, pricing, and more.

I also share which important product information Farrow & Ball doesn’t disclose to their customers.


Use the links below to navigate the comparison:


Paint Lines

Farrow & Ball and Benjamin Moore approach paint lines differently.

Farrow & Ball doesn’t offer a conventional line of paints. Instead, It advertises its paint finishes (think eggshell, high-gloss, or others that you would typically choose from once you’ve decided on a paint line) as the equivalent to the conventional paint lines.

Farrow and Ball Finishes
Farrow & Ball Finishes

Benjamin Moore offers paint lines that reflect most paint brands’ approach to product types.

In this section, you’ll learn about the suite of Farrow & Ball products and the top Benjamin Moore paint lines.

Farrow & Ball Paints

Farrow & Ball Modern Emulsion is an all-around durable interior paint available in a matte finish. This product is its go-to paint for high-touch and moisture-prone walls and ceilings.

Farrow & Ball Estate Emulsion is the signature interior paint for Farrow & Ball and is available in its full range of colors. With a chalky matte finish, this paint lends well to adding depth of color. It can be wiped but not washed.  

Farrow and Ball Estate Emulsion
Farrow & Ball Estate Emulsion

Farrow & Ball Estate Eggshell is Farrow & Ball’s choice for interior wood and metal painting, and contrary to its name, it offers a satin finish. This product is best suited for painting doors, radiators, or kitchen cabinets.

Farrow & Ball Modern Eggshell is the most durable product in Farrow & Ball’s lineup. Again contrary to its name, Modern Eggshell is a satin finish recommended for skirting, baseboards, and floors.

Farrow & Ball Full Gloss is the highest-shine finish offered by Farrow & Ball, and its versatile formula works on interior and exterior surfaces. It is advertised for best use on wood and metal.

Farrow & Ball Exterior Eggshell is best for outdoor surfaces. It boasts a resin-rich formula that allows the paint to expand and contract with the weather, resulting in less flaking and chipping during its lifetime.

Farrow & Ball Exterior Masonry offers a matte finish and extreme breathability, which allows for a much longer lifespan of the paint. This finish is only available in 108 colors.

Farrow & Ball Dead Flat is best used in specific interior settings as its delicate finish does not lend to washing or wiping. It is made from an alkyd resin to emulate an 18th-century paint finish.

Benjamin Moore Paints

Benjamin Moore offers several different lines to suit a myriad of paint projects.

Here you’ll see a brief description of each of its top lines.

Benjamin Moore Aura is a smooth finish interior and exterior paint line featuring Color Lock technology. This proprietary feature makes the color last longer without rubbing off. Check out my comparison of Regal Select vs. Aura paint to learn more.

Benjamin Moore Aura

Benjamin Moore Regal Select is a paint line you can use for the interior and exterior of your home. It comes in various finishes like matte, pearl, and semi-gloss. Plus, it has stain-release technology, making it easy to clean.

Benjamin Moore Regal Select

Benjamin Moore ben is advertised as the brand’s user-friendly paint option, with an extended open time, self-priming technology, and zero-VOCs. Ben is the most affordable paint line offered by Benjamin Moore.

Benjamin Moore ben

Benjamin Moore Advance is a durable interior and exterior paint line designed for superior coverage and easy application. The interior version comes in three finishes, while the exterior comes only in a high-gloss finish.

Benjamin Moore Advance

Benjamin Moore also offers a series of specialized paints for specific jobs, like the Floor & Patio Latex Enamels or the INSL-X Cabinet Coat. Visit BenjaminMoore.com or ACEhardware.com to learn more.

Read my guide to Benjamin Moore paint grades to learn more.

Volume Solids

Why is the measurement of volume solids essential when comparing paint lines?

Knowing the volume solids’ percentage will help you predict how much coverage a gallon of paint will have.

Paint consists of a combination of solid and liquid components. The liquids (water or thinner) allow you to roll the paint onto a surface. The solids (pigment, binding components, and additives) will remain on that surface once the liquids dry.

Awareness of volume solids will help you assess your paint purchase value. It will also assist with the following:

  • Calculating how much paint you need for your project
  • Determining drying times
  • Comparing relative prices of paints with different volume solid percentages

Companies express volume solids through a percentage of the total volume of the product. Most high-percentage paints will have a higher cost per gallon and generally tend to provide higher coverage and durability.

For most paint brands, volume solids vary by finish within a paint line. This variation is demonstrated in the below Benjamin Moore tables, which break each line down by finish.

You’ll notice that Farrow & Ball has no volume solids table. This company does not post its volume solids levels online.

I reached out to Farrow & Ball to see if it would provide information about volume solids upon request and was advised that it “does not disclose this information.”

This lack of transparency is worth noting and may factor into your purchasing choices.

Without the information about Farrow & Ball’s volume solids, I cannot accurately compare its formulas against its competitors.

What can be confirmed from these numbers is that Benjamin Moore’s Aura line (it’s premium paint, you’ll recall) has the highest volume solids percentage, while the budget line, ben, has the lowest rate of volume solids.

Benjamin Moore Interior Volume Solids

Note: N/A appears in the cell when the line doesn’t include a specific finish.

Paint LineFlatMatteEggshellSatinSemi-Gloss
AuraN/A48%48%42%40%
Regal Select38%43%41%40%36%
ben32%N/A35%N/A39%
AdvanceN/A49%N/A39%37%

Benjamin Moore Exterior Volume Solids

Paint LineFlatMatteSatinSemi-GlossHigh-Gloss
Aura46%44%40%38%N/A
Regal Select42%43%N/A42%N/A
ben35%33%N/A35%N/A
AdvanceN/AN/AN/AN/A42%

 

VOCs

Besides volume solids, you may have heard of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) before when comparing different paint brands.

Remember how I said earlier that the liquid content in paint evaporates while the volume solids are left behind?

Well, some of that liquid content includes solvents, which evaporate at room temperature. These solvents are also known as VOCs.

VOCs are more common than you might think. They can appear in aerosol sprays, room deodorizers, and pesticides.

But while they go largely unnoticed in your day-to-day life, they threaten your health. The Minnesota Department of Health claims they can have short-term effects, including headaches and dizziness. Exposure to high VOC levels can cause cancer and damage your nervous system, liver, and kidneys.

Some paints can continue to emit VOCs long after drying, worsening indoor air quality.

For all these reasons, it’s essential to find low-VOC paint.

Officially, paints with less than 50 grams per liter (g/l) of VOCs are considered low-VOC. Still, low VOC doesn’t mean 100% safe, so practice these safety tips:

  • Wear safety goggles and gloves to protect your skin and eyes.
  • Make sure your room has proper ventilation — open the windows and turn on fans if you have them.
  • Once the room is painted, leave it to dry for a few days.

Some paints even have no VOCs, but since paint can still have harmful chemicals, I recommend following the safety tips above. It’s just considered slightly safer for your long-term health than low-VOC paint.

Both Benjamin Moore and Farrow & Ball offer low-VOC paints. One unique thing about Benjamin Moore is that it also provides zero-VOC paint (Aura and interior ben).

You can find out more in the charts below:

Farrow & Ball VOCs

Farrow & Ball PaintPaint VOCs (g/l)
Modern Emulsion4 g/l
Estate Emulsion4 g/l
Estate Eggshell15 g/l
Modern Eggshell6 g/l
Full Gloss18 g/l
Exterior Eggshell4 g/l
Exterior Masonry1 g/l

Benjamin Moore VOCs

Benjamin Moore PaintInterior Paint VOCs (g/l)Exterior Paint VOCs (g/l)
Aura0 g/l0 g/l
Regal Select< 50 (Semi-Gloss < 100 g/l)< 50 g/l
ben0 g/l< 50 g/l
Advance44 to 48 g/l46 g/l

Where It Is Sold

Finding Farrow & Ball paints is more challenging due to its limited distribution at independent retailers. Conversely, Benjamin Moore is selling at many hardware stores across America.

Farrow & Ball is available in a limited number of stores, including its company-owned and operated locations and some independent stockists.

Farrow & Ball has 15 showrooms across America. You can also purchase Farrow & Ball paints at independent stockists. Check out Farrow-Ball.com for store locations.

You can purchase Benjamin Moore products at one of its 7,154 branded storefronts across America, at Ace hardware, or at many other independently owned paint and hardware stores across America. Check out the Benjamin Moore store locator to find a retailer near you.

Colors

When it comes to color selection, Benjamin Moore extends far beyond Farrow & Ball with a staggering 3,500+ colors. Farrow & Ball only offers 132 colors.

All paints created by Benjamin Moore benefit from its proprietary Gennex Technology, which helps to resist color fading and stands up to harsh weather conditions, among other benefits.

This technology also means that it is nearly impossible to replicate its colors if you hope to color-match other paint brands.

Benjamin Moore offers a variety of tools to help browsers navigate through the catalog of colors, including:

  • Search Color by Family, Trends, or Collection allows users to shop around by comparing the various colors by family. It also showcases color trend predictions for the coming year and curates complementary palettes by collection.
  • Color a Room provides a series of stock room photos to virtually test its many color options.
  • Personal Color Viewer applies the same principle as Color a Room but allows users to upload their own photos to get a sense of what that color would look like in the finished space.  

Benjamin Moore also offers these functionalities through its app to compare colors on the go.

Farrow & Ball charges a high fee (between $250 and $500) for its one-on-one color consultancy service. It also offers 100 mL samples for a price.

Both companies offer free paint swatches.

Price

When looking at Farrow & Ball vs. Benjamin Moore in terms of price, Farrow & Ball paint is significantly more expensive. All of its paint starts at over $100 a gallon, with the cheapest finish being $120 (Estate Emulsion) and the most expensive finishes being $150 (Modern and Exterior Eggshell).

Benjamin Moore has a wider range of price points that run the gamut from budget-friendly to premium. On the premium side is Aura, while ben is the most affordable paint line.

To illustrate the price range, Aura costs $98.99 and ben costs $52.99 per gallon (for the interior version). In total, there is a $46 difference between these two lines.

Using the chart below, you can price-compare Farrow & Ball and Benjamin Moore paint:

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
Farrow & Ball Modern Emulsion Interior$130.00Farrow-Ball.com
Farrow & Ball Estate Emulsion Interior$120.00Farrow-Ball.com
Farrow & Ball Full Gloss Interior$135.00Farrow-Ball.com
Farrow & Ball Exterior Eggshell$150.00Farrow-Ball.com

What Paint Experts Say About Farrow & Ball and Benjamin Moore

To get an expert opinion on Farrow & Ball and Benjamin Moore, I called Johnson Paint, a paint store in Boston, Massachusetts, that’s been in business since 1939. They sell both Benjamin Moore and Farrow & Ball and know each brand well.

When I spoke to the paint specialist there, I asked: what are the main differences between Benjamin Moore and Farrow & Ball?

He said, “Farrow & Ball is a specialty paint brand out of the UK. It’s known for having stronger pigments, so the colors are more vibrant when the paint is on the wall. The downside is that the color choices are limited, and it’s much more expensive than Benjamin Moore.”

He also said, “Both brands are phenomenal. And there are no major differences in quality. Both provide great coverage, durability, and washability.”

“If you really love a Farrow & Ball color, you can match it with Benjamin Moore,” he said.

I asked if the vibrance of Farrow & Ball is actually noticeable. In other words, if I match a Farrow & Ball color with Benjamin Moore and put both paints side-by-side on the wall, will Farrow & Ball look noticeably richer and more vibrant?

He said, “There would be a slight difference, but most people wouldn’t notice.”

He also mentioned, “Most contractors love Benjamin Moore, but many complain about Farrow & Ball. They say it takes 2 or 3 coats and is difficult to work with. But once it’s on the wall, it looks great.”

What Others Say

Benjamin Moore is a well-known brand that is widely available. It is reviewed frequently and receives plenty of commendations, particularly for its Regal Select line.

Farrow & Ball doesn’t appear prominently in reviews or bestsellers lists, likely due to its limited distribution and high prices.

The few websites that review Farrow & Ball sing its praises.

Here is a summary of what other websites and experts have to say about Farrow & Ball and Benjamin Moore paints:

In a J.D. Power Paint Satisfaction Survey from 2021, the 5,804 customers surveyed rated Benjamin Moore as the best interior paint brand.

The New York Times Wirecutter chose Benjamin Moore Regal Select as their top pick and ben as the best budget pick. They said that Regal Select had great coverage, durability, and cleanability. 

Bob Vila rated Benjamin Moore as the runner-up for the best paint brands behind Sherwin-Williams. They praised the Gennex Color Technology for giving the paint excellent performance and said it was resistant to water and oil stains. They did have a few points of criticism, though, saying that it tends to dry quickly and leave streaks.

Real Simple selected Benjamin Moore as one of their top interior paint brands, praising the free Color Portfolio app and the wide range of colors. Regal Select was the only line they mentioned by name, saying that it had smooth, uniform coverage and a variety of finishes.

Another top brand they mentioned was Farrow & Ball. They said that while it’s not as budget-friendly as other brands, they appreciated the “gorgeously rich color collections” and uniqueness of their paints.

Country Living said Farrow & Ball paint, specifically its Full Gloss finish, was the best gloss finish paint for interiors. They said it was a highly durable option that looked beautiful for interior applications.

Better Homes and Gardens rated Benjamin Moore ben paint (specifically the soft gloss finish) as the best overall option for exterior paint. They said the top benefit was its coverage and also appreciated its mildew resistance, durability, and rich color.

Benjamin Moore Aura paint was the winner for the best color selection category on the list of the best exterior paints from The Spruce. The only con they listed was that some might find the paint too thick, though they also said this positively affected its durability.

Bottom Line: Which Paint Should You Use?

Comparing Benjamin Moore paints with Farrow & Ball’s is a challenging endeavor.

With Farrow & Ball’s higher price point and limited availability, it caters to a more exclusive clientele.

Benjamin Moore is an accessible option for the average painter who wants to get their paints from a hardware store.

Before getting to my top pick, let’s recap the key differences:

  • Benjamin Moore has a variety of paint lines, while Farrow & Ball has different finishes. Both brands offer interior and exterior paint.
  • Farrow & Ball keeps its volume solids private, making it difficult to compare different finishes and competitors. Benjamin Moore does offer this data, and Aura has the highest volume solids percentage while ben has the lowest.
  • Both Farrow & Ball and Benjamin Moore offer low-VOC paint. The interior version of ben and both versions of Aura have no VOCs.
  • Farrow & Ball is limited to independent stockists and branded stores. Benjamin Moore paint is easier to find since it’s at independent paint and hardware stores, branded stores, and Ace Hardware.
  • Benjamin Moore offers significantly more colors, over 3,500 in total. Farrow & Ball has a limited selection of 132 colors.
  • Benjamin Moore has many free color selection tools, including a mobile app. Farrow & Ball only has a color consultancy service and limited paint swatches.
  • Farrow & Ball paint starts at over $100 per gallon for every finish. Benjamin Moore does have premium options, but it also has budget-friendly paints like ben.
  • Benjamin Moore is a well-recognized brand with more accolades and awards to its name.

Farrow & Ball might be worth it if you have the budget and there’s a specific color or finish you can’t live without.

But for most people, I recommend Benjamin Moore. It’s a critically acclaimed paint brand with a range of options and over 3,000 colors. Plus, you can match any Farrow & Ball color with Benjamin Moore. It’s also available at thousands of stores throughout the U.S.

Learn more about both brands at Farrow-Ball.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’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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