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Kelly-Moore vs. Sherwin-Williams: What’s the Difference?

Are you getting ready for a paint project but can’t decide whether to use Kelly-Moore or Sherwin-Williams?

What’s the difference between these two paint brands? Is one better than the other?

In this comparison of Kelly-Moore vs. Sherwin-Williams, you’ll learn how they differ in coverage, durability, VOCs, colors, price, and more.


Use the links below to navigate the comparison:


Paint Lines

Sherwin-Williams and Kelly-Moore both offer an array of interior and exterior paints in various finishes and formulas.

In this section, you’ll learn about the most popular paint lines from both brands.

Sherwin-Williams Paints

Sherwin-Williams SuperPaint is an acrylic latex paint-and-primer available in interior and exterior formulas. It has a smooth, lasting finish that holds up to the elements and cleaning, both on the inside and the outside of your home. SuperPaint is available in a wide range of colors and finishes.

Sherwin-Williams SuperPaint Interior
Sherwin-Williams SuperPaint Interior

Sherwin-Williams Duration is formulated with patented technology and co-polymers for a long-lasting finish for the interior and exterior of your home. This paint-and-primer formula with antimicrobial agents resists staining and mildew. It also holds up well to cleaning, preserving its appearance.

Sherwin-Williams Duration
Sherwin-Williams SuperPaint Interior

Sherwin-Williams Emerald is Sherwin-Williams’ premium paint line for the interior and exterior of your home. Available in a comprehensive range of colors and finishes, Emerald paint transforms your home with a beautiful finish. Read my complete comparison of Duration vs. Emerald paint to learn more.

Sherwin-Williams Emerald Interior
Sherwin-Williams Emerald Interior

Sherwin-Williams Cashmere paint-and-primer formula offers an elegant finish to any room in your home. Its ultra-smooth finish looks excellent from all angles and lights. In addition, it holds up to cleaning for a long-lasting finish. Want to learn more? Read my comparison of Emerald vs. Cashmere.

Sherwin-Williams Cashmere
Sherwin-Williams Cashmere

Sherwin-Williams Captivate is Sherwin-Williams’ basic (i.e., low cost) interior paint. Its paint-and-primer formula is available in over 1,700 colors and various sheens. Captivate offers reliable performance at an affordable price.

Sherwin-Williams Captivate Interior
Sherwin-Williams Captivate Interior

Sherwin-Williams Resilience is Sherwin-Williams’ highest-quality exterior paint. Available in a wide range of colors and finishes, Resilience dries and becomes moisture-resistant quickly. You can even apply it in temperatures as low as 35°F.

Learn more about all Sherwin-Williams paint lines in my in-depth review.

Kelly-Moore Paints

Kelly-Moore DuraPoxy is a super-premium line of interior and exterior paints. It holds up well to repeated cleaning and is perfect for high-traffic areas. DuraPoxy is stain and mildew-resistant, protecting surfaces from drywall to metal with a luxurious finish.

Kelly-Moore AcryPlex is a durable 100% acrylic, low VOC formula available in a wide variety of colors and finishes. It’s suitable for most surfaces, including drywall, plaster, metal, and wood. This paint has little splatter during application as well as a low odor.

Kelly-Moore AcryShield is a 100% acrylic exterior formula that holds up to the elements with outstanding color and gloss retention. You can also apply it to various surfaces, including stucco, metal, trim, accents, and doors.

For more information about Kelly-Moore paint, visit KellyMoore.com.

Specialty Paints

Sherwin-Williams and Kelly-Moore also offer specialty paints to complement the traditional interior and exterior paint lines. Some of the specialty lines from each brand include:

Sherwin-Williams Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel is a water-based enamel that creates a durable finish on doors, windows, trim, and cabinets.

Sherwin-Williams Porch & Floor Enamel is a durable option for concrete and wood surfaces, such as porches, patios, and stairs.

Kelly-Moore Epic is a self-leveling paint for trim and accent areas.

Kelly-Moore DTM is an interior/exterior paint formulated for direct application on iron, steel, aluminum, and galvanized metal.

Volume Solids

While researching paints, you’ll see the term volume solids in the descriptions and spec sheets. But what does this term mean, and how do Kelly-Moore and Sherwin-Williams volume solids compare?

Paint consists of liquid (water or thinner) and solid components (pigment, binding components, and additives). Simply put, volume solids are what’s left when the liquids dry.

Understanding volume solids will help you choose the best paint for your project. You’ll be able to:

  • Get the best value
  • Determine how much paint you need
  • Have more control over the final outcome
  • Estimate the necessary drying time

Paints with a higher volume solids percentage have better, longer-lasting coverage. They often require fewer coats of paint to achieve full coverage and a rich finish.

The table below shows the volume solid percentages for various Sherwin-Williams and Kelly-Moore paint lines. You’ll notice that the percentages vary between lines and finishes.

The premium paint lines for Sherwin-Williams and Kelly-Moore have higher volume solids but are also higher priced. You can opt for a less expensive, lower volume solid line but may need to use more paint to achieve the same results.

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

Interior Volume Solids

Swipe to view the entire chart on mobile.

Paint LineFlatMatteEggshellSatinSemi-Gloss
Sherwin-Williams SuperPaint44%N/AN/A41%N/A
Sherwin-Williams Duration40%40%N/A38%N/A
Sherwin-Williams Emerald41%N/AN/A40%37%
Sherwin-Williams Cashmere40%N/AN/AN/AN/A
Sherwin-Williams Captivate34%N/AN/A40%N/A
Kelly-Moore DuraPoxyN/A39%37%39%37%
Kelly-Moore AcryPlex41%N/A40%39%39%
Kelly-Moore Premium Professional33%32%43%42%38%
Kelly-Moore Magnum32%34%40%39%38%

Exterior Volume Solids

Swipe to view the entire chart on mobile.

Paint LineFlatSatinSemi-Gloss
Sherwin-Williams SuperPaint37%37%N/A
Sherwin-Williams Duration43%N/AN/A
Sherwin-Williams Emerald42%39%N/A
Sherwin-Williams Resilience39%N/AN/A
Kelly-Moore DuraPoxy37%N/AN/A
Kelly-Moore Envy41%N/A43%
Kelly-Moore AcryShield40%41%34%
Kelly-Moore Premium Professional38%37%34%

VOCs

Another term you will find in paint descriptions is VOC, or volatile organic compounds. VOCs are the solvents that turn into gas as the paint dries. They cause strong-smelling fumes and are why you should keep the windows open while you paint.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, many of these compounds may cause health issues. For example, they can affect the respiratory system, and some people may experience headaches and nausea.

What’s worse, some VOCs take longer to evaporate than the liquid component of the paint — up to six months in some cases.

Many brands, like Sherwin-Williams and Kelly-Moore, are adopting eco-friendly formulas with low or zero VOCs. So look for paints with low VOCs for increased safety. Paint with less than 50 grams of VOC per liter (g/L) is considered low VOC.

Keep in mind that even with low VOC paint, it’s safest to paint in a well-ventilated area and stay out of the room for a few days after painting.

The table below highlights the VOC levels in Sherwin-Williams and Kelly-Moore paint lines.

Note: You will see an NA in the column if a brand doesn’t offer a specific type of paint.

Paint LineInterior Paint VOCs (g/l)Exterior Paint VOCs (g/l)
Sherwin Williams SuperPaint< 50< 50
Sherwin Williams Duration< 50< 50
Sherwin Williams Emerald< 50< 50
Sherwin-Williams Cashmere< 50N/A
Sherwin Williams Captivate< 50N/A
Sherwin Williams ResilienceN/A< 50
Kelly-Moore AcryPlex/AcryShield< 2< 50
Kelly-Moore Premium Professional< 2< 50

Where It Is Sold

Finding Sherwin-Williams or Kelly-Moore paints might be tricky as neither are carried by conveniently located hardware superstores.

Sherwin-Williams paints are only available at the 4,400 Sherwin-Williams stores across the United States or on Sherwin-Williams.com. Also, the brand partnered with HGTV to create the HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams line of paint that you can purchase exclusively at Lowe’s.

Sherwin-Williams Paint Review

Similarly, Kelly-Moore paints are only available at Kelly-Moore stores and some independently owned and operated paint and hardware stores. You can order Kelly-Moore paints on KellyMooreShop.com for shipping or in-store pick-up.

Unlike Sherwin-Williams, which has stores across the country, Kelly-Moore is primarily sold in California, Texas, Oklahoma, and New York. You can use the Kelly-Moore store locator to find the nearest retailer.

Kelly-Moore Paint Stores and Dealers
Kelly-Moore Paint Stores and Dealers (blue = dealers, yellow = Kelly-Moore Stores)

Colors

Sherwin-Williams and Kelly-Moore both offer an extensive array of interior and exterior colors — over 1,700 each.

Sherwin-Williams Colors
Sherwin-Williams Paint Colors

In addition, the salespeople at the branded stores have extensive training on the products and can answer your questions to help you choose the right color and finish of paint for your project.

Sherwin-Williams offers a variety of online tools to help you choose a color. The primary browsing page allows you to search by color family to find the precise shade of blue, yellow, or whatever color you prefer.

You can also use the ColorSnap Visualizer to see how different colors will look in your home. Choose your color palette, and upload a picture of the area you want to paint — or a Sherwin-Williams stock photo — to see what your selected colors will look like in real life.

You can also use SnapIt and ColorSnap Precision for exceptional color matching. The SnapIt button automatically matches the color in an image to a Sherwin-Williams paint. The ColorSnap Precision system calibrates the color formulas to look exactly like you expect.

The photos in the screenshots below were taken by Digital Photo Mentor.

Sherwin Williams SnapIt Color Tool_image 1
Sherwin-Williams SnapIt Color Tool
Sherwin Williams SnapIt Color Tool_image 2
Sherwin-Williams SnapIt Color Tool

Kelly-Moore offers the following tools to make it easy to find the right colors:

Kelly-Moore MyColorVisualizer
Kelly-Moore MyColorVisualizer

Price

Sherwin-Williams and Kelly-Moore both offer various paint lines at different price points.

For example, if you opt for Sherwin-Williams, you could choose the premium Emerald line ranging from $80-$110 per gallon for interior paints and $94-$100 per gallon for exterior paints.

Alternatively, if you’re on a tighter budget, you could choose the A-100 Exterior Latex paint for $54 per gallon and Captivate Interior for $42-46 per gallon.

However, if you choose Kelly-Moore, you can expect to spend around $73 per gallon on DuraPoxy paints or $55 per gallon on AcryPlex, the least expensive option.

Other brands, such as Glidden and Valspar, offer less expensive options than Kelly-Moore and Sherwin-Williams. However, you may sacrifice quality and low VOCs for a lower price point.

Kelly-Moore and Sherwin-Williams are two of the more expensive brands on the market, but the paint quality is higher.

The chart below compares Sherwin-Williams and Kelly-Moore prices, as well as a few other brands for reference.

PaintView Price
Kelly-Moore DuraPoxy InteriorKellyMooreShop.com
Kelly-Moore AcryPlex InteriorKellyMooreShop.com
Kelly-Moore Epic InteriorKellyMooreShop.com
Kelly-Moore DuraPoxy ExteriorKellyMooreShop.com
Kelly-Moore Envy ExteriorKellyMooreShop.com
Kelly-Moore AcryShieldKellyMooreShop.com
Sherwin-Williams Emerald InteriorSherwin-Williams.com
Sherwin-Williams SuperPaint Interior Sherwin-Williams.com
Sherwin-Williams Duration InteriorSherwin-Williams.com
Sherwin-Williams Cashmere InteriorSherwin-Williams.com
Sherwin-Williams Captivate InteriorSherwin-Williams.com
Sherwin-Williams Emerald ExteriorSherwin-Williams.com
Sherwin-Williams Duration ExteriorSherwin-Williams.com
Glidden Premium InteriorHomeDepot.com
Glidden EssentialsHomeDepot.com
Valspar Ultra InteriorLowes.com
Valspar Duramax ExteriorLowes.com

What Others Say About Kelly-Moore and Sherwin-Williams

Sherwin-Williams paints are featured on many top 10 and best-of lists. The variety of colors, finishes, and price points make it a popular choice for many professionals and DIYers.

You won’t see Kelly-Moore paints featured prominently, mainly because it’s a regional brand with limited availability across the United States.

Here is a summary of what other websites and experts have to say about Sherwin-Williams and Kelly-Moore paints:

The New York Times Wirecutter ranked Sherwin-Williams Cashmere as the best interior paint runner-up. Many of the participants in the project compared it favorably to the winner — Benjamin Moore Regal Select.

The team at The Spruce selected Cashmere as the best overall interior wall paint. They mentioned that the paint is easy to apply and won’t leave roller marks or brush strokes when it’s dry.

Good Housekeeping rates Sherwin-Williams SuperPaint as the best interior paint runner-up. The review says the paint has better than average stain removal and is highly resistant to wear with low VOCs.

Architectural Digest reviewed the best-selling Kelly-Moore paints. The reviewer commends Kelly-Moore for being the first brand to offer recycled-reclaimed paints and zero-VOC waterborne colorants.

Bottom Line: Should You Use Kelly-Moore or Sherwin-Williams?

Now that you know the differences between Kelly-Moore and Sherwin-Williams, it’s time to pick the best brand for you.

Let’s review the key points before you choose:

  • Sherwin-Williams and Kelly-Moore both offer a variety of interior and exterior paint lines with a wide range of colors and finishes.
  • Volume solids vary by line and finish, and Sherwin Willilams SuperPaint has the highest percentage.
  • Sherwin-Williams and Kelly-Moore both have low VOC lines, but Kelly-Moore offers 0-VOC options.
  • You can only buy Sherwin-Williams at the company’s owned and operated stores. You can buy Kelly-Moore at Kelly-Moore stores or independent authorized dealers. Sherwin-Williams is available nationwide, while Kelly-Moore is only available in a handful of states.
  • Both brands offers online color selection tools to help you find the right shade or match paint to your favorite color.
  • Kelly-Moore and Sherwin-Williams have a wide range of prices, but both are more expensive than brands like Behr, Glidden, and Valspar.
  • Sherwin-Williams is a better-recognized brand and is often included in top 10 and best-of lists.

Bottom Line — Sherwin-Williams is a well-recognized and top-rated brand. Professional painters use and recommend it. It is a little more expensive than other brands, but it includes some of the highest-quality paint on the market.

Kelly-Moore paint is a good option, but it might be harder to find, and there are fewer paint lines available. However, if you have a store nearby, why not give it a try on a smaller project and see what you think.

If you’re looking for a recommendation, go with Sherwin-Williams. The Cashmere line is one of the highest-rated paints, known for its smooth application and excellent coverage. The New York Times rated it the second-best interior paint only behind Benjamin Moore Regal Select.

Check out the articles below to learn more about both brands.

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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