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Sherwin-Williams Cashmere vs. Emerald: Which Paint Line Is Better?

Are you comparing Sherwin-Williams paints and wondering which is best for your project?

In this comparison of Sherwin-Williams Cashmere vs. Emerald, you’ll learn how these top-rated paint lines differ in coverage, durability, washability, price, and overall quality.

By the end, you’ll know the key differences and have all the information necessary to decide if the more expensive Emerald line is worth it or not.

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Sherwin-Williams Cashmere vs. Emerald: Comparison Chart

TypeInteriorInterior and Exterior
Paint and PrimerYesYes
VOCs< 50 g/l< 50 g/l
Colors1,700 options1,700 options
Dry Time4 hours before recoat4 hours before recoat
Coverage per Gallon350-400 square feet350-400 square feet
Interior Volume Solids38-41%37-41%
Exterior Volume SolidsN/A38-42%
FinishesFlat, eggshell, low luster, medium luster, and pearlInterior: flat, matte, satin, and semi-gloss

Exterior: flat, satin, or gloss finish
Easy to Clean✔✔✔
Mold & Mildew Resistance✔✔✔✔✔
Ease of Application✔✔✔✔✔✔
Coverage/Hide✔✔ ✔✔✔
Price$$ (view on Sherwin-Williams.com)$$$$ (view on Sherwin-Williams.com)

Similarities Between Sherwin-Williams Cashmere and Emerald

This section covers the similarities between Sherwin-Williams Cashmere and Emerald paint lines.

Acrylic Latex Paint

Sherwin-Williams Cashmere and Emerald are both acrylic latex paints, which means they’re water-soluble and use resin as a binding agent.

Acrylic paint is economical and favored choice for those new to painting. It is easy to use and cleans up with just water and mild soap.

Acrylic dries quicker than oil-based paints and does not smell as strong. It also provides excellent coverage and color retention.

Paint and Primer

Both Sherwin-Williams Cashmere and Emerald paints are self-priming, meaning they include a primer in the formula. This helps improve overall coverage, but you will want to use a primer before painting in some cases. For example, switching from a dark or vibrant color to a pastel shade or lighter color.


Only Emerald paints offer built-in stain resistance. The feature makes them perfect for any area susceptible to stains, such as a kitchen, craft room, or playroom.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are solvents that release into the air as paint dries.

VOC levels in paint have become a hot button issue in regards to consumer protection. Companies like Sherwin-Williams want to remain compliant with federal mandates and answer public demand for safer products that are more eco-friendly.

When you choose a paint line, you’ll want to pay attention to the level of VOCs it contains because:

  • According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), many VOCs are known to cause cancer.
  • VOC exposure can have short- and long-term health effects.
  • While some VOCs off-gas quickly, some can release gas for years.

There is a federal limit of  250 grams per liter (g/L) for flat finishes and 380 g/L for other finishes, such as low-luster and semi-gloss.

Cashmere and Emerald interior and Emerald exterior lines are compliant with VOC regulations as they all contain less than 50 g/L. Still, you should always make sure the room you’re painting is well ventilated. After you’re done painting, leave the room and let it air out for two to three days before returning.

Drying Time

Sherwin-Williams Cashmere and Emerald interior paints are dry to the touch in one hour. You can apply a second coat, if necessary, after four hours. Emerald exterior is dry in two hours, and you can apply a second coat after 24-48 hours.


Both interior paints can cover 350–400 square feet per gallon.


Sherwin-Williams Cashmere and Emerald paints are both available in over 1,700 colors.

Sherwin-Williams Colors
Sherwin-Williams Paint Colors

You also have access to a suite of color tools, such as:

The Snap It Button is a web-based application that allows you to click on an image online, and the tool will make a palette of every corresponding Sherwin-Williams color in that image. It’s a great way to take an inspiration image and turn it into a color palette for a room in your home.

ColorSnap is a visual tool available for web browsers and an Android, iPhone, and iPad app. It helps you get a virtual look at how your chosen colors will look in a room.

Sherwin-Williams ColorSnap Visualizer
Sherwin-Williams ColorSnap Visualizer

Differences Between Sherwin-Williams Cashmere and Emerald

Although Cashmere and Emerald have some similarities, they have far more differences. Let’s look at each one separately.

Sherwin-Williams Cashmere versus Emerald interior paint

Exterior Paint

The Emerald line offers exterior paint, while Cashmere only offers interior paint. So, if you have an exterior paint project, Emerald is what you need for that job.

Volume Solids

Paint consists of water (or solvent), pigment, additives, and a binding agent.

Each element has a job to do. The pigment gives the paint color, additives infuse the paint with different qualities, such as fade resistance or stain blocking, binder holds the pigment and additives together, and the solvent is the vehicle that allows you to apply paint to a surface.

Volume solids are the part of the paint left on the wall once it dries. The solvent dissipates, and only the binding agent, pigment, and additives remain — thus, the volume solids.

Paints with a higher level of volume solids are thicker. They provide more coverage in fewer coats and a lasting, durable finish. Conversely, paints with lower volume solids are thinner and require more coats to achieve similar results.

The following tables show the volume solids for Sherwin-Williams Cashmere and Emerald interior and exterior paints in multiple finishes. Note: Volume solids vary based on the formula (interior or exterior) and the finish.

Cashmere Interior FinishVolume Solids
Flat40 +/- 2%
Eggshell40 +/- 2%
Pearl41 +/- 2%
Low Lustre41 +/- 2%
Medium Lustre38 +/- 2%
Emerald Interior FinishVolume Solids
Flat41 +/- 2%
Matte41 +/- 2%
Satin40 +/- 2%
Semi-Gloss37 +/- 2%
Emerald Exterior FinishVolume Solids
Flat42 +/- 2%
Satin39 +/- 2%
Gloss38 +/- 2%

Although Cashmere and Emerald paint lines have a high percentage of volume solids (lower cost paints average around 35%), those percentages are not identical. Emerald exterior flat paint has the highest level, while Cashmere medium lustre and Emerald interior semi-gloss have the lowest.


Cashmere (only available in an interior formula) has several finishes, including flat, eggshell, low lustre, medium lustre, and pearl.

Emerald comes in both interior and exterior formulas. Emerald interior is offered in five finishes: flat, matte, satin, and semi-gloss. Emerald exterior is available in a flat, satin, or gloss finish.

The following brief descriptions can help you decide which finish is right for your project:

  • Flat: Gives surfaces a smooth, non-reflective appearance that hides imperfections well but is often difficult to clean.
  • Satin: Offers a slight gloss for a richer look that works best in high-traffic areas.
  • Semi-Gloss: A lustrous, durable finish that is easier to clean but highlights imperfections more.
  • Gloss: A highly reflective finish that is perfect for trim, doors, or any element you want to stand out.
  • Pearl: Offers a little less shimmer than semi-gloss and has a lustrous finish.
  • Flat Enamel: A non-reflective finish that hides surface imperfections similar to flat but provides some washability.
  • Matte: A flat finish with an angular shine. It can hide surface imperfections and features some washability.
  • Eggshell: A low-shine easy-to-clean finish with a velvety appearance.
  • Low Lustre: Offers a smooth, durable, cleanable finish with a mild sheen.
  • Medium Lustre: A step up in gloss from low lustre ideal for doors and trim.

For more information, visit the Selecting a Finish page on Sherwin-Williams.com.


Sherwin-Williams Cashmere paint line is formulated to be extremely easy to apply and leaves behind a velvety smooth texture that is noticeable.

Sherwin-Williams Cashmere Smooth Application

Emerald paint doesn’t provide the same kind of finish, but it’s easy to apply and is a better choice for high-traffic areas susceptible to stains.

Cashmere is designed to level out as you paint, giving you a brush stroke-free result that looks high-end and feels silky to the touch. It provides exceptional coverage, hides existing paint, and is scrubbable, making it easy to keep clean.


Cashmere has a great-looking finish, but Emerald interior and exterior paint are designed to stand up to heavy-duty family life.

Emerald interior paint features advanced stain blocking technology and is highly resistant to water spotting and burnishing.

Emerald exterior paint offers excellent resistance to peeling, blistering, and fading. It repels dirt and features a mildew-resistant coating. It’s a durable formula that has stood the test of time.


Emerald features antimicrobial agents in the interior paint formula that prevent mold and mildew growth. This feature makes it a better choice than Cashmere for damp areas like basements, bathrooms, and kitchens.


While prices vary depending on which finish you choose, Emerald is generally more expensive than Cashmere. On average, you will pay 20%, or $15 per gallon, more for Emerald.

Exact pricing will be impacted by sales, where you purchase the paint, and whether any special promotions are running.

To compare the current prices, go to Sherwin-Williams.com (Cashmere, Emerald).

What Experts at Sherwin-Williams Say

Nobody knows Emerald and Cashmere better than the people selling them every day. So, I spoke to paint specialists at two Sherwin-Williams stores to get an expert opinion.

When I spoke to each expert, I asked two simple questions:

  • What’s the difference between Emerald and Cashmere?
  • Is Emerald worth the higher price?

The product specialist at the Sherwin-Williams store in Franklin, Massachusetts, told me Emerald covers better and is more resistant to mold and mildew. He also said Emerald has superior washability, meaning you can scrub the paint over and over without it fading.

He mentioned that Cashmere and Emerald both require at least two coats, but you might need three coats of Cashmere if you’re painting light colors over dark colors.

He said Cashmere is ideal if you’re not the best painter because it’s a forgiving, user-friendly paint. Also, it’s self-leveling and doesn’t show brush or roller marks.

When I asked if Emerald is worth the higher price, he said, “Only if washability is super important. For kitchens or high-traffic rooms, the added washability makes Emerald worth it. But for bedrooms and walls that don’t require frequent washing, Cashmere is the better choice.”

For a second opinion, I spoke with the paint expert at the Sherwin-Williams store in Braintree, Massachusetts. He confirmed that Emerald delivers better coverage, washability, and overall quality.

He said, “You’ll get much more scrub out of Emerald, which makes it ideal for walls you’re constantly cleaning.” He mentioned that he painted his kitchen with Emerald and it hasn’t faded after washing it almost every day for years.

He said Cashmere looks as good as Emerald, but it lacks the performance. He wouldn’t recommend Cashmere for kitchens, bathrooms, or painting over dark colors.

The overall message from Sherwin-Williams paint experts is clear: both Emerald and Cashmere offer excellent appearance, but Emerald covers, washes, and resists mold and mildew better.

What Others Are Saying

After hearing from Sherwin-Williams experts, we wanted to know what reviewers, home blogs, and consumer product sites say about Sherwin-Williams Cashmere vs. Emerald paint lines.

Cashmere is much more visible on top paint lists than Emerald, but we’ve gathered a few sources to Illustrate their reputations.

The Spruce recently recommended the Best Paints for Interior Walls, and Cashmere came out on top. Named Best Overall, the luxurious Sherwin-Williams paint was chosen for its buttery smooth application, self-leveling formula, and rich finish. The paint and primer combination offers excellent coverage, hides imperfections, and is available in five finishes.

New York Times’ Wirecutter chose Sherwin-Williams Cashmere as the runner-up for the Best Interior Paint. It was praised for its exceptional coverage and ease of application. Even though it costs a little more than the top pick (Benjamin Moore Regal Select), some professional painters said it was their first choice.

Bob Vila discusses the eco-friendly nature of Emerald paints. The low-VOC formula is low-odor, GreenGuard certified for meeting strict emission limits. It was called “great for weekend DIY projects” and celebrated for easy clean-up and smooth, even coverage.

Country Living shared the Best Paint Brands for Your Interior Painting Projects, and Cashmere was named the Easiest Application. The paint features a smooth finish that doesn’t leave uneven streaks or stippling. Reviewers called its application “super easy” and commented on its strong coverage.

Bottom Line: Should You Use Sherwin-Williams Emerald or Cashmere Paint?

Now that you know the similarities and differences between Sherwin-Williams Emerald and Cashmere paint lines, it’s time to choose the best one for your project.

Before I share my recommendation, let’s recap the key points:

  • Both are self-priming, water-based, acrylic latex paints.
  • Both have similar drying times and are easy to clean with water and a mild detergent if needed.
  • You can choose from various colors and color tools with both paint lines.
  • Cashmere does not offer exterior paint. Emerald comes in both interior and exterior formulas.
  • Cashmere and Emerald have varying volume solid percentages; Emerald exterior has higher amounts between these two paint lines.
  • Cashmere and Emerald have low-VOC formulas, which are more eco-friendly than higher VOC paints.
  • Cashmere offers the most finishes (sheens); it provides a smooth self-leveling finish with a velvety appearance that Emerald can’t match.
  • Emerald is the more durable paint of the two and features antimicrobial agents that thwart mold and mildew growth.
  • Emerald has better washability than Cashmere, which means you can scrub walls more vigorously without the paint fading.
  • Emerald is more expensive than Cashmere. On average, it’s $15 more per gallon.

Bottom line — your project will dictate the best paint for the job.

Are you painting the outside of your house? Emerald is the better (and only) choice.

Are you painting a high-moisture area such as a bathroom or walls that require regular cleaning, such as a kitchen? Emerald wins again.

Yet, if you’re painting a living space or a showpiece area with art and fine furnishings, go with Cashmere. It’s highly rated for its easy application and rich, velvety finish. Plus, Cashmere paint is about $15 per gallon less expensive than Emerald.

Learn more about both paint lines on Sherwin-Williams.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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