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Sherwin-Williams Emerald vs. SuperPaint: What’s the Difference?

In this comparison of Sherwin-Williams Emerald vs. SuperPaint, you’ll learn how these paint lines differ in coverage, durability, washability, price, and more. 

I also reveal what experts at Sherwin-Williams stores say about both options.

By the end, you’ll be able to confidently decide which is best for your project.


Use the links below to navigate the comparison:


Key Takeaways

Here’s a quick overview of the similarities and differences between Sherwin-Williams Emerald and SuperPaint.

Similarities

  • Acrylic Latex: Both Emerald and SuperPaint are water-based acrylic latex paints, which are easier to apply and dry faster than oil-based paints.
  • Paint and Primer: Both are all-in-one paint and primer formulas, eliminating the need for a separate primer coat in most cases.
  • Colors: With both paint lines, you can choose from the same palette of over 1,700 colors.
  • Dry Time: Both paint lines dry quickly, allowing you to apply a second coat in just 4 hours.
  • Coverage: The interior versions of both paints cover up to 400 square feet per gallon.
  • VOCs: With VOCs under 50 g/l, Emerald and SuperPaint are both considered low-VOC paints.
  • VinylSafe: With the exterior versions of both paints, you have access to 100 VinylSafe colors that won’t cause vinyl siding to warp or buckle.

Differences

  • Volume Solids: Emerald exterior paint has higher volume solids at 42% (flat finish) than SuperPaint at 37%. A higher volume solids percentage means better coverage per coat.
  • Finishes: Emerald comes in a matte finish that SuperPaint does not. However, SuperPaint offers a velvet interior finish and a low lustre exterior finish; both are unavailable in the Emerald line.
  • Special Versions: SuperPaint has specialty paints with air-purifying and bacteria-fighting additives. Emerald has a Designer Edition with exceptional hide and coverage and a self-cleaning exterior paint.
  • Price: Emerald interior paint costs about $15 more per gallon, and the exterior version costs approximately $25 more per gallon than SuperPaint.
  • Durability & Washability: I spoke to two Sherwin-Williams paint experts, and both said Emerald adheres better and provides more effective coverage, enhanced washability, and greater overall durability

Should You Use Emerald or SuperPaint?

Emerald adheres better, delivers superior coverage and color retention, and is more washable without fading. It’s the most durable paint Sherwin-Williams makes, which makes it ideal for high-traffic areas. For bedrooms and other low-traffic rooms where you don’t need Emerald’s premium performance, SuperPaint is a better value. Choose Emerald if you want the very best results; go with SuperPaint to save money.

Comparison Chart

Sherwin-Williams EmeraldSherwin-Williams SuperPaint
TypeAcrylic LatexAcrylic Latex
Interior/ExteriorInterior and ExteriorInterior and Exterior
Paint and PrimerYesYes
VOCs<50 g/l<50 g/l
Colors1,700 options1,700 options
Dry Time4 hours to recoat4 hours to recoat
Coverage Per Gallon350-400 square feet350-400 square feet
Interior Volume Solids37-41%37-41%
Exterior Volume Solids38-42%37-38%
Interior FinishesFlat, Matte, Satin, and Semi-GlossFlat, Satin, Velvet, and Semi-Gloss
Exterior FinishesFlat, Satin, or GlossFlat, Low Lustre, Satin, Gloss, and High Gloss
VersionsDesigner EditionStandard, Air Purifying, Sanitizing (interior only)
Appearance✔✔✔✔✔
Easy to Clean✔✔✔✔✔
Mold & Mildew Resistance✔✔✔✔✔✔
Ease of Application✔✔✔✔✔
Durability✔✔✔✔✔
Coverage/Hide✔✔✔✔✔
Interior Price Per Gallon$85 to $90$70 to $75
Exterior Price Per Gallon$99 to $105$73 to $81

Similarities Between Sherwin-Williams Emerald and SuperPaint

Before I break down the differences between Sherwin-Williams Emerald and SuperPaint, let’s quickly review their similarities.

Acrylic Latex Paint

Sherwin-Williams Emerald and SuperPaint are both water-based acrylic latex paints. This type of paint is easier to work with than oil-based paints because it goes on smoother, washes out of brushes and rollers more easily, and dries faster.

Sherwin-Williams Emerald versus SuperPaint acrylic latex paint
Sherwin-Williams Emerald versus SuperPaint acrylic latex paint

Paint and Primer

Emerald and SuperPaint both have dual functionality as paint and primer in one. If you’re painting a dark color over a lighter color, you won’t need to prime the walls first (in most cases).

While these paints adhere well and cover effectively, there are scenarios where a coat of primer is essential. For instance, if you’re painting new drywall, shifting from a high gloss to a low gloss finish, or covering dark colors with lighter ones.

A dedicated primer coat in these situations ensures better adhesion, more uniform color, and a durable finish. So, while Emerald and SuperPaint are highly versatile, remember that extra prep can go a long way in specific painting projects.

Colors

Both paint lines offer the same impressive range of colors with over 1,700 options.

Sherwin-Williams Colors
Sherwin-Williams Paint Colors

Choosing the perfect color can be overwhelming, but Sherwin-Williams makes it easier. The company provides innovative tools like the ColorSnap Visualizer. You can use it on your desktop or as an app. It allows you to paint rooms with any Sherwin-Williams color virtually. 

Sherwin-Williams also offers 8×8-inch peel-and-stick color samples. You can stick them on your wall, live with them for a few days, and see how the color looks under different lighting conditions. 

Dry Time

Emerald and SuperPaint are dry to the touch in just one hour and ready for a second coat in just 4 hours.

For exterior applications, the drying process is weather-dependent. Both lines become dry to the touch after about two hours. The recommended wait time for a recoat is between 24 and 48 hours, especially in cooler temperatures. 

Coverage

The interior versions of Emerald and SuperPaint cover an impressive 350–400 square feet per gallon. The exterior versions cover about 250–300 square feet per gallon. This difference accounts for external surfaces often requiring more paint due to their texture and exposure to elements.

To ensure you have enough paint for your project, Sherwin-Williams offers a handy tool — the paint calculator. You can estimate the amount of paint needed by inputting your project details. This tool is valuable in planning and purchasing the correct quantity of paint, whether you choose Emerald or SuperPaint.

VOCs

VOCs are solvents released into the air as paint dries. They’re a necessary part of the paint. Still, many VOCs are known carcinogens, and prolonged exposure can lead to various health issues. To regulate this, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set limits on VOC levels in paints. The current limits are 250 grams per liter (g/L) for flat finishes and 380 g/L for glossier finishes.

The good news is that Emerald and SuperPaint are well under these limits. Their interior and exterior lines contain fewer than 50 g/L of VOCs, according to the Emerald and SuperPaint data sheets. That means a safer environment for you and your family, especially if you’re painting indoor spaces.

VinylSafe

You have access to 100 VinylSafe colors with both Sherwin-Williams Emerald and SuperPaint exterior paints.

Sherwin-Williams Emerald Exterior
Sherwin-Williams Emerald Exterior

Typically, painting vinyl, especially with darker colors, poses a risk. The darker hues can absorb more heat, leading to warping or buckling of the vinyl. That is where VinylSafe comes in. It’s a set of 100 colors (including darker hues) specifically formulated for optimal performance on vinyl.

Difference 1: Volume Solids

Paint consists of various components: water or solvent, pigment, additives, and a binder. The pigment is responsible for color, additives enhance properties like stain resistance, and the binder secures these elements together. When the paint dries, the water or solvent evaporates, leaving behind the binder, pigment, and additives — these are the volume solids.

The proportion of volume solids in paint influences its thickness and coverage. Higher volume solids mean a thicker paint that covers more area with less product. Alternatively, paints with lower volume solids usually require more coats for adequate coverage.

Emerald and SuperPaint have comparable interior volume solids. However, Emerald exterior in a flat finish has higher volume solids (42%) than SuperPaint (37%). Therefore, Emerald provides better coverage per coat for exterior projects than SuperPaint.

The charts below display the volume solids for Emerald and SuperPaint across all finishes.

Interior Volume Solids:

Sherwin-Williams EmeraldSherwin-Williams SuperPaint
Flat 41 +/- 238 +/- 2%
Matte41 +/- 2N/A
Satin40 +/- 240 +/- 2%
VelvetN/A41 +/- 2%
Semi-Gloss37 +/- 237 +/- 2%

Exterior Volume Solids:

Sherwin-Williams EmeraldSherwin-Williams SuperPaint
Flat42 +/- 237 +/- 2%
Matte39 +/- 2N/A
Low LustreN/A37 +/- 2%
Satin38 +/- 237 +/- 2%
Gloss38 +/- 238 +/- 2%
Hi-GlossN/A37 +/- 2%

Difference 2: Finishes

Both paint lines are available in several finishes, but the exact sheens differ. 

SuperPaint interior comes in a velvet finish with a bit more luster than a true matte. Emerald does not offer velvet, sticking to traditional flat matte.

SuperPaint exterior comes in a low lustre finish not offered in the Emerald line. And Emerald’s exterior paint includes a matte finish you can’t get with SuperPaint.

To make it easy to see the differences, Below are two tables comparing the finishes available across both lines.

FinishEmerald InteriorSuperPaint Interior
Flat
Matte
Velvet
Satin
Semi-Gloss
FinishEmerald ExteriorSuperPaint Exterior
Flat
Matte
Low Lustre
Satin
Semi-Gloss
Gloss
High-Gloss

Difference 3: Specialty Versions

In addition to their core interior and exterior paints, Emerald and SuperPaint lines feature specialty formulations designed for specific applications.

SuperPaint Specialty Versions:

Sherwin-Williams SuperPaint Paint Lines
Sherwin-Williams SuperPaint Paint Lines

Air Purifying SuperPaint: This unique technology actively lowers VOC levels from other sources in your room, like carpets and cabinets. This paint also keeps rooms fresher longer with its odor-eliminating technology.

Sanitizing SuperPaint: With bacteria-fighting technology, this paint is essential for health-conscious homeowners. Within two hours of exposure to the painted surface, it effectively kills 99.9% of common bacteria, including Staph, E. coli, and MRSA. This sanitizing effect lasts up to four years. 

Emerald Specialty Versions:

Emerald Designer Edition Interior Latex Paint: Launched in 2020, this paint offers superior hide and coverage. It features 200 exclusive colors and introduces an UltraWhite Base for brighter whites and exceptional coverage. Its new gloss sheen is perfect for a high-end finish on trim, cabinets, and doors.

Sherwin-Williams Emerald Designer Edition
Sherwin-Williams Emerald Designer Edition

Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel: This water-based enamel is specially formulated for cabinets, doors, and trim. It resists yellowing more effectively than traditional oil-based coatings. Its durable finish is ideal for areas requiring frequent cleaning or subject to wear and tear.

Emerald Rain Refresh Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint: This ultra-durable exterior paint includes Self-Cleaning Technology, which means dirt washes away when it rains. It also offers excellent UV and weather protection, so you don’t have to worry about peeling and cracking.

Sherwin-Williams Emerald Rain Refresh
Sherwin-Williams Emerald Rain Refresh

Difference 4: Price

Emerald interior paint typically costs around $15 more per gallon than SuperPaint. For exterior paints, Emerald is about $25 more expensive per gallon. 

The specialty versions of SuperPaint are slightly more expensive than standard SuperPaint by a few dollars per gallon. However, even the enhanced versions of SuperPaint are still more affordable than the Emerald line.

The table below shows the current prices of both paint lines by finish. It’s worth noting that Sherwin-Williams often runs sales (and you can get deal alerts by signing up for the free Prudent Reviews newsletter).

FinishSherwin-Williams SuperPaint InteriorSherwin-Williams Emerald Interior
Flat$69.99$85.49
MatteN/A$85.49
Satin$71.99$87.49
Velvet$71.99N/A
Semi-Gloss$74.99$90.49
FinishSherwin-Williams SuperPaint ExteriorSherwin-Williams Emerald Exterior
Flat$72.99$98.99
Low Lustre$75.99N/A
Satin$75.99$101.99
Gloss$78.99$104.99
High-Gloss$80.99N/A

What Paint Experts at Sherwin-Williams Say

To get a broader perspective, I contacted two paint experts at local Sherwin-Williams stores and asked about the differences between Emerald and SuperPaint.

The product specialist at Sherwin-Williams in Dedham, Massachusetts, said, “Emerald is our top-of-the-line paint. It covers better, and it’s more durable. It’s also easier to clean. If the wall gets dirty, you can scrub it clean without ruining the paint.”

When I asked about SuperPain, he said, “It’s a good quality paint, but it’s two steps down from Emerald. Both paints will last about 10 to 15 years, but SuperPaint won’t hold up as well as Emerald in high-traffic rooms.”

The paint expert at Sherwin-Williams in Franklin, Massachusetts, agreed with his colleague. He said, “The biggest difference is durability and washability. Emerald is more resistant to scuffs and won’t fade when you wash it. It’s also mildew-resistant, so it’s a great paint for bathrooms. Emerald is also easier to apply than SuperPaint because it adheres better. You don’t have to go over the same area as much, and its color retention is better. If you look closely at the two paints side by side on a wall, Emerald pops more than SuperPaint.”

When I asked if they think Emerald is worth the higher price, the expert at the Dedham store said, “It depends on what you’re painting. If it’s a room that you use a lot, like a family room or kitchen, Emerald is worth the higher price. But for bedrooms, dining rooms, and home offices, SuperPaint is a better value.”

The expert at the Franklin store said, “Emerald is worth it if you’re going to stay in your home for a while. But if you plan to move in the next five years, you’re better off saving money and going with SuperPaint.”

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

The truth is, you can’t go wrong with either Emerald or SuperPaint. Both are quality paints that are easy to apply, cover well, and last long. However, Emerald is the clear winner if you want the best results.

Based on my experience using both and insights from Sherwin-Williams paint experts, Emerald adheres better, delivers longer-lasting color, and stands up to rigorous washing without fading or rubbing off.

Simply put, it’s the most durable, highest-performing paint Sherwin-Williams makes. It’s a worthwhile investment for high-traffic rooms, especially if you plan to stay in your home for ten years or longer.

That said, SuperPaint provides good coverage at a much lower price. It’s a better value for low-traffic rooms where you don’t need the ultimate performance of Emerald.

Ultimately, the right paint line depends on your needs and budget. If you have questions or need help deciding, leave a comment below.

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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