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Sherwin-Williams Paint Grades Explained (With Comparison Chart)

Are you confused about which Sherwin-Williams paint to use?

With so many options, picking the right one can be overwhelming and stressful.

In this guide, you’ll learn the pros and cons of each Sherwin-Williams paint grade.

In addition to a handy comparison chart, I explain how they differ in coverage, ease of use, durability, VOCs, dry time, price, and more.

I also reveal what Sherwin-Williams paint experts say about each grade.

Use the links below to navigate the guide:

Sherwin-Williams Paint Grades: Comparison Chart

If you’re in a hurry, this table provides a quick overview of each Sherwin-Williams paint grade.

Swipe to view the entire chart on mobile.

UsesInterior and ExteriorInterior and ExteriorInterior and ExteriorInteriorInteriorExteriorExterior
TypeAcrylic LatexAcrylic LatexAcrylic LatexAcrylic LatexAcrylic LatexAcrylic LatexAcrylic Latex
Paint and PrimerYesYesYesYesYesNoNo
VOCs<50 g/l<50 g/l<50 g/l<50 g/l<50 g/l  <50 g/l<50 g/l
Dry Time (hours)4444444
Coverage Per Gallon (ft²)350-400 350-400350-400350-400350-400350-400350-400
Interior Volume Solids37-41%  33-40%37-41%38-41%34-40%N/AN/A
Exterior Volume Solids38-42%  37-43%37-38%N/AN/A39%34%
Interior FinishesFlat, matte, satin, and semi-gloss  Flat, Matte, Satin, and Semi-GlossFlat, Satin, Velvet, and Semi-GlossFlat, Eggshell, Low Lustre, Medium Lustre, and PearlFlat, Satin, Semi-GlossN/AN/A
Exterior FinishesFlat, satin, or gloss finish  Flat, Low Lustre, Satin, and GlossFlat, Low Lustre, Satin, Gloss, and High GlossN/AN/AFlat, Satin, GlossFlat, Satin, Gloss
VersionsStandard, Designer EditionStandardStandard, Air Purifying, Sanitizing (interior only)StandardStandardStandardStandard
Key BenefitExceptional washability and coverageAntimicrobial agents and stain-fighting technologyExcellent hide and washabilityUltra-smooth applicationLow costMoistureGuard TechnologyClimateFlex Technology
Appearance✔✔✔  ✔✔✔✔✔✔✔✔✔✔✔
Easy to Clean✔✔✔✔✔✔✔✔✔✔✔✔
Mold & Mildew Resistance✔✔✔✔✔✔✔✔✔✔✔✔✔✔✔✔
Ease of Application✔✔✔✔✔✔✔✔✔✔✔✔✔✔✔
Price Per Gallon*$85$80$70$70$45$85$87

*Prices are subject to change


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

Emerald is Sherwin-Williams’ premium paint line, offering beautiful finishes in fewer coats.

Starting at $85 a gallon, it’s the brand’s most expensive paint grade. However, it earns that price by ranking at the top of the comparison chart in categories like ease of application, durability, coverage, and appearance.

Bob Vila named the Emerald Designer Edition Interior Latex Paint the Best Interior Paint of the Year Upgrade Pick. The reviewers highlighted its ultra-smooth finish with no signs of brush marks.

And Better Homes and Gardens called the Emerald Exterior Latex Paint the Best Exterior Paint for Siding. They praised its ability to resist fading and peeling, even in harsh weather.

There are several products in the emerald line, and each has benefits depending on the type of painting project.

Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel is a versatile product for interior and exterior trim. It is a water-based product that resists yellowing, unlike its oil-based competitors. This paint is durable and can withstand the high-contact and regular cleaning of doors, cabinets, and trim.

Emerald Rain Refresh Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint benefits from Sherwin-Williams’ proprietary Self Cleaning Technology, which washes away dirt when in contact with water. If you’re looking for premium, low-maintenance exterior paint, this is worth considering.

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

Emerald Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint is Emerald’s outdoor line. It offers all of the benefits of the Emerald line except the Self Cleaning Technology. This paint resists blistering, peeling, fading, and dirt pickup and is $23 per gallon cheaper than the top-tier Rain Refresh alternative.

Sherwin-Williams Emerald Exterior
Sherwin-Williams Emerald Exterior

Emerald Interior Acrylic Latex Paint is Sherwin-Williams’ interior complement to the Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint. It resists water streaking, easily covers dark paints, and you can wash it frequently without fading. This formula includes antimicrobial agents that inhibit the growth of mold and mildew on the paint, making it an excellent option for high-moisture areas like kitchens and bathrooms.

Emerald Designer Edition Interior Latex Paint is the creme-de-la-creme of Sherwin-Williams paint. It offers all the benefits of the premium Emerald line plus an extra advantage of brighter whites and a luxury finish. Emerald Designer Edition Interior Latex Paint is only available in 200 exclusive colors.

The Emerald line is celebrated for its excellent coverage. It is a paint and primer hybrid with high levels of volume solids (37 – 41% for interior paints and 38 – 42% for exterior products), so it can paint over dark colors in fewer coats than other lines.

The term volume solids refers to the ratio of solids (binders and pigment) to liquids (solvents) in the paint. In general, paint with higher volume solids is thicker, covers better, and lasts longer. Fortunately, Emerald scores well in this category. 

The main downside of Emerald is its price. It’s Sherwin-Williams’ most expensive paint line, comparable in cost to Benjamin Moore Aura.


Sherwin-Williams Duration Interior

Duration is one of Sherwin-Williams’ best-selling collections and is known for its toughness and ability to resist mold and mildew.

Its stain-fighting technology and antimicrobial agents make this an excellent option for those looking to paint once and leave it be. It’s ideal for high-traffic interior spaces like entryways or kitchens.

Duration Exterior Acrylic Latex needs only two coats for full coverage. It is advertised with PermaLast Technology and is formulated with acrylic copolymers that further enhance the product’s staying power. One gallon of Duration Exterior Acrylic Latex costs about $94.

Duration Home Interior Acrylic Latex is the Duration line’s interior option. As with the Emerald line, this is paint and primer in one, saving you time and money as you paint. It also contains antimicrobials and stain-blocking technology, which will keep your walls clean for longer. Duration interior is a good option for large, high-traffic spaces in your home.

Duration is one of Sherwin-Williams’ most awarded paints.

Good Housekeeping named Duration Interior the Best Paint for Large Rooms. It was praised for its outstanding coverage, durability during UV testing (meaning it won’t fade in sunny rooms), and ability to stand up to abrasions.

Bob Vila rated Duration Exterior as the Best Overall Exterior Paint, noting the low-temperature application ability as a big plus.

The Spruce also praised Duration Exterior, listing it as the Best Exterior Paint for Vinyl Siding. They highlighted its dark color options, cold weather applications, and ability to self-prime.


Sherwin-Williams SuperPaint Interior
Sherwin-Williams SuperPaint Interior

SuperPaint comes in two versions — interior and exterior — with two additional sub-varieties for interior paint. Like Emerald and Duration, SuperPaint is a paint and primer in one, saving you time and money.

Bob Vila named Sherwin-Williams SuperPaint the Best Overall Interior Paint. Besides its excellent finish quality and high resistance to wear, reviewers praised its excellent coverage and low odor.

SuperPaint comes in several different formulas.

SuperPaint Exterior Acrylic Latex is offered in a range of VinylSafe® colors and is formulated to resist cracking, peeling, and fading. SuperPaint Exterior offers the most finish options of all Sherwin-Williams paint: Flat, Low Lustre, Satin, Gloss, and High Gloss.

SuperPaint Interior Acrylic Latex is a mid-range option priced at $70 a gallon. It’s less expensive than Emerald and Duration but more pricey than Captivate. This is a no-hassle and low-maintenance paint that holds up well to scrubbing.

SuperPaint Interior Acrylic with Air Purifying Technology claims to “improve indoor air quality.” But how does that actually work? Rick Watson, Sherwin-Williams’ product information and technical services director, says the paint “helps transform airborne VOCs into water molecules and harmless inert gas. As for reducing household odors, the paint’s technology deconstructs carbon molecules, neutralizing and dissipating odors.”

SuperPaint Interior Latex with Sanitizing Technology prevents the spread of bacteria on the walls. Lab tests proved that it kills 99.9% of Staph, E. coli, MRSA, VRE, and Enterobacter aerogenes within the first two hours. This paint is ideal for kitchen and bathroom walls, home gyms, and other areas where bacteria could be present.


Sherwin-Williams Cashmere
Sherwin-Williams Cashmere

Cashmere is an interior-only paint best known for its buttery smooth application. Like Emerald, this paint line has high volume solids. But at $70 a gallon, it’s a much more affordable paint.

I spoke to the paint expert at the Sherwin-Williams store in Franklin, Massachusetts, and he said Cashmere is beginner-friendly. Even if you’re not an experienced painter or don’t have the right tools, it will go on smoothly and look great because of the self-leveling agent in the formula.

He also said it’s easy to clean and would be great for almost any room in the house.

The New York Times WireCutter awarded Cashmere the runner-up spot in its Best Interior Paints list, second only to Benjamin Moore Regal Select. The professional painters they interviewed for the article said Cashmere covers well and goes on smoothly with excellent leveling. 

The Spruce gave the coveted Best Overall rating to the Cashmere line in their Best Paints for Interior Walls list. They highlight its smooth application and leveling, calling out the lack of brush and roller marks.


Sherwin-Williams Captivate Interior
Sherwin-Williams Captivate Interior

Captivate is Sherwin-Williams’ most affordable paint. At only $45 per gallon, this interior-only paint is comparable to Benjamin Moore ben and Behr Ultra.

It’s a thinner paint that’s easy to apply and wash out of brushes, but with a low percentage of volume solids (34% for a flat finish), it won’t provide the best coverage or durability.

It’s ideal for rentals, investment properties, and low-traffic areas of your home, like a spare bedroom.

This paint is a good option if you don’t have kids or pets, but if your walls get scuffed often, it won’t last as long as the other options.


Resilience is one of Sherwin-Williams’ two exclusively exterior lines.

Its main selling point is its MoistureGuard technology, which helps the paint become moisture-resistant much faster than typical latex paint. This is a significant benefit during the rainy season and can save a project in the event of an unexpected rain shower.

This paint provides excellent coverage, even when you paint over dark colors, and dries quickly. So you can apply multiple coats within the same day.

You can use it to paint vinyl, aluminum, wood, and brick. A hundred VinylSafe™ color options allow you to customize your vinyl without fear of warping or buckling.


Latitude is Sherwin-Williams’ second exterior-only line. According to several Sherwin-Williams employees I spoke to, this is an upgraded formula that is replacing Resilience.

This paint is rain resistant in as little as an hour thanks to its specially-formulated ClimateFlex Technology.

Sherwin-Williams created this product with variable weather in mind. It can be applied in temperatures ranging from 35°F (2°C) to 120°F (49°C).

Like Resilience, Latitude comes in a range of VinylSafe colors that won’t cause vinyl siding to warp or buckle.

With 34% volume solids, Latitude is thinner than Resilience. Thinner paint is easier to apply with a sprayer, but you might need an extra coat to fully cover the surface (especially when painting a light color over a darker color).

In terms of value, Latitude costs about the same as Resilience, but it’s cheaper than Emerald Exterior ($98 per gallon) and Duration Exterior ($93).

What Sherwin-Williams Paint Experts Say

Sherwin-Williams paint specialists know about the differences between each grade better than anyone. So, I contacted several of these experts to get their opinions.

I asked two questions:

  • What’s the difference between each paint grade?
  • Is there one you recommend the most for interior and exterior?

The paint specialist at the Sherwin-Williams store in Mansfield, Massachusetts, provided a complete rundown of the options.

She said, “Emerald Designer Edition is the top-of-the-line interior paint. It comes in 200 colors and offers excellent one-coat coverage. The regular Emerald line comes in all colors, excluding the Designer palette, but has the same durability.

“Duration is one step down from Emerald. It’s thicker than Emerald, and some people say it provides a better finish, but it all depends on the viscosity you’re used to. Emerald is easier to apply and clean out of brushes and rollers.

“SuperPaint and Cashmere are on the same level. They’re basic, trusted paint and primers. However, Cashmere provides the best overall look. It has a buttery finish and won’t feel gritty like other paints. The one advantage of SuperPaint is that it’s more washable than Cashmere.

“Captivate is our low-cost paint. It’s a paint and primer like the others, but you’ll likely need an extra coat. If you’re covering the same or similar colors, it’s perfectly fine. But if you’re painting over a totally different color, it can be frustrating.”

When I asked about exterior paints, she said, “Resilience is being phased out. Latitude is a new and improved formula that’s replacing Resilience. For winter application, Latitude is the best option. You can apply it in temperatures as low as 35°F.”

When I asked which grade she recommends the most, she said, “Cashmere is the best value. It goes on so smoothly that it makes DIY jobs look professional. If you have kids or pets, you might need more washable paint like Duration or Emerald.”

I spoke with a paint specialist at the Sherwin-Williams store in Westborough, Massachusetts, to get a second opinion.

She said, “Emerald is the best quality paint line. It’s the easiest to clean, the most durable, and provides the best coverage. Duration is similar but thicker, so it can be more difficult to apply. Cashmere provides the best finish. SuperPaint is on the lower end. It’s similar to Cashmere but doesn’t look as smooth on the wall.”

Regarding the two exterior-only paints, she said, “Latitude is replacing Resilience, but both have excellent longevity and can withstand harsh weather conditions. They both dry fast, so they don’t get ruined if it rains or snows soon after you paint.”

When I asked which paint she recommends most often, she said, “If it’s within your budget, go for Emerald. It scores well in every category, including application, coverage, durability, washability, and mold resistance. The only downside is the price.”

Bottom Line: Which Sherwin-Williams Paint Grade Is the Best?

If you’re looking for an affordable option that will cover small, low-traffic areas, Captivate may be the best choice for you.

If a premium product with a luxury finish is something you’re after and you have the budget for it, try Emerald’s Designer Edition Interior Latex Paint.

With anti-microbial agents and stain-blocking technology, Duration is a durable paint ideal for high-impact and high-moisture surfaces.

If you’re looking for easy application and a smooth finish free of brush strokes and roller marks, go with Cashmere.

And to avoid the harmful effects of VOCs in the air, opt for SuperPaint Interior Acrylic with Air Purifying Technology.

To learn more about Sherwin-Williams, check out my in-depth comparisons 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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