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Valspar Ultra vs. Signature: Which Paint Is Better?

Are you preparing for a paint project but can’t decide between Valspar Ultra and Signature?

What’s the difference? Which paint is better?

In this comparison of Valspar Ultra vs. Signature, you’ll learn how these paint lines differ in coverage, durability, colors, price, and more.

Plus, I reveal what paint experts at Lowe’s have to say.

Keep reading to find out if Valspar Ultra or Valspar Signature is the right paint for your next project.


Use the links below to navigate the comparison:


Similarities Between Valspar Ultra and Signature

Before I break down the differences between Valspar Ultra and Signature, let’s first take a look at the similarities.

Paint and Primer in One

Valspar Ultra and Valspar Signature are both 100% latex acrylic paint with primer included.

That means that you won’t spend extra time or money on priming before you paint.

VOCs

Paints with a higher VOC (volatile organic compounds) level can cause symptoms like headaches, dizziness, and nausea.

When the solvents in the paint evaporate, these chemicals are released into the air. That’s why you should always open windows and ensure the room you’re painting is well ventilated.

The good news is that Valspar Ultra and Signature are Greenguard Certified and considered zero-VOC paints because they contain less than 50 grams per liter (g/l), which is well below the federal cap of 250 g/l.

Valspar Ultra and Signature Greenguard Certified

Due to the low VOC levels, both paints emit a mild odor and are less likely to make you lightheaded when painting.

Valspar Ultra and Valspar Signature both cover approximately 400 square feet per gallon. For reference, 400 square feet is about the size of a two-car garage.

If you are working on an outdoor project, Valspar Ultra Exterior paint covers a 350-400 square foot surface (Valspar Signature is only interior paint).

Dry time

Valspar Ultra and Valspar Signature have the same drying time. It takes about 30 to 60 minutes for the paint to dry to the touch, and you’ll need to wait two to four hours before applying a second coat.

Finishes

A paint’s finish affects both a paint’s shine and durability.

There are four finish options for both Valspar Ultra Interior and the Signature paint lines. They each come in flat, eggshell, satin, and semi-gloss finishes.

Colors

Sometimes picking a paint color is an overwhelming experience because there are so many choices.

Because Valspar Ultra and Signature offer the same colors, choosing the right hue is convenient regardless of which line you use.

Valspar Paint Colors
Valspar Paint Colors

Valspar’s website helps you narrow down your choices by color family. Once you pick your initial color, the website brings up several related colors to suit your needs.

Valspar makes it easy to pick a color by offering tools like the Paint Visualizer, which lets you see what specific paint colors look like in different rooms and lighting. Or, you can utilize Valspar’s free consultation option and get the help of color experts for more personalized advice.

Differences Between Valspar Ultra and Signature

Now that you know Valspar Ultra and Signature’s similarities, let’s review the differences.

Interior and Exterior

If you plan on painting inside and outside, Valspar Ultra offers an exterior paint line along with its interior paint. Valspar Signature is an interior paint only.

Volume Solids

Volume solids are a key factor to consider when choosing paint. 

So, what are volume solids?

In short, paint is made of four elements: pigments, binder, solvent, and additives. When paint dries, the solvent evaporates, and you’re left with the pigment and binder on the wall. Volume solids are what’s left after the paint dries.

For example, if a paint has 35% volume solids, the formula is 35% pigments, binders, and additives, and 65% solvent.

A high volume solids percentage generally signifies higher quality, longer-lasting paint. It’s also thicker and covers better, so you’ll need fewer coats.

Refer to the chart below to compare the volume solids of Valspar Ultra and Signature (interior only). 

FinishUltra Interior Volume SolidsSignature Interior Volume Solids
Flat45%46%
Eggshell42%43%
Satin38%40%
Semi-Gloss35%37%

As you can see, Valspar Signature interior has a higher volume solids percentage than Ultra interior, which means Signature delivers better coverage and is longer-lasting.

ScuffShield Technology

Durability is always a desirable quality to look for when choosing a paint brand.

Valspar Signature paint boasts ScuffShield Technology, which creates an invisible layer and makes it more resistant to scrapes and stains.

Valspar Signature ScuffShield
Valspar Signature ScuffShield

Valspar Ultra comes with ScrubShield Technology, which makes it easier to clean stains from surfaces.

Valspar Ultra ScrubShield
Valspar Ultra ScrubShield

Price

One of the most notable differences between Valspar Ultra and Signature is the price. Signature paint costs approximately 30% (or $8 per gallon) more than Ultra.

That said, prices vary by finish and retailer, and pricing is always subject to change. 

The chart below makes it easy to compare the price of Ultra vs. Signature for each finish. 

FinishValspar Ultra PricesValspar Signature Prices
FlatLowes.comLowes.com
EggshellLowes.comLowes.com
SatinLowes.comLowes.com
Semi-GlossLowes.comLowes.com

What Paint Experts at Lowe’s Say

I reached out to the paint departments at several Lowe’s stores to get their take on Valspar Signature and Ultra paint.

When I spoke to each paint expert, I asked a simple question: what’s the difference between Valspar Signature and Ultra?

First, I spoke with a paint expert at Lowe’s in Framingham, Massachusetts.

He said Signature paint contains more titanium oxide, which improves its hideability. In other words, it makes the paint more opaque, so it hides the colors you’re painting over.

He also mentioned that Signature paint is thicker, holds its pigment better, and won’t fade from sunlight or other weather conditions.

He said Ultra is thinner and less durable, but it’s ideal if you’re using a sprayer — Signature is too thick for sprayers.

For most interior paint jobs, he recommended Signature over Ultra. He said it’s a middle-of-the-road paint that’s creamy, not too thick, and costs less than brands like Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams.

If you’re painting white over a white wall, Ultra is fine. But if you’re changing color families, he highly recommends Signature.

I connected with the paint department at Lowe’s in North Attleborough, Massachusetts, to get another opinion.

The paint expert there told me Signature is the better quality paint. She said it offers superior coverage, and it’s formulated to last longer than Ultra.

She admitted that Ultra is not the best quality paint, but it’s inexpensive.

She said Signature usually requires two coats, but with Ultra, you might need a third. If you want one-coat coverage, she recommended Valspar Reserve, the brand’s thickest and highest-quality paint (check out my comparison of Valspar Reserve vs. Signature to learn more).

Lastly, I spoke with the paint expert at Lowe’s in Woburn, Massachusetts.

He echoed the same themes as the others: Signature provides superior coverage and durability than Ultra.

He mentioned that the price of paint generally gives you a sense of its quality, and Signature is one step up from Ultra.

The overall sentiment of the conversations with paint experts at Lowe’s stores was that Signature is a higher-quality paint that offers better coverage and durability.

They all agreed that Ultra gets the job done when you’re painting over a similar color, but Signature is a much better choice if you’re changing colors.

What Others Are Saying

Let’s review what other experts and outlets are saying to get a broader perspective on Valspar Ultra and Signature paint.

Good Housekeeping gives Ultra points for its low VOC rating and resistance to scratching and fading. The one negative is its poor coverage quality, suggesting that Ultra might need more than one coat.

Experts at BobVila.com reviewed paint brands that are the best for one coat paint jobs. While Ultra did not top the list, it was selected as an honorable mention. They praised Valspar Ultra for its resistance to damaging elements like “flame, mold, mildew, staining, and moisture.” They also stated that the resistance to staining and wear makes it ideal for baseboards and trim. 

Decor and gardening website The Spruce named Valspar Ultra as the best high gloss paint. The reviewer loves the versatility of this paint because it works for both interior and exterior paint jobs. The washable finish also gets recognition because it only needs soap and water to clean.

Good Housekeeping experts praised Valspar Signature’s quality and value, along with its low VOC level. The reviewers were concerned about the evenness of the coverage, but overall the review is a positive one.

The Spruce also mentions Valspar Signature Flat as the best matte paint. The ScuffShield technology makes the paint highly recommended due to stain resistance. The reviewers praised Signature for its smooth application and excellent coverage.

In another Bob Vila article reviewing the best paint for home improvement projects, Valspar Signature lands in the top three. The reviewers praised its coverage, low VOC level, and fast drying time. They also highlighted its ScuffShield technology, which further enhances its durability.

Business Insider named Valspar Signature the best paint for stain removal. They called out its excellent coverage, fade resistance, and low VOC level.

Bottom Line: Should You Choose Valspar Ultra or Signature?

Now that you know the similarities and differences between Valspar Ultra and Valspar Signature, it’s time to make a decision.

But before you pick your paint, let’s quickly recap:

  • Valspar Ultra and Valspar Signature are both paint and primer in one, making them a convenient time-saver.
  • Both paints are low-VOC.
  • Both cover approximately 400 square feet per gallon.
  • It takes two to four hours for both paints to dry completely.
  • Both offer the same finishes and colors.
  • Valspar Signature has a higher volume solids percentage than Ultra. Higher volume solids mean better coverage and durability.
  • The Ultra line includes interior and exterior paint (Signature is interior paint only).
  • The Signature formula includes ScuffShield Technology, whereas the Valspar Ultra comes with ScrubShield Technology. ScuffShield makes the paint highly resistant to stains and scrapes, and ScrubShield makes the paint easy to clean.
  • Valspar Signature is approximately 30% more expensive than Ultra.

Bottom line — Valspar Signature is better quality paint. It’s thicker, more durable, and requires fewer coats.

If your walls are always getting scuffed up and you need highly durable paint, go with Signature. It costs more; but, if it’s within your budget, it’s worth the investment.

Valspar Ultra won’t last as long or cover as well, but it’s less expensive. If you’re renting, planning to move soon, or frequently change colors, Ultra is a solid, low-cost option.

Learn more about both paint lines on Valspar.com (Ultra, Signature) or Lowes.com (Ultra, Signature).

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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