5 Best Paint For Metal – What Kind of Paint to Use on Metal Surface?

No matter whether it’s indoor or outdoor, when it’s time to give the house a distressed new look, metal is unbeatable.

No doubt about it!

Metal is a rugged surface to put colors. For this kind of irregular surfaces, spray paints and oil-based products work like magic.

Best Paint For Metal - Get A Rustic, Farmhouse Look Effortlessly

But here is the ugly part- metal surfaces are the toughest to work with.


Metal is prone to rust and oxidation.

The fundamental solution to provide it with a fresh outlook is to use the best paint for metal. You need to take excellent preparation and paint to make your metal painting last long.

Still confused what paint to use on metal?

No worry. Today I’ll walk you through the whole process of picking the specific colors that work great on metals and provides durability and safety from damages.


Quick View: What is the Best Metal Paint?

1. Best Paint for Metal Gates: Rust-Oleum Hammered Metal
“The oil-based metal paint works like a magic on metal doors” 

2. Best Paint for Wrought Iron Gates: Rust-Oleum Protective Primer
“Super easy to use and apply”

3. Best Paint for Metal Fence: Rust-Oleum 7701830
“An excellent outside metal paint at a great value”

4. Exterior Metal Paint: Krylon ColorMaster
“The anti-rust metal paint and primer beloved by the pro painter”

5. Best Spray Paint for Metal: Rust-Oleum PK Painter’s Touch
“A durable paint for metal & beginner-friendly”

What Kind of Paint to Use on Metal?

Finding the right color to paint your metal doors, metal fences, metal gates, metal roofs, and furniture is a tremendous headache. You have to find out a specific type of color that can cover up all the rusted spots and give a vibrant outlook.

If you are ready to paint some metal furniture or your aesthetic metal pieces, then before you roll with the project, know the paint types. Firstly, these metal paints are primarily available in any store.

However, do take a look at the manufacturer and the specifications before purchasing any paint type. There are metal paints specifically designed for metal and other colors applicable on both metal and other surfaces. So, let’s take a look at the types.

Oil-based Metal Paint

I prefer oil-based paints for metal the most. There are few reasons why this type is a standout-

  • Oil-based paints have a good resistance against stains, marks, and scratches.
  • They are more durable.
  • Once you’ve applied a coat of oil-based paint on a metal surface, the cleaning is easy as a piece of cake.
  • You can even apply them without a primer. However, if you want a smoother texture and better adhesion, I recommend a primer beforehand.

Despite the good qualities, metal oil-based paints come with a few disadvantages as well.

  • They have a terrible and pungent odor, so you must use them in a well-ventilated area.
  • They have flame hazards.
  • Their colors may fade sooner
  • They are more expensive considering their durability.
These oil-based paints are primarily suitable for window frames, grills, outdoor metal furniture, etc.

Water-based Metal Paint

Many people prefer water-based or latex paints over the rest, and that’s mostly because-

  • Water-based paints do not have any safety hazards considering catching a fire
  • They dry quickly
  • You will not get strong or unpleasant smells from them
  • Even if they spill on your surroundings, it’s easy to clean up.
  • You can even clean up the painting tools without any hassle.
  • Very affordable and doesn’t fade away soon.

Now, let’s let you know some of the disadvantages of water-based paints-

  • It isn’t as durable as oil-based paints.
  • You cannot expect the water-based paint to work if you don’t use a primer before the paint. It would indeed become the haven for rust!
  • The water-based paint is not as adhesive to metal as oil-based paint.
You can use water-based or latex paints on bed frames, wall brackets, metal furniture at home, and other metal pieces indoors.

Spray Paints for Metal

Both oil-based and water-based paints can be found in spray form. But the only difference is, it has a more convenient packaging, and it’s effortless to use with the spray nozzle of the canister.

I would recommend using spray paints on larger metal surfaces that would otherwise take longer to get painted. You can use it over metal tables, metal siding, more oversized metal furniture, or expandable metal items.

Paint pens

You can also make use of the paint pens for detailing on your metal pieces. They are probably the best deal for showing off your artistic skills on the vintage pieces or giving them a new makeover.

Top Brands


Rust-Oleum was initially found in the year 1921 by a sea captain named Robert Fergusson. As he wanted to fix the extensive rust issues of the metallic boats and ships, he innovated Rust-Oleum for the purpose. Rust-Oleum makes paint and finishes, primers, sealants, and everything you need for the perfect coat of paint on any surface! So, why is Rust-Oleum one of the leading brands for metal surface painting?

  • They are more durable than any other paint.
  • They offer the best weather and corrosion resistance.
  • These are primarily oil-based formulas that give a smoother finish and excellent coverage.

All these essential features of the Rust-Oleum paint make it an excellent metal fence paint. Considering popular opinions, Rust-Oleum offers the best craft paint for metal, including its spray paints and paint markers.


Krylon Inc. was founded by Howard E. Kester, a businessman from Philadelphia, in the year 1947. They introduced aerosol paints in the world, now being the largest supplier of spray paint. Since the brush-on traditional method was time-consuming and sometimes not good enough for the perfectionist, this revolutionary paint was found. Some of the features that led it to the topmost spot include –

  • They are highly convenient with the perfect consistency.
  • They offer brilliant coverage.
  • It works great not only on metal surfaces but others as well.
  • Dries quicker than you expect.

With the maximum coverage of Krylon paints and its durability, it’s indeed the best paint for steel, either grills, bed frames, and more.

Top 5 Best Paint For Metal Surface To Transform The Look Just In A Touch

Here is our review on 5 best metal paint to prevent rust to brighten up the metalic surface.

But in a hurry? Feel free to jump into the quick look about the metal paints.

1. Rust-Oleum Hammered Metal Finish Paint Colors – Best Paint for Metal Gates

Rust-Oleum Hammered Metal Finish Paint Colors

Key Features: 

  • Oil-based formula
  • Two coatings are necessary
  • Covers op to 100 square feet

Whatever finish you want on your metal surface, this oil-based color will give you precisely.

And among all the variety of Rust-Oleum, the Hammered is my personal Favorite.

Here is why………

It provides a hammered finish in metal that offers the body a trendy outlook. The paint has so many positive reviews that make us put this color in our list’s first place.

The paint’s main component is oil, yet it takes almost 2-4 hours to dry completely. The drying capability depends on exterior temperature. Its oil-based formula helps to generate durability with a protective coating for future damage.

Too good!

One-pot of paint is enough for covering almost 100 square feet of your house. The amount is enough for most of the metal furniture. Minimum 2 coats of this color will give a hammered finishing.

Want to try in outdoor?

This type of paint for metal paint is resistant to weather effects and corrosion. Also, it prevents rust in metal like any magic. Its protective coating helps to get rid of any oxidization. The paint performs outstanding against abrasion, fading, and chipping. You can hide any kinds of flaws and imperfections in your metal surface, like metal gates and metal fences as well, with this shiny Painting.

This beautiful color comes from a very sticky texture. The consistency of this paint is quite hard to work with. You will not need any primer to apply. The color itself delivers incredible finishing.

What We Like
  • Great coverage
  • Value for money
  • Dries quickly
  • Hammered finish
What We Don’t Like
  • Complicated application
  • Sticky consistency

Related Posts: Best Paint for Outdoor Metal

2. Rust-Oleum Protective Primer – Best Paint for Wrought Iron Gates

Rust-Oleum Protective Primer

Key Features: 

  • Oil-based primer
  • It covers up 90 square feet
  • It takes 2-4 hours to dry

Rust-Oleum nailed it again!

And this time with the Protective Primer. yeah, I’m kinda Rust-Oleum lover. But don’t blame me.

If you are thinking of a DIY project of Painting, Rust-Oleum is the best option. This protective primer from Rust-Oleum is the best enamel paint you can find for your metal works. The reviews and ratings indicate the product can bring outstanding results.

Astonishing, isn’t it?

The primer is an oil-based formula and a perfect choice for less industrial-level metal projects. Saying this, I think they are an excellent choice for wrought iron gates and wrought iron fences. Moreover, this is an ideal primer for your glossy top coat. The primer takes almost 2-4 hours to dry.

Customer experience shares that the drying time depends on the exterior environment. The time is mostly dependent on the consistency of the paint. You need to put 2-3 coats of primer to have the cherished outlook.

How can you beat that?

One package can cover up almost 90 square feet of a metal surface. Also, the primer works amazingly with different textures like wood, metal concrete, and many more. It bonds tightly with the cover and delivers excellent adhesion for the topcoat. This product is strongly resistant to weather and corrosion. You will achieve a supreme level of prevention against rust.

The primer gives a flat white finish. It covers bare, painted, even rusted metal. The application process is very effortless. Many consumers find the primer very thin and runny. So you may need a coating extra for hiding any scratch and imperfection

What We Like
  • Dries quickly
  • It gives a flat white finish
  • Great base for any topcoat
  • Prevents rust and corrosion
  • Wide range of application
What We Don’t Like
  • Thin consistency
  • Needs extra coats

3. Rust-Oleum 7701830 – Best Paint for Metal Fence

Rust-Oleum 7701830

Key Features: 

  • It covers 15 square feet
  • Easy application
  • It gives a glossy finish

The easiest way to paint your metal furniture is by spraying.

And that’s why this time, we picked the most popular Rust-Oleum product, the stops rust enamel paint. The product is effortless to use and also provides excellent color pay off. Professionals recommend it as the best paint for metal fence.

The product comes in 12 ounces can and has a spray tip. 

Though, it is enamel paint that gives a gloss finish. The drying time is 2-4 hours. But to cure fully, the color needs at least 48 hours.

Almost 15 square feet area will be covered with one can of paint. The package comes in different quantities from 6 to 12 bottles. After application, you will get a glossy crystal-clear metal surface.

This product is versatile and easy to use. These features make Stops Rust attractive to painters and hobbyists. You can apply this metal spray paint on the interior and exterior metal surfaces. It’s a good paint for steel as well.

Putting a primer underneath the paint makes the color more vibrant. You can apply evenly in every tricky corner with its nozzle tip. If you seal the shade with a clear coat, you will achieve a long-lasting result.

And guess what?

The paint comes in an extensive range of color varieties. Besides, it’s waterproof and corrosion-resistant. Stops Rust is a practical choice if you are dealing with a rusty metal surface. It covers and hides scratches holes like a pro.

What We Like
  • Glossy finish
  • Easy application
  • No mixing needed
  • Provides shine
  • Corrosion and rust-resistant
What We Don’t Like
  • Primer and topcoat needed.
  • expensive

4. Krylon ColorMaster Paint and Primer – Best Exterior Metal Paint

Krylon ColorMaster Paint and Primer

Key Features: 

  • Semi-flat enamel finish
  • Includes Krylon’s 360-degree spray tip
  • It takes 10 minutes to dry

If you are desperate to wrap up the whole painting metal project with one product, this is definitely for you.

You heard that right!

Krylon’s ColorMaster is a spray paint that comes with primer. You don’t need to use any basecoat underneath this product. The paint offers excellent color payoff on every surface.

The paint comes in a 12 fluid ounces package. Both indoor and outdoor projects will become more comfortable with its help. You can apply the paint on varieties of surfaces like plastic, metal, glass, and wood. Surprisingly, the paint dries in less than 10 minutes. After finishing, it provides a semi-flat enamel finish.

And another thing…….

The product includes a supreme quality reliable formula that wears on the surface for a long time and delivers durability. It gives a quick coverage to rusty metals.

You will achieve a supreme finish in every coat also on scratchy surfaces. Moreover, the paint does not fade away or become yellow after some time. A topcoat on it will deliver your cherished outlook.

But how?

The application process is more straightforward than other paint colors. It contains Krylon’s 360-degree tip that sprays color evenly on the surface. As the product has a primer with it, you don’t need to apply any basecoat underneath it.

The pigment sits beautifully without a topcoat, but the top coat will make the color durable. The product comes with less price and great value. This paint can be a smart choice for all beginner painters and undoubtedly the best exterior metal paint for anyone.

What We Like
  • Wide surface range
  • Versatile product
  • A lot of colors to choose from
  • Rust and corrosion adhesion
  • Spray application
What We Don’t Like
  • Needs topcoat for better finishing

Related Posts: Best Gold Paint for Metal

5. Rust-Oleum PK Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover – Best Spray Paint for Metal Patio Furniture

Rust-Oleum PK Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover

Key Features: 

  • It covers 12 square feet
  • Satin finish
  • It dries in 20 minutes

Lastly, we have Rust-Oleums 2X Ultra Cover.

These metallic colors give a satin finish to your painted surface. Your metal furniture and other metal objects will not look dull anymore. Additionally, the paint provides an ultimate level of color payoff and creates a vibrant and lovely outlook.

One thing is for sure……

2X Ultra Cover is an excellent product with premium value. The product comes in a 12 ounces bottle. Surprisingly the paint does not spread any foul odor. Its double cover technology enhances painting quality and completes the task faster than any other spray paints.

The color is suitable for various surfaces like wood, plastic, and metal. Moreover, its 2X coverage adds vibrancy and interest in the rear. You can choose from 16 different colors.

The paint comes with a suitable primer within. Priming the surface separately is not necessary. This product needs only 20 minutes two dry, but a full cure will need 48 hours minimum.

One can of paint helps to cover 12 square feet of metal surface smoothly. The paint will do your work with double coverage and in half time comparing to other colors. this stuff is really handy in painting over painted metal.

A beginner?

No worry. The application is simple with the help of a spraying nozzle. Keep shaking the can while spraying on the surface. Overlap every stroke of paint in a back-and-forth motion.

Two light coats will make the body look better. The primer within adjusts color with the surface more effectively and get rid of rust and oxidization.

What We Like
  • A lot of colors
  • Fast drying
  • Double coverage
  • Speedy application
  • Leaves a satin-styles finishing
What We Don’t Like
  • Covers less area

Things to Consider While Buying a Good Quality Metal Paint

Finding out the right paint for metal is not a piece of cake. You need to consider some factors before purchasing paint for your surface. Let’s have a look-

Painting on a metal surface


If you are thinking of a long-lasting effect of color, then a durable color is a must. Oil-based paints are recommended for their longevity and smoother finish.

Most importantly:

It keeps the surface safe from rust and corrosion for a long amount of time. Oil-based colors are expensive than water-based dyes. But it also delivers a long time effect.

Drying time

Painting is a time-consuming task. You really need paint that dries faster and is ready for another coat. Water-based colors are very runny and soak up in 10-20 minutes.

It is moisture-prone and does not let mold grow. But applying a water-based paint directly on metal can cause rusting and oxidization. So, go for an oil primer first. It will give a better outlook as well as a long lifespan.


A beginner or a DIY artist knows less about Painting Metal. So, an easy application process is an essential factor. If you are a novice in this sector, then go for spray paint.

Keep in mind……

It does not require any trouble regarding brush or mixing. You can spray the color directly on the surface and will get excellent coverage.


Iron and iron alloys are very likely surfaces that form rust in the exposure of air and moisture. Securing these surfaces with paint is essential.

If your surface faces humidity regularly, then look for a specially designed color to resist rust. The paint will preserve the metal’s look and integrity.

How Do You Get Paint To Stick to Metal?

The most common way to renew your old metal furniture is Painting. However, putting colors on metal needs some extra techniques. There are some instructions for you to learn how to stick paint to metal.

  • Try to find out your metal surface type. Ferrous metals are inclined to rust, so a wire brush works best for this. Galvanized metal needs to get cleaned before applying color. Otherwise, the oil will not let the paint stick. Sand the metal to get rid of any leftover paint and rust. Thus the stain will set well.
  • Do you need to Prime metal before painting? oh, yes. Apply a sticky primer first so that your paint looks vibrant and lasts for a long time. Make sure you pick the right primer and suitable color for your metal that will stick appropriately.
  • Using a brush or foam roller will help you with oil-based colors. Spray paints have nozzle tips that do not require any extra applicator.


What is the best way to paint metal?

Generally, there are two types of paints painters use on a metal surface. You can choose either a water-based acrylic paint or an oil-based paint according to your demand. In summary, go for the color that packaging includes” for metal use” in labelling.

How do you permanently paint metal?

Oil-based paintings need a longer time to dry but cover the surface in less than three coats. Spraying paint on the surface is convenient and effortless.

But you will face a lot of product waste. On the contrary, acrylic paints are easy to apply, need more coats, and are not very durable. So, any oil-based paint will do your work.

Is acrylic paint good for metal?

You can use acrylic paint on metal. But you have to work hard to achieve your color. A little preparation works like magic to get the perfect result. Acrylic paint is a multi-purpose medium that has a wide range of applications. You can complete various projects with acrylic color.

Can I paint over painted metal?

Oh, yes. Just make sure the paint sits nicely on the surface and adheres perfectly. The color will not last long for an extended period. You can go for a top coat that will deliver some durability.

What kind of paint sticks to metal?

For metal surfaces, you have both options open for either an oil-based paint or a water-based paint. All you need to check is if the specifications say it is specialized for metal surfaces.

However, if you consider the adhesive quality, I’d go with oil-based paints because metal surfaces are usually smooth, so you need a coarse coating for them. On the other hand, water-based paints come with less surface resistance, making them a second option when painting metals considering the adhesiveness.

What kind of paint to use on metal crafts?

For crafting, you can easily rely on water-based enamel paints. Enamel paint on drying creates a rigid surface that enables it to gain the longevity factor of other colors.

Besides, paint pens are an excellent choice for durable crafting on metal with precision and detail.

Should I pressure wash my metal fence or gate before painting?

Yes, of course! Pressure washing fences are a part of the preparation stage when painting them. It allows getting rid of the dirt, dust, grease from the surface. Hence, it’s smoothened down to a nice and clean texture for the paint to stick onto.

Do I need to prime my metal before painting it?

Metal surfaces are usually exposed to heat, water, and even the outdoor extremities. Hence, it has to be more durable than any other surface. And a few coats of paint cannot be enough. Therefore, a primer is a must.

Besides, aluminum cannot hold the color without priming it beforehand. And for water-based paints, they get easily corroded or rusted without the primer. So, let’s stay on the safe side and prime the metal surface before painting it!

Final Verdict…….

So, that’s all from us.

This listing is our recommendation for metal surface paint. After going through the entire article, you can make a real choice. We hope you’ll get all the necessary information which would be a great help while buying. You do not have to take any stress at all.

If you go through this guide, you can compare the different enlisted products’ features and choose your cherished one.

Besides, you can also go with any of the top 5 recommendations. All of them are picked because of good ratings and customer satisfaction. These colors will bring life to your metal surface as well as become an excellent investment for you.  Bye for today.

And have a great day!


1. How to Paint Metal, Real Simple, July 18, 2016

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