Boat paint test - the best enamel paints in comparison

Boat paint test - the best enamel paints in comparison

If you want to buy enamel paint for your boat, the range of products available today is huge. You can find a variety of paints in a marine supply store or other shops that specialise in water sports, or even in DIY stores or online. This makes choosing the right product difficult, especially given the array of different components, finishes and colours that are available. The paint you need depends on your boat and the material it is made of. Which products are easy to work with, do not colour-fade over time and perform the best? Find out in our test and discover the best boat paint to suit your needs. SVB helps you choose the right product with our boat paint price comparison and other useful information.

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Boat paints in comparison

November 2022
1
Test winner
Rating: very good
2
Topseller
Rating: very good
3
Price-performance winner
Rating: very good
4
Rating: good
5
Rating: good
6
Rating: satisfactory
7
Rating: satisfactory
8
Rating: satisfactory
Reviews and customer opinions
(122)

(302)

(79)

(33)

(12)

No rating yet
(6)

(1)

Contents
750 ml
750 ml
750 ml
750 ml
750 ml
750 ml
750 ml
750 ml
Finish
High gloss
High gloss
High gloss
High gloss
High gloss
High gloss
Silk mat
High gloss
Method of application
Roller, Brush
Roller, Brush
Roller, Brush
Roller, Brush, Spray gun
Roller, Brush, Spray gun
Roller, Brush, Spray gun
Roller, Brush
Roller, Brush, Spray gun
for substrate
GRP, Wood, Steel, Aluminium
GRP, Wood, Steel, Aluminium
GRP, Wood, Steel, Aluminium
GRP, Wood, Steel
GRP, Wood, Steel, Aluminium
GRP, Wood, Steel, Aluminium
GRP, Wood, Steel
GRP, Wood, Steel, Aluminium
Yield (theoretical)
9.93 m²
10 m²
10 m²
8.4 m²
11.25 m²
9 m²
8.63 m²
7.5 m²
No. of components
2 components
1 component
1 component
1 component
1 component
2 components
1 component
2 components
No. of coats (recommended)
2 - 3
2 - 3
1 - 2
2 - 3
3
3
2 - 3
 
Availability / Price
16 in stock
from €37 77
Buy now
9 left in stock
from €25 17
Buy now
54 in stock
from €25 17
Buy now
10 in stock
from €28 53
Buy now
18 in stock
from €31 89
Buy now
22 in stock
from €49 54
Buy now
16 in stock
from €21 81
Buy now
27 in stock
from €35 25
Buy now

SVB Tips on Buying Enamel Paint for your Boat

Enamel paint not only looks great on your boat, it also provides a protective layer and is perfect for touching up your bilges and lockers or refreshing your decks. With each layer, you are ensuring additional protection against UV damage, fungal decay and mould. Containing a large proportion of high-quality pigments further enhances the properties of marine boat enamel paint. It's usually a good idea to use a primer if you're starting from scratch and sometimes it's necessary to finish with a clear varnish as a topcoat. Boat paints and varnishes contain the elements that best block UV light. They also repel water and leave you with an exceptionally easy-to-clean finish. Today, marine enamel paint is not only used in boat construction and refits above the waterline, it's also used on furniture and wood in outdoor and indoor areas. Marine grade boat paints are formulated to have specific functional properties that include UV resistance, high elasticity, abrasion resistance, water resistance (seawater resistant, resistance to salt water) and perfect coatability. These high-performance paints are used on surfaces above the waterline, where they are continuously exposed to demanding weather conditions and strong radiation from the sun. Therefore, the more resistant the paint, the longer it will last.

Lacquers

What is the best boat paint? There's a lot to be aware of

With the right product, applying enamel paint is easy even for beginners. It has the look and feel of oil paint. This high oil content increases its spreadability, which in turn lengthens the drying time of each layer. But not to worry, if you miss a spot or make a mess of some areas, you can easily touch up or redo paint that doesn't dry too quickly. A good boat paint won't yellow over time and can be applied with a paint roller or brush & foam brush to any surface of a boat, including wood, metal and fibreglass. The drying times of boat paint vary, depending on the manufacturer. Always refer to the advice given in the product instructions and data sheets when choosing your paint. Not only does the chemical composition determine how long boat paint takes to dry, this also depends on temperature and humidity. Make sure you observe the recommended ambient temperature during application and the recommended humidity. Drying time of each coat can range from a few hours to several days, depending on the product and the aforementioned ambient temperature and humidity. You can find out about the recommended number of coats in the SVB comparison table.

How do you know which boat paint to buy?

Buying criteria and recommendation Determining which is the best boat paint depends on the surface and material to be painted. Numerous tests have been done on brand-name paints, and various product characteristics checked and compared based on different criteria. Usually, the criteria chosen for comparison include the type of substrate onto which the paint may be applied, application method, number of components, number of coats, yield, choice of colours and finish. However, there are other things that should be considered which will also determine the type of paint you should choose, for example whether you intend to paint your boat inside or outside, which applies regardless of whether you're painting from scratch or touching up during winter storage. For outdoor use, two-component paints are highly recommended.  For some time now, synthetic resin paints have established themselves as robust, scratch-resistant paints that are suitable for use on all surfaces and provide protection for wood that is heavily stressed during use on board or for painting decks and bilges. Reaction lacquers for boat painting can also be found online, as can polyurethane paints, alkyd resin lacquers or acrylic resin paints. A particularly robust coating is necessary to protect wood of all kinds from stresses such as those caused by salt water or fresh water. 2-K boat paints achieve this through a separate hardener - a curing agent that is added to the paint during mixing just before use, giving a tougher, more hard-wearing finish. As their names suggest, 1-component boat paint and 2-component paints comprise different parts. As two-part paints come with an additional product, it makes them somewhat more expensive than one-component enamels. However, with greater protection against scratches, longer durability and resistance to fuels, alkalis and acids, the price difference is justifiable. These types of paint also have much better coverage. The paint you should choose thus also depends on your budget. Another important criterion to consider when buying is the yield of the paint, i.e., how much surface area an amount can cover. The size of the area to be painted therefore also plays a major role in the choice. In the end, the paints we offer are all top-grade products from renowned manufacturers, so this should at least take comparing quality out of the equation when making your selection. Nevertheless, in addition to product quality and the product characteristics that are suitable for you and your boat, the kind of finish you want your paint to give you is also a decisive factor when buying. A rough distinction is made between four finishes, all of which are available in a wide variety of colours. These are: satin, semi-gloss, gloss and high-gloss.  When buying the right boat paint, it’s important to keep in mind the primary material to be painted and your personal taste.

Boat is painted

Our assessment categories

1 Test winner

(best features regardless of price)

2 Top seller

(best-selling and recommended by customers)

Best value for money

(lowest price with best features)

What is the best boat paint?

Two types of boat paint with completely different end results. This time, we're not talking about one-component or two-component paint, but about the type of finish. 2-component paints are the clear winners when it comes to finding the best boat paint, but in the end, it also depends on the kind of finish you want that will determine which paint to choose. It can often take up to several days to see the final result, after the paint has completely dried.

Be careful when buying cheap boat paint! Before investing time and money in a paint that turns out to be unsuitable, make sure you have a good idea first of the end result you wish to achieve from the product you choose. It's worthwhile testing paint on an inconspicuous area, looking carefully at sample images from the manufacturer and in our online shop, comparing colours and finishes of the shortlisted products or reading reviews and customer opinions. 

Feedback from real customers about their experiences with SVB and our products  are shown on a transparent overview page for product reviews with real photos and videos.

Paint bucket

Which brands and manufacturers are featured in our boat paint test report?

In our boat paint test, we present you with a selection of the best and highest quality products from our manufacturers. We share with you the products with which our customers have had the best experience from the brands INTERNATIONAL, HEMPEL and EPIFANES

Lacquer

Which boat paint was both affordable and the best rated by our customers?

INTERNATIONAL TOPLAC PLUS High Gloss One-Component Boat Paint was given 5 stars by our SVB customers and impressed with its large choice of colours, low price and coverage of 5 m2. It's easy to apply on a variety of surfaces, whether GRP, wood/plywood, steel or aluminium, with good coverage. Refer to INTERNATIONAL's application instructions for the best results and the perfect finish.

How much does a good boat paint cost?

Marine-grade paint with the highest resistance for above-water use has a price. 2-component paint is not only more expensive than 1-component paint because of the additional curing agent, which is mixed in just before application, but is also slightly more challenging to work with. With good coverage, excellent scratch resistance and durability, the test winning 2-component yacht lacquer in our comparison offers the best protection against damage. However, even the more affordable INTERNATIONAL TOPLAC PLUS 1-K High Gloss Boat Paint performed well in our marine paint comparison. At under 20 euros, this 1-component enamel paint is ideal for every budget. The 1-K paint is suitable for use on all materials in overwater areas and has excellent UV protection. TOPLAC PLUS comes in a wide variety of colours and offers improved spreadability.. Nevertheless, if you're looking for better resistance to water and the elements and are prepared to spend a little more, you'll find the perfect product for your planned paint job among two-component boat paints.

Paint brush

Related categories: Brushes, protective clothing and primers

Have you found the boat paint that meets your requirements in our test? To make your new boat paint job go smoothly, you’ll find everything you need for successful overwater boat painting in our other sections: SVB has a selection of brushes, paint rollers, essential protective clothing and the right boat primer for you.