The Best Antifouling Paints Tested and Compared

The Best Antifouling Paints Tested and Compared

Applying antifoul to the underwater hull of your boat is necessary to keep organisms away that could slow it down or cause it to erode. But which antifouling paints really offer reliable protection? Which is the best antifoul? And how do various antifouling products perform when tested and compared directly? Find answers to these questions in this test and comparison guide to antifouling. It also includes important information about the costs of various antifouling products.

The great SVB antifoul comparison
Biocide-free and self-polishing antifouling in comparison

self-polishing antifouling 2022

September 2022
1
Test winner/comparison winner
Rating: very good
2
Price-performance winner
Rating: very good
3
Rating: good
4
Green aspect
Rating: very good
5
Rating: good
6
Rating: good
7
Rating: good
8
Rating: good
9
Rating: good
Reviews and customer opinions
(115)

(377)

(63)

(16)

(4)

(32)

It is the best antifouling for cruising yachts. Easy to apply too.
What more can you say.

(1)

(13)

(1)

Antifouling type
Self-polishing antifouling
Self-polishing antifouling
Self-polishing antifouling
Biocide-free
Self-polishing antifouling
Self-polishing antifouling
Self-polishing antifouling
Self-polishing antifouling
Self-polishing antifouling
Hull material
GRP, Wood, Steel
GRP, Wood, Steel
GRP, Wood, Steel
GRP, Steel
GRP, Wood, Steel
GRP, Wood, Steel
GRP, Wood, Steel, Aluminium
GRP, Wood, Steel
GRP, Wood, Steel
Yield (theoretical)
7.5 m²
7.5 m²
9.98 m²
7.58 m²
7 m²
7.5 m²
7.5 m²
9.38 m²
10.73 m²
Method of application
Roller, Brush, Spray gun
Roller, Brush, Spray gun
Roller, Brush
Roller, Brush
Roller, Brush
Roller, Brush
Roller, Brush, Spray gun
Roller, Brush, Spray gun
Roller, Brush, Spray gun
Area of application
Salt water, Fresh water, Brackish water / Mixed operation
Salt water, Fresh water, Brackish water / Mixed operation
Salt water, Fresh water, Brackish water / Mixed operation
Salt water, Fresh water
Salt water, Fresh water, Brackish water / Mixed operation
Salt water, Fresh water, Brackish water / Mixed operation
Salt water, Fresh water, Brackish water / Mixed operation
Salt water, Fresh water
Salt water, Fresh water, Brackish water / Mixed operation
For high speeds
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Biocide-free
Immersion after
18 h @ 15 °C
6 h @ 15 °C
30 h @ 15 °C
30 h @ 15 °C
24 h @ 15 °C
6 h @ 15 °C
12 h @ 15 °C
30 h @ 15 °C
30 h @ 15 °C
Max. time before immersion
12 months
6 months
9 months
1 month
1 month
6 months
6 months
1 month
9 months
Availability / Price
53 in stock
from €41 13
Discover now
more than 100 in stock
from €18 45
Discover now
15 in stock
from €42 82
Discover now
47 in stock
from €65 50
Discover now
Only 3 in stock
from €47 86
Discover now
39 in stock
from €33 57
Discover now
13 in stock
from €33 57
Discover now
28 in stock
from €26 85
Discover now
7 left in stock
from €31 05
Discover now

Note: Comparing antifoulings directly can be difficult, as even small changes in the boat and the environment can have an influence on possible fouling.

For this reason, in this antifouling comparison, self-polishing antifoulings and biocide-free antifoulings are compared with each other, as are hard antifouling and thin-layer antifoulings. The reason for this is that these types of antifouling work in different ways. Self-polishing antifouling gradually wears off by itself, releasing biocides and thus protecting your boat from fouling. Hard antifouling forms a hard surface that gradually releases bioactive substances to protect against fouling. And thin film antifouling protects your boat from organisms attaching by providing a very smooth surface. This antifouling comparison guide does not compare specific antifouling applications, such as for propeller & sterndrive.

Hard & Thin Film Antifouling Comparison

Hard antifouling is best used on faster boats, such as motor yachts.

Hard & Thin Film Antifouling 2022

September 2022
1
Rating: good
2
Comparison winner
Rating: very good
3
Rating: good
4
Price-performance winner
Rating: very good
5
Rating: good
6
Rating: good
7
Rating: good
8
Rating: good
9
Rating: good
Reviews and customer opinions
(50)

(152)

(215)

(63)

I am very happy with Seatec antifouling. Nice priceperformance ratio.

(207)

I have used this for years. It discolours at the waterline so I use Trilux which does not , a bit below the waterline up to the cove line. The trilux needs sanded off each year, the VC does not.

(47)

(6)

No rating yet
(2)

Antifouling type
Hard antifouling
Hard antifouling
Thin film antifouling
Thin film antifouling
Hard antifouling
Hard antifouling
Hard antifouling
Hard antifouling
Hard antifouling
Hull material
GRP, Wood, Steel
GRP, Wood, Steel
GRP, Wood, Steel
GRP, Wood, Steel
GRP, Wood, Steel
GRP, Wood, Steel
GRP, Wood, Steel, Aluminium
GRP, Wood, Steel
GRP, Wood, Steel, Aluminium
Yield (theoretical)
7.5 m²
7.5 m²
7.5 m²
9 m²
9 m²
10.13 m²
9.23 m²
9 m²
9 m²
Method of application
Roller, Brush, Spray gun
Roller, Brush, Spray gun
Roller
Roller, Spray gun
Roller, Spray gun
Roller, Brush
Roller, Brush, Spray gun
Roller, Brush, Spray gun
Roller, Brush, Spray gun
Area of application
Salt water, Fresh water, Brackish water / Mixed operation
Salt water, Fresh water, Brackish water / Mixed operation
Salt water, Fresh water, Brackish water / Mixed operation
Salt water, Fresh water, Brackish water / Mixed operation
Salt water, Fresh water, Brackish water / Mixed operation
Salt water, Fresh water, Brackish water / Mixed operation
Salt water, Fresh water, Brackish water / Mixed operation
Salt water, Fresh water, Brackish water / Mixed operation
Salt water, Fresh water, Brackish water / Mixed operation
For high speeds
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Biocide-free
Immersion after
12 h @ 15 °C
12 h @ 15 °C
0.33 h @ 15 °C
3 h @ 15 °C
3 h @ 15 °C
30 h @ 15 °C
30 h @ 15 °C
18 h @ 15 °C
18 h @ 15 °C
Max. time before immersion
6 months
6 months
No limit
6 months
6 months
9 months
9 months
3 months
3 months
Availability / Price
38 in stock
from €36 09
Discover now
more than 100 in stock
from €25 17
Discover now
more than 100 in stock
from €36 09
Discover now
more than 100 in stock
from €27 69
Discover now
46 in stock
from €41 13
Discover now
35 in stock
from €42 82
Discover now
8 left in stock
from €31 05
Discover now
21 in stock
from €47 86
Discover now
36 in stock
from €36 09
Discover now

Which is the best antifoul?

There is no "best" antifouling that can be used on all boats. Different types of antifouling are more effective depending on the boat itself and where it is sailing. It's also important to know which previous antifouling was used. More information can be found in our guides "How to find and apply the right antifouling" and "How to properly remove antifouling".
In our online shop you will find the best antifouling paints from the brands Seatec, International, Hempel, Boero, Epifanes, Tikal, Yachticon, Jotun and Yachtcare, which are suitable for a wide range of boat and area requirements.
Discover SVB's best antifouling for your underwater hull!

Antifouling paints in comparison

We have compared the 10 best antifoulings from the brands International, Seatec, Hempel, Epifanes and Boero.

How do we compare our antifouling paints?

For the best comparison and test results of our products, various factors are taken into account in the evaluations. This includes the features of the respective product, the many years of experience of our SVB experts as well as our customer comments and reviews.

Our assessment categories

  1. Comparison winner: The product with the best overall result, regardless of price.
  2. Price-performance winner: The product that gives the best value for money. Good quality at a reasonable price.
  3. Best-seller: The top seller that is currently our most popular.
  4. Green aspect: Biocide-free

Antifoulings in practice

The magazine "Boote" carried out an antifouling test for the 3/2017 issue, in which various antifouling paints were tested in practice.

The test focussed on the difference in fouling protection given by cheaper and branded products. For the test, five antifouling products from Hempel, International, Nautical, Epifanes and Yachtcare were applied to a ship in sections at the beginning of the 2016 season. In order to test the anti-fouling protection, the boat was placed in the port of Hamburg-Tatenburg and sailed to various fresh, salt and brackish water regions during the year. At the end of the season, the vessel was taken out of the water and the amount of fouling compared on the different areas.

The test revealed that all antifouling products did their job well. However, antifouling paints from International and Hempel provided the best protection.. It was easy to wipe off the small amount of fouling that had developed there. Hempel Hard Racing excelled with its very smooth surface. The price differences between the antifouling paints in the test were quite significant. Antifouling test winners at the time were more expensive brand-name products. Nevertheless, the somewhat cheaper products such as those from Yachtcare also performed very well in the test.

In Boote's test, antifouling paints for warm and nutrient-rich waters were also looked at. In these kinds of waters, boaters should choose products that are most effective, in order to protect the underwater hull in the best possible way. Hempel and International antifouling paints were the best at the time of the test.

Antifouling in application

Biocide-free antifouling in the test

Hiswa, the water industry association in the Netherlands, published a study on the effectiveness of biocide-free antifoulings in 2020. For the study, various antifouling products, such as Silic One by Hempel and simple Melkfett were tested on boats and PVC panels in various waters (salt and fresh water) in the Netherlands. The test products were applied to the surfaces for a year and taken out of the water in between for inspection. This meant that interim test results could be documented. In fresh water, all products performed more or less satisfactorily. Silic One by Hempel proved to be a really good anti-fouling product. In salt water, more extensive fouling was found on the boats and PVC panels. Up to now, biocide-free antifouling paints have been less suitable in harsh fouling conditions in salt water, and biocide-containing products have been the only alternative to protect the hull.

These test results cannot be used for other waters. Further antifouling tests would be necessary here, as different conditions (temperature, salinity, etc.) exist depending on the area. This also applies to special antifouling products. For example, an antifouling propeller test would be necessary to determine the best antifouling for propellers.

Our customers have already tested biocide-free antifoulings, as we can read in the following review by Frank S. of the biocide-free antifouling Silic One: „First of all, hats off to SVB. I called on Monday because I needed a can of Silic One. I needed it to be delivered to Enhuizen (Netherlands), as the boat was due to go in the water on Friday. The DHL delivery arrived on time on Thursday. Great stuff. We're very happy with Silic One. We first used it two years ago. After this time in the water, the hull was like new. We rebuilt some areas (the keel) and painted it with a different colour to the previous one. Red on blue, so that we would be able to see in two years exactly where reworking was needed. I have one suggestion on how to improve. Our boat is on props and before it goes into the water, these areas need painting. One whole can is too much for these areas. A quarter of a can would be more than enough."

In comparing antifouling products and carrying out tests, it is clear to see how difficult it is to determine across the board which antifouling is best. The right one for you and your boat depends on various factors that must be determined individually.

Our comparison and test also show that the best antifouling products are not necessarily the most expensive. Own label products and cheaper antifouling that we sell in our range also provide reliable fouling protection and are in no way inferior to better known brand name antifouling products.

Note: The best antifouling will only be effective if it is applied correctly.

To protect the environment and organisms in the water, it is generally recommended to use biocide-free antifouling products. Until now, these are mainly suitable for use in freshwater areas and, according to tests done by Hiswa, are a good alternative to antifouling containing biocide.
You too can do your bit to protect the underwater world!

The costs of antifouling paint: How much does antifouling cost?

Depending on what you plan to do, the costs of your antifouling will be a combination of the amount it will cost to remove old antifouling and apply new paint.

How much does it cost to remove antifouling?

The costs for removing antifouling, like applying, depend on the size of the boat, and whether you intend to use a professional service provider or do the job yourself. It also depends on the method of removal.

If you decide to remove antifouling using stripper, first calculate the size of the area of the antifouling that is to be removed. The amount of stripper required can then be taken from the values given in the respective data sheet. Remember that you may sometimes have to apply stripper several times in order to remove all layers of antifouling present. In most cases, however, it is unlikely that you will be able to remove all traces of antifouling.

In addition to the cost of the stripper itself (if this method is chosen), the costs of removing antifouling will also include the tools that are needed, any equipment that can help, as well as protective equipment, such as clothing or goggles, if you do not already have these.

Note: After removing the old antifouling, new antifouling should be applied. It's a good idea to do a cost breakdown of the new antifouling. You can find plenty of helpful information and advice about choosing and applying antifouling in our guides "How to find and apply the right antifouling for your boat" and "How to properly remove antifouling from your boat".

How much does it cost to apply antifouling?

The costs for new antifouling depend on various factors:
You'll first need to decide whether to let professionals do the job or if you want to do it yourself. In most cases, money can be saved if you do it yourself, but it is not exactly a quick job, so you will also have to invest some time. The other cost influencer is the size of the boat and necessary work steps, i.e., what exactly has to be done and what is needed.
Nevertheless, it is possible to roughly calculate the costs of applying new antifouling.

Total costs: Cost calculation of renewing antifouling

The total costs of renewing antifouling consist of the costs of removing the old antifouling paint and of applying the new antifouling paint. In addition to the corresponding amount of antifouling, other cost factors must be included in the calculation:

Work step Materials needed
Protect area and person E.g., safety goggles, gloves, face mask, cover
Remove existing antifoul E.g., paint scraper, stripper
Prepare boat (clean, sand) E.g., sander, cleaning agent
Apply primer E.g., primer, rollers & brushes
Apply antifouling paint (touch up, additional layer, or completely renew) Antifouling paint (Calculate quantity according to area) & pplication tool (e.g. roller, brush)
= Total cost

The various factors show how different an antifouling job can cost, depending on exact requirements. If you only want to treat parts of the antifouling, the costs will, of course, be much lower than if you want to remove all the old antifouling from your boat and apply new antifouling. The antifouling comparison also shows that an effective antifouling does not always have to be the most expensive.

How much antifouling paint do I need?

  1. Calculate the area of your underwater hull with a formula to work out the correct amount for your surface (see ."Finding & applying antifouling" guide).
  2. Look at the practical yield (m² per litre) specification of your antifouling product (e.g., for International Cruiser 250 it is 9 m² per/litre)
  3. Calculate how many litres you need for the total area of your underwater hull.
  4. Multiply the result by the number of coats you intend to paint (the recommended number of coats is given by the manufacturer and can be found directly on the products).
  5. You should now know the number of litres needed for your antifouling.
  6. To calculate the cost of the antifouling paint required, divide the number of litres by the yield of your antifouling paint and multiply this by the price of the antifouling chosen.
  7. The result is the total cost of the antifouling paint needed.

International has created an antifouling calculator that you can use to work out the number of litres required for your boat. Simply enter details about your boat, which antifouling paint you want and the application method, and it tells you immediately the quantity you need. To open the calculator, click on "How much paint do I need?" at the bottom right of the International website)

Read up on antifouling before you buy so you can find the best antifouling for your boat. Information on removing antifouling and finding & applying the right antifouling can be found in our guides remove antifouling and antifouling. More detailed information on the individual products can be found in the descriptions and data sheets.
Protect your boat with antifouling and enjoy your boat trip!