Best Water Based Gloss in the UK

Finding the best water based gloss could be the difference between a perfectly even coverage or a watery disaster.

As advancements are being made, water based gloss is quickly catching up to traditional oil-based gloss in terms of its advantages with the majority in the decorating trade saying that they exclusively use water based gloss.

With its low odour, quick drying time, more environmentally friendly formula and of course, the fact that it doesn’t yellow, it’s easy to see why so many people are now opting for these glosses. However, if you don’t pick the right brand you could end up with a watery mess on your hands with a lot of time and money wasted.

Fortunately, our paint experts have combined their knowledge with thousands of consumer reviews to come up with the ultimate best water based gloss guide to save you the trouble.

1. Dulux Water Based Gloss

Dulux Water Based Gloss

Dulux’s water based gloss is loved by consumers throughout the UK and it’s no surprise they take the number one spot on our best water based gloss list. With almost 30,000 5* ratings across multiple selling channels, this paint is the undisputed king of water based gloss.

Some of the benefits of water based gloss is the low odour, quick drying time and the fact that the white colour doesn’t turn yellow. Dulux has all of these qualities and more.

An example of a project where we used Dulux’s water-based gloss to contrast with Dulux’s Heritage Velvet Matt (Midnight Teal colour for those wondering).

It has a particularly impressive coverage of up to 16²/L so should easily cover most paint projects without having to purchase additional tins and with its incredibly quick drying time, you can apply the second coat after around 6 hours.

Overall, it’s a beautiful gloss paint, results in a lovely sheen and is suitable for use on any interior woods and metals (including heated surfaces such as radiators).

Paint Details
  • Coverage: 16m²/L
  • Touch dry: 1 – 2 hours
  • Second coat: 6 hours
  • Application: Brush or Roller


  • Very easy to get an even coverage
  • Provides a high quality gloss finish
  • The white colour stays white
  • Is ready for a second coat after roughly 6 hours
  • Suitable for use on all interior woods and metals


  • None

Final Verdict

Dulux’s water based gloss is the best selling and highest rated paint on the market for a reason. It has industry-leading properties in so many different categories and will almost certainly give you the beautiful final look you’re after.

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2. Crown Water Based Gloss

Crown Water Based Gloss

Crown are one of the most trusted paint brands in the UK and their quick dry water based gloss doesn’t disappoint. Consumers have unanimously praised this particular gloss for its incredible durability and the fact that it remains white even after a few years.

This particular paint has a low VOC content making it more environmentally friendly, is touch dry in about an hour and is also easy to clean. Crown’s quick dry gloss is particularly useful for exterior jobs such as painting your front door whilst being equally effective with interior jobs such as painting your skirting boards.

In order to get the best possible finish, give it a good stir before application and create a key on your surface for the paint to adhere to.

Paint Details
  • Coverage: 30m² per tin
  • Touch dry: 1 hour
  • Second coat: 6 hours
  • Application: Roller or Brush


  • Very easy to apply even for amateur painters
  • Low VOC content makes it environmentally friendly
  • Remains white even after a few years
  • Suitable for use on interior or exterior woods and metals


  • None

Final Verdict

If you’re looking for a non-yellowing water based gloss that is a bit of an all rounder, this is the one for you.

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3. Johnstone’s Water Based Gloss

Johnstone's Water Based Gloss

Johnstone’s water based gloss is one of the best value for money paints on the market. Its advanced formula means you get the benefits of water based gloss while the finish represents the hallmarks of a more traditional oil based gloss.

The coverage is solid at around 11m²/L which should comfortably cover small to medium sized paint jobs. When they say this paint is quick drying, they’re not lying – a second coat might be ready for application after just 4 hours.

You can also apply this water based gloss in a variety of ways. It’s easy enough to apply using either a brush, roller or sprayer although a combination of a 5″ roller and a brush to level the paint would be our advice for application.

In terms of what it can be used on, it’s pretty versatile. You can paint this on interior or exterior and the surfaces it’s suitable for include iron, steel, softwood and wood meaning you can get an aesthetically uniform finish even when applied to a variety of different surfaces.

Paint Details
  • Coverage: 10 – 12m²/L
  • Touch dry: 2 hours
  • Second coat: 4 – 6 hours
  • Application: Roller, Brush or Sprayer


  • Very easy to apply
  • Provides a durable, high quality gloss finish
  • The white colour doesn’t yellow
  • It’s one of the quickest drying paints on the market without leaving that ‘sticky’ feeling
  • Suitable for use on interior or exterior woods and metals


  • It’s a rather thin paint so depending on the surface you’re painting on you may need more than 2 coats

Final Verdict

Johnstone’s are reliable as always and their advanced technology water based gloss will give you a finish akin to solvent based glosses without the odour and high VOC content.

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4. Ronseal One Coat

best water based gloss Ronseal

Ronseal’s One Coat is a perfect water based gloss formulated for use on interior wood. One of the main issues DIYers usually have with water based gloss is the fact that some have a tendency to drip. This makes it awfully difficult to renovate items like bannisters, stairs and doors. Fortunately, this is one of the best non-drip paints on the market.

In terms of application, you’ll find that the consistency is on the thin side so using a brush to apply it is recommended. You’ll also want to prepare the wooden surface first with a 120 grit sandpaper – this will ensure strong and lasting adhesion.

It is touch dry in around 2 hours and the majority of paint jobs will only require one coat. If you’re not happy with the finish after the first coat, we’d recommend waiting at least 6 hours before applying a second.

Paint Details
  • Coverage: 6m²/L
  • Touch dry: 1 – 2 hours
  • Second coat: 6 hours (if needed)
  • Application: Roller


  • Very easy to apply even for amateur painters
  • Non drip formula makes it ideal for fiddly jobs
  • The white colour is guaranteed to last for 10 years
  • One coat saves time and money
  • It’s low odour (although that’s not to say you shouldn’t ventilate the room)


  • Only suitable for wood

Final Verdict

Ronseal One Coat is one of those paints that can be applied with no fuss. It’s easy to apply, easy to wash and leaves a nice sheen when fully set.

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5. Leyland Water Based Gloss

leyland best water based gloss

Another non-yellowing gloss, Leyland water based gloss is one of the best you can buy and fully justifies its somewhat expensive price tag.

It’s one of the fastest drying glosses available and has a re-coat time of around 2 – 4 hours and is one of the reasons many professional decorators choose this paint. It’s suitable for application on interior or exterior woods and metals making it perfect for any type of job you require it for.

Despite being a trade paint, application is very easy and offers good coverage along with industry-leading flow and levelling properties. The VOC content is a little higher than the other glosses on this list so we’ve scored it down slightly for that but that is the only real blemish on a fantastic paint.

When applying the paint, make sure to stick strictly to a brush for best results.

Paint Details
  • Coverage: 15m²/L
  • Touch dry: 1 hour
  • Second coat: 2 – 4 hours
  • Application: Brush


  • Very easy to apply even for amateur painters
  • Provides a high quality and even finish
  • The white colour is long lasting and doesn’t yellow
  • One of the quickest drying paints on the market
  • Suitable for use on interior or exterior surfaces


  • Medium VOC content

Final Verdict

This water-based gloss might be slightly more expensive than others but it’s one of the best if you’re looking for that perfect, non-yellowing gloss finish.

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6. Rust Oleum Universal Paint

rust oleum all surface paint

Rust Oleum’s all-surface paint has popped up a few times on My Paint Guide but that just goes to show how great this paint is across multiple disciplines.

This particular water based gloss is suitable for application on almost anything you can think of – both interior and exterior. It works equally well on tiles as it does garage doors and that’s all down to its advanced formula.

Going a step further, Rust Oleum offer almost 20 different colours from Racing Green to Satin Black giving you more control of the overall look and aesthetic of your home.

In terms of the finish, expect a long lasting gloss that’s not going to lose colour over time – perfect for those who want to add a splash of colour to a neutral looking decor.

Paint Details
  • Coverage: 9m²/L
  • Touch dry: 2 hours
  • Second coat: 16 hours (if needed)
  • Application: Gloss Roller or Brush – use brush for best results


  • Acts as both a paint and a primer
  • Comes in a variety of colours, not just white
  • Is durable and long lasting
  • In some cases you’ll only need one coat
  • Suitable for use anywhere around the house – indoors or outdoors


  • None

Final Verdict

Rust Oleum is a great all rounder and is loved by us as well as countless others in the decorating industry. The plethora of colours available make it a good choice for those whose tired home decor is in need of fresh life.

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Is water based gloss paint as good as oil based?

For us, the advantages of water based gloss paint are more than enough to definitively say water based gloss is as good, if not better than oil based gloss.

Whilst water based gloss is newer than oil based, it’s made rapid improvements in recent years to bring it to a level where you get the same finish as oil based but without the high VOC content and strong odour.

In terms of coloured gloss, oil based gives a better finish overall in our opinion but it’s a different matter for white gloss. If you want a white gloss that isn’t going to yellow, the only option should be to go for a water based gloss.

How do you get a good finish with water based gloss?

Getting the perfect finish with water based gloss is all down to a combination of the gloss you’ve got at hand and the technique you use to apply it.

Choosing a paint solution such as the ones above will cover the first part but what technique should you use?

In terms of speed, you’ll need to work quickly. Water based gloss is fast drying which has the benefit of stopping it dripping but of course, this means you’ll want to work quickly to ensure you’re not leaving any streaks from your brush.

Whilst we would personally use a brush more often than not to get the best finish, you can combine a brush and roller. After using a roller to apply the paint, simply tip it off with a brush to get the ultra smooth finish you’re after.


Water based gloss has come on leaps and bounds in recent years and these days it’s easy to find something that gives off the same glossy look as oil based gloss without the fumes, long drying times and annoying clean ups!

If you’re looking for something that’s going to be easy to apply and give the best finish, we’d definitely recommend the Dulux Quick Dry gloss. Remember to match the paint to the job you have at hand and you won’t go too far wrong.

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Want to learn more about different paints? Feel free to take a look at our recent “best tile paint” article!