Finding and buying the best white emulsion paint can be the difference between a timeless, fresh paint job or something that has poor coverage and results in a patchy mess.
With this in mind, we’ve used our extensive experience in the painting and decorating industry to review some of the best (and worst) white emulsion paints on the market to help you find the best white emulsion for the job.
Best White Emulsion Paint Overall: Dulux White Emulsion
Dulux are industry leaders in the UK and their Pure Brilliant White emulsion is a good example as to why that is.
This easy to apply emulsion gives a perfectly white result with no patchiness and is purpose made for walls and ceilings. The finish is somewhere in the flat – matt range which means this emulsion is ideal for hiding any imperfections on your walls or ceilings whilst providing you with a modern look.
Whilst white emulsions don’t typically yellow, Dulux’s Chromalock technology makes absolutely sure. After the emulsion has dried and the colour pigments are fully bonded, Chromalock essentially creates an invisible barrier to protect the colour from wear and tear. This is particularly useful for emulsions on the lower sheen scale as typically they would be less durable.
To get the perfect modern finish you’re after, we’d recommend using two coats. The Pure Brilliant White emulsion is quick drying so the second coat should be ready for application after just 4 hours.
This emulsion is water based and therefore has a low VOC content making it ideal for application on interior surfaces such as bedroom or living room walls and ceilings. Being water based thankfully makes cleaning a lot easier too – simply wash away the paint with water.
- Gives you a smooth, modern finish with no patchiness
- Chromalock technology ensures the white doesn’t fade or yellow
- A second coat can be applied after just 4 hours
- Low VOC content makes it safe to use indoors
- Easy to clean up afterwards using just water
Best One Coat Emulsion: Johnstone’s
Our runner up to Dulux is Johnstone’s with their One Coat Matt which is in our opinion the best one coat emulsion available. Whilst overall it falls slightly short of Dulux’s quality, this particular emulsion makes up for that with ease of use and convenience.
Being a one coat emulsion means that, assuming you’ve prepared your walls and ceilings beforehand, one coat should be enough to get a great, modern finish. The coverage is roughly 8m²/L which should comfortable paint a room with one coat with some to spare.
We’d recommend using a medium pile roller for this specific emulsion. The fibres are great for carrying more paint meaning you don’t need to reload your roller as often. Moreover, medium pile rollers tend to give you an even coat when used with water-based matts like this one.
Like Dulux, cleaning is easy, simply wash tools and equipment immediately after use with soapy water.
- There’s a lot of paint out there that claims to be ‘one coat’ but isn’t. Be confident in knowing that this one actually lives up to its name if applying over light colours
- Provides a lovely matt finish which hides minor imperfections
- It’s got a nice thickness to it and is easy to paint with
- Low VOC makes it safe for interior use
- Has good durability and can be cleaned as and when needed
- Will likely need 2 coats over darker colours thereby making it expensive
Best White Emulsion for Ceilings: Polar
When looking for the best white emulsion for ceilings, your first priority should be finding something that doesn’t drip and is easy to apply! With that in mind, we’ve chosen Polar as the perfect fit for this category.
Polar’s emulsion, despite being water-based, has a high viscosity which essentially means it’s nice and thick making it easy to apply to ceilings. The last thing you want when you’re painting your ceiling is runny paint flying all over the place.
Moving away from practicalities, the overall finish is equally as important. When choosing a ceiling paint you’re going to almost always want to use something that has a flat or matt sheen. The low sheen levels are great at hiding imperfections and give you a nice consistent finish.
- Easy to apply, even for first time painters
- Provides a lasting, even finish
- The thickness and sheen ensure imperfections are not visible
- Is ready for a second coat after just 4 hours
- You might need to apply 3 coats for the best finish
Best Trade Emulsion Paint: Dulux Trade White Emulsion
Dulux Trade’s Diamond Matt is a premium emulsion with a premium price to match. If you’re happy to pay that premium price, you could well be in the hands of the best quality emulsion around.
But what makes the Diamond Matt so good?
Firstly, it’s one of the most durable emulsions on the market. During the creation of this emulsion, Dulux used a vast array of technology to constantly test and tweak the formula. The result? A paint that’s 10x tougher than non-trade paints.
Secondly, Dulux claim to use ‘Stain Repellent Technology’ which is essentially an undisclosed natural ingredient which has strong water-repellent properties. This means your walls should be much harder to stain.
Finally, if your walls do happen to get a little bit dirty from time to time, this paint is easily washable. According to Dulux the paint can withstand around 10,000 scrubs before it starts to wear away. We’ve not tested it to this extent ourselves but we did find it was easy to clean.
Aside from its obvious practical uses, you also get the same classic Pure Brilliant White matt finish as our overall best white emulsion (which also happens to be Dulux!)
You can use the paint anywhere in your house but it’s particularly useful for areas such as stairwells and hallways.
- The most durable emulsion on the market
- Resistant to typical household stains
- The white colour stays white
- Is easy to apply with either a brush or roller
- Suitable for use all around the house
- It’s definitely not cheap!
Budget Option: Crown
Crown have long been established as one of the best manufacturers of paint in the UK and whilst this particular emulsion isn’t the best on the market, it does offer value for money. At under £20 for 7.5L you’re not going to find an emulsion this good at this price.
With a coverage of roughly 14m²/L, you’ll have plenty of paint at your disposal to cover large areas and possibly multiple rooms with this paint. However, this really depends on how it turns out for you because in our experience, if you’re painting over any colour other than white, you’re probably going to need 3 coats…at least.
The VOC level is low so it’s more environmentally friendly as well as safe for use indoors and it’s also suitable for use in any room in your home. We should warn that whilst that may be the case, we wouldn’t recommend it for use in bathrooms as it’s not as durable as some of the other emulsions on this list.
- Good value for money
- A nice matt finish is achievable
- The white colour stays white
- It’s fast drying so you could get the job done over the course of a morning/afternoon
- It has a low viscosity which makes it slightly more difficult to apply
- You’ll need a few coats
- It’s lacking in durability
Best Mould-Resistant Emulsion: Dryzone
Dryzone are specialists in creating damp and mould resistant products and have recently brought out a high quality mould resistant emulsion paint. This emulsion is recommended to those who have issues with consistent condensation problems in rooms such as bedrooms, kitchens and bathrooms.
The paint uses an advanced paint-film protection which contains a biocide that is great at discouraging black mould growth even in rooms with high condensation. Moreover, once fully dried it’s completely washable too.
In order to have mould-resistance, this emulsion has a soft sheen finish which looks modern but isn’t as effective at hiding imperfections as the flat and matt finishes. If you’re dealing with black mould issues this probably isn’t going to worry you too much though!
We should mention that it is pretty expensive per litre but can save you money in the long run by preventing expensive-to-fix mould issues.
- It’s mould-resistant for a guaranteed 5 years
- Provides a modern low sheen finish
- The white colour stays white
- Is washable once fully dry
- Suitable for use in areas that are exposed to lots of condensation
- It’s pretty expensive
What’s the Difference Between White and Brilliant White Paint?
As Brilliant White paint lacks any pigment, it tends to reflect more light than standard white making it appear brighter.
If you’re worried that this is going to make your surface look shiny, you don’t need to be. Most emulsions come in a flat or matt finish which essentially means you’ll be getting a pure, modern white look without the high sheen.
How to Paint Using Emulsion
As always, the way you paint will depend on which emulsion you have at hand but there are a few tips you can follow to get that perfect, modern finish.
In order to get the best finish possible, it’s important that the surfaces you’re going to be painting on are clean and dry. Sanding down the surface is a good option as this will result in a good key to which your paint will stick to.
Once your surface is ready, you can start painting.
- Cut in by going around the edges with a brush
- Use a medium pile synthetic roller to paint large areas
- Don’t be shy to slap plenty of paint on, just make sure you’re applying it evenly!
- If applying 2 coats, wait for the specified time before putting on the second coat
- Simply repeat the process but take more care with your strokes on the second coat
Fortunately, water based emulsions are some of the easiest paints to clean off your brushes/rollers. If you act fast, sometimes all it will take is a wash down with clean water. If that doesn’t do the trick, just use warm soapy water instead. Simple!
Finding the best white emulsion paint can help you totally transform your living space and in some cases even increase the value of your property. They offer a timeless, elegant look and are great for making your rooms look bigger as well as lighter.
The paints we’ve included are all great in their own right but if I was personally going to use any of them, I’d probably go for the Dulux Pure Brilliant White. It’s high quality, easy to apply and is great value for money.
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