best exterior wood paint

Best Exterior Wood Paint Reviews UK 2023 – Top 9 Comparison

Last Updated on January 10, 2023

Top 3 Best Exterior Wood Paints

  1. Rust-Oleum 750ml Universal (Editor’s Choice)
  2. Cuprinol Garden Shades (Brush or Spray Choice)
  3. Rust-Oleum Spray (Best Value)

A fresh lick of paint can bring new life to almost anything in your home. If your living room looks old and outdated, you can transform it with a new coat of paint. The same goals for your vintage dresser, your garden fence, or even your home’s siding.

Of course, the key to getting the right results in any paint job is ensuring that you have the right product for the task. Wood paint delivers a quite different outcome to any other kind of paint. This product is often quick-drying, easy to apply, and designed specifically for either indoor or outdoor wood projects.

One of the toughest paints to shop for is the perfect exterior wood paint. You need something that’s going to cover your wood well, whether you’re painting a door, a fence, or a deck. At the same time, it’s important to make sure that your wood can withstand unpredictable weather. The best paint won’t peel when the sun starts shining, or fade with rain.

So, how do you find the best exterior wood paint?

Today, we’re going to explore some of the top-rated options on the market, to help you make a confident and informed decision.

How We Compared Exterior Wood Paints

exterior wood paints collage

To find the right exterior wood paints we considered multiple factors including:

  • Colour
  • Longevity
  • Weather-resistance
  • Ease of Use

Our team planned comparison points and specifically looked for products that would cater to all kinds of needs. We spent countless hours researching, consulting customer reviews and comparing features to come up with this list.

To find out more about our process please see here.

Best Exterior Wood Paint Reviews – Top 9 Picks

Rust-Oleum 750ml Universal (Editor’s Choice)

All-surface paint is one of the most versatile options for anyone hoping to transform some exterior wood. If you’re looking for the best outdoor paint, and you don’t want to switch pots when you’re moving between cast iron gates and wooden planks, an all-purpose option like this Rust-Oleum paint can help.

Both a paint and a primer in one, the Rust-Oleum exterior wood and multi-material paint works perfectly on a variety of materials. The range of colours available looks just as good on wood as it does on metal, ceramic, and plastic too. While the manufacturer does recommend using a primer with stain blocking, you should get great results with this paint every time.

Not only is the Rust-Oleum paint quick drying and easy to apply, but it also comes with a super durable formula. You can cover up to 9 square metres with a single pot and is touch-dry in just two hours. Unfortunately, it’s not the best paint to use with brushes, as it can cause streaks.


  • Excellent coverage
  • Suitable for a range of materials
  • Touch-dry in 2 hours
  • Plenty of colour options to choose from
  • Paint and primer all-in-one


  • Difficult to remove from brushes
  • Doesn’t work as well with a brush

Cuprinol Garden Shades (Best for Brush or Spray)

If you’re looking for the best paint for exterior wood windows, or you just want something that’s going to stand the test of time, then Cuprinol can help. The garden shades range from Cuprinol is one of the leading choices for water-based exterior wood paint. This water-based formula gives you 6-years of weather protection on wood!

The great thing about this paint for wood exterior furniture, is that it works on other kinds of material too. You can use the same paint on brick and stone. Plus, the water-based solution works well in a spray system too. This is a great all-around choice if you’re looking for a consistent and smooth opaque finish on your furnishings.

The Cuprinol garden shades collection has a range of colours to explore, and the formula also allows the natural wood grain to show through, so you can have a more stain impact, rather than an oily, block colour. The only downside is that this quick-drying product doesn’t seem to be as waterproof as it claims.

Even with a second coat to help improve the protection, customers complain that the wood paint still doesn’t protect well against the weather.


  • Harmless to plants and pets (water-based)
  • Available in a range of colours
  • Works on bare wood and other materials
  • Good for brush or sprayer application
  • Long-lasting design


  • May not live up to its weatherproof claims

Rust-Oleum Spray (Best Value)

One of the toughest parts of finding the best wood paints for outdoors is choosing something that’s easy to apply and long-lasting. Often, you need to spend a while ensuring that you have the right tools for your exterior wood paints, like rollers, or special brushes. Then you need to figure out whether you need one coat or two. The Rust-Oleum spray paint eliminates those problems.

Available in a selection of 42 attractive colours, Rust-Oleum comes with gloss, matt, and satin finishes. The high-quality fast-drying formulation provides an excellent result on any material. There’s a variety of unique colours to choose from, and all of them come with a fantastic smooth finish experience. What’s more, like most Rust-Oleum paints, it’s extra durable too.

The great thing about the Rust-Oleum spray paint is that it’s suitable for internal and external application. What’s more, the spray paint option is easy to use and generally covers up to 50% more than the majority of other spray paints on the market.


  • Multiple colour options to choose from
  • Great for interior and exterior projects
  • Extra durable and smooth finish
  • Covers 50% more than other spray paints
  • Fast-drying formula


  • Limited coverage
  • Can be difficult to get an even cover

Johnstone’s 309281 Garden Colours (Best for Lawn Furniture)

Another fantastic option for the best exterior wood paint is the Johnstone’s 309281 collection. This state-of-the-art wooden paint solution comes in a range of colours to suit any garden. What’s more, you get up to four years of protection from one or two coats, on all kinds of garden furniture. It’s great for summer houses, chairs, tables, fences, and more.

The Johnstone’s wood paint solution delivers up to four years of protection on all your garden furniture, so you can enjoy a long-lasting satin finish. Like some of the other best exterior paints, this product is water-based that won’t harm your pets or plants.

Johnstone’s promises a quick and simple application, with a smooth formula that delivers an elegant layer of long-lasting colour. The two hour drying time also means that your garden will be ready for any unexpected weather, too. After two hours, you can apply a second coat to make sure that you get the best, boldest look.

One issue is that although this paint comes in a range of colours, the colours on the product listings don’t fully match the options you get.


  • Water-based paint safe for pets
  • Suitable for a range of garden furniture
  • Quick and simple application
  • 2 hour quick drying time
  • Range of bold colours


  • Pictured colour may not be an accurate representation

Rustins BLAM250 (Best for Wrought Iron)

If you’re looking for the best wood paints that can also work perfectly on wrought iron, then Rustins has you covered. These satin-finished exterior paints give you a gloss finish for your outdoor furniture, with the option to apply one or two coats, according to your needs. Aside from a stunning gloss finish, you also get amazing protection against the weather.

If you’re worried about the environmental issues associated with oil-based paints, then Rustins could have the best exterior paint for you. This water-based paint formula ensures that your gloss finish continues to look good for years, without harming animals.

The water-based paint is long-lasting and easy to apply, even if you’re just using a single coat. You can also easily remove the paint using water, which is tough for many gloss style paints. This indoor and exterior paint option suits a wide selection of furniture options and wooden furniture. What’s more, it’s quick-drying too.

The biggest problem with this exterior wood paint option is that it tends to peel after a while.


  • Water-based wood paint for safety
  • Excellent gloss finish
  • Stays strong over the years
  • Easy to apply
  • Quick to dry


  • Can peel over time

Dulux Weather Shield (All Seasons Choice)

Dulux is one of the better known companies in the paint world. The company offers a range of one-coat satin finish, matt, and gloss options for indoors. However, you can also find lots of colours available for exterior wood paint too. The weather shield solution is particularly suitable if you want a gloss paint that’s resistant to mould and cracking.

During our best exterior wood paint review, we discovered that the Dulux weather shield paint is incredibly reliable, with a 10 years weather protection promise. Few companies offer a 10-year promise on their best exterior wood paints. The weatherproof paint comes with a unique gloss film that offers extra protection with one or two coats.

According to Dulux, this paint can easily last the 10 years’ time span, making your surfaces look incredible. You will need to make sure that the surfaces you paint are clean and sanded to remove any sheen before you begin painting though.

For extra protection, you’ll need to add a primer to any wood that you want to paint. One slight issue is that this paint dries very quickly, which means that it’s harder to spread evenly. Additionally, you don’t get a big tin for the money.


  • 10-year weather protection
  • Resistant to mould and cracking
  • Gloss finish
  • Multiple colours available
  • Quick-drying performance


  • Need to add a primer
  • Difficult to apply multiple coats evenly

Crown Quick Dry (Best Non-Yellowing)

Another excellent choice for anyone looking for the best exterior gloss paint for wood. The Crown quick gloss paint collection gives you a satin look fast, with a convenient formula. Ideal for exterior wood and metal, the Crown formula works both inside and outside, with a non-yellowing formula that stands the test of time.

With multiple colours available to suit every need, these exterior wood paints will help you to transform your previously painted or bare wood furniture with just a couple of coats. The fast-drying water centric paint retains it’s bright and bold finish for longer. That means that you don’t have to keep repainting.

Another great bonus of these paints is that they deliver a wipeable and durable finish, so it’s easy to clean any of the fences and gates that might have taken on some moss or dirt over the years. With a touch-dry performance in one hour – you can get through jobs very quickly. However, it’s important to note that the finish on this paint isn’t as shiny as you might think.

Another issue is that the quick-drying formula can be a problem for people who are trying to get an even look.


  • Great wipeable finish
  • Range of colours to choose from
  • Not oil-based
  • Durable design
  • Works indoors or outdoors


  • Too quick to dry for some people
  • Not as shiny as some alternative paints

Johnstone’s Woodcare (Best for Wooden Gates)

The Johnstone’s Woodcare paints are fast drying and available in a selection of vibrant colours to suit any garden. These delightful paints come with a wax enriched formula, which means that they’re more likely to last and resist the impact of weather. That’s particularly important for the unpredictable UK climate.

The great thing about this exterior wood paint is that it only needs a single coat to perform admirably for years at a time. The thick and durable formula is specially formulated to provide a long-lasting finish and protection for all kinds of wood, fences, and sheds. What’s more, it will help to repel moisture and damage from the sun too.

If you’re looking for long-lasting colour and amazing defence against the elements, then this could be the product for you. However, it’s worth noting that the thicker formula can make it difficult to apply this paint if you’re a beginner. Some experts might recommend thinning the mixture so you can apply it more evenly, however we would still consider this to be the best paint for wooden gates.


  • Doesn’t need multiple coats
  • Great weather protection
  • Wide selection of colour options
  • Quick-drying formula
  • Good for various furniture options


  • Harder to apply for beginners
  • Slightly thicker formula

Ronseal Weatherproof (Best in Wide Coverage)

Ronseal is one of the best-known exterior paint companies for both weather protection and excellent colour performance. The company promises that you’ll get a stunning finish with one or two layers of paint in just an hour. That means you can get your garden chores done a lot faster.

Ronseal promises a weatherproof performance and excellent protection in a wide selection of colours to suit every garden. You can expect up to 8 square metres of coverage from a single tin of Ronseal paint. Additionally, the paint dries in around an hour – which means that you can start applying a second layer sooner.

This weatherproof formula from Ronseal doesn’t require a primer, or multiple expensive extras to get rid of previous wood colour. You can apply direct to wood surfaces or on top of existing paint. Unfortunately, the paint colours in the images don’t always match the colour that you get exactly.


  • Quick and easy to apply
  • Works well on a range of surfaces
  • Good selection of colours
  • No primer needed
  • Provides excellent protection


  • Colour in tin doesn’t match the ad exactly

How to Choose Exterior Wood Paint

Choosing the ideal exterior wood paint for your needs isn’t always easy. There are a lot of different kinds of wood paints to consider, and some of them will require extra support, like a wood primer, before you can begin painting. The good news is that there are plenty of great painting products out there to help you transform your garden.

As You Begin Looking For Exterior Wood Paint, Ask Yourself:

What Kind of Surface Are You Painting?

Are you painting over raw wood, or have you primed the material already? Do you need to think about previous coats of paint? How thick is the paint that you’ve chosen, and can you apply it without sanding and priming first?

woman painting wooden wall

What Colour Options Do You Have?

If you have a specific vision for your exterior wood, then you’ll need a paint company that can match that. Most of the leading brands can offer a wide range of choices these days.

Do You Want a Specific Finish?

Are you looking for something that will give you a chalky or matt effect, or are you hoping for something a little shinier? There are many different types of exterior wood paint to consider these days.

How Long Does It Need To Last?

Although it’s rare, there are some companies out there that offer 10 years of protection against the elements. If you’re planning on changing your garden soon, then you might not need 10-year protection.

Is It Weather Resistant?

The only way your paint will last 10 years or more is if it can stand up to the weather. Even if the paint you choose claims to offer a 10-year lifespan, make sure that it can protect against water and sunlight.

woman varnishing the wooden deck

Is It Easy To Apply?

Your wood paint should be easy enough to apply, otherwise you’ll struggle to get an even finish on your surface. Look for options that aren’t too thick, or require a special kind of tool. A paint that doesn’t require a second coat may be a good choice.

Finding your Ideal Wood Paint

The best wood paint for your needs will be the one that matches all of your requirements. Some people will want a wood paint that offers a unique chalky finish, while others will be looking for something that can cover wood and cast iron with the same smooth finish.

Our choice for the best exterior wood paint is the Rust-Oleum 750ml Universal option. This incredibly versatile paint covers all kinds of wood and outdoor surfaces with a smooth and reliable finish. As a paint and primer in one, you don’t have to work as hard to get your garden chores done.

The Rust-Oleum paint provides excellent coverage, and it’s ready to touch or apply second coat in just 2 hours. There are even plenty of colour options to choose from too!

Good luck with finding your ideal wood paint! 

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