Dunn Edwards Vs. Sherwin Williams: Which Paint Is Better?

Ryan Womeldorf
by Ryan Womeldorf
Choosing between great paint brands like Sherwin Williams and Dunn Edwards is easier said than done. They vary in color selection and price, among other factors. Follow along as we explore the key factors that set Sherwin Williams and Dunn Edwards apart.

Bringing new life to a room can be as simple as a coat of paint. Paint can cover up blemishes and make an older room look new again. But how do you know you are picking the right kind of paint? There are so many choices out there that it can be easy to get lost.

When sifting through the brands, you may come to find that Sherwin Williams and Dunn Edwards stand out. What is the difference between the two? Which one is the better option? Sherwin Williams is used by contractors because of its durability and ease of application. Dunn Edwards is just as durable and spreads smoothly. Not only that, but it is a more cost-effective option.

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Dunn Edwards vs. Sherwin Williams

There are a few brands that manage to stand out in the paint industry. It is safe to say that one of the most synonymous brands when it comes to paint is Sherwin Williams. They have a brand that is not only one of the most recognizable in the industry, but in the world.

Dunn Edwards is known within the industry, but nowhere near as well as Sherwin Williams and some of the others within the paint world. They have been gaining traction in recent years for making a quality brand of paint, however.


Durability is the calling card for both brands here. It is one of the most important traits when choosing a paint, especially for those that have children. There will be bumps and dings along the way and a paint that can stand up to those things is needed.

Sherwin Williams’ mid-level brand, SuperPaint, has been shown to be highly durable. You can even scrub SuperPaint without seeing a trace of dirt left behind all while keeping the sheen and consistency of the paint. No fading here.

Dunn Edwards is almost as durable as Sherwin Williams. They are also crafted to stand up to high-traffic areas. Kids banging into or touching the walls won’t be of too much concern. While it holds up pretty well under regular cleaning, it can begin to fade over time. That means needing to reapply at some point.

Consistency/Ease of Application

We will stick with Sherwin Williams’ SuperPaint for this comparison. Simply put SuperPaint is perfect when it comes to painting walls. SuperPaint covers easily. It is just thick enough that it sticks well to the roller or paintbrush, but not so thick that it clumps to the wall. That makes for easier application.

Dunn Edwards paint is also easy to apply. It is a little more lightweight in composition, spreading easily to stick securely. That said it is thicker than many of the other popular brands out there like Behr, so you know that it was built for durability.


This is where the disparity comes in. Sherwin Williams, by and large, is used by contractors. That is because it is highly durable and applies easily. For jobs that are on a tighter timeline, Sherwin Williams makes for a fast application and a little shorter drying time.

That said, even their mid-level brand of paint is expensive. You are looking at around $60 per gallon for SuperPaint. Yes, the durability and quality are good and it spreads smoothly and evenly, but that would probably break a lot of budgets. Keep that in mind when choosing your paint and determine whether the durability is worth the enhanced cost.

Dunn Edwards is much more cost-effective in comparison. While it certainly does not rate with “cheap” paints out there, it is definitely affordable at around $30-$35 per gallon. Given that each of these will likely require a second coat, you could find major savings with Dunn Edwards.


While Sherwin Williams is known as a contractor’s paint, they make more than a few options for residential purposes. Aside from their SuperPaint, they have options meant for painting interior walls as well.

Dunn Edwards, on the other hand, is almost exclusively used for residential purposes. They do not have quite the selection that Sherwin Williams does, though you will not have a hard time finding a color palette to match your needs.


Both brands are very similar in terms of their overall aesthetic, depending on which line you go with. The SuperPaint line for Sherwin Williams has a glossy finish that is found in many homes. That glossy finish looks nicer overall, though pocking is sometimes an issue. Even then, it can be difficult to notice the pocking without getting up close.

Their competition has a similar sheen to it. It has a look similar to some of the high-end brands out there at a substantially less cost than the others. Moreover, Dunn Edwards is almost completely odorless. Some of the others may leave a noticeable odor as it dries, but you won’t have that same issue with Dunn Edwards.


Sherwin Williams has the substantial edge here. Dunn Edwards has their Then, Now, and Forever collection. They also have their InstaColor which will tell you how your walls will look before you even buy. Their Color-Ark series is also a popular option.

But there is no matching Sherwin Williams. They have several collections to choose from and ever different brands of paint, some meant for duration and others for “harmony”. They also have several different primers, giving them a vastly larger catalogue than their competitor.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s)

Each paint has a rating for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s). This is in reference to the number of toxins that are most commonly found in paint. Depending on the VOC level and how much exposure is had to the paint, there can be major respiratory issues experienced. For example, California states that paints can’t have more than 50 grams of VOC’s per liter.

Both Sherwin Williams and Dunn Edwards have little to no VOC’s. As a matter of fact, Dunn Edwards paints are nearly totally odorless. So, even having to apply two or more coats means that you won’t have that stinky paint smell.

One final thing about VOC. When paints have a higher VOC percentage, they also tend to be more difficult to spread. Low-end paints that are difficult to spread are that way because they are made with more of these chemical components.

Overall Quality

When it comes down to it, there are two factors that matter the most: cost and quality. While most will pay attention to the former, there are plenty willing to pay more to get a better overall quality of paint.

Sherwin Williams is one of the industry standards for a reason. They have been around forever and have a recognizable brand. Their paints range in cost, but they have a plethora of quality options that are extremely durable and easy to apply.

Dunn Edwards is right there in terms of overall quality. Although they do not last quite as long as some of the Sherwin Williams offerings, they are still considered to be among the better quality paints out there.

Side-By-Side Comparison

What Makes a Good Paint?

While it may seem like all paint is the same sometimes, there are clear differences to be seen. That is why some paints cost over $50 per gallon and others can be had for under $20. Durability, ease of application, finish are the most important things to consider after price.


After considering the price of paint, you should next look into the durability ratings of each. Especially if you are painting a high traffic area – lots of people or even children – you want your paint to stand up to bumps, bangs, and more.

Ease of Application

Some paints are more difficult to apply than others. They tend to go on in clumps instead of spreading on smoothly. Moreover, they tend to run a bit more often, creating an uneven look that needs touching up or repainting.


Finally, there is the finish. When you are done painting and it has dried, you want it to have a proper finish. There should be little to no pocking, unevenness or fading to be seen. Cheaper paints usually require several coats to get a more even look.

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Dunn Edwards vs. Sherwin Williams: What’s The Better Choice?

Both of these paints are highly durable, standing the test of time. When choosing a paint, you want one that won’t have to be reapplied semi-frequently nor one that will fade from cleaning. Both manufacturers have created a long-lasting line of paint.

Sherwin Williams may hold the edge, albeit a narrow one. It can be applied in just one coat in some instances, dries relatively quickly, and has some of the best durability among any paints in the industry. That is why it is the choice of contractors far and wide. That said, it is expensive. Their mid-end options will run about $60 per gallon, for instance.

Dunn Edwards provides very similar durability, ease of application, and dry time. On top of that, there are no noticeable odors when applying it unlike many others in the industry. At $30-$35 per gallon, it is also much more affordable compared to Sherwin Williams.

Dunn Edwards is the better overall value for homeowners simply due to costs. At nearly twice the cost per gallon, Sherwin Williams is likely out of the budget of homeowners for a simple revamping project.

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Ryan Womeldorf
Ryan Womeldorf

Ryan Womeldorf has more than a decade of experience writing. He loves to blog about construction, plumbing, and other home topics. Ryan also loves hockey and a lifelong Buffalo sports fan.

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