Great Paints

Paint manufacturers are constantly tinkering with formulas to improve performance and cut costs.

Busy mom Alessandra Rose wanted to decorate her new home but had a tough time picking out the right paint for the job.

"It's completely overwhelming. There's such a breadth of color options, finish options, even textured paints."

Paint manufacturers try to dazzle consumers with claims of "25 years of durability," "advanced TI-3 technology," and "authentic colorlock" system.

Consumer Reports cut through the lingo, testing more than 50 interior paints. Low-luster paint like satin or eggshell is the best finish for most jobs.

Rico De Paz, Consumer Reports, says "Low-luster paints result in a finish that's durable and easy to clean, compared to a flat paint that may not be the most stain-resistant, or a semi-gloss that may lose its gloss when it's cleaned."

Not every paint is right for every room in your home. For instance, if you have a sunny room, you'll need a paint that resists fading, a challenge for many paints.

Consumer Reports recommends Glidden Evermore in satin. It's a low-luster paint that doesn't fade.

Can you get by with applying just one coat of paint? That's one of a battery of tests Consumer Reports' technicians subjected paints to.

"In this test, we check how well the paint hides stripes of contrasting color. As you can see, this paint gives you better one-coat coverage," says De Paz.

Testers also put the paints through a scrubbing test to see how well they withstand abrasive cleaners.

Kilz casual colors satin, available at Wal-Mart, is the top-rated low-luster paint. And at under $20 a gallon, it's a Consumer Reports' best buy.

It's also a durable paint, which was an important consideration for Alessandra. "I wanted to paint the walls once and not revisit that for years and years because we don't have an unlimited budget."

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