As a consumer, it's not always clear if a more expensive product is necessarily a better product. Brand names generally cost more than generic, even though they may contain exactly the same ingredients.
However, with paint, the experts agree that you get what you pay for: More expensive paints have more pigments, giving them a deeper, richer, and longer-lasting color than cheaper alternatives. When you budget out your exterior painting project, plan on buying the best quality you can [source: Truini].
Acrylic latex paint is almost always a better choice than oil. Latex doesn't emit loads of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are bad for the environment and hard on the nose. It stays pliable and flexible over time, which means less cracking than oil-based paint, and dries faster too. You can clean up with soap and water instead of paint thinner. And finally, you can paint latex over any type of primer or existing paint, something oil can't handle [source: Hurst-Wajszczuk].
There are two specific painting situations where oil wins over latex:
- High-traffic areas like wood steps and porches
- Cast iron railings