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Just ran into a ranking Complex Magazine did a few years back on Spray paint. In descending ranked order, these are the 15 Best Spray Paint Brands that are currently available in The United States of America today.
:: 15. Krylon ::
To be frank; today’s Krylon Multi Purpose aerosol spray paint covers poorly. 15 years ago; Krylon would have made #2 on this list. Over the years, instead of catering to artists, the Sherwin-Williams company (Krylon’s parent company) decided to shun the Street art community and cater to D.I.Y.‘ers and craft enthusiasts, and they even have created a program called ”Graffiti Hurts”. Graffiti Hurts is a graffiti abatement program which encourages working with police to stop illegal art before it happens, and is “designed to address the growing graffiti problem in urban areas and small towns”. A few years back, Krylon changed its valve system to a male valve rendering the spray far less controlled and less clean overall.
Krylon retails for around $3.99 per can at Walmart (price varies per store) and is still widely available in many Paint & Hardware Stores across the United States. If Krylon is all that you have; it can get your message across, however it is not even in the same ballpark of what it used to be.
:: 14. Plutonium ::
Both Jerry’s Artarama and the Canadian site Curry’s, each recommended on the Plutonium Paint website as the major American and Canadian retailers, list the price as $12.99 per can. I managed to get a couple of cans “on sale” for 9.79 each–shipping not included! Plutonium is the brand on this list that I am the least familiar with, and I have to say, it actually seems like a really good paint. It smells refreshingly nice and it covers remarkably well. Plutonium is a nice and thick, environmentally friendly, American-made spray paint. It also has a ”Anti-Gravity Valve” that ensure the ability to spray paint from the can from any angle. But while keeping the price point in mind, the limited color range, and the fact that only Plutonium caps seemed to work with the paint ( .75 cents each), your money or your racking ability are most certainly better spent on any other brand of paint on this list.
:: 13. Kobra ::
The unfortunate thing about Kobra is that it is really not readily available in America. The Kobra website does not list an American distributor, however I found a limited stock at AllCity, but unfortunately the good folks there seem to be busy promoting their own house brand. The valve on Kobra cans is real nice and soft, and the matte paint dries super fast. Kobra is a mid-grade designer spray paint. It has a middle range pressure system, but unfortunately it also casts a bit of undesired overspray with typical caps. All things considered; Kobra seems like a really good subway train paint. Unfortunately, that is not the typical use for the average American artist. Hopefully one day soon Kobra spray can make a few slight upgrades and increase it’s American presence and better challenge the middle slots of this list.
:: 12. All City ::
All City brand spray paint is a promising new brand made by the LA Underground Hip-Hop shop in Albuquerque, NM. All City is available in 43 colors in both glossy and matte finishes, which is pretty awesome because the difference between the sheen makes the brand seem like it has double the amount of colors. All City 11 oz. cans retail for $3.99 each plus shipping. The cans feature a low-pressure smooth valve system just short of Ironlak cans. All City is starting to slowly expand with 2 new stores and new colors promised soon.
:: 11. Evolve ::
Evolve Spray Paint is very similar to All City paint only its significantly more established with a top-notch sponsored demonstration team, and 87 vibrant colors. Evolve Spray Paint is flat finished and it retails for $4.00 plus shipping and handling at the 004 Connec website. Like the All City brand, Evolve is also a spray paint that is manufactured in China, and like the All City brand; it seems a bit less “evolved” than the original Chinese paint; Ironlak. With that being said, Evolve is a very decent, reliable paint, and its available for a fair price.
:: 10. Flame ::
Flame spray paint is the brand new Chinese manufactured spray paint line from Molotow. Flame is only available in 40 gloss colors currently, and it retails for $4.49 per can plus shipping and handling at Art Primo. The price of Flame is slightly more than that of it’s competitors in the “Ironlak-knock-off” race, but it is the brand that seems to be the most overall similar to Ironlak. Molotow is well versed in the intricacies of making spray paint, so it will be interesting to see how this brand develops moving forward.
:: 9. Clash/Beat ::
Clash and Beat spray paints are made by the same company in Italy but for two different purposes under two different labels. Clash is a medium pressure, highly opaque paint line and Beat is a low pressure line, both are available in 130 colors, and both use the standard European valve system. Both spray paints are designed for graffiti and graffiti art, but they come with a stock tip that is not up to today’s cap quality standards.
Clash seems like the better over-all brand of the two, Its an all-around paint that in some ways feels like a cheap MTN that dries a bit quicker but its nowhere near as sophisticated. Just as a heads-up; Clash has this annoying ring that gets in the way of painting sometimes and is quite hard to remove. Clash retails for $4.75 before shipping, and its available at 004 Connec.
Beat paint is very thick and it is a low pressure spray; but those two characteristics do not necessarily equate to opaque and quality lines. Its retails for $5.95 plus… you guessed it: shipping! Clash is available at ArtPrimo.com.
:: 8. Sabotaz ::
Sabotaz 80 is a good quality spray paint at an affordable price. When Sabotaz was first imported into America some years back, it was a crappy spray paint that would have had trouble making this list. Cosmos Lac; Sabotaz’s parent company continues make upgrades on the spray’s formula. A new brand of Sabotaz 80 called Sigma 80 should make it to the States by late summer. Initial tests have Cosmos Lac and their artists hailing Sigma as good as or better than MTN 94, but I’ll believe it when I see it.
Meanwhile, as far as the quality of the current Sabotaz spray paint goes; If Molotow’s Belton and German Montana brand spray paints had a baby, Sabotaz would be the “Walgreens” generic brand located on the same shelf. Possible side effects may include occasional flaking on certain surfaces.
Sabotaz comes in 120 colors and is available in a matte finish. Oinkartltd is the official distributer of Sabotaz in the United States, but it appears as though Oink is currently out of stock. It usually sells for around $4.00 a can.
:: 7. Kills ::
Kilz White Primer Sealer Stain-blocker Spray Paint is quite possibly the single best spray paint on this list. Unfortunately, It only comes in one color; White. If you are out illegally bombing and regularly using something other than Kilz to fill in; your either toy, privileged, or you have already done financially made it!
:: 6. Fresh Paint ::
Fresh Paint is a new American matte finish brand, the brainchild of Oink Art. The viscosity of Fresh Paint is nearly identical to that of Ironlak and all of the look alike brands, although Fresh paint currently has a much more limited color chart. Upon initial results, fresh paint colors seem to hold up longer than Ironlak, but only after more time passage and proof can it be said with certainty. However the #1 selling point of the young Fresh Paint brand is its $2.95 price, making it by far the cheapest of the quality spray paints available in America.
:: 5. Rustoleum ::
Rustoleum is still a pretty damn good spray paint. It holds up on freight trains for a really long time, its great for bombing, and if your the criminal minded type; it’s free. If, by chance, you feel the need to be told how Rustoleum could possibly be free or where one could find Rustoleum; please stop reading this, seriously.
A few years back, Rusto’ switched their caps to an all-male system, and most of the older cans that were still in stores have been swooped up by the cool rap-letter sprayers. In other words, Rustoleum is a bit less customizable without the use of a separate cap adaptor; available here.
:: 4. Ironlak ::
Ironlak is the premier Chinese made, very high pigment paint. The paint is thick and its reasonably priced. Ironlak has some of the World’s greatest artists on their sponsorship team.
Back when Ironlak debuted, it was the cutting edge of Graffiti technology. In the time since, many companies have tried to imitate them and yet Ironlak is still the king of Chinese paint for now. ‘Lak has unprecedented cap compatibilities and an awesome valve. The colors are screaming vibrant and the black and the white cans are unbelievably good. However, the valve, and the thickness of the paint does tend to clog caps and cans on occasion.
In the past couple of years, Ironlak has begun to drip ever so slightly. It is note-worthy, because originally you could spray Ironlak at the same spot on a wall for a real-time 20 seconds and the pigments would just build-up in that one spot with zero drips at all. Also personally; I can’t stand the dodgy vanilla scent, but its just a matter of preference, and some artists absolutely love it.
Ironlak is made for graffiti and art, and it is awesome spray paint. Ironlak’s only real flaw is certain color’s tendency to fade in a short period of time.
:: 3.Belton / Molotow ::
Molotow’s Belton brand spray is one of best paints there is. Many writers and artists consider it the best. Made in Germany, with the help of artists, Belton set the standard for it’s pressure sensitive valve system. Belton also has some of the highest grade pigment making the paint completely opaque, consistent, and vibrant. The Premium line is low pressure and contains more than 251 colors making it the largest color scale available in an individual spray paint brand. Belton also has an “Action-line” of high-pressure paint, which is the premier bombing paint of it’s kind.
The Molotow website describes the High pressure line as “smooth,high coverage and fat! These products are dedicated to fulfill huge surfaces in a fast way.” I couldn’t have written it better. Unfortunately, Belton is not widely available, and it is rather expensive at $5.95 plus shipping from Art Primo.
:: 2. MTN ::
The original Montana a.k.a. Spanish Montana; or MTN is as good as spray paint gets and is the premier spray paint brand for solid quick coverage. The Hardcore line is a nice consistent high pressure gloss finish, and its available in a wide selection of vibrant colors. “Hardcore 2″ is highly anticipated and it is soon to hit the American market, promising to be a quicker drying, high gloss, and high pressure line with 88 total colors, 45 of which are new to the MTN brand.
MTN’s 94 line available in 147 colors, is the perfect compliment to the Hardcore line with it’s lowered pressure, matte finish, and the 9 step chromatic color gradations. If I had to “pick the fly-shit out of pepper”; the only drawback to the 94 brand is it’s tendency to leave a very slight overspray on clean lines.
The MTN Colors site took me to this site to shop—but the prices are incredibly expensive. I usually am able to score MTN for around $4-5 dollars per can. For the price and its premium quick quality effectiveness the MTN lines are definitely one of the two best spray paints readily available in America today.
:: 1. Montana ::
Montana spray paint is the best paint in the world. Montana is the winner of a close race; the price points keep MTN right there neck and neck to the end, but Montana Black and Gold spray paints are without a doubt the top dogs, the finest spray paint available. Montana is a super opaque lacquer spray paint with excellent fade and line capabilities. Its widely available for a wide range of pricing. ere’s even a budget White line Montana brand, but that’s not what pushed Montana to the top of this list. MacPherson’s lists the Gold line at an unbelievably high price ($10.00+), but it is possible to get a much better deal if you look and ask around. Both Gold and Black are weather-proof paints that function in any weather.
The Gold Montana is a low pressure, quick drying, high end spray paint. Gold Montana comes in 204 eye popping colors and offers outstanding line quality.
Montana Black is a 136 color high pressure line from Montana. Its very low-scented, rapid drying, and its perfect for applying paint quickly and consistently. The only bad thing I can say about “German” Montana other than the price is that you really have to shake it well, and I mean well, as in; “I think I have tennis elbow” well. Now go get some of these paints and try them out for yourself!