Is Spray Paint Oil Based or Water Based?

We all know that certain paints are water-based and other paints are oil based. But what about spray paint? Is it oil based or water-based? The answer to this question is unknown to many people. Don't worry because this blog post is going to help. So let's begin! 

Is Spray Paint Oil based or Water based?

Generally speaking, most spray paint is made up of organic solvents, meaning it's oil-based. However, there are some brands that use water-based paint. For instance, Rust-Oleum uses water-based paints in their Painter's Touch line of spray paint.

Some people believe that the majority of spray paints are oil-based because they contain organic solvents such as butane, propane, and hexane. These chemicals evaporate quickly and dry fast so they can be used for spray painting.

However, there are some brands of spray paint that don't use these chemicals, which means they don't dry as fast. For instance, Krylon's Indoor/Outdoor graffiti paint contains no butane or hexane and dries slowly. Because the paint takes longer to dry it is water-based.

Also read: Is Spray Paint Flammable?

It is important to note that even if the spray paint contains no chemicals, it doesn't mean it's water-based. It just means it has different drying agents. Rust-Oleum's Painter's Touch 2x line of spray paint uses hydrocarbons instead. Hydrocarbons are oil-based, so this brand still isn't water-based.

So the answer to the question "is spray paint oil-based or water-based?" is all dependent on what brand you're using. If you're using Krylon's Indoor/Outdoor graffiti paint, then it's an oil-based paint.

If you're using Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch 2x then it's probably oil-based too. However, if you're using Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch then it's water-based.

How do you tell if spray paint is water or oil-based?

When painting with spray paint, it's important to know whether you're using water or oil-based paints so that you can choose the appropriate paint for the surface and use appropriate safety precautions.

There are a few methods for determining whether a Spray paint is water or oil-based such as looking at the label, examining the texture of the dried paint, and testing the paint on a surface.

Looking at the label

Many spray paints will have labels that say whether they are water or oil-based. The label may also list the appropriate safety precautions to take when handling the paint.

For example, the Krylon brand label states: "Keep from freezing. Water-based colors and clear coats should be applied when the temperature is 50° or higher."

Examining the texture of the dried paint

A quick test for determining whether it's oil or water-based, advised by Krylon, is to touch the dried paint with your finger. If it leaves an oily residue on your skin then it contains oil. Otherwise, if there's no oily residue, then it's water-based.

Testing the paint on a surface

The easiest test for determining whether a spray paint is oil or water-based is to try painting over any surface you easily have access to. Try painting on wood, metal, paper, cloth, etc.

If it adheres well to the surface and doesn't rub off, then it's probably oil-based. If you are able to easily wipe the paint off with your finger or a cloth, then it's water-based. Water-based paints dry by absorbing into the surface rather than laying on top of it as oil-based paints do.

Also read: How to Spray Paint a Tractor? Step by step Guide

Some major differences between oil and water-based paint

1. Oil-based paints are much heavier than water-based ones. Besides, they dry faster and usually last longer.

2. If you're looking for a paint that dries fast, then use water-based paints. They dry much faster than oil-based paints.

3. Water-based paints can be more expensive, but they last longer and cover better.

4. One of the things that people should remember is that oil-based paint smells stronger than water-based paint.

Which type of Spray paint should you use for your project - oil or water-based?

That depends on what you're painting and where. If you want to paint outside, then water-based Spray paints are the best choice for most surfaces

They don't yellow as quickly and dry faster than oil-based paints. Also, water doesn't damage or discolor most surfaces as much as oil does over time.

However, if you're painting on a vertical surface such as a wall inside your house and you want to use bright colors, then the color options for oil-based Spray paints will be wider.

This is because oil-based Spray paints can be formulated to adhere better and last longer, and they're more durable than water-based Spray paints.

Lastly, if you want a Spray paint that is less expensive and covers well then choose oil-based Spray paint. You'll get the most bang for your buck by using an oil-based type of Spray paint.

Also read: How long is Spray Paint good for? Does Spray Paint Expire?


When you're looking for Spray paint, it's important to know if the Spray paint is water-based or oil-based. Knowing this information will help you select the right tools and prepare your workspace properly.

Also, keep in mind that some oil based Spray paints are safe on certain surfaces but can damage other surfaces. Make sure you read the label and carefully follow the directions and safety precautions.

If you found this article interesting, make sure to read my other articles as well.

Thank you for reading this post! Please leave me feedback in the comments section below.


Is Rustoleum spray oil-based?

Rust-Oleum has both oil-based and water-based spray paints. Water-based spray paints are good for indoor use while oil-based are good for outdoor.

Is acrylic spray paint oil-based?

Acrylic Spray paints are mostly water-based and do not contain any harmful chemicals.

Is Krylon spray paint oil-based?

Krylon also provides both oil-based and water-based spray paint.

Hi, while painting our various DIY projects, we have spent many years researching the best spray paints. We realized that many people are searching for the same thing on different sites. We, therefore, have created this standard blog to provide effective solutions for the best spray paint.

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