5 Best Paints for Outdoor Metal Furniture

Painting on metal furniture can be challenging for several reasons. For starters, you need to clean the surface, which entails removing rust and sanding over cracks, bumps, and other imperfections. And once the surface is ready, you need to find a suitable paint variety for the task.

The best paint for outdoor metal furniture is the Rust-Oleum Protective Enamel. This paint is ideal for metal surfaces as it prevents rusting and is resistant to abrasion and chipping. The product also comes with a high-gloss finish, giving your metal furniture a sleek, shiny look.

Deciding which paint to use can often feel overwhelming, as you can paint metal with any oil-based or water-based paint. Alternatively, you can even use a spray can. In this article, I’ve provided a list of the best paints you can use on your outdoor metal furniture, along with some considerations to keep in mind throughout the process.

Best Overall: Rust-Oleum Protective Enamel 

If you’re overwhelmed by the wide array of options available, and aren’t sure which one to use, the Protective Enamel paint from Rust-Oleum is your best bet. For starters, it’s an oil-based paint, so you won’t have to worry about moisture collecting and rusting your metal furniture.

This paint also comes in three types of finishes – glossy, semi-gloss, and flat. So you have some control over the appearance of your furniture. Additionally, you can use a paint thinner to achieve more specific finishes.

The Rust-Oleum Protective Enamel paint also creates a protective layer on metal surfaces that’s resistant to weather conditions and corrosion. And considering the drastic effect that weather has on metal furniture, this paint provides adequate protection. 

Finally, unlike most oil-based paints, a coating of this paint takes between two to four hours to dry. Therefore, you can complete the job quickly without worrying about temperature or weather changes interrupting the drying process.


  • Corrosion-Resistant. This paint coating lasts for years, and you won’t have to worry about repainting your metal furniture often.
  • Rust-Proof coating. Because it’s an oil-based paint, the Protective Enamel coating stops moisture from seeping in, preventing the metal surface from rusting.  
  • Glossy finish. The glossy finish gives your metal furniture a nice shine, making it stand out and improving the aesthetics of your backyard or front porch. 
  • Color retention. This paint is designed to retain the depth of color and sheen for years after you have painted your furniture.


  • Longer drying time. While the drying time for this paint is shorter than that of other oil-based paints, it’s still comparatively longer than that of most water-based paints.
  • More preparation is required. Painting with oil-based colors typically requires more preparation as you need to use paint thinner and prepare the environment before you start painting.

Best Primer and Paint: Krylon ColorMaster Paint and Primer

The Krylon ColorMaster is ideal for those who don’t want to spend extra time applying primer before painting their metal furniture. Typically, it’s best to apply primer to any surface before painting, as doing so protects the surface from abrasion, binds the paint to the surface, and increases the durability of the color, allowing it to last longer.

The best thing about this spray paint is that you can use it on plastic, wooden, and ceramic surfaces, not just metal. So, it’s worth the investment because you can continue using it after finishing your metal surfaces.

The spray can also make painting uneven edges and crevices easier, and you won’t have to invest in brushes of different sizes to get the job done. Additionally, this paint dries in a mere ten minutes, so you can start using your furniture again within the hour.


  • Covermax technology. The Krylon ColorMaster comes with cover max technology which ensures a smooth, even finish across the entire piece of furniture. This technology allows you to paint quickly without worrying about uneven coloring.
  • Quick drying. Perhaps the most significant benefit of using this paint is that it dries in roughly ten minutes, granting you full access to the furniture you’ve painted.
  • Easy application. Using a spray can instead of a tin of paint and brushes ensures you can quickly and effortlessly apply the paint with minimum preparation and cleaning up afterward.


  • Less adaptability. While you can use this paint on several different types of surfaces, there’s little scope to change the depth of its color or sheen. Unlike paints from a tin, which can be adjusted with thinner, this can of spray paint comes in a tone that can’t be changed.
  • Lower quantity. It may be challenging to paint larger pieces of metal furniture with a single can, and you’ll need to invest in multiple cans to get the job done.

Best Water Paint: Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Latex Paint

Water-based paints are ideal if you want an odor-free painting experience. Most water-based paints are also free from harmful toxins and chemicals in oil paints, so you can breathe easily while doing your job. 

One of the best things about this paint is that it has the advantage of easy application. The paint solution isn’t as thick as most oil-based paints, and you can further dilute the paint with thinner. However, you probably won’t need to consider how easily this paint latches onto the paintbrush when you dip it in.

The Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch provides a flat finish and is perfect for those seeking a subdued look for their outdoor metal furniture. However, flat doesn’t mean dull, and you’ll still marvel at the rich, deep color of your furniture once you’re done painting.

Moreover, because it’s water-based paint, this product dries in under thirty minutes, and you can quickly apply a second coat for added protection. And unlike oil-based paints, where two coats would require a full day to dry out, you can start using your furniture within the hour.

Finally, aside from its quick drying properties, this water-based paint prevents corrosion, and the flat finish adequately covers chips and crevices.


  • Quick drying time. The most significant advantage of using this paint is that it dries in roughly thirty minutes. So you can quickly paint your furniture before guests arrive and apply another coat if required.
  • Odor-free. Unlike oil-based paints, this water paint is odor-free. As such, you can get the job done without dealing with the pungent odors that accompany most domestic paint projects.
  • Easy application. The low viscosity of this water-based paint makes preparation and cleaning up much more manageable.  


  • Prone to rust. While this water-based paint comes with rust-prevention properties, it’s still water-based, and your furniture is likely to rust quickly.
  • Flat finish. While matte finishes can be appealing, some of you may prefer a glossy finish which isn’t possible with this paint.
  • Less resistant to weather. This paint has been designed to withstand corrosion. However, it may not hold up for too long under extreme weather conditions.

Most Durable: Rust-Oleum Hammered Finish Paint

It’s hard not to include several Rust-Oleum paints in this list because the company makes excellent products that serve a wide array of purposes! Take their hammered finish paint, for instance. This product is designed specifically to deal with metal furniture that has corroded or rusted to a significant degree.

So, if you want to touch up an old metal bench or add some sheen to your steel fence or gate, this paint from Rust-Oleum is the perfect solution. It’s ideal for hiding imperfections in these rusted surfaces while granting them a new lease of life with that glossy sheen.

This hammered finish version can be applied without primer as the paint is so thick and dense that the colors are sure to pop either way. However, Rust-Oleum suggests you use two coats of the same paint for the best results.


  • Glossy finish. This paint ensures a shiny, sleek finish to any metal furniture, covering up cracks and imperfections with ease.
  • Heavy-duty paint. If you feel like a piece of your metal furniture is too far gone, the hammered finish version of Rust-Oleum can breathe new life into it. It’s a heavy-duty paint meant for recovering rusted and corroded metal.
  • No primer is needed. Applying primer often takes time, and you have to wait for it to dry before applying the first layer of paint. However, this paint is so thick that you won’t need a layer of primer before you start.


  • Double layer required. While there’s no need for primer, you may have to paint on two layers of this paint to achieve the sleek finish you’re looking for. Aside from extra time and money, this also means added effort. 
  • Long drying time. Like most oil-based paints, this one comes with a longer drying time. And while four hours isn’t much compared to other oil paints, it adds up when you have to apply two coats.

Best Rust Prevention: POR-15 Rust Preventive Coating

The POR-15 Rust Preventive paint is the ideal option for those looking to protect their metal furniture from rust. While other paints provide protection, this one promises to extinguish rust forever. That’s right, they’ve even mentioned it on their can. If you’re looking for a permanent coat of paint, few can compete with this product.

The best part is you won’t have to remove rust before applying a coat of this paint, so there’s no extra preparation needed. Additionally, this paint dries through moisture, unlike others that dry through evaporation.

Therefore you don’t have to wait for the perfect temperature or humidity level to start painting. Simply apply a coat and allow it to dry into an impenetrable barrier that keeps out moisture, chemicals, and the elements. This paint is guaranteed to never chip or crack after application and stops rust and corrosion permanently. 

Again, this paint provides a non-porous barrier so external elements can’t seep in, making it ideal for outdoor metal furniture.


  • Extreme protection. This paint claims to shield the metal from rust and corrosion indefinitely. And while forever may be a strong word, you can rest assured that your metal furniture will be safe for many years.
  • Unique curing process. Unlike most paints that dry through evaporation, this one dries quickly, even when moisture is present. This quality allows you to paint with it even on humid days without worry.
  • Glossy finish. Creates a shiny finish that’s pleasing to the eyes.


  • Extended drying time. While this paint dries faster when moisture is present, its average drying time is between three and six hours.
  • Preparation time. While you can paint over rusted surfaces, POR015 recommends you use their unique three-step preparation process involving some of their other products. This preparation takes additional time and effort.

Factors To Consider 

Now you know some of the best paints for outdoor metal furniture. However, the paint you settle on depends on a few factors.

Type of Finish

You may want your outdoor furniture sporting a specific look, and only some paints deliver the kind of finish you’re looking for. So, before settling on a specific product, compare how your furniture would look with a glossy or flat finish and choose the one that fits the overall aesthetic of your space best.

Drying Time

Ideally, it’s best to set aside an entire day to paint your furniture. However, if you’ve got limited time, you must choose a paint that dries quickly and requires less preparation. It’s also best to choose one with which you don’t need to apply primer or multiple coats.

However, if you have some time to paint, it’s best to choose a more robust paint and apply multiple layers and even a primer.

Painted Surface

If you’re painting a metal chair that hasn’t been around too long, you can rely on quick-drying paint even if it doesn’t offer much protection. However, if you want to perform a makeover on a metal gate or outdoor table, invest in a more robust paint that provides rust protection and a new, glossy look.  

Key Takeaways

Painting outdoor metal furniture can be an exciting, enjoyable, and creative project as long as you plan it properly. While you can always rush the job and get it done in a few hours, it’s usually best to give yourself ample time to select the right paint, prepare for the process, and apply primer and multiple coats if needed.

You can ensure a smoother, cleaner, and more aesthetic finish by giving yourself extra time. 


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