A home is more than a building. Railing and access gates, a galvanised garage door, gutters, and even wrought or cast iron outdoor furniture are part of your home. To keep these elements in good condition for years, it is essential to protect them with a metal paint that can provide complete protection against rust.

Many products claim to do this. But are they effective? To find the answer, our experts have tested and rated some of the most popular outdoor metal paints on the market.

Our top picks provided satisfactory results against harsh weather. Check their specs and features below.

painted home metal


Our #1 Best Pick

hammerite direct to metal

Hammerite Smooth Black

3-in-1 formulation – paint acts as a primer, undercoat and topcoat providing up to 8 years of protection against rust.

Low Cost Option

ronseal no rust

Ronseal No Rust Smooth

A surprisingly effective paint for outdoor metal. Thick consistency makes it difficult to work with.

Best Of The Rest

Rust-Oleum Gloss

Multipurpose two-in-one paint for outdoor and indoor use, formulated to protect metal against rust.

Blackfriar Satin Black For Metal & Wood

An excellent metal and wood paint suitable for a wide range of DIY projects.

Rustin’s Quick Dry Satin Black

An exceptional water-based wood and metal paint to use indoors and outdoors.


Grey and black are timeless choices for metal structures and decorations. Looking amazing in all landscapes, these shades are easy to mix with the other design elements present in your outdoor space. Although classy, these colours are not your only choice.

Stylish and equally classy is copper. Enhancing a luxurious yard or a romantic English garden, this hue mixes well with evergreen vegetation, looking at its best on wrought or cast iron and galvanised steel.

Traditional colours include white and blue. White is a beautiful choice in both urban and rural environments; it has a unique elegance and pairs with all other colours. Blue is ideal to use in a coastal area, inspiring freshness.

Green is another popular choice. Blending perfectly in any outdoor setting, this colour is ideal for all structures and accessories, from fencing to furniture. It also pairs well with neutral tones like sand or beige; light cream is another natural shade to consider if you like classic elegance.

Contemporary alternatives to grey and copper are silver and gold. Both shades burst with personality and are guaranteed to boost the appeal of your property.

hammerite direct to metal

All-in-one primer, undercoat, and topcoat for outdoor metal.

Boasting an easy to apply 3-in-1 formulation and protecting metal surfaces against rust for up to 8 years, Hammerite Smooth Black is our favourite metal paint.

This is specific for ferrous and non-ferrous metals, insulating the surface from rain and humidity from outside and inside. Its three-in-one formula allows applying the paint onto rusty metal without using a primer or undercoat. In fact, this product acts as a primer, undercoat and topcoat on its own. This feature reduces redecoration time and costs.

Hammerite’s brilliant gloss finish is smooth to touch and elegant to the eye; the product comes in 12 traditional and contemporary shades – all easy to match with the overall style of your space.

Covering up to 5m²/litre, the product comes in 250ml tins, although other sizes are also available. With a fast drying time, the product can be re-coated after four hours and is ideal to apply to metal doors and gates, railings, garden furniture, and more.

Durable and resistant to corrosion, this paint is also suitable to use on ceramic and wood.


• Three-in-one formulation can be applied onto rust, acting as a primer, undercoat and topcoat. Provides up to 8 years of protection.
• Smooth, glossy paint dries to a flawless and easy to wipe clean high sheen finish.
• The multipurpose product comes in 12 colours and is ideal to use on metal structures and furniture, ceramic, and wood.
• First class coverage ensures a good quantity management. One coat is often enough to achieve satisfactory results.
• Effective cost management by eliminating the need for a primer and undercoat.


• The thick formulation is annoying to apply and sticks to the paintbrush. Cleaning up the paintbrush is near impossible.

ronseal no rust

Budget-friendly paint. It comes in five colours and provides up to 6 years of active protection.

Ronseal No Rust is a cheap but high-quality alternative that comes in five colours and two finishes. We tested Smooth Black, and the results surprised us. The product is supplied in a 250ml tin and boasts a unique formulation that locks out moisture, protecting all metal surfaces against rust for up to 6 years.

Designed for the protection and decoration of outdoor metal surfaces and objects, the product is versatile and easy to apply. Thanks to its multipurpose formula, the paint can be applied onto rust without using a primer or undercoat.

Super-quick drying time of only 45 minutes allows finishing painting faster. A second coat can be applied after only two hours and a litre of paint covers up to 5m². On a negative note, the product does seem to require at least three coats to ensure adequate protection.

Consistency may or may not be satisfactory, depending on what you’re painting. High viscosity paint is great to work with on wrought iron or small surfaces because it doesn’t drip.

Things are different when painting a larger surface, such as a garage door. Here, thick paint is hard to apply in an even layer and the result is unflattering.


• Ideal to use on gates, railings, garden furniture, and other metal surfaces, the paint requires no primer and can be applied directly onto rust.
• Smooth finish is elegant and easy to maintain. Unique formula locks moisture out and provides up to six years of protection against rust.
• No Rust Smooth Black paint is supplied in 250ml, 750ml, and 2.5L tins. Other colours and finishes are also available.
• Quick drying formula touch dries in only 45 minutes and can be re-coated after two hours. In damp or extreme temperatures it might take longer for the paint to dry.


• This product does an excellent job protecting metal against rust but requires at least three coats for a good coverage.
• Paint is hard to apply on large surfaces in an even layer and thick coats peel off easily.

universal all surface paint

Two-in-one multipurpose paint for a variety of surfaces.

Rust-Oleum Gloss is an excellent multipurpose paint to apply not only on metal but also on ceramic, wood, and plastic. This two-in-one product contains both paint and primer, but a pre-treatment of the surface with a stain sealer on a universal stain blocker enhances the paint’s durability.

Providing years of protection, Rust-Oleum Gloss covers up to 9m²/litre depending on application method and rate, and porosity of the surface. Ideal for outdoor and indoor use on a variety of materials, the product touch dries in two hours and can be recoated after 16 hours.

Full hardness is achieved in one week, and it’s recommended to handle painted items with care during this time. Results might not be satisfactory if the product is applied in damp conditions or temperatures below 10°C.

Particular caution should be taken when using the product indoors. Volatile organic compounds in the paint can cause irritation or allergies when handled in poorly ventilated spaces. Limit indoor application, use a protective mask and keep windows open during the application process.

Applying the paint is easy with a paintbrush or roller. Just stir vigorously before use, and for the best performance, dilute the product with 10% white spirit or paint solvent if used on porous surfaces.


• Double formula for interior and exterior use adds versatility to the product. Rust-Oleum can be used on metal, wood, ceramic, and other materials as long as it’s applied over a suitable primer.
• Excellent consistency improves coverage. More often than not, one coat is enough to achieve satisfactory results.
• Paint and primer in one, this product can be applied on ferrous materials and even onto rust. The product blocks moisture and protects against rust.
• Ideal to apply on a porous surface; dilute with 10% white spirit for the best results.


• Long drying time translates into a lengthy process, especially if a second coat is required. The product touch dries in two hours but only accepts a new coat after 16 hours.
• Paint and primer formula works on ferrous metals only. Non-ferrous metals must be sealed with a universal metal primer.
• Volatile organic compounds may cause drowsiness and dizziness. Limit indoor use and handle product only in well-ventilated spaces.

Blackfriar for metal and wood

Multipurpose paint for metal and wood. Ideal for DIY enthusiasts.

Blackfriar Satin Black is another multi-purpose indoor and outdoor paint for metal and wood. The product is available in only one colour, but the sleek black satin finish looks great on all surfaces, making it a suitable choice for all environments.

Ideal for decorative activity, this product comes with a great advantage in that it can be applied with a paint sprayer. As opposed to a paintbrush, a paint sprayer will let you finish work in a breeze, saving you time for enjoying your landscape.

When applied with a paintbrush or roller, the coverage is up to 14m²/litre depending on the surface’s porosity and material. Ideal to use indoors and outdoors, the product is perfect for railing, gates, gutters, garden furniture, radiators, steel decorations, wood objects, and more.

One slight downside of this paint is the long drying time. This product touch dries in 4 hours and can be recoated after 16 hours.


• Versatile paint is ideal to use outdoors and indoors for a wide range of applications. It is suitable to paint on metal and wood.
• On primed surfaces, the product provides long-lasting results; a flattering satin finish enhances the beauty of any painted objects.
• Consistency is ideal for a paint sprayer. Although this application method wastes paint, it considerably reduces work.
• Coming at a more than affordable price, this is one of the most economical metal and wood paints on the market.


• Paint is exceptional but comes in one colour and one finish; if you don’t like the option, you’ll just have to look elsewhere.
• Solvent-based paint is toxic and potentially harmful when used in enclosed spaces with no ventilation.
• The product dries very slowly and it only accepts a second coat after 16 hours.

Rustins satin black for metal

Non-toxic water-based paint for metal and wood.

Rustin’s Quick Dry Satin Black is a water-based varnish for wood and metal, suitable to use both outdoors and indoors.

Compatible with a wide range of materials, including masonry, plaster, ceramic, and plastic, the product produces its best results on bare wood or ferrous metals.

Drying to a smooth matt finish, the elegant black looks wonderful on all surfaces. However, this range of paint doesn’t come in any other hues. Quick Dry paint category includes an array of other products though, and some of them are suitable to use on wood or metal.

Our favourite thing about this paint is the low content of volatile organic compounds. The product is safe to use in enclosed and poorly ventilated spaces and it cleans easily from brushes and rollers.

Coming in 250ml, 500ml, 1L, and 2.5L tins, the product boasts a coverage of up to 14m²/litre, depending on the porosity of the surface. Quick Dry also stands to its name. The paint touch dries in half an hour and can be re-coated after two hours, depending on temperature and humidity.


• Rustin’s Quick Dry Satin Black is a versatile indoor and outdoor paint compatible with a wide variety of surfaces, including plaster and masonry.
• Water-based formulation is low in VOCs, non-toxic, and safe to use in enclosed spaces. The product is easy to clean from brushes and rollers.
• It covers up to 14m²/litre, depending on porosity. A primer should be used on bare surfaces before painting.
• Quick drying time allows to re-coat after only two hours.


• Water-based paint provides poor protection against rust to outdoor metal.
• The product is available in only one colour and finish. Alternative products are available from the same manufacturer.



• Outdoor metal paint
• Metal primer or sealer
• White spirit
• Sandpaper
• Painter’s tape


• Paintbrushes
• Roller/paint sprayer
• Pipe brush
• Wire brush
• Protective equipment (gloves and mask)
• Drop cloth


Outdoor metal objects and surfaces, including galvanised doors and aluminium railing and sides, have to be protected against rust and elements with a suitable outdoor metal paint. An array of latex and oil-based paints are suitable for the purpose, but oil-based products generally perform better against adverse weather and elements.

Step 1 – Prepare the surface
Preparing the surface is key to achieving satisfactory results. For a good paint grip, the surface has to be cleaned and degreased. Remove all stains, old flaking paint, grease, oil, and rust from the surface. This is important even when the product claims to do the job when painted onto rust.

Apply painter’s tape to areas not to be painted and lay a drop cloth under the object to avoid staining the pavement.

Step 2 – Prime the surface
Bare surfaces should be sealed with a metal primer or anti-corrosive sealer. The same treatment may be required on surfaces which are in poor condition.

Some outdoor metal paints already contain a primer and undercoat in their formulation, but it’s easy to prolong their lifespan with a good pre-paint treatment.

Apply the primer following the manufacturer’s instructions and cure the surface for at least 24 hours before applying the paint.

Step 3 – Paint the surface
Most outdoor metal paints can be applied with a paintbrush or roller. However, some products have thick formulas and are hard to apply in an even layer. To achieve the best results, use a suitable paintbrush and work on small patches at a time if the paint is thick.

Thinner paints can be applied with a roller on solid surfaces like garage doors or gutters. On wrought or cast iron, the best results are achieved with a paintbrush or sprayer.

Spray Painting Outdoor Metal
If the product is compatible with a sprayer system, the best way to paint outdoor metal is with a sprayer. This power tool minimises work and will deliver a smooth and even result.

The only downside of this method is waste. A sprayer takes up a lot of paint, so make sure to account for this when choosing the quantity. Apart from this, the process is straightforward. Fill the reservoir with paint, put on protective equipment and spray paint the objects from 10-15cm of distance.

Leave the paint to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions and repeat the process for the second coat if required.