Acrylic vs. Latex Paint: Which One Should You Use?


Planning for a DIY painting project requires thorough decision-making. You need to think about the brand of paint, the color, and the finish. Choosing between acrylic and latex paint is significant in any painting project. 

For information, you can find three variants of paints such as the latex, acrylic, and oil-based. But the oil-based was phased out years over. Thus, the remaining options are latex and acrylic. Each option has its good and bad sides and works for specific projects. 

Before rushing to buy, you must know first the difference so that you can make the right choice. It will also save time and make the project run with no hassle. 

How do the two differ? When to use the latex and the acrylic? Which offers the best results?

To know the difference between latex and acrylic paints, it is best to read an overview.

Latex Paint

Most people believe that latex paint has a rubber composition. The early production has rubber, but now the formulation was improved, eliminating rubber. Instead of using the sap from a rubber tree, the manufacturer uses artificial polymer to produce the same compound as the sap. 

This type of paint is water-based which is why it dries quickly and easy to clean up. It is more elastic and gas permeable. It does not peel or crack too quickly. 

Acrylic Paint

The major component of acrylic paint is acrylic resins and has a chemical base. The chemical contents make acrylic paint durable and water-resistant once dried. It flexes with wood because of its elastic property. 

Popular with crafts and art applications because of its vibrant colors. It works well with different materials. Despite its thick texture, acrylic paints dry quicker

Comparison Chart of Latex vs. Acrylic Paint

Acrylic Paint Latex Paint
1. Base Acrylic Polymer Water
2. Drying Time Approx. 30 minutes Approx. 1 hour
3. Elasticity Best  Good
4. Cost Expensive Cost efficient
5. Durability Best Good
6. Mold resistance High Low
7. Coverage Good High
8. Usable Surfaces Plastic, metal,
masonry, and wood
Masonry, walls,
and primed wood
9. Ease of Application Difficult Easy
10. Adhesion Best Good
11. Availability Limited Widely available


In terms of adhesion, acrylic paint is much better than latex paint. It bonds well with wood, metal, masonry, and some plastics. But make sure to apply a primer first on the surface prior to applying the paint. Latex paint is not recommended for masonry and metal surfaces. 

acrylic vs latex paint
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Both types of paints offer durability, but acrylic lasts longer. Because of its weather-resistant property, acrylic does not wear off easily. The latex paint easily marks and scuff. You must use acrylic paint on exterior doors, floors, exterior doors, and other surfaces that have higher traffic. 


Acrylic can resist weather than latex paint. It is because the binders of the former can resist the UV rays of the sun. Thus, the color of the acrylic keeps longer on the surface. 

Ease of use

It is easy to work with latex paint because it applies smoothly, but the drying time is longer than the acrylic paint. Another good thing about latex is you can clean it with water. If you want the painted surface to dry quicker, choose acrylic paint. But it is challenging to use this paint on larger surfaces because it would be difficult for the fresh paint to mix on the dried surface. If you are using acrylic, make sure to work faster.

Acrylic does not apply smoothly like latex paint because it is thicker in texture. The brush strokes are visible when applying acrylic paint. Thus, it is better to use rollers or high-quality brushes with acrylic paint. To clean this paint, you must use paint thinner. Be careful using the paint thinner as it will expose you to harmful fumes and the cleaning process is quite messy.

Availability and cost

In terms of cost, latex is cheaper than acrylic paint and almost available in many stores. There are different brands of latex paint suitable for different needs and budgets. The price of acrylic paint doubles over the latex and may not be accessible all the time. It comes for contractor grade or high-end use. 

Pros and Cons of Acrylic Paint

Pros and Cons of Acrylic Paint


  • The weather resistance capability is more quality than the latex
  • It contracts and expands with temperature
  • Does not require long preparation of the surface


  • Difficult to clean because of its chemical content
  • It is expensive and has flammable and toxic chemicals

Pros and Cons of Latex Paint

Pros and Cons of Latex Paint


  • It is cheaper and widely available in various finishes and colors
  • Less toxic because it is water-based
  • It dries quickly and environment-friendly


  • Using low-quality paint is easy to chip or crack
  • The weather resistance property is lower than the acrylic paint
  • Requires thorough preparation of the surface

Choosing a good quality specifically for a particular use of the paint would be of a greater benefit than merely choosing what you prefer unknown of their properties and suitable essentials. Overall, defining what’s best for your project would ultimately depend upon your purpose that manifests how well you would choose upon given situations. Knowing the details and learning which is better for which could definitely change the whole story and give you such quality covering as much as you desired.

Read more: Best Clear Coat Over Latex Paint Review with Buying Guide

Is It Possible to Mix The Acrylic Paint and Latex Paint

It is possible to mix these two different paints because they are both water-soluble. All you have to do is stir thoroughly after mixing the paints. The mixture can affect the paint’s color. The properties of the paints are affected by mixing them. Thus, you may notice changes in fade resistance, adhesion, and durability. Both paints are applicable to furniture like wooden tables and chairs.

acrylic vs latex paint

Take Away

Knowing the difference between latex and acrylic paint is significant in every painting project. If you don’t have enough idea about the right paint to use, seek help from an experienced painter. Never disregard to consider the finished output of the paint to use. 

Both paints have their advantages and disadvantages. Choose the one that will work best on your painting project. Keep in mind that the result depends on the paint that you will use.