Acrylic Paint Vs Enamel -What’s The Difference?

  • By: Artistic Bees
  • Time to read: 6 min.
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There are various types of paint available in the market and all of them have some special features. For using them appropriately, you will need to know the difference between enamel and acrylic paint. Here, I will try to explain it as simply as possible.

You will find acrylic paint with various colors and patterns, whereas enamel paint is only available with a few options. Also, acrylic paint is water-based whereas enamel paint is oil-based, so they have different applications. Moreover, the acrylic paint provides a matte finish, whereas the enamel paint is a bit more glossy.

I’ve talked about some of the basic differences between acrylic and enamel paint, and now I’d like to provide some valuable insights into this topic. In this article, I will extensively talk about Acrylic Paint Vs Enamel. For a better understanding of this topic, it would be wise to read through the whole article.

Difference Between Acrylic And Enamel Paint

Knowing the basic difference between Acrylic Paint Vs Enamel is essential as they have pretty different applications. The color of your furniture isn’t the same as the color on the walls and buildings, so knowing which paint will be suitable in different environments is important. Some of the basic differences are given below.

Color Availability

While choosing a perfect type of paint, the availability of color plays a very important role. For instance, if you are willing to paint a chair, you won’t want it to have a completely different color than the other types of furniture you have in your dining room.

From that perspective, the acrylic would be perfect as you would have various color options with this paint type. On the other hand, the overall color options for the enamel paint are pretty minimal, and most of the mixed color options are completely absent.

The Base Of The Paint

The base of the paint basically means the core ingredient of the color which helps the molecules to have a weaker or stronger bond. Enamel paint is oil-based, meaning the thickness of the color will be much higher. And, after drying, the final output will be hard and won’t be affected by water or fog.

One of the biggest advantages of using enamel paint is that the color will remain intact year after year. You won’t have to change the color of your house once every year. Although enamel paint is a bit expensive, it is a one-time investment.

On the other hand, the core ingredient of acrylic paint is water. As you guys might already know, the molecular bond of water is slightly weaker. And due to that fact, it won’t be as sturdy as enamel paint after drying and might get affected by watery elements.

The problem with acrylic paint is, after a few months, the color will have a yellow shade which might ruin the whole ambiance of your room. After a year or less, the paint might fall off and you will have to repaint the whole wall or the object completely.

Color Type

It is probably one of the biggest differences between these two color types. I know many of you prefer a matte finish after the painted color dries. For those people, acrylic paint would be a perfect choice.

On the other hand, for those who love a glossy finish, enamel paint would be a better choice. People throughout the whole world have been using this paint type for centuries, and the glossy output you will get from enamel paint is far superior to most of its competitors.


I am pretty sure most of you have the experience of living in a smelly environment after coloring your house. Well, the ingredient named VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) is responsible for this odor.

If you choose an enamel type of paint to color, there will be a very bad odor around the colored object for a few days. Fortunately, that is not the case with acrylic paint as the VOC ingredient isn’t used to make it. In fact, there will be absolutely no smell after using this paint type.

Drying Time

The drying time of paint is a very important factor for those who are coloring their whole house. You won’t want to stay in a hotel or live inside a smelly house for over a month.

The good news is that acrylic paint dries quickly and usually does not leave a stain on the floor. But when it comes to enamel paint, if you’re not careful, it’ll take a long time to dry and leave a stain on your wall surfaces. So choose the paint wisely.

Use Of Primer

For those who don’t know, primer is a special type of ingredient that is mixed with the paint to make it stronger. It also provides additional protection to the color, which ensures better sustainability. Most of the primers don’t come with a cheap price tag, and you will have to put them in all the paint buckets.

Now, when it comes to acrylic paint, the use of primer is a must. Without it, the paint will become weak and won’t stay on the object you are coloring. But for enamel paint, the use of primer is merely an option. You can skip it and still have a perfect finish, which makes this paint very cheap.


The cleaning procedure of acrylic paint is very different from enamel-type color. For instance, if you paint your home with acrylic paint, the whole process of cleaning your wall becomes very simple. All you need is warm water and soap. As I have mentioned earlier, the acrylic type of paint is water-based; and due to that fact, it doesn’t get affected by water.

But that’s not the case with enamel paint. Since the core ingredient of these paint is oil, cleaning them with water won’t work. For washing this type of color, you will have to buy mineral spirit. You will find them for a very affordable price on Amazon.

Which Paint Would Work The Best?

Till now, I have discussed some of the basic differences between acrylic and enamel paints. As you might have already noticed, both types of colors have some basic advantages and disadvantages. So, the perfect paint type will solely depend on what kind of object or wall you are painting.

For instance, if you are willing to paint your indoor furniture, then the acrylic color would work best. Since it is water-based, it may react with the sunlight and become shady. The rain might also ruin the paint’s true tone. In general, use the arctic type of color in indoor projects where sunlight and rain won’t reach.

But when it comes to outdoor types of furniture, the enamel color would be a better option. As it is oil-based, it does not get affected by sunlight, dust, or rain. Therefore, they will work better on most types of outdoor projects.

They will work particularly well in your bathroom and kitchen, as the surfaces of these places are usually more exposed to moisture. So in short, if you are planning to paint something outdoors where exposure to sunlight and water is frequent, use enamel paint.


As you can see, acrylic and enamel paint each have their own set of pros and cons. In this article, I have extensively discussed the difference between acrylic paint vs enamel.

Hopefully, after reading the whole article, you will be able to choose the perfect paint type that best suits your demands. Until next time, bye.

Make sure you check our article: Enamel Vs Latex Paint [What Are The Differences].