Paint Can Sizes – What are the Standard Sizes and Coverage?

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Last updated: September 16, 2023

Discover the various paint can sizes available in the market and the coverage for each one.

Paint can sizes

Before taking on any painting project, one of the first things you must decide is how much paint you need. Choosing an appropriate paint size will ensure you don’t get too little or too much for your project.

While the standard one-gallon size is very common, there are other standard paint can sizes and coverage you can choose from. 

In this article, we will look at all the common paint can sizes in the market and how to determine the right one for your project. 

What Size Does Paint Come In?

Paint cans come in various sizes for different project needs. While sizes like 1-pint, 1-quart, and 1-gallon are very popular, they are not the only ones available.

You will also find bigger sizes, like the 5-gallon buckets, which are ideal for large projects. Smaller sizes like 1-pint and 1-quart are better if you want to sample the color. 

There are many other intermediate in-between, such as half pints and half gallons. 

Understanding the different paint sizes will help you determine the precise amount of paint you need for your projects, so you don’t have to pay extra. In the next section, we will go over each paint size and how much area you can cover with them. 

Different Standard Paint Can Sizes

Here are the different paint can sizes you will readily find in the market. I have also included the paint can sizes in liters.

Quarter-Pint

A quarter-pint (0.14 liters) is the smallest paint can size you will find in most local stores. It has a diameter of 2.5 inches and is 2.5 inches high.  

With this, you can cover approximately 12 square feet of wall space. 

This is pretty small for any real painting, but it can still work for touch-ups or if you want to sample a new color before deciding on it. 

Half-Pint

Half-pint is the next smallest paint can size and is equivalent to 0.28 liters. It holds about eight fluid ounces, while the can is about 2.875 inches in diameter and 3 inches tall.  It is best used for small projects and is perfect for touch-ups.

The paint covers up to 25 square feet of wall space with one coat, which is probably not much. 

As earlier indicated, use this for small projects such as trim work or some final touch-up. 

One-Pint

One-pint paint cans have a diameter of 3.5 inches and a height of 3.99 inches. As you would expect, they are double the size of a half-pint can and contain about 16 fluid ounces. They can also be used for touch-ups and cover up to 50 square feet. 

Besides touch-ups, you can also use a pint to paint a small piece of furniture, trims, and even accent walls.

One-Quart

The 1-quart paint can is not very common like the other options, especially the half-pint and half-gallon sizes. It contains 32 fluid ounces or 0.946 liters of paint, enough to cover up to 100 square feet with one coat.

This makes it great for painting tiny wall areas such as closets, small pieces of furniture, as well as adding detail to a wall or crown molding. 

The paint can has a diameter of 4.25 inches and is 4.88 inches tall.

Half-Gallon

The half-gallon paint container holds up to 64 fluid ounces (1.9 liters) of paint. It measures 5.88 inches in diameter and 5.38 inches in height. In terms of coverage, it covers up to 200 square feet, which is enough to paint small rooms such as your bathroom, laundry room, and furniture.

One-Gallon

The 1-gallon paint can is the most common option for DIYers. With this paint size, you can cover up to 400 square feet with one coat. An average-sized room usually has 800 square feet of wall area, which means you will need at least two 1-gallon cans to paint the whole room. 

In general, you can use the one-gallon paint can for bathrooms, pantries, laundry rooms, home offices, and even a small bedroom.

The paint can has a diameter of 6.5 inches while the height is 7.5 inches. It holds about 3.8 liters of paint, which is equivalent to 128 fluid ounces. Remember to read through the container to ascertain how much a gallon of paint weighs so you can know the means of carrying the paints to your project site.

Five-Gallon

Finally, we have the five-gallon paint bucket, which is great for large indoor projects, such as painting multiple rooms with the same color. 

The bucket contains 640 fluid ounces of paint and can cover up to 2,000 square feet. It is around 12-15 inches tall and 10-12 inches in diameter. 

Paint Can Size Chart

Here’s a paint can size chart below that gives a summary of the various standard paint sizes, their dimensions, and coverage. 

Paint Can Size Fluid OuncesCapacity (Liters)Coverage( Feet)Diameter (Inches)Height (Inches)
Half – Pint 8-oz 0.24 25 2 ⅞” 2 ⅞”
One – Pint 16-oz 0.47 50 3 7/16” 3 15/16”
One – Quart 32-oz 0.95 100 4 ¼”  4 ⅞ “
One – Gallon 128-oz 3.79 400 6 ½” 7 ½”
Five – Gallon 640-oz 18.93 2,000 12″ 14 ½”

Standard Sizes For Spray Paints

Spray paints are a great alternative to paint cans, especially for smaller projects. They are great for beginners and offer quicker project completion. They usually come in aerosol cans and are available in four main sizes:

4.5-oz

A 4.5-oz spray is the smallest option available and covers up to 7 square feet. This makes it suitable for smaller projects, such as adding accents to furniture or covering up scratches on a gutter or downspout. You can also use it to paint smaller pieces of furniture or tools such as a dining chair.

6-oz

With 6-fluid-ounce spray paint, you get more coverage, but it’s still not enough for many applications. At best, you can use it for a quick makeover. This may include but not limited to updating your doorknobs or recoloring your wicker furniture. In terms of coverage, you can expect up to 10-11 square feet. 

12-oz

The 12-fluid ounces can cover up to 20 square feet, which makes it perfect for small and medium-sized projects. A good example are your dining chairs or some medium-sized coffee table.

16-oz

Like the 12 oz bottle, the 16 oz spray can is quite common. The exact coverage usually depends on the brand, but on average, you can expect up to 30 square feet of coverage. This makes it perfect for restoring old pieces of furniture as well and windows and other structures.

Paint can sizes

Paint Can Sizes for Different Brands

Here are some standard sizes offered by some popular paint brands. 

1. Sherwin Williams paint can sizes

Sherwin-Williams is a global leader in different paint products. Their paint cans come in various sizes. The more popular options are 1-quart, 5-quart, 1-gallon, and 5-gallon sizes. 

2. Home Depot paint can sizes

On Home Depot, you will find paint from different brands with different can sizes. The main ones you’re most likely to come across include half-pint, One-pint, One-quart, One-gallon, and Five-gallon sizes. Home Depot has a paint return policy if you choose the wrong size for your project.

3. Behr paint can sizes

Behr paint has four main sizes. These include the 5-gallon bucket, 1-gallon can, 1-quart can, and 8-oz sample. 

4. Valspar paint can sizes

Valspar paint comes in two main sizes – 1-quart and 5-gallon sizes. 

5. Paint can sizes lowes

Lowes offers a wider size selection. The more common options are half-pint, one-pint, one-quart, one-gallon, and five-gallon. 

How to Estimate How Much Paint Do I Need

Once you’ve chosen a paint color, the next thing you would want to do is determine how much paint you need for your project. This will ensure you have enough to complete the job and avoid purchasing extra paint you don’t need or making a trip back to the paint store. 

Below, we look at how to estimate the amount of paint for both regular and spray paint.

1. Regular Paint

With regular paint cans, it is much easier to estimate how much paint you need. The simplest way to do this is to get the square footage of the wall area or surface to be painted. Then you divide it by the paint coverage according to the size. 

Let’s see how this is done:

To calculate the square footage of a wall, simply multiply the height by the length. Likewise for a ceiling, it’s length x width. For example, if you have a 16 x 22 feet bedroom with an 8-foot ceiling, two windows, and double door. To calculate the square footage of the wall, the first thing you need to do is calculate the room’s perimeter, which is as follows:

Perimeter = 2 x (16 + 22) = 76 feet.

Thus, the wall’s total square footage will be 76 x 8 = 608 square feet. 

Now, to get the exact footage, we need to minus the area of the door and windows. Assuming the standard area of the door and windows are 21 and 15 square feet, respectively, that will give us 608 – (21 x 2) – (15 x 2) = 536 square feet. 

Assuming you’re using a half-gallon paint can (covers 200 square feet), to get the amount you need, divide 536 by 200, which will give you 2.68 gallons. This is the amount of paint you will need to paint the bedroom. 

2. Spray Paint

Calculating the amount of spray paint needed for a project is a little harder. That is because spray paint comes in various amounts, and the amount of overspray usually varies. You also have to take into account the number of coatings and how the paint is applied. 

In general, to determine the number of spray paint cans you will need, you need to consider the surface area, the aerosol size, and the number of coats you wish to apply. 

For the aerosol size, the common options available are 4.5 oz, 6 oz, 12 oz, and 16 oz. Some brands may provide an estimate of the square footage for each size. It’s up to you to decide on the number of coats you want. Ideally, you want to use multiple light coats (2-3 is usually recommended, depending on what you’re painting). 

From here, you can determine the square footage of the room or surface you wish to paint, then divide that number by the coverage of the spray paint. This will give you the number of aerosols you will need for the project.

How Much Paint Do I Need Per Square Foot?

Since a gallon of paint can cover up to 400 square feet, we can determine how much paint would be needed per square foot. 

A gallon is equivalent to 768 teaspoons. To get the paint per square foot, we divide 768 by 400, which will give us 1.92. So, you need a little less than two teaspoons, or specifically, 1.92 teaspoons, to paint a square foot. 

You can also express this in milliliters by converting from teaspoons, or you can work it from the top. Since there are 3785 milliliters in one gallon, dividing this by 400 square feet will give 9.46 milliliters. So, you will need about 9.46 ml of paint per square foot. 

Given how small both measures are, it is not the best way to estimate how much paint you need for your projects. Since paint usually comes in can sizes, it’s better to use the associated coverage amount. 

For instance, as indicated above, one gallon cans cover about 400 square feet, while a quart can handle up to 100 square feet. 

How Many Gallons of Paint Do I Need?

One gallon of paint can cover 400 square feet of wall space in a single coat. This means that if you’re applying two coats, the same gallon will cover only 200 square feet. Overall, getting the exact amount of paint you need isn’t always straightforward, as there are a few things to consider. 

For instance, if the existing wall color is dark, you will need more paint to adequately cover the area, especially if you’re using a light color on top. In general, darker colors cover better and require fewer coats. But, the exact coverage will depend on the brand as some brands provide better coverage than others.

Another thing that could impact on the amount of paint is the thickness of your coating. A thicker coat may not require additional coats, but it won’t cover as much as a lighter version. This is why it’s often recommended to use thin coats whenever you’re painting. 

In addition, if the wall you’re painting is highly textured, it will take more paint to get into all the nooks and crannies and areas compared to a smoother surface.

In general, it’s best to always slightly overestimate the amount of paint you need based on the area or number of square feet you need to cover.

How Much Does 1/2 Gallon Paint Cover?

If 1-gallon paint can cover up to 400 square feet, a half-gallon paint can handle up to 200 square feet. 

This should be enough to paint very small areas such as a bathroom or laundry room. You can also use it to supplement a gallon (or gallons) if you think the paint will not be enough to cover the whole wall. 

Interestingly, half-gallon cans are readily available in the market. In fact, they are the second most popular standard sizes after the one-gallon option. 

FAQ – Spray Paint Can Sizes

Why Don’t Paint Cans Come in Larger Sizes?

The main reason larger paint cans are not available is due to cost. Paint cans are not cheap to make, especially those made of metal. Plastic buckets are cheaper to manufacture, so you may find them in larger sizes, such as the 5- and 10-gallon buckets. But these are usually heavy and difficult to maneuver. 

How Much Space Can a Quart of Paint Cover?

With a quart of paint, you can cover up to 100 square feet of wall area in a single coat. If you plan on applying two or more coats, you will need more cans of paint. It’s always better to overbuy paint so you won’t have to make multiple trips to the paint shop in between your projects. 

How Much Space Can a 5 Gallon Paint Cover?

A gallon of paint can cover up to 400 square feet, which is equivalent to a small room. This means that a 5-gallon paint can cover up to 2,000 square feet, which is equivalent to several small rooms. This makes 5-gallon paints ideal for large projects.  

How Much Does One Can of Paint Cover?

One can of paint (assuming it’s one gallon) will cover up to 400 square feet. However, this can vary depending on a few factors, such as the thickness of the coating and the wall (surface) texture. In general, it’s best to overestimate a little bit so you don’t end up needing more paint. 

Is 1 Quart Of Paint Enough for One Wall? 

If you’re painting a wall or a small room, such as your closet, then a 1-quart paint may suffice. Otherwise, it’s best to go for a larger paint size, especially if you plan to apply more than one coat. 

Will One Gallon Of Paint Cover a 12×12 Room?

It depends on the ceiling height and whether or not you plan to paint the entire room. For a 12×12 room where the ceiling height is 8 feet or more, you will need a little over a gallon of paint to cover the entire wall space. We recommend one and half gallons. This way, you will have enough paint, especially if you’re applying multiple coats. 

Content Summary – Paint can sizes

So, if you’re asking what sizes of paint can I buy, there are different paint can sizes with different dimensions and coverage levels. With the information above, you can determine the exact amount of paint you need for your projects. 

In general, it’s always a good idea to buy a little extra so you don’t have to make a return trip to the hardware store in case you need a touch-up. We hope you found this guide helpful. 

Let us know if you have any more questions about the different paint can sizes. 

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