Ben is Benjamin Moore’s most affordable emulsion. It’s available online in a matt finish (although in the US you can buy it in 4 different finishes, so if it takes off here, who knows?), in either 1L or 3.79L sizes.
Ben is an emulsion for interior walls and ceilings. Benjamin Moore focus their communication on how easy it is to use: “easy to apply, easy to touch up, easy to maintain” and easy to clean up your brushes etc.
My Benjamin Moore Ben Emulsion Review
First impressions weren’t overly positive, but bear with me. Pouring the paint out it seemed quite thin, and it had quite a strong smell; it didn’t smell like it had been frosted or gone off, just an unusual smell.
Interestingly Benjamin Moore advises to use it in well-ventilated spaces, but then go on to describe it as “low odour”. As for the viscosity, if you’re old enough to remember when you could almost slice Dulux Diamond Matt, then this is nothing like that! It is thin, which concerned me a bit, but actually it turns out that the viscosity is part of why this product works so well.
Benjamin Moore Ben Emulsion can be sprayed, but I had a small bedroom to do with some furniture still in place, so I opted for brush and a good old Hamilton Perfection roller. As soon as I started using the product, everything sort of clicked into place; although it feels a bit thin, it’s consistency (viscosity) is part of the reason it works.
It just flows so nicely – cutting in is a dream, it didn’t drag at all, and roller and brush marks just seem to disappear (not that I left any anyway, of course!). It really is a very nice, easy product to use. I was using a very pale sage green over a strong mid-blue colour, and it definitely needed a second coat to cover, but that’s fair enough, I expected that. But if anything, the second coat (touch dry in 1 hour, re-coat after 2, so no hanging around) went on even more easily than the first.
A couple of other things about Benjamin Moore Ben – despite the relatively low viscosity, it didn’t splatter from the roller much, which is never a bad thing. And touch-ups – yes, this touches up really nicely, you have nothing to worry about on that front! Oh, and it’s scuff-resistant too! OK, I haven’t tested that last claim myself, but watching online videos from decorators in the USA who have worked with this for years, they certainly endorse this feature.
Benjamin Moore Ben – The Finish
It’s never easy to get a photo that shows off how good a finish you’ve achieved with any paint. The lighting, the camera angle and so many other factors come into play, and I’d be the first to point out that I’m a decorator, not a photographer. So please take my word for it that Ben gives a really good matt finish (not “flat matt”, but not as shiny as a durable matt) with very little in the way of imperfections, roller marks, orange peel etc. Click here to see online prices.
OK, here’s the thing. On a £ per litre basis, Benjamin Moore Ben is roughly 60% more than Dulux Vinyl Matt, so it’s not the sort of paint you’re going to use to smash out rentals or council properties. At that price, it’s not for everyone, but (unlike Scuff-X) you can buy a 1L tin of Ben to try it out, and if you have a little feature wall to do, I’d encourage you to give it a go for about £20 and see how you get on with it.
For high end work the price difference is less of an issue obviously, and for the lower end of the market it’s always going to be too dear. But for those in the middle, it is a really decent matt emulsion; not for the price-conscious, but worth a try. If you don’t mind spending a little bit more for a quality emulsion, the Benjamin Moore Ben is genuinely the one you want.