Best Satinwood Paint on the Market

Updated May 29, 2024 | Posted Sep 2, 2019 | Product Reviews, Paints | 10 comments

Satinwood seems to be the most popular choice for internal woodwork amongst homeowners, including myself. The sheen level is around 40%, which can leave your woodwork looking luxurious and contemporary. Not just that, but oil-based satinwood will not yellow anywhere near as quickly as a gloss finish. In this blog, I’m going to take you through the best satinwood paint products on the market.

The first thing I want to say, is there’s a massive difference between paint which has been made for the trade, and that for retail. Just because a tin of paint has the word “Dulux” or “Crown” on it, don’t assume it is good quality. Always look for the word “trade” when buying paint.

As the satinwood paints on this blog are trade products, unless you are entitled to a trade discount, it will almost certainly be cheaper to buy them online than from from a trade counter. I’ll link appropriate websites for each of the products I mention to make it easier for you.

The other thing to consider is whether you’d like a water-based, or oil-based finish. As paint technology has progressed in recent years, water-based satinwood has advanced in performance and finish, although some Decorators do still prefer traditional oil-based paints. I’ll take you through the best oil-based satinwood products first, followed by the best water-based options. Feel free to skip ahead  if you’re looking for a water-based paint.


The Best Oil-Based Satinwood Paints


Dulux Trade Satinwood

Dulux Trade make a brilliant oil-based satinwood, but it’s probably the most expensive out of the three big trade paint manufacturers. Dulux satinwood is self-undercoating on pre-painted surfaces and can be tinted into any colour from Dulux’s vast colour range. You need to add a bit of white spirit to combat brush marks, which can lead to poor opacity. However, the finish is fantastic! This satinwood carries on dulling down for about 6 weeks after it has been applied, leaving you with a nice flat matt finish.

One massive downside for me is Dulux Trade satinwood seems to separate or skin over in the tin when you’re not using it. I’m a Decorator so, I carry paints like satinwood in stock all the time.

If I have a part tin of Dulux satinwood that has been sat for a couple of weeks, I generally need to mix it up, then stain the paint before using it on another job. Straining paint can be messy and time consuming. My advice would be to only buy the amount you need for your project.

Even with this frustration, Dulux Trade Satinwood is a good product and I have no apprehensions when using it in someone’s home. It gives a lovely finish every time. Full review here. 

Crown Trade Satinwood

Believe it or not, Crown Trade Satinwood is not available in a “brilliant white”, but it does come in standard white. To be honest, I don’t mind that.

Satinwood is supposed to be dull anyway and having a ‘sharp white’ seems a bit contradictory really. The opacity of this product is amazing, even if you dilute it with whit spirit. Ease of use is good, and you’ll find that it flies on with little effort. Crown Trade satinwood is oil-based, self-undercoating over previously painted surfaces, and can be mixed into a lot of different colours.

Crown Trade is one my favourite satinwood paints, and I use it often. I think the finish of Dulux is slightly better, especially on large items like doors. The opacity and flow are better with Crown. Plus, it doesn’t skin over.

Full review here.

The Best Water-Based Satinwood


Ok, so we know oil-based satinwood discolours over time. One solution is to use a water-based Satinwood instead. Crown Trade has Fastflow, Dulux Trade has Diamond, Johnstone’s Trade has Aqua Guard. There are also plenty of other brands on the market. The best advice I can give you is don’t cut corners on your prep, use the recommended undercoat or primer, and keep your brush nice and wet.

Water-based paints have come a long way over recent years, and there are plenty of good-quality water-based satinwood paints on the market now. Providing you use one of the products I’m about to mention, you’ll find water-based satinwood easier to use, just as durable, and you’ll achieve comparable finish. It’s better for the environment too.

WRX Satin

WRX Satin is a fully water-based paint available online by clicking here in brilliant white.

This satinwood represents fantastic value for money! It is self-undercoating, meaning you can apply it directly to previously painted surfaces without the need for a separate adhesion primer. The finish is rich, durable, and a proper “brilliant white”. The only downside is, it crazes if you apply it over decorators’ caulk. Therefore, you should prime caulk prior to using WRX.

I love this satinwood! The opacity isn’t the best, but it’s reasonably priced and very easy to use.

Benjamin Moore Scuff X

Scuff X is probably the best satinwood paint on this entire list, and it’s a water-based!

This is what I’d call a ‘high-end’ paint. It is very expensive, but you get what you pay for. You can apply it over old oil-based coatings without the need for a separate adhesion primer, it flies on, and it looks fantastic! You really notice the difference when you paint your interior woodwork with this satinwood. It looks stunning! Plus, you can use it as an emulsion as well as a satin.

Benjamin Moore do not offer a “Brilliant White” satinwood, but they do sell several soft whites. Any of them look good, but my favourite is “Super White”.

Johnstone’s Trade Aqua Guard

This is the most popular water-based satinwood paint amongst Professional Decorators. You’ll need to apply Johnstone’s Trade Undercoat before applying the satinwood.

The undercoat has fantastic adhesion and opacity. Aqua guard Satinwood is easy to use, very durable, and leaves you with a fantastic finish. It’s also available in any colour, which is another bonus.

What are the Best Tools to Apply Satinwood Paint?


Regardless of whether you opt for water-based, hybrid, or oil-based satinwood, having the best tools for the job will make all the difference. A mini roller will help you to apply paint evenly on flat areas. You should opt for a roller that doesn’t leave an orange-peel finish. You will also need a good-quality bush which both holds its shape but remains soft enough to ‘lay-off’.

The best mini roller you can use for satinwood is Two fussy Blokes. It leaves a ‘spray like’ finish, dose not shed, and applies the paint evenly. Good-quality rollers really do make a big difference to the overall finish. Click here to see online prices.

As for the brush, I think the Purdy Monarch Elite takes some beating. You can use them in either water, or oil-based satinwood. They hold plenty of paint, and you’ll be able to strike a sharp line. Click here to see online prices.




How do you get a perfect finish with satinwood?

Providing you use a good quality satinwood paint, it’s actually quite easy to get a good finish with it. It’s far easier to achieve a flawless finish with satinwood than it is with gloss. I can give you few tips for using it:

  • Sand and dust woodwork before applying satinwood paint.
  • Use a mini roller to paint large areas like the flats of doors, then ‘lay off’ buy passing your brush over it gently.
  • Don’t be afraid to dilute your paint slightly if you are experiencing brush marks.


Is there a non-yellowing satinwood?

Oil-based satinwood does not yellow as quickly as gloss does, simply because it contains less alkyd oil. But if you’re still worried, then go for a good water-based satinwood paint. These will never yellow.


Should I sand between coats of satinwood paint?

Yes. The smoother your satinwood, the nicer the finish. So, you should sand and dust your woodwork before applying the first coat of paint, and then de-nib between coats. Don’t sand too much between coats, or you may remove the paint you’ve already applied.


Which is shinier, eggshell or satinwood?

Eggshell paint has a 20% sheen level, satinwood has 40%, and gloss around 80%. So, satinwood is shinier than eggshell, but not as shiny as gloss.


How long does satinwood take to fully harden?

A lot of people assume satinwood is hard once it is touch dry, but this isn’t the case. Satinwood takes around 30-days to fully cure (depending on the brand). Water-based satinwood in particular stays soft for a while, so delay laying carpets for at least a few days.


What do Other Decorators Think is The Best Satinwood Paint?

I prefer water-based satinwood when painting inside.

My top pick is Scuff X. Reason being, you can throw it on very quick, it will cover well and lay out flat. Scuff X always gives you a lovely finish.

It ticks every box for me – but comes at a cost.

My next choice is Johnstone’s Aqua Guard. This is a cheaper alternative and needs little drop of water and more brushing out to stop any potential runs. It’s easier to get Aqua guard in mixed colours too. It’s a fantastic satinwood.

Richard Irons

The best trade satinwood has got to be Johnstone’s Aqua Satin or Aqua Guard. The advantages of using a water-based paint are you can apply two to three coats on in a day and your paint finish will never yellow! Eventually oil based will be phased out.

Darren Drew

Bedec Aqua Advanced Satinwood for me. It goes on a dream, dries solid, and if using the white, it’s REALLY white.

Lee Scaife

Dulux Trade oil-based satinwood is a good product. It is self-undercoating, good coverage, and excellent finish.

Keith Webster

The best satinwood in oil-based is Crown Trade. I get it at the right price, it has good opacity and it leaves a good finish. I use it on my own house, and just put a single coat of satin on all the trim every time I’m refreshing the paintwork.

If money is no issue, I use Caparol halftprimer as an undercoat, and then Benjamin Moore Scuff X topcoat.

For a good budget water-based satinwood, go for Albany super satin, which the best I’ve tried.

Geoff Hackett

The best water-based satinwood is Benjamin Moore Scuff X: The ease of application and outstanding opacity and coverage.

My favourite oil-based is Dulux Trade Satinwood. It stays whiter than all the other oil satins and has solid coverage.

Karl Edwards

Johnstone’s Aqua Guard for me. Straight forward to apply, covers well, dries fast and flat. Also, and this probably stops me from trying others, is conveniently available. The other options for good satinwood paints are not as easily obtained in my area.

Andrew James Caizerques

Crown Satinwood – There is nothing wrong with it, but I have used it in a few years.

Johnstone’s Satinwood – I don’t use.

Dulux Trade Satinwood- Excellent drop of paint. Dulux oil-based paints are all great to work with and leave a good finish.

Hunter Seabass


Dulux Once Satin better than all these to be honest.

Paul McRandal

The best water-based satinwood must be Johnstone’s Aqua Guard for finish and price.

Scuff x is good but Aqua is a good bit cheaper.

Dave Easton

I would say the best trade satinwood for ease it’s Benjamin Moore Scuff X. For whiteness I would go for Johnstone’s Aqua. I also don’t mind Caparol but it’s opacity is not as good.

Mark Peacock

Bedec Aqua Advanced Satin all day long.

Petes Homeimprovements

I have had a bad experience with Crown Trade satinwood. I once needed to paint 17 doors again because somebody marked them. I tried to touch them up and there was huge difference. Never use again.

The best water-based satin is a Belgian paint called Mathys. We’re using it on a £10milion house, but the paint is not expensive at all.

Dusko Bulatovic

Updated May 29, 2024 | Posted Sep 2, 2019 | 10 comments

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Gregory is a Professional Painter and Decorator who works in the Northwest of England. He mainly sub-contracts for large decorating firms and works on a wide variety of projects.


  1. B McGuire

    You are a blether and obviously not a painter , satinwood has more sheen than eggshell and is not a Matt finish, it’s up to 40% sheen level, please don’t post in ignorance

    • Mike Cupit

      what on earth is a “blether”?

      • Richard

        Or in other parts of Scotland called a
        ” haveer”

    • Michael McDermott

      I am looking for a water based satin paint. However in a perfect world I would like one that has a very good sheen level but obviously don’t want to go for a gloss. I don’t mind paying for a quality product.If anyone has any suggestions then this would be appreciated. Thank you Michael

  2. David head

    I’ve been decorating for nearly 40 years have a crown account but use macphearson oil satin instead of crown it’s excellent, goes on yellow and drys brilliant white which is very handy when double coating it’s also quite a bit cheaper than crown , give it a go you won’t be disappointed. Stay save all😂

  3. Joy

    I bought Dulux satinwood paint to repaint a dresser but chose too light a colour. It comes out white. How can I darken it a tad. I see a mention of staining above. Is that a solution? A friend advised adding coffee granules, but sounds odd.
    Any suggestions?

  4. Mark Hill

    My house is 23 years old and the doors upstairs have been painted in an oil based gloss white and have not been painted since, amazingly they are still brilliant white hence I have not touched them. I painted the frames about 6 years ago in Dulux oil satinwood which has since turned cream. Any ideas on what make of paint could of been used back then to last this long in keeping brilliant white. I don’t want to use water base on doors and frames as they always seem to go sticky after heavy traffic of kids greasy hands which reacts to the paint.

    • John

      No point nowadays will stay white for long, especially not gloss. Satin will stay whiter longer

  5. Steve

    I use Dulux Once satin oil based Brilliant white. Perfect consistency,never had to add thinners. No such thing as a one coat…..But the initial coverage is the best. The following day I may need to touch up top edge on skirting boards, but that’s it.

    • Richard

      Steve ,the Dulux Once/ Crown Solo yellows at a terrific pace.

      It be magnolia in 3 /6months.

      It’s a landlords favourite it does tend to cover well but this is a major downfall.

      Suppose if a house is getting sold well perhaps there’s a use for it,other than that l would expect customers to complain bad yellowing and you have to do again for free..


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