What is the best paint to use on kitchen cabinets?

Oil base paint (including alkyd hybrids) are not the best paint to use.


Oil paint may be the best choice to use for anyone that doesn’t know how to paint cabinets simply because of its slow drying time and ease to get ok results with little prep or minimal equipment.

Best paint for kitchen cabinets

Here are the pros and cons to oil paint


  • Oil paint is a hard and durable finish.

    Oil paint covers over old grease better than all other paint which is good if you aren’t intending to sand or clean old cabinets before painting (never recommend),
  • Oil paint is the best paint for anyone that doesn’t know how to paint older kitchen cabinets (to our standards). This is only because of how long it takes to dry, thus levelling and time you have to brush before sets. In our 44 years of experience, oil paint is more commonly used on older cabinets by untrained painters, DIY home owners or for house flipping. 


  • Oil paint yellows,
  • Oil paint stinks,
  • Oil paint shrinks and becomes brittle,
  • Oil paint is toxic,
  • Oil paint never fully cured which always ends up cracking between seams and joints,
  • Oil paint looks greasy and “dated” compared to all other finishes.

The minimum 12 hours drying time “per coat” is far too long between coats. Slow drying oil paint collects a dust which produces poor feeling results.

Yes you can filter air to reduce the rough grittiness problem (which we always do regardless) but sprayed oil is never as smooth as acrylic or composite products. Never.

The more oil based coats sprayed, the softer oil finishes are. This makes it (difficult to impossible) to stack and transport from spray shop to home without marking them during the transfer and reassembly. You cannot transport oil painted cabinets without marking them.

The more oil coats applied (which you need at least 2 coats), the longer the cure time. The longer the cure time the stinkier your home and things inside your cupboards smell. The longer the cure time, the longer it takes for air quality to return back to normal. This is at least 2 weeks to a month or more. 

Simply put… we stopped using alkyd paint including hybrid oil)  long ago.