Professional house painters usually scorn budget-priced interior paints, but Ace Royal -- Ace Hardware stores' house brand -- earns praise from pros who post on Internet forums. Although pros say other budget paints are hard to apply and don't look as good in the end as premium paints, several say Ace Royal performs almost or just as well as paints that cost $30 per gallon or more. This is confirmed in independent paint tests, where Ace Royal shows some flaws -- a less rich finish and a tendency to fade more than pricier rivals such as Benjamin Moore Aura (*Est. $55 per gallon) and Benjamin Moore Regal (*Est. $40 per gallon) -- but overall it proves easy to apply, durable when scrubbed and otherwise a solid performer. Note that Ace Royal is not a low-VOC paint: It contains 100 to 150 grams per liter of the volatile organic compounds that have been linked to respiratory and other problems, versus 50 grams per liter for Benjamin Moore Aura and zero VOCs with Benjamin Moore Natura (*Est. $50 per gallon). Ace Royal is available in flat, eggshell, satin and semigloss sheens.
ConsumerReports.org and Good Housekeeping both include Ace Royal in their interior paint tests, but ConsumerReports.org does a more thorough job explaining why one tested paint is better than another. People who have used Ace Royal -- including some professional house painters -- give their opinions of it on DoItYourself.com and ContractorTalk.com.
ConsumerReports.org tests Ace Royal flat and satin paints against dozens of other interior paints. Editors pick the best buys after judging each paint on eight criteria, including stain and mildew resistance.
Review: Interior Paint, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, March 2010
2. Good Housekeeping
Ace Royal emerges as the best budget interior paint in tests here. Good Housekeeping editors briefly explain that it performs as well as some of the magazine's pricier picks, although "its dry surface was just a bit less rich-looking."
Review: Paint That Performs, Editors of Good Housekeeping
Several posters here praise Ace Royal as a good value. One says Ace trains its workers to be knowledgeable about paint.
Review: Best Paint, Contributors to DoItYourself.com
4. Contractor Talk
Ace Royal paint gets mostly good reports from painting contractors here. Some say it performs just as well as midpriced paints, although one says it stains when touched.
Review: Sensations and Royale Paint (Ace Hardware), Contributors to ContractorTalk.com