Some paints that are free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) -- chemicals in paint fumes that have been linked to respiratory and other health problems -- often sacrifice performance to achieve such "greenness." Benjamin Moore Natura is an exception. It performs comparably to our best-reviewed interior paints and comes in more than 3,000 colors. It's rather pricey, however, and some say it gives off a noticeable odor.
Eco-friendly doesn't have to mean inadequate. Benjamin Moore Natura earns high marks in performance among professional reviewers and do-it-yourselfers. It does a very good job of hiding dark colors on the first pass of a roller, they say, and Natura is available in more than 3,000 tints, more variety than most no-VOC paints. Stephen Treffinger, who reviews a handful of interior paints at The New York Times, says it had the smoothest application out of all products tested in the roundup. You can expect performance, particularly in terms of area coverage, to be comparable to other top interior paints, but don't expect perfect one-coat finishes. One contractor posting at PaintTalk.com specifically lauds the manufacturer's warranty and quality of customer service.
Not the most durable of paints. Benjamin Moore Natura's flat and eggshell versions show no weaknesses in tests for how well they hide dark colors on the first coat, resist wear and tear when scrubbed for cleaning and has good mildew resistance. However, one expert test says the semi-gloss finish tends to fade and the paint doesn't do a good job of resisting stains in all sheens. Editors at Good Housekeeping, on the other hand, disagree; after also testing the semi-gloss finish they say it "will not fade," and call it "stain resistant." It does a decent job of resisting gloss change when weathered, though reports on this vary as well.
Breathe easy with this "green" paint. One of Benjamin Moore Natura's biggest selling points is that it contains zero volatile organic compounds (VOC), chemicals in paint fumes that have been linked to respiratory or other health problems. Do-it-yourself homeowners and contractors especially love Natura's "green" formulation because the fewer VOCs a paint has, the safer it is in your house. The biggest caveat we've spotted with this interior paint is that it may give off a strong odor when drying. Reports on this vary; most say it's not an issue at all, though there are a few who grouse that the odor lasts long after the paint dries.
Editors of ConsumerReports.org review most interior paints available, including Benjamin Moore Natura. Analysis here is competent and based on extensive hands-on testing. Products are rated by specific categories and earn ratings for each.
Review: Benjamin Moore Natura Semi-gloss, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated
2. The New York Times
Stephen Treffinger tests 10 no- or low-VOC interior paints and reports on his top six picks. Among them is Benjamin Moore Natura. Treffinger says it "went on the smoothest" out of any paint mentioned here, and it cleaned up better than pricier brands. This is an older review, but the paint is the same.
Review: Finally, Good-Looking Nontoxic Paint?, Stephen Treffinger, Feb. 10, 2010
PaintTalk.com is a good source for advice and opinions from painting professionals and experienced do-it-yourselfers. Discussion here is relevant and users are usually knowledgeable. Benjamin Moore Natura earns praise for its coverage and eco-friendliness, though some on here note odor control issues.
Review: General Painting Discussion, Contributors to PaintTalk.com, As of May 2014