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Saving with 6abc: Buying premium paints

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Find out what you need to know when buying paints in Nydia Han's consumer report.

Why pay more than you have to for premium paints, right?

Consumer Reports tested those pricey paints as well as dozens of others paints to see how much you need to pay to get great results.

It gets complicated when choosing the paint.

Home improvement stores like Lowe's and Home Depot stock not only different brands of paint -- but even varying grades within brands -- like Ultra, Signature, and Reserve.

The top-of-the-line paint at Home Depot, Behr Marquee, came in first in Consumer Reports' most recent tests.

Rico De Paz of Consumer Reports said, "It's great at covering dark colors without a primer, resisting stains, and it was one of the best in our tough scrubbing test."

But it costs $43 a gallon. For about $10 less, a close runner-up is Behr Premium Plus Ultra, which performed just as well in every test except stain-resistance - and even there it was pretty good.

It's the same story with Valspar Reserve, Lowe's' new high-end paint. It's a top performer for $44 a gallon.

For $10 less, you can get Lowe's Valspar Signature, which still gives impressive results.

"Again, you're giving up a little stain-resistance, but if you use the satin or the semi-gloss, you should be good to go," said De Paz.

However, don't go too low in price. Walmart's Color Place Interior Paint costs only $17 a gallon, but it flunked Consumer Reports' stain test and wasn't great at hiding dark colors.

A good reminder that sometimes things are cheap for a reason.

If you're not a superstore shopper, Ace hardware stores offer their own brand, too - Clark and Kensington - which testers say is a really good paint for $32 a gallon.

You can get tips on the best way to paint a room in Consumer Reports.

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