Paint comes in many sizes, and if you’re not familiar with which type of can is best suited for your project, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the options. From quarts and gallons to jugs and buckets – each size has its own unique purpose.
Knowing standard paint can size, and dimensions help DIYers as well as pro painters estimate the amount of paint they need for a job. It also allows them to determine how much paint to buy in order to complete a project.
Additionally, understanding the different sizes of available paint cans helps the painters calculate the amount of time it will take to complete a job, as well as the cost of materials. They can better plan their work schedules and avoid potential problems associated with running out of paint or having too much leftover.
So, if you’re eager to learn about standard paint can sizes, dimensions, and their proper usage, you’re in for a treat. This article is your comprehensive guide, packed with all the essential information you need. Sit back, relax, and let’s dive into the world of paint cans together.
Paint Can Size Chart – Capacity & Dimensions
|Can Size||Amount of Paint||Diameter||Height|
|Quarter Pint||4 fl. oz. (0.12L)||2 ½”||2 1/16”|
|Half Pint||8 fl. oz. (0.28L)||2 7/8”||2 7/8”|
|Pint||16 fl. oz. (0.47L)||3 7/16”||3 15/16”|
|Quart||32 fl. oz. (0.95L)||4 1/4”||4 7/8”|
|Half Gallon||64 fl. oz. (1.89L)||5 3/8”||5 7/8”|
|Gallon||128 fl. oz. (3.79L)||6 1/2″||7 1/2″|
|5 Gallon||640 fl. oz. (18.93L)||12”||14 1/2″|
Standard Paint Can Sizes
The most popular paint can sizes are one pint, one quart, and one gallon.
But remember, those aren’t the only options you’ll find on the market. Paint cans today come in a much more comprehensive range, including five-gallon and ten-gallon sizes to as small as quarter-pints.
1- One-gallon paint cans
The one-gallon can of paint is the go-to choice for most home projects. With a coverage of approximately 400 square feet, it’s perfect for painting small rooms like bathrooms or kitchens.
It’s also versatile enough to tackle larger projects that involve painting both walls and ceilings. However, for more expansive areas like entire living rooms, you will need multiple one-gallon paint cans.
2- Quart-size paint cans
A quart of paint typically contains 32 ounces of paint. This is the equivalent of 2 pints or 1/4 gallon or in liters; it is 0.946 L. This is the second most popular size after one-gallon cans, and you should be able to find them at any hardware store.
Quart-size paint cans are perfect for smaller projects like painting a small furniture item, door or trim which will be able to cover approximately 100 square feet.
3- Pint-size paint cans
Pint-size paint cans are the smallest you’ll find on the market. It covers approximately 50 square feet and is perfect for very small projects like touch-ups.
You can find pint-size paint cans at any paint shop or hardware store near you.
4- Five-gallon paint cans
Five-gallon paint cans are typically used for commercial projects or very large areas like a warehouse.
It’s easy to cover approximately 2,000 square feet with a single five-gallon can of paint. But you likely won’t find this size at your local hardware store and need to purchase it from a professional paint supplier.
5- Ten-gallon paint cans
Ten-gallon paint cans are used for commercial projects but not as frequently as five-gallon cans.
One ten-gallon can of paint covers approximately 4,000 square feet. And like the five-gallon size, you likely won’t find this size at your local hardware store. If you need it you will have to purchase it from a professional paint supplier.
Is it cheaper to buy 5-gallon paint than other sizes?
No, 5-gallon paint is not necessarily cheaper than other sizes. The price of 5-gallon paint depends on the brand, quality, and type of paint. Some brands of paint are more expensive than others, so it is important to compare prices before purchasing.
Standard Paint Can Dimensions
In the US, all common types of metal cans are measured in inches in diameter and in height. The diameter is the measurement across the top of the can, while the height is measured from the bottom of the can to the lip.
Let’s take a look at the dimensions of each so you can better understand how much paint they hold.
1/2 Pint Can – Dimensions: 2.88” diameter x 3” high | Capacity: 0.0625 gallons (8 fluid ounces)
1 Pint Can – Dimensions: 3.5” diameter x 3.95” height | Capacity: 0.125 gallons (16 fluid ounces)
1 Quart Can – Dimensions: 4.25” diameter x 4.88” height | Capacity: 0.25 gallons (32 fluid ounces)
1 Gallon Can – Dimensions: 6.5” diameter x 7.5” height | Capacity: 1 gallon (128 fluid ounces)
5 Gallon Bucket – Dimensions: 12” diameter x 14.5” height | Capacity: 5 gallons (640 fluid ounces)
10 Gallon Bucket – Dimensions: 12.75” diameter x 18.5” height | Capacity: 10 gallons (1,280 fluid ounces)
As you can see in the table/chart above, each paint can size has different dimensions.
To calculate the capacity or how much liquid paint is in the can, simply multiply the diameter by the height. This way, you will be able to determine the exact amount of paint needed for any application.
Why is Paint Not Sold in 1/2 Gallons?
The industry has standardized around 1 gallon and smaller increments (i.e., 1/2 pint, 1 quart, etc.). There are some exceptions to this rule, but for the most part, paint is not sold in 1/2-gallon containers.
There are a few reasons for this:
1) 1 gallon is the minimum required
In general, most rooms require at least 1 gallon of paint, so a 1/2 gallon container would not be sufficient to cover a typical room and are therefore less in demand.
1 gallon is the smallest unit of measure for paint because manufacturers want to make sure they are selling enough paint for users to get the job done. They don’t want people to have too much leftover paint, but also not to be under-prepared with too little.
2) It’s not cost-effective for the manufacturer
Manufacturing and packaging costs money, so it makes sense that a larger unit would cost less to produce than a smaller one.
It costs nearly the same amount to produce a 1/2-gallon container of paint as it does a 1-gallon container. But the 1-gallon container will sell for more money and is profitable for companies.
This is why they often opt for 1-gallon containers as it saves them money in the long run and still provides enough paint to get the job done.
3) 1/2 gallon containers are also not easy to use and store
Paint companies usually need to sell their products in a container that is easy to use, store, and transport.
1/2-gallon containers are not as easy to pour and store as 1-gallon containers, so they are not as popular with consumers.
What are the Available Spray Paint Can Sizes?
Spray paint cans (or aerosolized cans) come in a variety of capacities, but the most common sizes are:
- 4.5 fluid ounces
- 6 fluid ounces
- 12 fluid ounces
- 16 fluid ounces
The diameter of most aerosol cans ranges from 45 to 65 mm while the height usually ranges from 105 to 250 mm.
Recently I measured a few spray paint cans with the lid on and found that all were nearly 8″ tall with 2 5/8″ diameters. These can sizes are designed to be convenient for smaller projects like touch-ups, outdoor furniture, metalwork, and more.
Mostly spray paint cans of 6, and 12 ounces are perfect for smaller jobs around the house. For very small touch-ups, you can buy 4.5 ounces can. However, for larger projects, you may need a bigger can of spray paint, such as 16 fluid ounces or even 20 fluid ounces (less commonly used).
Spraying paint using a can with an output of 4.5 ounces covers 7 square feet on average, whereas cans with outputs of 16 ounces cover 30 square feet on average. The other sizes will fall between those figures. It is important to read the label on the can of spray paint before purchasing to make sure it will cover the desired area.
Keep in mind that some spray paints are thicker than others, allowing them to cover a greater surface area with less material. So the spray paint coverage varies depending on the brand, type, quality of paint, its thickness and how it’s applied.
The Bottom Line
If you’ve been working as a DIYer or professional painter, you will likely come across standard paint cans in different scenarios, including repair work and exterior finishing. Whether you’re shopping for full containers of paint or just need empty cans in certain sizes, understanding these dimensions can help ensure that you get the most out of your investment and complete any painting job on schedule with quality results.
When it comes to painting, always choose the right container size for the job at hand. For smaller jobs, 1-quart or 1-gallon cans will suffice. But for larger jobs, such as painting an entire room, it will be necessary to purchase 5-gallon paint cans.
Keep in mind that the type of paint and brand you choose will also affect the price, so be sure to compare prices before making a purchase.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for over a decade serving customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, and Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.