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How to Compare Paint Colors Across Brands

Many people are looking to find the color from one brand to another brand. There are a lot of reasons why someone may want to find the same color from another brand. The color may no longer be available from the prior supplier, or the supplier may have gone out of business or was acquired, or there is no outlet nearby. The painter doing the job may insist on using their favorite brand or the client needs a different paint type like a powder coat.

Unfortunately, in our experience a color rarely has an exact equivalent in another brand. Not all brands offer the same collection of colors as they use different ingredients and product types, and brands typically just create their own color palettes independent of what other paint companies may offer. Even if the color collections contain thousands of colors, there are millions of possible colors so the likelihood of overlap is low. Sometimes color collections cover completely different areas of the color spectrum. For example, Pantone paint colors are used for printing and brand colors and are typically much brighter than you would find in Sherwin Williams paint colors which are much more subdued as they are typically used in people's home. Other times the color palette of one company may be very small such as RAL Paint Colors where the classic collection is fewer than 200 colors, so the closest color may be very far off.

While MyPerfectColor can provide paint in just about any color, we don't provide crossover information. Unless the there is an exact equivalent, the determination of the "closest" color is extremely subjective. There are often several colors to choose from which will be lighter or darker, redder or greener, bluer or more yellow, brighter or duller, and often a combination of all the above, so this is a decision that only the buyer should make.

That said, we have a feature on our website called "Explore Related Colors" that you may find useful. You can find it as a link on almost every color page to the left under the color image. The link will display a whole page of similar colors from the over 100 brands and over 250,000 colors listed on MyPerfectColor. You can scroll through the results and look for any colors from the brand you want.

Explore Related Colors on MyPerfectColor

Keep in mind that this just shows similar colors based on the color values we have stored in our database. It doesn't mean it is the same or give any approximation about how close the color match is. As mentioned above, we've found that every paint company offers its own unique selection of colors and rarely does a color have an exact equivalent in another brand.

FAQs about Comparing Paint Colors Across Brands

How does a paint store typically match a competitor paint color?

Major paint brands usually have a database of competitor colors, so a paint store could pull up the color you want on a computer and dispense the formula into a paint can. But, how do you know if the resulting color is accurate? Unless the store has a physical paint swatch or sample of the target color, they can "make the color" but will have no way to verify if the database formula actually matches the color you need. MyPerfectColor has physical paint color swatches and samples of all the colors it sells, and physially checks every color for accuracy before shipping out the paint.

Learn more about our paint color matching service.

How do you compare paint colors?

Colors can be compared using several different methods. The most common method would be a visual color comparison by looking at two physical color samples side by side under a light source. Color is very relative, so you can compare colors in terms of the other color across dimensions such as hue, lightness and saturation (brightness). This method is limited to the viewer's ability to see color and only covers the lighting source used for evaluation.

A colorimeter or spectrophotometer will measure the colors and compare across the spectrum. A colorimeter is much more limited and usually only includes a few spots in the spectrum whereas a spectrophotometer will usually include the entire spectral curve. Some low end colorimeters will only provide RGB or Hex codes, or will just provide a paint color name from a specified collection, but doesn't provide any information about how far away the colors are. Using a device is not a perfect method, but will provide more information. MyPerfectColor usually uses a combination of visual and high-end spectrophotometers to compare colors.

What do lightness, hue and saturation mean?

There are many different color systems, but the current standard for paint is the CIE Lab system. This defines color within a three dimensional color space with the three axes being lightness, hue and chromacity (saturation). The lightness measures the color between white and black, the hue is the color (eg. red, green, blue, yellow, etc) and the chromacity is the brightness, or how pure the color is, or conversely, how gray the color is. Learn more about methods to measure color at MyPerfectColor.

Why can't I find the color I want in a different brand?
Paint brands create their own color collections. The visual color spectrum contains millions of colors and the largest paint color collections usually only contain a few thousand colors. While there may coincidentally be some overlap, usually it is quite rare to find the same exact color in another paint brand.