You have reviewed several YouTube videos on DIY ways to paint your house or whatever surface you want.

Then the next big question dawns on you, what paint size do I buy?

Is there standard paint can sizes that are suitable for my needs?

The good news is, Yes, there is a standard paint size that is perfect for whatever surface size you want to paint on.

That is precisely what I will be teaching you in this article.

You will also talk about the dimensions and coverages of these paints.

Sizes of paint come in

The most common type of paint you can find in your local stores are:

  • One-pint cans.
  • One-quart cans.
  • One-gallon cans

There are also some intermediate sizes which include;

  • Half-pints.
  • Half-quart.
  • Five-gallons.

You can get five-gallon buckets if you want to do a massive renovation.

You can also get a quarter-pint to try the color and check how it corresponds with your ideal real paint.

The paint cans always have the exact measurements according to industry standards.

  • One-pint can is usually 3.94 inches in height and 3.4 inches in width.
  • One-quart can is usually 4.9 inches in height and 4.25 inches in width.
  • One-gallon can is usually 7.5 inches in height and 6.5 inches in width.

The intermediate sizes also have their standard measurements.

  • A half-pint is usually 2.9 inches in height and 2.9 inches in width.
  • A quarter Pint is usually 1.45 inches in height and 1.45 inches in width.
  • The half-gallon is usually 5.38 inches in height and 1.89 inches in width
  • Half quart is usually 2.45 inches in height and 2.12 inches in width.
  • 5 gallons is usually 14.5 inches in height and 12 inches in width.
Paint can sizeHeightWidth
One-pint3.94 inches3.4 inches
One-quart4.9 inches4.25 inches
One-gallon7.5 inches7.5 inches
Half-pint2.9 inches2.9 inches
Half quart2.45 inches2.12 inches
Half gallon5.38 inches1.89 inches
5 gallons14.5 inches12 inches
Quarter Pint1.45 inches1.45 inches

How much does each can of paint cover?


Is there standard paint can sizes containing various amounts of paint? This means they offer different levels of coverage.

When you understand how much area each size can handle, you can estimate the paint you need for your project.

However, it’s important to note that your coverage level depends on various factors.

Factors that determine a paint can size coverage

Some of these factors include;

  • The thickness of the paint:

The thickness of the paint means it will require less paint to finish up your project and cover a lot of places.

  • The surface texture:

The texture you are painting also affects the degree of coverage you might get. Some surfaces take more paint before getting the desired effect, while others do not and take less than calculated.

  • How heavy you apply the paint:

This is a prevalent factor, especially when you are painting yourself and want a very thick-looking paint.

You may tend to apply more paint than you intended, and as such, you use more paint than you bargained for.

Now that we have looked at the factors that affect the paint coverage let me show you how much each paint can size can cover.


A half-pint (usually 2.9 by 2.9 inches) of about 0.28 liters is relatively small and should only be purchased when you want to do some touch-ups.

Half-pint can cover up to 25 square feet. For instance, if you have an eight ceiling, you can only handle a strip about three wide with this size, which is not quite one of the standard paint can sizes.

However, if you want to paint your furniture, baseboard, or even crown molding in one room, then maybe a half-pint paint can size what you need.

One Pint

The one-pint size (usually 3.94 by 3.4 inches) is about 0.4 liters, a perfect size paint can for touch-ups.

One pint covers roughly 50 square feet of wall area.

Although a pint can cover the ceiling of a small room, it’s not sufficient to paint an entire room.

However, you can use it to paint an accent wall.

Half Quart

A half quart (usually 2.5 by 2.14 inches) is roughly the same, almost the same size as a pint, but only more minor.

A half quart of paint can cover about 45 square feet of wall area.

That’s also enough to paint a ceiling of a small room is not sufficient to paint a room only an accent wall.


A quart of paint (usually about 4.9 by 4.25 inches) is about 0.95 liters. It is one of the most forgotten paint can sizes available.

Mainly because it’s between half a gallon and one pint.

Quart paint can give you up to 100 square feet of coverage.

A pint is enough to paint a large accent wall and or ceiling in a room, depending on its size.

It’s also the best choice when you want to paint some furniture.

It will sufficiently cover 100 square feet of wall and furniture like dining, closets, trim work, and other small projects.

Half Gallon

Half gallon (usually 5.38 by 1.89 inches) is about 1.9 liters.

Half gallons are precisely what they are called, a half of a gallon, and they can cover up to 200 square feet of wall area.

This means they are enough to paint small rooms such as bathrooms and laundry rooms.

They are also big enough to paint two accent walls and ceilings.

Furniture-wise, a half gallons paint can size can cover an entire dining or bedroom set, and you will still have leftovers.

A Gallon

One gallon (usually about 7.5 by 6.5 inches) is about 3.8 liters, and it is one of the most standard paint can sizes that you can encounter.

This is the most common paint can size. If you go to common local paint stores, you will most likely find the 1-gallon size to be the most available.

On average, a gallon of paint can size covers about 400 square feet with one coat of paint.

Two gallons will be sufficient to paint an entire room since, generally, the average size is about 800 square feet of wall.

Usually, 1-gallon paint can size enough to cover the walls of a pantry, laundry, bathroom, and even a home office.

5 Gallon

A five-gallon paint (usually about 14.5 by 12 inches) is about 19 liters.

It is the largest standard paint can size available.

You can cover up to about 2,000 square feet with a five-gallon paint.

Most of the time, if you have dining, kitchen, living, and even connecting hallways that you want to paint or repaint in the same color, a five-paint bucket is just enough to do the trick.

Disclaimer: Ensure you do the calculations to confirm; it’s risky to assume because home sizes do vary.

Standard Paint Can Dimensions

Although we have dealt partly with this earlier when discussing standard paint can sizes. I want to put it in a more simplified form for better clarity.

There are several reasons why you need to know the paint can dimensions which are;

  • Affordability:

You need to know the paint can dimensions to know if you can afford it.

For instance, if all you want to paint is your ceiling, it is not exactly wise to buy a 5-gallon paint unless you want to store it at home, which is dangerous.

  • Availability: You also need to know the paint can dimension to know if it is available.

If you looking for a paint can size that’s bigger than a quart and less than a gallon, then your best option is half a gallon.

You wouldn’t know this if you do not understand paint can dimensions.

  • Compatibility:

Some paint can sizes compatible with specific types of mixing machines.

Understanding the paint can dimension will help you know which paint can size is suitable.

This table will make it easier to grasp the dimensions of each paint can size.

Paint Can SizeFill capacity in ouncesFill capacity in litersDimension in WidthDimension in height
Half quart150.432.52.14
Half gallon641.95.381.89
5 gallons6401914.512
Quarter Pint40.141.51.5

How to calculate paint area

The easiest and most feasible way to calculate the area you want to paint is by taking the wall area and subtracting the surface you do not want to paint.

So, we are going to have a formula like this

PA = WA – D/WA

Meaning the Paint area equals the wall area – door or window area.

For instance, your living room is 15 x 20 feet with an 8-foot ceiling.

With three doors and three windows.

Let’s calculate the room’s perimeter;

  • RM (room’s perimeter): (15 ft + 20 ft.) x 2= 70ft

Then let’s calculate the total wall area:

  • 70 ft x 8 ft = 560 square feet.

And lastly, we deduct the door and window area.

(Standard doors are usually 21 square feet, and windows are 15 square feet).

So, we have:

560 sq. ft. – (21 sq. ft. x 3) – (15 sq. ft. x 3) = 453 square feet.

Determining the perfect paint can size using the general rule

The rule of thumb is a general rule to determine the standard paint can.

The rule of thumb is:

  • A gallon of paint covers about 400 square feet.
  • A quart of paint covers about 100 square feet.
  • A pint of paint covers about 50 square feet.

Now let’s use our former example where we have 453 square feet of the living room; you will most likely need 1.5 gallons in other to be on the safe side.

Tip: If you are using a 30 x 60 feet room, then it is not advisable to calculate and paint by yourself.

Get painters and constructors to do that for you.

Disclaimer: This is just to give you a general idea of how much paint you will need.

However, it varies depending on some specific factors.

Other factors that may affect the paint can size you need

  1. Surface’s current color:

This affects the amount of paint you will use.

For instance, if the previous paint contains dark paint like dark brown and you want to change it to a brighter color like cream.

You will need multiple coats of paint, most likely more than two, affecting your calculation.

  • Primed or unprimed:

If the surface is primed, it will require less paint.

An unprimed surface absorbs more paint, inevitably affecting your calculations.

  • Type of paint:

The quality and type of paint you buy also affect the coverage of the paint.

If you buy a cheaper paint, it won’t cover as much as a more expensive one.

How to estimate how much paint you need for furniture

Estimating paint for furniture can be a little tricky

This is because there are several areas that you may not want to paint.

For this reason, I recommend paint calculators by Benjamin Moore or Pratt and Lambert.

If you don’t want to go that far, use this link and fill in the brackets and get it done.

 Standard Spray Paint Can Sizes

Spray paints are also called aerosol paint.

There are four standard spray paint can sizes.

We have the;

  1. 4.5 fluid ounces.
  2. Six fluid ounces.
  3. 12 fluid ounces.
  4. 16 fluid ounces.

How much can each spray paint size cover?

4.5 fluid ounces:

Often, 4.5 oz. Can of spray paint covers up to 7 square feet.

This is usually enough to cover small furniture like a dining chairs, stools, etcetera.

Most of the time, it is a great choice when you want to add accents to several furniture pieces.

For instance, it lets you cover the top of dining tables and legs of stools.

Six fluid ounces:

The 6 oz. The spray paint can is slightly bigger than the 4.5 oz.

It can cover up to 10 square feet.

That is enough to cover an entire dining table or a few chairs.

It is also a perfect option for adding accents to your furniture.

12 fluid ounces:

The 12 oz. spray paint can cover up to 20 square feet.

This can handle up to 3 to 6 small pieces of furniture.

You can also use it to paint multiple dining chairs and a coffee table.

You can also use it to paint the top of a dining table.

16 fluid ounces:

A decent 16 oz. Spray can cover up to 30 square feet.

It can cover up to 2 medium-sized furniture pieces or a large piece.


Does priming increase paint coverage?

Yes, priming a surface reduces the amount of paint you will use.

It allows the paint easily stay on the surface and also increases the paint’s durability.

Do you have to thin paint for a spray gun?

Yes, you have to; if you don’t thin paint before spraying, it will clog the paint’s nozzle.

Thinning your paint before spraying helps the paint to flow smoothly.

Why don’t paint can sizes come in larger sizes?

Metal paint can size don’t come in larger sizes because of how much it costs.

Can are not cheap to manufacture, unlike plastic pails that are way cheaper to produce.


Alright, that brings us to the end of this article.

I hope you found it valuable; like I promised, I showed you the standard paint sizes available and the dimensions and coverages of each of them.