Best Semi-gloss White Paint: Dynasty, Emerald, and Aura

For years of painting, I told my customers and myself that PPG Manor Hall was the best semi-gloss white paint on the market. But I never did a deep dive into comparing other premium paints such as Ben Moore Regal Select or Sherwin Williams Duration.

I used those products from time to time, but never really compared them to each other.  

After 33 years in the industry, it’s time to find out who has the best semi-gloss white paint.

In full disclosure, I have not been a full-time painter working in the field since 2010. 

Today, the best semi-gloss white paints are Ben Moore Aura, Sherwin Williams Emerald Urethane, and Behr Dynasty

Are these paints the best of the best? Maybe. But they certainly are the most popular.

Other paints that are lesser known but great products would include: c2Fine Paints of Europe,  and PPG Ultralast.  

Paint can of Behr Dynasty
For a full report on Behr Dynasty click here
Click here for a full report on BM Aura
Emerald Semi-gloss retails for $108.00 in 2023
Click here for a full report on SW Emerald

The Best White Semi-gloss Paint Starts With Excellent Coverage

Most premium paints have good to excellent coverage.  And if you want to be the best white semi-gloss paint, excellent coverage is a good place to start.

Applying a single additional coat of paint will cost a painting contractor $10,000 when multiplied over a year. 

Coverage for Aura and Dynasty is excellent. Emerald Urethane has poor coverage. There are many other less expensive paints that Sherwin Williams sells that cover better

Of the three, the best semi-gloss for trim for coverage would be as follows:

  • Aura – Excellent
  • Dynasty – Excellent (but not as complete as Aura).
  • Emerald – Poor. If changing colors, it may take three coats. 
Best White Semi gloss paint for coverage was Aura
It is hard to tell from the photos, but Aura had complete coverage.
The second Best white semi gloss paint for coverage is Dynasty
Dynasty has 100's of colors that cover in one coat. However, white is not one of them.
The third best white semi-gloss paint for coverage was Emerald
It's easy to find other reviews from painters complaining about Emerald coverage. That has been my experience as well.

The Best White Semi-Gloss Paint Needs To Be Easy To Apply

Paints that drag or are challenging to spread can reduce productivity and cause fatigue. A paint that spreads easily versus a challenging paint can increase productivity by as much as 30%. 

Therefore, spending an extra $20-$30 more on a paint that glides on can be a wise investment.   

Aura glides on very quickly.  Spreads smoothly, and has good working time.  

Emerald is a little thinner but spreads and glides on beautifully. Its workability is equal to Aura.

Dynasty is somewhat difficult to spread, especially compared to the other two. Perhaps a conditioner would help. Using this paint will decrease production compared to the other two. 

Washability and Durability

If we are going to grade the best semi-gloss for trim, it has to be washable. Cleaning these paints with mild detergent will remove all common stains and marks. All three of these paints cleaned equally well, and I found no burnishing or damage caused to the finishes.

Overall Finish

Dynasty has the smoothest finish of the three. It is probably the best white semi-gloss paint for the overall feel that I have ever used. It reminds me of Ben Moore Satin Impervo’s finish. 

Who Is The Whitest Of Them All?

If you are looking for the whitest white,  Behr Dynasty is it.  Aura was slightly darker than Emerald. 

Who Has The Best White Semi-gloss Paint?

As you can see, all of the premium white interior paints have mostly strengths but a few weaknesses. 

My first pick of the best interior white semi-gloss would be Ben Moore Aura. Why? It covers the best, goes on easily, and has a nice smooth finish.  What’s not to like except the $90.00 price tag?  I’m okay with that because I can make up the difference in speed of application and coverage.