A clear coat is a transparent layer of paint that can be applied to a variety of surfaces and products. It can be colorless or contain a hue and typically has either a matte or shiny finish. The best clear coat for metal can help your old things look brand new or protect them from wear and tear, UV light rays, rain, snow, etc.
They’re perfect for all metal surfaces that are prone to tarnishing, corrosion, or rust due to extended use. Moreover, by applying a clear coat, you’ll most likely extend the lifespan of your possessions by many years. Not to mention, it will allow you to preserve the natural appearance of a metal surface or give it a complete makeover.
However, with so many seemingly identical brands on the market, it can be challenging to find the best fit for your project. That is even truer if you don’t know what separates a quality clear coat from a bad one. So to help you out, I’ve conducted thorough research and handpicked six best clear coats for metal. For my list, I only included products that offer the greatest durability, as well as scratch-resistance and UV protection.
Also, later on in the article, you’ll be able to learn more about clear coats in general and how to go about choosing the best one. But first, if you’re only looking for a recommendation and want to make a quick decision, you can pick any of the following six products.
1. EverBrite 4 Oz. Clear, Protective Coating for Metal
EverBrite’s protective clear coating solution can preserve as well as restore up to 250 square ft of metal. The coating is quite tough and durable and can help you protect metal surfaces from chalking, oxidizing, and UV ray damage.
EverBrite can be applied to copper, aluminum, stainless steel, as well as metal. Moreover, you can use it on both unpainted and painted metals, and it can even help you restore color to your old, faded possessions.
The coating is self-leveling, so you can easily apply it to both exterior and interior components, without anything sticking out. It’s quite easy to work with, and all you have to do is put it on a cloth, sponge, or brush and start coating.
The end result will be a shiny finish that will make the metal look brand new. The only downside to EverBrite’s clear coat is that it doesn’t seem to offer the best solution for jewelry. So be very careful if you plan on using it, as it might leave your objects feeling a bit sticky and looking somewhat tacky.
- Suitable for both restoration and protection
- Easy to use
- Not the best for jewelry
2. KBS Coatings DiamondFinish
KBS DiamondFinish offers a water gloss product that works great on painted surfaces and all types of metal. The coating is quite flexible and durable, as it was made to last in harsh industrial environments. Moreover, it won’t peel, crack, or become yellow, even if you apply it in extremely cold or warm temperatures.
KBS DiamondFinish offers a single-part, self-leveling formula that is free of any additives. In other words, with a single layer applied, this coat will likely be much tougher and more durable than any two-part one.
The application is quite quick and straightforward, and you won’t even have to clean the surface you’re using the coating on. All you have to do is apply the product and let it sit for around 30–45 seconds before wiping it off. One of the aspects I enjoy most about KBS’ DiamondFinish is that it leaves a waxy finish behind, without you having to do any extra work.
If you do end up having some streaks after using this clear coat, the issue most likely lies in cross-contamination. To avoid this, you’ll need to clean the metal surface before applying the product.
- Gives a beautiful waxy finish
- Single-part formula
- Great for restoration
- Tricky to apply in some cases
3. ProtectaClear Coating
As the name suggests, ProtectaClear does a great job of preserving all types of metal objects. The coating allows you to create an impermeable finish and can cover up to 250 square ft with a single quart bottle. You can use it on a multitude of materials, including stainless steel, aluminum, brass, copper, jewelry, and metal.
To make sure you get the best results possible, you’ll first need to wash the surface you’re coating with water and soap. Also, if there’s any residual coating on it, you’ll need to use alcohol to clean it off beforehand. Then, apply a generous amount of the product and give it at least 24–48 hours to dry off.
The result will be a clear, flat layer of coating which won’t tarnish over time or turn your fingers green, as some other clear coats might.
- Easy to use
- Great for many different types of surfaces
- Might take more time to apply
4. Spraymax 2K
SprayMax offers a two-part Aerosol Urethane coat, with arguably the greatest weather and UV protection available on the market. It also features innovative propellant technology and convenient nozzle design. Thus, you’ll be able to apply the coating much quicker and with more precision.
The SprayMax clear coat is fantastic for repair jobs, as well as long-term sealing. It’s also highly resistant to scratching and other types of abrasions. You can even use it in hot temperatures and on large surfaces, and it won’t cause any color deviation.
You’ll need to apply it on a clean surface and let it dry for 24 hours to get a lovely glossy finish. The result will look like a professional paint job. The best part is, you won’t even need a spray gun to do it.
However, keep in mind that some surfaces might require more of your time and attention, and you’ll have to sand them down before the application. Also, don’t forget to wear a respirator mask to make sure you don’t breathe in any of the chemicals.
- Smooth flow
- Lasting gloss
- Great performance
- Some materials require more prep time
5. Krylon Colormaster Metal Spray-Paint
Krylon offers one of the most durable spray-paint clear coats on the market by far. This product is moisture-resistant and was designed with industrial maintenance and touch-ups in mind. Thus, it will most likely be able to endure everything you throw at it without cracking.
This clear coat is also quite convenient, as it can be used both indoors and outdoors. Also, it dries off in under ten minutes.
Overall, this spray is one of the best ones you can purchase if you want a shiny finish that will endure all types of weather conditions. However, keep in mind that you’ll probably have to go over the surface you’re painting more than once, as this coat is quite transparent.
- Incredibly fast drying
- Requires multiple coats
6. Krylon COVERMAXX Spray Paint
Krylon COVERMAXX Spray Paint gives you a fair amount of coverage while also providing long-term rust protection. This coating comes in a bottle with a push spray tip, which makes the application quite easy. You can use it on wood, ceramic, plastic, glass, wicker, as well as metal surfaces.
Krylon COVERMAXX Spray Paint also offers a variety of color options that come with a wide range of sheens. Additionally, like other Krylon products, this coat needs very little time to dry off. The spray paint is fade-resistant, and as such, is one of the most durable products I’ve tried out so far.
You can use it both indoors and outdoors, as it won’t deform in low or high temperatures. However, keep in mind that the finish is more matte, rather than metallic. So if that’s important for you, steer clear from this one.
- Easy to apply
- Great coverage
- You can choose from a variety of colors
- Comes with a matte finish
How to Find the Best Clear Coat
If you don’t want to purchase or can’t find the products I’ve mentioned in this review, it might help you to get to know more about clear coats overall. That way, you don’t have to take mine (or anyone else’s) word for it. Instead, you can make your own educated decision. Here are the most important things you should consider if you want to purchase the best clear coat for metal.
Color and Shine
Color is one of the most critical factors you’ll need to consider when you want to paint metal surfaces. Unfortunately, if you want to find an exact match for the color and shine of the surface you’re painting on, you might need to do a lot of digging.
However, you’ll easily be able to find a product that looks similar enough and is able to cover the surface without leaving it patchy. You could also always go with a completely clear coat that doesn’t contain any color and avoid the hassle altogether.
Additionally, metallic clear coats typically aren’t all that difficult to come by, and you’ll be able to find a perfect fit relatively quickly. However, because most people don’t want their metal components to have a matte finish, finding a clear coat of this quality might be difficult.
Depending on what you’re trying to preserve or coat, you’ll need to think about the transparency of your clear coat. For example, if you want to paint over a bright metallic surface, the coating mustn’t be too opaque. On the other hand, if you want to restore any metal surface to its former glory, any clear coat on this list will do.
It’s also essential to mention that transparency is not an indicator of the strength and durability of a coat. So if you want to protect a surface, you should be able to do it with a single layer of coat, no matter how transparent it might seem.
Ease of Application
If your product doesn’t come with a primer, you’ll have to purchase it separately and use it before applying the coat. Luckily, you don’t have to worry about that because of the coats I’ve included feature a primer in their formula. This ingredient will make your job much easier, as well as cheaper.
Also, it’s much easier to apply the coat if your product comes with a spray nozzle. That way, you’ll be able to paint over the metal surfaces evenly, without leaving any blotches and marks behind. Also, nozzles are typically reusable and will give you the smoothest, shiniest finish possible.
Whenever possible, apply the coat in a closed, well-ventilated area. That way, you won’t risk any bugs, debris, or dust falling on your fresh paint job.
Depending on their intended use and the ingredients they contain, clear coats have different levels of durability. For example, some are only meant to be used indoors, so they won’t hold up under outside elements such as sunlight and rain.
Other clear coats are marked as “indoor/outdoor,” but they might not hold up as well as specialized ones. If you want to ensure you get the most durable product that can weather almost any storm, you should consider investing in an outdoor coat.
A lot of metal surfaces are commonly exposed to scratches, so you’ll often need to use a coat to cover them up. Also, some clear coats offer extra scratch protection to ensure the metal surfaces look better for longer. Whenever possible, try to find a scratch-resistant product.
Hopefully, this article helps you pick out the best clear coat for metal for your specific project. However, if you’re unsure which product is the clear winner, I can’t blame you. Honestly, I enjoy and have gotten a lot of use out of all of the clear coats I’ve mentioned in this article.
That being said, each of these products serves a specific purpose and should be used with different conditions in mind. If nothing else, I hope you’ve learned what you need to be wary of and look for when buying the best clear coat for metal surfaces.