Standard Sizes of Paint Cans – What You Need To Know

Randy Charles
Randy Charles
Professional Painter

Hi, I’m Randy Charles, the creator and chief editor of this site Paintcentric. I’m a businessman now by profession, but I used to work as...Read more

While preparing for a new painting project, there are some important factors and criteria you need to know and place in your heart. In other terms, knowing the sizes of paint cans and their coverage and dimensions is very important. This way, you can select the ideal quality and type of paint for your home, office, room, furniture, etc.

The standard sizes of paint cans include 1 pint, 1 quart, and 1 gallon. Moreover, there are several other sizes of paint cans available in the market like quart-pints, five-gallon buckets, etc. Using this more specific metric, you can select the optimum amount of paint required for your next painting project.

We’d talk about the various paint sizes specific to your needs in this article. We’d discuss the different paint can sizes in the following subheadings and lines of this article. Join us as we proceed.

Standard Sizes of Paint Cans

There are different standard sizes of paint cans. Moreover, there are still certain reasons for these standardized dimensions, such as affordability, availability, and confirming that the paint will be compatible with generally-known mixing machines.

Standard Sizes of Paint Cans

Since paint cans are cylindrical, the most important dimensions to know are the diameter and height.

Below is an overview of the standard sizes of paint cans, including their height, diameters, and the amount they can carry.

Paint Can Size Ounces Liters Height Diameter
½ Pint 8 fl. oz. 0.24 2 7/8 inches 2 7/8 inches
Pint 16 fl. oz. 0.47 3 15/16 inches 3 7/16 inches
Quart 32. fl. oz. 0.95 4 7/8 inches 4 ¼ inches
½ Gallon 64 fl. oz. 1.89 5 7/8 inches 5 3/8 inches
Gallon 128 fl. oz. 3.79 7 ½ inches 6 ½ inches
5 Gallon 640 fl. oz. 18.93 14 ½ inches 12 inches

How Much Does One Can of Paint Cover?

Since various sizes of paint cans contain different amounts of paint, they also provide different degrees of coverage. By taking to heart the different area sizes of each can size, you’d be able to properly approximate the amount of paint required for a painting project.

How Much Does One Can of Paint Cover

Also, it’s imperative to understand that the given information below in this subsection is estimated. Your required coverage level will be based on several factors besides the size of the can.

Another factor is the paint’s thickness and the number of layers you’d require to cover it properly. Another thing that will play an important role is the surface texture because surfaces with higher textures require more paint to cover them properly.

Most of the time, you’ll want to keep aside some extra paint than your presumed calculation to give some room for mistakes and additional touchups. Essentially, the given information below will help you out with your judgment on the measurements. Let’s check them out briefly.

½ Pint

Remarkably, a ½ pint of paint can effectively cover 25 sq. ft. We know that’s grossly insufficient for a normal-sized wall in your house. For instance, suppose you have an 8-inch ceiling, this paint can only be able to cover 3-inches wide of that space.

Howbeit, this paint is ideal for painting your normal-sized piece of furniture, crown molding, or baseboards. It could also be useful for wall niches or alcoves.


Using a pint of paint, you’d be able to cover about 50 sq. ft. This is good enough to cover an accent wall. So, if you have an 8-inch ceiling, this paint can be able to cover circa 6-inches wide, but you’d not have many allowances for error. In the same vein, a pint of paint might be enough for a smaller-sized ceiling and can cover at least two pieces of furniture.


A quart of paint can cover around 100 sq. ft. of coverage. This provides you with the least standard to cover a normal-sized wall project. Using a quart of paint, you’d be able to cover a larger accent wall or larger ceiling, based on its size.

Also, using a quart of paint, you can cover several pieces of furniture effectively. For instance, this amount of paint can comfortably cover several 5-piece dining sets.

Half Gallon

A half-gallon of paint covers at least twice the amount of space for a quart. It can cover about 200 sq. ft. This is sufficient to cover up to two accent walls, a closet, and several ceilings. For furniture, it will effectively handle an entire bedroom or dining set without giving you concerns. In some instances, you may even have some leftovers for other painting projects.


A gallon of paint covers a larger scale of space now—400 sq. ft. With this range, you’d be able to paint some entire rooms. In several instances, that is sufficient coverage for bathroom walls, laundry, pantry, kitchen, or home office. It may even allow you to cover your ceiling, depending on the size of the room. Interestingly, a gallon of paint can be enough to cover an entire smaller bedroom, walls only.

5 Gallon

This is the largest size of individual paint available. Using a 5-gallon, you can cover about 2,000 sq. ft. As most rooms require two gallons, this can size can effectively cover more than 2 large-sized rooms with some spare.

This amount could be what you require to cover a large living space in most instances. If your living room, kitchen, dining, and hallways are connected closely, and you want the same color for all, this can size just what you need. Howbeit, you might want to get your calculations right before heading to purchase because home sizes do differ.

See AlsoHow To Paint Ombre Walls?

How Do I Calculate How Much Paint I Need?

The first most important process in painting is calculating how much paint you need for your painting project. But this can be quite confusing when considering windows, trim, doors, and any additional surface you don’t want to touch while painting.

Importantly, you need to measure the room’s length and height, then evaluate the area. However, while calculating, you need to calculate the areas of your doors and windows and subtract them from the overall area.

Let’s proceed with the example below.

Evaluate the Total Square Footage

For instance, your room has 6 walls and each measuring 13ft in length and 9 ft high. There are three windows in the room, each 2ft wide and 3ft high. Also, your room has two doors that are 3ft wide and 6.7ft high.

So there are 6 walls in the room, each equally measuring 13ft x 9ft. We can multiple those, then multiply the result by 6 (number of walls). The overall area is 702 square feet.

After that, we’d calculate the areas of the doors and windows. The three windows are equally-sized, so you can multiply 2 by 3, then multiply that result by three. That gives us a total of 18 square feet for the windows. For the doors, multiple 3 by 6.7, then by 2. This gives us a total of 40.2 square feet.

Subtract the Areas for Doors and Windows

After getting the subtotal of all measurements, we’d need to subtract the values of the window and door from the overall area. 702 – 18 – 40.2 = 643.8 square feet. As we can see from the calculation above, we didn’t also calculate the values for the crown molding, trim, or baseboard.

The values of these differ according to the house. So we recommend you do the calculations by yourself, with the metrics of your trim, baseboards, etc.

One essential thing to note about trim is that you don’t include your trim in your wall paint evaluations, except you’ll use the same color for them as the walls. So, while calculating your trim, evaluate it the same way you would to the windows and doors and subtract the value from the area. When you’ve sorted this out, then proceed to the next step.

Select the Paint

After that, it’s time to select the ideal amount of paint required to cover your room. It’s important to note that most paints need at least two layers to provide good coverage with vibrant colors.

If one gallon of paint covers 400 sq. ft. and one quart covers 100 sq. ft., you would probably need a gallon and two quarts of paint to cover the entire room. For two layers, you’d require twice that amount.

Final Words

There are various Sizes Of Paint Cans, but only 6 well-known standards. They include ½ pint, pint, quart, ½ gallon, gallon, and 5-gallon. To know the right paint can size for your room, measure the area of the entire walls, the door, and windows, then subtract the door and window from the overall area. Using that value, you can tell how much paint you need.

Randy Charles
Randy CharlesProfessional Painter

Hi, I’m Randy Charles, the creator and chief editor of this site Paintcentric. I’m a businessman now by profession, but I used to work as a painter earlier in my professional career. There is simply nothing about painting that I didn’t do as a painter. From painting a fridge to a multi-storied building, I left nothing. I retired from my painting job in the mid of 2018 due to back arthritis problems.

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