Clear coats have been in the market for some time now. There are hundreds of different options to choose from, but what is the best clear coat for plastic?
The best clear coat for plastic overall is the Krylon K01305 Gallery Series. This clear coat is affordable, has several finishings to choose from (glossy, satin, etc.), and provides a thick, protective layer over your plastic.
Choosing the right clear coat can make a big difference. This article will describe what you need to consider before buying a certain product and provide a list of the best clear coats for plastic. We will also suggest what the best clear coat is overall for plastic.
Table of Contents
What to Consider When Buying Clear Coats for Plastic
There are a few things to consider when you are buying clear coats for plastic:
- What a clear coat is and what it does
- Why you want a clear coat
- What type of plastic you are painting
- What kind of clear coat you want
What Is a Clear Coat?
A clear coat is a specific kind of paint that you apply last, on top of the other paint layers. It is a translucent paint that provides a sort of protective coat to the object you are painting. Not every paint job needs a clear coat; single-stage paint jobs do not use this product.
The thickness of clear coats can range depending on the manufacturer. Clear coats can be anywhere from 30 microns to 80 microns in thickness. The thickness will also vary depending on the type of paint job you are doing.
Why Do I Need a Clear Coat?
There are a few different reasons why using a clear coat is a good idea. Let’s take a look at some.
- Clear coats will increase the thickness of the paint.
- Clear coats will protect the more expensive paint underneath. A great thing about clear coats is that they are relatively cheap. A lot of regular paint might make a dent in your wallet, so you will want to prevent the paint from wearing out. Clear coats are a cheap way to do this.
- Clear coats will prevent the base layer of paint from oxidizing. When paint oxidizes, it can become dry, chalky, and ultimately look worn out and cheap. Clear coats will keep your paint looking fresh.
- Clear coats can change the level of a gloss of your paint. If you want your paint to appear more fresh and glossy, consider using a clear coat. Not only are there glossy clear coats, but there are finishes such as satin and matte.
- Clear coats will increase the value of your car. If you want to sell your car, or if you know you will eventually sell it, adding a clear coat will be a good idea. It will make any car look new.
- Clear coats can hide minor scratches. It is quite common for your car to have some small scratches after the base paint job. Using a clear coat can hide the little imperfections.
What Type of Plastic You Are Painting
The type of plastic you are painting might determine the type of clear coat you use and how you apply it to the material. If you are painting a less sturdy plastic that is very flexible, you may want to consider using an adhesion promoter like the Bulldog Adhesion Promoter. The promoter will prevent the plastic from flaking or peeling. You can also add a flex agent that will increase the flexibility of the clear coat.
If you are interested in using a clear coat on plastic, check out the video below. The video will demonstrate a few key steps in preparing the plastic to take the aerosol spray well. Even though the video is about painting plastics with aerosol paints, it will still apply well to the clear coat process:
What Kind of Clear Coat You Want
There are four main types of clear coats that will do different things to the paint job. Let’s take a look.
- Topcoat clear coat – These clear coats are easy to apply and are quick drying.They are usually applied as the last layer and give a nice glossy finish. You can also polish these coats.
- Turbo clear coat – People normally use turbo coats for collision repairs. They are great at covering up dents and scratches. Turbo coats are more resistant to moisture and require a bit more polishing to get that beautiful glossy finish.
- Glamour clear coat – These kinds of coats are good for perfectionists. The coat takes a long time to dry, so you will not have to rush the job. However, you can use heat to speed up the drying process. This coat is also resistant to moisture.
- High solid clear coat – High solid coats are the most expensive on the market. They take longer to dry and give a thicker layer on top of the base paint.
Best Clear Coats for Plastic: Our Top Picks
- Best Overall: Krylon K01305 Gallery Series Artist and Clear Coatings
- Best Bang For The Buck: Aleene’s Spray Gloss Finish, 6 Ounce Acrylic Sealer
- Best For Cosmetic Purposes: Krylon K05515007 COLORmaxx
- Best For Protective Purposes: Deco Art Americana Acrylic Sealer/Finish Aerosol Spray
1. Krylon K01305 Gallery Series Artist and Clear Coatings (Best Overall)
This clear coating aerosol is $10 to $30 and has over 3700 5-star reviews. The coating protects from UV light rays and prevents the material you are spraying from yellowing. Not only does it protect from the sun, but it is moisture-resistant as well.
The product provides a strong, protective coating to whatever item you are using it on. There are also ten different variations of the product depending on what look you are going for. A few variations include gloss, high-gloss, matte, white, and satin.
For this clear coat, the manufacturer mentions that it will work on plastic. The product dries to the touch in ten minutes, but you will have to wait five hours to handle the plastic after spraying it. Many reviewers rave about how well it protects color and keeps it vibrant. You can also use this product outdoors or indoors, so no matter what you are spraying, this clear coat will work.
Bottom Line: If you are looking for a high-rated product that is easy to use, we would recommend the Krylon Gallery Series. The spray will work on plastic, give your items a protective coating, and prevent fading colors. The spray is a good price and provides all of the basic benefits that any clear coating should give, plus there are a few options to choose from (satin or matte finish, etc.).
- Dries fast to the touch. Drying time may be a concern if you have kids or animals running around in the area. This clear coat dries to the touch in ten minutes, so you will not have to worry about any smudging that may happen.
- Comes in ten different options. The product comes in a few different finishes and sizes: workable fixative, dulling spray, gloss spray, gloss spray small size, high-gloss, matte, satin, semi-gloss, temporary, and white.
- Affordable. For only ten to thirty dollars, you will get a nice, glossy finish that will last months or even years with touch-ups.
- Some reviews mention the spray isn’t as glossy as they would like. Many people use clear coats to provide a nice glossy finish, but some say that this product’s regular spray leaves more of a shiny coating. If you are looking for a lot of gloss, consider buying the high-gloss product.
- Strong Odor. Many reviewers complained about the strong odor of this product. However, many aerosol sprays have a certain smell to them. Consider using the product outside to avoid filling up the house with the odor. Also, wear a facemask to prevent health hazards.
2. Aleene’s Spray Gloss Finish, 6 Ounce Acrylic Sealer (Best Bang for the Buck)
For less than $15, this clear coat will give a great finish to any plastic item. With over 6000 5-star reviews, hundreds of people swear by this gloss finish. The product is an acrylic sealer spray that will give any item a protective and glossy finish.
You can use this spray both for indoor and outdoor projects. The coating is very durable and will last a while with minimal retouches. Furthermore, the spray goes on clear and dries glossy. The spray bottle is very easy to use and applies an even coat.
The can is available in 6 ounces (170 g), which makes it very easy to hold. You will also not have to worry about any safety issues with the product since it contains no CFCs.
Bottom Line: This clear coat spray for plastics is one of the cheapest on the market. If you are looking for a spray for a smaller project, we would recommend using this acrylic sealer. The 6-ounce (170-g) size makes it extremely easy to hold and use, which will be perfect for beginners.
- Very affordable. This product is less than $15, making it the perfect spray for smaller projects and beginners.
- Gives a glossy finish. If you want a glossy finish on your items, then you are in luck. Many reviewers compliment the product’s nice shiny finish.
- Easy to use. The can is very easy to use since it’s so small. Many people can carry it in one hand. The small size will help with projects where you need attention to detail.
- Sticky after drying. Even though this is not the case for all situations, a few people have mentioned that the spray is a bit sticky after it dries. The stickiness may depend on the base coat of the item you are spraying, so it will be something to watch out for.
- It will not be good for big projects. If you have a bigger project or plan on retouching the item with the spray multiple times, this spray may not be for you. It only holds 6 ounces (170 g) of liquid, so it might not last a long time.
3. Krylon K05515007 COLORmaxx (Best for Cosmetic Purposes)
The Krylon COLORmaxx is just under $30 and has 7,900 5-star reviews. It is a clear acrylic finish for indoor and outdoor use, so it will work for just about any project. This clear coat prevents the paint from yellowing and provides a durable, protective layer. You can use this product on metal, wicker, wood, glass, ceramic, fabric, and plastic.
This clear coat has a few different styles to buy, including flat, gloss, satin, metallic, matte, primer, semi-flat and semi-gloss. Many reviewers use this clear coat for cosmetic purposes since it applies a thick and vibrant color (many people love the metallic, rose gold spray).
The clear coat is also very easy to use and applies an even coat. Even though one coat of the paint is fine, you can apply a few layers to add to the protection level.
Bottom Line: If you are looking for a protective clear coat that will also give a nice shine and color, this product will be for you. The product is the most expensive on the list, but it has the best reviews and is a high-quality clear coat.
- Has a vibrant color. Even though you can buy the product without a color that is only a gloss, the colors they have are very vibrant and have a lot of shine.
- You can apply multiple coats. Some clear coats do best with only a few coats, but customers have applied up to six coats of this product, and it still looks great.
- Has great coverage. This product is easy to use and gives great coverage. The clear coat will always spray an even layer.
- Does not dry as fast. One downside of this clear coat is that it does not dry as fast as the package says. When using this clear coat, consider waiting 30 minutes instead of 10 in between layers.
- Expensive. Even though the price is not too outlandish, it is still the most expensive on the list. This clear coat may not be the best option to choose if you are doing a big project.
4. Deco Art Americana Acrylic Sealer/Finish Aerosol Spray (Best for Protective Purposes)
This 12-ounce (340-g) clear coat is around $25 and will provide a durable and protective coating to your plastic. The Americana acrylic sealer only needs one coat to work well and give your plastics a high-quality shine. Furthermore, this clear coat is odor-free, so you will not have to worry about the neighbors noticing an odd smell.
Since the spray is odor-free, you can use this inside. The solvent also evaporates in about two to three minutes, which lowers the safety risks. Even then, make sure to use the product in a well-ventilated area.
Many reviewers rave about the glossiness of this project. However, something worth mentioning is that if you use the product around other objects in the garage or home, make sure you cover the surrounding items with a tarp since the spray leaves a lot of residues.
Bottom Line: If you want a simple, high-quality clear coat, this product will be great for you. The coat will be good for indoor projects and will dry before you can count to ten. For around $25, the Americana acrylic sealer is a versatile spray that won’t disappoint.
- Dries quickly. One of the best things about this product is that it dries within a few minutes. Make sure to wait at least half an hour, though, if you want to do multiple layers.
- Odor-free. This clear coat is odor-free, so you will be able to use it both indoors and outdoors with no strong smell.
- You can use it inside. A perk of the product not having a strong odor is that you can use it indoors. Even so, make sure to at least wear a facemask to avoid any harmful chemicals. Also, use the spray in a well-ventilated area.
- 12 ounce (340 g) can. A few clear coat sprays only come in 6-ounce (170-g) cans. Fortunately, this product comes in a larger can and will last you longer, especially if you want to do a few coats.
- Expensive. Compared to a lot of other aerosol sprays, $25 is a bit steep. However, the quality will make up for the price.
- Only one style is available. Unlike a few other products, there is only one kind of this clear coat, which is clear glossy.
Considering a few things such as the cost, the number of different finish options and high review ratings. Krylon Gallery Series Clear Coating is the best choice for most people, providing a durable and protective coating to plastic, and will leave your items looking glossy.
You might want to consider the other options if:
- You want the best bang for your buck, go with Aleene’s Spray Gloss Finish
- You are looking for a clear coat with nice color and finish, we suggest Krylon COLORmaxx
- You want a more durable and protective clear coat, then go with Deco Art Americana Acrylic Sealer.