Powder Coat vs Paint Wheels : Which is Better For You?

There’s a thin line between a vehicle that stands out and a boring whip. Often it all comes down to what you do with your wheels. Vehicle wheels enhance the overall aesthetics of a car, helping to give your car a shiny look. Sadly, no matter how excellent your maintenance skills are, your wheels cannot stay shiny forever. Unless you have huge bucks to burn on new rims, there are simpler, more cost-effective ways you can bring back your rim to life. You either paint or powder coat them.  

However, powder coated wheels vs. painted: Which is better?

I’ll answer this question and others in this detailed comparison.

What is powder coated wheels?

Powder coating has been around since the 1950s but has gained more popularity because of the advanced processes used to apply them.

Powder coating shares similarities with painting as a finishing process for maintaining wheels. However, unlike painting, powder coating is a dry coating process that can serve as a decorative or protective feature for your wheels.

These processes make them suitable for any environment, durable, and applicable to any material that wheels come.

How Does Powder Coating Work?

The powder coating process starts with substances made from resin and pigment ground, electrically charged, and sprayed onto the surface of your wheels. It is easy for these particles to stick to the metal surface of the wheel because of the electrostatic charge that they undergo. Your rims are also treated with heat and ultraviolet light to make the blending process more durable. On the other hand, painting undergoes different processes such as bodywork, painting, repainting, and curing. Unlike powder coating, painting keeps the car immobile for several hours or days.

Powder coating wheels pros and cons


  • Can serve as a decorative and protective measure for your wheels
  • Durable and resistant to damaging elements such as stones and weather elements
  • Saves a lot of costs regarding the future


  • Difficult to control the thickness of a coated layer.
  • Getting the desired color effect with the powder coating process can be difficult

Painted wheels pros & cons


  • Appears beautiful when properly applied to wheels.
  • Easier to achieve an intended color pattern with painting because you can easily mix colors
  • The initial payment for painting is not as expensive


  • The painting finish is prone to scratches and chips and is not as durable as powder coating
  • The painting process also takes some time to dry off
  • Does not last as long as powder coating

Powder Coated Wheels vs. Painted: Detailed Comparison

Dupli-Color Wheel Coating

VHT Wheel Paint Can

Rust-Oleum Wheel Spray Paint

Getting new wheels is expensive and sometimes unnecessary. Unless your wheels are chipped, broken, or otherwise damaged, it is an unnecessary expenditure. Painting and Powder Coating are two budget-friendly ways you can improve your car’s aesthetics. We will review which options best serve your needs under several metrics, including durability, corrosion resistance, scratching and chipping, affordability, and versatility.

Hopefully, you should have made an informed decision at the end of this read.

Which is more durable?

The winner: Powder-coated wheels

One of the major reasons why car owners generally prefer powder coating is its durability. Powder coating has a unique lasting nature that is not as temporary as wheel painting. What makes powder coating durable is the baking process it undergoes. The wheels are cured with heat or UV light after they have been powder coated. That makes it easier for the elements to blend and provides a more durable solution to wheel painting.

Therefore, it is a no-brainer that wheels with expertly applied powder coated wheels last an average of 15-20 years. On the other hand, painted wheels often last 5-10 years.

It is important to note that irrespective of your choice of coating finishing, the life expectancy of your coating can be adversely affected by heavy wear and tear, excess heat exposure, and corrosive agents.

Which is most resistant to scratching and chipping?

The winner: Powder-coated wheels

powder coated wheels
Credit: autochimps

Your car’s wheels are affected by stones and gravel that peel, chip, or scratch your coating. These and other factors, such as bad roads, road salts, and fresh asphalt, can affect your powder-coated or painted wheels. However, one of these wheel coatings is much more easily affected by these adverse conditions—painted wheels. Due to the absence of additional layers of coating, painted wheels are easily scratched and chipped. However, powder-coated wheels have layers that are not as easily affected by these damaging elements.

Which has the best corrosion resistance?

The winner: Powder-coated wheels

Painting is a more traditional way of achieving beauty for your wheels. Although it has proven to be an excellent finish process, painting wheels make them more susceptible to corrosion. Although powder coating has been around for some time, it employs advanced technology deployed to achieve a stronger finish than painting. This technique makes it a more corrosion-resistant finish than paint.

Which has the most long-term benefits?

The winner: Powder-coated wheels

It is cool to have a durable set of wheels that look good and are durable. However, how shiny will those wheels be in a few years? Painting offers car owners a new catchy look that improves the overall appearance of their automobile. The catch 22 is that the look is temporary, easily susceptible to scratches and general wear and tear.

Powder coating offers more long-term benefits than the painting process. Besides lasting much longer than painting can, a powder-coated wheel retains its shiny look if you take care of it.

Dupli-Color EHWP10800 -powder coated

Dupli-Color EHWP10800 

Which is the most versatile ?

The winner: Powder-coated wheels

As long as your wheels can withstand the heating process, powder coating is the most versatile wheel coating at the moment. It is compatible with a wide variety of surfaces, unlike painting.

Which lasts longer?

The winner: Painted wheels

painted wheels
Painted wheels last longer than powder coated wheels

Powder coating is not the most cost-effective wheel coating. Even if you factor in the durability and resistance power of powder-coated wheels, it is a fact that painted wheels get the job done for less. Painted wheels are a less economical solution to a short-term need. However, if you need a long-lasting wheel coating solution, getting a powder-coated wheel may prove a smart solution.

Is it cheaper to paint or powder coat rims?

The cost of powder coating differs based on the coat of supplies in the market. Furthermore, other cost factors include the model of the vehicle, the size of the wheels, and the quality of the job. That said, the average cost of powder coating a four-wheelset varies from $350 – $700. The price could also be considerably higher depending on the skills of the professional and their market value. On the other hand, painted wheels are considerably cheaper, costing roughly $30 to $100.

Final Thought

It is, therefore, clear from this painted and powder coated wheels review that the best, long-lasting solution for your car rims is a powder coating.

However, painting is a cheaper short-term solution that will provide your car with the shiny new look you seek.

Powder coating is perfect for car owners who want a new look for their wheels without changing them. The process might be expensive, but it is a one-time affair that is more durable than painting.

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