Q&A / 

XO Rust vs Rustoleum

xo rust spray paint

XO Rust spray paint is on top. Rustoleum is on the bottom. These are actual lab scratch tests done. The results are SHOCKING. CLICK HERE to have XO Rust paint delivered to your home in DAYS. Copyright 2018 Tim Carter

XO Rust vs Rustoleum TIPS

I'm very lucky. As a syndicated newspaper columnist and Internet publisher, I get to visit places the average person can't go.

December, 2016 was one of those times. I was able to tour the True Value Hardware paint factory in Cary, Illinois.

There I got to see how many of their paints are made including XO Rust spray paint.

Rustoleum Results

But best of all, I got to see how XO Rust Spray Paint performed against the popular heavily advertised Rustoleum paint.

You're going to see test panels in the video just below.  The panels were created using an ASTM B117 test procedure.

After you see them, something tells me you'll probably think long and hard before buying Rustoleum again.

xo rust paint

Do I need to tell you which brand is on top? Yep, XO Rust. Copyright 2018 Tim Carter

Tough Love

It's my job as a journalist to share facts with you. Sometimes it's not easy. This is one of those times.

It's not my job to beat up on a company. I've used Rustoleum for years but now after seeing the XO Rust ASTM B117 test results, I'm switching. 


The free marketplace is amazing. A company that decides to make a fantastic product deserves to do well. Those that make so-so products reap what they sow sometimes.

The way I see it is, if a company knows their product doesn't perform as well as it could, then they can do better to ensure it does. You and I as consumers end up the winners.

I know I'd never use Rustoleum again until such time as Rustoleum provides me with test panels that show how they've re-formulated their paint to outperform all others, including XO Rust.

When you see the test panels, you'll agree the Rustoleum chemists have lots of work to do.

XO Rust Spray Paint Video

Watch this video to see how I used XO Rust spray paint to restore a rusted piece of wrought-iron patio furniture. The test panels will be just after the music interlude.

Test Panels Tell The Tale

The test panels you saw in the video were real. Nothing fake there at all. The chemists and engineers that work for manufacturers use these standard tests all the time. In fact, they're the ones that sit on the committees that come up with the test procedures.

The ASTM B 117 scratch really shows up on this photo set. Look at all the peeling paint on the lower Rustoleum panel. The XO Rust panel on top looks fantastic. (C) Copyright 2017 Tim Carter

Any paint manufacturer can run the ASTM B 117 test. They often do it to see how their paint stacks up against a competitor's.

But not all manufacturers share the test data for all the obvious reasons.

These tests were run using the industry-accepted ASTM B117 Salt-Fog test. The basic steps in the test are:

  • Paint pieces of bare steel
  • Allow paint to cure
  • Scratch the center of the test panel
  • Put panels in the salt-fog chamber
  • Expose for 200 hours

CLICK HERE to see the actual ASTM B117 test requirements.


CLICK HERE to BUY XO Rust and have it delivered to your home. Remember, you can get it in quarts and gallons for bigger jobs.



22 Responses to XO Rust vs Rustoleum

  1. I tried the XO paint for lawn items and ended up having to paint again with another product because of poor performance. Coverage was not very well and surface would not harden to protect the items from physical bumps. It also took several coats to have proper coverage, eventually leading to runs since the tacky previous coats would not even adher to the new coats. I was not impressed other than comparing to Wal-Mart's own spray paint quality.

    • Stan,

      I'm sorry to hear about your results. When I hear about poor coverage with spray paints, I always wonder about several things:

      Did you really mix the paint well by shaking for minutes on end? If not, the great solids that provide the coverage are all at the bottom of the can.

      Did you have the correct spray distance? I remember years ago not being close enough to the thing I painted. Then I'd get too close and get runs. Spray painting is an acquired skill, at least for me it was.

      I suggest you give X-O Rust another chance. For goodness sakes, a can is less than $4.00 and with the rebate, about $1.75. So get two cans, shake the devil out of them and try again.

      If you get bad results again, I'll pay you for the paint you bought. I felt it's the best spray paint I've ever used.

    • I followed the instructions on the can label and did a great wire brushing of the rusted areas. If it was warmer and I could have gone outdoors, I would have sanded it with my great small orbital sander. But knowing it's an older piece of furniture, I was concerned the old paint could have lead in it. I didn't want a bunch of lead dust in my garage.

      That's one coat you see. It really covered well.

  2. Tim,
    I wonder how well this X-O Rust paint will perform on aluminum? My garage doors are bordered with aluminum flashing on the outside and it's time for me to paint them again as much checking has occurred since I last painted them nearly 18 years ago. So given that the metal will expand and contract more readily than steel, just wondering what your thoughts are on this as I certainly don't want to do any re-painting of them anytime soon.

    • Your answer is already in front of your face. 😉 How well did the original paint on the aluminum hold up? If the current paint was added later and it's failing, you need to get it off.

      Aluminum, while it has a slightly higher expansion/contraction coefficient, will hold any paint well. All you have to do is look at any house that's covered with aluminum siding.

      It's all about you washing the aluminum first and painting under ideal conditions - NOT in direct sun!

  3. The test panels make a convincing story. I have a True Value hardware near me so I'll give it a try the next time I need to paint metal.

    I've used True Value interior house paint in the past. Some of it is over 30 years old now and has held up very well.

  4. "I'd REALLY like to know what you thought about the X-O Rust test panels that went through the 200-hour salt fog test!!!!"

    Tim, I admit I'm not a technology master but I couldn't find any thing about the test panels. The website connection just took me to ASTM International where you could by material, i.e. Test Method for Copper-Accelerated Acetic Acid-Salt Spray (Fog) Testing (CASS Test). Sorry I couldn't give my opinion.

  5. Hi Tim,
    Another excellent video; we just had a wrought iron fence painted in the summer of 2015 with Rustoleum; it is still holding up after winter salt spray from road salt. I wish I had known about the X-O Rust paint at the time. It sure looks like it will stand up to the test of time. I will definitely give it a try the next time I have another metal painting project.

  6. Hi Tim,
    Sorry to hear you're still 'under the weather'...I am recovering from ankle replacement surgery a month ago. Today I get the cast off, stitches out, new cast on for another 3 weeks of so.

    Re. XO Paint - I liked the videos, both were helpful and informative, thanks for all you do! I've used XO for many projects over the past 10 years or so since I found it at the local TrueValue. I like how well it sprays, very even application, and fast drying. Seems to stand up well outside, I have painted deck furniture and still looks good after 3 or 4 years. Also several other outside projects that are still in good shape.

      • Different paints cure at different rates. It's normal for a spray paint like this in a can to be tacky for up to 24 hours. Special spray paints, say for cars and trucks, cure much faster and harder as the car bodies need to be handled in hours or less. In some cases, heat is applied to accelerate the curing.

        This is why the old saying was created: "Patience is a virtue."

  7. Can I use xo rust to paint a fiberglass truck topper?
    What, if any, primer should I use first?
    Is there a clear coat that I could use to keep it from fading in the sun?

  8. I've fallen into the xo rust trap too many times. Sprayed some of the primer this morning and by lunchtime, still not dry. Same ol same'o. Junk

    • My guess is you've done something wrong. My first guess is you failed to shake up the paint with the vehicle. I've never ever had a problem with slow drying. Lastly, are you trying to paint at the bottom of the temperature limit? If so, cold WX contributes to slow drying times. In most cases, problems are traced to operator (user) errors and oversights.

  9. Tim, you convinced me. Clicked on your link to order so you could get a little PM but Amazon has the 12 oz can for $12.88 vs $3.99 at my local True Value store. Are you aware of this or am I missing something?

    • Well, you always have to be careful on Amazon!!! There are RESELLERS there that buy something and resell it for far more. We have that happen with Stain Solver, especially on eBay. Someone will charge $30 for a small bottle of Stain Solver and then come to our website and buy it from us for the normal $9.97 price and ask us to ship it to the person. My guess is that's what's going on. TNX for trying to help. Be sure to try to use my links to Amazon in other cases!

  10. As a retired paint chemist/formulater and product manager--much "conflicting" in the paint world about the salt spray test method not correlating to the real world. I have personally run well over 200 salt spray tests.
    There are good and not so good "paint over rust" paints.
    I have seen results around the world of many types of paint over decades in many environments.
    Volumes can and have been written about this topic.

  11. I have a boat trailer that needs painting. It's got a little rust but not bad. I heard about XO paint and wanted to know how well will it work on a boat trailer. Do I need to remove the existing rust or can I paint over it?

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