What Is VOC Free Paint?

With a well overdue move towards environmental consciousness of late, you’ll see lots of paint companies referring to Low VOC or VOC Free when talking about their paints. Let’s lift the lid (pun absolutely intended) on exactly what that means.

Firstly, What Is VOC?

VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compound. They’re the unstable chemicals included in all paint recipes that emit nasty gasses. The good news is that the government regulates VOC content in paint products, so you needn’t be nervous about any products that you can buy online or in shops.

Breathing in VOCs can cause respiratory issues, headaches and nausea - so choosing products with low levels of VOCs is always best.

Low VOC:

Low VOC paints have reduced amounts of VOCs in comparison to other paint products. Most modern paint brands offer Low VOC products, with many having entirely Low VOC ranges. Like COAT, which has a VOC level well below the minimum required standard.


VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compounds. It means the amount of solvents Paints claiming to be No VOC or Zero VOC just have an extremely low level. It’s a tenuous one, because all paint will contain some element of VOC - but these ones are so low it’s considered negligible. There’s no hard and fast rule on what that number is though, so saying No VOC can be a little misleading.

What Are The Benefits Of Low VOC Paint?

The obvious benefit of Low VOC paint is that it releases very little of the nasty VOC gasses into the air when drying, so working in close proximity with it is far less harmful. Because of that, it smells less too, with lots of Low VOC paints claiming to be Low Odour too.

Using Low VOC paints also means potential aggravation of breathing, allergies, or other reactions is less that products with high VOC content (e.g. traditional solvent-based gloss paint). In the grand scheme, low VOC levels mean less toxicity in the air and less contaminants that could potentially end up on groundwater or landfill. 

We don’t want any paint to end up in landfill, so we run a recycle scheme. Send your empty or unwanted paint back to us, in the original packaging, and we’ll recycle everything sustainably.

What's The Best Low VOC Paint?

Honestly, most modern paint brands offer low VOC paint options. For many, like COAT, the entire range is low VOC. Using COAT Eggshell for example, vs a traditional oil-based gloss paint, will make painting your wood or furniture so much more pleasant - no smell, no nasty chemicals, and a great silky smooth water-based paint to work with.

One thing is for sure, we need to be backing Low VOC paints for the sake of the planet. So if we’re going to paint, do it right.



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