High Heat Paints: What are They?

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  May 27, 2022

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Paint is any liquid, liquefiable, or mastic composition that, after application to a substrate in a thin layer, converts to a solid film. It is most commonly used to protect, color, or provide texture to objects. Paint can be made or purchased in many colors—and in many different types, such as watercolor, synthetic, etc. Paint is typically stored, sold, and applied as a liquid, but dries into a solid.

The best paints for smokers and grills are high-heat paints that can withstand temperatures of up to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit. They’re rust-resistant and impervious to grease and oil, making them perfect for use on grills and smokers.

In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about choosing the right paint for your smoker or grill.

What is high heat paint

What’s the deal with high-heat paints for smokers and grills?

High-heat paints are specially formulated paints that can withstand high temperatures without breaking down or losing their color. They are designed to be used on surfaces that get very hot, such as smokers and grills, and can withstand temperatures of up to 1200°F.

What should you look for in a high-heat paint?

When choosing a high-heat paint for your smoker or grill, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Temperature range: Make sure the paint can withstand the temperatures your smoker or grill will reach.
  • UV resistance: Look for a paint that won’t fade or break down when exposed to sunlight.
  • Durability: Choose a paint that can withstand the wear and tear of regular use, including built-up animal fat and other debris.

Quick and Easy Links for a Perfectly Painted Grill and Smoker

When it comes to painting your grill or smoker, you want to ensure that you choose the right paint that can withstand high temperatures and harsh weather conditions. Look for paints that are specifically designed for grills and smokers and are heat-resistant, rust-resistant, and impervious to grease and oil. A few options to consider are:

  • High-heat paint: This type of paint is specially formulated to withstand temperatures of up to 1200°F and is ideal for grills and smokers.
  • Rust-Oleum BBQ & Stove Paint: This paint is designed to resist heat up to 1200°F and repel grease and oil, making it perfect for grilling equipment.
  • Krylon High Heat Max: This paint can withstand temperatures up to 1200°F and is ideal for use on grills, smokers, and other high-heat surfaces.

Preparing the Surface

Before you start painting, it’s essential to ensure that the surface is clean and free of any grease, rust, or debris. Here are some steps to follow:

  • Disassemble the grill or smoker and clean the inside and outside with a degreaser.
  • Use a wire brush or sandpaper to remove any rust or flaking paint.
  • Scrub the surface with a cleaner and rinse it thoroughly.
  • Let the surface dry completely before painting.

Applying the Paint

Once the surface is ready, it’s time to apply the paint. Here are some tips to ensure optimal coverage and performance:

  • Apply the paint in thin coats, allowing each coat to dry completely before applying the next one.
  • Use a brush or spray can to apply the paint evenly.
  • For best results, apply a base coat followed by two or three additional coats.
  • Let the paint dry and cure for at least 24 hours before using the grill or smoker.

Caring for Your Equipment

Once your grill or smoker is painted and ready to use, it’s essential to take care of it properly. Here are some tips to keep it looking great for years to come:

  • Clean the grill or smoker after each use with a grill brush and warm, soapy water.
  • Use a cover to protect it from harsh weather conditions.
  • Repaint the grill or smoker as needed to keep it looking fresh and new.

Choosing the Perfect High Heat Paint for Your Grill: Factors to Consider

When looking for high heat paint for your grill, the most crucial factor to consider is the temperature range it can withstand. The paint must be able to maintain its finish and cover the metal surfaces even when exposed to high temperatures. Additionally, durability is a major factor to satisfy. The paint should be able to withstand the test of time and maintain its glossy or matte finish for longer periods.

Type of Paint

There are different types of high heat paints available in the market, and choosing the right type is essential. Some of the most common types include:

  • Standard high heat paint: This is a single coat paint that is suitable for grills and smokers that do not require specific temperature ranges.
  • Cast iron paint: This type of paint is specifically designed for cast iron surfaces and can withstand higher temperatures than standard high heat paint.
  • BBQ paint: This type of paint is applicable to both the inside (watch out though) and outside of grills and smokers. It is safe for contact with food and can withstand high temperatures.

Color and Finish

The color and finish of the paint are also crucial factors to consider. The color should match the background and equipment perfectly, and the finish should satisfy your specific requirements. Some of the most common finishes include glossy, matte, rough, and silky.

Advantages and Disadvantages

It is wise to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each type of paint before making a decision. Some of the advantages of high heat paints include:

  • Renew the appearance of your grill
  • Protect metal surfaces from rust and corrosion
  • Versatility in terms of color and finish

However, some of the flaws of high heat paints include:

  • The noticeable effect of the paint on the grill’s appearance
  • The required amounts of paint to cover the entire surface
  • The apparent difference in performance between different variants

Applicable Segments

Consider the segments of your grill that require painting. Some paints are suitable for the inside of the grill, while others are designed for the outside. Ensure that the paint you choose satisfies the specific segments of your grill that require painting.

Major Factors to Satisfy

To summarize, the major factors to satisfy when purchasing high heat paint for your grill include:

  • Temperature range and durability
  • Type of paint
  • Color and finish
  • Advantages and disadvantages
  • Applicable segments

By considering these factors, you can make a wise decision and choose a high heat paint that satisfies all your requirements.

How to Spray High-Heat Paint on Your Smoker or Grill

Before you start the painting process, it’s important to properly prepare your smoker or grill. Here are some steps to follow:

  • Clean your smoker or grill thoroughly to remove any grease, dirt, or debris. Use a thin cloth and a mild detergent to clean the surface.
  • If you notice any peeling or flaking paint, sand the area down to the bare metal.
  • Remove any excess rust or corrosion with a wire brush or sandpaper.
  • If you’re painting a new smoker or grill, make sure to remove any protective coatings before starting the painting process.

Starting the Painting Process

Once your smoker or grill is properly cleaned and prepared, it’s time to start the painting process. Here are some steps to follow:

  • Begin by adding a couple of chunks of wood to your smoker or grill and let it run for approximately 30 minutes to bring the internal temperature up to around 250°F.
  • Plug any holes or gaps with aluminum foil to prevent paint from getting inside.
  • Start spraying the paint from the top of the smoker or grill, working your way down in a vertical motion.
  • Use a gauge to ensure that the paint is flowing properly and that you’re achieving the desired thickness.
  • Be careful not to apply too much paint at once, as this can cause the paint to run and create an uneven finish.
  • Let the paint dry for approximately 24 hours before using your smoker or grill.

Painting vs Cleaning: Which is the Best Way to Protect Your Grill?

When it comes to cooking on a barbecue, it’s important to keep your grill clean. Not only does a clean grill ensure that your food tastes great, but it also prevents damage to the body of your grill. Fat and food can build up on the inside and outside of your grill, which can cause damage over time. Here are some tips to help you clean your grill:

  • Start by removing the burners and propane tank (if you have a gas grill).
  • Thoroughly clean the inside of the grill with an abrasive wire brush to remove any dirt or food.
  • Use a suitable cleaner to remove any stubborn stains.
  • Let the grill dry completely before using it again.

When to Clean vs When to Paint

Knowing when to clean your grill and when to paint it is critical. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • If you have a new grill, it’s important to clean it thoroughly before using it for the first time.
  • If your grill is painted and the paint is starting to chip or peel, it’s time to repaint it.
  • If your grill is rusty or has a lot of dirt built up, it’s important to clean it before painting it.
  • If you want to protect your grill from the elements, painting is a great way to do it.

The Best Way to Protect Your Grill

In the end, the best way to protect your grill is to do both: clean it regularly and paint it when necessary. By following these tips, you can ensure that your grill lasts for many years and that your food always tastes great.

Frequently Asked Questions About Painting Smokers and Grills

When it comes to painting smokers and grills, it’s important to use a high-heat paint that can withstand the extreme temperatures that these appliances can reach. Look for paints that are specifically designed for use on metal surfaces and can withstand temperatures of up to 1200°F. Some popular options include Rust-Oleum High Heat, Krylon High Heat, and Dupli-Color High Heat.

Can I spray paint my smoker or grill?

Yes, you can spray paint your smoker or grill, but it’s important to use a high-heat spray paint that is designed for use on metal surfaces. When applying the paint, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and apply several thin coats rather than one thick coat. This will help ensure that the paint adheres properly and doesn’t peel or chip over time.

Is high-heat paint contact-resistant?

High-heat paint is designed to be heat-resistant, but it may not be completely contact-resistant. If you’re concerned about the paint chipping or peeling due to contact with cooking utensils or other objects, you may want to consider using a grill mat or other protective covering to help preserve the paint.

Will high-heat paint protect my smoker or grill from rust?

While high-heat paint can help protect your smoker or grill from rust to some extent, it’s not a foolproof solution. To prevent rust from forming, it’s important to keep your smoker or grill clean and dry, and to store it in a dry place when not in use. You may also want to consider using a rust inhibitor or other protective coating in addition to high-heat paint.


Paints that are specially formulated to withstand high temperatures are the best choice for painting smokers and grills. 

So, look for paints that are heat resistant, rust resistant, and impervious to grease and oil. Plus, don’t forget to look for uv resistance and durability. With the right paint, you can make your grill look new again, even after years of use. 

So, don’t be afraid to experiment with different types and brands until you find the perfect one for your needs. With these tips, you’ll be ready to paint your smoker in no time!

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Lakeside Smokers is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with BBQ Smoking (& Japanese food!) at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.