Paint comparison: Nippon vs SMART vs KCC

Over the past few months, I have been painting my new kampung house and done interior paint comparison, and exterior paint comparison.

The initial idea was to use Nippon paint all the way, but paint is getting expensive, and as my savings dwindle, I had decided to look into more economical paint which are available in the market.

Here, I intend to share my experience painting the interior walls of my house, and how it feels using each paint, and probably give you an indication of which paint is better, longer lasting and my preferred.

Sealer and undercoat comparison: Nippon

Many do not know that using a good sealer and undercoat is vital to ensure the painting job is done according to ‘paint rules’.

Since I was hoping to complete the house with Nippon, I bought two types of Nippon sealer, and one type of Nippon undercoat.

From what I understand, sealers are the first layer of protection for cement painting, while undercoat is usually for wood and metal.

They function in similar way, which is to allow the premier (the paint colour I want to use) will stick.

I bought the the Nippon 5400 Wall Sealer for the external walls, and 5100 Wall Sealer for interior walls.

Both didn’t have much odour and could be applied with ease.

For the wooden doors and frames, I used the Nippon 9000 Undercoat which had a strong smell when applied.

Interior paint comparison: Nippon vs SMART vs KCC

A local hardware store here in Kuching, offers members up to 20 percent discount on paint products during promotion, with 8 percent discount on normal days.

The paint brands they sale include Dulux, Nippon, Smart and KCC.

Dulux is the most expensive, so I opted not to even consider the brand.

Nippon paint is the second most expensive, SMART paint is the second cheapest and KCC paint is the cheapest of the four.

When it comes to the interior of the house, I had used all three which I will explain in detail below.

Ceiling painting: Nippon vs SMART

For the ceiling, I initially used Nippon Matex, which is a popular emulsion paint meant specifically for the ceiling.

I asked the people at the Nippon van about the paint and they confirmed that Nippon Matex is indeed for ceiling and not really suitable for walls.  Ut can still be used for the wall but isn’t as good as their Easywash Topcoat which is the cheapest indoor paint they have (as claimed by the guy in the Nippon van).

Anyway, I bought Nippon Matex and started painting the ceiling with it.

I realized the paint is thick and dries fast. When used on a dry wall ceiling, I couldn’t roll it for too long when doing the first layer as it will peel.

I also felt the paint was hard to differentiate from the original ceiling and honestly didn’t like painting using Nippon Matex.  Adding some water made the paint easier to use, but I really had to mix it properly.

I then switched to SMART-paint (Toplus) emulsion paint, which when still wet, came out rather ‘blue’.  This allowed me to identify which part I hadn’t painted easier.

Also, the paint seems to be thinner and doesn’t dry as fast, allowing me to roll it on the ceiling a couple of times to get a good paint job.

That said, personally, I prefer SMART-paint for ceiling painting because it’s easier to apply and cheaper.

Interior wall paint comparison: Nippon vs KCC

When it comes to interior paint comparison, it was between nippon vs other brands.

Nippon interior paint, at least the the Easywash, is very expensive, selling over RM400 for every 16L.  If you are lucky, you’d get a discount, but still, it’s expensive.

KCC Vinyl Fresh is much cheaper. I bought KCC for the feature wall my wife requested. It didn’t have any easywash but was waterbase and claimed could avoid fungus.  Both paint brands I use for my interior had different properties and therefore a bit difficult.

Anyway, applying both paint brand was not difficult, but I found the Nippon Easywash to be rather thin and despite having an undercoat, and putting on two layers, it seemed inadequate.

So, I applied a third layer for every wall I painted with the brand.

The KCC was easy to apply as it was thick and I only needed two layers to make it turn out nicely for the feature wall.

Eventually, due to price, and despite this interior paint comparison between KCC and Nippon, I decided to paint other walls with Smar Paints Smartex Emultion Paint which cost just RM83 for 18L.

Exterior paint comparison: Nippon vs KCC

For exterior paint, I used Nippon and both KCC.

They are both expensive with Nippon, with their Nippon Weatherbond branding, being the more higher priced.

Both are easy to apply, but I can’t say which is better as both looked nice once already applied.

I can tell you this, the Nippon Weatherbond last for over 5 years since I did use it to paint my old house before the Covid Pandemic, and it still looks as good as new.

Tools for painting

There’s a lot of painting tools available in hardware shops, but I would strongly recommend the purchase of these items to ensure painting experience is better.

Professional Multifunctional Stainless Steel Paint Putty Knife Scraper

Thanks to the tool, I could use my paint roller countless times because I was able to properly dry my paint rollers without much effort. I could also do wall scrapping easily as well as the knife or scrapper has more than one function.

Paint mixer rod

Another good tool would be the paint mixer rod.  Some would be quick to point out that you don’t need this and could use a stick which would be cheaper.

However, if your painting job woudn’t finish a whole pail of paint in one single use, you will need to remix all the paint again, and this rod helps a lot.  On top of that, paint that is kept for a while also needs proper mixing and this tool really helps.

Wide putty knife/scrapper

A wide putty scrapper is also needed to seal cracks on the paint surface.  Using a wide putty scrapper allows you to fill the cracks and gaps evenly, allowing for a nice smooth surface when painting is done.

There is no doubt you can fill these gaps and cracks with a smaller putty knife/scrapper, but the results are better with a wide tool.

Nippon paint tape

To ensure different colours of paint don’t get mixed or painted over each other, I would recommend the Nippon paint tape as you see below.

Some people would recommend using masking tape as a replacement. However, based on my experience, paint still does seep under the tape, resulting in messy finishing and lines.  Nippon paint tape does a better job in avoiding this, and also not sticking too hard on the surface you want to protect from the paint works.

Other recommended painting tools

Other than the painting tools above, I recommend the following rollers and paint brushes as they are better in terms of quality and will result in better paint job.


This post is actually long overdue, and I am still painting the house. Progress has been slow, and I’ve reverted to not using Nippon paint due to cost.

The equipment above however is still being used until today and I do find it a good investment.

More updates on what I’ve done for my kampung house with the tag RumahPalingSijo.

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