Here's where I stand; i really couldn't say exactly how many smokers/ cookers I've painted over the years or how many brands of paint I've used. If I had to guess, it would be around 50? And 8? Maybe? My line of work requires that we have a blast room and paint booths, and as a customer appreciation/ promotion, I would repair and paint customers cookers before their Christmas parties , from approx '99 - ' 06. And these were always big 1000 gallon up cookers, plus our big cookers always had to look good for our parties, so they got cleaned up and touched up every year.
And I'd look at them come back the following year and the firebox would always be rusted where the paint burned off, and the Florida sun had always turned the rest of the cooker to a dull, chalky looking black. So every year, I would work all the paint vendors looking for a better paint, with price being no concern. I don't remember all of the product names, but during those years I was dealing with PPG, Lilly ( Valspar ) , Matin Sr. ( Napa ), Sherwen Williams Automotive, International , BLP Mobile, and a few others, and prices ranged from cheap to very expensive, but the results were identicle from each and every brand. The only real difference we found was in how we applied the paint, nothing from what brand we used. Even though one paint would be rated at 900 and another 1200, I never could see any difference at all, after a year, all the cookers looked exactly the way the did they did before.
So one year, due to not being able to wait three days for one of the vendors to special order in paint for us, we ran down the road and bought Rustoleum from Home Depot. Back then it was under $10 a quart and we had been paying between $60 and $90 a gallon from the vendors, and we found that it sprayed the same, looked the same and the results were the same.
So for all my personal cookers for about 10 years now, I've always used rustoleum, usually the satin mix, ...and been happy that I didn't waste any money paying for something that wasn't going to perform any better.
But I still would like to find a better product, not so much for heat resistance, but for gloss retention and easier clean up, and have been looking for any new products on the market. I feel that what I need is a product that has a semi or gloss shine to provide a more durable sealed finish over the porous flat or satin finishes I've tried before. There are several new names on the market, but after calling and questioning the tech line, appear to be basically the same products as all the others, with flat or Satin finishes. ( with the exception of two that I found that were out of the equation due to being over $100 a pint )
It does appear that there are some clear top coats that are now offered ( only found them in spray cans ) that have good heat resistance, might not hold up on firebox, but should work fine on cooking chamber. Problem is, for me, these seem to only be available in cases of 12, so to try it out, your looking at $140 , then another $140 for a case of their brand of base coat, and they say primer is needed, so another $120.00, For a bunch of spray cans, that price makes it hard to get excited about.
So, back to Rustoleum....locally, between Lowes, Home Depot, and Ace, Rustoleum is available in quarts in two different shine levels, flat black and satin, and these days run about $16.00 a quart. Or, one I have not tried yet, available from what the web site states, only in spray cans is rustoleum high heat ultra, and it states that it is rated at 1200* , and is a semi gloss and has a more durable finish ( what advertising states ) and has rust inhibitors built into the paint and does not need primer, just like all of rust oleum paint. At right at $40.00 a case of six, this might be the best route to go.
Has anyone used the Ultra?