The Best Paint Strippers For Wood & Metal Surfaces

Our handpicked selection of paste and gel paint strippers effortlessly tackle multiple layers of paint on a range of surfaces.
Tried & Tested: See Our Testing ↓
Written & Tested By: Edward Bailey | Updated:
best paint stripper
Edward Bailey/DIY Works
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A paint stripper makes light work of removing a range of paints because it breaks the bond between the paint and the surface. Therefore, rather than spending hours sanding the wood or metal surface, paint strippers can be applied in a matter of minutes and get to work straight away ready for removal (as shown in the image above).

It’s worth pointing out that due to stricter EU regulations that have been put in place, many paint strippers for both wood and metal are no longer as effective as they once were. This is because the main chemical used in most formulas (dichloromethane (DCM)) has been reduced due to safety concerns. However, on the plus side, this means that manufacturers have revisited their formulas to make them safer and more environmentally friendly.

To help you choose a suitable paint stripper, our hand-picked selection features top-performing formulas chosen through our first-hand experience stripping paint from wood and metal surfaces, testing and the latest research.

Rustins Strypit Varnish and Paint Stripper
Best Overall: Rustins Strypit
Polycell Maximum Strength Paint Stripper
Most Effective: Polycell Maximum Strength Paint Stripper
Biostrip Water Based Paint Stripper
Most Environmentally Friendly: Biostrip Water Based Paint Stripper
Nitomors Paint & Varnish Remover
Best Value: Nitomors Paint & Varnish Remover
Kling Strip Peel-It-Off Paint Stripper
Best Professional: Kling Strip Peel-It-Off
Paint Panther Paint & Varnish Remover
Best Value Runner-Up: Barrettine Paint Panther

How The DIY Works Team Tests & Rates The Paint Strippers

Removing paint from a range of substrates is a DIY task that we have plenty of experience with. From removing 50-year-old paint from an old metal gutter to multiple layers of skirting board paint, we’ve always had great success when using a quality paint stripper.

Therefore, to rate the paint strippers within this article, we based our recommendations upon our experience over the years as well as plenty of testing of the latest formulas.

Below are some photos we took during our testing of the paint strippers. As you can see, we tested the formulas on both wood and metal and below you can see the results. Both of the examples below had multiple layers of thick paint but the paint strippers we used powered through the layers with ease.

best paint stripper for metal

Edward Bailey/DIY Works
best paint stripper for wood

Edward Bailey/DIY Works
Best Paint Stripper UK

Edward Bailey/DIY Works

As well as testing the paint strippers, we also based our recommendations on our experience, plenty of research and a number of factors. Some of the factors that we took into consideration included effectiveness, ease of application, formulation, odour, compatibility of substrates, and value for money.

The Best Paint Strippers

At DIY Works, our content is 100% independent and we would never recommend a product that we wouldn't use ourselves (read our editorial standards and how we test products).

1. Best Overall: Rustins Strypit

(How We Review →)

The Rustins Strypit is a highly effective paint stripper that’s suitable for wood, metal, glass, plaster and stone surfaces. It’s a non-caustic dichloromethane-free gel formulation that’s safe to use but still performs to high expectations.

In terms of its stripping capabilities, Rustins state that it’ll strip paint, varnish, polyurethane, emulsion, polish and lacquer.

Pros
  • Non caustic dichlormethane free gel
  • Suitable for wood, glass, stone, plaster and masonry
  • Removes a range of tough paint types
  • Works well alongside of a heat gun (as shown in the main image of this article where tested this formula)
  • 500 ml container but available in other sizes
Cons
  • During our testing, we did find that we used a lot of the product whilst removing paint

Compared to many of the alternatives, the Rustins Strypit offers the best value for the money and provides highly effective stripping power. The only drawback is that it does require a generous amount of the product to remove thick layers of paint. However, it’s far cheaper than other formulas and is suitable for multiple surfaces.

2. Most Effective: Polycell Maximum Strength Paint Stripper

(How We Review →)

Polycell is a highly reputable brand in the UK and their maximum strength paint stripper is suitable for paint or varnish removal. It comes as a non-drip paste formulation, which the brand states gets to work in just 20 minutes.

In terms of the application of the paste, simply use a spatula to apply it to the painted surface and wait at least 20 minutes. You are then able to remove the paste, which will also remove the paint.

Pros
  • Strips up to 12 coats of paint in one application
  • Easy to apply and remove (water washable)
  • Non-drip paste formulation
  • Doesn’t require any scraping
  • Suitable for most types of paint or varnish
Cons
  • Relatively expensive when compared to the alternatives

To conclude, the Polycell paint stripper is an excellent all-round option that’s suitable for both wood and metal. The only main drawback is that it’s relatively expensive per 500 ml container of the paste.

3. Most Environmentally Friendly: Biostrip Water Based Paint Stripper

(How We Review →)

The water-based paint stripped by the Biostrip brand is another popular option that is also affordable. It’s also been recently improved by thickening the formula, which reduces wastage of the product and dripping.

In terms of its performance, per 500 ml of the paint stripper, it will remove 2 to 3 square metres of paint.

Pros
  • Environmentally friendly and safe to use
  • Available in a tub or spray on formula
  • Rub on clear gel formulation
  • Suitable for wood, stone, brick, metal, uPVC and glass
  • Removes water and oil based paints (as well as varnish and primer)
Cons
  • During our testing, we found that it produced a mild to strong odour
  • Not as effective as other chemical paint stripper formulas

To conclude, the Biostrip paint stripper is a safe to use formula that provides great results for a range of paint types. It’s not as aggressive as some of the other strippers but this makes it more environmentally friendly to use.

4. Best Value: Nitomors Paint & Varnish Remover

(How We Review →)

The Nitomoros formula is by far the most popular paint stripper for wood, metal or masonry. It’s a green-coloured non-drip gel that has a unique capability of changing colour once it’s ready to be removed from the surface.

In terms of performance, the brand states that it can safely remove up to 15 layers in just 2-3 applications.

Pros
  • 2.5 square metre coverage per litre
  • Fast cutting and non-drip formula
  • Ideal for vertical surfaces (due to its non-drip formulation)
  • Available in 350, 750 or 2,000 ml bottles
  • Green coloured gel that acts as an indicator
  • Suitable for wood, metal and masonry
  • Dichloromethane free and less volatile than other strippers
Cons
  • Compared to its previous generation (that we used successfully in a previous test), this newer formula isn't as strong, which results in less stripping power

To ensure that the paint stripper is safer to use, Nitomor has made changes to the formula over the years. This has resulted in less stripping power but it’s still a quality paint and varnish remover that is suitable for multiple surfaces. Compared to other paint strippers within our roundup, it also offers great value, which is always a great bonus.

5. Best Professional: Kling Strip Peel-It-Off

(How We Review →)

The Kling Strip brand has been manufacturing their formula in the UK since 1974, which means they know a thing or two about paint strippers. Their new and improved paint stripper is a “no scrape” remover that is ideal for multiple thick layers of tough paint. In terms of the substrates it can be used on, the brand states its suitable for woodwork, beams, fibrous plaster cornices, cast iron and much more.

Pros
  • Highly effective paste
  • Removes paint in one application
  • Doesn’t require any scraping
  • Suitable for multiple substrates
  • Coverage of 3 to 6 litres per square metre
  • Used by professionals across the UK
Cons
  • Requires up to 48 hours to get to work
  • Most expensive paint stripper within our roundup

Although expensive, the Kling Strip paint stripper is highly effective that is far better than a regular paint stripper. However, it’s not suitable for those that are looking to quickly remove paint as it needs to be left for up to 48 hours.

6. Best Value Runner-Up: Barrettine Paint Panther

(How We Review →)

The Paint Panther is another affordable paint and varnish remover that’s easy to apply and fast acting. In terms of its formulation, it’s a methylene chloride-free and non-drip gel that easily clears through multiple layers of paint.

Pros
  • Virtually odourless
  • Methylene chloride free and non-caustic
  • Non-drip gel formula
  • Easy to apply and remove
Cons
  • Only available in a large 2.5 litre tin

Overall, the Paint Panther formula is a cheap paint stripper that’s suitable for a wide variety of paint types and surfaces. Compared to similarly priced (by the litre) paint removers, it offers far more superior performance.

Conclusion

Rather than spending hours sanding or rubbing down paint, you can opt for a quality paint stripper. They are designed to completely clear multiple layers of paint without the need for manual labour.

All of the recommendations within this article are suitable for a range of paint types and surfaces. However, to avoid disappointment, we advise that you analyse the type of surfaces that the paint stripper is suitable for because some may be better on wood than they are at stripping paint from metal.

If you require further information regarding any of our paint stripper recommendations, feel free to get in touch and we will try to provide our assistance where possible.

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