The Best Header Paint: Top 10 Picks In 2021

First and foremost, headers and engine manifolds play a very important in a car. This is mainly because they’re the first exhaust parts that handle exhaust gases produced by the vehicle’s engine. 

If you want to enhance your engine’s performance, in the long run, you have to protect and maintain these components! The most effective way to achieve that being the use of the best header paint

Header paints ensure that exhaust systems and hot surfaces have an incredible performance. Not to forget that they’ll extend the life of your car as well as its engine. 

best header paint

However, when you head out to buy a header paint you should be very cautious! Especially when you want nothing but the best! 

Also, if you’re not careful, you may even end with regular paint! Trust us, that’s is the last thing you want! Regular paints can’t prevent your header from peeling off because of the extreme temperature! 

In Hurry! Then Check Our Expert Recommendations:

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Editor's Rating

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POR-15 Heat Temp Paint Reviews

Rustoleum High Heat Paint Review

VHT FLAMEPROOF Coating

Design Engineering Hi-Temp Silicone Coating

Rust-Oleum Automotive High Heat Primer

Rust-Oleum Automotive High Heat Primer

POR-15 Heat Temp Paint Reviews

POR-15 Heat Temp Paint Reviews

VHT FLAMEPROOF Coating

VHT FLAMEPROOF Coating

What’s the best way to go then? Which is the best high temp exhaust paint in the market today? And how do I choose one! 

Relax! Seeing that you’re reading this article, you’re definitely in the right place! Continue reading and you’ll get a detailed answer about any question on header paints you may have! 

But first, here are the 10 header paints you can buy at this moment! 

The Best Header Paint Reviews:

1. Rustoleum Automotive High Heat Spray Paint

Rustoleum Automotive High Heat Spray Paint

Internal parts of any car require quality service, right? Well, that’s exactly what this Rust-Oleum header paint offers! Even better, this spray paint provides a durable, tough protective enamel that ensures long-lasting surface protection. 

One thing you should know about internal parts like manifold headers and exhaust systems is that they’re subjected to severe temperatures. Therefore, they need to be coated with a paint that can withstand high temperatures.

Luckily, these spray paints can withstand temperatures of up to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. Not to forget that it remains unchanged for a very long time. 

You’ll also love how simple spraying this paint on the selected element is! The product comes in a very convenient 12 oz spray can with an all-angle spray nozzle, including upside down, and still get excellent results! This makes it easy and comfortable to apply the paint from any angle, ensuring that you always get accurate and clean results. 

After application, the paint dries fully in 30 minutes, forming a thick, durable protective finish. Best of all, this layer ensures a fresh and slick look that does not fade away over time. While we’re still on the application, it’s worth noting that this spray paint has a maximum coverage of about 10 sq. ft. 

Another thing that threatens the durability of the car’s internal components is rust! Thankfully, the thick layer formed by this spray paint is rust-resistant. In addition, this paint is also resistant to grease, oil, hot gas as well as other environmental elements like humidity and salts. In short, this header paint is one way to extend the lifetime of your vehicle’s internal parts! 

Considering this paint’s incredible articulation, it’s easy to understand why it has become a popular option among many users. Besides, it’s one of the most affordable options, especially for touch-ups! Hope rustoleum high heat paint review can help you to buy header paint.

Pros 

  • Resists rust, oil, and hot gas
  • Dries quickly
  • Reasonably priced 
  • Creates a durable finish 
  • Convenient application 

Cons 

  • Requires 3 separate cures 

2. Design Engineering Hi-Temp Silicone Coating 

Design Engineering Hi-Temp Silicone Coating

Sometimes, when you’re looking for quality high-temperature paint, you might have to spend a little extra! Luckily, with this header paint from Design Engineering, that is not that case! Indeed, this paint is affordable, and has high quality! 

This header paint is specifically designed for metal applications and its coating guarantees durable protection. More importantly, the coating remains unchanged even when subjected to temperatures of up to 1500 degrees F. Although, engine cylinders rarely reach such temperatures, it’s always good to be prepared in case such situations occur! 

In addition to high-temperature tolerance, this paint ensures that your header is protected from oil, rust, and dirt particles. Thus prolonging the durability of exhaust wrap and giving it long-lasting protection. Besides, the coating is VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) compliant in every state in the USA. 

Another thing that makes this paint stand out from the rest is its versatility. So, while it’s mainly used for headers, you can also spray it on other objects, including your kitchen grill. 

Regarding the packaging, this paint comes in a 12 oz spray can that’s very comfortable to use. However, after application, it’s recommended that you expose the paint to a temperature of about 400 degrees F for two hours for it to cure fully.

Also, you should let it cool before you apply another coat. Observe these requirements at all times when you’re the remaining two coats.

Other than that, if you want a high-quality header paint that can tolerate high temperature, Design Engineering Silicone Coating is a great option. Also, the fact that you can use it on other objects as well, makes it a very versatile paint! 

Pros 

  • Works on many objects 
  • Extends the header’s lifespan 
  • Offers protection from dirt, grease, oil, rust, and road grime 

Cons

  • Requires at least 3 coats 
  • A bit difficult to clean 

3. Krylon KA8649007

Krylon KA8649007

Coating your headers and exhaust systems in ceramic will enhance their heat resistance. Even better, it prevents them from being damaged or tarnished by high temperatures. Interestingly, this Krylon KA8649007 header paint will help you accomplish that! Thanks to the several outstanding features it comes with! 

For starters, this coating can withstand temperatures of up to 2000 deg Fahrenheit. Thus making it ideal for use on various high-temperature applications. It can cover any car surface that needs an extreme heat coating like headers and exhaust systems. In return, it will extend the life and renew those surfaces. 

Besides, this silicone ceramic header paint provides a professional-grade, flat finish. Yet it’s quite simple to apply since it comes in a convenient 12 oz. spray can. Even better, the spray can is fitted with an EZ Touch Conical nozzle. This ensures lesser finger fatigue and more comfort during application. Also, this means that you can apply the spray paint both vertically and horizontally at any angle. 

That aside, this spray paint takes 1 hour to dry to touch after application. However, we’d recommend that you give the coated surface at least 3 hours before you can handle it. Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that this ceramic paint is intended for use on metal surfaces only. 

Pros 

  • Black matte finish 
  • Extremely high-temperature resistance 
  • Convenient application 
  • Extends the longevity of headers & exhaust systems 

Cons 

  • Extremely flammable 
  • Eye irritant 

4. Rust-Oleum Automotive High Heat Primer 

Rust-Oleum Automotive High Heat Primer

Over the years, Rust-Oleum has cemented its place as one of the best manufacturers of primers and paints in the industry. As such, it’s should not come as a surprise that this is yet another of their product on our list! Indeed, this Automotive High Heat Primer is a reputable brand that will protect your car’s internal components from high temperatures! 

That being said, should you only buy this product because it’s from a reputable brand? Of course not! Thankfully, this spray paint offers many other incredible features.

The most unique feature being that it can withstand temperatures of up to 2000 degrees F. So, with this spray paint, your car’s exhaust pipes will remain in good shape for many years to come. 

Moreover, as the name suggests this product is a ‘primer’! If you’re familiar with painting jobs, then you know that primers are ideal for many types of tasks.

Therefore, apart from using this primer on car parts, you can also use it on walls, furniture, and other surfaces! In other words, this header paint is extremely versatile! Besides, using a primer increases the actual paint’s adherence to the surface. Thus ensuring that the paint does not peel off or chip away. 

It’s also worth mentioning that this primer has an oil-based formula. This enables to prevent rust and corrosion from spreading across the metal’s surface. 

Similar to the Rust-Oleum header paint above, this primer comes in a 12-oz can. It has an all-angle tip design that enables you to apply it over your car’s header effortlessly.

Moreover, this can contain enough paint to cover a maximum area of about 12 sq. ft. It takes 30 minutes to dry to the touch, and you can even apply a top coat after just 1 hour. 

Overall, if you want the best exhaust paint, this one from Rust-Oleum is the way to go! It’s specifically designed for use on engine blocks, mufflers, and head pipes. 

Pros 

  • Smooth topcoat finish 
  • Prevents rust 
  • Works on various metal objects 
  • Easy application 
  • Tolerates high temperature 

Cons 

  • Not ideal for brake calipers 

5. POR-15 Heat Temp Paint

POR-15 Heat Temp Paint Reviews

All header paints we’ve looked at so far come in a spray can, but that’s not the case with this POR-15 paint. Instead, the packaging of this header paint is a bit unique since it comes in a bucket! To be precise, it’s available in an 8 fl oz. bucket. 

For that reason, to apply this paint, you’ll need a brush. However, don’t let that make you think that it’s like those regular paints that come in buckets. In fact, this product has many great features that will mesmerize you! 

To begin, with this paint you don’t need to be concerned about the paint peeling off or chipping away after application. This is primarily because it has an oil-based formula that gives it better adherence to the surface. 

Moving on, this paint gives excellent results when used in exhaust systems and hot surfaces by keeping them fit for a long time. Thanks to its heat-resistant and high-temperature formulation.

This coating can protect metal surfaces from temperatures of up to 1200 degrees F. for this reason, you can use it on different types of metal surfaces such as exhausts, stacks, headers, and manifolds. 

The other benefit of using this coating is that it can tolerate various weather elements as well as humidity. This means that the coating will remain unblemished even if you live or visit a humid area. Besides, it resists mild industrial fumes and salts.  

Another great thing about this paint is that it’s available in 3 different colors; black, gray, and aluminum. This means you can choose your favorite color to make your old engine manifold look brand new again! 

As for the drying time, this paint takes 4 hours to dry to touch, and you can even apply the second coat after 24 hours. However, this will be determined by the humidity and ambient temperature. 

With that in mind, if you want a header paint that resists chipping, cracking, and peeling off, we recommend that you try out this POR-15 paint! 

Pros

  • Excellent adhesion 
  • Available in multiple colors 
  • Weather- and salt-resistant 
  • Ideal for all weather conditions 

Cons 

  • Can peel off if not properly baked 

6. VHT FLAMEPROOF Coating 

VHT FLAMEPROOF Coating 

If VHT Header paint reviews are something to go by, then this VHT FLAMEPROOF Coating is one of the most demanded header paints in the market. Besides, this brand has a massive loyal customer base and an amazing reputation. And that’s how this product has made it on this list. 

But why is this exhaust paint so popular among many customers worldwide? Well, here are some of its amazing features! 

Firstly, this paint forms one of the most durable coatings on headers you’ll ever see. All thanks to its silicon and ceramic finishing. This helps to prevent rust formation on the header, thus increasing its durability as well.

Also, this means that using this product will help you save a lot of money since you don’t have to paint your exhaust pipes or headers regularly. 

In addition to ensuring quality, this coating gives your header an appealing appearance. It forms a beautiful matte finish look after drying up. Not to forget that the paint is also available in various colors that you can choose from, something you don’t see in most header paints out there. This is another reason that has made it so popular among users today. 

Things don’t even end there!

VHT FLAMEPROOF coating can withstand temperatures of between 1300 and 2000 degrees F when cured properly! So, you can rest assured that the paint will stay intact even when subjected to extreme temperatures. Besides, this makes it a perfect option for use in exhaust systems, headers, inside heads as well as piston domes. 

Regarding the application, this paint is quite simple to apply since it comes in a convenient 11 oz. spray can. Best of all, once you coat the surface with this paint, it will protect it from rust for a long time. 

Don’t spend your hard-earned money on some ineffective header paints! Instead, consider buying this coating from VHT. An incredible and prominent brand that is trusted by many users for their cars’ exterior and interior operations! 

Pros 

  • Very affordable 
  • Offers an appealing matte finish 
  • Works on many metallic items 
  • Long lifespan 

Cons 

  • Ideal for internal parts only

7. PJ1 16-HIT Hi-Temp Spray Paint 

PJ1 16-HIT Hi-Temp Spray Paint

PJ1 High Temp spray paint is considered the best high temp header paint for engines at the moment. That shouldn’t come as a surprise though, seeing that it was originally intended for NASA’s re-entry spacecraft. So, if you want a high temp spray paint for the exhaust manifold system, this product is such a great option. 

To be precise, this formula can withstand temperatures of around 1500 deg Fahrenheit. This makes it a great option for use in headers. Moreover, its ability to resist cracking and peeling under humid conditions is outstanding. In addition, it protects the surface from corrosion and rust. 

As for the formulation, this spray paint is made of 2 different properties; ceramic and silica. The Ceramic-based formula gives the headers a flat, black matte finish. While silica allows the paint to bond with the header surfaces for a long time.

Besides, it contracts when the metal surface cools down and expands when heated. Such abilities help it to resist chipping, scratching, and cracking. 

When it comes to application, make sure you clean the surface before you spray the paint. Interestingly, you don’t need to prime the surface before application. So, once you’re done preparing the surface, simply spray the paint onto the header. Then leave it for about 30 minutes to dry. To give your headers a flat black finish, you may have to apply at least five coats. 

Despite having all these incredible features, this spray paint is quite affordable. Moreover, you can buy it in packs of 1, 2, 3, or 4 (12 oz.), depending on the size of your project. 

Pros 

  • Superior durability
  • Resists chipping, cracking & scratching 
  • Extreme heat applications 
  • Protects surfaces from rust & corrosion 
  • Reasonable price 

Cons 

8. KBS Coatings 65428 XTREME Temperature Coating 

KBS Coatings 65428 XTREME Temperature Coating

KBS Coatings provides Xtreme Temperature Coating and Silicone Zinc primer. These products will give your exhaust and headers a great look and durable finishes. Note, this coating is available in 10 colors, giving you enough options to choose from. 

Another notable feature of this white header paint is that it has unique packaging. Unlike most coating we’ve reviewed so far, this product comes in a 1 quart gallon container. Nonetheless, you can still find it in a spray can form.

More notably, it’s available in 1 gallon as well as 5-gallon containers for large projects. This paint has different forms of application including spraying, brushing, and rolling. 

Moving on to heat resistance, this model can tolerate temperatures of around 500 – 1500 deg Fahrenheit. While the primer has a heat resistance of about 1200 deg Fahrenheit.

Moreover, the coating provides incredible adhesion and heat shock resistance at different temperatures. For those reasons, it will not burn off, blister, get discolored or peel off easily. 

Besides, this professional-quality paint has great corrosion and weather resistance as well. However, to ensure rust protection, you’ve to use both the primer and the coating. On the same note, the exact number of coats will depend on the coarseness of your surface.

Talking of surface, this paint is ideal for use on various substrates. Apart from headers and exhaust systems, you can use them for other applications. For instance, you can use it to paint BBQ grill, wood-burning stove, stovepipe, and so on. 

Pros 

  • Available in 10 color options 
  • Comes in both spray and brush-on form 
  • Doesn’t blister, peel or fade easily
  • Professional quality high heat resistant coating 

Cons 

  • Emits powerful fumes 

9. Eastwood High Temp Coating

Eastwood High Temp Coating

Having been around for more than 40 years, Eastwood is one of the most popular car paint brands in the world. They produce various products for automotive finish including this high temp coating. On the same note, it’s considered the best paint for headers and exhaust manifolds. 

But, what is so unique about this coating? 

First, as we’ve already mentioned, this product has a ceramic-based formula. In simpler terms, ceramic is one of the main ingredients used in its formulation. This helps it form a permanent bond with surfaces even when exposed to high temperatures.

Therefore, applying this coating will give your surfaces a durable protective layer. Best of all, you can either use it to coat in internal or outer exhaust systems. 

In terms of packaging, Eastwood High Temp Coating comes in an 11.75 oz. spray can. Surprisingly, the can contains enough paint to cover about 6 ft sq. However, if you’re covering a large area, we’d recommend you choose the 1-pint can, which covers around 12 sq feet. Alternatively, you can just buy at least 2 spray cans based on the size of your painting project. 

As for heat resistance, this coating will not chip or peel off when exposed to the heat of up to 1400 deg Fahrenheit. Also, since it’s made with a ceramic coating, you don’t need a primer when applying it. Yet it will give your header and exhaust system a durable coating. 

All things considered, this header paint is ideal for professionals and beginners alike. Moreover, its ceramic coating forms a strong bond that can withstand high-temperature conditions. 

Pros 

  • Ideal for high heat and humid environments 
  • Available in aerosol and 1-pint cans 
  • Suitable for beginners & professionals. 
  • Provides a superior quality coating 
  • Forms a strong, durable bond with metal surfaces 

Cons 

  • Not suitable for use on a fire pit and other high heat surfaces 

10. Seymour 16-1203 High-Temperature Paint 

Seymour 16-1203 High-Temperature Paint 

Apart from being the best paint for exhaust headers, Seymour is the most versatile product on our list. It’s suitable for high-heat surfaces like furnaces, mufflers, diesel stacks, and manifolds. 

On top of that, this formulation is VOC compliant. Like other products from Seymour, it doesn’t contain lead, mercury, or chromates. Instead, it has high-solids and waterborne resins rather than the conventional solvent-based polymers. 

Nonetheless, this header paint forms a high-tech, durable porcelain-like bond. It maintains that bond even when exposed to severe temperatures of up to 1200 deg Fahrenheit. Also, the layer offers incredible resistance against humidity, salt spray, gasoline, rust, and grease. Moreover, it doesn’t fade, discolor, blister, peel off, or lose adhesion.

Since this hi-temp paint comes in a 12 oz. spray can, applying it to your exhaust header is quite simple. You don’t even have to apply a primer to the surface. Moreover, the spray can have an innovative nozzle, allowing you to spray the paint at the exact spot with ease. 

In terms of color options, this header paint is available in aluminum, white and black. On the downside, these colors will only restore your vehicle’s headers to their initial OEM color. Other than that, this coating can tolerate extremely high temperatures on drying. It’s suitable for use on furnaces, metal fireplaces, grills, boilers, and engine headers. 

Pros 

  • Resists discoloration, peeling, and blistering 
  • Withstand temperatures of up to 1200 deg F. 
  • VOC compliant 
  • Available in 3 different color options 
  • Resistant to chemicals and gasoline 
  • Suitable for use in various high heat applications 

Cons 

  • Has to be heat cured for 2 hours at 400 deg F. 

Header Paint Buyer’s Guide: what to look before buying

When you head to buy a product do you just buy the one that catches your eyes first? To most people, we’re very certain that the answer is: NO! Actually, there are certain aspects and features that many buyers look out for! 

The same case applies to header paints. You shouldn’t just buy a header paint just because the manufacturer claims it’s the best exhaust paint.

Instead, take your time to determine whether that paint meets your needs. By doing so, you’ll get value for your money, and most importantly, choose a product that suits your needs. 

With that in mind, here are the important factors you should watch out for when buying the best header paint: 

Temperature Resistance 

Since the car’s header is located near the engine, it’s subjected to extremely high temperatures from time to time. Sometimes, the temperature may even go as high as 1000 degrees F. But this is not surprising seeing that heat is generated in the engine and all the works take place there. 

best high temp exhaust paint

Unfortunately, regular paints cannot withstand such heat levels and they tend to varnish when surfaces reach such temperature. This is why we have header paints in the first place. Even so, all brands of header paints in the market don’t have the same temperature resistance. 

Ideally, don’t go for a header paint that can’t withstand more than 1200 degrees F. Instead, go with options that can tolerate temperatures of between 12oo and 2000 degrees F. 

Chipping Resistance 

While we’re still on resistance, it’s good to ensure that the header paint doesn’t chip away after a short time. Luckily, most header paints, including the ones we’ve listed above, have this property. 

However, you shouldn’t ignore this factor at all! If the header paint chips away, then your car’s header will be subjected to other issues like rust.

And we’re very certain that’s not what you want. Please do your due diligence to make sure the paint resists cracking and chipping off before you settle on a certain product. 

Application 

Everyone wants a product that they can easily use without putting any extra effort, right? Well, then look for header paint that allows the convenient application. Thankfully, there are so many models out there, with spray paint offering the easiest application option.

It’s one of the best options for starters. They make the application process smoother and faster since you only need to hold down the can’s nozzle and spray! 

Alternatively, you can opt for a product that involves the use of brushes during application. The main benefit of using a brush is that it minimizes the mess created by spraying.

However, the best application method is a matter of the user’s needs and preferences. So, choose the method that you find more convenient for you. 

Affordability 

Once you decide to buy a header paint, you’ll realize one thing; different paints have different prices! Some being very costly, with others being very pocket-friendly.

But does this mean that the costly ones have better quality than the affordable ones? No and No..! In fact, you can still find an affordable header paint that also has high quality.

Now, that’s the one you should be going for. That way, you’ll be getting superior header paint and still save some bucks! 

Benefits of Using a Header Paint 

best paint for exhaust

After going through the top header paints out there, do you even know why you should use them in the first place? Do they add any value to your car? 

If you’re having such questions in your mind, then you’ll be glad to know that using a good header paint benefits your car in many ways. Some of those benefits are; 

1. Improves the Header’s Heat Tolerance 

As you know, exhaust gases leaving the engine cylinders are usually very hot. What you may not know is that the exhaust system and catalytic converter depends on that heat to operate optimally. Therefore, headers are subjected to severe temperatures once in a while. 

For that reason, headers should also be able to withstand such temperatures and still operate well. However, headers are not that good at resisting the heat from the exhaust system. Thus exposing them to damage from severe temperature and heat emission. 

Luckily, the header paint gives the header a thick protective coating that can tolerate very high temperatures. So, by applying the header paint, you improving the heat tolerance and stability of the header in general. 

2. Prevent Rust and Discoloration 

Excessive heat generated by car engines causes their headers to get corroded over time since they’re usually crafted from steel. This makes the header surface to get discolored and vulnerable to rust. However, by applying quality header paint you can easily avoid this problem.

The paint insulates the header and protects it from heat and exhaust gases that might corrode it. 

3. Improved Car Performance 

A header does a very good job of preventing excessive heat in the exhaust system from seeping out to other parts. However, if it’s not well painted or coated, heat tends to leak to the components surrounding the engine compartment.

This eventually damages these parts, thus hindering the car’s overall performance. On the other hand, when the header is coated with quality header paint, such problems will not occur. Instead, it will take part in improving the engine’s efficiency, horsepower, and overall car performance. 

4. Enhanced Virtual Appearance 

Apart from improving the car’s performance, the header paint also improves the physical appearance of the header. The coating makes the header look more professional by giving it that polished and stylish look. 


Frequently Answer Questions 

How long does a painted header last? 

A well-painted header can stay in good shape for about 3 years or more. For that reason, header paints have become a very important element to every car owner who wants to maintain their car’s engine and exhaust systems. 

Which is better: stainless steel or ceramic headers? 

In terms of appearance, ceramic headers are way more appealing than stainless steel headers. However, when it comes to rust resistance and durability, stainless steel headers are the better option! 

Do header paints over protection against sun’s UV rays? 

Header paints protect exhaust systems and metal surfaces from high temperature and weather elements. But there is no supportive information indicating that they offer UV protection. 

How do you cure header paint? 

When applying a header paint, there are many steps that one should follow. One of them being curing the header paint appropriately. So, after applying the coating, let it dry for about one hour.
To ensure the paint has cured fully, heat cure at about 450 degrees F for an hour. It’s worth mentioning that the paint may emit harmless odor smoke during this process. When the first coat has completely cured, you can now apply another coat. 

Will a header paint tolerate salty water? 

This usually depends on the manufacturer because they are some that withstand salty water, while others cannot. 

Final Word

The best header paint is the one that offers a simple, affordable way to protect your car’s header and other components that are subjected to extreme temperatures. It also keeps your exhaust and engine systems safe by preventing rust, dust particles, and other types of damage.

After going through this article, we’re certain you’re now familiar with all the benefits of using header paint. 

However, in order to enjoy those benefits, you must invest in quality header paint. Thankfully, each and every header paint on our list qualifies as a quality product! As such, you can rest assured that they extend the lifetime of your headers and even boost the overall performance of your car! 

Up Next: The Importance of Wax and Grease Remover on Auto Undercoat and Top Coat

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