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Aerosol and Bulk Paint Cost Comparison


"Could you give me a rough cost comparison for aerosol spray cans and bulk spray paint for field lining? We line multiple soccer fields and typically go through about 60 - 80 cases (12 cans/case) of aerosol paint each year. Can you tell me approximately how many cases of aerosol cans would be replaced by a 5 gallon bucket of bulk paint? I will need to justify the initial cost of a sprayer to our board. Thanks." Dave, MN soccer association

There are a couple variables that will affect the savings using bulk over aerosol paint. The amount of money spent on aerosol and the quality of bulk paint (ability to dilute bulk paint while maintaining good performance) and the price.

I like to use the following guidelines for cost comparisons. An aerosol can will generate a 200’ linear line while a diluted gallon of bulk paint will provide a 300’ linear line. To keep comparisons apples to apples you need to then determine the cost per linear foot (or 100 or 1000 feet). For bulk paints they will range from ready-to-use to a concentrate. Most bulk paints will use a ratio for paint dilution. The first figure is the water and the second is the paint, so a ratio of 4:1 will produce up to 25 gallons of diluted paint. Many times customer will only dilute the bulk paint to a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio for game day. A standard size soccer field has close to 3000 linear feet (360 x 300).

Aerosol versus Bulk Paint Comparison Table

of aerosol

Bulk Paint

Bulk Paint

Bulk Paint

Bulk Concentrate








2400 L. ft.

1500 L. ft.

3000 L. ft.

7500 L. ft.

15000 L. Ft

Cost/100 L. Ft.












As a general rule using bulk paint will save approximately 35% on supply costs. You do have some mixing and cleaning time to account for in the overall “cost” calculation. Another important factor is the quality of the line and how long it will hold up so you don’t have to pull a string line to restripe the field. Bulk paint coverage using airless pump field markers will provide a more distinctive and longer lasting line. Also this gives you an opportunity to use a plant growth regulator (PGR) which slows the growth of grass (not mowing off the line as quickly). Depending on the number of fields striped each week most organizations will recoup their field marker investment in 1-2 years.

References to PGRs:

Using your 60-80 cases example, I’ll use 70 cases which provides approximately 170,000 linear feet of coverage. From the bulk diluted gallon coverage of 300 linear feet it will require 510 gallons. For example using the Bulk Paint (4:1) solution you need approximately 100 gallons of paint or 20 pails at a total cost of $1,300.00 (versus $3,500 for aerosol).

More website reference material that may be useful.

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