How To Color Match Paint: Color Sensor Product Review
We’ve all been there – a scrape on the wall, a worn spot on the trim, peeling baseboards – and that cringy feeling when that precious can of color matched touch up paint is either missing, dried up or rusted shut. And now you have to buy more, somehow – when you don’t remember the finish, the paint color, or even where you bought it because the label is faded, paint-coated or gone.
If it’s been that long that the paint can is rusted shut, here’s some consolation – your touch ups would have looked hideous.
So…that’s a consolation? (You wonder, “If that’s a consolation, what are your criticisms like?!”) If I can help one soul work less with a better result, yes, that’s a consolation. Tough love, I’d call it. Consider yourself hugged.
But what if my latex paint is old…how do I know it it’s bad? Well, how do you know if milk is bad? It’s not that different. Bad paint smells rancid. Bad milk smells putrid. Believe me, you’ll know the difference when the lid comes off. It’s foul, and it offends. It’s a curdled whiff of disappointment. And you’d no sooner dip your Oreos in it than you would that lumpy milk.
That said, now you need to buy new paint. But what color is it? You know it’s not hospital white, it’s a little creamier, almost buff. Antique white? Bone? French vanilla? A trip to the hardware store, three minutes looking at paint chips, and the matching color will be obvious, right? And while you’re there, just grab a gallon of tan for wall touch ups. It’ll be close enough.
Um, no. These touch ups will look hideous, too. New paint is necessary, but you like the color, whatever it is – whatever the fancy name for “tan” is now.
If you don’t want to paint your entire room (you’ll have to at least paint your entire wall), a lesson in how to color match paint is in order.
Carve out a 2″ x 2″ piece of drywall with your desired paint color on it and bring it to the hardware store.
You don’t want to do that? I wouldn’t either. Then I’d have to patch the drywall, retexture it, prime it and paint it with the color, hoping they can match it. Seems like five steps back for one step forward.
Better yet…there are tech products available pledging an end to the grief of manual color sampling and matching. Let’s take a look.
The Nix Mini is smaller than a ping-pong ball, and reportedly captures color accurately from virtually any solid surface .5″ or larger. Nix products isolate the sensor from ambient light, which has a variable effect on color identification. Of the 15 reviews for Nix Mini on Amazon.com, 67% were 5 stars, 4 star: 13%, 3 star 0%, 2 star 7% and 1 star 13%. Of the 14 reviews for Nix Pro on Amazon.com, 64% were 5 stars, 4 star: 14%, 3 star 0%, 2 star 0% and 1 star 22%. Negative comments for the Nix Mini centered mostly around consistent match detection; one complaint indicated iOS app was not available at time of purchase, however, it was available as of the date of this review. Positive comments confirmed accuracy of color match detection for their purposes. Negative reviews for the Nix Pro were counterbalanced by additional more positive comments by other reviewers. Eight additional reviews for the Pro model were published on the manufacturer’s website, 4.9 out of 5 stars.
Free shipping offered with Prime membership for both products.
Price on Amazon:
Sold by: Nix Sensor Ltd.
Average Customer Rank:
Nix Mini: 3.8 out of 5 stars
Nix Pro: 4 out of 5 stars
- Lightweight, wireless, portable and comfortable to handle
- Matches may be obtained from any surface greater than .5″ (textile, wall, tile, etc.)
- Color values include: RGB, CMYK
- Digital color data may be imported into Photoshop or Illustrator with free Android or iOS app
- Stores thousands of color matches
- Blocks ambient light and provides own calibrated light source for more accuracy
Nix Pro (additional features):
- On-the-spot color conversions
- Color values include: RGB, CMYK, CIELAB, ACES
- Color differences are provided in Delta-E76 and Delta-E2000
- Ability to import custom color libraries into Pro App
- Although Pantone colors are not native in the library, converting to Pantone is available thorough website
- 3000 scan/6 month standby battery life
Where to Buy:
The Nix Pro is also available for the same price on Nixsensor.com.
Color matching and collection is possible with this lower cost portable scanning tool. Like the Nix tools, Color Muse claims to identify color data from virtually any surface – paint, flooring, home textiles, clothing – and match the color to products in its manufacturer library. Of the 106 reviews for Color Muse on Amazon.com, 63% were 5 stars, 4 star: 13%, 3 star 2%, 2 star 5% and 1 star 12%. Negative comments for Color Muse primarily cited unreliable connectivity with application, poor user instructions and delivery of multiple, rather than exact, matches. Positive comments confirmed accuracy of color match detection for their purposes, as well as suitability to coordinate colors among accessories or surfaces.
- Lightweight and portable
- Connects to smartphone app via bluetooth
- Paint and textile colors scanned and matched with free iOS or Android app
- Data color values for popular paint and textile manufacturers available
- Blocks ambient light and provides LED light source for more accuracy
- Returns RGB, CIE Lab and LCh in D50 light and CIE2000 and HSB
Where to Buy:
Capture colors from any surface, including multicolored and textured fabrics, and match to Pantone color with the Pantone Capsure. Of the 18 reviews on Amazon, 55% were 5 stars, 4 star: 17%, 3 star 0%, 2 star 28% and 1 star 0%. Reviews were mixed, with an average of 3.7 out of 5 stars. Critical ratings included issues with matching accuracy, limitations in color library to Pantone data only, result variation due to lighting, and value for the price. Positive reviews conveyed ease of use and accuracy in graphic and design applications. Free shipping is offered with Amazon Prime.
- Libraries: Pantone fashion, home interior, Pantone Plus Series Formula Guide, CMYK, Pantone Goe systems
- Broad industry use: graphic design, printing, publishing, home interiors, fashion
- sRGB, Adobe RGB, HTML, Lab and XYZ
- 100 color captures with vocal annotation capability and time/date stamping
- 10,000+ color Pantone library
- Synchronization with Adobe Creative Suite applications
- Bluetooth connectivity
Where to Buy:
So whatever your need for matching your wall paint color, these products claim to provide cost effective, portable and reliable technological solutions – beyond wall paint, to home furnishings, textiles and clothing. Although the Pantone Capsure does not offer non-Pantone library colors, nor does it store more than 100 captures – it has a broader application, with stated effectiveness in graphic design, publishing and multimedia use. At all price points, all four products utilize scanning technology designed to align with color valuation methods and manufacturer’s paint color palettes…so to find the real name for that “tan” paint color on your wall, or that “off-white” on your trim? With today’s technology – it’ll be a snap!
Share your paint-matching stories below…I’d love to hear them!
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally or believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”