Benjamin Moore prides itself on the quality of the paint it creates. However, in order to meet the various needs of the marketplace, Benjamin Moore has multiple quality levels. After all, the needs and interests of an apartment owner or builder are very different than those of a mother with children.
Benjamin Moore produces four main quality levels of its interior paints. In order of ascending quality levels, they are: Super Hide, Super Spec, Regal and Aura. The labels of all four say "Benjamin Moore" but they are also clearly labeled with the product name so with this information you'll be able to ensure you get the right product.
Super Hide is the bottom of the line. It is considered builder's grade paint and is intended only to cover well and quickly. Builder's use it because it is cheap and it touches up really well. The problem is that it needs to touch up really well. Benjamin Moore Super Hide has almost no durability and while not entirely true, I consider it "clay water". It is intended to paint new homes that are expected to be repainted with a higher quality product in a fairly short period of time. Super Hide comes in flat, eggshell and semi-gloss and can be tinted to any color. Many low-end painters will substitute Super Hide Eggshell thinking that it is just as good as the Regal products and the customer will never know. Don't let this be you.
Super Spec is the next step up. Benjamin Moore Super Spec is definitely better than Super Hide. It was developed for commercial uses where cost is a factor and durability or quality isn't as important. Low-end painters will also substitute Super Spec for Regal products, too, and is also something to be wary of. Super Spec comes in flat, eggshell and semi-gloss and can be tinted to any color.
The Regal line is Benjamin Moore's premium paint line, and before Aura it was their best. The Regal products built Benjamin Moore into the reputable paint company it is today. And these products do keep changing. Benjamin Moore has reformulated these products numberous times over the years to keep improving them. Overall, the Regal products are fantastic and compare well to any other premium paint brand on the market. Benjamin Moore Regal comes in flat, matte, eggshell, pearl, semi-gloss and high-gloss and can be tinted to any color. Benjamin Moore Matte and Benjamin Moore Eggshell are the most popular interior finishes for walls because they are washable and Benjamin Moore Semi-Gloss is the most popular finish for trim, baseboards and doors. These finishes are also referred to as Regal Flat, Aquavelvet (eggshell), Aquapearl (pearl) and Aquaglo (semi-gloss).
Finally, the finest paint Benjamin Moore makes is Aura. Aura is unlike any other paint on the market. Benjamin Moore Aura paint is super-durable, does not require primer, will cover any color in no more than two coats, is low-odor and environmentally friendly and just looks richer for any color. Popular Science dubbed it one of the best new products of 2007. Aura comes in interior matte, eggshell and satin finishes. In the spring of 2008 Benjamin Moore will add an interior semi-gloss and exterior Aura products.
With this information you will be better informed about the various paint quality options. Unless you are a builder trying to cut costs, you should use the best paint available. Relative to the overall cost of painting -- selecting your colors, tearing your home apart and living with the inconvenience, and expending the effort or expense of actually painting -- the paint itself is the least expensive part, and the difference between the best can of paint and the cheapest often only amounts to the cost of lunch or dinner one day. So given that on average you will live with the paint in your home for seven years, cutting corners on the paint quality doesn't make much sense.