Most people do not know the difference between acrylic paint and enamel, and sometimes end up using the wrong kind of paint for the job. The basic difference has to do with the paint's composition. As a general rule, enamel paint is usually oil based, or is composed of a drying enamel acid and alcohol. Acrylic paint is water based.
Comparison of Acrylic and Enamel Paint
In terms of durability, both paints provide excellent adhesion. In fact, enamel provides better adhesion to chalky or powdered surfaces than acrylic. But enamel based products may display a yellowish or faded appearance through the passage of time and exposure to extreme weather.
Color retention would have to be the strength of acrylic paint, and it is able to retain color and shine, even when exposed to direct sunlight. The same can be said for ease of application. Acrylic paint is easier to apply, and goes on smoothly with less brush drag. Fumes are also most noticeable on enamel paints, due to the solvent based ingredients that it contains.
The choice of paint to use will all depend on the substrate or area of application, but enamel paints are slowly being overtaken by the widespread use of acrylic paint, for most home and commercial applications.