Vinyl siding is something to consider, as opposed to painting, in certain situations. I should say at the start that I do not like vinyl siding. I think it looks cheap and makes what would otherwise be a beautiful house, cheap looking.
Having said that, there are times when it makes sense. Vinyl siding can be an inexpensive home improvement option. Especially if you are selling your home. The cost of vinyl siding is usually more then painting but if you consider that much of the expense of exterior house painting is the prep (labor), if you have a home that is going to require a lot of prep work you may want to consider vinyl siding to save costs.
The scenario that makes the most sense for vinyl siding is an old home requiring lots of repair and prep work and a home you don’t plan to live in for a long time.
Painting VS Vinyl Siding
Advantages of vinyl siding:
Installation is relatively fast.
Rigid foam backing insulation can be an option. Important on older homes.
It’s the least expensive siding option.
It doesn’t rot.
Disadvantages of vinyl siding:
Appearance. It is a plastic product.
It warps, bends, cracks, melts and is easily damaged.
It hides problems occurring under the siding like water damage.
You loose architectural detail of the home.
Can quickly fade.
While we are on the subject of painting vs vinyl siding I might add that the best siding option, if you can afford it, is Hardie Board siding. It is fiber cement siding and is extremely durable.
Vinyl siding is paintable by the way. One of the best coatings for that is a Benjamin Moore product called Revive.