10 Best Paint Primers in 2020

best overall rating
  • Range of different sizes
  • Can be used on a whole load of surfaces
  • No need for sanding
premium choice rating
  • Can be applied to slick surfaces
  • Suitable for interior and exterior surfaces
  • Can bond to difficult surfaces too
great value rating
  • Will cover 300-400 square feet
  • Will get rid of any stains and odors
  • Suitable for most surfaces

If you’re planning on painting any room or even any wall in your house, then you will need a paint primer. Paint primers are a must if you’re planning on doing this, because they are able to add an under color to the wall.  If you’re planning on changing your wall color from a dark shade to a lighter shade then you will need to invest in a paint primer to help make the transition from the darker color to the lighter one.

Not only this, but they also have a range of other benefits, like the fact that it will make the paint a lot more durable and it will also make the paint stick to the walls better. We’ve put together a list of all of the best paint primers that are online, to help guide you about what ones you should consider purchasing.

View the Best Paint Primer, Below.

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1. Rust-Oleum 286258 Primer

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This paint primer comes in a whole range of different sizes; you can either purchase it in 1 quart, 4 pack or 31.5 oz. It can actually be used inside as well as outdoors too, and it can also be used on a whole range of surfaces that includes drywall, concrete, wood, metal, and even more difficult surfaces.

It's a water-based formula that is able to stick to a surface without you needing to sand it. One really useful feature is that is can actually dry within just 30 minutes so you won't have to wait for ages waiting for it to dry.

Why We Like It
  • Range of different sizes
  • Can be used on a whole load of surfaces
  • No need for sanding
  • Dries quickly
  • Makes colored paint look vibrant
Volume
31.5 oz
Type
Water-based primer
Interior or Exterior?
Both
Our Verdict

We liked this paint primer because it doesn’t take long to dry at all meaning you can even paint your wall on the same day.

Editor Rating
premium choice rating

2. KILZ L211101 Adhesion High-Bonding Primer

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If you're looking for a paint primer that is able to bond easily and securely on any slick surfaces that water-based primers won't work on then, this is perfect for you. It can be applied to a whole range of different surfaces, like vinyl and even glass.

It can also be used on interior and exterior surfaces. This paint primer will be able to increase your painting possibilities, as it is able to bond to most surfaces, so you won't have any problems painting them at all. It also dries within 30 minutes, and you can even recoat it within an hour.

Why We Like It
  • Can be applied to slick surfaces
  • Suitable for interior and exterior surfaces
  • Can bond to difficult surfaces too
  • Dries within 30 minutes
  • You can recoat within just an hour
Volume
1 Gallon
Type
Bonding primer
Interior or Exterior?
Both
Our Verdict

We liked this product because it's able to bond to most surfaces, so if you want to paint a surface that doesn't accept water-based primers, then this will be perfect for you.

Editor Rating
great value rating

3. KILZ MAX Maximum Stain and Odor Blocking

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This is a water-based primer and can also work very well as a sealer and a stain remover too, plus, it can also get rid of any odors that your walls may have. It’s actually more like oil and shellac based products, and it can even get rid of tough stains that have been caused by water damage, rust or even smoke.

It can also be used on a whole range of surfaces like drywall and ceramic tiles. When you use it, you will notice that it creates a very effective seal, which will allow you to have a smooth paint application.

Why We Like It
  • Will cover 300-400 square feet
  • Will get rid of any stains and odors
  • Suitable for most surfaces
  • Provides you with a smooth application
  • Works as a sealer too
Volume
1 Gallon
Type
Water-based
Interior or Exterior?
Interior
Our Verdict

We liked this paint primer because it’s able to get rid of any stains or odors that are over your walls.

Editor Rating

4. Tamiya Gray Fine Surface Primer

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This paint primer is actually in a spray form so you won't have to worry about rolling this primer on your walls, as you can just simply spray it. It's very ideal if you want to prepare for ABS or Styrene plastic that is going to be painted.

You can also use this paint primer on metal parts and when you use it the surface will go a light gray color that will be able to make the paint that you cover over it very vibrant. This paint primer is very easy to use, and it's also a lot quicker for you to use compared to painting primer on.

Why We Like It
  • Spray form
  • Suitable for ABS and Styrene plastic
  • Works on metal
  • Makes your paint more vibrant
  • Easy to use
Volume
180ml
Type
Spray can
Interior or Exterior?
-
Our Verdict

We liked this product because we found it very quick and easy to use because of it being in a spray form.

Editor Rating

5. Zinsser 00908 B-I-N Primer Sealer

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If you’re looking for a paint primer that is actually more like a shellac based primer sealer, then this is perfect for you. It's a white primer that also works as a sealer as well, and it can be used on surfaces that are inside as well as outside.

Not only this, but it's also able to get rid of any stains that you might have on your walls, and it can even get rid of any smoke odors or other nasty odors that may have stuck to the walls over the years. You also don't have to worry about sanding the walls down with this type of paint primer.

Why We Like It
  • Shellac based
  • Can be used as a sealer too
  • Suitable for inside and outside use
  • Will get rid of any stains
  • Can also get rid of odors on your walls
Volume
1 pint
Type
Shellac
Interior or Exterior?
Both
Our Verdict

We liked this paint primer because you can actually use it inside and outside, so you don’t have to purchase two different primers.

Editor Rating

6. Giani Granite IronCore Primer

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This primer is actually water based and is a black color primer. It's very easy to use as you can just simply roll it onto your walls with a paint roller or you can even use a brush to apply it. It can also be used on a whole range of different surfaces from ceramic tiles to laminate wooden flooring.

It's a very strong water-based primer that actually has modified acrylic urethane as well. It comes in a tin that is 12 ounces, and this will be able to cover around 35 square feet, or it is also able to cover kitchen countertops that are up to 16 running feet in length and 24 inches wide.

Why We Like It
  • Water-based
  • Easy to use
  • Suitable for most surfaces
  • Includes modified acrylic urethane
  • One tin can cover around 35 square feet
Volume
12 oz
Type
Water-based primer
Interior or Exterior?
-
Our Verdict

We liked this product because it also includes everything that you need so you won't have to purchase anything additional to be able to use it.

Editor Rating

7. Tamiya Primer White

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This paint primer is actually in the form of a spray, which will make it a lot less hassle for you when you're applying it to something. This is because you won't have to purchase a roller or brush to apply it; you can simply just spray it on.

It is a light gray color and has excellent coverage; you can use this primer when you're planning to paint your wall from a dark to a light color. It can also be used on any plastic or metal surfaces, and one can contains around 180ml of paint primer.

Why We Like It
  • Spray form
  • Easy to apply
  • Excellent coverage
  • Suitable if you’re planning to change your walls from a light to a dark color
  • Can be used on plastic or metal surfaces
Volume
180ml
Type
Spray can
Interior or Exterior?
-
Our Verdict

We liked this paint primer because you will find it so easy to apply and it won’t be a hassle at all.

Editor Rating

8. DecoArt DS17-9 Multi Purpose Primer

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If you want a paint primer that will actually finish in a clear color, then this is perfect for you. It also comes in a slightly different form to most paint primers, as it is in a liquid form, but this makes it very easy to apply to your walls.

It can be used on a whole range of different surfaces from glass to glazed ceramics. It’s also been thinned with water, so this makes it more suitable for absorbent surfaces. If you want to speed up the base coating, then all that you will need to do is mix equal amounts of paint and the multipurpose sealer together.

Why We Like It
  • Finishes in a clear color
  • Easy to apply
  • Suitable for a range of surfaces
  • Thinned with water
  • Suitable for absorbent surfaces
Volume
8 oz
Type
Multi-purpose
Interior or Exterior?
-
Our Verdict

We liked this product because it can be used on a whole range of different surfaces, which makes it ideal for any project.

Editor Rating

9. Zinsser 00904 B-I-N Pigmented Shellac Primer

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This paint primer is also a sealer and stain killer as well so if you happen to have any stains on your walls, then this paint primer will be able to get rid of them, plus, it's also able to cover up any odors that might be coming from your walls too.

It's able to stick to all surfaces, and it also dries in just 45 minutes so you will be able to complete your paint job within just one day after you've used this. It's also shellac based, and it's suitable for interior use as well as exterior use as well.

Why We Like It
  • Sealer and stain killer
  • Can cover up any odors
  • Dries in 45 minutes
  • Shellac based
  • Suitable for inside and outside use
Volume
1 quart
Type
Shellac
Interior or Exterior?
Both
Our Verdict

We liked this paint primer because it will be able to instantly get rid of any stains that are on your walls in an instant.

Editor Rating

10. KILZ L220101 KLEAR Multi-Surface Primer

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This paint primer comes in two different sizes, you can either purchase it in a 1 gallon tin or a 5 gallon tin, so if you need to prime quite a large room, then this will be ideal for you.

This primer is very tough, flexible and breathable as well, which works very well if you want excellent adhesion. It's able to bond and seal porous and chalky interiors, and it can work very well on exterior surfaces as well.

This primer is also alkali resistant so you won't have to worry about it growing on your outside walls at all when it has this primer on. You can use it on multiple different surfaces, and it will be able to dry in just one hour, and then you can apply your recoat.

Why We Like It
  • Different sizes
  • Tough, flexible and breathable
  • Can bond and seal porous and chalky interiors
  • Alkali resistant
  • Suitable for a whole range of different surfaces
Volume
1 Gallon
Type
Multi-purpose
Interior or Exterior?
Both
Our Verdict

We liked this product because it is able to resist alkali and it’s also suitable for a whole range of different surfaces.

Editor Rating

Paint Primer Buyer’s Guide

In the list above there is a whole range of different paint primers, and it can be very confusing when you are trying to come to a decision about what paint primer you should purchase. A lot of them have a whole load of different features, which can make your decision even more confusing. In our buyers guide just below we’ve mentioned everything that you need to look out for before you purchase any paint primer.

Spray and Liquid Primer

You may have noticed that paint primers can vary in what form they come in. Some of them may come in a liquid form and are in a tin, or you can also get them in a spray version. There isn’t really any big difference between the two as they both do the same job at the end of the day.

The only difference that there will be is how you apply them. If you have a liquid form of paint primer, then you will need a brush or a roller to apply it, whereas, if you have a can type of primer then you will just have to spray this on. One thing to note about a spray can is that it may not provide you with as much primer compared to the tin.

Stain and Odor Resistant

If you happen to have stains on your walls or you can notice a smell coming from them then it’s important that you do purchase a primer that has a stain and odor feature. This is because this will be able to get rid of these problems for you without any issues whatsoever.

If you don’t get this type of primer and you have these issues on your walls, then you may still be able to see and smell them after you’ve applied the fresh new paint and primer.

Drying Time

In the list above there are certain paint primers that are able to dry out in quite quick time, although they may be a little bit more expensive this feature is very useful because it can save you waiting around for a lot of time. Therefore this is a great feature to get, and if you can purchase a primer that has this feature, then this will be better for you, as you won’t have your time wasted at all.

Finishing Color

You may have noticed that paint primer can finish in a range of different colors, like white, black and gray. You’d be surprised to hear that it doesn’t actually matter what shade the primer finishes in, as it will still be able to provide you with the same benefits and it won’t affect the color that you’re planning to paint your walls at all.

What Does a Paint Primer Do?

Paint primer should always be used before you consider painting any type of surface. It can actually do a whole range of different things, and what it can do depends on what product you pick, because a lot of them have a whole range of different features.

They will usually be able to get rid of any stains or any odors on your walls, but they are mainly used to provide you with an ideal and stable surface for you to be able to paint over and it will allow the paint color to lock onto it.

Plus, if you’re planning to change your wall color from dark to light, then this will be able to help you with this transition and will stop you from being able to see the previous color through the new color.

When Should you use a Paint Primer?

You should use primer on any wall before you start painting it with the color that you desire to paint it. There are several different ways that you are able to put primer onto your walls, you can either roll it on with a paint roller, use a paintbrush to apply it, or you could even spray it on by using a paint sprayer.

It doesn’t really matter what method you use to put it onto your walls it just matters that you do apply it. Sometimes you may need to actually use two coats of primer, just in case one isn’t enough, plus, if you’re planning to change the wall color from dark to light then you will probably need two coats.

It’s very important that you use a primer if the surface of your wall is porous when the drywall is skim coated, when the previous coat is glossy, when the surface is stained and when you’re planning to change the color of your wall from dark to light.

How Long Do You Have to wait Between Primer and Paint?

This actually all depends on what paint primer you have, because this can vary a lot. For instance, quite a few of the paint primers in the list above do have quite a quick drying time of only 30 minutes. But once you have applied the first coat, it’s very important that you apply a second coat just to make sure that you have covered everything as perfectly as you can before you apply color to it.

If your paint primer doesn’t have a quick-drying feature, then you will have to wait until the primer is completely dry on your wall. Primer can usually take up to 3 hours to completely dry, but it must be dry before you apply anything else to it.

Final Thoughts

There is a whole load of different paint primers all over the internet, and there is also a full range of different ones in many DIY stores as well. It’s very important that you do use a paint primer before you even consider applying paint to your walls, as it will allow the paint to stick more and it will also give it a very professional look.

A lot of paint primers have a whole load of different features, so it’s important that you compare the paint primers before you decide to purchase one, for instance, they might have stain and odor remover features.

These can be really great if you happen to have this on your walls. It’s also very important that you check out our buyer’s guide, as it will make you aware of everything you need to look out for before you purchase paint primer.

Expert Tip

If you want a really professional look to your primer, then you can always tint it slightly, and this will be able to enhance the topcoat.

Did you know?

After you’ve painted your room, you will need to keep a record of the color that you’ve used, as this will be very important if it ever needs to have any touch-ups.

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