Sunday, March 12th, 2023

7 Best Exterior Primer Paints Of 2023 | Tested + Reviewed

Best Exterior Primer Paints

On the hunt for the perfect primer for application on exterior surfaces? You’ve come to the right place!

Whether you’re planning to redo the exterior of your home or paint an outdoor patio table, primers are crucial for a high-quality paint job. However, it’s easy to be confused or feel overwhelmed when you’re trying to figure out the right primer to use for your project. 

This is especially true if you’re new to doing these projects by yourself. But don’t worry, as that’s exactly what we’re here for!

To make this process a little bit easier for you, we have tried and tested a bunch of top-rated primers available on the market. And finally, we come to you with a guide detailing the 7 best options of 2023.

So, now that we’ve got you hooked, let’s dive straight into it, shall we?

Top Exterior Primer Paints

Our Top PickOur Top Pickhstcstbl-table__imageRust-Oleum 286258
  • Available in a 31.5oz paint can
  • Water-based oil type paint
  • Gray glossy finish
hstcstbl-table__imageKILZ ‎10111
  • Available in a 1-gallon paint can
  • Barn red paint with a flatt/matte finish
  • Water and oil-based formulation
hstcstbl-table__imagePrestige ‎E500-9
  • Available in a 1-liter paint can
  • Acrylic-based latex formulation
  • White semi-gloss exterior paint
hstcstbl-table__imageRust-Oleum Zinsser 3134
  • Available in a 1-quart tin can
  • Perma white paint in semi-gloss finish
  • Acrylic water-based paint
hstcstbl-table__imageRust-Oleum 1980502
  • Available in a 1-quart paint can
  • Water-based acrylic/latex paint
  • Gray primer with a flat finish
hstcstbl-table__imageKILZ ‎L220105
  • Available in a 5-gallon plastic tub
  • Clear primer with a flatt/matte finish
  • Water-based primer
hstcstbl-table__imageINSL-X AQ040009A-01
  • Available in a 1-gallon paint tin
  • White primer with a flatt/matte finish
  • 100% acrylic water base

Close up of dipping brush into grey paint outside. Home renovation. Grey paint running of the brush. Best Exterior Primer Paints

  1. Rust-Oleum 286258

Zinsser 286258 Bulls Eye 1-2-3 All Surface Primer, Quart,...
  • Interior/Exterior use on new or previously painted drywall,...
  • Water-based formula seals uniformly and will stick to...

Rust-Oleum’s reputation is notably well-deserved and has led them to develop a broad range of paints and primers to meet your requirements. That said, its Zinsser Bulls-Eye 1-2-3 primer in gray is a high-performing formulation meant to provide you smooth coverage on a variety of exterior surfaces. 

Why Did We Like It?

This primer by Rust-Oleum is light gray in color and is made for application under comparatively deep and vibrant paint shades. Moreover, it is tintable and can be applied both as an undercoat and as a topcoat after tinting with paint. 

Straight off the bat, we would like to mention that this primer is rather versatile; thereby,  compatible with a variety of interior and exterior surfaces. Starting from previously painted, drywall, masonry, wood, concrete, and metal, it can be applied on varied glossy and difficult-to-paint surfaces. 

What’s more, it forms an incredibly durable mold, mildew resistant, anti-rust, stain, and odor-blocking film that provides surfaces protection from weather damage. 

That’s not all; the water-based formulation of this primer makes it very easy to apply and sticks on all surfaces without prior sanding. It dries to touch in just 30 minutes and can be re-applied within the hour facilitating a fast-application process. 

What Could’ve Been Better?

The shipping procedures followed by the company are subpar at best. Quite a few customers have voiced grievances regarding having received leaking and banged up or dented paint cans. This can be really messy and difficult to handle for people on the receiving end. 

  • Mold and mildew-resistant formulation
  • Rust inhibitive, stain-blocking
  • Tintable primer perfect under deep colors
  • Versatile and quick-drying
  • Can be used with any topcoat
  • Dented paint cans
  1. KILZ ‎10111

Kilz 1682863 1 gal Oil & Water-Based Siding Fence & Barn...
  • Dry Ice Antiperserant & Deodorant
  • Pack of 4Specifications

KILZ is one of the leading premium painting manufacturing companies, especially among home-based DIY enthusiasts. In the 40-years since its inception, this brand has gained large-scale popularity and was even declared the “Paint Brand of the Year” by Harris Poll EquiTrend Rankings in 2015.

Why Did We Like It?

If you’re looking for a product that combines the features of both oil and water-based paint, then this paint is the one for you. Its unparalleled adhesion makes it one of the most unique yet durable paints available on the market. This is also a great option if you’re looking to add a pop of vibrant color to your exterior surfaces!

Furthermore, this paint is easy to clean and apply because of its water-based properties. Simultaneously, it provides a remarkably enduring and mildew-resistant finish that resists fading, cracking, and peeling in the long run. Apart from that, this paint is applicable on a variety of properly-prepared exterior surfaces including, plywood, fences, laminates, masonry, stucco, and more. 

Moving on, this paint provides excellent coverage ranging from 200-500 square feet per gallon, depending on the porosity of the surface it’s applied on. Last but not least, it has a versatile application method and can be applied using a roller, brush, as well as a spray gun. This enables users to choose the process they are most comfortable with. 

What Could’ve Been Better?

This paint takes about 2-3 hours to dry to touch, and at least 6-8 hours to dry completely before it can be repainted. And since most painting projects require you to recoat at least 2-3 times, this paint considerably extends the project duration. It’s also essential to properly prep all the surfaces you apply this paint to. 

  • Offers good protection against weather elements
  • Provides great coverage
  • Supports versatile application methods
  • Resists peeling, cracking, and blistering
  • Mildew-resistant and long-lasting
  • Long drying time
  1. Prestige ‎E500-9

Prestige Paints E500-9 Exterior Paint and Primer in One, 1...
  • Ultra premium paint and primer in one
  • High hiding formula for excellent coverage with smooth...

Prestige has developed a high-end paint and primer that effectively coats a variety of exterior surfaces to provide a smooth and glossy finish. This includes cement boards, masonry walls, properly prepared wood, aluminum, factory primed siding, and other unconventional surfaces.

Why Did We Like It?

This ultra-premium paint and primer two-in-one offers users the benefits of a topcoat while eliminating the need of applying an undercoat. It’s 100% acrylic-based latex paint and therefore easy to apply, and even simpler to clean and maintain in the long run. 

Furthermore, this paint provides excellent opaque coverage with a smooth dewy finish that hides all kinds of old paints and stains effectively. One gallon of this paint can comfortably cover from 200-400 square feet of area depending on the porosity of the surface it’s applied to. Besides that, it supports multiple application methods, such as roller, brush, and spray gun once the paint is sparingly thinned. 

That’s not all though, because the mild-dew resistant coating of this paint and primer makes it perfect for application in high humidity areas. Additionally, formulated with a remarkably low VOC count of 50 gms/L, this is very safe to apply yourself and can even be used around children and pets. 

What Could’ve Been Better?

While glossy paints provide a lot of aesthetic benefits, they also tend to highlight the imperfections of the surface it’s applied on. Hence, it’s necessary to properly prep a surface you plan to apply this on. Apart from that, the manufacturer recommends keeping the paint overnight before recoating. Sometimes this drying time extends even further depending on the weather. 

  • Provides impressive coverage
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Supports versatile application methods
  • Mildew-resistant coating ideal for high humidity areas
  • Extremely easy to clean and maintain
  • The gloss highlights imperfections
  • May take a long while to dry
  1. Rust-Oleum Zinsser 3134

Rust-Oleum Zinsser 31.5 fl oz. PermaWhite Exterior...
  • The product is qt sg mildew ext paint
  • Easy and simple use kit

Rust-Oleum, as we mentioned before, is an extremely well-established brand in the paint and home improvement industry. The Zinser 3134 from its range is specifically formulated for households exposed to high humidity and therefore prone to mold and mildew concerns.

Why Did We Like It?

If you’re searching for a paint that is specifically formulated to tackle frequent mold and mildew issues, this exterior paint by Rust-Oleum is hand-down the perfect product for you. It comes equipped with a 5-year mold and mildew-resistant paint film guarantee. Hence, you can rest assured of a highly effective and premium performance when using this product in high humidity areas. 

Besides that, the brand also provides a whopping 15-year blister, fade, peel, and crack resistance guarantee. This further endorses the enhanced durability and long-lasting performance of this product. Additionally, this white coating is tintable, allowing you to mix other shades of paint to alter its final color according to your preferences. 

What’s more, this paint is self-priming and requires no prior application of an undercoat to provide a smooth and durable surface. It also considerably reduces the preparation process because it requires no sanding and hence ensures minimal prep before painting. 

What Could’ve Been Better?

A few customers found this paint to have a clumpy texture. To get rid of these clumps, you will need to vigorously stir the paint and maybe even thin it with some water. Other than that, users also noted that it offered very low coverage. Hence, they were forced to apply multiple coats to achieve the finish they desired.  

  • Guaranteed mold and mildew-resistant paint
  • Crack, fade and peel resistant
  • Tintable
  • Self-priming, therefore, requires minimal prep
  • Simple and easy to clean and apply
  • Low coverage
  1. Rust-Oleum 1980502

Rust-Oleum Brush On Paint 1980502 Painters Touch Quart...
  • Use for a variety of indoor and outdoor project surfaces...
  • Water-based acrylic formula is low odor, resist chips and...

Next up on our guide, we have yet another Rust-Oleum variant. This premium latex primer belongs to their Painters Touch range and offers a durable flat finish on a variety of surfaces. This includes surfaces such as bare or painted metal, wood, wicker, unglazed ceramic, plaster, and so on.

Why Did We Like It?

Are you looking for a paint primer with exceptional coverage? If that is the case, then look no further, because this primer is what you’re looking for. Equipped with a double cover technology, this primer provides exceptional coverage effectively hiding all kinds of paints and stains on varied surfaces.

In addition to the above, this primer offers a remarkable bonding capacity enabling it to adhere to any surface with vigor and forming an excellent basecoat. This facilitates the topcoat to adhere to the surface optimally and therefore provides a smooth and uniform look. The flat finish of this primer further minimizes the appearance of imperfections on the surface it’s applied to. 

If that wasn’t enough, this primer dries to touch in just 30 minutes enabling fast and efficient project completion. Moreover, one quart of this primer can in fact, efficiently cover up to 120 square feet of area with relative ease. Lastly, this enhanced coating offers long-lasting indoor as well as outdoor durability that resists fading and chipping to provide a flawless finish. 

What Could’ve Been Better?

The manufacturer highly recommends that you sand the surface you are planning to paint with 180/200 grit sandpaper and then wash it with a degreaser. This ensures that the primer goes on to provide a smooth finish. If these instructions aren’t followed then the paint surface tends to crack apart a while after application.

  • Provides enhances coverage
  • Has a strong bonding and adhesive capacity
  • Long-lasting and resists paint chipping
  • Easy to clean and apply
  • Has a fast drying time
  • Paint prone to cracking after application
  1. KILZ ‎L220105

KILZ Klear Primer, Interior/Exterior, Clear, 1 Gallon
  • This high-performance clear primer is formulated to bond and...
  • KILZ Klear is an alkali-resistant clear primer and sealer....

KILZ, as we mentioned earlier, is a popular brand that has been in the premium paint and primer manufacturing game for over 40 years. It has consequently developed a high-performing clear primer that is specifically formulated to bond chalky and porous interior and exterior surfaces.

Why Did We Like It?

The KILZ L220105 is an exceptionally powerful primer, bonder, and sealer that is created to seal porous and difficult to paint interior and exterior surfaces. Its superior stain blocking capacity and enhanced topcoat adhesion have made it a hot favorite among many DIY home development enthusiasts. 

It can effectively coat a variety of surfaces to create a tough, breathable, yet flexible film that can readily accept the paint you wish to apply. 

Furthermore, this primer, although water-based, is compatible with a versatile selection of topcoats including alkyd, and oil-based paints. This is the ideal primer to consider if you’re planning to repaint an exterior surface with the same color because the transparent color makes an ideal basecoat. 

If that wasn’t enough, one tub of this primer can effectively cover an impressive 1,000-1,500 square feet area. It additionally, dries to touch within half an hour and can be recoated in one hour with the help of either a brush roller or spray, Hence, it also supports versatile application methods to allow customers to choose the method they are most comfortable with. 

What Could’ve Been Better?

This primer has an extremely thin consistency that makes it difficult to apply on most surfaces. Customers mentioned that they found this product difficult to apply, especially on unprepared surfaces. They were additionally forced to apply multiple layers of this primer to achieve the desired coverage on their walls. 

  • Fast drying time
  • Alkali-resistant primer
  • Works with all kinds of topcoats
  • Versatile application methods
  • Tough, breathable, and flexible stain blocking properties
  • Has a very thin consistency
  1. INSL-X AQ040009A-01

INSL-X AQ040009A-01 Aqua Lock Plus 100% Acrylic Water-Based...
  • Multipurpose, 100% acrylic primer sealer that provides...
  • Superior sealing and coverage qualities, product versatility...

INSL-X is a company committed to producing superior quality multi-purpose paints and primers for everyday use. And this acrylic primer for interior and exterior surfaces is no exception. For this particular guide we have tested and are reviewing the white variant only.

Why Did We Like It?

This multi-purpose primer and sealer by INSL-X from their Aqua Lock Plus series can be applied on a multitude of interior and exterior surfaces. It provides excellent sealing properties that actively block out all the imperfections and stains on the surface you are priming. Additionally, the final film of its form is mold-resistant, thereby ideal for application in high humidity areas.

Furthermore, this primer is very versatile and compatible with a variety of topcoats that have latex as well as oil-based finishes. Its superior quality adhesiveness offers unmatched adherence that helps all kinds of paint stick to an array of difficult-to-paint surfaces.

Apart from that, it takes only 30 minutes to dry, offering an unparalleled coverage that rarely requires you to apply a second coating. The topcoat can then be applied over this paint in an hour, making it one of the quickest priming solutions on the market. 

One gallon of this product provides complete coverage of about 300-400 square feet of area, which is something we absolutely love!

What Could’ve Been Better?

Some customers have expressed that the primer they bought by INSL-X was more light gray than white as mentioned in the description. A few of them also received defective items where the product was completely cured, chunky; hence, practically impossible to stir or apply. 

  • Excellent stain blocking properties
  • Enhanced adhesion and sealing capacity
  • Easy to clean and apply
  • High coverage and quick drying
  • Primer does not match the description provided

Close up photo of hand painting wall with roller in white color. Copy space. Exterior Primer Paint Buyer’s Guide

Exterior Primer Paint Buyer’s Guide

With that, we’ve come to the end of our top 7 reviews. But are you still confused about which of these products is the best option for you? To help you answer this question, we have compiled a comprehensive buyer’s guide for you. In this guide, we have listed some of the key factors to consider while purchasing primer paint for your exterior projects. 

So, what are we waiting for? Let’s jump right into it!

  1. Environment

The environment you will be working in or the climate that you live in is a very crucial factor to consider while buying primer. The environment determines the temperature of your location and some primers out there have a very specific range of temperature in which they can be applied. 

Furthermore, the environment contributes to issues such as mold and mildew formation. So, if you’re living in a high humidity area that is prone to these issues, you might want to buy a paint primer that is mold and mildew resistant.

  1. Drying Time

The drying time is the amount of time a primer requires too dry to touch. Alternatively, cure time is the duration it takes for primers to dry completely after which you can either recoat or apply the topcoat of your project. These are significant when it comes to determining the overall project duration time. 

  1. Coverage Provided

This factor includes two very important aspects of primers you need to consider. First of all, how much area one tin of this product can cover and secondly, how many coats you require to cover it. Both of these together determine how much paint you will require to cover a certain surface area. Hence, they also simultaneously help you understand how affordable a primer really is.

  1. Finish Of The Primer

Different products offer an assortment of different finishes to your project, ranging from flat, glossy, satin, and so on. Each finish has its own advantages and disadvantages. So, for example, a glossy finish is really easy to maintain but they tend to highlight the imperfections of the surface. 

Alternatively, a flat finish primer offers more coverage and sealing properties but is difficult to maintain in the long run. Hence you need to decide on the finish depending on your surface type and preparation.

  1. Versatility

This includes both versatility in paint application surfaces as well as paint application methods. Although this article is specifically for exterior primer paints, there’s a lot of products on our guide that cater to a wider variety of surfaces. Similarly, most of our primers support varied application methods and allow you to choose what you’re most comfortable with.

A painter paints a concrete wall with white paint, a male hand with a paint roller for painting a wall. Top Exterior Primer Paint Verdict

Top Exterior Primer Paint Verdict

So, it’s clear that there are different kinds of primers available out there. Each kind caters to different types of surfaces and needs. Consequently, you will need to take the final call, depending on which of the functionalities offered by the product meets your specific painting requirements.

Before logging off, we wanted to quickly mention some of our top picks from the guide today. Rust-Oleum 286258, for starters, is the best glossy primer for external surfaces. KILZ ‎L220105, on the other hand, provides the most effective sealing and stain blocking solution that can make painting rough and porous surfaces rather easy.

Finally, we have the Rust-Oleum Zinsser 3134, which is the perfect primer for people living in humid locations. This not only effectively primes and seals your surface but also forms a crack, peel, mold, and mildew-resistant film that is guaranteed to last years. 

That’s all we have for you today! See you next time; until then, happy priming! 

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