Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023

11 Best Paint Primers of 2022

Worker painting wall with spray gun in white color.

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably been searching for a reliable paint primer to finally take on the much-awaited home renovation plans.

Well, today might just be your lucky day! Our experts have thoroughly tested some of the most reliable brands to give you the top 11 paint primers to go for without spending a fortune.

Also, we’ve added a buyer’s guide that you must follow before choosing your ultimate pick, as it helps in being familiar with the topmost factors to consider before making a smart purchase.

That said, let’s cut to the chase. Here are our top picks!

Best Paint Primers

hstcstbl-table__imageKILZ Adhesion High-Bonding Interior Latex Primer and Sealer
  • Can be used with lacquers, latex paints, or products comprising xylene
  • 1-gallon container offers coverage of 300 square feet
hstcstbl-table__imageZinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Water-Based Interior and Exterior Primer
  • Rust inhibitor formula for use on metal surfaces
  • Can be used on tiles, ceramic, glass and wood
hstcstbl-table__imageKILZ Original Multi-Purpose Stain Blocking Primer
  • Lasts for years to come without cracking
  • Blocks stains caused by water, tannins, grease, smoke, etc.
hstcstbl-table__imageINSL-X Prime Lock Plus Alkyd Primer
  • Alkyd-based product
  • Can be mixed with both oil-based and latex paints
  • It takes as less as 30 minutes to dry
hstcstbl-table__imageRust-Oleum Protective Enamel Paint Rusty Metal Primer
  • 2 times more resistant to corrosion
  • Can be used both indoors and outdoors
hstcstbl-table__imageKILZ Premium High-Tide Stain Blocking Latex Primer
  • Premium water-based formula seals the surfaces
  • Contains a mildewcide to ensure utmost adhesion
hstcstbl-table__imageZinsser B-I-N Ultimate Stain Blocker Primer Sealer
  • Shellac-based compound for heavy-duty use
  • Can also be used for sealing odors
hstcstbl-table__imageKILZ Restoration Interior Latex Primer/Sealer
  • Provides world-class adhesion
  • Seals unwanted odor or stain with precision
hstcstbl-table__imageRust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Latex Primer
  • Very thick; requires only a single coating
  • High-speed drying properties
hstcstbl-table__imageINSL-X Stix Waterborne Bonding Primer
  • Comes with almost zero volatile organic compounds
  • Works fine in freezing temperatures
hstcstbl-table__imageKILZ Odorless Interior Oil-Base Stain-Blocker Primer
  • Okay to use in both interior and exterior surfaces
  • Creates a firm base for the top coating

11 Best Paint Primers of 2020 02

  1. KILZ Adhesion High-Bonding Interior Latex Primer and Sealer

The first pick on our list is the KILZ Adhesion interior latex unit, one of the best-selling and high-bonding primers in the market. We’re fans of its multi-purpose functionality, which is quite impressive for a prime at this bargain-basement price. Let’s take a more in-depth look at its core features.

KILZ Adhesion Primer, Interior/Exterior, 1 Gallon
  • BONDING PRIMER: A high adhesion primer that bonds to a wide...
  • ADVANCED FORMULA: It's advanced styrenated acrylic polymer...

Why Did We Like It?

Right off the bat, the KILZ Adhesion primer ensures that the topcoat maintains proper adherence to certain surfaces that aren’t usually easy to paint. This feature extends the possibilities of painting on a wide range of surfaces, which spells convenience. Whether it’s brick, plaster, or other hard-to-coat surfaces, this product works its magic with precision. It develops an ultra-strong bond with the surface and makes sure that the paint is glued for a long time.

However, it doesn’t end there – it also works perfectly on surfaces such as PVC, tiles, glass, vinyl, Kynar, and other slick bases. It contains 93-100 KU viscosity, which gives it a higher advantage over the oil/water-based primers. It allows you to comfortably use it under lacquers, latex paints, or products that comprise xylene. Also, it takes as little as half an hour to dry since it’s applied and allows you to recoat within an hour.


Quantity-wise, it stands out to be a complete value-for-money product. It only takes a 1-gallon container of KILZ adhesion primer to cover around 300 square feet. You can also use it with sprayers to ensure proper utilization of the paint while ensuring excellent coverage.

What Could’ve Been Better?

This product isn’t approved by the Food and Drug Administration to be used on food surfaces, restricting its versatility a little. It can also get a bit frustrating at times when it’s only available in 1-gallon cans, as it may seem less for various large-scale projects.

  • An excellent and robust bond
  • Can be used with any latex paint
  • 300 square feet coverage
  • Value for money item
  • Quantity may seem less at times
  1. Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Water-Based Interior and Exterior Primer

This one’s for the hardcore Rust-Oleum fans; the all-new Zinsser Bull’s eye outperforms almost any other product in terms of versatility. Despite being a water-based paint that provides utmost ease of use, it maintains professional-grade efficiency. That being said, let’s have an inside-scoop of its key features.

ZINSSER 1 qt 02004 White, Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Water-Based Stain...
  • Interior/exterior use on new or previously painted drywall,...
  • Water-based formula seals uniformly and will stick to...

Why Did We Like It?

Rust-Oleum has left no stones unturned to formulate the Bulls Eye unit, and it stands out to be an excellent primer under a fair budget.

For those who are searching for a best-value unit to paint both the internal and external surfaces of their house, it makes an absolute steal of a deal. Whether you’re planning to block the visible stains on the ceilings or renovate the walls, you can rely on it with your eyes closed.

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It gets even better – the primer contains a rust inhibitor formula that makes it ideal for use on metal surfaces. Moreover, the adhesion that it provides to the mixed paint is firm and secure, making it 100% reliable for high-end jobs. Noteworthy to mention, you can avail the primer in aerosol cans, making it a lot more efficient for painting on surfaces that are usually impossible to reach.

It’s commonly available in the market as grey and white variants, and we’d also recommend it for those who are using dark top coating shades. This primer can be used on tiles, ceramic, glass, and wood, which speaks volumes about its versatility.

What Could’ve Been Better?

The only downside of this product is that it’s only accessible in 1-quart size, which may not seem sufficient in completing larger painting jobs. Other than that, it offers pretty good value for money.

  • Rust-protection feature for high efficiency
  • Complaint with acrylic and latex paints
  • Used for both internal and external jobs
  • Available in aerosol cans
  • Available only in a 1-quart size
  1. KILZ Original Multi-Purpose Stain Blocking Primer

KILZ has returned to our list with another top-notch product that guarantees 100% proper adhesion between the coated paint and the surface. This multipurpose primer comes off as an appropriate option to consider for covering the stubborn stains on almost any surface. Under an affordable budget, it delivers satisfactory performance and quality. 

KILZ Original Primer, Interior, 1 Quart
  • A good primer makes paint stick better to surfaces, makes...
  • KILZ Original oil-based primer blocks most stains including...

Why Did We Like It?

The best thing about the KILZ original multi-purpose primer is its genuine quality, offering you optimal adhesion to the paint without using a lot of it. Once coated, it’s guaranteed to last for years to come without damaging or cracking. However, as the name implies, it can also be used as an excellent stain blocker. If an ugly stain ruins your ceiling or walls, it can hide the stubborn marks efficiently.

To be precise, this product stands out as a solid choice for blocking water and smoke stains, making it very reliable for home renovation jobs. Also, unlike other typical alternatives in the market, it doesn’t require you to apply multiple coatings to block any stain permanently. Instead, it comes with a thickening formula to maintain optimal quality, allowing it to get the job done without using vast amounts of paint.


You can use this primer to hide stains caused by water, tannins, grease, smoke, and ink. It can be efficiently used on walls, ceilings, bricks, wood, and various other surfaces. Last but not least, 1 gallon of this product can easily offer a decent coverage of 300-400 square feet.

What Could’ve Been Better?

Quantity appears to be a significant issue with this unit, as it can only be available in either 1-quart or 5-gallon containers. Also, it might not be the best option to consider if you’re looking forward to priming floors.

  • Long-lasting primer
  • Blocks stains easily
  • Can trap pet odors and smoke
  • Affordable price range
  • Can’t be used on floors
  1. INSL-X Prime Lock Plus Alkyd Primer

For the DIY home improvements folks who continuously ask for premium alkyd-based primers, the INSL-X Prime Lock is a deal you can’t afford to ignore. This product carries one of the most efficient stain-blockage properties that we’ve tested by far, raising the bar higher for quality. Let’s have a quick peek at what more it has to offer.

INSL-X PS800009A-01 Prime Lock Plus Alkyd Primer, 1 Gallon,...
  • Fast-drying, multi-purpose Alkyd-based coating that primes...
  • High hiding Alkyd primer that seals stains from water, smoke...

Why Did We Like It?

The INSL-X primer makes a suitable companion for DIY enthusiasts, as this alkyd-based product can be availed at a very pocket-friendly price. It has powerful stain-blockage properties, making it quite useful for internal home renovation jobs. Furthermore, we’re fans of its spot-coating capability, which makes it more suitable for outdoor use. Also, without having to go through the hassle of sanding, you can use it on walls and varnished surfaces.

Moving on, this product can also be mixed with both oil-based and latex paints, which enhances its versatility a little. Once dissolved with the paint, it makes sure not to raise the grain of the wood. Applying it is easy as ABC, and it doesn’t take multiple coatings to get the job done. If you’re experiencing bleed-through from wood tannins, or stressed out by hard-to-remove stains, applying this primer can be significantly helpful.


It further raises the bar for convenience, provided it consumes as little as 30 minutes to dry out since being applied. There’s no extra stress, all you have to do is roll on the primer on the surface after you’re done filling out the cracks and leave it to work its magic.

What Could’ve Been Better?

First and foremost, it’s a tad disappointing how this product can only be used for indoor purposes. And although this primer blocks the stains within the first coating, it may take a few strokes when it comes to little severe ones.

  • Reliable under an affordable range
  • Ample quantity
  • Best for use on drywalls
  • Can be used with latex and oil-based paints
  • Doesn’t support outdoor use
  1. Rust-Oleum Protective Enamel Paint Rusty Metal Primer

Some of us are always in dire need of top-quality primers to protect metal surfaces that don’t cost top dollar. Fortunately, the Rust-Oleum Enamel paint unit comprises every feature you’d want from a reliable anti-rust primer. And apart from being a bargain hunter’s delight, it also offers optimal quality and durability. Let’s find out more!

Rust-Oleum 7769502 Protective Enamel Paint Stops Rust,...
  • Use to prime exterior or interior heavily rusted metal...
  • Oil-based formula provides a durable protective coating with...

Why Did We Like It?

As you’ve guessed, this is the ultimate go-to option for those who work on metal surfaces, as it carries strong corrosion-resistant properties. Only a coating can maintain the overall life of your metal products for years, which is quite incredible. This primer ensures to create a solid bond with the rust, which further establishes a stable surface for the topcoats to remain significantly glued.


The best thing about it is that apart from providing superior adhesion, it can quickly dry within a few seconds of application. This product works best when used with premium Rust-Oleum paints, the most common of which is Hammer Rite. Its rust-elimination properties make it 2 times more resistant to corrosion than a typical rust-proof primer. For best results, use it with a sprayer can to make sure that you hit every detail.

What Could’ve Been Better?

The most common issue received from the users is that the can arrives either broken, opened, or damaged, indicating major packaging issues. Moreover, we found the model to be quite expensive, for which it may be out of the picture for many.

  • Arrives in sufficient quantity
  • Corrosion-resistant primer
  • Works best on metal surfaces
  • Long-lasting and strong adherence
  • A little too expensive
  1. KILZ Premium High-Tide Stain Blocking Latex Primer

No! We aren’t running a KILZ primer marathon, but our list would’ve surely been incomplete without mentioning the Premium High-Tide stain-blocking primer. This product carries an ultra-strong water-based formula that provides superior adhesion to almost any interior or exterior surface one can find. Let’s have a more in-depth look!

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Why Did We Like It?

Despite being a water-based primer, this product goes head-to-head against some of the best-selling alternatives in the game. The reason behind it is the extra-smooth surface it develops for you to paint by filling out the minor pores on the roughest of surfaces. That’s why apart from being used for drywalls, it also makes an appropriate option to paint softwood surfaces. And similar to other KILZ primers, it guarantees not to raise the wood’s grain.

It’s also quite incredible how efficient it is at blocking stubborn stains, provided its premium water-based formula seals the surfaces to the core. This way, a single coating of this primer is mostly enough to cover the previously fading colors and stains to offer a 100% uniform finish. Also, it provides excellent adhesion as a finishing touch. That’s because it consists of mildewcide, an essential ingredient found in top-notch primers, which is quite incredible.

The product can be very helpful if you’re planning to change colors on your drywall and reduce the various imperfections on the surface. Last but not least, it mostly arrives in a 1-gallon can that can easily coat 300-400 square feet with ease.

What Could’ve Been Better?

Similar to our previous alternative, this product also comes off as a little too pricey. That’s why it might not be the best option for DIY enthusiasts to opt for. We wouldn’t recommend it for anything less than heavy-duty professional use.

  • Appropriate for both indoor/outdoor use
  • Can eliminate mildew spores
  • Sufficient quantity
  • Can be used with latex paints
  • Very expensive
  1. Zinsser B-I-N Ultimate Stain Blocker Primer Sealer

For those who weren’t satisfied with the Zinsser Bulls Eye due to its quantity issues, the B-I-N ultimate stain blocker is guaranteed to come off as an appropriate alternative. This product has left us in awe with its supreme stain-blocking capabilities. For those who don’t want an overly expensive unit, this one should be your ultimate go-to option.

Zinsser B-I-N Shellac-Base Primer, 1-Gallon, White
  • This item is a Zinsser B-I-N Shellac-Base Primer, 1-Gallon,...
  • Purpose of use for Painting Supplies, house-primers

Why Did We Like It?

First, this primer can be available in both 1 gallon and 5 gallons, which gives it the upper hand over the Bullseye variant. Also, despite being priced very low, the adhesion quality that you get with this unit is incredibly superior. We were also surprised to know that it’s indeed one of the very few best-selling shellac primers in the market. That said, it makes a very appropriate option for heavy-duty jobs.


What we’ve liked the most here is that it’s stain-blocking abilities are simply beyond the roof. As a matter of fact, it can easily take on the most stubborn stains with ease and can also be used for sealing intolerably gross odors in a few coatings. That said, we’d recommend this product for both indoor as well as outdoor usage. You can comfortably use it to coat any surface without requiring sanding.

What Could’ve Been Better?

Although this product performs very well as a heavy-duty primer, the presence of shellac in its formula has a significant drawback. The thing is that shellac-based primers themselves contain a specific odor due to the presence of volatile organic compounds. So, in case you’re using it inside, make sure that the room is utterly ventilated.

  • Reliable under an affordable range
  • Ample quantity
  • Best for use on drywalls
  • Can be used to seal odors
  • A high presence of volatile organic compounds
  1. KILZ Restoration Interior Latex Primer/Sealer

If you don’t mind spending a little extra for superb quality, then the KILZ Restoration is the best you can get. This product is one of the best interior primer-cum-sealers that we’ve tested in a while, and the user experience it offers is nothing short of top-class. Let’s find out more!

KILZ Restoration Primer, Interior, 1 Gallon
  • KILZ Restoration (formerly KILZ MAX) is a water-base primer,...
  • It tackles tough stains including medium to heavy water...

Why Did We Like It?

The first and foremost feature that we’re fans of is that you don’t need to use a lot of it at once to get the job done. Within a very small quantity, it manages to provide world-class adhesion for an incredible coating. Plus, it also stands out to be an excellent sealer, and you can trust it blindly if you’re dealing with odor and stain issues in your house.

This primer seals any unwanted odor or stains with utmost precision, which makes it very useful for houses that have both pets and babies. Many users have also reported that it can also be used for sub-coating underneath the flooring, which speaks volumes about the versatility that it offers.


And although it’s a water-based primer, we’re surprised by how it can easily outperform any oil-based alternatives in terms of toughness. However, cleanup is a piece of cake as the water base already makes it a lot easier to deal with. Overall, we found it to be worth every penny.

What Could’ve Been Better?

Despite being so strong, this primer fails to provide a beautiful shelf life, which is disappointing. Furthermore, we’re not happy with how it can take multiple coatings to lock the severe stains.

  • Can easily lock odor and stain
  • Very strong adhesion
  • Tougher than oil-based primers
  • Can be used on any interior surface
  • May require numerous coatings
  1. Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Latex Primer

Rust-Oleum has finally returned on our list with the Painter’s touch unit, a pocket-friendly primer that can be used with latex paint. Although it isn’t the best in the game, the vast array of features it provides makes it a practical choice for DIY enthusiasts. Let’s check it out!

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...

Why Did We Like It?

This unit usually is available in two variants, i.e., grey and white. Due to this, you won’t always need external paint all the time; using it as a standalone color will also do. Moving on, the manufacturers assure nothing but optimal quality with this package, making it a value-for-money option to consider.

When it comes to performance, this product shows the best results when it’s used with wooden furniture. Moreover, it gets a higher advantage over the Zinsser B-I-N unit for having deficient volatile organic compounds, resulting in very less odor. Furthermore, it also doesn’t threaten to expose you to life-threatening fumes, making it quite a reliable option under a bargain-basement range.


Not to forget, the product comes off to be very thick and requires only a single coating, which gives it a higher advantage over our previous pick. Last but not least, it’s incredible how this product dries out within the first 30 minutes of application, making it very appropriate for DIY home improvement folks. If you have very little time in hand, this should be your go-to primer.

What Could’ve Been Better?

While testing, we’ve found that it doesn’t work very well on glossy surfaces. And although we’re not very happy with the coverage that it offers in 1 gallon, it’s fair enough for small-term renovation jobs.

  • Reliable under an affordable range
  • Ample quantity
  • Best for use on drywalls
  • Can be used to seal odors
  • Doesn’t work well on glossy areas
  1. INSL-X Stix Waterborne Bonding Primer

The penultimate item on our list is the product that every professional talks about- yes, the INSL-X Stix is what you grab for the most challenging situations. Not your average primer, this product has left us mindblown with the world-class adhesion and toughness that it offers. For those who are usually busy with heavy-duty jobs, this is your perfect companion.

INSL-X SXA11009A-04 Stix Acrylic Waterborne Bonding Primer,...
  • Premium-quality, acrylic-urethane bonding primer-sealer with...
  • Bonding primer for drywall, plaster, ceiling, acoustical...

Why Did We Like It?

Straight out the gate, the adhesion quality that you get from this product is parallel to none. This unit gets an instant advantage over our previous pick, as it can remain super glued to glossy surfaces without any issues. Furthermore, a single coating of this primer develops an outstandingly tough film with an enamel holdout that is guaranteed to last for years and is ready for top coating in an instant.

Furthermore, we’re in love with how it makes leveling smoother than ever and provides uber resistance from blistering and cracking. If you’re looking for budget-friendly options to lock the imperfections in your drywalls, we couldn’t have a more durable option. It can quickly provide you a coating coverage of 300-400 square feet, which is more than enough for heavy-duty renovation jobs.


Despite being a heavy-duty primer, it comes with almost zero volatile organic compounds that guarantee very low odor and fumes. Its water-based formula also makes it very easy to clean. Last but not least, it works fine in weathers as low as 35-degrees, which makes it pretty appropriate for use in colder temperatures.

What Could’ve Been Better?

It’s a little inconvenient how this primer takes around 3 to 4 hours to dry out completely. Also, we’re not happy with how it can’t be used underwater, provided that it’s famous for being used in extreme situations.

  • Can be used in cold temperatures
  • Impressive coating coverage
  • Long-lasting and durable film
  • No odor issues
  • Not suitable for underwater use
  1. KILZ Odorless Interior Oil-Base Stain-Blocker Primer

The final pick of the day is a very user-friendly addition to the popular KILZ primer range, the Odorless interior oil-base variant. Despite being a reliable primer, this product comes with zero odor issues and offers impressive coverage. That said, let’s check out its core features!

KILZ Original Low Odor Primer, Interior, 1 Gallon
  • PRIMER | SEALER | STAINBLOCKER: KILZ Original Low Odor is...
  • ADVANCED FORMULA: A special solution acylic that provides...

Why Did We Like It?

As the name implies, the product takes the cake for being probably the most user-convenient variant in our list, and the credits solely go to its zero-odor feature. Being an oil-based alternative, this product ranks very high in terms of firmness as well. Also, we’ve found it okay to use in both interior and exterior surfaces, raising the bar higher for versatility.

When it comes to performance, this product has all the features in just the right amounts to be an appropriate DIY primer. What makes it even better is its affordable price tag, making it accessible for almost anybody. You can use it on bricks, metals, or even glossy surfaces without care.


While testing, we’ve found it to create a firm base for the paint to be top coated, which clarifies any doubts about its reliability. Last but not least, its 1-gallon container offers coverage of 300 sq. ft.

What Could’ve Been Better?

The first drawback here is that it doesn’t work well on floors, which isn’t surprising because it’s a prevalent issue among KILZ primers. Also, we wouldn’t recommend it for use if you’re working on bathrooms or kitchens. Other than that, this one is an excellent option to consider if you’re searching for highly convenient alternatives.

  • Reliable under an affordable range
  • Ample quantity
  • Zero odor issues
  • Value for money
  • Doesn’t work on floors

Close up photo of hand painting wall with roller in white color. Copy space.

Paint Primer Buyer’s Guide

While shopping for products like paint primers, we’re often clueless about distinguishing a reliable alternative from an average one. However, our buyer’s guide enlists all the core features that you must check to ensure that you’re investing in a unit that serves your needs correctly.

  1. Interior/Exterior Use

Some variants only interior use, while others support both indoor and outdoor applications. If you’re a simple DIY home improvement guy, an interior primer might just work fine.

  1. Shelf Life

Quantity is a significant issue when it comes to primers, as most of the variants come with a disappointingly low shelf life. So, unless you’re preparing for larger projects, make sure not to buy a considerable can.

  1. Stain and Odor Resistance

Apart from being used for priming, these products are also sealers. That said, it’s imperative for these units to carry incredible stain-blockage and odor-locking capabilities. Make sure the one you choose guarantees to eliminate the “bleed-through” scenarios.

Texture putty on wall. Rough grunge wall background. Wall plastering


We hope that you’ve enjoyed going through our top paint primer suggestions, as much as we enjoyed compiling them for you. Have you found your pick yet? Let us know in the comments below.

Before we sign off, here are the editor’s top picks – the KILZ Adhesion primer is our favorite all-rounder under an affordable budget. Rust-Oleum Protective Enamel paint primer serves correctly to those who regularly work with metals. Last but not least, the INSL-X Prime Lock is the best option to consider if you’re working indoors.

That said, we’ll take your leave for now.

Till next time!

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