10 Best Paint Primers of 2021 Compared & Reviewed

Best Paint Primer
Photo: Kilz

The purpose of using a paint primer is to give an undercoat and better adhesion to the main paint. It increases the durability and brightness of the paint.

However, you can only achieve all this if you use the best paint primer with a smooth finish and excellent hide of the cracks and wall damages.

Technically, you can find three material types in paint primers for different materials. You just have to find the perfect primer for a particular material for the best results.

Well, you will find all the answers below in this review. Let’s start with the best products on the market.

What To Check While Choosing the Best Paint Primers

How to Buy the Best Paint Primers
Photo: Rust-Oleum

1. Types of Paint Primers

There are three types of paint primers you can purchase.

– Oil Based

The oil-based paint primers have high VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). It’s because of the primer’s strength that you can use it on any surface.

Also, it does not require more than a single coat, and the coverage is great.

However, on the downside, these take more drying time than other primers. Also, the smell is too prominent, so you might have to wear a mask during the application.

The Rust-Oleum 03504 is the best oil-based paint primer on the market with powerful performance.

– Water Based

The water primers have a subtle VOC level, and these are ideal for indoor-outdoor use. These have great coverage because water-based primers smoothly glide on the wall.

On the bright side, these do not stink as strongly as oil-based primers. However, you might have to make extra coats of the primer to get the perfect finish.

If you want the best water-based primer, the Kilz L211114 Adhesion has maximum potential of rendering the best output.

– Shellac

If you are targeting stains and odors, shellac paint primers are your best bet. Shellac is popularly used in bathrooms and kitchen.

Also, these primers are professional’s go-to options when they have to conceal damage caused by fire or smoke.

The Rust-Oleum 00904 is the best shellac paint primer and professional’s first choice for extra damaged walls.

2. Non-Toxic Formula

It is not possible for a primer to be completely non-toxic. However, you can check for its toxicity and buy a product with controlled content.

The common toxic ingredients in primers are ammonia, toluene, kerosene, formaldehyde, benzene, etc. All these components are known as neurotoxins and carcinogens.

Exposure to these ingredients can irritate your eyes, nose, skin, and throat. People with low tolerance to irritants must make sure to purchase non-toxic paint primers. Also, if you have kids around, it is essential to pay special emphasis to the toxicity of the product.

3. Spray or Liquid Primer

The paint primers are either available in a tin container or spray bottle. You must be wondering how the product in both these packings varies?

Well, for starters, the one in spray bottles is spraying paint primer. While these are also liquid products, but they are more in mist form.

The application of both the products is also different. You have to apply a liquid primer with a brush or roller. However, the spray is relatively simple in application, as you can simply spray the liquid on the surface.

At the same time, the finish of liquid primer will be better than spray. Also, the quantity of liquid primer in tin packing is more than the spray primer.

You can use spray paint primer if there is less work to do. The best spray paint primer you can find online is the Rust-Oleum 327925-6 with smaller dry time and versatile usage.

4. Coverage

The primer’s coverage is referred in square feet it can cover in a single quantity. It varies from product to product.

To avail the best of your money, you should look for the coverage. The greater the coverage, the larger area a tin will cover.

5. Drying Time

The drying time is not as impactful when you have a smaller area to target. However, if you are planning to paint the entire house, this feature will contribute a lot to decision-making.

Most of the primers take a maximum of an hour to dry completely. However, you can also find products with as low of drying time as 10-minutes.

The Krylon K05131507 has a drying time of 10-minutes. It is one of the best products to use when you have a quick job to do.

6. Stain and Odor Resistant

Stains are inescapable in any house setting, especially with kids. After a certain time, the walls start to look dull, and stains appear. Therefore, you need a primer that can properly conceal stains and odor.

If your need surrounds the removal of stains and odor in the best way possible, pick the Kilz L200201 Restoration. It has got maximum coverage against odor and stains.

10 Best Paint Primers of 2021 Reviewed




Kilz L200201 Restoration

1. Kilz L200201 Restoration (Best Overall)

  • Subcoat for flooring & carpets
  • Odor & stain resistant
  • Up to 400 sq ft large coverage
  • Exceptionally powerful
Kilz Original

2. Kilz Original (Best Inexpensive)

  • Most affordable
  • Versatile
  • Sands easily
Kilz L211114 Adhesion

3. Kilz L211114 Adhesion (Best Water-Based)

  • High bonding interior-exterior primer
  • Increases paint life
  • Reduces sanding need
Rust-Oleum 03504

4. Rust-Oleum 03504 (Best Oil-Based)

  • Provides enamel undercoat
  • High hiding formula
  • Suitable for exterior use
  • Great for new construction
Rust-Oleum 00904

5. Rust-Oleum 00904 (Best Shellac)

  • Stick to all surfaces
  • Seals knots
  • Blocks odor
Rust-Oleum 327925-6

6. Rust-Oleum 327925-6 (Best Spray)

  • Quick & easy application
  • Provide long-lasting protection
  • Quick 20 mins drying
  • Comes with satin finish
Tamiya 87064-000

7. Tamiya 87064-000 (Best for Plastic)

  • Bonds with ABS & Styrene
  • Fills scratches & imperfections
  • Light grey color primer
Krylon K05131507

8. Krylon K05131507 (Minimum Dry Time)

  • Fastest 10 mins dry time
  • Affordable
  • Compatible with wooden material
  • Smooths uneven surface
Rust-Oleum 2004

9. Rust-Oleum 2004 (Mildew-Resistant)

  • Resists mildew growth
  • Suitable for interior-exterior applications
  • Compatible with high pH surfaces
  • Easy to clean
Rust-Oleum 1980502

10. Rust-Oleum 1980502 (Maximum Color Options)

  • 25+ color options available
  • Low odor
  • Versatile

1. Best Overall: Kilz L200201 Restoration

Kilz L200201 Restoration

Photo: Kilz

  • Dry Time: 30 minutes
  • Volume: 1 gallon

The Kilz L200201 Restoration stands in the best overall position because of exceptionally powerful performance. This product can be used to sub coat floors and carpets to block pet odor.

The primer is water-based but performs like an oil-based product. It blocks tough stains like medium to heavy water damage, nicotine, grease, ink, pencil, marker, pet stains, and rust damage.

This is the best interior paint primer as it addresses all the indoor concerns amicably. You are required to use it on properly prepared surfaces like brick, ceramic tile, drywall, masonry, painted metal, stucco, wood, plaster, etc. Also, the surface must be clean and free of mold, rust, dust, chalk, and peeling paint.

The application of this primer is very simple. You can use it with a roller, brush, or airless sprayer. It gives you coverage of up to 400 square feet and takes 30-minutes to dry. However, you will have to wait for 60-minutes to give it a retouch.

It is the best product you can use except for the strong stink. You will have to wear a mask while applying the primer.


  • Used to subcoat floors and carpets
  • Suitable for multiple surfaces
  • Quick drying
  • Versatile application


  • Have a strong stink

2. Best Inexpensive: Kilz Original

Kilz Original

Photo: Kilz

  • Dry Time: 30 minutes
  • Volume: 0.25 gallons

The Kilz Original is for the ones seeking the most inexpensive paint primers with high quality. This product is very dependable and comes with massive coverage of up to 400-square feet.

The primer is suitable for versatile surfaces like wood, drywall, plaster, panels, wallpaper, masonry, brick, painted metal, and flossy surfaces. It is not a recommended product for the floor.  

The oil-based primer blocks most stains like water, tannin, ink, pencil, smoke, grease, etc. It will also conceal the pet odor and smoke odor.  

It takes a minimal time of 30-minutes to dry. You can recoat after 60-minutes. The product has excellent adhesion and sands easily.

This product is the cheapest primer paint on the list, but its performance matches the level of high-end products on the market. Unfortunately, it is not meant for exterior use.


  • Most inexpensive
  • Large coverage
  • Quick drying
  • Excellent adhesion


  • Not suitable for exterior use

3. Best Water-Based: Kilz L211114 Adhesion

Kilz L211114 Adhesion

Photo: Kilz

  • Dry Time: 30 minutes
  • Volume: 0.25 gallons

The Kilz L211114 Adhesion is the best water-based primer paint and has high-bonding for interior-exterior use. The problem-solving primer is used under epoxies, lacquers, Xylene, and other solvents.

The pack gives you coverage of up to 100-square feet. It is also a versatile product. It can be used on tough-to-paint surfaces like Kynar, Formica, vinyl, tile, glass, glazed brick, chalky paints, fiberglass, and metals. You can further topcoat it with latex or oil-based paints.

You will have to prepare the surface before applying the primer. It should be free of grease, chalk, mold, rust, etc. This one is an excellent adhesion promoter and increases paint life. Also, it reduces the sanding need.  

Certainly, this is a great product for all-purpose use, but it is a bit expensive to afford, especially when you are targeting a large area to cover.


  • Suitable for interior and exterior use
  • Increases paint life
  • Can be used on all kinds of surfaces
  • Excellent adhesion promotor


  • Bit expensive

4. Best Oil-Based: Rust-Oleum 03504

Rust-Oleum 03504

Photo: Rust-Oleum

  • Dry Time: 60 minutes
  • Volume: 0.25 gallons

The Rust-Oleum 03504 is the best oil-based paint primer that provides superior enamel undercoat to a surface. It has a thick consistency and glides seamlessly on all kinds of surfaces.

You can use this product for interiors and exteriors priming. Also, it sands very easily. Another great thing about this product is the high hiding formula that carefully conceals watermarks, smoke, and nicotine stains.

It is exceptional for new construction, repainting work, remodelling, and small priming projects. This product delivers full penetration and flexibility to use on different surfaces.  

The primer is affordable and quite promising. However, it does not conceal the odor. Therefore, if you have a pet or smoke odor in the house, this product won’t be as useful.


  • Superior enamel undercoat
  • Easy to sand
  • Conceal stains
  • Can be used on various surfaces


  • No odor removal

5. Best Shellac: Rust-Oleum 00904

Rust-Oleum 00904

Photo: Rust-Oleum

  • Dry Time: 45 minutes
  • Volume: 0.25 gallons

The Rust-Oleum 00904 shellac primer makes a great base for the other overcoats. It tends to be the foundation of the paints as it has the tendency to stick to all kinds of surfaces. This means whether you need to paint the interior or exterior, this product can be used effectively.

Whether your walls are stained or damaged, this product will be exceptionally suitable in concealing all the draw points. It seals knots and makes every surface look fresh and new.

Also, other than hiding stains, it is beneficial in blocking odor. It is a highly suitable product for people with pets.

The product has a quick drying time of 45-minutes. You can expect great performance at an affordable price. The only drawback is the strong stink, which can irritate your nose. Make sure to wear a mask while using it.


  • Acts as a foundational undercoat
  • Conceal stains
  • Suitably priced
  • Quick drying


  • Stinks badly

6. Best Spray: Rust-Oleum 327925-6

Rust-Oleum 327925-6

Photo: Rust-Oleum

  • Dry Time: 20 minutes
  • Volume: 12 ounces

The Rust-Oleum 327925-6 is easy and quick to apply. It comes in a small spray packing with a soft push to conveniently spray the primer on all kinds of surfaces. The product gives you maximum durability with full coverage.

One of the best things about this product is 20-minutes dry time. It is an exceptional product for quick priming projects. It is available in a French blue color so you can use it on the decorative pieces as well.

Due to the satin finish, you can use it on all kinds of surfaces, including plastic. The constant usage does not tire your hand.

Overall, this is a great product. However, it has a very small coverage of 12-square feet. If you are targeting a large area, then this one will cost you massively.


  • Easy and quick application
  • Quick drying
  • Beautiful color
  • Comes with satin finish


  • Small coverage

7. Best for Plastic: Tamiya 87064-000

Tamiya 87064-000

Photo: Tamiya

  • Volume: 6 ounces

The Tamiya 87064-000 is particularly for buyers who want a primer for plastic products. This model seamlessly bonds with ABS and styrene plastic. It is also compatible with metals.

It is available in grey color and gives a lighter finish to the surfaces. You can use the spray to fill scratches and imperfections on the surface. This product is suitable for remodelling the plastic furniture and other products and give them a new look.

It is quite diligent in performance. Also, it increases the paint life of the surface as you will not experience any chipping.

Furthermore, the easy-to-use spray bottle can conveniently fit inside tight spaces for priming. This is a decent product. The application is simple and comfortable.

However, it is not suitable for other surfaces. Also, the quantity is too small and disappointing.


  • Easily bonds with plastic
  • Light color for cooler finish
  • Can be used for remodelling house stuff
  • Easy to use spray bottle


  • Not suitable for all surfaces
  • Quantity is too less

8. Minimum Dry Time: Krylon K05131507

Krylon K05131507

Photo: Krylon

  • Dry Time: 10 minutes
  • Volume: 12 ounces

If you have a super quick priming task to do, try the Krylon K05131507 as it has a minimum dry time of merely 10-minutes. While you are cleaning up after the primer application, it will be dry for another coat. This is one of the fastest primers on the market.

The white primer is ultra-flat and smooths the uneven surfaces. Interestingly, it is compatible with different surfaces, including plastic, metal, and wood.

The spray primer increases paint adhesion and ensure that the true paint color is achieved by the user. The product is only suitable for indoor use.

It is quite affordable and responsive. You will surely find it useful in a quick application and to achieve rapid priming tasks. The downside is that it is highly inflammable. The smallest mishandling will cause massive accidents, so be very careful while applying.


  • Quick dry
  • Affordable
  • Highly responsive
  • Smooths the surfaces


  • Highly inflammable

9. Mildew Resistant: Rust-Oleum 2004

Rust-Oleum 2004

Photo: Rust-Oleum

  • Dry Time: 60 minutes
  • Volume: 0.25 gallons

The Rust-Oleum 2004 has a high tendency to resist mildew growth on the surfaces. The water-based formula also provides protection against blistering and peeling of walls.

It contains a rust inhibitor that makes it compatible with new metal surfaces. Other than that, this product also works perfectly with high pH surfaces like fresh concrete surfaces. You can enjoy interior and exterior applications with this product.

The container of 0.25-gallons product gives you 100-square feet coverage. It does not require sanding before application and is very easy to use.

You can easily clean the mess created during the priming as it can be wiped clean using mild soap and water.

The product is very affordable and increases the paint’s life to a large extent. The drawback is that this product does not block stains or odor.


  • Mildew resistant
  • Suitable for high pH surfaces
  • Increases paint’s life
  • Affordable


  • Does not conceal stains or odor

10. Maximum Color Options: Rust-Oleum 1980502

Rust-Oleum 1980502

Photo: Rust-Oleum

  • Dry Time: 30 minutes
  • Volume: 0.06 – 0.25 gallons

If you want a color-specific primer, then go with the Rust-Oleum 1980502 as it comes with 25+ color options. You can have a color selection before priming.

The product is versatile and suitable for different surfaces, including wood, metal, plaster, masonry, and unglazed ceramic. The water-based acrylic formula has low-odor and long-lasting protection.

It gives an excellent base while minimizing surface imperfections. The 30-minutes quick-dry formula is exceptional in performance. However, you will have to sand the surface before applying the primer to it.

This product gives you great versatility of color and surface usage. The drawback is that it is very difficult to clean. The strong formula will take a lot of time and effort for cleaning.


  • 25+ color options available
  • Compatible with different surfaces
  • Exceptional performance


  • Takes time to clean


To conclude this paint primer review, we will say that there are fantastic products you can purchase that satisfy your needs. These products are hand-picked for high performance and great delivery.

The Kilz L200201 Restoration is the best overall product that will impress maximum buyers with its enhanced coverage, quick dry time, and versatility.

At the same time, the Rust-Oleum 2004 is best suited for walls with high pH. It is mold and mildew resistant as well.