Top 5 Best One Coat Paint and Primers (2020 Review)

Are you looking for the best one coat paint and primer? You've come to the right place!

In this ProPaintCorner guide, you will learn:

  • When to use a one coat paint and primer
  • What makes one coat paint and primers unique
  • 5 one coat paint and primers that we recommend

And much more!

Top 5 Best One Coat Paint and Primers (2020 Review)
Image Product

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Glidden Interior Paint + Primer
  • One coat coverage
  • Easy to clean
  • Low VOC
  • One coat coverage
  • Easy to clean
  • Low VOC
View on Amazon

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PRESTIGE Interior Paint and Primer in One
  • Super smooth application
  • Acrylic latex for easy soap and water clean-up
  • Very durable
  • Super smooth application
  • Acrylic latex for easy soap and water clean-up
  • Very durable
View on Amazon

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KILZ Tribute Interior Paint + Primer In One
  • Easy clean finish
  • Excellent sealer
  • Superb stain-blocking
  • Easy clean finish
  • Excellent sealer
  • Superb stain-blocking
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HGTV Home Sherwin Williams Showcase
  • Mildew resistant finish
  • One coat coverage guaranteed
  • Advanced stain and scrub resistance
  • Mildew resistant finish
  • One coat coverage guaranteed
  • Advanced stain and scrub resistance
View on Amazon

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The Spruce Best Home by KILZ Interior Semi-Gloss Paint & Primer
  • Low-odor
  • Available in 3 sheens
  • Mildew resistant
  • Low-odor
  • Available in 3 sheens
  • Mildew resistant
View on Amazon

Our Overall #1 Rated Pick

(updated 6/5/2020)

All told, we give our best paint nod in the "one coat paint and primer" category to Glidden with their Glidden One Coat Interior Paint and Primer in One.

With so many painters attesting to its high likelihood of covering on the first coat, to its easy cleanability, to the low VOC rating, and more - it all adds up to a Glidden win. 

Here's a helpful how-to video showing how best to roll out a wall in one coat:

Top 5 Best One Coat Paint And Primers

In a hurry? Check out our Top 5 picks below! Keep reading to learn more about these paint primer combos!

When to use a one coat paint and primer

If only life were so easy that every painting task was well-suited for an all-in-one solution. When painting unprimed wood, or over a heavy stain, prime separately with a shellac-based formula like Zinsser's B-I-N.

Hot tip: For priming exposed wood, use shellac or oil-based primer.

It's fair to say that most commercial top-coat paint formulations today are sold as a paint and primer in one formula. This is done to appeal to the DIY homeowner crowd. When tackling a small interior paint job, the less separate products you need to buy and apply, the better. 

When not to use a one coat paint and primer:

• Already primed surfaces
• Patched or new drywall
• Covering or dark stains
• Odor abatement

When in doubt, consider that paint and primer in one is nearly always higher VOC than other topcoats that don't include primer. 

High VOC means more odor and fumes to mitigate. So use them under ideal circumstances only.

Otherwise prime first, and then follow with two premium top-coats of paint.

When to use a one coat paint and primer:

Your ideal no-brainer perfect scenario is painting the same or a similar color over a wall already painted with latex paint. 

A tenant painting upon their moving out of a rental apartment is a perfect use of a one coat paint and primer. Simply trying to refresh the space, rather than redesign it.

Outside of this, your results may vary in attaining a perfect finish in only one coat.

Read More >> How Do You Paint A Wall Like A Pro?

Did you know: Ames Research Laboratories is credited with creating the first paint and primer combination in the early 2000s. Shortly after its invention, Sherwin-Williams and Behr created their own versions.

What makes one coat paint and primers unique

Saving you time is a one coat paint and primers' specialty. Rather than apply one or more coats of primer and then multiple topcoats, a one coat paint and primer lays down a smooth, even finish in one coat.

In 2009 when Behr first introduced their all-in-one offering, painters wondered whether it was more than clever marketing.

The advent of what was then called "Self-priming paint" actually opened up a new frontier in interior paint selection. 

You may now be wondering what it is, and whether a one coat paint and primer actually contains primer. Well, no, it does not.

The truth is that these miracle paints are basically premium paints with more solids in their mix. 

Having that increase in a solid material in the mix makes each coat of paint go on thick. Ideally, this means one coat coverage.

Now, remember that these are intended for interior use where existing topcoat paint is present and where there are no substantial or dark stains.

Read More >> What Are The Best Exterior Primer Paints?

Our Reviews of the Best One Coat Paint and Primers

Exceptional hide and stain block in one can.

Available in a flat, eggshell, or semi-gloss finish, this one product is your go-to for almost any interior surface.

Professional painters rave about this paint.

Shopping for Glidden's One Coat Interior Paint and Primer in One is made even easier because they're able to fulfill orders through Amazon

That avails you to Prime's fast shipping and easy returns. 

While it may seem that only 19 shades are available, those are only the premixes. 

You have access to over 300 unique paint colors through the extended palette that Glidden offers.

Pros

  • One Coat Coverage
  • Scrubbable
  • Low VOC

Cons

  • Dried paint may look different from online samples
  • Seal on can difficult to remove

The PRESTIGE paint and primer combo is an excellent choice if you're looking for a low-odor, acrylic paint.

This paint primer combo is great for painting interior rooms like the family room, bedrooms, and dining rooms.

Plus it's available in multiple sheens and a palette of neutral colors.

It's also one of the best values for the money on Amazon right now.

If you're looking for a super versatile paint primer combo, you can't go wrong with this brand. 

They also have an exterior paint version as well to meet all of your needs!

Pros

  • Super smooth application
  • Acrylic latex for easy soap and water clean-up
  • Very durable

Cons

  • Limited color palette available
  • Some consumers said it didn't cover as much surface area

KILZ has been a name in the primer game for a long time.

With Tribute, they've taken the brand contemporary.

This new formulation has that same solid reputation as an easy to work with material that covers light to medium stains well. 

Boating a bevy of on-trend color options and a matte-sheen finish, a Tribute wall is attractive and easily cleaned. 

You've got colors like Tender Shoots, Almost Sage, and Typewriter - to name a few.

Pros

  • Easy to Clean
  • Low VOC

Cons

  • Sometimes inaccurate online color swatches
  • Limited color palette 

This Sherwin Williams label seems to be the exclusive one coat offering that you'll find at Lowes.

Customer reviews rave for it, with most responding very positively about its ability to provide an attractive finish in literally one coat.

Some reviews did claim that it didn't cover their original color in one coat. While not every job is realistically a one-coat possibility, you heard more complaints with this compared to some other picks.

Prepare yourself for a paint that dries fast. That means rinse and clean up your brushes immediately when you're done painting.

Waiting even 30 minutes could ruin a brush with this Sherwin Williams formula.

Pros

  • Advanced stain and scrub resistance
  • One-coat coverage guaranteed
  • Mildew-resistant finish

Cons

  • Dries fast
  • Hard on brushes

If you're looking for some fun and unique colors in your paint primer, this one from The Spruce is perfect for you!

The Spruce collaborated with KILZ on this paint primer to create something that checks all the boxes.

Not only is this paint primer mildew resistant, but it's also low-odor and comes in multiple different finishes. 

Plus, this stuff dries incredibly fast! It'll be dry to the touch within one hour, and you can re-coat after two hours.

Which makes it a great choice for quick weekend DIY projects!

Pros

  • Low-odor
  • Available in 3 sheens
  • Mildew resistant

Cons

  • Some customers complained about color discrepancies
  • Not super high coverage

Easiest one paint pick for any job, hands down. 

Your one Glidden One Coat formula gets the job done with only one coat more often and in more challenging situations than any other product out there. 

With over 300 color options available, one is sure to suit your taste.

Their formula being low VOC compared to many others is another huge benefit. Proper ventilation and respiratory protection are recommended, as always.

Check out the lowest price now on Amazon!

Final thoughts on selecting a one coat paint and primer

The one coat paint and primer space is a desirable category that paint manufacturers compete in fiercely for dominance.

Any of the five that are mentioned here ought to work quite well under normal conditions. 

For those with a few extra bucks sitting around for materials, better paint makes the job a lot easier. You'll have fewer drips and better coverage. And all that saves you time. 

To cover a stain in one coat is a coin toss. High traffic areas such as hallways, foyers, and handrails all may require multiple coats.

Meet Your Pro Paint Corner Author

RJ Parker

RJ Parker

My first job as a painter’s assistant at the ripe young age of 13 charted a path ahead in my life that would gravitate around painting. Now as a freelance handyman and writer, I paint both with the brush and with words. If I’m not edging-in trim or rolling on a top-coat, you might find me out in the fields tending to a flock of goats. Literally. No lie. Or, perhaps you may catch me engaged in my other favorite pastime, eating. It’s fair to say that I’ve painted outside the lines, so to speak, prior to finding my natural stroke. Now, these misadventures and mishaps that I’ve experienced don’t have to happen to you. My mission at ProPaintCorner is to continue painting remotely through the advice, inspiration, and confidence that I give to my readers.

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Got Paint Questions? Search For In-Depth Answers Below!

RJ Parker

RJ Parker

My first job as a painter’s assistant at the ripe young age of 13 charted a path ahead in my life that would gravitate around painting. Now as a freelance handyman and writer, I paint both with the brush and with words. If I’m not edging-in trim or rolling on a top-coat, you might find me out in the fields tending to a flock of goats. Literally. No lie. Or, perhaps you may catch me engaged in my other favorite pastime, eating. It’s fair to say that I’ve painted outside the lines, so to speak, prior to finding my natural stroke. Now, these misadventures and mishaps that I’ve experienced don’t have to happen to you. My mission at ProPaintCorner is to continue painting remotely through the advice, inspiration, and confidence that I give to my readers.

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