Top 5 Best Paint Primers For Walls (2020 Review)

Are you looking for the perfect paint primer for your walls?

You've come to the right place!

In this ProPaintCorner.com guide, you will learn:

  • What the different types of primers are
  • What to look for in a primer
  • Supplies you'll need for priming your walls

And much more!

Top 5 Best Paint Primers For Walls (2020 Review)

Below is a quick list of all our top products. Keep scrolling to learn more about how to choose and use these primers!

Image Product

digital-business-prep-table__image

Rust-Oleum Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer
  • Rust Inhibitive
  • Mold & Mildew Resistant
  • Water-based
  • Rust Inhibitive
  • Mold & Mildew Resistant
  • Water-based
View on Amazon

digital-business-prep-table__image

KILZ Original Multi-Surface Stain Blocking Oil-Based Primer/Sealer
  • Blocks stains and odors
  • Fast Drying
  • Easily sandable
  • Blocks stains and odors
  • Fast Drying
  • Easily sandable
View on Amazon

digital-business-prep-table__image

KILZ Adhesion High-Bonding Interior/Exterior Latex Primer/Sealer
  • Amazing adhesion
  • Works on tough-to-paint surfaces
  • Water-based and easy to clean
  • Amazing adhesion
  • Works on tough-to-paint surfaces
  • Water-based and easy to clean
View on Amazon

digital-business-prep-table__image

KILZ Odorless Interior Oil-Based Primer Sealer
  • Seals interior surfaces
  • Works on multiple types of surfaces
  • Covers tough stains like crayon
  • Seals interior surfaces
  • Works on multiple types of surfaces
  • Covers tough stains like crayon
View on Amazon

digital-business-prep-table__image

Rust-Oleum Mold Killing Primer Quart
  • Mold killing
  • Can paint directly over existing mold and mildew
  • Incredibly adhesive
  • Mold killing
  • Can paint directly over existing mold and mildew
  • Incredibly adhesive
View on Amazon

Our Overall #1 Rated Pick

(updated 9/17/2020)

Our top choice has to be the renowned and epic Rust-Oleum Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer.

This primer is one of my absolute favorites because it works on pretty much any project out there.

Not only is this stuff incredibly adhesive, but it allows you to minimize sanding and still get that glorious topcoat you're going for.

Plus, it's a latex primer so it's easy to clean, easy to dispose of, and easy to use with any paint job and paint color you want.

Want To Just Skip All This Research And Hire A Decent Professional For Your Paint Job?

Click here to check out our pro painter search tool where we instantly send you free quotes from trusted (and thoroughly vetted) painters in your local area.

Process Takes About 30 Seconds

What Are The Different Types of Primers To Choose From?

While there are several different types of primers out there, these are the main ones:

  1. Latex-based primers
  2. Mold-resistant primers
  3. Stain-blocking primers
  4. Shellac primers
  5. Tinted primers
  6. Paint and Primer-In-One

While all of these primers are excellent and will do the job of preparing your surface to accept paint, the type that you decide to use depends on what you're hoping to use primer for.

Every paint job is different and requires a different approach.

So, when dealing with walls specifically, there are a few things to consider before you decide on a primer.

For example, if you're working with new drywall, you'll probably be fine going with a simple latex primer.

However, if you're trying to cover up some wood paneling or another, more textured wall surface, you might want to go with something oil-based or more adhesion focused.

That's how you're going to get the best topcoat finish from your paint job.

So, before you get started, make sure you choose the right primer (and a quality primer) for your particular job.

Read More >> What Are The Best Primers To Cover Dark Paint?

What Should You Look For In Paint Primer For Walls?

So now you might be wondering:

What - specifically - should you be looking for in a high-quality primer for your walls?

Well, before you decide on a primer, ask yourself these questions:

  1. What does the wall I'm painting currently need? (Is there mold, mildew, or existing paint to cover?)
  2. What type of paint am I using? (Old paint, new paint, oil-based, latex?)
  3. Are there stains or existing paint colors to cover? (Are you covering smoke stains, water stains, or dark paint?)

When you answer these 3 questions, it's going to make it much easier to find the exact right primer for your paint job.

For instance, if you need to cover some stains and kill some mold, you'll want to choose something like #5 on this list to kill off that growth and block out the stains so they don't show up on your topcoat.

However, if you're working with some fresh drywall, you can probably save your cash and go with #1 or #2 on this list and still get an amazing paint job out of it.

Read More >> How Do You Get Primer Off Your Hands?

Want To Just Skip All This Research And Hire A Decent Professional For Your Paint Job?

Click here to check out our pro painter search tool where we instantly send you free quotes from trusted (and thoroughly vetted) painters in your local area.

Process Takes About 30 Seconds

Supplies You'll Need For Priming Walls

Before you get started priming your walls, there are a few supplies you'll want to gather before you lay down that first layer of primer.

Luckily, you might have a few of these things on hand already, and if you don't they're all fairly inexpensive as well.

  • Drop cloths - these are absolutely essential to avoid paint splatter
  • Extension pole - this is almost guaranteed to come in handy
  • Paint tray - this will come in handy, especially if you don't use a powered paint roller
  • Painter's tape - always make sure to use tape to make it easier to cut in without making messes
  • Sandpaper - some primers work much better when sanded down before adding paint

Now that you've got a good idea of what you'll need to get started, let's talk about the best paint primer for walls!

Did you know: Using a primer when you paint can actually save you money! This is because it creates a much better surface for your paint to adhere to, so you'll likely use less of it.

Our Reviews Of The Top Primers For Walls

Our top choice is still the epic and multi-purpose Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer because this epic primer is going to minimize any re-painting you need to do while creating a pristine topcoat for whatever paint color you choose.

It's a high bonding primer with a highly affordable price point so if you're an avid DIY fan and you want a primer that works for both exterior paints and interior paints this is a great choice.

This is truly one of the best primers to minimize the number of coats of paint you'll need on your walls while still getting an amazing finish.

Pros

  • Rust Inhibitive
  • Mold & Mildew Resistant
  • Water-based

Cons

  • Only comes in a quart size on Amazon
  • Covers 100 square feet per quart

Our best budget option is this epic Multi-Surface stain-blocking primer/sealer by KILZ.

Not only is this stuff only about $8 per quart on Amazon, but it's also amazing at blocking smoke stains, water stains, or pretty much any other stains you're working with on your walls.

Plus, it works with all types of paint and it helps block out odors from pets and smoke as well.

So, if you're looking for a cheap primer that can block stains and dark colors, this is your best bet!

Pros

  • Blocks stains and odors
  • Fast Drying
  • Easily sandable

Cons

  • Oil-based which means harder to dispose of/clean up

Our high-end primer option is the amazing KILZ Adhesion High Bonding Interior/Exterior Primer.

This latex primer is amazing for all sorts of surfaces, including glazed brick, vinyl paneling, and much more.

So, if you have a living room with multiple surfaces and textures to paint, this stuff is a great choice due to its versatility and adhesive qualities.

It's also very fast drying and doesn't necessarily need to be sanded in between coats to get the best results on your paint job.

Plus, if you're working with old paint, shellac, lacquers, or other types of paint on your walls, this stuff will also work with those.

Pros

  • Amazing adhesion
  • Works on tough-to-paint surfaces
  • Water-based and easy to clean

Cons

  • Some users needed multiple primer coats to cover certain surfaces or paint colors

This amazing primer is something I wish I'd known about years ago because it's odorless!

That's right, it's an amazing low-VOC primer that won't stink up your entire living room when you're done laying down a coat.

If you use this along with a latex paint that is also low-VOC, you might not have to deal with that horrid "fresh paint" smell that can permeate a room for days and weeks after the paint job is done.

Not only that, but it can also cover stains (even tough ones like crayon) and seal in odors so you'll get a fully fresh top coat when you're done painting and you won't have to worry about any stains peeking through.

Plus, since it's specifically made for interior walls, it's great for painting bedrooms, bathrooms, or other cramped spaces where you don't want to deal with a lingering smell.

Pros

  • Seals interior surfaces
  • Works on multiple types of surfaces
  • Covers tough stains like crayon

Cons

  • A bit on the pricey side
  • Some users who are sensitive to smells still had issues with the odor

If you're looking specifically for a mold killing primer, this is the one for you!

If you want a primer that can kill off mold and mildew on your walls, this primer can do just that without any obnoxious scrubbing or cleaning.

You can paint this primer right on top of existing mold and mildew and this primer will kill it off and prepare your surface for paint adhesion.

It's also a high bonding primer for porous surfaces like concrete (however, it's only advised to use it to kill mold on non-porous surfaces for full efficacy).

This primer works with pretty much any type of topcoat and it's also very fast-drying so you won't be waiting all day to reapply a coat of paint.

Pros

  • Mold killing
  • Can paint directly over existing mold and mildew
  • Incredibly adhesive

Cons

  • Some users received cans of primer that had dried (this is Amazon's fault, however, not Rust-Oleum's)

Want To Just Skip All This Research And Hire A Decent Professional For Your Paint Job?

Click here to check out our pro painter search tool where we instantly send you free quotes from trusted (and thoroughly vetted) painters in your local area.

Process Takes About 30 Seconds

Our Top Choice: Rust-Oleum Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer

Our top choice is still the amazing Bulls Eye primer.

It's truly one of the best primers out there on the market because it works as an amazing interior primer for new drywall and it's fast drying.

Plus, if you want to use it as an exterior primer for exterior surfaces, it'll still get the job done!

Not only that, but it's also such a great value for the money. Find it at the lowest price on Amazon now!

Final Thoughts On Choosing A Good Paint Primer 

Now that we've gone over all the different types of paint primers out there, this guide should help you determine which primer to use for your next paint project.

Ultimately, choosing the right primer for the paint you plan to use, as well as the type of surface you're working with is going to yield the best results for your paint job.

As always, happy painting!

Meet Your Pro Paint Corner Author

Madison Rude

Madison Rude

I’m kind of a painting nerd. My mom taught me how to paint when I was nine, and since then I’ve painted rooms, furniture...you name it. I’ve written technical advice for Wagner sprayers, and I’ve spent a lot of time DIYing my own home. I’m no expert, but I love to learn. And here at ProPaintCorner, I learn more about painting every time I work with one of our painting pros to bring you the best product reviews and How To advice available. Together, let’s make your next painting project the best it can be!

Got A Paint Question? Ask Your Pro Painter!

Logged in as Madison Rude. Log out?

Learn More Expert Paint Tips

Painting shouldn’t be this hard. Check out some of these other helpful guides to help you nail the perfect paint job!

Top 5 Best Paint Primers For Bathroom Ceilings (2020 Review)

Are you looking for the perfect paint primer for your bathroom ceilings?You’ve come to the

Read More »
Top 5 Best Primer For Covering Red Paint (2020 Review)

Are you looking for an awesome primer to cover up red paint?You’ve come to the

Read More »
Top 6 Best Primers For Latex Paint (2020 Review)

In this ProPaintCorner.com guide, you will learn:The best primers for latex paintHow to prep your

Read More »
Top 5 Best Paint Primer For Drywall (2020 Review)

Are you looking for the perfect paint primer for drywall?You’ve come to the right place!In

Read More »

Meet Your Pro Paint Corner Author

Madison Rude

Madison Rude

I’m kind of a painting nerd. My mom taught me how to paint when I was nine, and since then I’ve painted rooms, furniture...you name it. I’ve written technical advice for Wagner sprayers, and I’ve spent a lot of time DIYing my own home. I’m no expert, but I love to learn. And here at ProPaintCorner, I learn more about painting every time I work with one of our painting pros to bring you the best product reviews and How To advice available. Together, let’s make your next painting project the best it can be!

Got A Paint Question? Ask Your Pro Painter!

Learn More Expert Paint Tips

Painting shouldn’t be this hard. Check out some of these other helpful guides to help you nail the perfect paint job!

How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Room? (2020 Estimates)

Are you wondering how much it costs to paint a room? You’ve come to the right

Read More »
How Long Should Primer Dry Before Painting? (3-Step Guide)

Are you wondering how long you should let that primer dry before you paint over

Read More »
Top 5 Best Paint Primers For Bathroom Ceilings (2020 Review)

Are you looking for the perfect paint primer for your bathroom ceilings? You’ve come to the

Read More »
Top 5 Best Primer For Covering Red Paint (2020 Review)

Are you looking for an awesome primer to cover up red paint? You’ve come to the

Read More »

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

Madison Rude

Madison Rude

I’m kind of a painting nerd. My mom taught me how to paint when I was nine, and since then I’ve painted rooms, furniture...you name it. I’ve written technical advice for Wagner sprayers, and I’ve spent a lot of time DIYing my own home. I’m no expert, but I love to learn. And here at ProPaintCorner, I learn more about painting every time I work with one of our painting pros to bring you the best product reviews and How To advice available. Together, let’s make your next painting project the best it can be!

About Pro Paint Corner

You’ve got painting questions. We’ve got the best painting answers from a network of seasoned painting pros.

Recently Published Guides