Top 6 Best Primers For Latex Paint (2020 Review)

In this ProPaintCorner.com guide, you will learn:

  • The best primers for latex paint
  • How to prep your project like a boss before priming
  • Painting tips for the next time you prime

And much more!

Top 6 Best Primers For Latex Paint (2020 Review)

Below is a quick list of all our top products. Keep scrolling to learn more about how to choose and use the best primers for latex paint!

Image Product

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KILZ Multi-Surface Stain Blocking Interior/Exterior Latex Primer/Sealer
  • Bestseller on Amazon
  • Low odor/blocks mildew
  • For interior/exterior use
  • Bestseller on Amazon
  • Low odor/blocks mildew
  • For interior/exterior use
View on Amazon

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Rust-Oleum Zinsser Bulls-Eye 1-2-3 Plus Spray Primer
  • Dries to the touch in just 30 minutes
  • Oil-based formula
  • For use over oil and latex topcoats
  • Dries to the touch in just 30 minutes
  • Oil-based formula
  • For use over oil and latex topcoats
View on Amazon

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INSL-X Stix Acrylic Waterborne Bonding Primer
  • Covers 300-400 square feet per gallon
  • Premium-quality
  • Cures in low temperatures (as low as 40-degree F)
  • Covers 300-400 square feet per gallon
  • Premium-quality
  • Cures in low temperatures (as low as 40-degree F)
View on Amazon

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Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Latex
  • Covers 120 square feet per gallon
  • For indoor/outdoor use
  • Provides a flat finish that minimizes surface imperfections
  • Covers 120 square feet per gallon
  • For indoor/outdoor use
  • Provides a flat finish that minimizes surface imperfections
View on Amazon

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Prestige Paints Interior Paint And Primer In One
  • Paint and prime in one simple step
  • 100% acrylic latex
  • Smooth application ideal for interior use
  • Paint and prime in one simple step
  • 100% acrylic latex
  • Smooth application ideal for interior use
View on Amazon

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Rust-Oleum Advanced Synthetic Shellac Primer
  • Dries in 45 minutes
  • Sticks to all surfaces
  • Seals sap, knots, and tannin
  • Dries in 45 minutes
  • Sticks to all surfaces
  • Seals sap, knots, and tannin
View on Amazon

Our Overall #1 Rated Pick

(updated 8/20/2020)

Our top pick in Kilz because it is sold in a very affordable 5-gallon paint bucket that will give you a sufficient amount of paint for the job.

Throw your old paint out and purchase a bucket of Kilz because it will give your project a consistent base coat to bring out the best in the paint color you have chosen.

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 Primers For Latex Paint?

In most cases, you should prime before you paint.

Primer is the first coat of paint that preps the surface for colored paint. 

In the modern world, latex primers are the ideal paint for drywall for several reasons. So what makes latex paint so good for painting walls? Qualities like:

  • Fast drying
  • Easy to clean
  • Less cracking and peeling
  • Not flammable
  • Non-toxic
  • Low odor

As you can see, compared to oil-based paints, latex paint is the better option in most cases.

The only advantages oil paint has is better adhesion to more difficult surfaces and one-coat hiding abilities. Oil paint also rolls on a little bit smoother, but that doesn't mean you should use it!

Most times when rolling a color with latex paint, it's necessary to use two coats, but that isn't always the case.

It also depends on what color you are painting with, and what color you are painting over. If you are painting over a light color, it will generally require less primer to finish the job.

Wait for 30 minutes to an hour to see how the paint shows up on the surface. It can sometimes be deceiving when the paint is still wet because it will still show through, but the color will often solidify after it is dry. 

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

What Are The Different Types of Primer For Latex Paint?

Latex primer

Latex primer will work perfectly over oil-based paint or an unfinished surface to give the latex paint a fit surface to bond to.

Oil-based primers

Although it isn't recommended, you can always use latex paint over an oil-based primer. What you don't want to try is using oil-based paint over latex paint, as it won't bond very well. 

Shellac primers

Shellac primers can be great for painting over trim and smaller projects because it dries hard and blocks stains. You can use latex paint over shellac primer for great results, but be sure to lightly sand and clean before doing so.

Spray can

You won't always need to whip out a brush or roller for doing a quick paint job. Sometimes it's better to purchase a spray can to apply a quick coat without the inconvenience of cleanup. 

Paint And Primer

The quick and cheap solution is to use a paint and primer because you only have to purchase one product for your painting necessity.

Just remember when choosing an 'all-in-one' product that you aren't choosing the highest quality of paint for the job.  

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

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

How Does Primer For Latex Paint Work?

Prep for applying primer

Before you prime, it's always great to clean and vacuum the area you are working in.

This applies especially when spraying the paint. Any dust that is left on the ground will be swept up into the paint job leaving ugly specs.

So make sure you vacuum thoroughly around the area you are painting. 

Another important point is that you should ensure that the area you are painting(if it's a structure) doesn't need additional framing or electrical work.

Spackling

Cover any small holes or imperfections in the drywall with a putty knife and spackle

And just to clarify, this is after the drywall has mudded (drywall mudding is a little bit more complicated to make it look nice, so you may want to hire a professional if you don't know what you are doing).

Caulking

Caulking is optional on interior work, but it helps make trim work blend into the paint job better. 

If you are painting an outside project like siding, you should seal in all the cracks with caulk before painting to keep the water out. 

Sand primer

If you are using a paint sprayer you will get better results if you sand the primer with a sanding pole before applying the final coat of latex.

On porous surfaces like outdoor decks/bare wood or siding, you may want to give the surface a good power washing beforehand to free up any loose debris that will flake off after the paint has been applied.

Did you know: Not only does paint primer increase your paint's adhesion to the surface, but it also improves corrosion resistance for a long-lasting paint job. 

Apply Primer

Now it's time for the undercoat. You can apply primer with a paintbrush, paint roller, or paint sprayer. When painting walls, one coat of primer probably isn't going to be enough. 

For the best results, you'll want to apply two coats of primer.

Sand Primer

After the primer is applied, it's time to prep the primed surface for the final coat of paint. 

This includes using direct light to find any small imperfections and spot-spackling over them.

There is even a blue dye that you can mix in with the spackle to help you from missing spackle spots when sanding over them with a sanding sponge.

A pole sander will help you get the surface super smooth for the final coat. It can be tough on the arms, but the more you sand, the better your paint job will turn out in the end.

Spot caulking is always a great idea after applying the prime coat to help your finish coat look impeccable.  

Final Coat

After you have carefully prepped, sanded, and cleaned the surface and its surrounding areas, you are now ready for the final coat of paint. 

Below is a video that shows you some common mistakes made by DIY painters when applying primer. 

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

What To Look For In The  Best Primer For Latex Paint?

Although it could work, it is not recommended to use latex paint over wallpaper. 

Quantity

Buying in bulk is wise and always gets you a better price on what you are purchasing.

Chances are that you are going to be painting with latex more than once, especially if you own a house.

Quality

You don't want a primer that sucks. Use our recommended list when choosing a primer to be sure of the quality.

Interior/exterior use

Some primers are ideal for interior use, and others are better for exterior use because they will block out the elements better.

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 Reviews Of The Best Primer For Latex Paint

Kilz original is a reliable primer and it is also the best seller on Amazon. 

With over 40 years in the business, Kilz has its paint formulas refined down to a science to dry faster and block stains from grease, water, markers, crayons, and more. 

Not only does this latex primer work on drywall, but it also works on surfaces like painted metal, brick, masonry, plaster, wood, stucco, paneling, and more.

Purchase this 5-gallon bucket of primer because chances are you will eventually use all of it, even if you are initially painting something small.

Pros

  • Bestseller
  • Cheap bulk price
  • Dries to the touch in 30 minutes

Cons

  • 5-gallon bucket might be too much paint
  • Dries softer than shellac and other heavy-duty primers
  • Dominates the market

Painting small projects? You may want to just use a spray paint can. 

This Rust-Oleum Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 spray can is a great solution for your small projects like coffee tables, trim pieces, etc because it is cheap and easy to apply plus it takes just one coat to cover the surface you are painting. 

Purchase this can of Rust-Oleum Zinsser Bulls Eye because it's not always necessary to purchase a full 1-gallon bucket of paint if you are painting something small.

Pros

  • Small and compact oil primer
  • Inexpensive
  • Perfect for small projects

Cons

  • 1 can might not be enough
  • Not the most economical
  • Relatively expensive for just one can

Need a high-quality primer that bonds to difficult surfaces?

This INSL-X Acrylic Waterborne Bonding Primer is perfect for priming surfaces like ceramic tiles, PVC plastic, shutters, galvanized metal, concrete, stucco, and other surfaces that are hard to get the paint to stick to. 

INSL-X is our premium option, which means you are going to be paying more for a product that works significantly better than other products on this list. 

Recommended for painting bathrooms an exterior surfaces that are exposed to water regularly.

Pros

  • Bonds to "hard-to-coat" surfaces
  • For use on multiple surfaces
  • High-quality option

Cons

  • Only 1 gallon
  • Not for use on polyethylene or polypropylene 
  • More expensive

This is a simple white primer that comes at a great price and is ideal when painting things like interior walls and interior/exterior surfaces like wood,  plaster, masonry, metal, etc. 

Apply Rustoleum Painter's Touch Latex Primer followed by two coats of paint for a perfect turnout. This is the right primer for the job if you are looking for the most practical product. 

Prep your surface first by sanding with 180/200 grit sandpaper, clean with a degreasing agent, and then apply the primer after the surface is dry.

Pros

  • Economical price
  • A water-based formula the produces low odor
  • Covers 120 square feet per gallon

Cons

  • Not the highest-quality option
  • Only comes with 1-gallon
  • Dominates the market

Prestige Paints is a brand that is on par quality-wise with brands like Sherwin Williams. This all-in-one semi-gloss paint and primer comes ready for application. 

The best part about this type of paint is that you don't have to purchase a topcoat paint. Simply apply from one can, and call it good.

Throw away your old paint and primes and purchase a gallon of Prestige Paints Interior Paint And Primer for an excellent finish on your next painting project. 

A tinted primer like this 'Proper Gray' color is the way to go for a quick painting solution.

Pros

Cons

  • Not as thorough of a paint job
  • Only comes with one gallon
  • Less professional than priming then painting

If you want a super sturdy surface to paint your latex onto, you might try a shellac primer like Rust-Oleum Advanced Synthetic Shellac Primer.

This is a stain-blocking primer that adds value to whatever it is that you are painting, and it is ideal for painting wood surfaces like trim work and furniture because it seals in knots, sap, and tannin.

This Rust-Oleum Advanced Synthetic Shellac Primer paint is advertised to stick to all surfaces, block odors, and cover stains sufficiently for a high-quality paint finish that will last you for the years to come.

Pros

  • Takes 45 minutes to dry
  • Multi-surface application
  • Hides dark colors

Cons

  • Only comes in a 1-gallon can
  • Not a conventional primer
  • Not ideal for drywall painting

Kilz 5-gallon multi-purpose primer is our top pick because of its economical price and recommendable quality. 

Working on a large project? You're going to want the Kilz 5-gallon bucket of paint because it will provide you with enough pain to get the job done.

And not only will you have enough paint, but after you are done using the plastic 5-gallon bucket, you can rinse it out and have a multi-purpose bucket for future jobs.

Plus, it's such a great value for the money. Find it at the lowest price on Amazon now!

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

Final Thoughts On The Best Primer For Latex Paint

Which Primer Should You Choose?

The primer you choose depends on what you want out of your project. Use primer that best fits. If you are painting something small, use spray paint. Painting something large, buy a 5-gallon bucket no doubt.

And if you are painting outside, be sure you purchase a primer and paint that is super water-resistant if you want the best results.

Paint and primer all in one?

Paint and primer is a good choice if you are looking to simply cover something up with paint. Again, it all depends on the quality you are looking for. 

And if we're being completely honest, some repaint jobs don't need to be primed again before painting. 

Always Choose Quality Over Quantity

The quality of the paint you choose does matter.  Quality paint is easier to apply, and it also performs better over time. 

But that isn't to say that you can't buy quality paint for a decent price. And you'll always get a better price when buying the 5-gallon bucket compared to a 1-gallon.

For example, you could try Behr paint from the local Home Depot, but we don't recommend it because it is difficult to work with and is a cheap quality finish. 

Professional painters will almost always apply two coats of primer on new paint projects, and when repainting they may just lightly sand and paint one coat of primer, depending on what color the paint is, type of primer, wall material, etc.

Meet Your Pro Paint Corner Author

Ryan Nichols

Ryan Nichols

I first painted professionally in my late teens. I have painted everything from long military base walls to spraying cedar wood siding on cabins in the mountains of Utah. I am also an automotive technician with plenty of auto body and paint experience. In my spare time, I even enjoy artistic oil painting.

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Ryan Nichols

Ryan Nichols

I first painted professionally in my late teens. I have painted everything from long military base walls to spraying cedar wood siding on cabins in the mountains of Utah. I am also an automotive technician with plenty of auto body and paint experience. In my spare time, I even enjoy artistic oil painting.

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