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10 Best Drywall Primers in 2024: Reviews & Top Picks

drywall newly coated with primer

drywall newly coated with primer

It’s no secret that a good primer can make or break your paint job. But with so many different options on the market, it can be tough to know which one is right for your project.

If you’re looking for the best drywall primer to help you achieve a flawless finish, look no further than our top reviews.

We’ve rounded up the best primers for drywall, whether you’re painting over new construction or older walls.

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A Glance at Our Favorites in 2024

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Plus Primer Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Plus Primer
  • Can be used on a variety of surfaces
  • Seals porous surfaces
  • Creates a smooth base for paint
  • Best Value
    Second place
    KILZ Original Low Odor Interior Primer KILZ Original Low Odor Interior Primer
  • Low odor
  • Suitable for a variety of surfaces
  • Budget-friendly
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    BEHR Premium Plus Paint & Primer in One BEHR Premium Plus Paint & Primer in One
  • Can be used on a variety of surfaces
  • Quick dry time
  • Low odor and low VOC
  • Glidden Interior Paint + Primer Glidden Interior Paint + Primer
  • Excellent coverage and adhesion
  • Resistant to mildew and mold
  • Perfect for a variety of surfaces
  • Kilz 2 All Purpose Interior/Exterior Primer and Sealer Kilz 2 All Purpose Interior/Exterior Primer and Sealer
  • Can be used on both interior and exterior surfaces
  • Good for sealing porous surfaces
  • Fast drying time
  • The 10 Best Drywall Primers

    1. Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Plus Primer – Best Overall

    Zinsser Rust-OLEUM 249933 1-2-3 Plus Quart

    Best For: All projects
    Dry Time: 1 hour

    Whether you’re working on a new construction project or painting over existing walls, the Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Plus primer is a great option. This water-based primer is the best overall drywall primer and can be used on a variety of surfaces, including wood, metal, and drywall.

    This high-performance primer is designed specifically for new drywall, yet it can be used on a variety of surfaces. It’s perfect for sealing porous surfaces and creating a smooth base for paint.

    Pros
    • Can be used on a variety of surfaces
    • Seals porous surfaces
    • Creates a smooth base for paint
    • High-performance primer
    Cons
    • Strong odor

    2. KILZ Original Low Odor Interior Primer – Best Value

    KILZ Original Low Odor Primer

    Best For: Interior projects
    Dry Time: 30 minutes to 1 hour

    If you’re looking for a budget-friendly primer that can be used on a variety of surfaces, KILZ Original Low Odor Interior Primer is a great option. This primer is ideal for both new construction and older homes, and it can be used on a variety of surfaces, including wood, drywall, and metal.

    For the best drywall primer for the money, KILZ Original Low Odor Interior Primer is our top pick. This primer is perfect for interior projects, and it’s budget-friendly, so you can save money on your paint job.

    Pros
    • Low odor
    • Suitable for a variety of surfaces
    • Budget-friendly
    Cons
    • Not suitable for high-gloss or semi-gloss paints

    3. BEHR Premium Plus Paint & Primer in One – Premium Choice

    BEHR Premium Plus 1 gal. Ultra Pure White Semi-Gloss Enamel Zero VOC Interior Paint and Primer in One

    Best For: All types of surfaces
    Dry Time: 1 hour

    BEHR Premium Plus Paint & Primer in One is our top pick for the best overall drywall primer. This primer can be used on a variety of surfaces, including wood, drywall, metal, and Masonry. It’s a high-quality primer that will help you achieve a smooth, professional-looking finish.

    What’s more, this primer has a quick dry time of just one hour, so you can get started on your painting project right away. Plus, it’s low odor and low VOC, making it a safer choice for your home and the environment.

    Pros
    • Can be used on a variety of surfaces
    • Quick dry time
    • Low odor and low VOC
    Cons
    • Some users found the consistency to be too thin

    4. Glidden Interior Paint + Primer for Drywall

    Glidden Interior Paint + Primer

    Best For: Professional painters and serious DIYers
    Dry Time: 30 minutes to 1 hour

    This premium primer from Glidden is ideal for professional painters and serious DIYers who want the best possible results. The high-quality formula provides excellent coverage and adhesion, making it perfect for use on a variety of surfaces, including drywall, wood, and metal.

    It’s also resistant to mildew and mold, so it’s a great option for damp or humid areas. Dry time is between 30 minutes and 1 hour, depending on the surface.

    Pros
    • Excellent coverage and adhesion
    • Perfect for a variety of surfaces
    • Resistant to mildew and mold
    • Fast dry time
    Cons
    • Somewhat watery consistency

    5. Kilz 2 All Purpose Interior/Exterior Primer and Sealer

    KILZ 2 All-Purpose Primer

    Best For: Sealing porous surfaces
    Dry Time: 2–4 hours

    The Kilz 2 All Purpose is a great primer for anyone who wants to do a quick project without having to worry about primer and paint compatibility. This versatile primer can be used on both interior and exterior surfaces, making it a great choice for a variety of projects. It’s also a good option for sealing porous surfaces, as it will help to block out staining and odors.

    If you’re looking for a fast-drying primer that can be used on a variety of surfaces, the Kilz 2 All Purpose is a great option. It has a dry time of 2-4 hours, so you won’t have to wait long before you can start painting. It’s also a good choice for sealing porous surfaces, as it will help to block out staining and odors.

    So, if you’re looking for a versatile primer that can be used on both interior and exterior surfaces, the Kilz 2 All Purpose is a great choice. It’s also a good option for sealing porous surfaces, as it will help to block out staining and odors.

    Pros
    • Can be used on both interior and exterior surfaces
    • Good for sealing porous surfaces
    • Fast drying time
    Cons
    • Not compatible with all paint types
    • Pricey

    6. Zinsser B-I-N Shellac-Based Interior Primer & Sealer

    Zinsser 00904 White Zinsser B-I-N Primer

    Best For: Shellacking projects
    Dry Time: 1–2 hours

    Zinsser B-I-N is a white pigmented Shellac primer that is designed to shellac and seals a range of surfaces in your home. Best used on glossy surfaces, chalky siding, masonry, and metal, this primer will give you a professional-grade look with little to no prep work.

    You can cover a lot of ground with this primer, making it one of the more versatile options on our list. As an added bonus, Zinsser B-I-N can be used as a spot primer for those difficult-to-reach areas.

    If you need a reliable shellac primer that will give you a professional finish, Zinsser B-I-N is the way to go.

    Pros
    • Can be used on a variety of surfaces
    • Shellacs and seals in one coat
    • Little to no prep work required
    Cons
    • Strong odor

    7. KILZ Restoration Interior Primer for Drywall

    KILZ Restoration Primer

    Best For: Heavy-duty stains
    Dry Time: 1–2 hours

    KILZ Restoration is a heavy-duty primer that can be used on multiple surfaces to cover and prevent stains. It’s a high-quality product that’s been trusted by painters and homeowners for years. The primer has a very strong odor, so be sure to ventilate the area well before using it.

    So, if you’re dealing with some tough stains that just won’t come out, this is the primer for you. KILZ Restoration is a powerful stain-blocking primer that can handle even the most stubborn stains. It’s ideal for fire and smoke damage, water damage, and nicotine stains.

    Pros
    • Can be used on multiple surfaces
    • Stain-blocking formula is ideal for tough stains
    • Fast drying time of 1-2 hours
    Cons
    • Very strong odor can be overwhelming

    8. XIM Oil-Based Primer Sealer Bonder for Drywall

    XIM Products 11052 White XIM, UMA Acrylic Bonder and Primer

    Best For: General Purpose
    Dry Time: 4–6 hours

    XIM’s oil-based primer is a great option for general-purpose priming. It can be used on both drywall and wood surfaces, and it provides excellent adhesion and coverage. This primer also blocks stains and seals porous surfaces, making it ideal for use in high-traffic areas or in rooms that are prone to spills.

    Keep in mind that this primer must be used with an oil-based paint, as it is not compatible with water-based paints.

    Pros
    • Good for general purpose
    • Versatile
    Cons
    • Smell can be overwhelming

    9. KILZ Adhesion High Bonding Latex Primer for Drywall

    KILZ Adhesion Primer

    Best For: Multi-purpose
    Dry Time: 1 hour

    KILZ Adhesion is a high-bonding latex primer that is designed to adhere to bare and glossy surfaces, making it perfect for use on drywall. This primer can be used on interior and exterior surfaces and provides excellent adhesion and coverage. It has a fast dry time of 1 hour and can be recoated in 2 hours.

    KILZ Adhesion is a versatile primer that can be used on a variety of surfaces, making it perfect for those who need a multi-purpose primer. It has an excellent coverage rate and dries quickly, making it a great choice for those who need to get the job done quickly.

    Pros
    • Bonds to all surfaces
    • Seals porous surfaces
    • Sticks to tough-to-paint surfaces
    • Can be top-coated with latex or oil-based paint
    Cons
    • Some users found the smell overpowering

    10. Zinsser Mold Killing Drywall Primer for Drywall

    Rust-Oleum 276087 Mold Killing Primer Quart White

    Best For: Surfaces prone to moisture and mold
    Dry Time: 30 minutes

    If you have surfaces that are particularly susceptible to mold or mildew, Zinsser’s Mold Killing Primer is a great option. This primer also has a built-in barrier that helps prevent future growth.

    With its quick dry time of 30 minutes, you can easily apply this primer and get on with your painting project. Do keep in mind that this product does have a strong odor, so be sure you only use it in a well-ventilated area.

    Pros
    • Kills existing mold and mildew
    • Prevents future mold and mildew growth
    • Can be used on a variety of surfaces
    • Fast dry time
    Cons
    • Strong odor

    paint brush divider

    Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Drywall Primer

    If you’re painting new construction or remodeling an existing home, it’s important to choose the right drywall primer before applying your topcoat. There are many different types of primers on the market, each designed for a specific purpose.

    To help you choose the best drywall primer for your project, we’ve put together a buyer’s guide with everything you need to know.

    What Is Drywall Primer?

    Drywall primer is a paint-like product that is applied to bare drywall before painting. It provides a uniform surface for the paint to adhere to and helps to fill in any imperfections in the drywall. Primer also helps to prevent peeling and flaking paint in the future.

    What Are the Different Types of Drywall Primer?

    There are four main types of drywall primer: latex, oil-based, shellac, and water-based. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages which we will discuss in more detail below.

    Latex Primer

    Latex primer is the most popular type of primer on the market. It is easy to apply, dries quickly, and cleans up easily with soap and water. Latex primer also provides a good base for both oil-based and water-based paints. The downside to latex primer is that it isn’t as durable as other types of primer and can sometimes cause peeling or flaking paint in the future.

    Oil-Based Primer

    Oil-based primer is more durable than latex primer and does a better job of filling in imperfections in the drywall. It is also good for blocking out stains and odors. The downside to oil-based primer is that it is more difficult to apply, takes longer to dry, and can be messy to clean up.

    Water-Based Primer

    Water-based primer is similar to latex primer in that it is easy to apply and dries quickly. However, it is more durable than latex primer and does a better job of filling in imperfections in the drywall. Water-based primer is also less likely to cause peeling or flaking paint in the future. The downside to water-based primer is that it can be more expensive than other types of primer.

    Shellac Primer

    Shellac primer is the most durable type of primer on the market. It does an excellent job of filling in imperfections in the drywall and blocking out stains and odors. The downside to shellac primer is that it is difficult to apply, takes a long time to dry, and can be messy to clean up.

    Drywall Mud
    Image Credit: Virrage Images, Shutterstock

    What to Look for When Choosing the Right Drywall Primer for Your Needs

    When choosing the right drywall primer for your needs, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, consider the type of paint you will be using. If you plan on using an oil-based paint, then you will need to use an oil-based primer. If you plan on using water-based paint, then you can use either a water-based or latex primer.

    Second, consider the condition of your drywall. If your drywall is in good condition, then you can get away with using a less expensive primer. However, if your drywall is in poor condition, then you will need to use a more expensive primer that does a better job of filling in imperfections.

    Third, consider the environment in which you will be painting. If you live in an area with high humidity, then you will need to use a primer that is designed for high humidity environments. If you live in an area with low humidity, then you can use a primer that is designed for low humidity environments.

    Finally, consider the type of finish you want to achieve. If you want a glossy finish, then you will need to use a different primer than if you want a matte finish.

    What Makes a Good Drywall Primer?

    As any good drywall contractor will tell you, the key to a great finish is all in the preparation. And that includes using the right primer. But with so many different products on the market, it can be hard to know which one is best for your project.

    Here are some things to look for when choosing a primer for your drywall:

    Good Coverage

    When priming drywall, you want a product that provides good coverage. This will help ensure an even coat and minimize the amount of time you spend painting.

    Easy to Apply

    You also want a product that is easy to apply. Some primers can be very thick and difficult to work with. Look for a primer that goes on smoothly and evenly.

    Dries Quickly

    Another important factor to consider is drying time. You don’t want a primer that takes forever to dry. Look for a product that dries quickly so you can get on with your painting project.

    Stain Blocking

    If you’re priming over existing paint, you’ll want a primer that blocks stains. This will help ensure an even finish and prevent any bleed-through from the old paint.

    Mildew Resistant

    If you’re working in a humid environment, it’s important to choose a primer that is mildew resistant. This will help prevent mold and mildew from growing on your walls.

    Drywall Patching
    Image Credit: Virrage Images, Shutterstock

    Tips When Buying Drywall Primer

    When you are planning to buy drywall primer, there are several things that you need to take into consideration first. This is because not all primers are created equal, and some may be better suited for your needs than others. Here are some tips to help you choose the best drywall primer for your project:

    • Consider the type of paint that you will be using. Some primers work better with oil-based paints while others work better with latex paints. If you are unsure about which type of paint to use, ask a sales representative at the store where you are buying the primer.
    • Read the label carefully. The label will tell you how much area the primer can cover and how many coats of paint you will need to apply. It is important to follow the instructions on the label so that you get the best results.
    • Choose a primer that is right for your project. If you are painting a small area, you may not need as much primer as you would if you were painting a large area. Be sure to read the directions carefully so that you don’t end up wasting money on too much primer or not enough primer.
    • Test the primer before you use it. You can do this by applying a small amount of primer to a piece of cardboard or paper and then holding it up to the light. If the primer looks milky, it is probably too thin and won’t work well. On the other hand, if the primer looks chalky, it is probably too thick and won’t work well either.
    • Apply the primer in a well-ventilated area. This will help to prevent the fumes from the primer from irritating your eyes or lungs.
    • Wear gloves when you are applying the primer. This will help to keep your hands clean and free of any chemicals that may be on the primer.
    • Clean up any spills immediately. If you spill some of the primer, be sure to clean it up right away so that it doesn’t cause any damage to your surfaces.
    • Store the leftover primer in a cool, dry place. Be sure to tightly seal the container so that the primer doesn’t dry out.
    • Use the primer within the time frame that is listed on the label. If you use it after this time, it may not work as well.

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    Conclusion

    When it comes to choosing the best drywall primer, there are many factors to consider. But ultimately, the best primer for your project will be the one that provides the best coverage and adhesion for your specific needs.

    If you’re looking for a primer that will provide superior coverage and adhesion, the Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Plus Primer is a great option. This primer is perfect for both new construction and remodeling projects. It can be used on bare wood, gypsum board, masonry, and concrete. The Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Plus Primer also provides excellent rust protection.

    The KILZ Original Low Odor Interior Primer is a great option for those who are looking for an affordable primer that still offers excellent coverage and adhesion. This primer is perfect for use on drywall, wood, and metal surfaces. It’s also low odor and non-flammable, making it a safe option for use in homes with children or pets.

    No matter which primer you choose, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and drying times. With proper application, your drywall primer will provide superior coverage and adhesion, making your paint job look its best.

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