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The 8 Best Drywall Primer Reviews Of 2021

We have had a lot of people ask us to recommend the best drywall primer. It’s important to know that priming any surface before applying the paint will help you use less paint, and have a more professional looking finish. You should also know that priming drywall is a must before you paint.

We went to professional housepainters that concentrate on interior painting and asked them which primer they use or recommend (check oil based primer also) to their customers, friends and family. They gave us a great list of products, and some tips about application and the reasons why this product must be used.

In A Hurry, Here Are Our Top Picks!

Rust-Oleum Flat Gray Primer
Rust-Oleum Flat Gray Primer
  • Easy to Clean
  • Quick Dry
  • Sands Easily
Check Price
INSL-X Stix Acrylic Waterborne Bonding Primer
INSL-X Stix Acrylic Primer
  • Low VOC 
  • Easy to Clean
  • Mildew resistant
Check Price
KILZ L211101 Adhesion High-Bonding Interior Latex Primer
  Zinsser 02004 Bulls Eye 1-2-3 All Surface Primer
  • Water-based formula seals uniformly
  • Quick dry
  • Excellent stain blocking resistance
Check Price

The 8 Best Drywall Primers – Expert Reviews

1. Rust-Oleum Flat Gray Primer

Rust-Oleum Flat Gray Primer

This primer is recommended for use on interior and exterior surfaces. It can be used on wood, metal, unglazed ceramics, plaster, drywall, and even masonry. It is recommended that you sand the area you are going to apply the primer to using a sandpaper that is 180 tp 200 grit.

One gallon of this primer will cover 120 square feet. The product will dry to the touch in about 30 minutes.

When dry it will have a flat finish that minimizes imperfections in the object you painted. It has the ability to increase the adhesion of your paint, and once applied it will allow you to save money on paint because it will take less paint to complete the project.

2. INSL-X Stix Acrylic Waterborne Bonding Primer

INSL-X Stix Acrylic Waterborne Bonding Primer

This primer is recommended for use on drywall, plaster, glass, plastic, glazed blocks, fiberglass, galvanized metal and more. You will great results because this product is designed to adhere better on the difficult to paint surfaces.

You can use just about any top coat product that you desire once this primer has dried and cured. It is possible to use this product when temperatures are lower, and will even cure completely in temperatures as low as 40 0F.

This gallon of primer will cover between 300 and 400 square feet. It has a low VOC and can be cleaned up using simple soap and water.

Can be used on interior, or exterior surfaces. If you use this on an exterior surface you must top coat with a paint product.

3. KILZ L211101 Adhesion High-Bonding Interior Latex Primer

KILZ L211101 Adhesion High-Bonding Interior Latex Primer

This primer can be used indoors or outdoors on the majority of all surfaces. It has a high-bonding ability so it can be used on those hard to paint items like PVC, Kynar, tile, vinyl, fiberglass and glossy finished items. It has a viscosity of 93-100 KU.

If you apply with a roller to a smooth surface choose a roller with a nap of 3/8” to ½”. However, if you are applying to a porous surface choose a roller with a nap of ½” to ¾”. If you apply with a paint sprayer use a spray pressure of 2,500 to 3,200 and a 015 tip.

Once applied, you can use the topcoat of your choice. It should dry to the touch in about half of an hour and be ready to paint over in about one hour.

4. PVA 5 Gal. White Interior Drywall Primer

This primer is excellent for use on drywall surfaces that have never been painted before. It goes on easily with any application you prefer. It is water based and clean-up is done with plain soap and water so it cleans up quickly.

This is a five gallon pail that will cover 2000 square foot. Apply in an even coat and then allow it to dry for a minimum of 24 hours before you paint over the primer.

This product is chosen frequently by professional painters and homeowners. It goes on smoothly and covers completely. It will also help to stop molds, mildews, and such from developing under your paint.

5. White Acrylic Interior Drywall Plus Primer and Sealer

This is a 100% acrylic product that bonds well to your surface. It also allows your top coat paints to bond better so you get less peeling, flaking, and problematic painted surfaces.

This product is designed to be used on new drywall, wood, plastics, and the majority of paintable surfaces. It is great at reducing the appearance of minor imperfections, and creating a more uniform surface for your paint to be applied to.

This primer has a fast recoat time so you do not have to wait 24 hours to continue the paint. It can be tinted to change to color and should be used under paints that have low sheens to them. 

6. Zinsser Bulls-Eye 1-2-3 Primer

If you are looking for the best drywall primers, you cannot possibly overlook this product. Aside from being a fantastic primer, it makes your cleaning breezy too. 

This product works perfectly with fresh surfaces such as new concrete, drywalls, and interior walls. It doesn’t soak up the paint like other products, and it makes the entire process extremely economic in terms of both time and money.  

You can use this primer both for interiors and exteriors. In addition to drywalls, it can also be applied on metal, masonry, wood, concrete, and even on glossy surfaces. It comes with a powerful water-based formula that helps seal the surface uniformly, so you won’t need to worry about issues like sanding. 

You can also use any oil or latex as a topcoat along with this primer, which takes just 35 minutes to dry. This finish stops the growth of mildew and molds. Users love the flexible and breathable finish, resistant to peeling and blistering.

7. KILZ Restoration Maximum Stain & Odor Blocking Interior Primer/Sealer

If you’ve been on the hunt for the best drywall primer to block stains, this might just be the one for you. This water-based primer also couples up as a sealer, any paint based on oil or latex.

A branded primer for newly constructed interior walls, KILZ will best suit your needs. Make sure you use it cum sealer on surfaces devoid of grease, dust, mold, chalk, peeling paint, and rust. Also, thoroughly stir it up before applying with either a roller, brush or airless sprayer.

This product can tackle stubborn stains, water damage, grease, rust stains, tannin, nicotine, ink, felt marker, and even stains and strong odors left by pets and smoke.

8. Zinsser Gardz Primer

Zinsser Gardz primer has garnered huge popularity thanks to its outstanding sealing and absorbency features. Currently, it is one of the leading drywall primers. 

It works best if you want to paint porous surfaces. Compared to latex primers and PVA primers for drywalls, the Zinsser is more effective. In addition, it comes in handy when painting new walls. It’s quite apt for application on drywall mud, bare drywall, and new drywall.

The Zinsser primer can harden and strengthen porous surfaces significantly over time. You’d get a smooth finish with just a single coat.

While some users might find its odor a little too strong, the functional value of Zinsser Gardz primer will always prevail. The result is a super-smooth surface, and the paint won’t peel off for several years. 

For damaged drywalls, you can apply this primer before skim coating. In this way, you will have a good sealant against old marks from wallpapers, adhesives, or anything else on the walls. 

What is a Drywall Primer?


A drywall primer is a paint product that you apply to the drywall surface prior to applying paint. The primer covers the drywall surface and seals the drywall so it takes less paint to paint the surface.

When drywall has never been painted it soaks in the first paint greedily. The primer covers the area and makes a smooth surface for the paint to be applied to.

This type of primer is also designed to help minimize flaws that may be apparent in your taping and floating. Small scratches and indentations will disappear leaving what appears to be a perfectly smooth surface.

These primers can be purchased with an oil base or a water base. The water based primers are easier to clean up after, but the oil based primers will be better at hiding things like water marks, greasy spots, or damages to the drywall.

Why Use Drywall Primer

The biggest reason for using drywall primer is to help your paint adhere better to the surface area. The primer increases the paints ability to adhere and this reduces problems like peeling and flaking. It also makes the paint look better for a longer period of time.

Another great reason for using primer is because it allows you to use less paint. The primer cost a fraction of what the paint cost. When you use primer properly you will need fewer coats of paint to achieve the look you desire. It saves you money, and it saves you paint application time.

Primer can stop mold and mildew from forming beneath your paint. Some primers even have the ability to hide water stains, or stop rust from forming on metal surfaces.

Primer seals the original surface, protecting the material and creating a better finish area for your top coat products. It hides minor imperfections and gives you a more professional looking finish product.

What about Paint & Primer in One? 

Combination paint and primer is an excellent product. It allows you to prime the walls, use less paint, and do all of the painting in less time.

If you are applying paint to new drywall or wood the paint and primer in one may not be as effective as using a primer and then covering with a top coat of paint. New wood and drywall absorb a lot of paint so the stand alone primer creates a surface before you paint.

Paint and primer combinations are great for repainting a room because the old layer of paint will have conditioned the original construction material.

Benefits of Using Drywall Primer


There are a lot of great benefits to using drywall primer. They include:

  • The primer seals the material so mold and mildew will be less likely to form in humid or damp areas
  • The primer creates a surface coating that hides small imperfections in the area that is being painted. If your taping and floating is not pristine then the primer will hide those flaws and make your surface look perfect.
  • The use of primer reduces the amount of paint you have to use as a top coat. Paint cost more than primer so this is a money saving features.
  • By applying primer you will apply fewer coats of paint. This can be a labor saving product.
  • Primer covers existing problems like water stains to create a nicer finish

How to Prime Drywall 

Gather your materials

  • Paint brush
  • Roller pan
  • Roller with appropriate nap, usually a ½” to ¾” if this is the first time the drywall has been painted
  • Primer
  • Stirring stick
  • Drop cloths
  • Painters tape
  • Mask or respirator
  • Ladder

Step 1: Be sure the area is well-ventilated. You need to sand the drywall so the joints are smooth.

Step 2: You need to wipe the dust off of the walls.

Step 3: Put painters tape over hinges or items that you do not want the primer to make contact with. Cover window glass, doorknobs, hinges, outlets, and such.

Step 4: Put drop cloths over the flooring and any furnishings that might be in the room to keep the primer from making contact with them.

Step 5: Open your primer container and stir it thoroughly for a period of 2 to 5 minutes.

Step 6: Pour primer into the paint pan.

Step 7: Use the paint brush and dip it into the primer to cut in the corners and around windows, doors, and baseboards.

Step 8: Use the roller to roll the primer onto the flat surface of the walls or ceiling. Light even coats are recommended. They dry faster and they stop you from having paint runs or blotches.

Step 9: When the primer coverage looks like you want it to clean up your tools, remove the primer from the room, and then when the primer is completely dry you will be ready to paint the room.

Final Word 

Drywall primer is a time saving, money saving, paint product that helps you to create a perfect finish on your interior walls and ceilings. The primer is the first step in creating the finished drywall, and the primer prepares the surface area for the paint that is about to be applied.

Our top pick for large homes with new drywall surfaces is the 5 gal. White Acrylic Interior Drywall Plus Primer and Sealer.

Our top pick for primer that will adhere to hard to paint surfaces is the KILZ L211101 Adhesion High-Bonding Interior Latex Primer/Sealer, White, 1-Gallon, 1 Gallon, 4 White

About Lisa Bohrer

Lisa is a native Texan who says she wears many hats. She is a wife, mother, grandmother, farmer, animal lover, fisherwoman, gardener, and college student. Lisa is a sophomore at Liberty University where she is taking classes to earn her Associates Degree in Creative Writing. She and her husband of 35 years fill their days with life on the farm raising goats and chickens, and then most evenings she can be found at the computer writing, or researching a topic that has piqued her interest.

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