Best Drywall Primer 2020 | Top 5 Paint Primers Reviewed | Buying Guide

Last Updated: August 1, 2020

3M SHR-BB Patch plus

Rust-Oleum 286258

Rust-Oleum Corporation

If you are in the painting business, you would know how important it is to put a coating of primer before you paint your wall. It not a mandatory step, but if you are a good painter, you got to tell your customer why he needs to buy it the best drywall primers from the market.

Then again, if you are planning to do the painting job alone, you need to know how a good primer will help your paint adhere to the drywall. It will give a uniform coating to your wall, making it smooth as silk. You can then swipe your favorite coat of paint or stick a beautiful wallpaper, making your room look like paradise. Let’s get you started with this buying guide.

Top 5 Drywall Primers

1. 3M SHR-BB Patch plus Primer

This primer uses the newest technology for wall repair. It makes repairs 3-times faster than traditional ones. It’s a primer and spackling compound in one. This removes your need to use a primer before painting the surface making it economy effective. It dries quickly and in 30 minutes it’s ready to paint. You are assured of professional results as the repair is not visible under the dried paint. It is easy to apply on the surface.

There’s no cracking or shrinking when applied hence you have a long service life guarantee. It dries to firmly hold screws and nails on the surfaces. It is ideal for sealing cracks, small holes and damaged surfaces repairs. The surfaces may include wood, plaster, drywall and stucco. The dry time which is 30-minutes is based on a 1/8-inch deep by 1/2-inch diameter hole. The primer doesn’t change the paint sheen. This makes it perfect for the repairs.


  • Weight: 9.1 ounces
  • Dimensions: 4.2 x 4.2 x 2.9 inches
  • Color: Gray
  • Style: Patch-plus primer
  • Material: Acrylic
  • Size: 16fl oz. 1 tub

2. Rust-Oleum 286258 Primer

Rust-Oleum primer is ideal for both interior and exterior use. It can be used for a repaint or applied to new surfaces such as concrete, wood, drywall, masonry, glossy, or metal. The primer dries within 30 minutes. By using this coating you can cover 100sq feet on your service. This primer works well with any latex or oil paint and provides good adhesion on the surfaces. 

It’s an excellent bond coat and stain blocker for the surfaces. It is rust-resistant and also prevents your surfaces from rust. It’s perfect for sealing stains and drawings of graffiti on the walls. This gray primer is effective for use as a topcoat for dark colors. The primer is water-based and the dried coat is resistant to mildew makes it perfect for exterior usage. It is also easier to apply on the needed surfaces and gives you a high performance. It gives a perfect finish for your surfaces.


  • Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Dimensions 4.2 x 4.2 x 4.9 inches
  • Size: 31.5 Oz
  • Color: Gray
  • Material: water-based

3. Rust-Oleum Corporation premier

If you are looking for premier with versatile use, then you might think of considering Rust-Oleum Corporation premier. It offers protection to new drywalls. The primer eliminates bubbles and it is also used for repairing torn papers on drywall surfaces. It can also be used on a previously painted drywall. 

Designed as water-based and it dries faster and with less heat hence giving the surface a professional finish. The primer has low odor making it environmentally friendly and perfect for application even on occupied places. It creates a hard seal over the damaged drywall, chalky and adhesive residues surfaces. The seal created on the surfaces can be painted or coated. It is also easy to apply on the surface making it effective.


  • Color: Clear
  • Size:1-Quart
  • Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Dimensions: 4.2 x 4.2 x 4.9 inches

4. KILZ Premium

This product is an excellent stain blocking water-based formula for sealing surfaces and offers a uniform finish. It hides previous colors and stains. It also offers adhesion to exterior and interior surfaces. The surfaces may include woodwork, masonry, drywall, brick, paneling or plaster. It incorporates mildewcide protection that prevents mold and mildew and is effective to use on high-humidity areas like laundry rooms and bathrooms. 

This primer has a high-tide formula which helps it to block all the previous colors and stains. The primer also has low odor and it’s easy to clean making it safe for use in occupied workplaces and homes. It can be applied under and over oil or on latex-based paints. For application, the surfaces should be cleaned and free of grease, dust, chalk, mold, peeling paint and rust.

The 1-gallon paint covers up to 400-sq feet and offers a level finish that seals and fills in porous surfaces.  It is easy to apply and has an excellent adhesion for most of the surfaces. It dries quickly and a re-coat can be applied in an hour.


  • Weight: 11.8 pounds
  • Dimensions: 7.2 x 7.2 x 7.8 inches
  • Color: White
  • Size: 1 gallon
  • Material: Water-based

5. Rust-Oleum 2504 1-Quart Shieldz primer

This primer is manufactured using high technology and it’s excellent for covering your surfaces. It has a simple and easy to use kit hence the application is easier. It also prepares the surfaces for wall coverings. The primer has low odor and assures easier removal. It is formulated to be mold and mildew resistant.

The primer allows easy positioning and adjusting of wallpaper, curling edges, bubbles, and prevents seam separation. It seals surfaces, hides stains and sizes in just one coat. This primer prevents any damages to the drywall during removal. It is medium tintable and creates surfaces perfect for wallpaper hanging. It covers approximately 100- 150 square feet.

It is water-based and has low odor making it perfect for use in occupied places. This also makes it environmentally friendly. It is easy to clean in case of spills. You can use it on new or previously painted surfaces but you should remove any previous wallpapers before application.


  • Weight: 2.76 pounds
  • Dimensions: 1 x 2 x 3 inches
  • Color: White
  • Size: 1 quart
  • Material: Water-based

Buying Guide: Drywall Primer

If you are a rookie, you might feel a little confused about what kind of a primer will work the best for your project. This article will help you figure out the right application way based on which you need to buy your primer.

Roll On Primer

It is similar to roll-on paints. All you have to do is buy a roll-on brush and a bucket of good quality primer. While buying, make sure that the consistency of the primer is slick, so that you can apply it smoothly.


Spray Gun Primer

Remember those childhood days when you used to spray water on your friends in some toy guns? How about reliving those days as an adult? 

For that, you need to buy a drywall primer kit that comes with a spray gun. Here, you need to buy a primer which has a runnier consistency so that it can be sprayed as droplets of primer. Ventilate the area properly and fill up your spray gun pump. Target your wall, and shoot! The primer will be sprayed evenly on the surfaces. You can always buy a spray primer kit if your surface has curved corners or a rough texture, where a roll-on would not work.


Paint-primer Combo

If you are on a mission to repaint a wall, nothing can beat the paint-primer combo. Some people term it as Self-priming paints, which is also cool. There is no better way in which you could have saved time doing two things at a time. 

Wait, we aren’t talking about multitasking. There are primers in the market which serve you painting purposes as well. These two-in-one primers are used with roll-on applicators. When you are out buying it, select the color of paint and primer, and ask the salesman to combine them for you. 

Get back home and dip your roll-on in the mixture. Give a generous coating on the target wall, and you’ll see a semi-gloss painted wall in the next few hours. These primers should have a very good adhesive layer for the paint to stick on them, so verify that before you pay for a bucket.


Benefits of Primer

While you are out looking for the best drywall primer, you must know what all benefits you can get from the. Otherwise, chances are high that you might be tricked at the store.


Sealing A Drywall

After a mason has completed cementing the wall, you will notice that the surfaces are rough, with a few cracks here and there. A good primer seals these cracks and crevices and makes your wall surface look flawless. The joints and cracks are filled with the primer which creates a uniform coating and glues those gaps. 

The primer you buy must have the viscosity, to stick to the cracks on the wall. It should, neither drip from the surface nor form bubbles, making it uneven.


Balancing The Colour

Another terrific advantage is that it helps the paint on it have a balanced look. Imagine a painted wall looking dark and patchy on one side, and dull on another side. You can easily get rid of that by buying the right primer. If you are buying a paint-primer combination, it will help you give an even tone to the walls. 

Choose the primer that will not react with the paint, and bind with it firmly. Such primers brighten up the colors of paint to a great deal.


Cost Effectivity

When it is a purchase, you cannot ignore the cost. And like buying any other thing, you should budget well ahead of your primer purchase. 

Fixing the price of the prime will help you select the ones you can afford. Depending on the area you want to repaint, your primer expense will vary. 

Our buying guide suggests you go for basic primers priced at around $10 per gallon. If you are ready to spend a generous amount on your primer to make your wall look classy, you can go for the ones priced at $25 and above. 

Generally, heavy-based primers are more expensive than standard primers. They have high-quality chemicals that increase the durability of the primer. If you wanna ace in your drywall paint job, you might as well go for that to avoid any mistakes. 

Some primers are dope, as they dry up pretty quickly. Others have a perfect consistency that one swipe is enough. Based on how much you can shell out, the quality of the primer will vary.


Features To Look For In A First-class Primer

If you’re a noob at painting, you might think, “What if I don’t use a prime at all?” Well, reading this buying guide, you have understood why you should not skip this step. Instead, read along to know what properties of primer make it the best of the lot.

  • Look for the right formulation while purchasing a good primer. The right formulation will make your painting job a cakewalk. Also, the money you spent will be worth it. Check the ingredients used to formulate a primer of a renowned brand and look for similar ingredients in the cheaper ones.
  • Find out if it is water-based or oil-based. This composition makes a world of difference. The paint or the wallpaper you choose to put on top must not react with the primer. Also, the base determines the standing time required to dry the primer.
  • Confirm that the pH of the primer remains unchanged. It will help prevent unsightly bumps, blisters, peel offs, and mildew growth on the surface. The Colour of the primer remains white as milk and does not turn yellow when there is no change in the pH.
  • The texture of the primer determines the quality of finish you want. While purchasing primers, look for high-build varieties that have a thick texture. They will brilliantly fill up the gaps in your walls.
  • Always purchase a stain-blocking primer if you are using it on moisture-prone walls. Use it on the walls which are close to the water reservoir. This primer is also a killer when you need to coat the outer surface of your building.
  • If you care only to repair small portions of your drywall, wood, or a wall damaged with dust, smoke, and soot, look for nothing other than a Shellac primer. Handymen prefer shellac primers more than anything when it comes to spot-fixing.


PVA Primers And Drywall Primers: A Deadly Combo? (Bonus Point!)

If you are all set to reshape your house, you need to go shop for a value-based primer. You will surely come across a Poly Vinyl Acetate or a PVA primer. These primers can be water-based, or oil-based, and you can get one depending on your needs. They are composed of latex and have good adhesive quality. It is a topcoat product that aids in your final color to be bright and even while sealing all the pores. 

A primary difference between a PVA primer and a regular drywall primer is that it can be used for priming any surface. 

If you want to rebuild a water-damaged wall, choose PVA primer. Also, if you are using water-based paints, this PVA primer should be applied right before you paint. It will give a uniform color and sheen. 

Wondering why? That’s because the PVA primer has a good concentration of solids that bind at the molecular level with the damaged wall and adhere to one another. When the primer dries out, you can cover up the wall with a wallpaper of glossy paint to make things look like new.

Mostly PVA primers are used to tint those primers as the binding and color retention capacity of these primers is pretty high. If you are using the spray technique, apply paint within a couple of days after the primer dries out.  

Should you not buy drywall primer then? Remember that we talked about a two-in-one primer? 

Yes! With both of them together, you wouldn’t look anywhere else.

Check for some good brands in the market selling a combo of both the primers. They have top-quality ingredients and a word of warranty.



There are myriad primers for drywall available in the market. But we want you to be a smart buyer, and grab the best product at the price you pay. Follow our instructions to bring back home a primer with long-lasting results.