A buying guide for the best drywall primers

Generally, drywalls are often very uneven surfaces. Drywall primer is therefore important in creating an even surface that you can apply topcoat over your wall surface. Without it you cannot achieve a smooth paint finish or an aesthetic fabric on your wall surface.

To prime your drywall, you can either brush or roll new primer over it or alternatively, you can use an airless sprayer to apply primer on your wall. Priming a new drywall is not usually a complicated process when you have a proper primer to get it done. Considering the fact that there is a large variety of primers in the market from different manufacturers, you need to understand the important features that contribute to good quality primers which we will review at the end of this article.

To begin, we will look at a few of the best drywall primers and review their properties so that you can pick out the right one for your drywall. Let us summarize them in the table below;

The best drywall primer reviews

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KILZ L220101 KLEAR Multi-Surface Stain Blocking Interior/Exterior Latex Primer
1 gallon or 5 gallons
Latex acrylic formula
Glidden One Coat Paint + Primer
1 gallon or 1 quart
Latex acrylic formula
Flo-X Primer-Time PVA High Hiding Wall Primer
4 gallons
Non-bleach formula
Rust-Oleum Corporation 02501 Zinsser Shieldz Universal Wall covering Primer Sealer
1 gallon
Latex acrylic formula
Valspar 11288 Interior PVA Wall primer
1 gallon or 5 gallons
Oil-based formula

KILZ L220101 KLEAR Multi-Surface Stain Blocking Interior/Exterior Latex Primer– suitable for both interior and exterior drywall surfaces

This wall primer can be used on a variety of drywall surfaces, be it glossy, marble, sandy or bricks. Also, it is optimized with a stain-blocking feature which prevents stains from forming on your drywall. The better part of it is that it has a transparent color which allows you to use it as a base for any paint color that you prefer. Unfortunately, it does not come as a ready to use mixture therefore you have to mix it on your own.


  • Size – 1 gallon or 5 gallons
  • Alkali-resistant
  • Fast drying
  • Made of latex acrylic formula
  • Transparent color

It is made of a latex acrylic formula which gives it high bonding properties for your paint to stick well over it. It is alkali-resistant which gives your paint a layer of protection from both dust and stains. You can use this primer on both your interior and exterior surfaces as it is not affected by adverse weather conditions. It is has a very good quality and does not easily crack or break no matter how long it stays on your wall.


  • It allows you to mix it to your preference
  • You can use it for both interior and exterior surfaces
  • It has a transparent color which seals your drywall without affecting the paint color


  • It does not come as a ready to use mixture


If you are looking for a multi-surface primer for your exterior and interior drywall that is both stain and moisture resistant, you should consider purchasing the KILZ L220101 KLEAR Multi-Surface Stain Blocking Interior/Exterior Latex Primer.

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Glidden One Coat Paint + Primer

This primer has been designed for a one-coat coverage of your drywall primer. The advantage of this wall primer is that it is a 2 in 1 product; that is, paint and primer that comes in different shades of over 250 colors which you can use as a final color on your wall. Unfortunately, this primer is thick which takes long to dry. The problem with this is that it can attract dust to stick on your drywall surface.


  • Low VOC
  • One coat coverage
  • Makes wall washable
  • Comes in over 250 colors

It has stain blocking properties which helps you hide basic stains on your drywall using only one coat of the primer. Also, it is easy to wash it off when it spills on your floor because it takes some time to dry off. It is easy to apply when using either a brush, roller or sprayer.


  • Low VOC interior painting feature
  • It can cover your drywall in one application
  • It is easy to scrub and wash it off when it spills on the floor
  • It forms a strong bond on your drywall


  • Takes a long time to dry because of its thickness
  • Suitable for interior drywalls only


If you are looking for a drywall primer that can also work as paint for your interior drywall, you can look into the Glidden one coat primer + paint.

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Flo-X Primer-Time PVA High Hiding Wall Primer– suitable for interior drywalls

This primer has been designed to prime and seal your drywall as you paint it. It comes as set of 4 containers that is an equivalent of 4 gallons which may be excess if you are priming a small section of your drywall. Its high hiding properties help you cover cracks and uneven surfaces on your drywall. This particular primer has been designed to work well in interior drywalls.


  • EPA-registered efficacy on all mold claims
  • Worldwide patented solution
  • Non-bleach formula
  • Quick drying
  • Seals surfaces

It is made up of an acrylic material which contributes to its durability. This primer is recommended because it prevents a mold and fungi build up on your drywall which in turn keeps it healthy throughout its lifetime. Additionally, it does not have any toxic ingredients which makes it eco-friendly and it odorless and can work well for you if you have allergies or sensitivities. Its non-bleach formula prevents stain formation and it is also moisture resistant so you can use it in your kitchen and bathroom walls.


  • It prevents the formation of molds and fungi
  • It has a non-bleach formula.
  • It dries within a short period of time
  • It completely seals your drywall


  • It only comes in a set of 4 which may be too much if you are painting small spaces


If you are looking for a drywall primer for your new drywalls, you can purchase the Flo-X primer-time PVA high hiding wall primer as it comes as a set of four that would be enough for your whole building.

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Rust-Oleum Corporation 02501 Zinsser Shieldz Universal Wall covering Primer Sealer

This primer has been designed for you to cover your drywall by applying only one coat. It has strong adhesion to your wall and allows for easy sticking of wallpapers and for a smooth finish of your painting. Unfortunately, the packaging of this product may be a little difficult to handle as it is not the best.


  • Mildew-resistant
  • Stain and moisture resistant
  • Assures easy removal
  • Low odor

Additionally, this primer is almost odorless and its smell goes away as it begins to dry out. It is mildew resistant meaning that it get rids of stains that are on your wall and it prevents others from building up on your wall in the future. It also has moisture resistant properties which allows you to use it in both your bathroom and kitchen walls. To achieve best results, you should ensure that your wall surface is clean and free from dust and any kind of residues.


  • It helps remove dirt and previous stains on your drywall
  • Easy to use
  • Low order when painting and drying
  • High adhesion properties


  • It is packaged poorly


If you are looking for a wall primer that has reduced odor and would let you prime your drywall using one application, you should purchase the Rust-Oleum Corporation 02501 Zinsser Shieldz universal wall covering primer sealer.

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Valspar 11288 Interior PVA wall primer– suitable for both new and previously painted surfaces

Unlike other primers, the Valspar 11288 Interior wall primer can also be used with architectural paint which also allows professional painters to make use of it. It comes in two sizes; 1 gallon and 5 gallons depending on the quantity you would need to use for your drywall. Unfortunately, if it is not properly done it has a tendency of remaining tacky and can peel off really fast.


  • Size- 1 gallon and 5 gallons
  • Made to Seal unpainted drywall and plaster
  • Provides a uniform surface
  • Can be used with latex and oil-based paints

You can use this drywall primer with both latex and oil based paint. It is easy to use with a brush, roller or sprayer and it provides a uniform surface once you are done applying it over your wall surface. Aside from that, the Valspar 11288 interior PVA wall primer properly seals porous surfaces on your drywall and you can even apply it on previously sealed surfaces.


  • It can work with both latex and oil-based paint
  • It is easy to apply
  • It properly seals porous surfaces on your drywall
  • It can be applied to previously painted surfaces.


  • If not properly done, it remains tacky and can peel off fast


If you are searching for an oil-based primer that you can use on your previously painted or new drywall, you would love the performance of the Valspar 11288 Interior PVA wall primer.

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What should you consider while purchasing a drywall primer?

Once you already understand what you need your primer for; either for a new dry wall or to fix a torn or damaged drywall, you need to take into consideration a few characteristics that should inform your decision towards the primer you settle for. The following features should guide your quest for the best drywall primer;

The purpose of the primer

Generally, there are two types of primers; the all-purpose and the specialized ones. The all-purpose ones can be used in any type of wall surfaces but the specialized ones can only be used on specific types of wall surfaces as specified by the manufacturer.

To understand this, you need to be well-versant with the type of wall surface in your house, office or wherever you would like to paint so that you are able to pick out the right primer for the job.

The amount of primer you would need to cover your drywall

The quantity of primer that you would require to use is often informed by what you intend to use the primer for. If you are repairing sections on your drywall then you would need a small amount therefore you would probably purchase about one can. When you are painting a new wall on the other hand, you would need a larger quantity therefore would need to purchase multiple cans to satisfy the job.

The color of the primer

Primers come in different colors that often play a role in determining the boldness and perfect finishing of your wall surface after your have painted it. Most primers are white in color but there are some which come with neutral colors such as grey.

You need to pick out a primer color which matches the paint color that you intend to put on your wall to avoid a clash in colors.

The ability of the primer to resist moisture and stains.

Primers coat the surface of your wall so that the paint you choose can blend in and have a smooth finish. If you are working on the drywall in your kitchen or bathroom, the primer you choose should be resistant to moisture otherwise your painting job will have gone to waste.

Additionally, to get a smooth and aesthetically pleasing finish, you need to pick out a stain resistant primer. This is important to avoid discoloring your wall before painting. Also, it reduces stained patches on your wall after you have finished painting.

The stickiness and odor of the primer

Drywall primer needs to be sticky because it is what hold together paint when it is applied on the surface of your wall. If it comes off easily, it will form streaks once you are done painting or your paint will peel off really fast.

So, when you buying drywall primer, the best ones are the ones that have high sticking properties which you can consult with whoever is selling it to you or sometimes it can be indicated in the product description part of your primer.

Additionally, some primers come with a bad odor which you should avoid if you or anyone around you has allergies or sensitivities. However, if you are unable to find an odorless primer, it shouldn’t be a problem because the smell goes away as it slowly dries out.

Final thoughts

The only way to achieve a smooth and aesthetically pleasing painted wall, is by making use of the correct and high quality primer. Before purchasing and using a drywall primer, you should ensure to research on its properties, functions and outcomes to make your work easier.

Bruce Marcus

Bruce Marcus, an expert at Home Improvement, has been working in this field for years. He works closely with different homeowners and helps them chose the best flooring for their houses. The expert believes that carpeting a home is one of the best choices that any homeowner can make. According to him, this option not only makes your home look classy but also keeps it warm and cozy. Marcus has been equipping homeowners with useful tips regarding how to get the right carpet for your home. He hopes that this information can help you make an educated decision when choosing a carpet.

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