Top 5 Best Interior Primer – The best interior paint primer for drywall

When it comes to home improvement projects, there is one essential step that should never be skipped: using the best interior primer before painting.

Basically, primers provide a durable base for paint and can make all the difference in a paint job’s longevity, whether it is applied to as a drywall primer, or on wood, or metallic surfaces.

Now, if you are looking for a white primer or one designed specifically for drywall, choosing the best interior primer is key to achieving the look and finish you want.

Read on to find interior’s primer reviews and key information on how to select one for your needs. We also have an FAQ answering most of your questions below.

#1. KILZ Adhesion High-Bonding Interior Primer

When it comes to the best interior primer, we have to give it to the KILZ Adhesion High-Bonding Interior Primer.

This stuff has the best versatility and is basically great all for surfaces indoors.

It gives you an extraordinary amount of adhesion and works really well on tough surfaces like hard glossy ones. It’s also pretty good value for your money.

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How do I choose an interior primer?

When it comes to choosing an interior primer, there are several important considerations to keep in mind. Priming is a crucial step in the painting process that helps ensure better color coverage and adherence, so selecting the right type of primer is essential.

The three most common types of interior primers are water-based, oil-based, and latex primers; although the three primers (water, latex, or oil-based) will work for various projects before applying the final coat of paint, each has its own unique advantages and disadvantages.

Water-based primers for interiors

Water-based work best for a variety of reasons. Firstly, water-based products are generally more affordable than their solvent-based counterparts. Water-based paints and coatings provide excellent adhesion to many types of surfaces, including plastics and metals. Additionally, water-based products offer greater transparency than solvent-based ones when applied in thin coats. This makes them ideal for applications that require clear finishes or subtle color tinting.

On top of the affordability and clarity benefits, water-based products are also easier to apply and clean up after use compared to other options. They also tend to dry faster than solvent alternatives, making them great for quick turnarounds on projects or jobs requiring multiple layers of paint application. Furthermore, they produce less strong odors during application which makes them safer and more pleasant to use in enclosed spaces such as homes or offices.

Interior oil-based primers

Oil-based primers work best with surfaces such as wood that require extra adhesion due to their porous texture. Oil-based primers also help block odors and stains from bleeding through paint or wallpaper, making them ideal for bathrooms or other high-traffic areas that may be exposed to moisture or heavy cleaning products. However, they tend to have a strong odor and take longer to dry than latex primers.

Latex interior primers

Latex primers that are applied before a paint job are a great choice when looking for a fast-drying and odorless primer. These primers are specifically made to prevent the topcoat from bubbling or cracking, allowing for a longer-lasting finish. Latex primers also provide an extra layer of protection between the wall and paint coat, making them ideal for high-traffic areas like hallways and kitchens.

These primers are easy to apply – they can be sprayed on using an aerosol can or rolled on with a brush or roller. Latex primers dry quickly, usually within an hour depending on the temperature and humidity level of your room, so you can start painting almost immediately after application. They also don’t have any noxious odors that could linger in your home post-application. Note that latex primers can most of the time be applied to interior and exterior surfaces before applying latex paint.

Top 5 Best Interior Primer


#1. KILZ Adhesion High-Bonding Interior Primer – The best primer for drywall

If you are looking for the best interior primer, we think the KILZ Adhesion is seriously a good choice. This is because it provides the maximum adhesion to a variety of surfaces.

This makes it very much suitable for amateurs and pros since the KILZ Adhesion basically provides the most amount of versatility.

In general, it provides an excellent anchor for topcoats and really does a good job in smoothing out surfaces, especially the tough bond to ones such as hard glossy surfaces.

Finally, just be sure to mix well before using, and just know that you need to properly prep the surface for dust and corrosion. Also, be aware of the 30-minute dry time to touch.

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#2. Rust-Oleum Interior Smart Prime Primer

The Rust Oleum Zinsser Smart Prime is the best interior primer for those who want a great stain-blocking interior primer with properties of both oil and water-based primers.

This is a pretty powerful coating that does a great job in filling up and sealing leaks and cracks in your interior surfaces, making topcoats and painting a breeze.

We think it really stands out in that it provides a water-tight seal that is quite flexible, making it extraordinarily easy to apply evenly without being a pro at it.

Besides flowing very well, it is also fast drying with a low odor level. And as a cherry on top, it cleans up with just water and soap.

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#3. Zinsser Bulls Eye Interior Primer – The water-based best interior paint primer

If you want the best interior primer, you can‘t slide by without mentioning Zinsser/Rust-Oleum. The Zinsser Bulls Eye is very similar to the Rust-Oleum Smart Prime but of course, there are subtle differences.

First of all, this is only a water-based primer, unlike the Smart Prime, which has water and oil-based properties. But the benefit of the Bulls Eye is that it is a primer/sealer combo.

This means that it is high hiding and sticks to pretty much all surfaces without the need to go crazy on the sanding. It also does a good job of working with all topcoats.

Overall, if you are into painting or home improvements, chances are you are going to need this interior primer. And it really stands out in terms of not needing to sand.

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#4. Zinsser Odor Killing Interior Primer – The right primer for all types of interior surfaces including drywall

We can’t help but recommend yet another Zinsser/Rust-Oleum product- the Odor Killing Interior Primer.

This is for wood floors, cabinets, and walls and to prevent your pets from stinking the place up.

First and foremost, it applies white and then dries up pretty clearly.

You can then topcoat with pretty much any clear finish or paint.

Next, with its low sheen finish, it pretty much permanently seals in odors and almost completely eliminates pet smells, tobacco, and even urine smells.

This water-based interior primer is such a great specialty item that we just had to include it in our list. For strong odor-killing power, this is the best.

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#5. Valspar Latex Multi Purpose Interior Primer – Best paint primer for small surface

We think the Valspar Multi-Purpose is the best interior primer if you are just looking to make small changes and spot repairs to your existing projects. And when we say small, were really mean for small surface areas.

Valspar is a great little hand-held squeeze primer for spot priming and covering patched areas.

Additionally, it does a really good job of blocking stains. And just note that it has a low odor profile along with a low VOC content.

Overall, we just really love the convenience of this interior primer. It is so easy to use and is pretty much just squeeze and spread. And it’s quite effective and durable as well.

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What to Consider When Choosing the Best Paint Primer For Interior?

  • Project Environment
  • Type of Surface
  • Tintability
  • Dry Time

The environment where the project will be

The environment where you’ll apply the primer will dictate what type of primer you’ll use. You can three main categories of primers:

  • Interior
  • Exterior
  • Interior and exterior all in one

Interiors primers are produced solely for indoor applications. On the other hand, exterior primers must be used for outdoor surfaces (while some use it for indoors too believing that it is fine – which it isn’t). The last primer is the interior exterior one, which suits both indoors and outdoors.

Note that interior/exterior and exterior primers have additives that resist UV exposures and direct sunlight. They are also really good against moisture and repelling the growth of mold. They have other additives that resist extreme temperatures whether they are cold or hot. Both of these primers are made to avoid cracking and peeling through time.

Do not try to use interior primers for outdoor use. These do not contain the additive needed to withstand direct UV exposure.

Type Of Surface

For each type of surface, there is a different primer. Please do not use a wood primer on a metallic surface. This will not work. Here is the list of the different surfaces that need different primers.

  • Drywall: This is the surface where most people get the wrong primer and then think the paint they apply is not good because it starts peeling. Well, the best primer for this type of surface is latex. It is an oil-based primer but does dry quickly, so it minimizes any issues with dust in the air while people are moving around.
  • Bare wood: When you are in the presence of bare wood, it is best to apply an oil-based or latex primer. Such primer will seal the porous surface. We, again, prefer latex over oil-based primers as oil emits more VOCs than latex.
  • Painted wood: We feel that an oil-based primer is the preferred option for wood that has already been painted. Latex paint can also be sued. However, only apply the primer on wood that is showing chalking signs with aging. Chalking means the formation of a chalky powder on the surface of the paint. This means that the paint is degrading.
  • Metal: Now you need a rust-resistant oil-based primer on metals. Such a primer will avoid the formation of rust. Latex is not advisable in these circumstances.
  • Glossy-type surfaces: You definitely need to buy a bonding primer for these types of surfaces. The primer must be designed to stick onto glossy surfaces and this is not easy to find. But they exist, and these are mainly for glass and plastic surfaces.
  • Stain-prone surfaces: There are surfaces that are stain prone. In the case you have one of these surfaces at home, then you need to buy a very specialized stain blocking primer. The surfaces that mostly get stains are mainly bare wood with high tannin content such as cedar or redwood, some interior walls that usually get water or smoke stains, and even cabinets that collect some grease stains. It is also always good to use these primers on new drywall (better be safe than sorry).

Dry Time

Dry time has become of the major selling point highly advertised by primer manufacturers. We all like things to finish quickly. So, when you have a primer that takes one hour to dry, and then you can apply your paint on top of it, then you’ll definitely consider the quick-drying option.

So, pay attention to this drying time. What you need to know is that water primer is the fastest to dry. Then comes the latex one. Overall, both primer, and paint require time to dry, and if both are fast to dry, you can finalize your paint and primer job on the same.


The vast majority of primers come in white or gray color. You can use either color as is without tinting it.  You can have the primer tinted to a hue that’s slightly lighter than the top paint coat. And this is true for oil-based paint and primer or latex, etc.

What you need to know is that tinting primer provides a deeper and more uniform finish. Note that you need to get a primer labeled “tintable”. Now, this inability primer feature is really good when you have to go from dark paint to lighter one.

Can I Apply a Primer Over Peeling Interior Paint?

When it comes to dealing with peeling paint, it’s important to know what options are available. Applying a bonding primer is one of the best ways to help ensure that the new coat of paint adheres properly.

But before you go ahead and apply a bonding primer over your peeling paint, there are some things you should consider first. For starters, make sure you choose the best type of primer for your specific needs.

Oil-based primers provide better adhesion than water-based primers, but they can be more difficult to clean up and may emit hazardous fumes. Additionally, if the existing surface is in poor condition or contains lead-based paints, you will likely need a specialized primer designed specifically for these situations.

All in all, you need to clean up the peeling painted surface, then you can apply a coat of primer. After the primer is painted on your drywall surface you can apply the new paint.


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