Can you purchase a high-quality product – the best drywall primer at a low price?

And of course we can help you meet this requirement. However, we make sure that you can find out a primer that results in a smooth finish based on your wall condition and other features.

Now, before referring to the top 5 products on the market, let’s learn some vital information in advance.

Should you prime drywall before painting?

You should prime drywall before painting because the drywall primer helps you bind unfinished drywall with a new layer of paint better.

Moreover, it helps you cover mask stains, patched, or sanded areas entirely. Applying a coat of drywall primer can minimize the layers of new paint you need to cover on the wall.

Top 5 Best Drywall Primer For A Smooth Finish

The Types of Drywall Primer

The types of drywall primer

  • Bonding primers can grab onto the chalky paint very well and grip the surface tightly.
  • Actually, tintable primers are widely popular due to their better coverage.
  • Acrylic primer is a high-quality product because it bonds very well, and can even seal and fill in the cracks. Its price is pretty high.
  • PVA Primer (Poly Vinyl Acetate) is formulated to apply to fresh mud and drywall. Its price is low, and the limitation is sealing only one surface. But don’t worry because there is a small amount of tint. It is considered the best primer for new drywall.
  • Alkyd primer works best for water stains. What’s more, this oil-based primer dries very fast.
  • BIN Primer, which is a shellac-based primer, can dry extremely fast. But, you have to ensure that the substrate dries completely.
  • High Build Primer (Undercoat) is used to fill in small cracks and holes. It is cheap, and can still provide you what you need. To have a beautiful finish, you have to apply a very thick coat.
  • The paint and primer in one is the combination of paint and primer. In general, these paints are thickened with cheap thickening agents.

Top 5 Best Drywall Primers

1. Rust-Oleum 2004 Primer – The Best Value for Money

Rust-Oleum 2004 PrimerEditor Rating:

The only one can of Rust-Oleum allows you to cover 100 sq. Ft. per quart (priming on many walls), which is enough for your regular work. Thus, it is a value for your money.

This product is a water-based drywall primer and compatible with high pH. So, it suits many types of surfaces (metal surfaces and new concrete) for both interior and exterior without needing to sand.

Here is an example:

The rust inhibitor in this primer is perfect for applying on metal surfaces.

However, this primer will produce high fumes, so you have to ensure ventilation in your working area.


  • Easy to clean with water and soap
  • Soft satin finish
  • Good coverage
  • Quick to paint


  • Takes some coats for the final smooth finish

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2. 3M PPP-16-BB Primer – The Best High-stain Blocker Primer

3M PPP-16-BB PrimerEditor Rating:

3M PPP-16-BB Primer is an ideal choice to keep your walls a new and clean look all the time.

This mixture can get rid of all repair and stains three times if compared to other standard drywall primers.

This primer is added to the newest technology for all in one primer. It means that with only one coating of 3M PPP-16-BB primer, you can end up a smooth finish. Furthermore, this solution can create a quick-drying patch, letting you paint just after 30 minutes.

The repair of your walls is almost invisible after applying a coat of this dried paint, bringing a professional and perfect outcome. Specifically, it can help you cover all small holes, damages, and cracks of wood, plaster, and drywall.

So you only should make a purchase, if you don’t plan to sand.


  • Easy to use
  • Dry fast


  • Firm to apply

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3. KILZ Adhesion High-Bonding Primer – The Best Flexibility

KILZ Adhesion High-Bonding PrimerEditor Rating:

KILZ Adhesion High-Bonding Primer works well on a wide range of different paint surfaces.

If you are looking for a useful primer on slick surfaces, the good news is that this latex primer can be covered with oil-based as well as water-based products.

It adheres to some surfaces such as Kynar, glass, vinyl, fiberglass, metals, PVC, and brick (including glazed brick.)

It’s very rapid to dry so that you can recoat another layer in about an hour.

There are plenty of ways to apply this primer, using a brush, a roller, or a sprayer, for example. What’s more, it works well under epoxies, lacquers, oil-based and latex paints as well.

Because it’s easy to stick to everything, it’s smarter to wear gloves when working. If not, you may need to scrub your hands with a scratcher for removing.


  • Without having to sand
  • Durable
  • Easy to clean


  • Smelly

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4. KILZ Restoration Primer – The Best Performance

KILZ Restoration PrimerEditor Rating:

The unique formulation of KILZ Restoration Primer lets it act as an oil-based product in place of a water-based one. Thus, it works not only as a drywall primer for painting but also as a stain and odor blocker, and a sealer.

It means that you can use it to perform the following tasks:

Covers stains from rust, grease, crayons, felt markers, tannin ink, water damage, smoke, and nicotine.

Seals out pet odors and smoke.

Works well on ceramic tile, glass, painted metal, brick, plaster, drywall, and masonry.

Take a look at another advantage:

This primer can cover up to 300-400 square feet per gallon so that you can use it for a lot of projects and for a long time.

KILZ will leave its own bad smell for a specific time, but it isn’t strong


  • Covers well with only one coat
  • Kills mildew and mold


  • A little pricey

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5. XIM 11022 Primer – The Best Overall

XIM 11022 PrimerEditor Rating:

XIM 11022 primer can cover the toughest-to-paint surfaces because of its high-quality adhesion without requiring you to clean and dull surfaces.

This product can cover the following surfaces very well: tile, plastic, metals, Formica, glass, fiberglass, alkyd and latex topcoats. This is because it is formulated to meet all State and Federal VOC requirements in the U.S.

What’s more, it is sufficient for both indoor and outdoor applications.

Though you shouldn’t use this primer with urethane, lacquers, or epoxies, it’s still great to use with other paints.


  • Very smooth finish
  • So solid primer


  • Not good packaging

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How to Choose a Good Drywall Primer

A good drywall primer must meet the following requirements:


QualityInvesting in a high-quality primer plays a vital role in creating the final perfect finish. Thus, you should choose an excellent and specialized primer.

A high-quality primer should feature rust-inhibiting properties, protecting your walls from stains and moisture.

Your Wall Condition

If you have a messy wall, you had better invest in a high-build primer, covering all marks.

This type can bring a thicker finish to fill all marks, holes, and gaps.

Conversely, in case you have a smooth wall, a standard drywall primer is good enough to complete your project. This primer is similar to wall paint, but it can fill small flaws of your wall.

Area to Cover

Area to coverLet’s think about how much approximate space do you need to cover?

To answer this question, keep this rule in mind:

Typically, you will use a gallon per 200ft² of the surface.

Our advice is that you should buy more than what you have estimated.


People with a tight budget tend to buy cheap drywall primers from unrecognized manufacturers and companies.

Be careful! They may be unreliable.

They usually provide less pigmented solutions, but a good primer must cover fully. These cheap options make you cost more to buy again and again, especially, their quality is terrible in most cases.

How Many Coats of Primer for New Drywall

How many coats of primer for new drywallThis depends on each specific material of your wall, the type of primer used, and the paint color. Generally, if you only paint interior walls, one-two coats of primer can help you end up a smooth result.

If you tend to paint color over your white wall, please apply a coat of primer. It should be a high-quality water-based primer or an oil-based primer.

In case your drywall is unfinished, it’s better to use two coats of primer. A drywall or plaster wall usually has more porous areas, where absorb paint at different rates. Thus, if you prime or apply a single coat of primer, it will lead to blotches.

It’s better to apply two coats since the first one may be soaked up by the wall. You had better choose drywall primer-sealer or high-build drywall primer-sealer. Don’t forget to apply two coats of the oil-based stain-blocking primer to protect your walls from lime stains.

In case your unfinished wood walls have a lot of pores, you should paint two coats of an oil-based primer, which will fill the flaws and level the surface.

When it comes to painting a light-over-dark color, using a primer is a must-do. With primer, you can make a wall color transition from dark to light even when you use more than three coats of paint. Our recommendation is a “high-hide” primer that is formulated to cover dark shades completely.

You don’t have to apply a primer when you use a self-priming paint. On the market, there are available many two-in-one paint-and-primer products (self-priming paints). This kind of paint contains a higher percentage of solids than other regular paints, so it ends up a thicker coat.

Keep in mind that a self-priming paint works well over a similar or lighter color with the old paint and a smooth condition of your wall.

The Difference Between Drywall Primer and Regular Primer

The difference between drywall primer and regular primerThe drywall primer and regular primer are different. Let’s take a look below:

Drywall primer makes a flat-sheen surface, which will bond new paint and an unfinished or painted surface. Especially, it can cover all the small flaws of your walls.

Like paints, primers contain pigments and fillers, creating a coarse and flat surface. It helps the new paint adhere better.

The regular primer deals with a wall without any issue since it only lays down like paint.

If you are good at mudding without creating gaps, a few coats of regular drywall primers are enough. The regular drywall primer is similar to other wall primers, making a suitable bond with the drywall.

Can you use a regular primer on drywall?

Yes. You can use regular primer on drywall but keep this thing in mind. The surface of the drywall must be even enough for the coat of paint to soak into without changing colors or causing blemishes.

Read More: Oil-Based Primer For Paint Sprayers

Prime Your Wall Smoothly!

Have you chosen the best drywall primer for a smooth finish? Please throw your word in the comment section below. Don’t forget to share this article if you find it informative.