Are you planning a painting project with a paint sprayer at home? Before you start, you will need a primer. A good primer covers existing paints, stains, and odors. It will ensure that your paint looks smooth and stick better to the surface. There are 3 basic types of primer: oil-based, latex and pigmented shellac primer.

In this article, we will focus on the oil-based primer and give the best and latest primers so you can choose the most suitable one.

SaleBestseller No. 1
Rust-Oleum Zinsser 03504 Cover Stain Interior/Exterior Oil Primer Sealer, 1-Quart, White
Rust-Oleum Zinsser 03504 Cover Stain Interior/Exterior Oil Primer Sealer, 1-Quart, White
Cover stain, QT, Oil based stain killer primer/sealer; Adds extra shine to your product; Manufactured in United States
SaleBestseller No. 2
Rust-Oleum 3554 Zinsser High Hide Cover Stain Primer and Sealer, White 32 Fl Oz (Pack of 1)
Rust-Oleum 3554 Zinsser High Hide Cover Stain Primer and Sealer, White 32 Fl Oz (Pack of 1)
Dries to touch in 35 minutes and covers up to 100 sq ft; Fast-drying, flat white finish can be recoated in 2 hours
SaleBestseller No. 3
Rust-Oleum Zinsser 3608 Cover Stain Oil Base Primer Spray, 13 oz, White
Rust-Oleum Zinsser 3608 Cover Stain Oil Base Primer Spray, 13 oz, White
Get ultimate hiding power indoors and out with Zinsser Cover Stain Primer; Spray primer seals, blocks stains and gives great adhesion
SaleBestseller No. 4
Rust-Oleum Zinsser 3954 Odorless Oil-Base Stain Blocker Primer, Quart, White
Rust-Oleum Zinsser 3954 Odorless Oil-Base Stain Blocker Primer, Quart, White
Interior use on including wood, drywall, plaster, concrete, masonry and more; Low-VOC oil-based primer is great for residental and commercial use
Bestseller No. 5
Zinsser by Rust-Oleum 3609 Oil-Base Spray Primer, White, 16 oz, (Pack of 1)
Zinsser by Rust-Oleum 3609 Oil-Base Spray Primer, White, 16 oz, (Pack of 1)
Temperature: 40 to 90 degrees F dry time recoat: 1 hr; Country of origin (subject to change): United States
Bestseller No. 8
Odorless Primer/Sealer, Oil Based, Qt.
Odorless Primer/Sealer, Oil Based, Qt.
Seals and blocks interior stains and odors; Bright white and non-yellowing; Quick dry - recoat in one hour

Top 5 Best Oil-Based Primer Recommendation

Zinsser 03504KILZ Original Multi SurfaceTrue Value HP208 QT Premium Benjamin Moore Fresh StartSherwin Williams ProBlock Primer
Zinsser 03504 Cover StainKILZ Original Multi-Surface StainTrue Value HP208-QT PremiumBenjamin Moore Fresh Start All Purpose PrimerProBlock Interior Oil-Based Primer
1 Quart1 Quart1 Quart1 Quart1 Gallon
Interior & ExteriorInteriorInterior & ExteriorInterior onlyInterior only

Our Reviews

Zinsser 03504 Cover Stain Interior/Exterior Oil Primer Sealer

1. Zinsser 03504 Cover Stain Interior/Exterior Oil Primer Sealer

Zinsser 03504 weighs 2.7 pounds with dimensions 4.2 x 4.2 x 5 inches.

This oil primer and sealer is best in covering stains. They disappear after you just sprayed it on. The formula does an excellent job of dealing with old cigarette smoke and odors.
We found the primer to be easy to sand and it dries quickly. It works well for both interiors and exteriors.

On the interior surface, the primer dries quickly. On exteriors, it helps deliver full penetration and flexibility on surfaces.

With a high-hiding formula, Zinsser blocks and prevents all kinds of stains.

KILZ Original Multi-Surface Stain Blocking Interior Oil-Based Primer/Sealer

2. KILZ Original Multi-Surface Stain Blocking Interior Oil-Based Primer/Sealer

KILZ Original weighs 2.8 pounds with dimension 13.3 x 9 x 5.3 inches. This product is amongst the top 3 popular primers at Lowe’s stores.

KILZ has been making premium primers which makes the paint stick better to surfaces and can cover existing stains and odors while preventing new stains and odors.

This product supports only the interior surface including wood, drywall, plaster, paneling, wallpaper, masonry, brick, painted metal, and properly prepared glossy surfaces.

KILZ Original dries to touch within 30 minutes and dries to recoat in an hour.

True Value HP208-QT Premium Weatherall Exterior Oil-Based Primer

3. True Value HP208-QT Premium Weatherall Exterior Oil-Based Primer

True Value HP208-QT weighs 3.1 pounds with dimension 3.1 x 3.9 x 3.1 inches.

This ultra-premium primer is an acrylic latex formula, though is still an oil-based primer. That means you get the benefits of all three types within one single product.

True Value supports only interior surfaces but is excellent for basement floors. With 100% acrylic latex formula, it will be fast and easy to clean up.

If you’re looking for an all-weather product, this primer gives you the best results that you want.

It can be used under latex or oil-based paints. It applies nicely through a paint sprayer and offers topcoat consistency with very little effort. True Value is also offered a lifetime warranty, providing you the best services.

Benjamin Moore Fresh Start All Purpose Primer

4. Benjamin Moore Fresh Start All Purpose Primer

This product supports both the interior and the exterior surface.

With 100% acrylic interior and exterior primer formula, it can seal and suppress most bleeding type stains.

It can be used on new or previously painted concrete, drywall, wood, masonry, gloss or difficult surfaces, and metal. The oil-based formula seals uniformly and provides a smooth, white finish.

Furthermore, it has excellent stain blocking properties and can be used over any oil or latex topcoat, which makes this primer great for latex paint over an oil-based primer.

Benjamin Moore Fresh Start combines many of the qualities desired in a primer: high hiding, excellent adhesion (even over chalky surfaces); blister resistance, quick dry, spatter-proof and minimal odor with excellent flow and leveling.

It has been further designed to block stains with only one coat and will stick to any surface without the need for sanding. Fresh Start covers an area of 12 square feet and dries to the touch in just 30 minutes.

ProBlock Interior Oil-Based Primer

5. ProBlock Interior Oil-Based Primer

A stain killing primer/sealer all-in-one finish that comes with a vertical aerosol for home projects with gun sprayers. ProBlock is sold exclusively at Sherwin-Williams stores.

This product supports only interior surfaces including drywall, wood surfaces, cured plaster, ceiling tiles, paneling, nonporous wallcovering, and previously painted surfaces. You will not have to sand the surfaces before applying this primer.

ProBlock dries to touch within 30 minutes and dries to recoat within 60 – 90 minute. It ensures a smooth finish.

This primer seals out water sensitive stains, dried water stains, smoke stains and related odors, grease, ink, and pencil stains.

You can use ProBlock to hide dark stains and prevent tannin bleed, while at the same time providing deep penetration to ensure an amazing seal to wood surfaces, making this product a great oil-based primer​.

Can You Use an Oil-Based Primer with Oil-Based or Latex Paints?

How to Mix Oil-Based Primer with Latex Paints

How to mix oil-based primer with latex paintsWith this method, we can create a strong, lasting surface. The process includes preparing the surface and applying the primer.

Oil-based primers take about eight hours to dry completely and be ready for touching. Before you start painting, you may have to lightly sand the primer over smooth wood surfaces with 180-grit sandpaper to provide an easier bonding surface

Make sure you wash away any dust caused by the sanding. Wait for the area to dry before adding your paint. As a general rule, you should apply two even layers of latex paint over the primer after it is dried. Allow between two and four hours for each layer to dry.

A room will take approximately 16 hours of drying time between the primer and two layers of latex.

How to Use Oil-Based Primers with Oil-Based Paints

How to use oil-based primers with oil-based paintsWhile oil-based primers can be mixed with oil-based paints, they can be used to fix old surfaces that have had oil-based paints. An oil-based primer is recommended to be applied over an oil-based top coat; then a water-based paint may be used as a top coat.

This method eliminates the problem of existing oil-based paints, especially on trim, from rejecting water-based paints. This stops the peeling and blistering problem.

Even if you don’t know the type of paint that is already existing on the surface, always use an oil-based primer to eliminate any future problems.

Oil-based primers are also very good remedies for covering staining on walls and ceilings that have oil-based paints. When there is an old, non-recurring stain on a wall, ceiling or trim, then the use of an oil based primer to hide the stain is recommended. Once it dries, a water-based topcoat may be applied.

When Should You Choose an Oil-Based Primer?

When should you choose an oil-based primer?Porous materials (concrete, wood, drywall, and even certain metals) will make painted surfaces have a bad texture when the paint dries, and make stains uncovered entirely. The oil-based primer will help you with these difficulties.

Oil-based primers help the paint stick properly to the surface. It creates a consistent coat that becomes smooth as it dries.

A good oil-based primer will cover up stains and prevent an old stain from leaking through to the paint. It can also protect woods that tend to have their tannins bleed through over time.

To cover surfaces that are beginning to get old, a primer is your best choice. It will help to cover any cracking or chalking to offer a new look.

Oil-based primers work with oil-based or latex paints better than latex primers in certain times, including painting on:

  • Varnished or unfinished wood
  • Wod prone to bleeding tannins, such as redwood and cedar
  • Painting over chalky or badly damaged paint
  • Wood which has been severely weathered
  • Damp environments such as bathrooms

Oil-based primers can also be tinted at the paint store if you will be using very light or dark colors.

Oil-Based vs. Latex Paints: What’re the Differences?

Oil-based vs. Latex paintsWhen your surface is covered in the primer, the next step is to apply the paint. But you don’t know if an oil-based or latex paint can work well with the surface. How are they different?
The main difference between oil-based and water-based paints is the type of solvent used in the paint. It is the liquid component of the paint that evaporates as the paint dries.
Oil-based paints use an organic solvent, which is typically mineral turpentine. For water-based, or often referred to as latex paints, the solvent is almost all water.

Volatile Organic Compounds

An organic solvent is made up of petrochemicals and plants and expels the fumes into the atmosphere as it evaporates.

As water-based paints feature solvents that are primarily made up of water, they release much fewer VOCs into the air and are therefore considered better for the environment and people’s health.

Sheen Levels

Oil-based paints can achieve a higher sheen level, makes your finish paint looks smooth, but it becomes dull easily over time. Water-based paints achieve a lower sheen finish, but water-based paints can typically maintain this sheen level over a longer period.


Oil-Based Paints Water-Based Paints
Excellent resistance to wear and tear Effective when resisting damage and wear and tear.
More likely to crack, become dry, brittle and chalky over time Be able to expand and contract with weather conditions, making them less susceptible to cracking.

Exterior Use

Water-based paints perform brilliantly on exterior applications than oil-based paints. Water-based paints are much more resistant to UV rays, allowing them to retain sheen levels and colors for a long time.

The flexibility in the paint makeup means the paint can move with the substrate as it expands and contracts in different weather conditions.

While with oil-based paints, the paint will break down in UV light and develop a chalky surface and oil-based paints have little to no flexibility with the result that the paint is not able to expand and contract with the substrate in differing weather conditions, making cracking more probable.

Surface Conditions

Surface ConditionsWater-based paints can tolerate small amounts of moisture on a surface prior to application.

Oil-based paints repel water. The paint is unable to create a strong adhesion bond to the surface. As a result, any substrate that oil-based paint is applied to must be completely dry before application.

Dry Time

Your purpose of using the paints can lead to various drying times.

Features Oil-Based Paints Latex Paints
Touch dry 6 to 8 hours 30 to 60 minutes
Recoat Ready 16 to 20 hours 2 to 3 hours
Fully Cured 2 to 3 days 1 to 4 weeks

Clean Up

Water-based paints are much easier to clean up due to the solvent being mainly water, and brushes and painting accessories can be typically cleaned with water.

Oil-based paints require turps or other specialty thinners to be used in the clean-up process.

Is Oil-Based Primer Good for Exteriors?

Is oil-based primer good for exteriors?Most paint sprayer projects at home include furniture or wood surfaces. Oil-based primers are best when you use for exteriors. With the slow dry feature, oil-based primers can penetrate deeper into the wood. This offers a better undercoat.

If you have knots in the wood; this will also prevent future show through. And if you are painting wood that is prone to bleed through, oil-based primers are always the best option.

Most exterior surfaces tend to be textured or rough. If combining oil-based primer with latex paints, this will help you to resist the staining and weathered look that often happens with exterior surfaces.

Cleaning Tips for Paint Sprayers after Using an Oil-Based Primer

Paint sprayers mostly use oil-based without thinning. Run the undiluted primer through your sprayer to evaluate its thickness. It will provide you with a thin mist. The paint sprayer makes the painting job easier than ever.

To maintain a good status for the sprayer for a long time, you just need a reasonable cleaning schedule so that the quality will always be top notch. Below are some instructions for cleaning your paint sprayer after using oil-based primers

  • Clean off the outside surfaces of the suction and drain hoses.
  • Clean the prime circuit, the hose and spray gun using paint thinner.
  • Capture any primer exiting the drain hose and the spray gun. Return it to the unused paint container.
  • Flush the drain hose and gun hose for 2-3 minutes.
  • Repeat as often as necessary.
  • Store the sprayer with mineral spirits in the pump, hose, and gun after your painting project.
  • Store the sprayer with paint thinner in the pump, hose, and gun.


Priming is a key part of making your painting project more successful. And with an oil-based primer, using your paint sprayers at home is not something difficult anymore.

The paint will now stick properly to the surface, becomes smooth as it dries, covers up stains and prevents an old stain from leaking through to the paint, protects woods that tend to have their tannins bleed through over time, and so on. With oil-based primers, your house will have a long-lasting and beautiful paint.