Top 6 Best Primers for Kitchen Cabinets in 2022 – Consumer Reports

Although it is satisfying to peel off flaking paint which has, fractured from countless regions, it still is an indication of numerous problems. Among these many problems, the most common of all is the poor application of a primer before a lick of paint.

A primer adheres to the paint layer firmly hence not leaving any room for moisture to settle in. So, here are the top six best primer for kitchen cabinets in 2022 that enhance the durability of varnish on the kitchen cabinets. 

Top Six Best Primer for Kitchen Cabinets In 2022

Rust-Oleum Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer – Best Overall

Rust-oleum Zinsser bulls eye 1-2-3 primer is one of the finest and suitable primers, particularly for kitchen cabinets. The presence of rust suppressors in its formula protects the metallic components of the cabinets from undergoing corrosion.

In addition to this, the primer functions very well when applied to both the interior and exterior surfaces.

The Rust-Oleum Zinsser Bull’s eye 1-2-3 primer is available in two color ranges which are grey and white. So, if you are thinking of giving your cabinets a darker solid appearance, then this primer should be your choice.


  • The water-based formula of this primer permits it to adhere firmly to different types of surfaces. This characteristic also makes it suitable for both oil-based and latex paints
  • It is highly resistant to mold growth and bubble formation that occurs mainly due to excessive moisture accumulation
  • Its area of coverage is about ten square feet per quart
  • It functions perfectly well on surfaces having pH similar to that of new concrete


  • At least two layers of undercoats are required for this primer to settle perfectly
  • It can be slightly damaging to the skin as it may clog the skin pores

KILZ Adhesion High-Bonding Interior And Exterior Primer – Runner Up

Its ability to work efficiently in less time duration has made KILZ adhesion high-bonding primer secure second place in the list. Its increased adhesive strength permits it to be used, without sanding or evening out the surface.

The KILZ Adhesion High-Bonding Interior and Exterior Primer are commercially available in a quarter or one-gallon container. 

The primer can be applied on a wide range of surfaces, for instance, epoxies, lacquers, oil-based paints, and xylene-containing products. 

This primer can be applied to any surface conveniently with the help of a paintbrush or rollers.


  • A single quarter or gallon of this primer is sufficient to cover an area of 300 square feet
  • It is resistant to mold growth, blistering, and flaking of paint
  • A single coat of this primer dries within thirty minutes for the application, of the second layer of undercoat
  • It strongly binds with the porous surfaces therefore suitable for both interior and exterior surfaces


  • It does not function well with spray-painted surfaces
  • A minimum of at least two layers of undercoat is required

Rust-Oleum Painters Touch Quart Latex

The Rust-Oleum Painters Touch ultra-premium latex primer is reviewed, as most befitting for kitchen cabinets. The main reason is that they are available in two distinct versions. One of the forms is glossy while the other type is satin.

The two formulas are present in a wide range of colors, for instance, white, black, grey, almond, Prussian blue, mocha, and so on.Hence, this type of primer provides numerous options for co-matching the undercoat with a final layer of varnish. In addition to this, it works well for external and internal surfaces both. 

Like KILZ Adhesion High-Bonding Primer, the Rust-Oleum Painters Touch Quart primer also takes thirty minutes to get completely dried. While the previously mentioned primer takes an hour to apply the second coat, this primer takes two hours for this purpose.

This primer can be applied to any surface conveniently with the help of a paintbrush or rollers.


  • A single gallon of this primer has a coverage area of at least 120 square feet
  • It enhances the durability of the final coat of paint
  • It functions well with oil-based paints
  • It reduces the problem of patchiness or surface blemishes


  • Two coats of this formula are applied for the primer to adhere stiffly
  • Although available in a glossy version however it does not function well with glossy or shiny surfaces

KILZ Restoration Interior Primer

It was formerly known by the trade name KILZ MAX and still comes in the list of best kitchen cabinet primers of history. The KILZ restoration interior primer is generally appropriate for places comprising of an ancient interior that has been used excessively.

Stain marks mainly of oil spills are common in kitchens that have been functional for a prolonged time. Therefore for such places, this primer is most suitable as it has an antagonistic effect towards staining. 

This formula has proved to be very useful as it is resistant to smoke, grease, and water leakage or moisture accumulation. The KILZ Restoration Interior Primer is commercially available in one and five-gallon cans.

Before its application, it is necessary to check that the cabinet surface is thoroughly clean and perfectly uniform.


  • A single gallon of this formula can cover an area of at least 300-400 square feet
  • It clogs stains of smoke, grease, and moisture
  • It works efficiently and produces prompt results
  • It gives a glossy effect on the final topcoat


  • It functions well only on the interior surface of the cabinets
  • It requires a rapid application for desired results

ZINSSER Cover Stain Oil-Base Primer

The ZINSSER Cover Stain primer is an oil-based product. It easily sticks on the interior and exterior surfaces of the cabinet. Due to its high sealing and binding strength, it is considered appropriate for repainting and renovation purposes.

Moreover, this formula dries within a minimum amount of time and has blocking action against nicotine, smoke, and water. 

This formula is recommended to use when you are looking for a sealer that is durable and resistant to heavy stains.

It can be used as an undercoat if you are intending to give the kitchen cabinets a darker color tone.


  • It can be applied on both surfaces of the cabinet
  • It produces a high sheen in the final paint coat
  • It works well on latex or oil-based paints
  • It has a short duration for drying


  • It has a strong and unpleasant odor that prevails for a few days
  • The formula is composed of volatile organic compounds – VOC

ZINSSER B.I.N Primer – Ultimate Stain Blocker

It is a shellac-based sealer or primer, which means that it is highly effective against heavy stains. This formula has a clogging effect against smoke, grease, etc. hence, it is suitable for kitchen cabinets.

As the entire formula is made in alcohol therefore its application must be conducted in a highly ventilated environment. It is usually suggested to wear personal protective equipment to avoid inhaling toxic fumes that may lead to intoxication.


  • It has high adhesive strength
  • It functions well with old, weak, and moldy cabinets
  • It has faster drying action
  • This formula seals the stains properly than any other primer


  • It has a disgusting and obnoxious smell
  • It requires a rapid application for better results

Best Primer for Kitchen Cabinets Buying Guide

Renovating your kitchen can be challenging and costly. With the introduction of contemporary kitchen designs and high-tech appliances, kitchen remodeling can be like costing the earth.

Cabinets are the most prominent feature of a cook’s room therefore, extreme proficiency and skills are required in their construction.

Primer or sealer is one of the most significant elements used in making kitchen cabinets. So, here are some factors that should be considered when buying primers;

Choosing The Suitable Primer:

There are different types of primers available in the market. Each type varies based on its mode of application, ingredients, and bonding ability. Following are different types of primers;

Oil-Based Primer:

The oil-based primers are mostly preferred during the remodeling of kitchen cabinets as they function well with multiple surfaces. They even produce high sheen in the final top coat of the paint. They take a longer time to dry and at least two layers of this primer are applied for best results. 

In addition to this, the oil-based primers have rapid clogging action towards heavy stains like smoke, grease, and so on. So for new wood, seasoned wood, and chipped or painted wood an oil-based primer is usually preferred.

Water-Based Primer:

The water-based primers are also called latex primers. As compared to oil-based primers they are rapid, economical, and can be applied conveniently through a roller or paintbrush. Unlike oil-based primers, the latex primers dry within a short period. The majority of paint experts prefer to use latex primers to treat tarnished or rusty surfaces.

For dry, granular walls latex primers are more suitable than oil-based primers. There are two reasons for this, firstly they have high adhesive power, and secondly, oil-based primers make the surface uneven. 

Shellac Primer:

As compared to oil-based and latex primers, they have high adhesion strength as it firmly binds with the surface without sanding. In addition to this, shellac primers have a high potential for clogging all kinds of stains, whether it is grease, smoke, or water. They efficiently reduce the reek coming out from old, damaged, and weathered wood.

This type of primer functions well with materials like wood, plaster, plastic, and metal. Another advantage of using shellac primers is that they having fast-drying action.   

Selecting The Primer According To The Paint Color:

Like paints, primers also come in a wide range of colors apart from neutral controls like white and grey. For instance, white-colored primers are commonly chosen for light-colored paints while for dark-colored paints colored primers are used. At times a small amount of paint is combined with the primer to make it look tinted. 

Type Of Surface:

Primers which work best on both external and internal surfaces are more desirable. Before applying the primer it is necessary to check the surface type. For instance for damp and tarnished surfaces, latex or water-based primers are most befitting. Surfaces that are already in good condition are typically sealed with an oil-based primer. 

The Market Price Of The Primer:

There are numerous primers available in the market with varying prices depending on the manufacturer. Price is an important factor that should not be overlooked when purchasing a primer. 

However, primers that are steep do not always give the best results than the ones which are cost-effective. Apart from cost, the primer should comply with several other factors for instance it should have an increased coverage area per gallon. 

Proportion Of Volatile Organic Compound In The Formula:

As primers are composed of highly reactive chemical constituents, therefore, its effect on the environment and health is an important factor. Some primers consist of VOC (volatile organic compounds) which are detrimental not only for humans but for the environment as well. 

Therefore it is preferred to select those primers which have mild toxic effects. In addition to this, it is also advised to wear personal protective equipment when dealing with alcohol-containing primers. 

Final Words

Remodeling your kitchen cabinets and giving them a fresh and modern look can increase the value of your property as well. But would it happen if the paint job is poorly done? Or the cabinets don’t turn out the way you expected them to be. So, to save yourself from this dilemma it is better to select the best undercoat product. 

Rust-Oleum Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer is the best primer from the above-mentioned list. Firstly it works best with all kinds of surfaces and also consists of rust inhibitors. Secondly, it is suitable for dark-colored cabinets with moderate health hazards that are easily manageable.

So, make use of this buying guide and choose the product you think is perfect for your work.