9 Best Primers For Kitchen Cabinets-Reviews & Guide

Image of kitchen cabinets

Best primers for kitchen cabinets help you prepare the surface for painting. They are an essential part of the painting projects because they allow your paint to cure into a smooth finish, they block grease, tannins, and water from seeping through the paint. The primer that you use for your respective projects translates to the difference in the quality of your finish.

It should be in a position to seal the surfaces of the kitchen cabinet and help bond it with the paint. Don’t make a mistake of painting over stained cabinets without priming.

We have discussed some of the best primers for kitchen cabinets that would give the best results for your projects. 

      1.Rust-Oleum Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer

Rust-Oleum 1-2-3 PrimerRust-Oleum Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer takes the top spot as our best primers for kitchen cabinets. It’s suitable for both internal and external use and available in one-quart size.

This formula works perfectly on virtually all interior and exterior surfaces; besides, it’s suitable for both oil-based and latex paints.

With this product, you are free to select between the white and gray one. The gray one works flawlessly in cases where you want to paint your cabinets with a dark color. You must allow your primer to dry before painting.

The Summary of Top Features

  • Great for interior and exterior applications. 
  • Has a rust inhibitor hence ideal for new metal surfaces
  • It’s a water-based formula thus sticks to most surfaces without requiring sanding
  • It can resist mildew growth, blistering and peeling
  • Area coverage of up to 100 sq. Ft. per quart
  • It’s perfect for areas with pH like new concrete


  • High adhesion levels
  • It sticks to all surfaces.
  • It’s an excellent choice for preventing rust in metal cabinets.
  • It can seal children’s drawings, tanning bleed and stains.
  • This product stops the growth of mold and mildew.


  • It requires at least two layers to prime well
Check Latest Price


      2.KILZ Adhesion High-Bonding Interior Latex Primer/Sealer

KILZ Adhesion Latex Primer is available in one-quart and one-gallon containers with one of the best bonding efficiency you can get in a primer. It works well when priming cabinets with hard surfaces making it among the best primers for kitchen cabinets. 

It takes only 30 minutes for this primer to dry. However, give it up to an hour before adding another layer.

Even as you prepare to prime your cabinets, ensure that the surface is well prepared such that they are free of grease, dirt, dust, molds and a lot more. 

You can even use this primer on oil-based or latex paint and epoxies. It still works perfectly on lacquers as well as coating products containing strong solvents such as Xylene. Use a brush or roller to apply it.

The Summary of Top Features

  • It’s an excellent bonding primer that bonds topcoats to tough-to-paint surfaces. 
  • Use on both interior and exterior surfaces.
  • 1-gallon can of KILZ Adhesion can cover approximately 300 square feet per gallon.
  • It dries to touch within 30 minutes and ready for a second coat in an hour.


  • A gallon can cover up to 300 square feet.
  • It adheres perfectly to tough surfaces such as textured cabinets.
  • This formula blocks stains.
  • It seals porous surfaces.
  • The product prevents mildew from growing on the topcoat.


  • It does not work well with spray-painting
Check Latest Price


      3.Rust-Oleum Painters Touch Quart Latex

Rust-Oleum Painters Touch is no doubt one of the best primers for kitchen cabinets and is available in gray and white latex formulas. However, there are also glossy as well as satin versions in other colors among them black, almond, deep blue, clear, Kona Brown, espresso, nutmeg, and Claret wine.

With the many available colors, you can match the primer to the paint that you shall use. The gray latex primer, for example, can work correctly for the glossy as well as the satin oil-based paints. For the best results, you need to choose the one that matches your paint.

It takes this formula 30 minutes to dry. However, wait for up to two hours before doing another layer. Ensure that your surface is clean before doing your priming.

The Summary of Top Features

  • Great for indoor and outdoor project surfaces like wood, metal, plaster, etc
  • It is a water-based acrylic formula with low odor and can resist chips for a long-lasting protection
  • A gallon can cover up to 120 sq ft and needs 30 minutes to dry 
  • Cures into a flat finish that minimizes surface imperfections
  • Increases adhesion and durability of the finish coat


  • It offers outstanding coverage on porous surfaces.
  • The formula can work as stand-alone paint.
  • It works well on many surfaces.
  • It’s excellent for latex and oil-based paint.


  • The formula requires at least two layers to prime properly.
  • It works poorly on glossy surfaces.
  • Not great for smooth surfaces.
Check Latest Price


      4.KILZ Restoration Interior Latex Primer/Sealer

KILZ Restoration Maximum (formerly KILZ MAX) is one of the best primers for kitchen cabinets available in the market today. 

This primer offers a strong blocking to stains, which makes it the right choice for homes that have vintage cabinets that have lots of stains due to prolonged usages.

It is a water-based primer capable of preparing your cabinets for oil-based and latex paints. It will save you extra cost on the sanding of wood. This formula can block smoke, grease, nicotine, tannin, and even substantial water damage. 

You will find this product available in one- and five-gallon cans.

Ensure that your cabinet surface is clean and ready for priming or else you won’t get the best results.

The Summary of Top Features

  • KILZ Restoration (formerly KILZ MAX) is a water-based primer, sealer as well as stain blocker
  • It has a coverage of 300-400 square feet per gallon
  • It can tickle tough stains


  • Has a faster drying time
  • It can block stains as well as shellac primers.
  • This formula generates no problems when applying the topcoat.
  • It produces a high sheen in a topcoat.
  • This product adheres to multiple surfaces.


  • It calls for a fast application for the best results.
  • The formula works only on interior cabinets.
Check Latest Price


      5.Zinsser Cover Stain Interior/Exterior Oil Primer Sealer

Zinsser Oil Primer Cover Stain is among the best primers for kitchen cabinets and favored by professionals for painting and refinishing. If you are looking to paint dark cabinets, inhibit heavy stains and prevent tannin seeping from wood, the Sinsser Cover Stain primer is everything that you need.

The formula does great to block cedar and rosewood bleeds. It sticks to all surfaces without sanding; it seals smoke, Nicotine, and stains of water.

You need to kick start your priming work by first cleaning and sanding. Follow it with the first coat of primer. After eight hours of it drying, you can do the second coat. There could be imperfections after the drying of the second layer, use sandpaper to strip it off. 

The Summary of Top Features

  • It’s an Oil-based stain killer primer/sealer
  • This product gives shine to your cabinets
  • Adheres easily to the interior and exterior surfaces and sands easily
  • Best for new construction, remodeling, repainting projects 
  • Has a short dry time and provide enamel undercoating performance
  • This product is excellent for exterior surfaces for full penetration and is flexible on surfaces


  • It gives the top coat of a cabinet an extra shine.
  • It’s great for interior and exterior use.
  • It sticks to any topcoat.
  • You can sand the excess primer
  • Usable on latex paints
  • It does well when priming raw wood for ultimate protection.


  • It contains VOC
  • Takes long to dry
  • Has a bad smell for a few days
Check Latest Price


      6.Zinsser B-I-N Shellac-Base Primer

Zinsser B-I-N Shellac-Base Primer works on both interior and exterior applications, making it one of the best primers for kitchen cabinets. Shellac-based primers have a reputation of covering stains better compared to latex or oil-based primers. It can rid of pet stains, smoke, plus musty odors. 

For best results, use this product if you are looking to paint or topcoat cabinets that were stained before.

Before using a shellac-based primer, you must work in a well-ventilated area because it contains alcohol with strong fumes. Avoid spraying this primer because it can increase the amount of gas in the surrounding air. 

Note: Wear protective respirators to avoid getting drunk following long working hours.

The Summary of Top Features

  • It’s a shellac-based primer-sealer
  • For interior and spot exterior use
  • It is an excellent stain sealer
  • Seals pet stains, smoke, and musty odors
  • Sticks to all surfaces without sanding


  • Dries faster
  • Its best for priming cabinets that are smelly, moldy and damage.
  • It sticks to tough surfaces without sanding.
  • This product covers stains in a better way compared to other primers.


  • Bad smell
  • Made for faster application
Check Latest Price


      7.INSL-X Stix Acrylic Waterborne Bonding Primer

INSL-X Stix Acrylic Primer has everything to compete with the oil-based and shellac-based primers. It comfortably adheres to glossy surfaces like a gloss and satin paint.

This product creates a hard film on some of the tough and challenging surfaces. We don’t recommend the use of this formula on polyethylene or polypropylene surfaces without using a strong topcoat.

It blocks stain and smell, which makes it among the best primers for kitchen cabinets.

Clean the surface before priming. Use a ¾-inch nap or foam roller to apply the primer. For individuals with vintage metal cabinets or stainless steel cabinetry, we recommend the use of brush or scrubbing pad for cleaning the surface to remove grease, dust, etc. 

The Summary of Top Features

  • It an excellent adhesive primer for the most challenging surfaces
  • Cures into a tough film with great enamel holdout
  • It has a smooth leveling, resist blistering, cracking
  • Up to 75 – 100 square foot coverage for interior or exterior use
  • Contains Low VOC with easy soap and water cleanup
  • The application is good when the temperature is above 35 °F. Avoid application in direct sunlight or on a hot surface.
  • Not recommended for use over polyethylene or polypropylene.


  • Highly adheres to a water-based primer.
  • Easy cleanup
  • Ready for topcoat in 3 hours.
  • It cures into a smooth surface that resists peeling, cracking, and blistering.
  • Require low temperatures to dry.


  • Requires at least two coats to prime well
  • Do not use the primer in outdoor applications lest you are planning to cover it using a weather-resistant topcoat.
Check Latest Price


      8.KILZ 2 Multi-Surface Stain Blocking Interior/Exterior Latex Primer/Sealer

This product, KILZ 2 Multi-Surface Stain Blocking Interior/Exterior Latex Primer/Sealer, is versatile and provides excellent adhesion to paint so that they can stick to porous surfaces giving proper paint color.

It cures into a compelling film that can resist mildew, making it perfect for kitchen cabinets need. This formula does hide mild to medium stains by ink, water, grease, as well as pen and felt markers.

You can use it on both the interior and exterior surfaces such as metal, plaster, drywall, brick, and a lot more. It takes roughly 30 minutes to dry; however, wait for an hour before doing another layer.

The Summary of Top Features

  • Adheres properly to many surfaces
  • KILZ 2 Latex blocks formation of mild to medium stains from water, ink, grease, etc
  • It’s great for interior/exterior surfaces
  • A gallon can of KILZ 2 Latex Water-Based Primer cover an area of up to 300-400 square feet.
  • KILZ 2 takes only 30 minutes to dries to touch


  • Dry fast hence saves time
  • A gallon covers a wide area of 300-400 square feet
  • It perfectly masks stains 
  • Prevents mildew
  • Works well as bot a sealer and primer


  • Has a strong odor
Check Latest Price


      9.KILZ Premium High-Hide Stain Blocking Latex Primer

If you need the best primers for your kitchen cabinets, then this product will work for you. It is a water-based undercoat that provides an outstanding smooth surface for your paint. It has an excellent filling property that helps seal flaws in porous surfaces. 

The product boast of strong adhesion properties and can protect against the formation of mildews, making it appropriate for kitchen cabinets.

This formula works so well in areas with high humidity, like inside the kitchen. Besides, it has a faster drying time, which allows for recoat in an hour.

The Summary of Top Features

  • KILZ Premium offers an excellent consistency for a smooth and level finish
  • Has an excellent adhesion for most surfaces
  • It does a great job in color changes and seals light to medium stains hence minimizing surface imperfections
  • A gallon of KILZ Premium has coverage of 300-400 square feet.


  • It’s a fantastic sealer
  • Has both a high and low VOC option
  • Has a great area coverage
  • Dries very fast 
  • Pocket-friendly


  • The low VOC option has no good coverage
  • Not suitable for heavy stains
Check Latest Price


Best Primers For Kitchen Cabinets Buyer’s Guide

 Remodeling your kitchen cabinets adds beauty to the whole place, besides it increases the value of your home if you want to sell the house. It is expensive to refinish a kitchen cabinet, and that’s why you should not make mistakes in the process, especially with the purchase of primers. We have therefore put together some of the factors you should consider as you look to buy the best primers for kitchen cabinets, they include:

The Types of Primers

  • Latex primers 

They are also called water-based primers. They are usually cheaper and easier to apply. Most professional painters prefer oil-based primers; however, the latex still does the job and very fast.

They are appropriate, especially when you can not wait for up to 3 days in the cases of oil-based primers and paints.

  • Oil-Based Primer

This primer type is the most used as it works well on multiple cabinet surfaces from wood, metal, and previously painted surfaces. They prevent the bleeding of stain through paint better than other primers.

Oil-based primers take relatively longer to cure more so if you apply the recommended two coats.

  • Shellac Primer

They provide arguably the best stain blocking properties you can find in primers. Besides, they seal the smells coming from smoke-damaged wood.

Shellac does a great job on surfaces such as metal, wood, plastic, as well as plaster compared to oil-based and latex paint. It dries faster as well.

The Condition of The Surface

Generally, primers work on all surfaces; however, for best results, try and pick the perfect primer for your surfaces. Damp wood needs latex primer, for example. Painted wood surfaces need oil-based primers, while shellac primers are ideal for resistant and old stains. 

The Cost of a Primer

It’s not always the case that the expensive primers are the best in the market. Cost is an important aspect that you should factor in when looking for the best primers for kitchen cabinets. Some primers do excellent jobs and safer to use yet are less expensive.

If you are working on large projects, you need to consider the price of the primer to the area of coverage to avoid incurring extra expenses

Environment and Health Impacts

These primers are products of different chemicals; there are some of them that contain VOC, which have negative impacts on the environment as well as human and animal health. You must settle for primers that pose less threat to health if you can


We understand your needs and that you won’t settle for less. That is why we have reviewed for you the best primers for kitchen cabinets that you can find in the market today. The products available on this list will serve you right with your painting projects, giving you a high return on your investment. Enjoy your shopping!

Image of a woodworker wearing hearing protectors for woodworking

Tyron Otieno

Tyron is an avid woodworker and writer. He founded this website to help other woodworkers, whether hobbyists or professionals by sharing his knowledge and experiencie after a decade of woodworking.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.