kitchen cabinet primer reviews

Best Primer For Kitchen Cabinets

Do you want to give your kitchen cabinets a facelift? It’s not always advisable to paint over the cabinets without priming, else you may not like the outcome.

Your topcoat will suffer from poor adhesion, bleed through, and hideous outlook.

But, if you could use the best primer for kitchen cabinets, it will easily kick adhesion stress to the curb, provide long-lasting coverage against bleed-through from tannin and stains to ensure an aesthetic finish.

Whether you’re a seasonal kitchen remodeler or buying cabinets for the first time, our top-notch primer for kitchen cabinets will not only add curb appeal to your kitchen but also enhance its livability and value.

Why You Should Use Primer

kitchen cabinet primer reviews

For those with burning desire to remodel their cabinets, it could be tempting to skip the priming process.

Because after a hectic job of removing the doors, taping off your edges, cleaning the wood, and covering, you may be tempted to start painting right away.

But, here are two significant reasons why you should apply the best primer for kitchen cabinets before painting:

Read Also: How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

Primer Ensures Proper Adhesion

Primers serve as a preparatory coating that allows your paint to bond properly with the surface. They block tannins, grease, and water from seeping through the paint, which then increases the practicality and longevity of your finish.

And without primer, there is no proper adhesion because it reduces the suction of the top paint coat into the material. Or else, the paint will soak into the cabinet, therefore reducing the total thickness.

You will end up wasting a lot of paint and time, yet get an awful finish. The recommended maximum thickness you can get, the higher the crack bridging ability the finish will get.

Primer Contributes to the aesthetics of your finish

The product you use will determine the quality of finish you will get.

Putting it bluntly, they strengthen the hiding power of your paint over the surface, by providing a consistent color and sheen level, which then improves the final aesthetics of your finish.

So, without primer, chances of you getting a professional result are slim.

Primer is one of the significant reasons why professional painter and decorators work look so different from DIYers.

Best Primer For Kitchen Cabinets

Below are the top-rated primers that offer better adhesion, as well as long-lasting protection for your kitchen cabinets.

1. Rust-Oleum 2004 Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer

Can’t find a perfect primer for your DIY remodeling project? Try using Rust-Oleum Zinsser Bulls Eye.

The Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer is a premium stain blocker that can resist mildew growth, tannin bleed-through, and peeling.

They’re the unspoken heroes that provide excellent adhesion to all surfaces without sanding. It is a whole-house primer-sealer – not just for kitchen cabinets.

Interestingly, they are available in traditional white primer, as well as gray. Both colors contain a rust inhibitor, which makes it ideal on new metal surfaces.

The Gray primer works wonder when adding a dark topcoat paint. Meanwhile, the white offers a mutual ground for all.

The Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 is versatile. It serves as a wood primer, metal primer, concrete primer, plaster primer, tile primer, and glass primer all-in-one.

Besides, it is not only easy to use but also cleans easily with soap and water. A quart cover approximately 100 square feet.
High adhesion capacity

  • It sticks to all surfaces.
  • Prevention of rust in metal cabinets.
  • Seals tanning bleed, stains, and odor.
  • Stops mold and mildew growth.
  • Needs two layers to prime well.

2. Zinsser 03504 Cover Stain Oil Primer Sealer

Zinsser 03504 Cover Stain reduces the labor cost because you can add extra shine to this product, and it sands easily.

Aside from that, this product not only has a high-hiding ability that blocks most stains, hides the dark color, but also can prevent nicotine stains, water, and smoke from seeping through the coat.

It is ideal for new construction, remodeling, and priming small projects.

Read Also: What Happens if You Don’t Paint Over Primer?

The coat dries in about one hour, which is slow – yet it sticks firmly to any interior/exterior material.  Additionally, it helps provide enamel undercoating performance.

For hard-to-paint surfaces, use Zinsser 03504 Cover Stain (oil-based), they really penetrate deeply on the surface.
Excellent for both indoor and outdoor

  • Adds shine.
  • It’s affordable.
  • User-friendly (ideal for beginners).
  • Not mold-resistant.

3. Zinsser B-I-N Shellac-Base Kitchen Cabinet Primer

Zinsser B-I-N is a shellac-base primer and the best stain-blocker you can get on the market today.

B-I-N is your shortcut to having a smooth and protective fin in less than no time. They are fast drying and highly adhesive.

One of the exceptional characteristics of B-I-N is the versatility it offers. You are free to prime all surfaces without sanding. They work well on all sorts of a kitchen cabinet (woods), metal, plaster, and even plastic.

Additionally, the product collaborates with both latex-based paint and oil-based paints.

The Bottom line: Zinsser B-I-N is the weapon that covers everything unwanted because it’s better at permanently blocking wood knots, stains, and odors.

  • They’re excellent for both interior and exterior use. You can resolve the issue relating to smell from smoke, pet, musty odor, severe rust, and water damage on your property.
  • Faster-drying time.
  • Works magic on smelly, moldy, and damaged cabinets.
  • Sticks firmly without sanding.
  • Covers stains better than other primers.
  • It gives off more fumes.

4. KILZ Adhesion High-Bonding Latex Primer/Sealer

With KILZ Adhesion, proper bonding is easier than you think. KILZ Adhesion can bond excellently where other traditional water and oil-based primer will not adhere.

Where a secure bond is critical, this primer ensures that the topcoat adheres to all surfaces sound and safe.

KILZ is a go-to option as they are suitable under epoxies, lacquers, as well as other products that contain Xylene and more.

For instance, surfaces like glass, Vinyl, Kynar, Formica, PVC, tile, glazed brick, fiberglass, metal, glossy finishes, and chalky can all adhere to your topcoat – whether it’s latex or oil-based paint.

On top of that, KILZ Adhesion has a fast-drying time. It dries to the touch within 30 minutes and ready for recoat in an hour. Yet, it’s less susceptible to cracking or peeling.

A gallon covers up to 300 square feet, which makes it the best bet for average and heavy-duty bonding projects.

DIYers and remodeling contractors can use a brush, roller, or paint sprayer to enjoy almost limitless painting possibilities.
Vast coverage

  • It seals porous surfaces.
  • adheres to tough surfaces (textured cabinets).
  • Blocks stains.
  • Prevention of mildew on the topcoat.
  • Little dust or stain can ruin the bond.
  • Not suitable with spray-painting.

5. KILZ TRIBUTE Interior Satin Paint and Primer

Harness the power of KILZ TRIBUTE Satin and experience an unforgettable bonding with low VOC.

KILZ TRIBUTE is 100% acrylic paint and primer in-one formula. It offers superior hide and coverage, with the exceptional durability to withstand mildew and stain bleed-through.

The pearl-like luminous satin paint also contributes to the beauty of the finish and it covers surface imperfections.

For instance, light-medium stain, light-dark color changes, and cracks. More precisely, the KILZ TRIBUTE is available in four sheens, 100 classic neutrals, and trending colors.

This primer covers approximately 400 Square feet per gallon on smooth surfaces.

You can use it on well-prepared or uncoated wood masonry, drywall, and cured plaster. The surface should be clean and free of dust, rust, mold, chalk, peeling paint, and grease.
Excellent on any cabinets

  • Vast coverage.
  • Easy to apply.
  • The long-lasting bond between the surface and the paint.
  • It demands more prep work.

What to Consider When Buying A Primer

Best Primer For Kitchen Cabinets

Here is a compact guide that will help you find your north star in getting the appropriate product for your needs:

The Types of Primers

There are three types of primers, and they all have different functionalities and benefits. Let’s elaborate:

Oil-based primer

Most expert painters often use an oil-based primer because they are likely to choose satin or glossy paints when painting a cabinet.

This type of primer has superior bonding prowess that prevents stains from penetrating the topcoat.

They work well on various cabinet surfaces such as wood, metals, and previously painted surfaces.

On the other hand, they take forever to cure – especially when you add the recommended two coats.

Another drawback is the high VOC fumes. They generate strong odors that are prone to causing liver and lung damage. So, endeavor to work in a ventilated area with a face mask.

Latex Primers

If you are a beginner or an amateur painter, we highly recommend you pick a latex because they are affordable and easy to apply. You can use it with all kinds of rollers, paintbrushes, and sprayers.

Professionals might have a preference for oil-based primer over latex, but latex can get the job with a faster turnaround.

It’s a go-to option for serious DIY homeowners and budget-minded weekend warriors that want to get the job done immediately, so they have time for other necessities.

They dry faster. Rather than waiting for three to four days for your oil-based to dry completely, you can use latex to finish the priming tasks and paint all in one day.

In summary, they have a long-lasting bond and protection, but not as durable as oil-based.

Shellac Primer

Shellac primers are the unsung heroes that seal both woody and metallic cabinets while providing an exceptional layer that shields all stains from penetration.

If you are sick and tired of having crayon marks and paw prints on the surface, give shellac primers a shot. They resist stain, smells of smoke, and dry faster.

Shellac primers are suitable for wood, plaster, metal, as well as a plaster – when using latex, oil-based, epoxy, and lacquer coatings.

On the contrary, Shellacs are challenging to apply. You need to thin the paint with denatured alcohol, then wash the tools thoroughly after the project.

Read Also: Best Primer for Drywalls

Environment and Health Impacts

Some primers contain VOC, which puts your health on the line, as well as your entire household. More annoying, most sellers are fun of giving false hopes that their products are eco-friendly.

Therefore, ensure the product is labeled “low VOC or no VOC,” and then read what other customers are saying about the volatility.

The price is a hook

Most primers for kitchen cabinets are counterfeit, yet the manufacturers use a higher price tag to lure you in.
Never assume a high-quality product should be expensive. Conversely, never underrate an affordable primer.

Some companies are working their fingers to the bone to ensure you get the best-in-class performance at a cheaper rate –which makes it challenging to identify an authentic primer from fake.

But, customer reviews never lie! Endeavor to scroll down to see other users’ experiences with the product.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many coats of primer do I need for cabinets?

Two coats of primer are the appropriate number.

Should I use a primer before painting cabinets?

Absolutely! Using the best primer for the kitchen cabinets will save you from the ridicule of pouring and wasting hundreds of resources.

Always use a primer first because it creates a smooth base that enables the original color of your topcoat to pop out, along with better adhesion for longevity.

Is it better to spray or roll kitchen cabinets?

The two methods can give you the result you want. But, a paint sprayer puts you in a unique position to paint the cabinets within a flash and get the best finish. Unlike roller or paintbrushes, you won’t have problems relating to dips or streaks.

Meanwhile, if you are familiar with the traditional mothed, you can still rock the project 100% using a paint roller in combination with a paintbrush.

What paint is best to use on kitchen cabinets?

There are tons of fantastic paints in the market to use on your kitchen cabinets. But the ones that have given me and my clients a professional-looking result are Sherwin William paints.

They are pretty good at hiding surface imperfections are easy touch-up, and help breathe life into your kitchen’s lost glory.

Read Also: Valspar Enamel Paint Review

Do I need a primer for kitchen cabinets?

Wood cabinets are ideal for painting, but any surface that can be scuffed with sandpaper can be painted. Laminate cabinets require a special bonding primer. A gloss finish will make your cabinets sheen, but it may show a lot of dings or mistakes. Semi-gloss or satin finishes are typically used for kitchens.

How many coats of primer do I need to paint cabinets?

You need to apply two coats of primer on wood cabinets unless a primer’s container explicitly claims to get the job done in one coating. Unfinished wood is highly absorbent and requires a thick coating before it can be conducive to paint.

How thick should primer be on cabinets?

You shouldn’t use more than two coats of primer, let alone “too many.” A single coat of primer is enough for most of the furniture & woodwork, including cabinets.

What do professionals use to paint kitchen cabinets?

We usually use professional-grade lacquer because it has a lovely, silky-smooth feel to it, and is what cabinet manufacturers use. We think it’s the best paint for cabinets, hands-down (although there are some great pro-level water-based options as well).

Do I need to prime new cabinets before painting?

Labeling your doors, cleaning and prepping the wood, priming, and sanding in between coats of paint are absolutely necessary for a great finished product. You don’t need to sand your cabinets before painting them. In fact, they advise against it.

Do I need to sand cabinets after priming?

Sanding is important because it removes the protective lacquer coating on cabinets to expose the bare wood for primer and paint. This provides a much stronger bond than if you were to prime and paint directly over the surface without sanding. Sanding also smooths out any rough areas or splintered wood.

Should I use one or two coats of primer cabinets?


In fact, it might look like you white-washed them instead. Do not worry. Your second coat will make them look a lot better! Just remember that primer will help the paint adhere better, give more durability to your cabinets, and give added protection in the long run.

Should you prime cabinets twice?

Only one coat of primer should do the trick, unless your cabinets are really dark, then I would recommend following up with one more coat of primer when that first coat is dry before moving on. After about two hours of dry time, I primed the fronts of the cabinet doors.

Do cabinets need two coats of paint?

Two coats of paint are essential for cabinets—you’re building a surface. By the way, to get the nicest finish, use a brush, a 2- to 2 1/2-inch fine bristle brush.

How do I paint my kitchen cabinets like a professional?

How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets Like A Pro In 9 Steps

  • Assess the condition of your kitchen cabinets.
  • Remove and label the doors and drawer faces.
  • Put down drop cloths.
  • Clean the cabinets.
  • Lightly sand your cabinets.
  • Prime your kitchen cabinets.
  • Inspect the primer.
  • Paint your kitchen cabinets like a pro.

Kitchen Cabinets Primer Reviews | Conclusion

To round off our review of the best primer for kitchen cabinets, we urge you should spend more time on the product review section – specifically the pros and cons areas of each product to avoid future regrets.

Although, we have done the hectic research for you (tried and tests these products on various kitchen cabinets, and the results were breathtaking). Your job is to choose ONLY.

Besides, they are affordable and offer the best-in-class performance, durability, and bleed-through shield you could find.