10 Best Primer For Kitchen Cabinets [Reddit Choices]

If you are considering painting your kitchen, the first thing you need to do is prepare the surface well for painting. You can do this if you get the best primer for kitchen cabinets. Primers play a significant role in any painting job because they allow the paint to cure well, leading to a smooth finish. As a result, you will get better-looking kitchen cabinets. 

Additionally, using the right primer will block grease, water, and tannins from getting through the paint. The type of primer you choose is essential since it affects the finish you will get. This is why you should invest your money in buying a quality primer to get the expected results. 

If you paint your kitchen cabinets without applying a primer first, you will not be happy with the outcome. We have researched thoroughly to give you reliable primers recommendations to provide you with better results for all your projects. Let’s go straight into their reviews.

Top 10 Best Primer For Kitchen Cabinets 2022 

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Kitchen cabinets are mainly made of wood. When choosing a primer, you should consider whether it’s a new cabinet or an already used cabinet that would need refurbishing. Used cabinets require less or more work depending on how worn out it is compared to a new cabinet. Below are some top 10 best primers for kitchen cabinets you can compare.

1. KILZ L211101 Interior Latex Primer – best bonding primer for kitchen cabinets.

The KILZ L211101 is a well-renowned brand for primers in the market. It is an excellent latex primer that can be used for almost any interior or exterior surface. It would be best to use the primer on properly prepared surfaces free of dust, grease, chalk, mold, rust, and worn out or peeling surfaces.

For the desired perfect finish, ensure that the primer is mixed well and the proper brush, spray, or roller is used. You can use this adhesion primer to create a better bond on slick surfaces where it is hard to use oil-based or traditional primers.

Best Bonding Primer For Kitchen Cabinets

You can use the primer on the exterior and interior surfaces where it is essential to get a secure bond. The primer has a fast drying time of 30 minutes, and you can recoat after one hour.


  • The primer comes from a top brand.
  • Perfect for use on exterior and interior surfaces.
  • It creates a strong bond.
  • Easy to apply, and it dries fast.
  • It saves time on your painting projects.
  • It gives your kitchen cabinets a great look.


  • It May does not work well as a primer on fresh wood. 
  • It dries very fast, and damages are hard to rectify. 

2. INSL-X Stix Acrylic – best primer for painting kitchen cabinets.

The INSL-X SXA11009A-01 primer is a high-quality primer that can also be referred to as a sealer. It has high coverage on stains, paints, and repairs. This quality primer creates an excellent adhesion on challenging surfaces like vinyl, glossy tiles, glossy paint, glazed block, and plastic.

It is multi-purpose, allowing you to use it on the ceiling, plaster, wood trim, tiles, ceramic, wood, and many more surfaces. Unlike other primers, this one creates a hard-to-coat surface that you can topcoat with your chosen product. It is of premium quality and an acrylic waterborne primer-sealer that can be used at a surface temperature that would present a problem for conventional primers.

Best Primer For Painting Kitchen Cabinets

It cures fully at a low temperature of 35 degrees F, and it can cover an area of about 300 to 400 sq ft per gallon. This primer also has a low VOPC, and you can clean it easily with water and soap. So before you apply a topcoat finish on your kitchen cabinets, get a better base with this primer. 

INSL-X SXA11009A-01 Stix Acrylic Waterborne Primer is one of the most recommended primers for various normal and very challenging surfaces. Due to its maximum adhesion, it gives even finishes. It is easy to use though it would require knowledge of primers. 


  • This primer can be used for both interior and exterior surfaces 
  • It works very well with challenging surfaces. 
  • Bonds to all topcoats and hard, dense surfaces. 
  • INSL-X SXA is very easy to clean with soap and water.
  • It offers a tough film when cured.


  • Primer rots with time in extreme weather conditions and may need touch-ups.
  • This primer-sealer cannot be used under the third coating on surfaces such as rock-solid polyamine
  • It should not be used where it is directly exposed to water.

3. KILZ 2 Multi-Surface Primer – Best kilz primer for cabinets reviews.

This is a water-based low odor prime that is ideal for interior and exterior use. It allows pain to stick better to surfaces, lets you use less paint, and makes paint color brighter and more authentic. This primer is from a trusted brand that has been there for over 40 years. It seals porous surfaces and other challenging surfaces.

Since it is a water-based primer, stain blocker, and sealer, you will achieve maximum versatility from this product. You can use it to prepare surfaces like kitchen cabinets before you paint. It will give a strong adhesion on both interior and exterior of surfaces and walls.

You can also use this primer when you want to change the color. Additionally, you can use it over the top or under latex and other oil-based paints. The primer works well on the ceiling, doors, walls, and different materials like drywall and bricks. 

Kilz Primer For Cabinets Reviews


  • It can be used for rugged interior and exterior jobs.
  • This primer is suitable for bonding and ensures that top coats adhere to tough-to-paint surfaces.
  • It gives the paint color a bright and true finish.
  • It is versatile and works well on different surfaces.
  • It has excellent stain blocking capabilities.


  • No cons so far.

4. Rust-Oleum 2004 Zinsser Bulls Eye – best primer for wood cabinets.

This deck stain from Rust-Oleum comes in a 1-quart tub of 967ml, which is adequate for about 100 square feet. It gives a lovely matte-white finish. It is without a doubt the best-suited deck stain for all your pressure-treated wood. It gives your wood a beautiful snowy finish.

It is water-based, allowing it to be adhesive on most surfaces while resisting the peeling and growth of mildew and mold. Moreover, it completely seals surfaces protecting them from UV radiation. The Rust-Oleum 2004 Zinsser Bulls Eye also blocks further wood staining by any products used on it. Furthermore, it also dries quickly within an hour upon application. It may be used with any topcoat as it is pretty sheer. Rust-Oleum 2004 Zinsser Bulls Eye is also straightforward to clean. Additionally, it works perfectly on surfaces with oil and latex paint.

Best Primer For Wood Cabinets

Rust-Oleum 2004 Zinsser Bulls Eye usually works perfectly on dark topcoat colors. Also available as a spray paint for application in difficult areas. Additionally, it does not require sanding of surfaces before application. It also works to prevent pest infestation of wood.

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  • It is easy to clean.
  • The stain is adhesive on most surfaces.
  • Rust-Oleum 2004 Zinsser Bulls Eye I also very sheer.
  • It is effortless to clean.
  • It also has no odor as it is oil-based.


  • The primer water-based hence does not protect the wood from moisture.
  • It is not suitable for particleboard.

5. Nuvo Cabinet Paint – best primer for painting cabinets.

This is a high-performance stain by Giani Granite that gives a beautiful satin-white finish. It is designed for convenient use on your cabinets without requiring any removal of cabinets or priming of the cabinets before use. This makes it the perfect stain to use on a DIY project to give your cabinets a facelift. It gives you a professional-looking finish with minimal expertise required. 

Best Primer For Painting Cabinets

One quart is 917ml and is adequate for about 50square feet of wood. It is water-based and resistant to mold and mildew and is also additionally resistant to peeling, making it very durable. It is low on odor, and it is also safe for use in inhabited spaces. This stain is also very sheer. This stain thus comes highly recommended. You can use it on thermofoil cabinets. It does not easily chip or peel and leaves your cabinets looking new for extended lengths of time. It comes in a nice fluid consistency for convenient application and is thus not too viscous. Nuvo paint is also beautifully sheer.


  • Sheer: It is very sheer. 
  • Consistency: It is not too dense.
  • Durability: It is durable and easy to clean.
  • Ease of use: This stain is also very easy to use, and the application requires minimal skill.
  • Maintenance: It is easy to clean as it needs only to be wiped for maintenance.


  • Prepping: The wood may require some prepping with sandpaper and some oil removal.
  • Coats: You might need several coats for dark cabinets.

6. KILZ Premium High-Hide Stain – best bonding primer.

This is a premium white stain that also additionally acts like a sealer and a primer. It has a thick creamy consistency for effective application. It is used on about 400 square feet per gallon of paint. It is also durable as it is adhesive and does not peel or chip. KILZ premium stain gives a lovely glossy white finish to all your woodwork applications and is thus the perfect stain choice.

It seals the wood, protecting it from UV radiation. It also seals the wood, protecting it from mold and mildew. It seals surfaces so effectively that it works in high humidity areas like showers and washrooms. It has excellent adhesion on most surfaces, including wood.

 It is water-based with a creamy consistency, and this is perfect for gliding over your surface to give a beautiful finish. The surface is left level, and the paint fills in all small flaws for a flawless finish. It can conceal previous paint as it is a high hiding stain. You can use it to conceal stains or previous colored stains.

Best Bonding Primer


  • Versatility: May be used over or under oil-based or latex-based paint.


  • You can use this stain over previous dark stains as it blocks these efficiently.
  • Uniformity: the paint seals the surfaces providing a flawless finish.
  • Low odor: it is safe for use and low odor.
  • Adhesion: KILZ premium stain is adhesive on most surfaces, including wood.


  • It does not work well with particleboard.
  • A primer may occasionally be required.

7. KILZ TRIBUTE Interior Matte Paint – kilz adhesion primer reviews.

This is a two in one paint and primer developed by Masterchem Industries. It utilizes acrylic advancements in the manufacture of these paints. It also comes in a wide pallet of colors, ranging from deep blue to pink to neutral gray. It has a collection of up to 100 colors, including some of the most commonly purchased colors in just the right shades. With this range of colors to choose from, your needs are bound to be met.

It is designed for maximum coverage on a single application and durability. It has a low odor as it has low emissions in indoor air conditions. It is high hiding and may be used over deeper shades of previous paints. It is easy to clean, requiring only some wiping to eliminate any dirt and grime. Every day marks are thus easily purged off the surface very easily.

Kilz Adhesion Primer Reviews

The KILZ TRIBUTE paint gives a beautiful matte finish to your surface. It provides a smooth finish making it the perfect paint to use on textured surfaces as it fills in all the crevices to give you an even surface. It is mold and mildew resistant as it seals off the surfaces, making it safe for prolonged use.


  • Superior hide: it is formulated to mask any underlying stains or previously used paint.
  • Durability: it provides prolonged use without peeling or chipping. 
  • Flawless finish: KILZ TRIBUTE fills in all the small crevices to give you a beautiful, flawless finish.
  • Easy to clean: the paint is dirt-resistant and requires a simple wipe for cleaning any grime as it is easily washable.


  • It requires priming if used over an oil-based paint
  • It is not ideal for spray painting.

8. Rust-Oleum 1976730 Painters – best bonding primer for glossy surfaces.

This paint by Rust-Oleum gives a beautiful glossy white finish. It is latex-based and thus goes on smoother than most paints. It is suitable for use indoors as well as outdoors. It works exquisitely on wood, and it comes in a wide variety of sizes. However, before its application, it is advisable to sand the surfaces, degrease them and allow for drying. It has a lovely consistency that goes on smoothly over the surfaces. It has a beautiful finish with excellent hide.

Best Bonding Primer For Glossy Surfaces

Its formula is water-based. It seals surfaces, making them resistant to mold and mildew. It is suitable for use in high humidity areas, including bathrooms and laundry areas. It is a low odor paint as well and is thus not offensive. It is durable as it does not chip or peel after prolonged use.

It is effective at hiding old stains and previously used paint, but several coats may be required it however dries rapidly between coats and is therefore still a beautiful paint option.


  • Durability: It does not easily chip or peel over time.
  • Low odor: It does not have a strong scent.
  • Smooth application: It goes on smooth on most wood surfaces.
  • Rapid drying: It dries rapidly between coats.
  • Sound quality: This is premium paint.


  • It may require the surface to be sanded down slightly before use for maximum hold on the surface.
  • It comes in a small tub.

9. KILZ Restoration Maximum – kilz premium primer review.

This paint by Masterchem is works as a stain as well as a primer. It gives a beautiful white glossy finish that restores and upgrades all your wood surfaces. A gallon of this stain covers up to 400 square feet. It is a water-based stain that works like an oil-based paint.

It is beautifully formulated to ensure the blocking of stains and previous paint. It conceals tough stains, including water damage. Additionally, it seals the woodwork preventing the development of mold and mildew. It additionally seals odors, including smoke. This makes this perfect for restoration and disaster control.

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It is designed to work like an oil-based formulation that smoothly goes on all kinds of surfaces like wood. It dries hard and sands down easily, making it the perfect enamel coat. It has an excellent adhesion that makes it a fantastic stain option.

Kilz Premium Primer Review

It has a flawless finish due to its perfectly thick consistency; it thus goes over smoothly, giving an even finish.


  • Odor-blocking: this stain can block existing odors, including that of pets or smoke.
  • Adhesion: it is perfectly adhesive to all surfaces, especially wood.
  • Ease of use: The Kilz paint is easy to use and the perfect choice for a DIY project.
  • Scent: The stain has a mild scent that is not at all offensive.


  • It is not suitable for particleboard.
  • It has a slight odor when drying.

10. Zinsser 03504 Cover Stain – zinsser fast prime 2 review.

This is another recommended oil prime sealer that is ideal for both interior and exterior use. The high-quality product is made in the US, and it gives an extra shine to your product. The primer contains a high-quality formula that blocks many stains and seals water, nicotine, and smoke stains.

If you consider doing a remodeling, construction, or painting job, this would be a great primer to pick for small projects. It is easy to apply, and it dries fast on the interior surfaces. Moreover, the primer boosts the performance of enamel undercoating. You can use it on exterior surfaces to get optimal penetration and great flexibility on the surfaces.

Zinsser Fast Prime 2 Review


  • It’s a high-quality product that blocks stains.
  • It works well on both interior and exterior surfaces.
  • The primer provides a fast drying time.
  • It is easy to sand, unlike other primers.
  • It works well for painting laminate.
  • Better performance than latex primers.


  • The primer is messy and hard to use.
  • Damages and leaking on arrival.
  • The primer is too thick.

How To Choose The Best Primer For kitchen Cabinets?

When choosing what primer to use for your cabinets, there are several factors that you have to put into consideration. These factors include:

 The type of material you are painting. This matters a lot because we are putting into consideration how fast the primer dries. For instance, you will require a primer that dries off fast for your kitchen cabinets compared to other places like the closet.

Whether the primer sticks when painted. Some primers do not stick and could easily come off. In addition to this, the primer should be used on a smooth surface or not, meaning that you will not need to sand.

The primer should also apply to both interior and exterior applications. This saves you from having to buy several for the same purpose. The primer you purchase should work well on wood or even metal.

Do cabinets need to be primed?

Yes, cabinets need to be primed to avoid tannin bleed. Tannin bleed occurs when you paint directly without using primers. The result of tannin bleed is hideous, and this explains why priming before painting is a necessity.

More so, priming blocks stains making the cabinet ready for painting. If you paint without priming and stains are present, the final result will not be pleasing, especially for the vintage cabinets with lots of stains due to prolonged usage.

The use of primers also prevents the growth of molds and mildew. I am sure no one would tolerate molds on their cabinets, and fortunately, priming does this. Also, primers resist peeling of the painting and blistering.

Using primers is also said to add beauty to the cabinets, and that is why it is recommended if you decide to sell your home at one point.

Priming is also crucial, so your cabinets or even walls do not use a lot of paint. In other words, so your cabinets do not “drink” the expensive paint.

Oil Based Primer Vs Latex Primer

Latex primers are also called water-based primers. The main thing about these primers is that they dry very fast when applied. And many people purchase them because they are very easy to work with. Latex primers are also cheaper than oil-based ones. 

However, latex primers do not last long, meaning that you will have to keep on priming, which is expensive. Latex primers are mainly used when walls and ceilings are being painted.

Oil-Based primers. These primers work very well on cabinets. Whether the cabinets are made of wood or metal oil, primers are the best. They are mainly used on cabinets because they prevent tannin bleeding, which makes cabinets look hideous.

Oil-based primers cover nail heads and block stains and thus preferred more than latex primers. They also penetrate more in the wood, reducing peeling chances when painted.

Oil-based primers have a strong unpleasant odor, while water-based primers have no odor. When aiming for beauty on wood cabinets, use oil-based primers.

Zinnser Vs Kilz primer

When we talk about bleeding and avoid it, I would recommend Zinnser primer because it works well compared to the kilz primer. Zinnser has good coverage. When we talk about consistency, the zinnser is also better because it does not require re-done, which happens when kilz is used and creates many coats.

When using either of these, one requires you to sand the surfaces, and the other does not entirely require sanding. Zinnser primer can still work without sanding, while kilz needs the surface to go through sanding.

If you want to avoid mold on your cabinets, both of these work well in preventing its growth. In particular, uses like kitchen cabinets, Kilz primers are the best.

Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

In this guide, we cover reasons for priming and which primer you should purchase.

Priming is crucial because it blocks stains, which most primers do, and even avoids molds’ growth. Having molds on the kitchen cabinets is not a wonderful sight, and in this circumstance, you will have to use primers.

When selecting what primer to purchase, you have factors to consider. Like what are your kitchen cabinets made of? What primer will work wonderfully on your wood cabinet? And also, what final result are you aiming at. Is your wood entirely new, or is it a bit old? This will influence the type of primer you will need.

Types of primers

Primers are of three types, and they include:

  • Oil-Based Primers are known to work very well in places where the temperature keeps on changing.
  • Latex Primers work on many different surfaces having no limits, unlike oil-based primers.
  • Shellac Primers dry faster than the above primers.

Latex Primers

This primer is water-based. And what sets it apart from the rest is that it works on all types of surfaces. It works well on metal, wood, and even walls. This primer also dries very fast, and it is easy to work with.

Another merit of using this primer is that it does not cause cracking on the place it has been used, and so there is no need to worry about the final result.

Compared to oil-based primers, these primers do not work very well in hiding stains, which means they have inadequate coverage.

Oil Based Primers

These primers take a lot of time to dry than the other primers and will need you to avoid coming into contact with the surface they have applied.

In addition, they have perfect coverage because they block stains and leave nothing ugly on show. Also, they prevent tannin bleed.

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They work very well on surfaces like drywall, wood, metal; even walls painted not too long ago. 

Water based Primers

These primers will not work very well on kitchen cabinets because they will cause tannin bleed. Kitchen cabinets will also absorb water causing more damage than good. 

They are widely used because they are cheap and are very easy to use.

They leave brush marks when used on the kitchen cabinets because they are soft to apply.

Compared to oil-based primers, they are clearer and can be used on surfaces, whether even or uneven.

Pigmented Shellac and Alcohol-Based Primers

Pigmented Shellac primers can be used as a complete interior primer and also a comprehensive exterior primer. This means they have a variety of uses.

Also, this primer seals all the stains completely, which leaves an excellent final result. The stains could be from fires and even floods but are completely covered.

Alcohol-Based primers are very good at hiding tough stains and have the best adhesion.

These alcohol-based primers are also very good at sealing the odor. Without sealing, the odor is really strong and unpleasant.

The Condition Of The Surface

Primers work well on all surfaces, but also specific primers work well on specific surfaces. Most of the primers work well with wood which most cabinets are made of. 

Oil-based primers work well on painted surfaces, while primers like shellac work well on old stains.

When covering the surface’s condition, some surfaces need to smooth while others can work without an even surface.

Oil-based primers can work on surfaces that have undergone sanding and also on uneven surfaces.

Latex primers, however, work on smooth surfaces, and sanding is required.

Environment And Health Impacts

On health, the primers could affect the breathing system because they have strong and unpleasant odors, which are harmful. So when working with these primers, one should put on a mask. 

Also, the primer could quickly get in the eye if not careful, and this can cause eye damage even if the damage is not that big. Eye protection is needed.

To the environment, air pollution occurs because of the odor. Air pollution will affect the environment because clean air is dependent on trees and also animals.

Also, the primers are of different types, and the oil-based primers could cause water pollution leading to the suffocation of animals in the water. This will happen in a circumstance where it spills, and the priming is being done near the water.

The Cost Of A Primer

The cost of buying primers depends on several factors like the size of the cabinet to be painted. The cabinet could be small or even large, and to have it all painted will have to be expensive.

To achieve a wonderful final product, you will need to use the best primers available not to force you to buy more because of the peeling.

The material you aim at painting will also contribute to the primer you will purchase. If you want to use the primer on your kitchen walls, you will need to buy a primer for walls with different costs than wood.

Primer’s price also depends on the durability of the primer used. For instance, latex primers peel off faster than oil-based primers, so the oil-based primers’ cost will be higher than that of latex primers.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many coats of a primer?

One coat will be enough when the primer is used on cabinets before painting when the cabinets’ tone is lighter. In circumstances where the tone is darker, you can use two primer coats on the cabinets.
More to this is that this extra coat protects the cabinets from easy damages like stains and also makes the paint last longer and not peel off fast.
Using coats more than two can cause damage to the cabinets before painting, and if the damage is not given attention, you will have to re-do the whole painting and priming.

How to refinish kitchen cabinets?

When refinishing, you will first have to clean the cabinets thoroughly, both inside and out. You could remove the cabinets from the walls, and after you have cleaned them, you let them dry.
The second thing is protecting yourself. You do this by wearing gloves and even eye protection because the wood cleaner could easily affect you.
You then clean the hardware. This you can do by soaking in water full of soap and easily scrub them. After, you should strip your cabinets in a preferably well-ventilated area like outside. Then you refinish them.
Lastly, sand your cabinets to make them smooth and then prime them. After priming, paint them and let them dry before re-installing.

How to paint kitchen cabinets without sanding?

You will first have to remove all the dirt using scrubbing materials like sponges and ensure it is clean before applying a liquid the glosser. Also, ensure where there is dirt connected to oil, the grease cleaner is used. Then label the doors and also remember to remove the hardware and ensure you have cleaned it.
When the cleaning process is done, the cabinets will be ready for priming. When they have all been primed carefully, the cabinets are ready for painting.

How to paint oak cabinets?

The first thing is to remove the cabinet drawers and doors. While removing, ensure you label them to avoid confusion when putting them back. Clean them to remove the dust and all the dirt. 
Once they are clean and dry, apply a stain blocker to prevent future damage or even bleeding. Use a knife to make smooth the oak and even create layers of sparkle on them.
When the cabinets are dry, sand them and start priming. Oak will require more than one coat of prime. When the primer is dried, start painting the cabinets. For the best primer for oak cabinets, check above list. 

How to paint unfinished cabinets?

Removing the hardware such as doors is the first process. After they have all been taken out carefully, the sanding process should follow. Sanding aims to get rid of the roughness and make the unfinished cabinet edges sharp. Ensure you sand thoroughly, reaching all corners and surfaces.
In case of holes on the cabinets, use wood filler which will fill all the holes. It is also called wood putty, which is very easy to use and makes the process fast.
Apply the first coat of primer to the cabinets and leave it to dry completely. When it is dry, apply another coat using the same process you used in the first coat to achieve an even surface.
Paint the first coat, and when it is dry, sand the cabinets. After sanding, paint again, then apply polyurethane that works with the paint you have used for protection.
After all, that and the cabinets are dry, re-install your cabinets carefully.

Final Words

Don’t even consider painting your kitchen cabinet without applying a primer first. I hope after reading through this guide, you will find it easy to pick the best primer for the kitchen cabinets. We covered the best primers because we don’t want you to settle for less quality products. Any of these primers will help you achieve smooth finishes after painting your cabinets.

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