10 Best Exterior Wood Primers in 2022: Ultimate Outdoor Beauty

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What is an exterior primer? Is it necessary to invest in them? How would it accentuate my paintings? So many questions! Ahh!

Don’t panic! If you don’t know much about primers, it’s safe to say that you’re probably fresh to this fun game. First, let’s clarify by saying that the best exterior wood primers can give your projects sturdy stability and a robust outermost coat.

Whereas that’s the case why most professionals utilize primers, you must also know that all your schemes do not deem a primer’s layering. Don’t worry; as you keep reading this article, your existing frown will gradually creep into a smile.

With our thorough research and valuable guide, you will know all about primers and comprehend them even if you need one. By the end of it, you will differentiate between numerous primers and get all the solutions your task demands.

Let’s get painting!

Best Exterior Wood Primers
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Our Top 10 Picks for Best Exterior Wood Primers in 2022:

10. Diamond Brite Paint 31900 5-Gallon Oil Base Primer

Diamond Brite Paint 31900 5-Gallon Oil Base Primer
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Who’s it to say that the best exterior primers can’t assist you indoors too? No one! If we’re offered versatility, we shouldn’t let it fly past us.

The Diamond Brite Primer is one of the most fantastic examples of what versatility should portray. Other than that, it’s also flattering on metallic surfaces as it provides optimum protection against corrosion and rust.

And as if that’s not enough, you can also use it on hand railings, trims, doors, equipment, tanks, or steel pipes. Just layer it along with the painted coating and voila!

For the various promises that it never fails to deliver, you can quickly seal your painted deals and prepare your work surfaces for enamel paints.


  • Tough seal
  • Protects against rust
  • Can be used both indoors and outdoors
  • You can spray, brush or roll paint it


  • Not the best adhesive capacity

09. KILZ 2 Multi-Surface Stain Blocking

KILZ 2 Multi-Surface Stain Blocking
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In a hurry to finish your external wood art? We’ve got you covered.

The KILZ 2 Multi-Surface primer takes only around 30 minutes to dry up. Within the next hour after the first layer’s application, you can hop on to painting the subsequent coat. So convenient, isn’t it?

Besides its quick-dry formula, you can assure an impenetrable wrap of adhesive ready to be painted. But not only that, you can instantly cover and block stains.

Where are you planning to paint next? Worry not; this KILZ edition can survive it all. Not only will it obscure mediocre stains and prior botched paintings, but you will also notice the prevention of mildew and mold growth.

You can think far and wide, as the coverage on this formula is a whopping 300 to 400sqft. And the best part? You can lather it on any indoor or outdoor surface. Yay!


  • The fast-dry formula in 30 minutes
  • Applicable indoors and outdoors
  • Broad coverage area
  • Can prevent molds, mildew, and cover stains


  • Pigmentation could be better
  • Medium coverage

08. KILZ L220101 KLEAR Multi-Surface Stain Blocking

KILZ L220101 KLEAR Multi-Surface Stain Blocking
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You haven’t met the strongest bond yet if you’re still unknown to the KILZ KLEAR primer. It’s appropriate on so many families of surfaces that we won’t even be able to name all.

But, is that even real or just fluff? Let’s dig a little deeper.

If you’re looking for a bright finish on your wood designs, this is it. You can even proceed to repaint the rigid surface with a close-matched color.

The trick with the formula is that it’s highly adhesive thus; any paint applied on top is here to stay forever. Moreover, it does a tremendous job in sealing porous exteriors that are in dire need of a strong foundation.

Another significant benefit is that it has a faster drying mechanism embedded in the formulation. So, paint a layer, take a break and relax until soon it’s time for the next coat.

The gallon can cover around 300 to 400 sqft and it’s super simple to clean!


  • Quick-drying
  • Per gallon offers wide coverage
  • Easy to cleanup
  • It can seal and prime


  • Very thin for some users’ liking

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

Rust-Oleum 2004 Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer
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Let’s get real. Have you ever heard a negative rumor or accusation against the Rust-Oleum brand? Because I haven’t.

They produce great primers. And they produce top-tier paints. What else do you need? Thus, it’s no surprise that Rust-Oleum made it to our list of the best exterior primers.

Applicable on both external and internal surfaces, this ultimate primer can sneak in scuffs and stains with one swipe. Fortunately, it also stands up tall as a sturdy base before painting too.

Although it’s cheap and profoundly efficient, it might chip off at some point during its life. Not that other primers won’t ever chip off but, this Rust-Oleum could show such signs sooner.

  • Pros:
  • Perfect for water-based formula users
  • You won’t need to sand it
  • Can hide in stains instantly
  • Great sealing and adhesive powers
  • Dries under 30 minutes


  • Chips off sooner
  • Not extremely durable

06. Krylon K05131807 ColorMaster Paint + Primer

Krylon K05131807 ColorMaster Paint + Primer
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Even though you have foraged through the depths of the Internet, you haven’t found a specific primer for your small wooden project. How frustrating must that be!

You don’t need to break into a sweat yet. As diverse as your coffee table’s taste can be, this sprayer KRYLON primer understands that.

So, it comes with adaptability that refers to all metal and wood objects. Moreover, it’s completely beginner-friendly, as the EZ-Touch sprayer has a 360-degree mechanism that is easy to manipulate and more comfortable to depress.

You must be wondering if there’s anything in the market that can prime your uneven structured furniture. Well, we have good news for you. The spraying technique is so easy to coat with, that it can work on such un-uniform tabletops with the quickest drying time.

How quick are we talking? 10 minutes! Yes, you read that right.

With steep adhesive properties, it can also seal and protect your artwork indefinitely. Hence, the ultra-flat primer isn’t only handy but, serves a plethora of purposes for varied levels of users.


  • High longevity
  • Affordable price
  • Sturdy and durable finish
  • Easy to spray and use
  • Quickest drying time


  • Thin coats even with multiple layers

05. KILZ L211101 Adhesion High-Bonding Interior Latex Primer

KILZ L211101 Adhesion High-Bonding Interior Latex Primer
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What makes the best exterior wood primers live up to their name is their versatility. Don’t believe us? You will if you keep reading.

Your current wood plan may be old, worn out, and in tatters, or it could be fresh out of the store. The best catch is that the KILZ L211101 will bond with both categories.

Despite providing its state of the art, extra sleek finish, it stops paint from bleeding on jagged surfaces and ruining your DIY. The latex primer is water-based, which structures the overall formula to allow efficient blending.

And the banger? It blends in on all types of wood surfaces, making it even more convenient and a staple for all users. The quick-drying time is no less of an achiever either, with its 30 minutes speed.

The amazement doesn’t stop here. Why would we claim it as the winner in versatility if it wasn’t also suitable for fiberglass and metals, right? News flash: It is!

Just like its name reveals, it has high adhesive assets that adhere to multiple surfaces. Its water-based texture marks the layers in a thin sheet, rather than funky, thick, oil-based primers.


  • Adheres to rigid surfaces too, like textured furniture
  • High stain-blockage capacities
  • Can seal porous exteriors
  • Can prevent mildew growth


  • Results aren’t satisfactory when applied with sprays

04. KILZ General Purpose Exterior Latex Primer

KILZ General Purpose Exterior Latex Primer
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We couldn’t let you off the hook without recommending a top-notch primer made for highly porous or irregular surfaces to oomph with supremacy.

The latex-based formula is where you will obtain the most value out of this purchase. Furthermore, it’s incredibly rapid-drying and accommodates all outdoor surfaces. Definitely, the cherry on top, isn’t it?

But hey, what if you want more? Well, go ahead and slather it on bricks or stucco as well. This KILZ primer is proudly designed with such diverse built and adaptability, unlike its contemporaries.

Seriously, have you ever seen a primer cover up so many disparate, rugged surfaces? It’s mind-blowing.

The 300 to 400 sqft is the maximum coverage a gallon provides. So, fish out your paint sprays or rollers and start coating!


  • Highly versatile application
  • Fast-drying
  • Can be used with rollers or sprays
  • Broad coverage


  • Can’t withstand mildew growth
  • Not recommended on glossy exteriors

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

Zinsser B-I-N Shellac-Base Primer
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If your projects require some high-graded covering up of stubborn stains – this Zinsser product will be your go-to and your ride or die. And here’s why.

Hard stains are unreasonable but, what’s even more unyielding is the persistent shellac-based formula of this primer that instantly covers up the most challenging smoke stain or water damage.

With meticulously-built consistency, it can also effectively cover up any musky smell from the damaged walls. You can work on glass, metal, or wood surfaces and prohibit rust or tannin smudges too.

But, the best feature? It has no VOC; thus, it’s safe for interior use as well. It will serve you with a durable outer layer for a lifetime.


  • Doesn’t need further sanding or polishing
  • Excellent for covering tough stains
  • Resist and seals
  • Rust and bleed proof
  • Durable


  • Has a runny texture

02. KILZ Premium High-Hide Stain Blocking

KILZ Premium High-Hide Stain Blocking
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Here’s another stain-blocking alternative if that’s your final goal with your projects. You can finally toss away all your frustration – credits to this product.

This KILZ Premium has adhering, sealing, and blocking abilities like no other. The texture isn’t too runny or too thick and settles just right. While applying, you will notice how smoothly it goes on and sticks with an impenetrable force to bare woods, plasters, or even drywalls.

If you’re specifically working with worn-out colors, discoloration, or sporadic stains – this one hits the jackpot. This incredible workhorse is durable with fast-drying capacities.

With zero VOCs, you can lather it on safely and comfortably and even clean up swiftly afterward. Over 40 years of experience and this primer for porous surface are still running like a champion.


  • Non-VOC
  • Compliments oil or latex-based paints
  • Resists mildew
  • Heavy stain-blocker


  • Can’t cover vibrant paint colors
  • Can’t block larger stains

01. Rust-Oleum 286258 Primer

Rust-Oleum 286258 Primer
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We saved the best for the last. ‘Why’ must you wonder? Well, because, dear reader, it comprises of too many excellent features but, let’s start with this – the super affordable price point.

Now that I have your full attention let’s tell you why this 31oz primer can is Zinsser’s best seller. You can paint it on any exterior and interior surfaces with no repercussions. And guess what? You can even cover up tiles with this bad boy.

Never heard of that before, have you?

Pro tip: To everyone’s sweet surprise, the gray edition meshes well with almost all paint colors so, go crazy!

The seamless finish is the ultimate banger, along with its durability and no-sanding and no-fuss rule. So, what are you waiting for?


  • Versatile use
  • Durable quality
  • No need to sand afterward
  • Very cheap


  • Not compatible with darker colors

Watch our video for a better exterior primer understanding:

Buyers Guide for the Best Exterior Wood Primer:

Even with our list of the best exterior wood primers, you could get lost and overwhelmed at the billion of options, differing features, and steeper price tags. All primers have different goals to fulfill but, in order to meet them, they must be applied accordingly. Just like missing pieces to a puzzle. But, how would you know which one’s the missing piece?

Don’t worry. We’ve got you. Our guide will recommend to you the essential must-haves and big no’s so that you can find the perfect match.

  • Primer Type: The three types of primers comprising the market are oil-based, water-based, and shellac-based. Oil-based are significantly available and most demanded by users and compliments any wood type. They will inevitably seal holes and pores and create an external barrier to protect the surface. Water-based primers are easy to get rid of; hence, most people get their jobs done with paintbrushes. They also comprise little to no VOC; thus, they’re safer and uncomplicated to clean. Their stain-covering effectiveness isn’t praiseworthy even though they’re made for softwoods, brick, or drywall. Lastly, Shellac-based primers have been serving users for centuries at a stretch. Needless to say, it’s pricier and the best stain coverer. It is rather challenging to apply and clean rather than perform the best for concealing odor or scent.
  • The Odor: Who else hates the pungent scent of primers and paints? Say – aye! Unfortunately, just hating that bit isn’t enough. It also comes with a price. These odors are usually highly toxic, even more, if you have children and pets around. It’s sensible to opt for primers with a low to zero odor percentage. As these pose lower chemical rates, it’s safer too.
  • Toxicity Levels: Dealing with primers or paints will indefinitely have some levels of toxicity involved. However, besides grabbing a non-toxic primer, you could also ensure all the safety conditions and continue with the process. Non-toxic primers are never at a level zero of toxicity but, they’re less hazardous to your health.
  • Coverage: It’s smarter to judge your area of the project before heading out to purchase a primer. Simply, to not waste the primers or paints later on. You can confirm and cross-check with the primer’s coverage label and choose accordingly. It’s smarter to grab a tad more than you initially need but, try to keep it at a ‘tad bit and not excessive.
  • Drying Duration: Like any other case, primer drying times diverge from one another. The time limits could be drastically different as 10 minutes or even 24 hours. However, you need to be the judge of that. How fast do you need the primer to settle down? For projects that need to be completed within a day, opt for the shortest drying time and the opposite if you’re in no hurry.
  • Finish: What kind of polish do you desire to achieve? Glossy, or perhaps matte? Whichever type of finish you choose will not affect the quality or lifespan of the primer. Thus, you’re free to reincarnate your wood at your will.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How long do wood primers take to dry?

Wood primer takes around 1-3 hours to dry. However, if you live in a humid climate, it could take longer. You can always go ahead and apply a second layer and let that dry.

Can I use any type of primer with any type of paint?

Although primer and paints go hand in hand, their functions are poles apart. Often, they work better separately as well. Primers and paints together don’t serve sleek surfaces, unlike paint alone. So, it’s really a matter of personal choice.

What kind of brushes should I use for primer?

For applying water-based primers, you could opt for poly/nylon, nylon, or polyester blends. Synthetic brushes have a balanced stiff to soft ratio and thus are standard for applying later or acrylic paints.

How many coats of primer do I need?

Usually, 1 or 2 coats shall suffice if you’re painting walls indoors. On the other hand, it will also depend on the kind of wall, paint, and primer in use.

Do I Always Need To Prime Before Painting?

If your wall’s exterior is porous, it’s better to prime it before laying the paint. Wall exteriors are usually moisture-prone; thus sealing it with a primer is the smarter choice.

How Do Exterior Primer Paints Work?

The sole purpose of exterior primers is to protect against mildew or cracks and control masonry exteriors against efflorescence or alkalinity. These can also be utilized on metal, masonry, or wood. The tight surface topcoat and bond can also prohibit corrosion.

Final thoughts on Best Exterior Wood Primers:

Here’s the deal, if your projects are as outdoorsy as you, you need to splurge on the best exterior wood primers to maintain your wood’s durability and prevail against external impacts.

Consider your budget, preference, area, type of work, and the finish of the primers, so you don’t commit to a product without the entire know-how. Our hand-picked review has something for everyone, may our readers reside at the beginner or professional stage.

So, choosing a suitable product according to your woodwork will not only elevate your masterpiece but will also ensure a lifetime of protection under any weather circumstances.

Stay with Wood Mixers to know more about Primers.

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