08 Best Primers for Kitchen Cabinets in 2021: Grace your Kitchen!

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One of the simplest ways to transform your kitchen is to give the kitchen cabinets a paint job. There are, however, certain things you will need for such a painting job to go well. Besides the paint, you will need the best primer for kitchen cabinets.

An ideal balance of paint and primer will ensure you get the best possible painting by removing all stains. But how do you choose the best primer?

There are several things you will need to consider before choosing a primer which we will discuss here. You also will want to know the various primers in the market from which you can choose.

That’s why we have taken the liberty of highlighting the best primers for kitchen cabinets. We will also highlight what you need to look for in each of these primers to ensure you get the best possible deal.

Read on to find out.

Best Primers for Kitchen Cabinets
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Our 8 Best Primers for Kitchen Cabinets in 2021:

01. KILZ TRIBUTE Interior Satin Paint and Primer in One

KILZ TRIBUTE Interior Satin Paint and Primer in One
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Kilz Tribute is a two in one painter that includes a primer. It is purely acrylic advanced paint that comes with a primer all in one package. The primer’s standout feature is that it is incredibly resistant to mildews and is also exceptionally durable.

This paint and primer combo will help you cover light to medium stains as well as light-dark changes. You also won’t get too many problems cleaning up kitchen cabinets since it is scrub resistant.

The Kilz Tribute paint and primer combo comes in four different sheens plus 100 classic neutrals and trendy colors. That means you will be able to transform your kitchen with this primer and paint rather effectively.

You will appreciate that this product comes in a 5-gallon container, and you can use any high-quality brushes and rollers with it. The five-gallon container will cover over 400 square feet of space on a smooth surface.

Kilz Tribute primer is perfect for coated and uncoated wood. It would also be ideal for cured plaster. You can also use it on drywall and for masonry. Always ensure you have removed any dirt from the surfaces before priming and painting.

If you are worried about safety, the Greenguard certification tells you that it emits manageable levels of VOCs.


  • You can be easily scrub off after painting
  • It is resistant to mildew and exceptionally durable
  • It is vibrant, bright, and free from any undertones
  • You can use it on a variety of surfaces and not just kitchen cabinets


  • You need to apply too many coats to achieve the perfect painting job.

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

Rust-Oleum 2004 Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer
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If you are looking for a primer to use on your kitchen cabinets, this primer could be precisely what you are looking for. The Rust-Oleum Zinsser primer is a water-based painting primer that will stick to most surfaces, including kitchen cabinets.

This primer is easy to use and doesn’t require you to do any sanding after applying it. Besides being easy to use without sanding, you can also clean it easily with water and soap. That makes it ideal for kitchen cabinets that will need cleaning every so often.

The 1-quart container of this primer is efficient enough to enable you to cover 100 square feet. You will therefore not require too much of it to cover all your kitchen cabinets.

Another thing you will love about this primer is the versatility it has. You don’t have to use it only on kitchen cabinets since it is also ideal for metal surfaces. For metal surfaces, it is especially good at preventing rust since it has rust inhibitors.

It is also ideal for high pH surfaces such as concrete. You, therefore, don’t have to restrict yourself only to use it on your kitchen cabinets.


  • It isn’t efficient and versatile
  • The primer sticks to most surfaces
  • You don’t need much to clean it but only soap and water
  • It prevents tanning and stains from showing up in kitchen cabinets
  • This Primer is also a great choice if you have a bare wood


  • Its container has only a limited amount

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

KILZ 2 Multi-Surface Stain Blocking Interior/Exterior Latex Primer/Sealer
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This is a multi-surface latex primer that will ensure all the stains on your kitchen cabinets stay where they should be: under the paint. It is a water-based primer that lets you use as little paint as possible and works for both interior and exterior surfaces.

Kilz 2 blocks stains and prevents them from coming back onto the surface. The latex can block stains from pencil, ink, grease, water, and felt markers. Apart from that, it will also seal porous parts of the kitchen cabinets and boosts the adhesion properties of the paint you will apply.

You will love the container this primer comes in and not just because it is attractive. Far from that, the main reason why we think you will love it is that it is large-5 gallons, to be precise. The primer can easily cover over 400 square feet.

Another thing we loved with this primer is the fast drying time. You can have it dry to the touch well within 30 minutes. That ensures you don’t have to wait too long before adding a recoat.

Versatility is of the utmost importance in any product. This primer isn’t only ideal for kitchen cabinets. You can use it on all kinds of exterior and interior surfaces, provided you clean them well before applying.

What more could you want in a primer?


  • It has latex that blocks out the majority of the stains
  • Its versatility is an added advantage
  • You get it in a large 5-gallon container
  • You will get faster drying times speeding up your work


  • It needs too many coats if you are painting stained wood.

04. KILZ Premium High-Hide Stain Blocking Interior

KILZ Premium High-Hide Stain Blocking Interior
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Kilz Premium High-Hide is a powerful stain-blocking primer that will help you achieve uniform finishes on your cabinets. It is water-based and will help you achieve excellent adhesion no matter the surface you are painting.

The Kilz premium primer has the ideal consistency that will allow you to get smooth finishes and sealing any porous surfaces. You can use it to smooth over and level imperfections on kitchen cabinets and other surfaces.

It also comes in a 5-gallon container that will enable you to cover over 400 square feet. You also don’t have to restrict it to cabinets alone since it would work fine for other surfaces.

You can use it on drywall, woodwork, panel, brick plaster, and many others. To add to that, it also protects the surfaces you use it on from mildew since it has mildewcide as one of the components.

The only downside of using this primer is that it isn’t that good when blocking out heavy stains.  Although powerful, its effectiveness is best for light to medium stains.

It still is a good option if you are looking for a low-cost odor-free primer.


  • You can clean it with soap and water
  • It is ideal for light to medium stains
  • The zero VOCs makes it a safe option for use in the kitchen
  • It protects the kitchen cabinets from mildews and mold


  • It isn’t that good when used for heavy stains

05. KILZ L211101 Adhesion High-Bonding Interior Latex Primer/Sealer

KILZ L211101 Adhesion High-Bonding Interior Latex Primer/Sealer
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Primers are critical if you are painting tough to paint surfaces. Kitchen cabinets, however, aren’t that tough to paint. Still, you will need the Kilz L211101 with its high adhesion to increase the chances of the paint sticking to the surface.

This Kilz primer bonds to a variety of surfaces, let alone kitchen cabinets. That is, in essence, why we think it should be among the primers to consider if you are giving your kitchen a facelift.

Its 1-gallon container contains enough primer to cover over 300 square feet of the paint surface. The surface can be anything from PVC, drywall, epoxy, or even woodwork. Like its predecessor on our list, it takes only 30 minutes to be fully dry.

If you need a secure bond from paint, then this is the primer to pick. Tough to paint surfaces such as PVC vinyl, glass, Formica, tile, and fiberglass will work fine with this primer.

In addition to that, it also protects surfaces you use it with from molds and mildews. Among its components are mildewcides that enable it to do that. Therefore this primer doesn’t only help paint to stick but also protects the surfaces you use it on.

However, you will need to clean such surfaces of grease and any dirt to ensure the primer does its work well.


  • It dries within 30 minutes speeding up your work
  • Its versatility makes it ideal for many surfaces
  • You can get a secure bond with tough to paint surfaces
  • It increases your painting possibilities


  • It isn’t such a good stain blocker

06. INSL-X SXA11009A-01 Paint Primer

INSL-X SXA11009A-01 Paint Primer
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Next on our list of the best primers for kitchen primers is this acrylic urethane bonding primer. It is of premium quality and has unparalleled adhesion to some of the most stubborn surfaces, such as PVC and glossy surfaces.

This bonding primer will help you block out the stains from your kitchen cabinets with ease. Also, you don’t have to restrict it to only using it on kitchen cabinets, as most other surfaces are okay.

What makes it such an ideal primer is the fact you can use it on hard coats. You can then topcoat such coats with nearly any product. That tells you how versatile this primer will be. Furthermore, the enamel holdout ensures you get an even topcoat finish.

Another thing you will love with this primer is that it fully cures even in low temperatures. You can have it cure in temperatures that go as low as 35 degrees Fahrenheit.

You also will appreciate the fact you will be able to clean it easily with soap and water. Kitchen cabinets are prone to all kinds of stains that don’t require you to paint over but just clean with water and soap.


  • It has an enamel holdout, which enables you to achieve an even topcoat finish on hard coats.
  • The curing temperature is low.
  • Versatile bonding primer ideal for lots of surfaces
  • Easy to clean with soap and water


  • This primer isn’t highly durable

07. RUST-OLEUM 00900 Stain Primer

RUST-OLEUM 00900 Stain Primer
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The Rust-oleum 00900stain primer is the first wood exclusive wood primer on our list. The shellac primer sticks to wooden kitchen cabinets and seals off all stains without the need for any additional sealants.

Its most remarkable feature is the relatively fast drying time. You can have it dry and ready for a new coat within only 45 minutes. The Rust-oleum stain primer is quite effective at sealing imperfections on wood.

When used with latex, that limits its use over polyurethane finishes unless you have the time to sand it off first. For any other surfaces, you won’t need to sand to make them stick. You will find that it is especially great for interior wood surfaces, although you can still use it for exterior wood surfaces as well.

Although the Rust-oleum primer would appear limited in the scope of its uses, you can still use it for spot painting exterior surfaces. It isn’t usable on a wide range of surfaces, doesn’t subtract from the fact it is a reasonably strong stain blocker.

If you are looking to rebrand your kitchen by painting the cabinets, it will be a good option.


  • It is exclusively a wood primer and won’t work for other surfaces
  • It has a fast drying time
  • The primer is perfect for spot painting exterior surfaces
  • You don’t need to san surfaces after using it


  • It only works for wood surfaces.

08. Zinsser 03504 Cover Stain Interior/Exterior Oil Primer Sealer

Zinsser 03504 Cover Stain Interior/Exterior Oil Primer Sealer
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Rounding up our list is the Zinsser 03504 cover stain for both interior and exterior surfaces. Although it has many advantages, this primer is famous for the shine it will help you attain on your kitchen cabinets.

Its main feature, however, is the fact it sticks to surfaces with ease. That means you can effectively block out stains from the cabinets. You also won’t struggle to sand it off once you have used it.

Among the stains, it works best against are smoke stains, water, and nicotine stains. Smoke is a prevalent stain on most kitchen cabinets. That’s what makes this Zinsser such a good option for kitchen cabinets.

We loved that it has excellent enamel undercoat performance. That means you won’t have to worry much about it giving you results on tough surfaces. You also will love the maximum penetration and flexibility it gives you on exterior surfaces.

This oil-based stain killer also dry’s relatively fast. You won’t have to take top long before adding another coat if you use this primer.


  • It has fast drying times.
  • It covers a broader range of stains, from nicotine to smoke stains
  • You can use it on enamel undercoats with impressive results
  • You will also get maximum penetration and flexibility on exterior surfaces


  • It is pretty thick, and using a paintbrush becomes a problem.
Beginners Guide for the Best Kitchen Cabinets Primers
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Buyers Guide for the Best Kitchen Cabinets Primers

Primers are a significant part of any painting job. You will therefore need to consider several things before buying. Let’s look at some of the things you should consider.

Type of the Surface

Some primers are best for specific surfaces. For instance, some primers would work well for drywall or PVC. Some are, however, a bit more specific on the type of surface they work with.

Therefore, you must look for a primer that will work with your kitchen cabinets’ typeface before buying.

Safety – Is your Primer Food Grade?

Primers are chemicals. You will therefore want to choose one that is safe as possible. That will require you to go for those with no VOCs or have as little side-effects as possible.

The components of a primer are usually on the container.

Outdoor or Indoor Primer?

This is a significant consideration when buying a primer. While kitchen cabinets are indoor surfaces, you might want to get the surface protection that comes with using outdoor primers.

Such primers usually have mildewcides that protect surfaces from mold and mildews.

Which Type of Primer should you choose for Kitchen Cabinet?

There are three major primer types you can choose from depending on your need for them. These are:

  • Shellac Primers
  • Latex Primers
  • Oil-based Primers

Oil-based primers are more versatile and will work on different wood surfaces, metals, and even concrete. They usually take longer to cure, though.

Shellac primers are best for blocking stains on wood. If you are rebranding a kitchen with smoke stains, then a shellac primer is the best bet for you.

Finally, latex or water-based primers are the easiest primers to use and apply. They are usually the cheapest of the bunch and dry faster than their counterparts.

All these are options you need to consider before buying a primer. That will depend on the result you expect from each one of them, though.

The Price of the Primer

The price must come into play since primers have differing costs. You will want to get one at a reasonable price but still maintains the high-quality standards you are looking for.

This is where the area of coverage should also come into play. The larger space you need to cover, the more primer you will need. That will mean you are having a look at the prices before buying.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How to paint kitchen cabinets? – Step by Step

Painting kitchen cabinets isn’t that hard. You don’t need to get a pro to do it for you if you can’t afford it. Here’s how you do it.

Step 1: First, remove the kitchen cabinets’ doors to have full access to them and other parts of the cabinets. A simple tool should help you unhinge the doors from the cabinets.

Step 2: Degrease the cabinet to eliminate any oils that they might have absorbed. That will also enable you to get rid of some easy-to-remove stains and other kinds of dirt.

Step 3: Sand the cabinets to increase your chances of getting smooth finishes. Sanding smoothes over any imperfections, ensuring you will have an easier time painting.

Step 4: After all the preparations, you will now be ready to apply the primer. Depending on the type of surface you are dealing with, you might need several coats of primer to ensure the paint gives out the best results.

You will have to apply the primer evenly as you move the brush repeatedly over the surface to ensure you get a satisfactory result. After this, you can now apply the paint over the primer.

How Long Should Primer Dry On Cabinets?

Most primers will have dried adequately after 24 hours. The number of hours it takes should be somewhere on the container of the primer, though. Some might take longer, especially when you use them in humid areas.

Should I use anything else with the primer?

You won’t need anything else to use with the primer. It should be enough to prep the surface and get rid of any stains before finally applying the paint.

Final Thoughts

We hope you now have cleared any doubts you had over the best primer for kitchen cabinets. The options we have outlined are all top-of-the-range primers that will enable you to achieve a smooth finish when rebranding your kitchen cabinets.

You will, however, need to decide over which type of primer to go for. Whether oil-based, water-based, or shellac, they all have a specific surface that they would be best for.

When getting a primer, also consider the price before buying. The area you need the primer to cover is also an important aspect to consider. You don’t want to end up returning to the store to get more primer, do you?

Finally, you will also need to ensure it has safe ingredients for your safety. Some primers might have components that some people are allergic to. You thus need to ensure you pick a safe product.

If you consider all we have discussed here in your search, your search for a primer for your kitchen cabinets won’t take that long.

Happy painting!

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