Top 5 Best Primers For Stained Wood | A Complete Reviewed Guide

Painting is fun as well as stressful in some situations. It is a creative task to paint over projects. But the process won’t seem more than a headache when we talk about painting furniture or stained wood. However, if you choose the best primer and put in enough struggle, patience, and time, you’ll feel like “I came, I saw, I conquered”.

Never think that anything is impossible. Just your little guidance and sincere efforts can make you proud in every field of life, as it’s just a stained wood painting.

If you just shifted to your new home and are stressed out with the stained wood shelves and your home furniture, this guide will be the right path for you. Well, don’t get confused, stay with me, and I will guide you on which one is the best primer for stained wood. So, let us start the task…

The best primer for stained wood will ensure the following characteristics:

  • Must be durable, long-lasting, and quality primer
  • Have enough power to hide stains and offer premium coverage.
  • Make sure that the primer has an essential element of “metal” in its material because they are long-lasting and best for stained wood.
  • Low odor and fast drying with excellent adhesion

Once you get your hands on the right product, it’s the best time to let you know how to use primer for stained wood. Don’t worry! Here, I will answer you all in further discussion and recommend a list of the best and top-quality primers. Let us start, my curious reader!

Types of primers

There are three types of primers available for wood. So choose according to your convenience.

  • Oil-based primers
  • Latex-based primers, also known as water-based
  • Shellac-based primers.


If you choose an oil-based paint over a latex-based paint, you must use the water-based primer as your inner coat. Also, if you decide on water-based paint over oil-based paint, you can easily use an oil or water-based primer.

Guides and reviews: Top 5 best primers for stained wood

So let’s review the best primer for stained wood and make them just like new.

1. Zinsser 02004 Bulls Eye 1-2-3 All Surface Primer

Hiding stains through primer wouldn’t be a hassle if you grabbed the suitable primer in your hand. Right primer? What did it mean? Ummm… I am talking about Zinsser bull eye primer.

I am pleased to inform you that ZINSSER 02004 bull’s eye is a professional-grade and multipurpose primer, ideal for hiding stains from wood and providing all surface qualities.

I will discuss this product’s features and customer reviews in the following sections.

ZINSSER Bull Eye primer review (Why Do I choose it in my list)

Let’s discover the unique features together. If you ask me to brief this product on why I think it could be a perfect choice for hiding stains from wood, I must mention the following points.


It is one of my favorite primers because it gives high performance over multiple surfaces. It allows us to use it on painted dry walls, wood, metal, concrete, and complex surfaces. It also has some exceptional features:

  • You can use it on both the interior and exterior.
  • It can be easily used on used or new surfaces.
  • Best for complex items, harsh environments, and problematic areas.

Full coverage:

Now, hiding the darkest shades is not just a matter. Zinsser makes it as effortless as 1-2-3. It beautifully covers outdated and dark shades of wood and gives an entirely bright new look. Also, it provides high coverage against sealing away problem areas, stains, and odors and converts them to a new, paintable surface.

Product type:

It is a water-based stain resistance primer, available in liquid form. It sticks to the surface without sanding. It has many more advantages, including

  • It takes only 35 minutes to dry quickly and prepare for another topcoat in a house.
  •  It allows coverage between 87- 112 sq ft per quart and, in the end, gives matte finishing.
  •  It can be used with any oil or latex topcoat.


  • It is one of the most durable, easy-to-use, and value-for-money adhesion primers.
  • It is the best choice for residential, commercial, and industrial use.
  • It works equally on chalky, damaged, and peeling surfaces.
  • You can use it under or over any paint to hide stains from wood.
  • It also blocks smelly odor, and you can get the desired color in fewer coats.
  • It is a breathable primer and ideal for application on alkaline surfaces.


  • The product was not packed well.
  • The primer won’t have a proper and tight seal.
  • The product says it sticks to metal, but customers were unsatisfied with the feature and faced some peel-off.

2. KILZ Original Low Odor Primer, Interior

If you asked me which kind of wood primer would be best for vanishing stains from my wood furniture and have a higher odor level of humidity, then my first reply is to recommend you use “KILZ Original Low odor primer.


KILZ has served in the paints and primers industries for over 40 years. In 2015, Harris Poll EquiTrend Rankings declared the “Paint brand of the year.”

You must choose this product if you want a sealer and stain blocker that is perfect for oil-based paints. Also, in detail, I’ll let you know its additional unique features and facts below.

KILZ ORIGINAL LOW ODOR PRIMER (Why Do I choose it in my list)

The specialty of the product:

If you ask me to compare this primer to the previous one, I will clarify that both have different properties.

Zinnser is a multi-purpose primer, and you can use it anywhere, for interior and exterior. In comparison, the KILZ Original primer is specified for interior use only.

Moreover, KILZ is specially manufactured to block stains and provides ultra-low-odor priming features. In comparison, the Zinsser won’t offer such features.

If any mild odor is detected during the coating, it will disappear soon when it dries. Moreover, its powerful formula blocks smoke, ink, marker, pen, oil, or grease stains when sealing pets or smoking smell.

ZINSSER can easily be used on all surfaces, while the KILZ is used only for walls and interior surfaces as you cannot use it on the floor.

Compatibility and coverage:

KILZ Odorless creates an ideal base coat for latex and oil-based paint. At the same time, the Zinsser is compatible and considered safe for water base paints.

ZINSSER can be used for industrial, residential, and commercial uses, whereas the 1-quart can of KILZ oil-based primer is for interior areas like offices, apartments, and schools.

KILZ covers almost 300 sq. ft per gallon.

You can apply Zinsser on all surfaces, while KILZ can be used on neat and clean wooden surfaces, free from dust, rust, and peeling paints.

Product Application tips:

  • After opening the can, mix it well before using it.
  • Apply with a paintbrush, roller, or through spray bottle.
  • It speedily dries within 30 minutes.
  • It is ready to recoat in an hour.


  • KILZ offers quick dry, sleek and matte finishing.
  • It provides the advantages of being stain-resistant, odor-blocking, and low-odor.
  • You can use it on well-prepared wood surfaces, like cupboards, cabinets, doors, etc.
  • It works well with Alkyd, oil, and water-based topcoats.
  • Perfect for occupied areas and blocks heavy stains from wood
  • Excellent adhesion.


  • It is not recommended on floors.
  • It is only specified for interior use.
  • This primer consistency is watered down, as you must apply 5 to 6 coats for the desired finishing.

3. General Finishes Stain Blocking Primer

It is moving towards the following selected wood primer, General Finishes White Primer. It is a water-based primer used to cover existing finish, raw wood, or M.D.F. as a base coat for G.F. Milk paints.

Like the previous primer KILZ Original, it is also used for interior wood. It is also known as a white primer for wood. I will discuss its other features in detail below with a comparison to previous products so you can choose the best one for your wood furniture. 

General Finishes Stain blocking primer (Why Do I choose it in my list?)

Surface specification:

General Finishes Stain blocking primer is specially designed to cover light, and white-colored wood surfaces, including dye and wood tannin bleed-through. The previous KILZ original primer is also used to cover light-colored wood stains.

Most people in the U.S. use white-colored interiors for their apartments, so it’s the best choice for them.

Product type:

It is a water-based primer. It takes almost 2+ hours to dry completely. Then you can use General Finishes water-based paint in the suitable condition of 70F/ 21C;50% humidity. Moreover, surface temperature and humidity level may affect the drying time.

  • It provides coverage per quart is 125 to 150 square ft.
  • You can apply it with spray, brush, or roll.


Don’t try to mix it with any other primer or paint. Otherwise, you’ll face product failure results.

Wood Preparation instructions:

If you’re going to use it on raw wood, you must prepare it with 120-grit sandpaper followed by 150-grit. Must remove dust particles.

Moreover, for a sealed wood surface, scuff wood with a scotch Brite pad, let it dry for 1 to 2 hours, and sand lightly with a 220-320 grit foam sanding sponge.

Don’t forget to remove dust, and now your stained wood surfaces are all ready to get their primer finishing done.


  • The primer carries easy-to-use features, seals very well, and requires less coating to vanish the stains.
  • It instantly stops bleeding through your fireplaces, walls, and other interiors.
  • It is known as one of the best bases to use milk paint.
  • The General Finishes primer is worth every penny and gives you inner peace while protecting your furniture.


  • It is one of the costly primers as its formulation demands.
  • It spreads a bad smell like a fish. So use in well-ventilated areas. 
  • Not for use with gun cleaners.
  • A minimum of two coats are a must.

4. ZINSSER Rust-oleum Corporation 271009 advanced Synthetic Shellac Primer

If your search is not over yet and you’re looking for heavy-duty stuff. This particular product by Zinsser is one of the most trusty and widely used shellac-based primers and sealers all around the marketplace.

If you want to cover stains and sealing odors on new or painted wood furniture, then this Rust-oleum Corporation advanced synthetic shellac primer is one way to go.


Please remember that shellac-based primers contain a high odor and an excessive amount of volatile organic compounds (known as V.O.C.s). Your place must be well-ventilated if you apply it in an enclosed space.

These are fantastic quality primers, and I know you’re waiting to learn their features, which I will discuss below in detail.

ZINSSER Rust-oleum Corporation, advanced Synthetic Shellac Primer. (Why Do I choose it in my list)

Remarkable features:

Zinsser Rust-oleum is one of the best primer options for shellac sealer. It has a rapid drying feature as most shellac primers usually dry faster than oil-based primers, but not water-based primers.

But stop here…! It is different from others as it dries faster, even water-based sealers. Moreover, your wood surface will be ready in another 20 minutes.

Product characteristics:

This product is considered one of the best additions and has excellent value in primers, especially those used to hide stains.

It has such fantastic coverage as it covers many high and unbearable colors. It also uses for blocks smoke and water stains. It is compatible with the interior and spot exterior.

Advanced synthetic:

Compared to the previous product, I must mention that they need two or three coats minimum to hide stains.

Still, Rust-Oleum advanced synthetic shellac B.I.N. high hiding formula allows you to enjoy bright white wood after the first application.

Moreover, it has the ultimate feature of blocking water, rust, grease, graffiti, and crayon stains.

The synthetic feature blocks smoke, cigarette, cigar, and other smoking smell.


  • It dries quickly on interior wood surfaces and helps provide enamel undercoating performance.
  • It is the best choice for newly constructed remodeling and repainting work and sealing small projects.
  • It provides extra life and gloss to your wood while hiding tough stains.
  • Excellent for blocking odor.
  • Gives you exceptional outcomes over other kinds of options.


  • It consists of a lot of V.O.C.
  • The packing was not secure enough.

5. INSL-X AP100009A-04 Prime All Multi-Surface Primer

Here’s the final one in this top primers review list, and among all of the above, it seems pretty different but most relevant to the first product as it is also for multi-purposes.

So, I will let you know its features below in detail, so we should start now without wasting a second.

INSL-X AP100009A-04 Prime All Multi-Surface Primer. (Why Do I choose it in my list)

Instant drying:

In today’s world, everyone is in a hurry and does not have enough time to wait for days or hours and hours to wait for the primer.

But every problem has a solution which INSL-X primer provides significantly. It gives an hour of drying time, and your wood surface is ready for top coat after precisely 60 minutes.

Advance properties:

INSL-X is a 100% acrylic primer that provides heavy sealing properties to several interiors and exterior surfaces. It is one of the most potent adhesions and has tough stain-blocking benefits. Moreover, it is also very easy to apply.

Multi-surface primer:

This premium quality acrylic has unique bonding sealing options; it can be used for multi-purposes on multi surfaces other than wood. You can use it on dry walls, plaster, ceiling, acoustic tiles, and wood. Moreover, you can apply it on hard surfaces that are not easily coverable. It provides a flat white finish.


Its one-gallon size is around 32 Fl Oz, which contains primer fluid of 32 ounces. I will let you know its coverage per gallon below:

  1. One gallon covers 400 to 450 Sq. Ft.
  2. Two gallons cover an area of 800 to 900 sq. ft.
  3. Three gallons are enough to cover 1200 to 1350 Sq. Ft.
  4. Four gallons are used to cover 1600 to 1800 Sq. Ft.


  • Its strong adhesion helps reduce the number of finishing coats
  • It is beneficial in sealing wood surfaces to allow the finish coat to last longer
  • It locks in stains to prevent bleeding through the finish coat.
  • It is compatible with all-purpose priming and sealing.
  • It can be used on interior and exterior surfaces.


  • It is too expensive
  • It is tough to open the can and requires specific tools.

Final verdict: (which one to choose)

So finally, our journey is over here, and it’s time for some recommendations and opinions. So, guys, what do you think? Who is going to win the match?

If you want to know my thoughts on the above characteristics and features, I would say that KILZ Original Low Odour Primer would be best for those who want something better for just 47$.

Also, General finishes are the right choice for those looking for a budget-friendly sealer to hide the harsh stains from wood. INSL-X all-surface primer is also the best, providing 100% acrylic latex but very costly.

However, my favorite primer is ZINSSER Bull Eyes 1-2-3 All surface primer as it is one of the economical and multi-feature sealers.

It gives various options for residence, commercial and industrial levers on all kinds of wood surfaces. Now it doesn’t matter that your surfaces have ups and downs. Choose the correct option and enjoy stain-free wood furniture like a new one. 

About Adam Larry

Hello everyone! I’m Adam Larry, a pro woodworker, an expert project planner, and woodworking tools expert also owner of this website. From hand tools to power tools, I have extensive knowledge of all aspects of woodworking and take pride in creating beautiful and functional pieces for clients. I feel glad to share my woodworking experience with you with enormous excitement and enthusiasm.

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