The Best Water Based Primer: Our Top 5 Picks

One of the most overlooked parts of any painting job is priming. Like finding a good paint, it is always wise to invest in the best primer for particular job. The water based primer vs. oil based primer is often a trouble spot for those who are looking to purchase primer. We will go into detail below about water based primers and choose five that will fit your needs.

What is Water Based Primer ?

Wood is a rather porous material. So, it’s important that before a paint layer is applied to it, the surface should be sealed to avoid dryness. Dryness can occur when the paint coats are readily absorbed. A primer can help to smoothen out the surfaces before the main paint is strategically water based primer

There are, of course, a range of primers, and it can be confusing at times for people to make a choice. However, in recent times, water-based primers have proved to be a lot better than oil based products when painting certain areas. This is because water-based primers are often acrylic based and are far more effective. They dry quickly, have excellent opacity, and the tools can easily be cleaned with water. 

Many people who do interior painting jobs such as ceilings,  bedrooms,  living rooms, office buildings swear by water based primers and will only purchase this type of primer.

Many people choose to use rollers for priming and then use the paint sprayer for their main jobs,  this cuts down on time.

Water Based Primers vs. Oil Based Primers

• Water based primers are easy to use. Thanks to the waterborne contents that are usually suspended when stored, they do not need periodic mixing.

• Water based primers can be used on many surfaces. They tend to stick to all of them. 

• Water based primers can also be used anywhere. The water soluble contents make it possible to be inhaled without necessarily being toxic to the health. It can be used in schools, hospitals, and every other similar place. 

To help you make a great choice, here is a list of the best five water-based primers that can not only suit your needs but get the job done faster. These products are also sprayed primers, and as such, they are suitable when you are working with time. 

Top Five Water-Based Primers

Disclaimer: These are the best water based primers that I have personally used over the years. These products are in no particular order and are based on my years of experience as a teacher/ painter. Not all products may be the best choice for every job.

Rust-Oleum 1913830 Chalkboard Spray, Black, 11-Ounce

This product converts wood, paperboard, cardboard, plastic, metal and glass into cleanable surfaces. It is formulated with extremely hard pigments and can be used for any kiddies project or for resurfacing game tables.  What people like the best about this product is that it not only very high quality, but also inexpensive.


• This product has an elegant and smooth finish.

• It can only be used indoors, and it is scratch resistant.

• It can be used on wood or any hardboard surface.

• It can be cleaned up using just soap and water and adds great value. 

• It is produced in the United States. 

This product is unbelievably affordable. A little of it can go a long way to giving the surface an intended look. It works great on cabinets. One thing that I love about the spray is the quick drying time compared to some other primers. If I am doing a medium sized project, the spray will be dry by the time I am done priming the rest of the project and I can usually begin painting right away.

This primer works very well for personal use. It is suitable for nearly every surface. It is especially useful when the topcoat is of a brighter shade as it leaves a light white residue. It is known for not being too chunky. This product is also great for painting over plastic before repainting. It dries so fast it would enable you to repaint within the same hour. It’s very strong and can hold paint in place for longer than the two previous products. It is recommended to use tow coats when using this product.

XIM 11055 Advanced Technology UMA and Primer, 12-Ounce

This product is normally used on windows and doors. Surfaces like vinyl or fiberglass garage doors, vinyl or aluminum windows and siding, Kynar, Formica cabinets, unfinished woods and so many more surfaces. It is resistant to cracking and other moisture destructive elements. It has a very low odor and can be used as an industrial solvent primer. It can easily be clean like other water-based primers. It can work great with any topcoat. It can be used both indoors and outdoors. This product has both primer and adhesive-like properties. It can be used on any surface that is hard to paint even when the surface is wet.


• It has a white bonding and primer sealer, and it provides excellent adhesion to the surface.

• It can work well with any topcoat.

• It can be used both indoors and outdoors.

• It is versatile for use on many different products

If you want a primer that can just about stick to anything, then this is the right primer for you. This product can be used for years, and it turns out excellent each time. This product also works well with arts and craft work. It gives a smooth finish and can work great with particularly challenging surfaces. It has a very impressive coverage and leaves furniture beautifully primed. This product can be recommended to just about anybody that wants to do a DIY painting. 

Rust-Oleum 280715 Ultra Cover 2X Spray Paint, 12-Ounce (American Accents) 

This product is just about the best when it comes to water-based primers. It covers about double the coverage of all the other products. It has a double cover technology that provides the best hiding power. This dual coverage technology allows projects or paint jobs to be completed faster and easier.


• This product encourages energy saving as a result of its excellent coverage and hiding power.

• It can work on any surface like wood, plastic, unglazed ceramics, plaster, metal, and wicker. It can even bond to wood.

• It offers a smooth and durable finish and can be sprayed at any angle.

• It can be used both indoors and outdoors.

• It can be used with any color of topcoat as it produces a dull white finish.

• It is manufactured in the United States.

It has a great color and can be used on any surface. It comes with an easy to use manual. This is a great product if you are looking for a way to protect your painted object without making them appear too shiny. It leaves a matte finish on any surface. You just need two coats, and it seals perfectly. It can last through any weather, and there is no reason to worry about repainting. Someone once said their primer lasted for years even though the surfaces were being kept outside. It is very easy to use and hardly ever stains surfaces. This is because it can be cleaned easily with water and soap. It dries quickly too, and it’s very consistent.

All of these products that have been listed are great for personal and professional use. The water-based formula makes them almost odorless. So, they can be used anywhere and around, anyone. They are also very affordable and come with an easy to understand manual. Most are very available in retail shops

Rust-Oleum Primer Spray, 13-Ounce (Corporation 02008)

This primer can get you about 20% more coverage than the previous one. It features a high-output spray that can seal porous surfaces like cured plaster and concrete. It can be used on wood and brick surfaces too. As a painter of cars for over twenty years Rust-Oleum is a product that you will see in almost every garage. They make quality products and are well priced.


• This product is mainly used for smaller projects and spot priming.

• It can work great under or over any paint.

• It is an all purpose and all surface primer-sealer.

• It can be used for surfaces indoors and outdoors.

• It comes with an easy and straightforward use kit.

• This product is a 130z bull Eye Primer.

• It is manufactured in the United States.

It has a lasting effect of about two years, and it works well with almost every surface. It is a high-quality product, and it works great. 

Rust-Oleum 285011 Stops Rust Universal Bonding Primer, 12-Ounce

This product is specially made to hold any topcoat firmly in place. It also works for solvent based and hard paint surfaces.


• This product works well with a variety of surfaces like galvanized steel, glazed brick, porcelain, masonry, wrought iron, furniture, railings and much more.

• It can be used as both an indoor and outdoor purpose.

• It has a drying time of about 30minutes and can cover quite a large area of the surface.

• It gives a great finishing that can prepare a surface for any topcoat.

• It prevents corrosion and rust. It helps in improving the durability of the topcoat.

• It is totally odorless and has low VOC.

• The water-based formula has an excellent feel in a moist environment.

• It is manufactured in the United States.

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