kilz VS Zinsser: What Are The Differences

We often need to use a primer to complete the woodworking projects. The right choice of primer is essential for the satisfactory completion of your woodworking projects. But it becomes a frustrating job when you are finding the right primer after comparing the features.

Kilz and Zinsser are two of the best primers, but which one is better according to their pros, cons, and detailed features needs some research. 

So we are here to help you find the best one for you among Kilz vs Zinsser primers for your successful woodworking projects.

kilz vs Zinsser: Things to Consider

Kilz and Zinsser are both popular primer brands that offer a range of products for various woodworking projects. When deciding between Kilz and Zinsser, there are several factors to consider that can help you make an informed decision.

1. Kilz Primer:

Kilz primers are manufactured by a well-known company, Masterchem Industries, famous for their excellent product features. Their product kilz comes with features such as sealing off odors to cover stubborn stains. Their high-hide stain-blocking for exterior and exterior is the best kilz product.

2. Zinsser Primer:

It is manufactured by Rust-Oleum which is a world-top paint, coating, and primer manufacturing company. Zinsser is suitable for exterior and interior applications, and its one product, Bulls Eye 1-2-3 water-based primer, is one of the best Zinsser primers.

Features Comparison- Kilz VS Zinsser

The detailed comparison of both products based on their features makes it easier for you to understand which one is a better choice according to your project.

1. Consistency of Performance:

There is no doubt both products offer consistent performance, but Zinsser is somehow more consistent than Kilz because of its better covering feature. 

While using Kilz, it allows some bleed-through based on the type of surface. So sometimes, when you need a thicker covering, you may need to apply more than one coat to add thickness.

While in Zinsser, you will get a perfect and thick finish even with one coat. Overall, both products perform a good job covering the stubborn stains and ensuring a pretty nice and uniform paint surface.

2. Odor:

You may not find a single primer that does not have an odor, but it depends on the strength of the odor. The low-quality primer comes with a strong odor that makes your project completion harder and may also cause breathing problems.

On comparing their odor features, Zinsser also found a better product than the Kilz. Because kilz odor is foul and unpleasant, it could be better to use water-based choices. 

If you can manage, it is a good product but if you are allergic to odor, never choose the Kilz product because of its unpleasant smell.

Zinsser primer also has some odor, but it is not unpleasant as compared to the Kilz primer. It could be a good choice for people who are suffering from smell allergies.

3. Resistance Against Mold:

One of the major purposes of using primers is to protect the furniture from mold. Good primers offer greater resistance against mold and are used on furniture, walls, or any other surfaces to protect the surface from mold attack.

Comparing both products’ mold resistance features, we found Kilz and Zinsser both are excellent choices. If the major purpose is to find a mold-resistant primer, you can choose any of them depending on their price.

4. Price:

Price is also an essential factor to compare; we found that the Kilz primer is cheaper than Zinsser. Its price range could be between 8 to 42 dollars per gallon, depending on the product choice.

But you may find the Zinsser is much more expensive than the Kilz because it may be 10 dollars more expensive for you per quart. Undoubtedly, Zinsser is expensive, but it also has better features that may convince you to agree to higher prices.

5. Adhesive Feature:

Zinsser is a better choice for adhesive features than Kilz primer because it does not require any pre-sanding to apply the Zinsser primer over the surface. But you can apply the sand only when you want to get a strong bond on the high-glossy surfaces.

However Kilz needs more work to prepare the surface for application, such as sanding and other smoothening before applying the primer. It also offers good adhesion, but Zinsser is more robust than Kilz primer.

kilz vs Zinsser: What are the Advantages and Disadvantages

Kilz and Zinsser are both popular choices when it comes to primers, but they do have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Kilz Primer Feature Details:

What I like: Kilz Primer

  • Best stain coverage features
  • Seal offer odors
  • It quickly dries
  • Easy to clean with water and soap
  • Less expensive 
  • Perfect for mold resistance

What I don’t like: Kilz Primer

  • Unpleasant odor.
  • Harmful for the smell allergic people.
  • Need sanding before application.
  • Need more coat for thick surface.

Zinsser Primer Feature Details:

What I like: Zinsser Primer

  • Better and consistent performance.
  • No foul or unpleasant smell.
  • No sanding is required before application.
  • One coat is enough for most surfaces.
  • Best resistive primer for mold.
  • Excellent adhesion features.
  • Dries quickly.

What I don’t like: Zinsser Primer

  • Costly primer.
  • Heavy texture makes it hard to spread over the surface to get a smooth layer.
  • Need professionals to apply over the surface.

What to Consider While Choosing the Primer (kilz /Zinsser)?

When it comes to choosing the primer, price is the essential factor that people consider. But many other factors also need to be considered except price. If your target is to choose the perfect primer, then check their features, such as below.

  • Performance consistency.
  • Adhesion features.
  • Application options.
  • Odor features.
  • Coating options.
  • Nature of your project oil-based or water-based.
  • Multiple surface applications.

Which one is a Better Option for me, Zinsser or Kilz Primer?

Zinsser and Kilz are two of the best primers widely used for covering stains over different surfaces. Both products are good choices because of their reliable performance. 

But Zinsser was the better choice than Kilz because of its better features such as low odor, consistent performance, better mold resistivity, and adhesion, except for its price. 

If you are short of budget and your project is water-based, you can choose Kilz Primer; otherwise, Zinsser is better than Kilz Primer.


We need primers applied on different surfaces to cover the stains and give a fine and smooth finish. Zinsser and Kilz are both great options that come with some pros and cons. 

Their choice depends on your project and budget; overall, both offer good performance, but Zinsser has some advantages over the Kilz Primer.


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