Healthyhandyman is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

7 Best Paint & Primer in One Options of 2020 – Reviews & Top Picks

The Spruce Best Home by KILZChoosing which paint and primer to use and when to use it can be a challenging task for even experienced painters. There are so many brands available, and most make big claims of eliminating the need for primer.

We’ve already reviewed dozens of different brands, and we have a pretty good idea which ones work, and which ones don’t. We’ll give you our opinions of each one, and hopefully, when you’re finished reading over this article, you will have a good idea of where to start.

We’ve also included a paint and primer in one buyer’s guide where we specify and explain what a paint and primer in one is, and when to use it.

Keep reading for our detailed reviews of each brand of paint and primer in one, where we compare coverage, cost, sheen, and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) to help you make an educated purchase.


A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Prestige Prestige
  • Latex
  • No VOCs
  • Semi-gloss
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Krylon Krylon
  • Easy to clean
  • Low cost
  • High gloss
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    KILZ KILZ
  • Low VOCs
  • Large coverage area
  • Comes in all sheens
  • The Spruce Best Home by KILZ The Spruce Best Home by KILZ
  • Covers well
  • Dries in one hour
  • Mildew resistant
  • Glidden Glidden
  • One coat
  • No smell
  • Smooth texture
  • The 7 Best Paint and Primer in One Options:

    Let’s look at the seven different brands of paint and primer in one we’ve chosen to review for you.

    1. Prestige Paint and Primer in One — Best Overall

    Prestige

    The Prestige P500-P-D382GP Paint and Primer in One is our choice for best overall paint and primer in none. This paint and primer feature a latex base that’s easy to clean up with soap and water. The water-based solvent also produces very little odor and no harmful VOCs. We found this paint goes on very smooth, and the semi-gloss finish is resistant to stains and easy to wipe down with a damp cloth to keep clean.

    The only trouble we had was choosing a color because many of the colors looked a little different to us than they did on the color chart.

    Pros
    • Latex
    • No VOCs
    • Smooth application
    • Semi-gloss
    Cons
    • Colors are hard to gauge

    2. Krylon Paint and Primer — Best Value

    Krylon K08800007 Paint and Primer

    The Krylon K08800007 Paint and Primer is our choice for the best value, and we believe you will agree that it’s the best paint and primer in one for the money. This 2-in-1 paint comes as a spray paint that’s easy to apply and dries to a high gloss that’s easy to scrub clean. Buying by the can keeps costs down and makes it easier to by the right amount.

    The downside to the Klylon paint and primer, like most spray paints, is that it’s put out a lot of fumes, so you need plenty of ventilation when painting. The paint can also hang in the air as it’s being applied and land on unintended surfaces, which can lead to a laborious cleanup.

    Pros
    • Spray paint
    • High gloss
    • Easy to clean
    • Low cost
    Cons
    • Small coverage area
    • Can be messy

    3. KILZ TRIBUTE Matte Paint and Primer in One — Premium Choice

    KILZ TRIBUTE

    The KILZ TRIBUTE TB-42 Matte Paint and Primer in One is our premium choice paint and primer in one. This brand features a latex base that produces very little smell and no harmful VOCs. It’s available in any sheen, so it is more versatile. One gallon can cover up to 400 feet, and in most cases, a single coat will finish the job.

    We didn’t give this paint and primer in one our top spot because it’s costly, and two of the cans we purchased had problems with the can leaking at weak seams.

    Pros
    • Low VOCs
    • Comes in all sheens
    • Large coverage area
    • Covers in one coat
    Cons
    • Faulty can design

    4. The Spruce Best Home Semi-Gloss Paint & Primer in One

    The Spruce Best Home

    The Spruce Best Home 15125901 Semi-Gloss Paint & Primer in One is a high-quality paint that goes on thick and smooth. It covers nicotine stains and most scuff marks very well, and it was dry to the touch within one hour of finishing up. This 2-in-1 is also mildew resistant, so you can use it in the bathroom and other humid environments, and the semi-gloss lets you wipe it down with a damp rag.

    The only thing we didn’t like was the slight odor it gave off while we were painting.

    Pros
    • Covers well
    • Dries in one hour
    • Mildew resistant
    Cons
    • Odor

    5. Glidden GLOIN20WH Interior Paint + Primer

    Glidden

    We were impressed with the way Glidden 396924 GLOIN20WH Interior Paint + Primer could cover nicotine stains in one coat. It has a very smooth texture, and it spreads over the surface evenly. We found it a pleasure to work with this paint, it had very little smell, and it dried to be exactly the color we hoped.

    The downside we experienced with this brand is that it is expensive, and we found it a little thin compared to the other paint and primer in one brand. It seems more like a high-quality paint than a thick primer and paint combo.

    Pros
    • One coat
    • No smell
    • Smooth texture
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Thin for a paint and primer in one

    6. BEHR Premium Interior Paint and Primer in One

    BEHR Premium Plus 305001 Interior

    The BEHR Premium Plus 305001 Interior Paint and Primer in One is a semi-gloss paint and primer from a brand that has stood the test of time. The semi-gloss paint is straightforward to clean and resists staining. It covers the wall well and only needs one application unless the walls are heavily stained. This paint and primer has very little smell, even when wet, and releases no harmful VOCs.

    The only thing we can complain about is that a gallon doesn’t go very far with this thick paint, and it is costly to do a large area.

    Pros
    • No VOCs
    • Covers well
    • Semi-gloss is easy to clean
    Cons
    • Doesn’t go far
    • Expensive

    7. Diamond Brite Paint Flat Paint and Primer in One

    Diamond Brite Paint 11900-5 Flat

    The Diamond Brite Paint 11900-5 Flat Paint and Primer in One is a latex-based paint that’s easy to clean up with soap and water. It’s a low-cost paint and primer in one that comes in a sizeable 5-gallon pail. Once dry, Diamond Brite paint provides a durable finish.

    We were surprised that it says right on the can that you need two coats when this is a paint and primer in one. We found this paint to be very thin, thinner than most standard paints, and it doesn’t cover very well at all. It took several coats to cover the surface we were painting.

    Pros
    • Easy cleanup
    • Low cost
    • Durable
    • Latex
    Cons
    • Two coats required
    • Thin paint

    Buyer’s Guide

    Let’s look at precisely what paint and primer in one is so you’ll know a good brand when you see it.

    Composition

    Both paint and primer use similar ingredients, and this could be the source of some of the confusion between them. Both start with two primary ingredients, which are solvent and resins. Paint adds a third ingredient, which is pigment.

    Solvent

    Paint and primer are both made up of mostly of solvent. If you are using an oil bases paint and primer, the solvent is usually mineral spirits. If you are using a latex-based paint and primer, the solvent is water.

    The solvent’s sole purpose is to dissolve the other paint components to create a spreadable substance. Once the paint is on the surface, the solvent evaporates.

    Resins

    Plants often create resins in response to injury, but they can be synthetic as well. Some examples of resin include epoxy, frankincense, polyethylene, and polyurethane.

    These resins form the actual paint substance that remains when the solvent dries. We use resins that offer advantages. For example, Interior paint uses harder resins to allow scrubbing, while exterior paint uses softer resins to allow flexing during temperature changes.

    Pigment

    The pigment is a natural or synthetic color additive. We often mix the pigment to prevent separation before use.

    There is no pigment in standard primer.

    Primer

    Primer is a paint product designed as an undercoat for standard paint. Primer helps provide a uniform paint finish and block stains and color from bleeding through the topcoat of paint. Primer also helps the paint stick to the surface better and smooth minor imperfections on the surface. Primer can have these qualities because it uses specialized resins. We choose paint resins for other qualities like resistance to sunlight or to prevent scuffing.

    Glidden Sample

    When to Use Primer

    Let’s look at when it’s essential to use a primer.

    Wood and Other Porous Surfaces

    We use primer on most kinds of wood and any other type of porous surface. Porous surfaces will absorb the paint and can cause three problems.

    Uneven Spreading

    Wood is a natural substance, and as such, it will have variations. These variations will cause the paint to absorb into the wood better in certain areas than in others, which will lead to paint that looks uneven in color when it’s dry.

    Improper Polymerization

    The resins in paint form a hard polymer shell as it dries, not unlike the magic-shell ice cream topping that hardens on your ice cream. If the resins absorb into a porous surface, it will interfere with this process, and the paint will not set as it should.

    Warping

    Whether it’s because the paint is thin fragile when it dries, or because of improper polymerization, unprimed paining can allow moisture to get behind the paint, which can lead to expansion and warping of wood over time.

    Metals and Rust

    Metals often require a primer to help the paint stick and to add extra protection from scratches and moisture. There is also a primer made which can chemically change rust int a type of salt that is better to paint.

    KILZ TRIBUTE Sample

    When Not to Use Primer

    Here are a few examples of times it may not be necessary to use a primer, but even if you don’t need primer, it is still important to prepare the surface by scrubbing it down to remove any loose dirt and grime that may have accrued over time.

    Painted Surfaces

    Paint is thin, and blemishes and dark colors can easily bleed through. If you are painting interior walls the same color and they are relatively clean, you can probably get away without using a primer.

    Paint and Primer in One

    Paint and primer in one, also called self-priming paint, doesn’t have any primer in it. Self-priming paint is designed to go on thicker than standard paint to mimic a primer and paint application.

    Self-priming paint is well suited for interior walls, excluding kitchens, bathrooms, and basements. These paints can often cover nicotine and other light stains and are perfect for changing the color of a room. Self-priming paint is also perfect for painting drywall and stone.

    Many of us will be painting the same space every few years. If you have children, are a smoker, use coal, wood pellets, or burn candles, you are probably looking at a paint and primer in one. If you live alone in an air-conditioned environment and don’t smoke or burn candles, there’s a good chance you can use standard paint.

    If there are heavy stains on the walls or children’s drawings, you are going to need a primer. If it’s the first time you are painting something or your transitioning from a dark to a light color, use a primer.

    Sheen

    When purchasing paint and primer in one, you need to choose a sheen. Paint can come in several sheens, including flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, and high gloss. Increasing the gloss will increase durability and make it easier to clean. A higher gloss can also make it harder to paint over later.

    We recommend using flat paint in the bedrooms and other low traffic areas of your home. Flat paint is often less expensive than the others, and it goes further. Kitchens or bathrooms can use semi-gloss or high-gloss paint because of the smoke, cooking grease, and moisture. You can wipe down a high gloss surface with a damp rag to clean it.

    Conclusion

    We hope that you have enjoyed reading over our paint and primer in one review. Hopefully, one of our top choices is the brand you’ve been wanting. We stand by our pick for the best value. The Prestige P500-P-D382GP Paint and Primer in One goes on smooth and doesn’t have a bad smell or produce VOCs. It covers a large area and usually only needs one coat to complete the job. The Krylon K08800007 Paint and Primer is our pack for the best value, and this inexpensive spray paint will coat most surfaces with a high gloss finish without the need for primer.

    If reading our articles has brought you closer to deciding about which paint and primer is best for you one, and you learned something new from our buyer’s guide, please share this article with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.

    Featured Image Credit: The Spruce Best Home by KILZ, Amazon

    Related posts

    Other categories

    Project ideas

    Hand & power tools

    woodworking

    Garden

    Automotive