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Zinsser Mold Killing Primer VS Kilz: Which One Is Better? [2023 Updated]

A quality primer is vital for your painting project to bring out the best finish in the painting. This is because the primer acts as a protective shield for your surface finish, and a smooth primer is essential for the paint to sit properly on the surface. 

You’ve got it that you need to buy a high-quality primer to accomplish your painting project, but deciding which primer is right for your surface can be challenging. 

The reason is that not all primers work the same on every surface. Currently, two popular primer brands, Zinsser and Kilz, dominate the market. A large number of people prefer to use these high-quality primers for their home painting projects. 

What is the difference between the two primers, Zinsser Mold Killing Primer vs Kilz? What are the specialties of both the primers? We’ll explore all these things here. We also discuss the best applications of both these primers, which will be helpful for beginners who are looking to buy these top-rated primers. Let’s get started!!

When Do You Need A Primer?

zinsser mold killing primer vs kilz

Before moving on to our article’s main subject, let’s briefly explain the use of the primer. As we said above, the primer acts as a protective shield for your surface, and whenever you plan to paint your surface, first, you should apply the primer as a primary coat. Primers are critical for all painting projects as well as any surface.

If you expect smooth, beautiful, and long-lasting paintwork, it’s important first to apply a high-quality primer to your surface. Primer seals the surface before it coats the paint, which prevents the surface material from absorbing the paint and helps you achieve a great paint finish.

What Is Zinsser Primer And What Are Its Specialities?

The well-known American brand Rust-Oleum has launched the Zinsser Primer. The Rust-Oleum brand is the market leader for primers, paints, and coatings specialists. The primer can be used in water-, and oil- and shellac-based paints; therefore, it is a very adaptable primer.

It is also an ideal solution for all applications. Consumers love Zinsser primer for their home painting projects, and it is now the most preferred primer in the market, along with the Kilz Primer.


  • Easy-to-use primer
  • Water, oil, or shellac-based primer 
  • Prevents water stains 
  • Requires minimal coatings and no sanding
  • Effectively gives off the unpleasant odor of surface material. 
  • The ideal primer for both interior and exterior painting projects

What Is Kilz Primer And What Are Its Specialities?

The reputed Masterchem Industries introduced a high-quality primer under the brand name Kilz. It is a completely water-based primer that locks in the surface adore. The tough stains are covered with this primer with ease. 

Because of its low fume output and simplicity of application, Kilz primer is widely used for interior paintwork. Unlike primer paints, you can apply Kilz paint with a spray or paintbrush. Additionally, this primer dries quickly because of its water-based composition.

This article will give you a detailed idea about Kilz primer dry time.


  • Fast-drying primer
  • Provides surface protection against corrosion 
  • Water-based primer 
  • Gives a stunning finish to the paintwork 
  • Prevents stains on cedar, redwood, and pine wood 
  • Works on masonry, concrete, and stucco surfaces

zinsser mold killing primer vs kilz: Key Differences Between Kilz And Zinsser Primers 

Both the primers come in two stand-out brands and are highly user-choice primers. However, there are some differences in the texture of both the primers as well as some similarities between them. We will highlight the differences between Zinsser and Kilz primers here.

1. zinsser vs kilz Primer: Consistency

Kilz Primer: Consistency characterizes this primer to gain popularity among consumers. The level of consistency that is ideal depends on your painting project. If you’re looking for a thinner primer, choose Kilz. It is straightforward to spread on the surface. Beginners mostly like this primer. This primer undoubtedly works great. However, it has some drawbacks. 

The thin texture of the primer creates some imperfections in coverage. However, it depends on what effect you want from the primer. If you want to achieve a lighter effect, this primer is a perfect solution for you. Conversely, if you are looking for a more serious effect, you can opt for any other primer.

Zinsser Primer: Zinsser Primer comes in thick consistency, which DIY enthusiasts prefer. The primer coat is more durable. As the texture of the primer is thick, the paint fits better on it. Also, with Zinsser primer, multiple coats are not required on the surface, saving you both money and usage time.

2. zinsser vs kilz for odor

Every primer has some smell. The pungent smell of primer makes painting work challenging. Many primers contain toxic substances, like volatile organic compounds (VOCs), that can cause problems with breathing, headache, confusion, nausea, and tiredness.

Kilz Primer: In the case of the Kilz Primer brand, we can say that this primer has low VOCs. Even though this primer produces a strong odor when applied, it is a completely non-toxic primer. Kilz Primer has an unpleasant odor which is its drawback.

Zinsser Primer: Zinsser Primer is also lower in VOCs like the Kilz. Since Zinsser is a water-based primer, it produces a less unpleasant odor when applied to a project. Zinsser Primer has a specific odor. However, it produces less odor in comparison to Kilz.

3. zinsser Vs Kilz For Mold Resistance

Kilz Primer: When it comes to mold resistance properties, Kilz Primer is considered an excellent mold-resistant primer. It is highly efficient at protecting your surfaces, such as walls, furniture, cabinets, and more, by blocking mold. 

This primer acts as a protective shield for your furniture and prevents mold buildup in your valuable furniture. Kilz requires white vinegar, a mild acid, to destroy mold. You should add some amount of vinegar to the primer before applying it.

Zinsser Primer: Zinsser primer is as powerful as Kilz primer at destroying mold buildup in your household furniture and walls. It also protects your furniture from harmful mold. The minor difference between the two primers in the application of mold killing is that, unlike Kilz, no vinegar is required to be added to the Zinsser to destroy the mold. Zinsser primer, on its own, is more effective at eradicating mold and preventing its growth.

4. kilz vs zinsser primer: Coverage & Bleed-Through

Kilz Primer: Kilz Primer provides excellent coverage. Kilz primer works great at covering stubborn stains and marks of surface material. In terms of bleed-through, the Kilz supports some bleed-through on certain surfaces. For sufficient coverage, you might need to use several coats.

Zinsser Primer: Zinsser primer provides even better coverage than Kilz. In terms of bleed-through, which primer is the best between Kilz and Zinsser? We would say that Zinsser is the best. It allows bleed-through on all surfaces. Unlike Kilz, it does not require a thick coat to ensure adequate coverage.

5.Corrosion Inhibition 

Corrosion inhibition is a big deal when it comes to metal paint. When you paint a metal surface, you first need to apply a corrosion inhibition primer and start painting processing. Priming the metal surface ensures your cleaner surface and strong bond for effective painting.  

Kilz Primer: Kilz primer is a super primer brand with added corrosion inhibition that ensures your surface protection from rust when applied. 

Zinsser Primer: Zinsser primer also features corrosion inhibition. It protects your surface from corrosion. However, if we compare both the primers to decide which primer brand is the best rust protector, we would say Zinsser is the perfect choice for applying primer to metal surfaces to prevent rust.

People like Zinsser primer as a powerful metal primer when it comes to painting clean or rusty surfaces.

6. Adhesion

Kilz Primer: Adhesion of the primer refers to how well the primer sticks to the surface. In this case, Kilz primer has better adhesion. However, its adhesion is not strong enough. You should first prepare the surface before applying a primer to it. For this, first of all, you should sand the specific surface.

Zinsser Primer: On the other hand, Zinser primer has a more powerful adhesion compared to Kilz. Unlike the Kilz, it doesn’t require any sanding before applying the primer. You only need to sand if you need to create the strongest bond possible to bring great effect to the painting.

7. Durability

Kilz Primer: Kilz primer is durable enough. However, since it is a thin primer, the durability of this primer is not that long.

Zinsser Primer: Zinsser primer has more consistency and hence, is more durable compared to Kilz. This ensures that the primer stays on for a long time, and the paint applied over the primer will stick better.

8. Dry Time

Kilz Primer:: Both primers dry quickly; however, Kilz Primer’s water-based solution dries faster than Zinsser Primer. The solvent in Kilz Primer should evaporate for the complete coating to dry. It takes an hour to dry.

Zinsser Primer: Zinsser primer dries quickly; however, it may not dry as fast as Kilz. You will need to wait over an hour for the primer to dry on your surface.

9. Variety

Kilz Primer: Kilz Primer comes with a huge variety of products. The collection of Kilz primer includes generic primer, interior primer, exterior primer, bare wood primer, and more. Primer ranges are a combination of both water-based and oil-based solutions.

Zinsser Primer: Like Kilz, Zinsser primer also offers a variety of primers, water-based and oil-based. Most of the primers are available in both brands. It also offers a generic primer, bare wood primer, etc., that Kilz offers. Apart from this, both brands offer certain primers specified for certain projects.

10. Application

Kilz Primer: The water-based Kilz primer is very easy to work with. For beginners, it is an ideal primer for easy surface cleaning. Kilz is a thin primer so you can apply multiple coats on surfaces. Note, before applying Kilz primer, sand the surface area well.

Zinsser Primer: In contrast, the thick Zinsser primer is not very easy to apply to surfaces. It can be a bit difficult for beginners to apply this primer. Since Zinsser is a stronger solution, it is not necessary to sand the surface first to use the primer.

4 Uses Of Zinsser Primer

1. Mold Control

The best feature of Zinsser primer is that it is made with fungicides to help prevent mold growth on porous surfaces like wood.

However, not all Zinsser primes are able to control mold. So, if you look for a mold-resistant primer, choose a primer type best suited for removing mold.

2. Sealing Pores

Zinsser primer is highly efficient at sealing pores. It is considered the best primer for sealing old wood’s pores. The thick consistency of Zinsser primer effectively blocks wood pores and hairline fissures.

This primer will be perfect if you need a primer to seal an old wooden surface.

3. Waterproofing 

This is a completely waterproof primer from the brand Zinsser. Because of the waterproofing feature of the primer, Zinsser is the best choice for surfaces prone to experiencing moisture.

4. Primer For New Wood Furniture 

When any new furniture made of fresh wood comes ready, some marks and holes exist. Sometimes the holes are covered with glue. So, with an ordinary primer, you can’t cover up those holes.

For this, you need a strong primer, which can cover all the holes in the new furniture, and in this case, the Zinsser primer will be the right pick. This thick primer is highly efficient in covering holes and stubborn stains on the wooden surface.

4 Uses Of Kilz Primer 

1. Changing Surface Color

Kilz Primer will be the best beak when you want to change the color of your finished surface or old paint. Use Kilz Primer on your surface.

Any old paint will not be visible from the new primer coat. This is because the coat of Kilz primer is too thick to hide lighter as well as darker paint colors. 

2. Sticking Paints

One advantage of a thin primer is that the paint can stick to a thin primer more easily and efficiently, which may not stick as effectively to a thicker primer.

Kilz primer is best if you wish to apply paints that seep into the wood. This is because Kilz primer’s thinness makes it easier for the paint to adhere to the wood.

3. Preventing Interior Stains

If you need to do multiple paint coats on any surface, you can choose Kilz primer as a better primer.

Kilz Primer allows for up to five coats of water-based paint on the surface and helps each layer of paint stick better. It gives an attractive look to the paint finish.

4. Multiple Paint Coats

If you need to do multiple paint coats on any surface, you can choose Kilz primer as a better primer.

Kilz Primer allows for up to five coats of water-based paint on the surface and helps each layer of paint stick better. It gives an attractive look to the paint finish.

How To Choose A Primer Type?

  • Major primer brands Kilz and Zinsser offer a range of primers. Depending on the surface you want to prime, you should select a certain sort of primer. As we mentioned in the article, not every primer is applicable to every surface. For example, you cannot use an oil-based primer to stick on your galvanized metal.
  • On the other hand, you can choose a Latex primer for general use as it works well for general use. Similarly, a few primer options can be used for inside and outside uses. Zinsser Bulls Eye from the brand Zinsser and Kilz Premium from Kilz come under the Latex primer category.
  • Moreover, you can use oil-based primers for your interior as well as an exterior painting project. However, oil-based primers have a very strong and unpleasant odor. They are bad for plaster or drywall because they fully seal the surface and permit no breathing. 
  • However, oil-based primers perform superbly for external wood that will be subjected to dampness and the elements. You can choose a primer with a shellac base for concealing stubborn stains for better performance. So, it is clear from this criticism that while choosing your primer, your surface and the purpose you want to use the primer have to be considered.

What Is Mold?

A mold or a fungus that develops as multicellular filaments is known as hyphae. On the other hand, fungi that can adopt the habit of single-celled growth are called yeasts. Apply this method to identify mold.

Dip a swab in bleach and then press it to the wall. If the spot lightens quickly, assume it is mold. In contrast, if the mold is on a hard surface that contains paint on the wall, use a water-dampened cloth to wipe it off or use soapy water.  

Zinsser: The Best Mold Killing Primer 

Zinsser is considered the best mold-killing primer for its effectiveness in controlling and killing molds. It is the only product that can prevent mold growth in the future and kill existing mold.

Zinsser mold killing primer is specifically formulated for application on smooth surfaces. There are different brands of mold-killing primers available in the market, but for performance and mold-killing power, Zinsser mold-killing primer is at the forefront.

zinsser mold killing primer vs kilz: [Conclusion]

Both the Zinsser and Kilz brands are the best primers for their effective performance on surfaces. Both the primers have some similarities and some differences.

In some cases, Zinsser primer is the best, whereas Kilz primer is considered the best option for some purposes.

However, with regard to mold killing, Zinsser primer is the best solution. In addition, the Zinsser primer has some unique features that are not available in Kilz.

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