Kilz VS. BIN Primers – A DIYer Review Guide

Kilz and BIN primers are at the top of the list for DIY home painting and renovations. So, what's the difference between these two primers?
Kilz VS. BIN Primers - A DIYer Review Guide

Zinsser BIN primer is oil-based, making it ideal for a variety of tasks. On the other hand, Kilz primer is water-based, making it easier to apply.

This article will guide you about the differences between these two primers to help you decide which one’s best for your DIY home renovation project. Both are very good products and can paint on cinderblocks or concrete, sheetrock, furniture, wood, and more. Read on to find all the details about each primer.

Why Choose between Zinsser BIN Primer and Kilz Primer?

BIN and Kilz primers each have their unique selling points. It’s up to you to decide which one best suits your home painting project.

Zinsser BIN Primer

Zinsser BIN Primer is not just any primer. It’s a stain-killer bond coat that applies to many surfaces. You can apply it to interior ceilings, walls, doors, trim, cabinets, furniture, and related paintable surfaces. 

Exterior applications are restricted to spot priming only. It may be used to block water, smoke, grease, graffiti, rust, and asphalt.

You can use Zinsser BIN Primer for:

  • Interior

You can apply BIN Primer to new and previously painted interior walls, plaster, and wood (Pine, fir, plywood, redwood, and cedar). It’s suitable for metals like stainless steel, aluminum, and galvanized metal. You can also apply it to fiberglass, vinyl, and PVC. It also sticks to bricks, concrete and concrete blocks.

It blocks stains and odors from just about anything. From water and fire damage to crayon and tannin bleed, BIN Primer has got you covered.

  1. Exterior

Zinsser’s BIN Shellac-based primer is best for spot priming persistent knot bleeds and sap streaks. This will prevent bleed-through from the full surface priming.

  1. Sealing

BIN Primer enhances topcoat coverage by sealing unpainted and porous surfaces. It creates a smooth wood surface by filling and binding wood fibers, resulting in easier and fewer coats.

  1. Stain and Odor Blocking

Zinsser BIN Primer is a top-class interior stain-killing primer. It effectively blocks them to prevent them from bleeding into the topcoat. You might have to go for a second coat for some heavy stains.

It is recommended for covering fire, water, and nicotine stains. It seals in tobacco, urine, and other animal odors.

Zinsser BIN Primer is a top choice when buying primers. Let’s see what makes its competitor, Kilz Primer, unique. 

Kilz Primer

Kilz Primer is water-based, making it thinner and easier to handle. It dries faster because water evaporates quickly. You can spray it or use a brush to apply it. 

It is specially formulated to minimize the effects of surface differences.

You can use Kilz primer for:

  1. Changing Colors

Kilz Primer is the go-to choice for changing the color of a finish. It covers light and deep colors to prevent them from showing through the finish coat.

  1. For Blocking Interior Filth and Stains

It is perfect for blocking indoor stains like oil, moisture pencil marks etc. We wouldn’t recommend it for exterior stains.

  1. For Penetrating Paints

If you’re looking for a primer that will allow the paint to seep into the wood, Kilz is for you. The thin base allows the paint to bite better in the wood than its denser competitors.

  1. For Multiple Coats of Paint

Kilz primer is suitable for projects that require multiple coats. Its consistency allows more coats to stick better. You can apply five coats of water-based paint over it without worry.

  1. For Touch-ups

Because it’s easy to handle, it’s suitable for covering corners and small spots. it’s an ideal primer for small tasks, fixes and touch-ups.

Now that you’re familiar with the unique selling points of Kilz and BIN primers, let’s dig into the main differences between both primers.

Major Differences Between BIN and Kilz Primers

Are you confused between BIN and Kilz primers? Here are 8 functional differences between these popular primers.

  • Odor removal
  • Base
  • Dry-to-touch time
  • Consistency
  • Coverage
  • Adhesion
  • Primer Paint Application
  • Price range

Removing Odors

Bleach isn’t enough to remove the stench of tobacco, fire smoke, and pet urine from surfaces. Use a primer that seals in odor with ease.

BIN primer seals in a variety of odors from different surfaces. However, its unpleasant odor during application might be problematic in poorly ventilated spaces. But you don’t have to worry too much because the smell is temporary as it dries quickly.

Similarly, Kilz Premium Stain Blocking seeps into porous surfaces and seals odors. It isn’t smelly like BIN because of its water base.

Verdict: Both Primers are equally suitable for masking odors. But Kilz Premium is better because of its minimal smell.


The formula or the solvent prevents the primer from solidifying in the can. It also has an impact on the application and functions of the primer.

BIN primer is oil-based. This formulation makes its coats thicker, and it’s relatively hard to handle for beginners.

On the other hand, Kilz Primer uses water as a solvent. It has more flow, and it’s easier to handle.

Verdict: Both primers have different flow and thickness because of their base. Choose according to your expertise and usage.

Dry-to-touch Time

Most primers dry to the touch within one to four hours. But top brands like Zinsser BIN and Kilz have relatively lower dry-to-touch time.

Zinsser BIN’s oil base makes it thicker and takes comparatively more time to dry to touch. Keep in mind to wait a few hours before applying a top coat.

Kilz is water-based, so it evaporates quickly, which results in a faster dry time. This primer cures within one to two weeks.

Factors like humidity and temperature affect the drying rate. Dry time may increase in high temperatures and humidity.

Verdict: Kilz is the better choice if you’re in a hurry to complete your home renovation. 


Oil-based BIN primer has a thick consistency, which makes it a go-to choice for professional painters. 

Kilz is less consistent because of its water base, which makes it perfect for new DIY geeks.

Verdict: Depends on your preference. BIN is less flowy than Kilz.


Zinsser BIN covers more square feet per gallon than Kilz. It requires fewer coats than the latter. Make sure to consider your actual cost from this angle as well.

Verdict: BIN covers more square feet per gallon. Calculate your costs accordingly.


Zinsser BIN sticks better because it has more adhesive additives in its formula. You can even apply it on a clean surface without sanding.

Comparatively, you’ll need to sand the surface before applying Kilz primer. Remember to thoroughly clean the surface before applying these primers.

Verdict: BIN primer sticks better than Kilz and needs less surface prep before applying.

Primer Paint Application

Zinsser BIN is thicker than other primers, which makes it more difficult to work with and handle. However, it needs fewer coats than Kilz. One coat is enough for most jobs. Cracked surfaces may need two coats to fill and seal the cracks.

Kilz is thinner and easier to handle than BIN. It requires at least two coats for normal surfaces. Cracked surfaces may need three coats to fill the cracks.

Verdict: BIN is better if you’re experienced with handling primers. For newbies, Kilz is the safer choice.


Price is an essential factor when buying a primer for your DIY project. Prices differ by state and region. You should check e-commerce stores to compare the cost of BIN and Kilz primers.

A gallon of BIN costs $96 at Amazon. Kilz General Purpose 1-gallon costs $42 at Amazon. 

Tip: Bigger packings cost less per gallon.

Verdict: Kilz Primer is more affordable than Zinsser BIN per gallon. A larger quantity means a lower price for both of these primers.


Zinsser BIN and Kilz do a great job covering up stains and blocking odors.

BIN has more consistency and coverage. It falls short in the versatility of application because it is unsuitable for exterior wood and other surfaces. It’s also more expensive than Kilz.

Kilz takes longer to dry, but it’s cheaper and more versatile than BIN primer. It needs surface prep before application.

It all comes down to your usage, expertise in the craft, and budget.

Happy painting!

Sharing Is Caring:


Leave a Comment