Kilz 2 vs. Kilz 3: Which Primer Is Better?

Kilz is a very popular name in the primer market, known for producing varieties of high-quality primer coats for all kinds of painting projects. Choosing the right primer for your project can be a hassle, especially when you don’t have all the details. Here we bring you the details of Kilz’s most popular products, Kilz 2 and Kilz 3.

Kilz 2 is a low VOC water-based versatile primer that offers excellent adhesion, stain blocking, and moist resistance. It is called an all-purpose primer because of its suitability for all types of paints and surfaces. 

Kilz 3, on the other hand, is also a low VOC water-based primer produced with superior adhesion, stain blocking, fast-drying, and low odor feature that puts it ahead of Kilz 2. 

The major difference between both primers is that Kilz 2 is best suited for internal priming and light jobs like minor stain blocking, wall trims, etc., while Kilz 3 is a heavy-duty primer used for complex projects like heavy paint changing and odor elimination. 

Comparison of Kilz 2 vs Kilz 3

FeaturesKilz 2Kilz 3
Priming and Sealing abilitiesGoodBetter
Tasks they can handleLight to medium tasksLarge and complex task
Suitable forAll indoor surfacesIndoor and outdoor surfaces
Stain blockingGoodBetter

Differences between Kilz 2 and Kilz 3

To better understand these primers, we need to look at their differences, some of which can be found in their sealing ability, the tasks they can handle, thickness, surface suitability, and cost

Sealing ability

When it comes to priming, using a primer that can seal is an added advantage because it makes your work easier and saves extra sealing time and cost. Kilz 2 and Kilz 3 are often referred to as primer-sealers because of their ability to cover stains, damaged spots, etc., but when compared to Kilz 2, Kilz 3 is a better primer and sealer. It seals just as good as it primes, with no chance of stains or flaws showing through the surface. If you use it to prime, you don’t need an additional sealant, and you will still have perfect paint. Meanwhile, Kilz 2 focuses more on priming than sealing. Its sealing properties are not enough to cover large stains and flaws. You may have to use an extra sealant to achieve perfect paint. 

Tasks they can handle

If you are a DIY painter or a professional stuck between choosing from Kilz2 and Kilz 3, you need to consider the type of task or project you want to execute because it plays a major role in deciding which primer to buy. Kilz 2 primer is recommended for light tasks like priming doors, cabinets, windows, and wall trims. It dries fast and works well for a simple color change, blocking minor water stains and providing good adhesion on multiple surfaces and good moist resistance. 

For more complex and heavy-duty tasks, choose Kilz 3. This primer is well equipped to handle the toughest jobs. It provides a very strong adhesion on surfaces and an excellent resistance to moisture. Also, it is best suited for painting large surfaces like ceilings, or walls, wiping and sealing off large stains, and eliminating bad odors.


From the thickness of a primer, you can tell if it will make a good coat and, as such, hide stains efficiently. Kilz 2 is not as thick as Kilz 3. It is a primer produced for light tasks, as mentioned above, so it has just enough thickness for those kinds of jobs. On the contrary, Kilz3 is very thick, arguably the thickest of all Kilz primers. It has lots of additives specifically included that make it very thick and therefore better at hiding large stains.

Surface suitability

Both Kilz 2 and Kilz 3 are labeled multi-surface primers. They are water-based primers, so you can use them on any surface ranging from drywalls, ceilings, furniture, cabinets, plastered walls, masonry, and paneling brick to well-treated glossy surfaces. The difference here is that Kilz 2 is not recommended for any type of exterior surface because it is not powerful enough to withstand harsh conditions, but Kilz 3 can thrive on both indoor and outdoor surfaces. It does a better job at sealing out moisture and sunlight, and it has improved adhesion. 


Cost remains one of the driving factors when it comes to choosing what to buy, and the less expensive product almost always wins. The specific price for these primers cannot be stated here for sure because the prices vary with the size you are buying and the local store you are buying from. However, we can give an estimate to give you an idea of what you should be expecting when going to the store. It is no surprise considering its features that Kilz 3 primer is on the high side at around 13.52 per quartz and 26.97 per gallon. While you can get Kilz 2 at around 9.97 per quartz and 21.97 per gallon.

Similarities between Kilz 2 and Kilz 3

Kilz 2 and 3 are quite similar in a few ways; some of these similarities can be found in their efficiency and brand.


Kilz 2 and 3 are both efficient primer-sealers when used in their area of specialization. They both provide good surface adhesion, excellent stain blocking, and moisture resistance. 


Both kilz 2 and 3 are a product of Kilz. Kilz is a high-profile brand you can trust, and they are well known for producing some of the best primers. 


Now that you have all the details choosing between both primers shouldn’t be a hassle. They are both good choices for anyone looking for a water-based primer that can be used on roughly any type of surface. Kilz 2 will handle your small tasks and interior surfaces with ease, while Kilz 3 will take care of the large tasks and exterior surfaces. Therefore, you need to properly examine the project you want to execute in other to make the right choice. Also, to get it all right, you can check the manufacturer’s instructions.

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