LAST UPDATED: June 29, 2021

The Best Epoxy Primers: Stop Rust Dead in its Tracks

Best Choice Speedokote Epoxy Primer Fast Dry Speedokote Epoxy Primer Fast Dry
Best Value USC 2K Spray Max Epoxy Primer USC 2K Spray Max Epoxy Primer
Premium Pick Interlux InterProtect Epoxy Primer Kit Interlux InterProtect Epoxy Primer Kit

By: Heather Fishel

Is there anything worse than watching rust take over your car’s exterior? Whether you drive a car, truck, or SUV, rust can be one of your biggest frustrations. From changing weather to exposure to all kinds of elements on the road, rust can form just about anywhere metal is present on a vehicle. But rust doesn’t have to be a fact of life for every driver. There are products available that can prevent rust before it even begins — they’re called epoxy primers. And if you use an epoxy primer, you can keep your car looking perfect and pristine.

Epoxy primers are long-lasting and highly durable. Applied before actual epoxy, these products are strongly adhesive and able to resist dampness and moisture in highly humid environments. A thick layer of epoxy primer will bond epoxy to your car’s metal exterior, ensuring the undercoat or paint you apply stays in great shape (and rust-free) for many years. We’ve rounded up some of the best epoxy primers available so you can find the right choice for your vehicle.

The Best Epoxy Primers

Working as both a primer and sealer, the Epoxy Fast Dry 2.1 by Speedokote will make your priming job easier, faster and cheaper. This versatile product comes with a base primer and a hardener, so you’ll have to mix the two contents in a 4:1 ratio for good results.

So, what makes this epoxy primer great? For one, it has very strong adhesion, but is, at the same time, super-easy to apply as it smoothly and evenly lies down on pretty much any surface. Speaking of which, the product can be applied to a wide range of materials, including aluminum, steel, fiberglass, body fillers and existing finishes. This makes it highly versatile and great for all priming jobs. Importantly, it’s also a strong, durable primer that protects against corrosion and rust, offering long-lasting deterioration protection.

Key Features
  • Can be applied to a number of different surfaces
  • Strong adhesion properties
  • Both a primer and a sealer
  • Offers long-lasting corrosion and damage protection
  • Easy to store for an extended period of time
Specification
  • Brand Speedokote
  • Model 5824053907
  • Weight 9.1 ounces

The 2K epoxy primer by UCS is one of the easiest primers to apply. No need to use a paint brush or squeegee with this product – all you have to do is activate the primer, shake it and spray it. That’s literally it! Needless to say, if you’re looking for an easy-to-use product, this is it.

The UCS’s epoxy primer provides excellent adhesion and fill, as well as great corrosion resistance. It also dries quickly as a hardshell on any surface material, be it metal or fiberglass. It covers around 4 to 6 square feet of surface, but if you want a really smooth end result, it’s wise to apply a couple of coats. Of course, you can also sand the surface with a sander for a super-smooth result, or paint over it.

Key Features
  • Super-easy to use and apply
  • Good choice for beginners
  • Customized nozzle allows for quick and efficient application
  • Protects against corrosion and damage
Specification
  • Brand USC
  • Model 5824054113
  • Weight 1.1 pounds

Looking for a quality epoxy primer for your boat? Look no further than Interlux’s InterProtect 2000E two-part epoxy coating. Formulated with Micro-Plates technology, this product protects fiberglass hulls from moisture and water absorption, plus helps repair gelcoat damaged by osmotic blistering.

The Interprotect 2000E has great adhesion properties to various materials, including fiberglass, metal, wood and composite. It offers excellent anti-corrosion and oxidation properties, and can be used for both above and below the waterline. As mentioned, it contains Micro-Plates technology, which creates an overlapping water barrier, helping protect your boat against water absorption. As a bonus, it’s also perfect for repairing damaged gelcoat. Importantly, it’s also easy to apply, quick to dry and there is no sanding required.

Key Features
  • Provides excellent protection against water absorption and corrosion
  • Helps repair gelcoat damaged by osmotic blistering
  • Can be applied to a number of materials
  • Easy to use, quick to dry
Specification
  • Brand Interlux
  • Model Y2000EKIT/1
  • Weight 13.17 pounds

The Raptor’s anti-corrosive primer is a 2K high-performance epoxy primer that contains a blend of anti-corrosive additives which help protect surfaces from rust and oxidation. It’s specifically designed to be used under Raptor’s Protective Coating to further extend the protective properties.

This product comes with a can of anti-corrosive epoxy primer and a primer hardener, so you have everything you need for a proper priming job. Because it contains advanced resin technology that improves adhesion to various surfaces, the product is simple to use. It applies smoothly to bare metal, as well as other prepared surfaces. In fact, it can even be used directly over surface rust too. Although quite thick, the primer sprays evenly and smoothly to a hard surface. Besides having great anti-rust and corrosion properties, the Raptor automotive epoxy primer also offers excellent salt spray resistance.

Key Features
  • Offers great protection against corrosion and rust
  • Can be applied to a number of surfaces
  • Dries quickly and smoothly into a solid surface
  • Also offers salt spray resistance
Specification
  • Brand Raptor
  • Model UP4830
  • Weight 16.22 pounds

Protective, easy to use and reasonably priced, there is nothing not to like about Transtar 2K epoxy primer/sealer. This product not only has great anti-corrosion properties, but also offers great protection against moisture-caused damage.

The 2K epoxy primer requires no induction time and can be applied to a number of surfaces, including bare metal, sanded bare metal and primer, as well as paint. Since it’s lead and chrome free, the two-part primer can also be used as a sealer over existing finishes. With fantastic adhesion properties, the product is incredibly easy to apply over various materials, but is especially recommended for use over lacquer type primers.

Key Features
  • Offers solid protection from corrosion and moisture
  • Can be applied over various surfaces
  • Especially recommended over lacquer primers
  • Can also be used as a sealer or precoat
Specification
  • Brand Transtar
  • Model 6134
  • Weight 2.4 ounces

With great adhesion and anti-corrosion properties, the SprayMax black epoxy primer offers strong and long-lasting protection for bare metals. Using innovative packaging, this 2K epoxy primer has more yield, broader spray pattern and faster working speed than other standard aerosols.

The SprayMax epoxy aerosol can be used on a wide range of surfaces, including zinc-coated steel, hot-rolled and cold-rolled steel, galvanized sheet steel, fiberglass, anodized aluminum and many others. Equally important, it’s also super-simple to use: all you need to do is shake the product and spray it to a clean and dry surface. Although it sprays and covers really well, if you want an ultra-filled and smooth finish, you’ll need to use two to three coats. The primer is recoatable with all standard solvent or waterborne basecoats and topcoats.

Key Features
  • Great adhesion and anti-corrosion properties
  • Excellent sealing and insulating capabilities
  • Can be applied to various materials, including problematic surfaces like aluminum
  • Recoatable with all standard basecoats/topcoats
Specification
  • Brand SprayMax
  • Weight 1.1 pounds

Custom Shop Black Epoxy Primer is both a primer and sealant in one product, designed to protect your vehicle’s metal from all of the dangers that corrosion poses. This anti-corrosive primer is a direct to metal product, which means it’s perfectly safe to apply right on metal of all kinds — including steel, aluminum, and other materials like fiberglass and gelcoat. It’ll even keep other aspects of your car in great shape, like body fillers, rigid plastics, and sanded OEM finishes.

Apply this epoxy primer, and you’ll discover that it’s a rich formula made with a mix of anti-corrosive additives and an advanced resin technology. The formula includes chemicals that provide a high level of protection against rust and corrosion, and it can resist salt spray, too. When you apply the primer, it’ll dry fast; you can apply a top coat within just 30 minutes after applying the epoxy primer. This primer also goes on smoothly with no special prep needed.

Key Features
  • Primer and sealer in one product
  • Protects against rust and corrosion
  • Can be used on all metals, as well as plastics, fiberglass, and more
  • Dries within 30 minutes
Specification
  • Brand Custom Shop
  • Model KIT-KEP406-GL/KIT
  • Weight N/A

If you’re looking for an epoxy primer that’s super simple to get on your vehicle’s exterior, you’re going to want to consider the U.S. Chemical & Plastics 2K Epoxy Rust-Cure Primer. This product doesn’t require any special knowledge, expertise, or application. In fact, it’s designed to be incredibly easy to apply — it’s packaged in a shake-and-spray container with a specially designed nozzle.

This epoxy primer is packaged in an easy-to-use aerosol container. When you’re ready to put it to work, all you have to do is shake it, direct the nozzle, and start spraying. The specially-shaped nozzle works like a spray gun, offering a powerful yet smooth and easily controlled spray. The primer itself will stick to any metal surface, so you can trust that it’ll work on your car, truck, or SUV, along with other metal products or vehicles that might need some rust protection. It’ll also work with all standard solvent or water-based base coats and top coats.

Key Features
  • Works on all metals, including aluminum and sheet steel
  • Can be used in combination with solvent and water base coats
  • Simple, controllable application
  • Sprays on smoothly
Specification
  • Brand U.S. Chemical & Plastics
  • Model 3680032
  • Weight 1.25 pounds

Rust-Oleum is one of the biggest names in rust and corrosion protection, so it’s no surprise that the Rust-Oleum Automotive Sandable Primer Spray is one of the top products to shop. This 12-ounce epoxy primer offers a durable, highly protective base that’ll inhibit rust on all kinds of automotive materials. It works on metal and fiberglass, automotive lacquers and enamels — and even wood.

This epoxy primer is so great at providing a durable base layer that it even helps provide a beautiful finish. When applied, the primer fills in any minor imperfections present and smooths out surfaces. It’s also quick-drying and will be dry to the touch in just 10 minutes. While two to three coats are needed to offer full protection, a single can of this primer can do a lot. Twelve ounces can cover up to 10 square feet of surfaces, and the any-angle spray nozzle allows you to easily work from any angle to fully cover your car.

Key Features
  • Provides a strong, durable layer of protection against corrosion
  • Fills imperfections as it’s applied for a smooth finish
  • Dries in just 10 minutes
  • Can be used on metal, fiberglass, and wood
Specification
  • Brand Rust-Oleum
  • Model 260510
  • Weight 12 ounces

The House of Kolor DTS Auto Epoxy Primer is one very versatile epoxy primer. It works like any other, but it offers excellent quality and multiple uses. You can use this primer, which is a hybrid epoxy two-component primer, as a DTS (direct to substrate) high build surfacer, a medium to high build sealer, or a silky smooth sealer. It can be put to work as a protective first layer or cure and seal your top coat. No matter how it’s used, this primer will deliver expert-level protection and results.

Another way in which this epoxy primer is versatile is its applicable materials. This product works on all different types of metal, including bare steel, aluminum, and galvanized metals. It’ll also work on your vehicle’s existing OEM finishes, fiberglass, and some plastics (though you’ll want to test it on plastic before applying it everywhere). Formulated with strong adhesion, reliable corrosion resistance, and a quick drying time, you’ll be able to trust that your car is prepared for water, humidity, and more.

Key Features
  • Works on all kinds of metals, as well as fiberglass and some plastics
  • Strong water, rust, and corrosion resistance
  • Hybrid primer made with two components
  • Works with base and top coats
Specification
  • Brand House of Kolor
  • Model HOK KD3001-QT
  • Weight N/A

The Epifanes Epoxy Primer is a strong anti-corrosive product that’s tough enough to protect watercraft like boats from the damage of rust and corrosion. That’s right: If you’re tired of rusted car bodies, this product is tough enough to prevent them in the future. Made for some seriously wet environments, this primer can hold up in even the most rust-prone situations, weather, and more.

With a 750-milliliter bottle of this epoxy primer, you’ll get a blend of two ingredients: epoxy resin and zinc phosphate. The zinc phosphate is the anti-rust agent that gets to work protecting your car’s metal exterior, while the resin works to fill in any minor or slight imperfections. You can use this primer as the first step in a two-component paint plan; it’ll work on steel, aluminum, wood, and even fiberglass. It can be applied as an interior or exterior product, though you’ll get the best use out of it on the body of your vehicle.

Key Features
  • High build and high fill
  • Made with epoxy resin and zinc phosphate
  • Works on steel, aluminum, fiberglass, and plywood
  • Works on watercraft as well as vehicles
Specification
  • Brand Epifanes
  • Model EXPW750
  • Weight 70 mL

Best Epoxy Primer Buying Guide & FAQ

When choosing an epoxy primer, the top considerations are its price and its effectiveness. In addition, a good-quality primer should dry rather quickly, provide a smooth finish, and produce long-lasting protection. However, you may have a hard time deciding between a large bucket primer or a spray. The decision depends on your particular needs. The good news is that in our buying guide below we cover everything you need to know about epoxy primers. We list the different types of primers and the features you should consider before making a purchase. The more you know about this type of product, the easier it will be to choose the right brand.

Painting red car

What is an Epoxy Primer?

To pick the best epoxy primer for your needs, you first need to understand what an epoxy primer is. To put it simply, it’s a type of sealer or filler that can be applied to a wide range of surfaces for protection or to fill in imperfections. For instance, it’s typically used on cars and boats to fill in dents, cracks, and rust and to offer a long-lasting, non-porous smooth finish with anti-corrosion properties. This finished surface is solid and very hard, so it can be sanded with a sander for an ultra-smooth finish that is easy to paint. Speaking of paint, with a quality epoxy primer, you can paint your vehicle more uniformly (as all dents and cracks are smoothed out), resulting in a better-looking and more professional paint job. Also, a good-quality epoxy primer provides durable protection that doesn’t degrade over time (at least nowhere near as fast as the surfaces would degrade without a primer).

Although most epoxy primers are super-easy to apply and quick to dry, exactly how easy and quick they will be, will depend on the product itself. Some primers need to be applied only on perfectly clean, dry, and sanded surfaces with a brush, while others can be simply sprayed over imperfect materials such as rusty surfaces. There is no better or worse here – what’s important is to pick a product that works best for you.

What to Look for in Epoxy Primer

Not all epoxy primers are the same even though they may share certain characteristics. There are a wide variety of brands available, and it can be challenging to choose the right one. As a result, you should look at the following features on each product to see if it checks all the right boxes.

Corrosion resistance

Because one of the main advantages of epoxy primers is their ability to offer protection against corrosion and rust, this should be the first criteria for the best epoxy primer. Look for products that offer high resistance to corrosion, damage, and deterioration. If your vehicle is often in/around water, also look for proper moisture-blocking capabilities.

Ease of application

Another important factor to consider is how easy and quick the application of the epoxy primer is. Ideally, you want a product that is easy and simple to use and that doesn’t require a ton of surface preparation beforehand. Some primers need to have their contents mixed with other solutions, while other primers come in sprays you only need to shake well before using. What this really comes down to is the purpose you’re using a primer for, as well as your own preferences.

Surface application

Yet another important thing to consider is what surface(s) a primer can be applied to. This at least is easy — just take a look at the material you need to work on and purchase an epoxy primer that can be used for that particular material. This is important to consider because although many primers can be applied to a huge number of surfaces, including various types of metals, aluminum, plastic, and so on, some primers have specialty uses. If you purchase a primer not intended for a certain material, it simply won’t adhere.

Reasonable price

Although epoxy primers are not particularly expensive products, some are priced unreasonably high. To purchase the best epoxy primer, look for products that offer the best value for money: proper corrosion-resistance properties, good adherence to various surfaces, easy application, and affordable price. Obviously, what’s affordable for some people may not be at all for others, so ultimately, what matters most, is to find a product that checks all your boxes without costing too much.

Car painting

Why You Should Use Epoxy Primer

There are plenty of primers you can turn to when you’re hoping to protect your car’s exterior. But there are a number of reasons an epoxy primer is a better choice — especially if you’re facing moisture, humidity, and other rust-causing factors. Any car can benefit from one of these corrosion-combatting primers, as the prevention of rust isn’t the only perk.

Discover why an epoxy primer is a smart choice for any vehicle owner.

Non-Porous Protection

You could say that epoxy primers deliver the ultimate level of rust and corrosion protection, especially in comparison to traditional primers. These extra-tough primers are non-porous, which means they create a solid barrier once they’ve dried and cured. Nothing will get through teeny tiny pores or potential areas of exposure. Instead, the epoxy primer locks out moisture and damage like rust and corrosion. 

Effective Against Dampness of Any Kind

If you live in a damp, wet climate, an epoxy primer is your best defense. This specialized primer can prevent moisture from clinging to your car’s metal body — the scenario that can cause rust to form over time. Whether your area sees a lot of rain and snow, experiences a lot of humidity, or simply sees corrosion-causing agents like salt and salt spray during the wettest and coldest seasons of the year, epoxy primer is what you need. 

Strongly Adhesive

Epoxy primer is impressively adhesive. Once it’s been applied, it sticks securely, bonding to the material in question. While it’s fantastic for metals like steel and aluminum, it’ll even work on other materials. Fiberglass, wood and even some kinds of plastic can all bond with this extra-adhesive primer. And, thanks to the primer’s chemical composition, it can also smooth out the surface it’s applied to. This makes sure that whatever you’re applying next will go on smoothly and without issue.

Fills in Imperfections

Did you know that an epoxy primer can actually make your car’s exterior look better and more pristine? These highly adhesive primers are thick when applied, and they can fill in minor imperfections like cracks, small dents and dings, and other types of little surface flaws. That’s right: An epoxy primer can even do some small repairs. With one of these primers in place, your vehicle’s exterior can actually look better for longer. It’s almost like refreshing the exterior, without the high cost of repairing those little issues.

Types of Epoxy Primers

Epoxy primers all do the same job — but they aren’t by any means all identical. These primers feature different ingredients and formulations, but they offer different levels of strength and protection.

In order to find the best of the bunch, you’ll want to consider which type of epoxy primer is best for your needs and vehicle. There are really just two primary types available today: sprays and buckets. Learn more about each type right here.

Spray Epoxy Primer

Spray epoxy primers, which are typically available in aerosol cans, are quick, easy, and extra convenient. You don’t need much expertise or any special accessories to apply the primer with one of these cans. All you have to do is point the primer, press, and spray. The aerosol cans are equipped with built-in nozzles that apply a powerful stream of primer.

While aerosol or spray epoxy primers are fantastic for beginners, they are somewhat limited. If you’re tackling a large vehicle or an even bigger project, a single can of spray primer likely won’t be enough to apply multiple coats.

Bucket Epoxy Primer

Bucket epoxy primers are sold in literal buckets (or sometimes bottles). These are more of a DIY option for those who want to handle the mixing and application process themselves. Unlike spray primers, bucket primers come with the primer and hardener separated. You have to mix the two together, then apply it yourself. Though this requires more effort, it has one big benefit: With a bucket primer, you can choose how much of a primer-hardener ratio you’d like, and you can control the amount of primer you apply. 

If you’ve applied epoxy primer before, a bucket product will likely be a better choice. With more customization and often more affordable pricing, this type is great for those who are a little more experienced.

Our Top Pick

Even though all of the epoxy primers on our list do a good job, our top pick is the Speedokote Epoxy Fast Dry 2.1 Primer & Sealer, which combines a high-quality formula with a reasonable price. It’s a versatile product that you can use on metal and other materials. There’s also a lot to go around, and it’s simple to apply and dries rather quickly. But most importantly, the epoxy is durable and long lasting, so you don’t have to worry about deterioration and corrosion.

Sources:

  1. How to Prep a Car for Paint – Wiki How
  2. How to Prepare for Car Painting – Do it Your Self