Best Primer For Rusted Metal: Top 6 Picks In 2022

Metal is an elegant and long-lasting material! Even so, it’s vulnerable to one thing: Rust! And as you know rust and metal never get along.

For one, rust prevents the paint from adhering to the surface. Not to mention how unattractive it makes the metal surface look! For that reason, it’s good to must protect your metal surfaces against corrosion.

best primer for rusted metal

What if the metal is rusted already? Well, you don’t need to worry either! Just get yourself one of the best primer for rusted metal in the market and let it do its work.

Trust me, you’ll be surprised at how easily it removes that rustiness on your metals. Best of all, you don’t have to waste your time or energy scrubbing the surface!

In Hurry! Then Check Editor’s Recommendations:



Editor's Rating


Corroseal Rust Converter Metal Primer

Corroseal Rust Converter Metal Primer

5 out of 5

FDC Professional-grade Rust Remover Ultra Primer

FDC Professional-grade Rust Remover Ultra Primer

4.5 out of 5

Rust-Oleum Stops Rust Metal Primer

Rust-Oleum Stops Rust Metal Primer

4.5 out of 5

Now that you know what you need, which is the best primer to use on rusted metal surfaces? Besides, with so many primers out there, how do you settle on one particular product? Again, worry not! You are in the right place!

In this article, we have highlighted six primers for rusted metal, including their pros and cons. So, take your time to go through each of these reviews and pick the ideal primer for you!

Ready? Then, let’s begin!

Top 6 Best Primer for Rusted Metal

1. Corroseal Rust Converter Metal Primer

Corroseal Rust Converter Metal Primer

You heard that right! Instead of removing rust, this primer converts it into a paintable black enamel. Therefore, this product converts rust and primes the surface in one step! To paint the surface, leave the enable for about 1 hour so that it can cure fully.

Why use Corroseal rust convert? First and foremost, this primer restores the metal surface. Secondly, it enhances their durability and protects them from future corrosion and rust. No wonder this metal primer has topped our list!

And those are not the only benefits this incredible rust converter has to offer!

It has a water-based formula that makes it inflammable, yet non-corrosive. Moreover, it is easy to clean up since you just need soap and water. As for the application, you can choose the most convenient process for you including roll, brush, or spray.

This primer was initially designed for commercial applications in marine environments. That’s why its industrial-strength formulation is so powerful. Even better, this makes it ideal for other applications like in residential and automotive environments as well.

So, if you’re looking for a versatile product, this one suits your needs perfectly. However, we suggest that you avoid using this rust converter on galvanized and freshly blasted steel surfaces.

Another great thing about this primer is how effective it is. Unlike most products, this product deals with rust as the manufacturer promises! It gets rid of rust like a charm without the need for heavy scrubbing or sandblasting.

Regarding the packaging, this primer is available in various sizes. You can find it in 5 gallon, 1-quart, 1-gallon, and 32-ounce sizes. This means that you can choose the best size depending on your priming needs. Just remember that 1 gallon of the product can cover an area of about 200 to 250 sq. ft.

The only issue with this Corroseal metal primer is that it’s a bit expensive. However, considering all the amazing features and how effective it is, the price is justifiable.


  • Non-flammable & non-corrosive
  • Easy cleanup
  • Highly effective
  • Ideal for commercial, residential, marine applications and Automotive Rusty metal Primer


  • A bit pricey
  • Has some chemical smell

2. FDC Professional-grade Rust Remover Ultra Primer

FDC Professional-grade Rust Remover Ultra Primer

Talk about an economical primer that removes rust from metal surfaces effectively! Well, that’s what this FDC professional grade is. Just like the Corroseal primer above, it tackles rust by converting it into an inert black coating.

Therefore, with this primer, you don’t need preparation methods like sandblasting before application. The coating enables the paint to adhere to the surface, hence sealing out moisture and preventing corrosion. If you’re looking for a primer that makes work easy, this FDC Rust remover is an excellent choice!

As for the actual application process, there are various methods you can use. They include using a brush, roller, or even a pump sprayer.

Just shake or stir the primer and you’re good to go. It comes ready to use, meaning thinning is also not required. That’s how easy to use this primer is!

However, if the surface has large rust particles, we recommend that you scrape them off with a wire brush or sandpaper. Likewise, you can clean the metal surface to get rid of grease, dirt, and dust.

Moving on, versatility is another great thing that making this product such a good choice. Even though the primer was originally designed for automotive applications, you can use it on many other surfaces.

So, whether you’re working on gates, metal pipes, doors, and other metal structures, you’ll love this primer! Also, since this formula is water-resistant, you can use it for marine environments.

It is also worth noting that this primer does not contain harmful chemicals. Therefore, you don’t need to be concerned about it corroding your hands during use. Furthermore, it doesn’t release toxic fumes, making it a great option for residential use.

After application, this primer takes about 20 minutes to dry fully, creating a smooth and dark finish. To clean up the mess, you just need some water and soap and you’ll be done. For excellent and durable results, add another coat of the primer before you paint the surface.


  • Water-based formula
  • No preparation work needed
  • Free from toxic fumes and chemicals
  • Versatile & reasonably priced


  • Leaves stubborn stains on fabric and concrete

3. Rustoleum Rusty Metal Primer

Rustoleum Rusty Metal Primer

Rust-Oleum is one of the most popular brands in the priming industry. In short, our list would be incomplete without one of their products! That’s why we have included their Stops Rust Primer. And true to the word, this primer does a great job of ‘stopping’ rust.

What we love most about this primer is that it is very versatile. Therefore, you can use it for both exterior and interior objects.

It works well for various tasks including household, marine as well as automotive uses. However, you should note that this product only works for metal surfaces.

It has an oil-based formulation that drives out corrosive moisture and air left behind by other primers.

Also, it provides an incredible coating to the primed metal surface. This creates a smooth protective finish on the metal surface. You’ll find this very useful when applying paint to the surface.

Even better, this primer takes less than 15 minutes to dry to touch after application. So, once you get into the project, you will be done within minutes.

It comes in a 12 oz. pressurized spray can that contains enough primer to cover an area of about 20 sq. ft. This spray can has a convenient all-angle nozzle that allows you to apply the primer in any direction. Furthermore, the ergonomic tip has a wider finger pad that reduces fatigue when spraying the primer.

As a primer, this product ensures that the paint adheres to the surface smoothly and effectively. Once it bonds with the rusted surface, no air or moisture can get in! It is also sturdy and durable, meaning it will adhere to the surface for a very long time.

Considering all these amazing features, this primer is one of the best primer for rusted metal. Besides, its ability to withstand harsh weather, heavy use, and demanding environment is exceptional.


  • Adheres to heavily rusted metal surfaces
  • Ideal for household, automotive, and marine use
  • Easy-to-use 12 oz. spray can
  • The oil-based formula guarantees rust prevention


  • Works on rusted metal surfaces only

4. Krylon Rust Protector Primer For Metal

Krylon Rust Protector Primer For Metal

A fast-drying metal primer delivers quick results. However, finding one has not always been that easy. Well, that’s about to change. If you’re looking for such a product, this one from Krylon is a great option.

It has a drying time of less than 10 minutes after application. This prevents the surface from, being damaged by things like dust, fingerprints, dirt, and other particles. Besides, it delivers a smooth durable finish and removes rust effectively.

Manufactured by Sherwin-Williams, a company based in the USA, this primer enhances the paint’s adhesion and extends its durability. So, with this product, be ready to forget about corroded metal surfaces for a very long time.

Unlike the other primers we’ve reviewed above, this product is very unique. This is because it acts both as a paint and primer. It’s a good demonstration of the popular saying ‘hitting 2 birds with 1 stone”!

For that, you don’t need to paint the surface after application. Even better, apart from metal, you can use this primer on plastics as well.

It is also hard to ignore the seemingly endless choice of colors that this primer is available in. There are more than 30 colors that you can choose from, ranging from red oxides and white to classic gray and clear.

So, regardless of the color of the surface, you’re working on, you’ll always the perfect option for you. Moreover, the final finishes are available in matte, glossy, and semi-glossy.

You’ll also love that this primer comes in a 12 oz. spray can that makes it easy to apply. However, you must be very cautious when spraying the primer.

Make sure you hold the spray can horizontally and keep a distance of about two feet from the surface. Otherwise, the surface may end up with drip marks.

Overall, this oil-based primer is very effective and affordable. For this reason, it is considered to be the best primer for metal in the market at the moment. Honestly speaking, we don’t see how anyone can go wrong with this Krylon metal primer.


  • Different finish and color options
  • The spray can allow convenient application
  • Dries in less than 10 minutes
  • Acts as paint and primer


  • Requires surface preparation before application
  • Spraying the primer can be messy

5. TotalBoat Rust Primer

TotalBoat Rust Primer

TotalBoat is a reputable brand that has been in the priming industry for a long time. One thing that has enabled them to thrive in the market over the years is their top-notch products. That’s why we suggest that you give their rust primer a try. This solution does a really good job when it comes to converting rust.

Yes! It converts rust, it doesn’t remove it! This simply means that when applied to the metal surface, it turns rust into an inert enamel that allows priming and painting.

One thing that has made this rust converter so popular is its versatility. It works on various metallic items like bikes, railings, cars, boats, campers, and steel doors among others. Furthermore, this phosphoric acid-based primer restores and makes these surfaces rust-resistance.

The primer comes in a 1-gallon bottle at a very affordable price. However, this shouldn’t make you doubt the quality of this product even for a minute!

Besides, this allows you to cover a lot of surfaces. To be precise, 1 gallon has a coverage of about 500 sq. ft. So, with this primer, get ready to take care of all your rusted items.

If the solution is too much for you, don’t worry. You can keep it for future use. Just make sure that you seal the bottler properly during storage. Furthermore, it is available in a 1-quart size as well.

When it comes to application, this rust converter is pretty simple to use. This is because it’s thin enough that you can put it in a spray can.

You can also apply it through other methods like using a roller or brush. The choice is all up to you.

There is something that some people don’t like about this solution though. That’s the fact that it has produces a strong smell when tends to irritate the users.

Other than that, it does a very good job of converting rust on metal surfaces. We highly recommend it for someone that’s operating on a budget.


  • Economical
  • Multiple application methods
  • Versatile solution
  • One gallon covers a large surface area


  • Requires surface preparation before application
  • Has an irritating smell

6. XIONLAB Rust Converter and Primer

XIONLAB Rust Converter and Primer

The last product on our selection of the best rust primers is this rust converter from XIONLAB. It’s a 2-in-1 product since it acts both as a primer and a rust remover. Trust, this primer is such a great choice.

The most unique thing about this water-based solution is that you can dilute it with up to 20 percent water.

Even better, it works on both damp and dry surfaces. You can find this primer I a pint or gallon size. When it comes to application, we recommend that you use a spray gun.

While the application process seems simple, it requires some time to clean the surface. Putting that aside, this primer works on various topcoats including enamels, water-based, and oil-based.

You don’t even have to sandblast the surface. This enables you to get rid of rust on most metal items and boats as well.

This primer takes about 30 minutes for the 1st coat to dry fully. Afterward, you can apply the 2nd coat and leave it to dry for about 2 hours. However, before you apply the topcoat let it dry for 24 hours. Then use water to get rid of any remaining residue.

It is also worth mentioning that this rust converter is UV resistant. This helps to give your metal surface better protection against Ultra-Violet rays from the sun.

Regarding the coverage, 1 gallon of this solution covers an area of about 1000 sq. ft., which is 2.5 times more than most primers. Furthermore, it’s environment-friendly and free from toxic substances like lead, resins, and oily solvents.

Just like any other product though, this primer has its limitations. For instance, it is more costly than most brands. But considering how superior this rust converter is, we don’t think that should be a major issue.


  • Safe for skin and environment
  • Accepts all topcoats
  • Excellent durability and quality
  • Takes little time to dry
  • 2.5 times more coverage


  • Difficult to clean
  • A bit costly

Rusted Metal Primer Buyer’s Guide

best rusty metal primer

When you head out to the market, you’ll come across many primers claiming they can solve your rust problems. But as you know, not all of these products are that effective.

Leaving you with one man question; how do you know you’re choosing the best primer for rusted metal?

Well, that’s why we’ve written this section to guide you. In other words, make sure you consider the following factors:


There are 2 types of metal primers, a treatment primer, and a protective primer. One is designed to protect new metal surfaces from rust, while the other one is for treating rusted metals.

So, before you settle on a certain primer, you must first consider the condition of the metal. If the metal is heavily rusted, go for a high-quality rust primer.

Drying Time

Rust converters usually take up to 20- 48 hours to dry. However, this will depend on the formula of the brand. For instance, you’ll find some primers that take 20 to 30 minutes to dry. Choose the ideal primer for you depending on the job requirements.


Durability refers to how long the anti-rust coating will last on the metal.

Some coatings tend to wear off quickly and easily. We doubt anyone would want that! So, how do choose a primer that lasts for long time?

best Primer for metal

Most of the time, thicker rust primers are durable as compared to the thicker ones. However, the primer’s durability may also be determined by its constituents after rust is converted.

Whichever the case, ensure you buy a more durable product!


Some primers contain harmful chemicals like phosphoric acids.

You know this means, don’t you? Once your skin comes into contact with these chemicals, they’ll burn you!

To avoid this, you must be very careful when applying such primers.

Why trouble yourself, when there are safe primers on the market? That’s right, some primers are 100% free of toxic chemicals. We suggest that you choose these rusted metal primers instead.

Application Method

This is another important factor you should consider when it comes to rusted metal primers. Most rust converters have a thin liquid formula, making them easy to apply with a spray or brush.

This results in easier working, which is what you should be going for. In other words, avoid primers that are difficult to use!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do metal primers work on rusted metals? 

When applied on rusty metals, primers either convert rust into a paintable inter substance or remove it from the surface.

How long do rust metal primers take to dry? 

The drying time of primers varies according to the brand. For instance, some take 30-60 minutes to dry, leaving a smooth black finish. On the other hand, some can take an entire day or more to cure.

Can you apply a primer for rusted metal over a non-rusted or painted surface? 

Of course, you can! However, it may not offer future rust protection the same way it would over a rusty surface.

What items does rust converters work on? 

They work on any rusted iron or steel item. Therefore, you can use them on things like cars, gate, trailer, iron tank, cast iron, farm tools, etc. However, they will no work on aluminum, galvanized metal, and stainless steel.

Rust remover and rust converter, which one is better? 

It’s hard to say which type of metal primer is better than the other. This is because your choice should be determined by your job requirements.


There you go! The best primer for rusted metal you’ll find in the market right now. So, if you have a rusted metal surface, don’t waste your time, money, and energy replacing. Just try out one of these primers and its rust will become a thing of the past.

Remember, not every primer is ideal for every project. We recommend that you go through each product review including the Rust-Oleum rusty metal primer review until you find the perfect one for your needs! To make an even better decision, consider the factors highlighted in our ‘buyers guide’ section.

That being said, we don’t think you can go wrong choosing the best metal primer after reading this article!

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