Kilz 2 vs Kilz 3 (Are They The Same?)

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Reviewed by
Eral Kadrija

Tony Adams

Every successful painting task begins with a good primer coat and there is hardly any primer coat that is better than Kilz 2 and Kilz 3. But what’s the difference between both Kilz products?

The difference between Kilz 2 and Kilz 3 is that Kilz 3 primer is used for priming heavy-duty projects like walls while Kilz 2 is more suited to light projects like wall trims and doors.

Kilz 3 is also better at sealing and hiding stains, dark spots, and imperfections on the surface better than Kilz 2. Kilz 2 is more suited to hiding small to medium stains like pencil marks.

This post reveals more differences between Kilz 2 and Kilz 3 including when to use each Kilz product. Let’s dive in.

What is Kilz 2?

What is Kilz 2?

Kilz 2 is the second primer from Kilz Company. Kilz 2 is a water-based primer coating that offers stain blocking and protection against moisture.

The primer coating helps to protect against light and medium stains including pencil marks, color stains, and swirl marks. Since the primer coating is water-based, it dries quickly and sticks to just about any type of surface.

Kilz 2 has a low level of VOCs, solvents, and chemicals making the primer ideal for all surfaces and types of paints. This is why the Kilz 2 is called the all-purpose primer.

What Is Kilz 2 Used For?

  1. To protect against small to medium stains.
  2. To improve adhesion between the top coat and the surface.
  3. When changing simple colors and when switching between shades of the same color.
  4. Kilz 2 is used to prime before applying water-based or oil-based paints.
  5. To smoothen drywall patches before applying paint.

Related Read: Kilz Original vs Kilz 2?

What is Kilz 3?

What is Kilz 3?

Kilz 3 is the third primer from the Kilz company. Kilz 3 offers impressive stain blocking, moisture resistance, and improved adhesion.

Kilz 3 helps to protect against greasy stains, water stains, pet urine, food and drink spills, and ink. Kilz 3 can be used as a primer or sealer before applying paint. Kilz 3 is reinforced with additives that help to protect against mildew growth.

What Is Kilz 3 Used For?

  1. To protect against mold growth.
  2. Kilz 3 can be used as a sealer coating.
  3. To cover large stains and grease.
  4. Kilz 3 is used for sealing odor and smoke stains.
  5. Kilz 3 primer helps to improve surface adhesion so the paint can stick better.
  6. To hide dark and patched spots and irregularities on the surface to be painted.

So, is Kilz 2 better than Kilz 3 or is it the other way around? Let’s find out.

Kilz 2 vs Kilz 3

Here is a table that identifies the major differences between Kilz 2 and Kilz 3:

Kilz 2Kilz 3
Stain BlockingGoodBetter
UsageCan be used as a primer coatCan be used as a primer and sealer coat
Surface AdhesionSticks to all indoor surfacesSticks to indoor and exterior surfaces
Size of TaskFor small to medium tasks like doors and trimsFor large tasks like walls and concrete
ThicknessNot as thick as Kilz 3Thicker than Kilz 2

Next, let’s check out these differences and more in detail.

Stain Blocking

How well do the Kilz primers block stains?

Kilz 2 is good at blocking stains from affecting the finish or the surface underneath. However, Kilz 2 only helps to block small to medium stains.

Pencil marks, light scratches, scuff, swirl marks, and light dents can all be filled and covered with Kilz 2 but the primer coating can’t block large stains.

Kilz 3 is very effective at blocking stains. The primer coating is designed to be thick so it can block old, dark, and large stains on the surface. Greasy stains, oily scum, and dark spots can all be blocked with Kilz 3 primer coating.

Verdict: Kilz 3 offers superior stain blocking to Kilz 2 because it is thicker and less transparent.

The Usage

How can you use the Kilz primer?

Kilz 2 primer is mainly used as a primer coating. Though it can also be used as a sealer, Kilz 2 wouldn’t provide much sealing properties on the surface and can allow large and wet stains to seep through. So, it’s best to use Kilz 2 as a primer for improved adhesion.

Kilz 3 primers can be used as a primer and sealer coat. The primer coating is very good at blocking and preventing stains from seeping through the surface so you can use it to seal stained or damaged spots before applying paint. You can also use Kilz 3 to prime and improve adhesion between the top coat and substrate.

Verdict: Kilz 3 can be used as a sealer and primer coat while Kilz 2 is more ideal as a primer coating because it doesn’t offer much sealing properties.

Surface Adhesion

How well does the finish adhere or stick to different surfaces?

Kilz 2 sticks and adheres to just about any type of surface because it is water-based and as such, compatible with any material.

However, it is not ideal on exterior surfaces because it is not strong enough to thrive on exterior surfaces. Kilz 2 will stick to wall trims, doors, cabinets, and other indoor surfaces.

Kilz 3 sticks to all surfaces either indoor or outdoor. You can even use Kilz 3 on exterior building walls and furniture. The improved adhesion of Kilz 3 is because it is water-based but the reason it can be used on exterior surfaces is that Kilz 3 is more effective at blocking stains and withstanding harsh conditions.

Verdict: Kilz 3 will stick and perform well on indoor and outdoor surfaces but Kilz 2 will stick to indoor surfaces.

The Size of the Task

What size of task can the Kilz primer handle?

Kilz 2 primer is ideal for small-scale tasks like priming wall trims, windows, doors, and cabinets. You can also use Kilz 2 primer for medium-scale tasks like priming furniture and wall décor.

Kilz 3 is more suited to large-scale tasks like reconstruction projects. You can also use Kilz 3 on large surfaces like walls and ceilings. Large stains and grease can also be wiped off and sealed with Kilz 3.

Verdict: You can tackle large-scale projects with Kilz 3 while Kilz 2 is more ideal for small-scale tasks.

The Thickness

How thick is the Kilz?

Kilz 2 is not thick. The primer coating is designed to hide light to medium stains so it wasn’t designed to be as thick as other Kilz primers.

Kilz 3 is thicker than most Kilz primers because there are additives present in the primer coating to make it better at hiding stains. Kilz 3 is designed to be thick on purpose so it can be used on all tasks and large stains.

Verdict: Kilz 3 is thicker than Kilz 2 because it is designed to hide stains better than Kilz 2.

When Should You Use Kilz 2 Primer?

  1. You should use Kilz 2 primer when dealing with small to medium stains.
  2. You should use Kilz 2 primer when you want to switch colors.
  3. Use Kilz 2 primer to prime doors, window trims, and cabinets.
  4. Use Kilz 2 to prime drywall and plastered surfaces.
  5. Kilz 2 primer should be used when finishing an indoor item.

When Should You Use Kilz 3 Primer?

  1. Use Kilz 3 primer to hide large stains.
  2. Use Kilz 3 primer when you want to cover dark colors, paints, and old spots.
  3. Kilz 3 primers should be used when working on an exterior surface.
  4. Use Kilz 3 for large scale tasks and priming walls.
  5. Use Kilz 3 for restoration and renovation projects.

Final Words

In summary, Kilz 2 and Kilz 3 are both great choices for primer coats. Both are also water-based meaning that you can use them on virtually any type of surface. The one you pick will depend on your task and the size of stain you want to block.

You should use Kilz 2 for small tasks and small stains while Kilz 3 should be used for large tasks and old stains. Finally, check the manufacturer’s instructions to know if the Kilz primer is ideal for the surface you want to prime.

Tony Adams

Tony Adams

Woodworker, Interior and Exterior Painter, Flooring Specialist

Tony is a professional painter and an author of DIY Geeks. Tony has completed over 1,000 painting projects for his clients. It's safe to say he knows what he Is talking about.

Eral Kadrija

Eral Kadrija

Lead Editor, Home Renovator

Eral has a passion for home renovation and repair. Over the years, he has bought, renovated, and sold 7 old homes. Using his experience from different DIY projects he created DIY Geeks.

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