Zinsser BIN Spray Can Review

Updated May 27, 2024 | Posted Oct 3, 2020 | Product Reviews, Paints | 4 comments

As a professional decorator I use a multitude of Zinsser products on a regular basis. None more often than Zinsser BIN. So I thought I’d put pen to paper and write a quick Zinsser BIN spray can review. Click here to see online prices.


What is Zinsser BIN Made From??


Zinsser BIN is a shellac-based primer which will stick hard and fast to pretty much anything. The shellac itself is produced by the female lac bug, which is a beetle native to India, Thailand and a few other Asian countries. As well as being used in decorating, ladies (and some men) use shellac products on their fingernails!!


What is Zinsser BIN Good for??


Stain Block

Tor Coatings (or Zinsser) specialise in “problem solving products” and BIN spray is no exception. It is an awesome stain block for starters!! It deals with all the regular stains such as water damage, marker pen, nicotine and the like. It dries within minutes too, meaning you can use it when emulsioning to hold back some nasties, but it won’t hold the job up.


Knotting primer

It holds back stains from knots too. So if the knots in your timber weren’t treated correctly the first time it was painted and over the years you notice dark stains bleeding through your paint finish, just give the affected area a go with some Zinsser BIN, paint over as normal and hey presto!! You’ll never have the issue again.


Adhesion Primer

As previously mentioned, Zinsser BIN will stick to pretty much anything. Melamine or varnished furniture, no issues at all!! You probably wouldn’t use the Zinsser BIN as a spray for larger areas, but it does come in handy for small bits and pieces. Varnished spindles are a doddle to prime with Zinsser BIN spray. Even skirting board or anything like that.


Limitations of Zinsser BIN


There’s only one I can think of off the top of my head. Zinsser BIN goes brittle when it dries. This doesn’t cause an issue in most rooms in your house, but it can do if you use it in a bathroom, or outside. In environments such as these, a substrate and it’s coating may expand and contract due to the changing climate. In these situations, you can only use Zinsser Bin on small areas, or to “spot prime”, otherwise your paint will fail over time.


Review Summary

Zinsser BIN Spray Can Review - Decorator's forum UK

This is a handy little aerosol that can be used to fix many issues that arise when decorating.

Product Brand: Zinsser

Editor's Rating:


  • Easy to use.
  • good opacity.
  • Versatile.
  • Quick Drying.
  • Readily available.
  • Reasonably priced.


  • Can’t really be used outside, unless for spot priming.
  • The nozzle can clog occasionally.

Zinsser BIN from a Tin


Zinsser BIN does come in liquid paint form which is probably better for larger areas. There is a disadvantage to using the paint in this form, but it is still awesome!! For a start off it’s very gloopy and can dry on your brush as you apply it. If fact, let’s just say it kills brushes for fun, even if you use Zinsser brush restorer. Zinsser BIN is available in 1L, 2.5L and 5L tins. If you want to read a full review click here.


Final Thoughts


All in all, Zinsser BIN really is a great product to use and as a decorator I will continue to always have at least one can in my tool bag. I think pretty much every decorator uses it if I’m honest. It just performs so well and dries so quickly. The Zinsser spray can is my “get out of jail free” card, and very handy to have in the van. I use it to block small stains, knots, and to prime surfaces such as metal pipes or varnished wood. Click here to see online prices.


Other Zinsser Products


I thought it was worth mentioning a handful of the other products Zinsser manufacture. We’ve covered Zinsser BIN which is your heavy duty, hard to use (unless in a spray can) stain block / primer.

Next on the list is Coverstain. This is oil-based, easier to use than BIN, drying time is around 4 hours and is also used as a stain block / primer. This comes in a spray can, as well as liquid paint form and it is another product I use a lot of. Unlike Zinsser BIN, Coverstain can be used outside, or in bathrooms.

Bullseye 123 or 123plus is the water-based alternative. Still some stain blocking abilities, still an adhesion primer, although you probably wouldn’t use it for harder tasks like you would with BIN or Coverstain.

The last product I wanted to mention is Zinsser All-Clean, which being a ‘finish product’, is the odd one out I suppose. However, Zinsser All-Clean is an awesome paint and great in white for a bathroom ceiling. The overall finish and durability are second to none. Click here to see the full range.

Updated May 27, 2024 | Posted Oct 3, 2020 | 4 comments

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Cupit has been in the decorating industry since 2002 and has mostly worked as a Trade Decorator in the domestic sector (peoples’ homes). Self-proclaimed “product geek”, Mike has a passion for paint and decorating tools. Mike now spends most of his time testing paint products and tools, comparing them to similar products on the market, and blogging about the industry in general.


  1. richard

    I find johnstones stainaway surprised me just how good it was, kept back nasty stains. Hopefully the days of rolling ceilings with stinky Coverstain or thin BIN then 2 coats white is a thing of the past.
    Lot cheaper method 2 coats instead of 3.

  2. Greg Wood

    I have sent this idea in to you recently, but thought it may be of interest to others here. The main criticism I have of shellac based adhesion primers/ blockers is the way they get through brushes, even old ones, when it comes to cleaning and then using again.
    Just for touching up small stains / knots etc, what about producing a product that comes in a pot like the old Shellac one did , with a brush attached to the lid. This keeps everything soft and ready for use. When it runs down just buy a small refill. I know this does not work for large areas, but let’s be honest for the small area it would work a treat. Thoughts?

    • matthew ian walker

      i use one of those provinci roller savers. Just put a bit of methylated spirits at the bottom, keep it up right with the lid on and your brushes will last for ages( mine have been in there for 3 years )

  3. matthew ian walker

    i use one of those provinci roller savers. Just put a bit of methylated spirits at the bottom, keep it up right with the lid on and your brushes will last for ages. Mine have been in there for 3 years !


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