Top 5 Best Paint Strippers

The most important part of any DIY job is the preparation.  This is especially true when it comes to painting.  For instance, the condition of the surface, if you are painting walls, will determine the quality of the finish when you’ve completed the job. Therefore, if the coat of paint is peeling, flaking, chalking or crackling; this will directly impact any new coat you apply. It is recommended that you avoid this from occurring by stripping the previous coats of paint before applying new ones.

If you have tried to strip paint in the past, you will know that removing paint from large surface areas is almost as exciting as painting them (sigh).  When you find a paint stripper though that is effective at its job though, it can actually be fun to see the paint come away from the surface you are stripping.

You may be overwhelmed though, by the sheer variety and amount of different paint strippers available on the market, which is why we have put together a handy guide to what we believe are five of the best paint strippers on the market.  Before you decide which is best for you though, it is crucial that you understand the different types of paint strippers available, as well as keeping in mind some general safety and good working practice tips.

If you’re looking for something to clean up your brushes we highly recommend taking a look at Vinegar as a cleaning product instead of powerful paint strippers. Vinegar can work wonders when it comes to cleaning paint of brushes, scrapers and tools, so we recommend you give this ago before dunking your expensive brushes in a pot of paint stripping acid.

Which Type Is Best For You?

There are three main types of paint strippers available at the moment.  These are:

  • Solvent Paint Strippers
  • Caustic Paint Strippers
  • Biochemical Paint Strippers

Solvent Paint Strippers

Solvent paint strippers work by either dissolving or softening the existing bond between the paint film and substrate.  The paint coat starts to bubble up and is therefore easy to remove.  While Methylene Chloride is the solvent of choice for tradesmen and DIY enthusiasts, there are also alternatives such as Ketone, Acetone, and Toluene.  Although solvent paint strippers are very effective, the health risks posed by their use makes them more dangerous to use than caustic strippers.

Caustic Paint Strippers

Water-based Caustic paint strippers usually have a pH of around 13 to 14 and contain the active ingredient of lye.  This is normally either caustic soda, such as sodium hydroxide or potash, that is potassium hydroxide.  When the paint stripper is applied, the oil in the paint begins to react with the lye, making it soapy and loosening the paint easily from the surface.  Caustic strippers are not nearly as dangerous to use as solvent varieties, however, they have been known to cause skin burns and lung irritation.

Biochemical Paint Strippers

As the name suggests, biochemical strippers consist of solvents derived from plants.  Depending on the particular brand or formula, the ingredients may include citric acid, soy oil, lactic acid (from corn sugar), dimethylsulfoxide (from wood pulp) or terpenes (from citrus or pine).  Skin irritation is a notable risk from using these types of solvents.

Although we will be focusing on the best five paint strippers you can buy, it is worth noting there are alternatives to the above strippers.  These alternatives methods include:

  • Heat – In the form of a low-intensity infrared heating system, a heat gun or torch.
  • Sanding – Using either a power sander or by hand.
  • Power Washing – Especially good for removing paint on exterior walls.

Handy Tips For Using Paint Strippers

  • Always read the label, to ensure you use your paint stripper of choice correctly.
  • Wear the correct safety wear, such as protective gloves, glasses, and respirators if using solvents.
  • Ensure that the area you are working in is well-ventilated so that the fumes escape.
  • Make sure you use the correct applicator for the paint stripper you are using, based on its consistency and the surface are you have to use it on.
  • Give the paint stripper enough time to work.
  • Wash and neutralize the surface after removing the old coats of paint, according to the instructions.  Then give the surface enough time to dry before you apply a new coat of paint on it.

Overview Of Top 5 Best Paint Strippers

Klean Strip QXY24 ReviewKlean-Strip QXY24 Xylol Xylene 1-Quart

Klean-Strip is a product produced by cleaning specialist manufacturer WM Barr.  For over 70 years the company has been devising and releasing cleaning products, and in this case paint strippers that aim to be more effective and faster than the competition.  This particularly paint stripper features Xylene and is a great solvent-based paint stripper that has a whole host of different uses.

According to Klean-Strip this has been made with professional use in mind (or at least giving non-professional customers a professional formula).  It can be used to strip away years of old paint.  It can also be used, thanks to the Xylene, to remove various types of adhesives clean heavy-duty spillages and thin wood stains, wood varnishes, and oil-based paints.  Although there are only 15 reviews on Amazon, considering it has scored either 4 or 5 stars, it is safe to say that customers are happy with it.

Keeping the relatively affordable price and the Amazon customer rating in mind, this is a product worth considering if you are looking for a solvent paint stripper.

Pros

  • Contains Xylene
  • Affordable
  • Versatile

Cons

  • Highly toxic, so you need to wear protective gear (avoid wearing latex gloves, as it will eat through them eventually)

Rust-Oleum Automotive 255448 32-Ounce AircrAft Remover Quart

Rust-Oleum Automotive 255448 32-Ounce Aircraft Remover Quart

Next on our list is the Amazon’s Choice Automotive 255448 32-Ounce Aircraft Remover paint stripper from Rust-Oleum.  This is a reasonably priced automobile and bike paint remover that can be applied using a paintbrush and takes around 10 to 15 minutes to work.  This product is designed for tougher, more intense paint removal jobs.

As the formula is strong, you obviously have to be very careful using it and make sure your skin is covered to avoid irritation and burning.  The majority of reviewers seem to be very happy with this Rust-Oleum paint remover and given that it is yet another very affordable price tag, you should give this some real consideration.

It is especially useful for removing paint from cars and bikes, but obviously can be used in a number of different ways.  So whether you are looking to give your car or bike a fresh coat of paint or want to clean up those tires you intend to sell – this is likely to be a great investment.

Pros

  • Very fast acting
  • Non-flammable
  • Great for removing even the toughest finishes

Cons

  • Highly toxic, so requires care when using

SOY-Gel Paint and Urethane Remover 2 GallonFranmar Chemical SOY-Gel Paint and Urethane Remover 2 1/5 Gallon

If you are looking for a biochemical paint stripper that is 100% biodegradable and completely safe to use – this SOY-Gel Paint and Urethane Remover from Franmar Chemical could be just what you need.  It is actually made from soybeans and is perfect for use on both horizontal and vertical surfaces.  With just one application of the solution, you can remove numerous old layers of urethane and paint.  That is thanks to the fact it has a considerably lower rate of evaporation compared to other strippers.

For over 30 years Franmar Chemicals has been at the forefront of soybean-based products and has worked with the United Soybean Board to produce safer and more effective formulas.  Judging by the popularity of this particular paint stripper, with all customers rating it 5 out of 5 stars on Amazon, it is safe to say that the Soy-Gel lives up to the statement on its label that it is ‘safe and effective’.

The only downside is that it is a little pricier than some of the other items on this list, but if you are looking for a non-toxic solution to stripping paint from metal, brick, stone, concrete or wood surfaces – this is the stripper for you.

Pros

  • Made from soybeans
  • Non-toxic
  • Works effectively with just one application

Cons

  • Expensive

1 Gallon Kutzit Paint & Varnish Remover 01113Savogran Kutzit Paint & Varnish Remover

Next on our list is the highly reputable company Savogran’s incredibly popular Kutzit Paint & Varnish Remover.  Savogran and the Kutzit line has been favored for a long time by professionals and DIY enthusiasts.  When you look at the reviews on Amazon for this paint stripper, you notice that many customers have been using it for a good number of years, even decades.  That says something about the quality and effectiveness of a product if people are that loyal.

This particular paint stripper is best used with horizontal masonry, metal, wood and other furniture surfaces.  Although it is incredibly flammable, it will not damage these surfaces and works fast even when stripping paint from detailed carvings.  Perfect for removing numerous layers of paint or varnish quickly and efficiently and can be cleaned up relatively easy.

Although it is a little on the pricey side, the reviews and the size of the container speak for themselves in terms of this being a very sound investment.  Just take a look at the numerous reviews shouting its praise.

Pros

  • Fast-acting
  • Won’t damage surfaces
  • Works well even with finely and intricately detailed carving work

Cons

  • More expensive compared to others on the market, so not suited to all budgets

Citri-Strip QCG731 Paint and Varnish Stripping GelCitri-Strip QCG731 Paint And Varnish Stripping Gel 1 Quart

The final paint stripping product that we are going to highlight is the Citri-Strip Paint and Varnish Stripping Gel, which is noted as being a Number One Best Seller on Amazon.  This is another non-toxic and biodegradable gel that will help remove multiple layers of even the most stubborn paint and varnish from doors, cabinets furniture and many other painted surfaces.

Made in the US for eco-friendly individuals, it is very fast acting and stays wet for as much as 24 hours.  Unlike many other paint strippers that consist of toxic and flammable ingredients, this paint and varnish stripper is completely safe for use indoors.   So whether you are looking to use it professionally or just around your home for DIY, this is a very effective product.

So, if you are looking for a popular, reputable and cost-effective paint and varnish stripper that is not going to pose health risks, you should give serious thought to investing in Citri-Strip Paint and Varnish Stripping Gel.

Pros

  • 100% biodegradable and contains no-caustic ingredients
  • Safe for use indoors and outdoors
  • Fast acting and stays wet for up to 24 hours

Cons

  • Couldn’t really find any

In Conclusion

There you have it, the products that we feel are the top 5 paint strippers on the market right now.  We hope it serves as a useful guide when you are trying to find the best paint stripper.

When it comes to making the decision about which is best though, there are a number of different factors that should always be taken into consideration.  As there is not one single paint stripper type or product that removes all paint from all surfaces – you need to choose the right one for the right job.

There is also the fact that some paint strippers are more toxic than others, while others are made from completely natural and biodegradable products.  So if you have health or even environmental concerns you need to look carefully at the formula for paint strippers.  And remember that if you are going to use a more caustic or toxic product, that you invest in the correct safety equipment and clothing and follow best and safe working practices.

While it is a sensible part of the preparation for projects that you should always consider your budget, it would be wrong to base any purchase decision on the price tag alone.  Weigh up all the important factors and find the product that best matches your budget and the other above requirements.

We have tried our best to give you factual and unbiased insight into these top 5 products so that ultimately you make the right decision for you.  Look at the reviews online, consider the surfaces and types of paint you will be stripping and we are sure you will find the best paint stripper for your own needs and requirements.

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