Table of Contents
- View The Best Rust Converter Below
- 1. Rust Kutter Rust Converter
- 2. Corroseal Water-Based Rust Converter
- 3. Rust-Oleum Automotive Rust Reformer Spray
- 4. GEMPLER’S Eco-Friendly Rust Converter and Primer
- 5. FDC Rust Converter ULTRA Rust Repair
- 6. Evapo-Rust Super Safe Rust Remover
- 7. Rust-Oleum Automotive Rust Reformer Bottle
- 8. Permatex Rust Treatment
- 9. Loctite Extend Rust Neutralizer
- 10. VHT Rust Convertor Can
- Rust Converter Buyer’s Guide
- What is the Best Rust Converter?
- How Do I Prepare the Metal Surface for Application of the Rust Converter?
- How Do Rust Converters Work?
- Would a Rust Converter Actually Work?
- Can You Paint Over a Rust Converter?
- What Different Acids are Used in Rust Converters?
- What is the Difference Between a Rust Converters, Rust Neutralizers, Rust Restorers, and Rust Removers?
- What Health and Safety Equipment Should I Use?
- General Tips and Advice
The best rust converters will do exactly what they say on the tin – that is, they will convert rust. Rust converters are usually also primers, or other chemical solutions of various make-ups, that are applied to surfaces with iron oxides (known to most of us as “rust”). These iron oxides (rust) react with the rust converter and form a protective barrier in its place. This barrier is water-resistant and also helps to prevent the further formation of rust on the surface. Rust converters usually turn the area black in color.
The best rust converter will both harden the rust (this is usually done with tannic or phosphoric acid, converting iron oxide to iron tannate or iron phosphate) and also include a primer of some sort. This metal primer means that the surfaces you have just applied the rust converter to will be ready for oil – or epoxy-based paints to be used on it.
Many people get rust converters for a variety of projects, including automotive restoration and outdoor equipment maintenance.
We have compiled a list of 10 examples of the best rust converter you can get on Amazon. We hope you find this guide useful.
View The Best Rust Converter Below
1. Rust Kutter Rust Converter
We selected this as the best example of a rust converter on offer at the moment. This is because it is one of the best combinations you can get in terms of value and quality.
This rust converter comes in a 1-quart container with an attached spray handle at the top for easy, precise application. It can be used both inside and outside on any surfaces that rust. A couple of specific projects you could use it on (that the company mentions) include antique car restoration, farm equipment, and garden tools, among many other possibilities.
This product utilizes phosphoric acid to do the job for you, converting rust into more stable iron phosphate. This will help to prevent further corrosion, as well as preparing the metal for a new coat of paint with a metal primer.
+ Active ingredient: phosphoric acid
+ Spray handle for accurate application
+ 1-quart container (one gallon container also available)
+ Converts rust into iron phosphate
+ Instructions can be found on the label
Why We Like It – We love all the combination of good value and excellent quality you get with this product. You can use this converter on a wide number of things, which is just another reason why the Rust Cutter Rust Converter gets the top spot.
2. Corroseal Water-Based Rust Converter
This rust converter is one of the best quality products we have seen. As a fine example of high-quality rust treatments, this product has a large quantity of one gallon, although other sizes are available. Boasting being non-flammable and non-corrosive, this water-based formula will clean off with just soap and water. It can be applied simply – just use a brush, roller, or spray tool. It was formulated specifically for use in the marine industry, which is, arguably, that which faces the highest risk of rust.
Once applied, this rust converter will change rust into magnetite.
The product contains a latex metal primer, meaning you can paint it soon after applying this rust converter.
You should not use this one on freshly blasted steel or newly galvanized surfaces, or allow it to freeze. It is also reported that you should apply the paint within a couple of weeks, or the rust might start to return.
+ Active ingredient: gallic acid
+ One gallon container
+ Converts rust into magnetite
+ Easy to apply with a brush, roller, or spray tool
+ Coverage of about 200 – 250 square feet per gallon
+ Water-based rust converter
Why We Like It – This rust converter was developed for the marine industry. Its manufacturer and distributor, Rodda Paint Co. from Portland, Oregon, has been in existence since 1932, producing quality products since that time. This is no exception – this one will certainly last you as long as you need it.
3. Rust-Oleum Automotive Rust Reformer Spray
As one of the best budget options in the market of rust converters, this spray version from Rust-Oleum is incredibly easy to apply. The company says that it will “instantly” convert rust to a hard, black surface, which you can then paint over, and it also helps to prevent any rusted metal in the future.
To use this spray can, wear appropriate PPE and apply the rust converter in smooth back and forwards motions over the area of rust, slightly overlapping each line with the previous. Do not hold the spray in one position for any long period.
Each can of this rust converter will cover an area 8 – 10 square feet, leaving an oil-modified alkyd as a resin. It will dry between 20 minutes and 1 hour. It contains acetone, mineral spirits, n-butyl acetate, and xylene as solvents.
+ Easy to apply to rusted metal
+ Surface is ready to paint after use of this rust converter
+ Prevents rust in the future
Why We Like It – We liked this rust converter because of how easy it is to use. If you are after a quick budget rust converter, this is potentially one of the best options for you, provided you have a well-ventilated area to work in.
4. GEMPLER’S Eco-Friendly Rust Converter and Primer
Here we have another example of a rust converter that also primes the surface, meaning you can apply an oil-based paint to it in as little as 48 hours. Alternatively, you can choose not to paint the surface, provided it’s not exposed to the elements. Once you have removed all the surface debris and layered rust, you will find it easy to apply using just a sponge or a brush. One quart of this product can cover up to 125 square feet.
This rust converter is also safe for the environmental, non-flammable, and easy to clean up once you have finished with your application.
+ Easy to apply using a sponge or a brush
+ 1 quart can cover up to 125 square feet
+ Safe for the environment
Why We Like It – We liked this product because it’s safe for the environment. With all the chemicals flying around nowadays, this rust converter is a breath of fresh air.
5. FDC Rust Converter ULTRA Rust Repair
This rust converter will cover up to 500 square feet per gallon. It converts rust into a hard surface that seals out moisture, helping to prevent further corrosion in the future. As with most of these products, it will save you time because you won’t need to sandblast your project after applying this item.
To protect your surfaces in the long run, you should apply two layers of oil-based paint to the area where you have used the rust converter. You will not need to apply any additional primer.
You should use soap and water to clean the application equipment immediately after using it.
Aerosol use is not recommended with this one.
FDC is so confident in the success of their products and this rust converter that they offer a hassle-free money-back guarantee. Simply get in contact with your order number and ask for your money back if you aren’t satisfied, and they will reimburse you in full.
+ Active ingredient: tannic acid
+ 500 square feet per gallon of rust converter
+ Comes with a no-hassle money-back guarantee
Why We Like It – We liked this rust converter because it offers such good coverage. You can cover an awful lot of space with just one of these, making it one of the best rust converters you can buy in terms of efficiency.
6. Evapo-Rust Super Safe Rust Remover
This product is actually a rust remover rather than a rust converter, but we have included it in case it’s potentially something that would interest you. A rust remover, instead of converting rust to a hard layer, completely removes it. It’s best to put a rust remover on if you’re sure you can completely get rid of all the rust. If this doesn’t work, it might then be a good idea to apply a rust converter to what rust is remaining.
This rust remover is a gel. This means that you can use it on vertical surfaces without having to worry about it dripping down and damaging fabrics or plastics, and so on, although, of course, you should still make sure you take the time to put precautions in place.
To use it, you simply brush the gel on and wait for an hour before washing the area down using water.
Evapo-Rust markets this as being even safer than standard vinegar or lemon juice-based products. This is as well as the traditional chemical cleaning solutions that you find in the back of your cupboard. On Amazon, the product is listed as being “non-toxic, biodegradable, non-flammable, odorless, and safe on skin”.
+ Non-toxic and biodegradable
+ Safely removes rust (this is a rust remover rather than a rust converter)
+ Gel, meaning you do not have to worry about drips
Why We Like It – We chose to add this product to our list in case rust removers were something you wanted to investigate. Although they do a different job to rust converters, you can use them to get rid of rust on most metals safely.
7. Rust-Oleum Automotive Rust Reformer Bottle
This rust reformer converts rust to a protected layer that you can paint over almost immediately. It helps prevent future rust and means you don’t have to sand all the way down to the metal. The base coat bonds to the rust and changes it into a black surface used for, as you will know by now, preventing future corrosion, as well as acting as a metal primer. The resin used for this is a vinyl acrylic resin.
Note: Although it may appear to be a spray product from the description on Amazon, this product is actually one that you need to brush on.
We could ask you to scroll down to see the section in the buyer’s guide entitled “What is the Difference Between a Rust Converters, Rust Neutralizers, Rust Restorers, and Rust Removers?”, but we’ll fill you in here. There is no difference. They are different names for the same thing.
+ Active ingredient: tannic acid
+ Brush-on product
+ Can be painted over almost immediately
Why We Like It – This rust restorer made it onto our list because of its ease of use and good reputation of its producer, Rust-Oleum. We also featured a product from Rust-Oleum as our best budget option for a rust converter.
8. Permatex Rust Treatment
Permatex Rust Treatment is one of the best rust converters for automotive bodywork use. It has been specially formulated to be used alongside body filler and fiberglass, making it perfect for use in classic car restoration.
This rust converter, marketed as a “rust treatment”, does all the usual stuff, turning rust into a hard, black surface. Formic acid is used for this, with 2-butoxyethanol included as a primer if you want to paint the surface afterward.
This product comes in an aerosol can and can be either sprayed on or brushed. It’s perfect for filling in spots of rust that develop around the car you are working on.
+ Active ingredient: formic acid
+ Aerosol application
+ Includes a primer for painting
+ Helps to prevent further corrosion
+ Specially formulated to work with body filler and fiberglass
Why We Like It – This one made it into our list because it’s a rust converter (or rust treatment) made specifically for automotive use. We feel that many of you may be looking for a rust converter to use for this kind of task. This product is likely to be of interest to many of you.
9. Loctite Extend Rust Neutralizer
Here we have a product from Loctite that’s perfect for mild surface rust (as are most rust converters). It, like others, converts the rust into a hard, black surface that can then be painted over. You should use oil-based or lacquer-based paints. The paint itself is actually what will protect the surface from moisture and corrosion in the future.
It uses formic acid to convert the rust into a surface you can paint over and 2-Butoxyethanol as a primer.
Loctite is a well-known brand across the world – you can trust their products to be some of the best available.
+ Active ingredient: formic acid
+ Use oil-based or lacquer-based paints for application over the surface and protect it
+ Trusted brand
Why We Like It – We used this product as an example on our list because of the trusted brand and variation in paints you can use to prevent further corrosion.
10. VHT Rust Convertor Can
The last product on this list is a rust converter from VHT. This rust converter is in an aerosol format specifically designed for use on metal surfaces, body filler, and fiberglass. After a drying time of 24 hours, you will find a flat, smooth finish, after which you should apply a topcoat. As always, read the instructions.
+ Active ingredient: formic acid
+ Aerosol application
Why We Like It – We included this rust converter as another example of an aerosol product that might just do the job for you.
Rust Converter Buyer’s Guide
What is the Best Rust Converter?
As you’ll know from reading through this article to this point, we believe that one of the best rust converters is the Rust Kutter rust converter. As with everything, though, what is best for you depends on your individual circumstances and needs.
Many people will be looking for a rust converter to use in the automotive field. If you are looking for a rust converter for this, again, there are different things to consider. You may only want a small aerosol spray can to apply the rust converter if there are only a few patches of rust dotted around the car’s bodywork. You may want something you can brush on if you’re working with bigger patches of bodywork.
There are other things to consider. Almost all rust converters include a primer with them, so you can immediately paint over them. The main reason for that is that different paints is often what fully seals the black iron compound against the elements, and therefore paint is almost always a necessity. But you may want to check if the rust converter you plan to use comes with a primer included in the formula.
Some rust converters are more friendly to the environment than others as well.
How Do I Prepare the Metal Surface for Application of the Rust Converter?
- Remove as much rust as possible, using a stiff-bristled brush (such as a wire brush) or sandpaper. By doing this, you are creating a smooth top layer on the metal. The removal of all the extra particulates and flakes will help you to do this. You do not want to get rid of all the rust completely (otherwise, why would you have bought a rust converter?), but just aim to get it smooth.
- Clean and degrease the surface, leaving time to let it fully dry. A rust converter product will not work if the surface is oily, greasy, or wet.
- Apply the rust converter. We would recommend using a brush or a roller for maximum efficiency.
How Do Rust Converters Work?
Rust converters are used on rusted sections of metal. They contain acids and primers, among other chemicals in their formulas. The majority of the acid and descriptions about them are detailed in the “What Different Acids are Used in Rust Converters?” section below.
Most rust converters use tannic acid, and we shall use this one as an example to describe what happens.
The proper name of rust is iron oxide. It’s formed when iron reacts with oxygen in the presence of moisture in the air. Iron itself is a metal. Iron also makes up part of a metal alloy called steel – a material commonly used in many industries, in particular the construction industry. The reaction of this metal with the oxygen is a combustion reaction, similar to fire, but much slower.
The tannic acid found in a rust converter reacts with the iron oxide to form iron tannate, which is much more stable than rust. A rust primer is also included in the formula, meaning you can begin painting over it.
Would a Rust Converter Actually Work?
Even the best rust converters are not guaranteed to work in every situation. There are a couple of reasons why you may want to consider other options other than rust converters:
- If the surface is oily or greasy in any way, the rust converter may not work. If it’s possible that the surface you are working on may have oil or grease on it (this is particularly relevant if you are working with cars or moving parts in machinery), it must be thoroughly degreased and cleaned before you can apply a rust converter product to it. If you don’t do this, you are likely to find the outer layer of paint or wax, whatever you need to put on, completely ineffective. You will need to strip everything off again, sand it all down, clean and degrease the metal surface, and reapply everything. Nobody wants to have to do that.
- If rust was to break through the rust converter, you are likely to have further issues stemming from the fact that it will be almost impossible to get rid of all the surface corrosion due to the uneven layers of rust. You will need to somehow clean off the rust converter and sand down the area affected by the corrosion, before putting on another application of the rust converter and adding another layer of paint or wax. That certainly would not be easy. We aren’t even sure how that would work.
- A rust converter will only work on the surface of the metal you are covering. They do not penetrate down into the metal. There may be further corrosion down in the metal that you cannot see. Applying a rust converter will not convert this rust – it doesn’t work like that. What may end up happening is the rust converter product may hide the deeper problems that are happening underneath. This might leave you with even more work to do than before.
Using a rust converter does have benefits though:
- Using these products will cover up rusted metal on the surface. From a purely aesthetic point of view, anything is better than obvious rust.
- A rust converter will mean you can apply a fresh coat of paint to the metal surface you want, despite the previous presence of rust. You can’t put an application of paints over rusted surfaces. It just doesn’t work.
- They also can prevent the further spread of rust. Iron oxide is a natural formation that can happen anywhere. Using a rust converter will help to prevent the rust from spreading, meaning you will have (hopefully) less work to do in the future in this regard.
Can You Paint Over a Rust Converter?
The very large majority of rust converter products include a primer in their formula, meaning you can paint directly over them as soon as the drying time has elapsed. It’s often very important to do this, and failure to do so can sometimes mean that rust will return in as little as two or three weeks.
It’s often a good idea to apply two coats over a metal surface you have used a rust converter on. This will mean that the metal is as protected as possible.
What Different Acids are Used in Rust Converters?
You will have noticed that a variety of different rust converters use different acids in their formulas. The main three are:
- tannic acid
- phosphoric acid
- formic acid
Tannic acid is used in many rust converter products, turning rust into ferric tannate.
Phosphoric acid is a very effective rust converter agent, effectively turning the iron oxide (rust) into ferric phosphate. It’s probably the most common acid to be used in rust converter products.
Formic acid is not as effective as a rust converting agent as phosphoric acid or tannic acid, although it will still do the job for you. The main advantage of formic acid is that it is less toxic to people and the environment than the alternatives (although you should certainly still take care when using it). Formic acid is often used as a preservative and antibacterial property in feed for livestock, because of how it delays certain decay processes.
Some rust converters are known for using a mixture of these acids to produce the most effective formula to deal with rust possible.
What is the Difference Between a Rust Converters, Rust Neutralizers, Rust Restorers, and Rust Removers?
Rust converters, rust neutralizers, and rust restorers are all synonyms and refer to the same branch of products: ones that include a chemical reaction to turn iron oxide (rust) into other, more stable, iron compounds.
A rust remover, however, does what you might expect: removes rust. This is different from a rust converter in the way it deals with rust. When you apply a rust converter, the rust is converted into a different compound that you can usually paint over. A rust remover, however, completely gets rid of all the rust to leave the unaffected metal surface underneath. Rust removers tend to be made up of purely phosphoric acid.
The best time for using a rust removal is if you just want to clean it all up. Sometimes it’s best to just get rid of the rust and treat the surface underneath to prevent any corrosion in the future.
What Health and Safety Equipment Should I Use?
Read the labels, for a start. They will inform you of the best ways to apply all of these products safely. Often you will find that it’s a good idea always to use these rust converters in well-ventilated areas. It comes as no surprise to find out that the chemicals and acids contained in these products can be extremely toxic to humans, and you must always make sure to take extra care when using them. If in any doubt at all, use gloves and a respirator when applying a rust converter.
Another important thing to check out is the Material Safety Data Sheet (usually shortened to MSDS or just SDS). It’s always best to take the time to read this. Every chemical product has to have one. Using your search engine to find the one for the rust converter you are looking at shouldn’t be too difficult. On the MSDS, you will find important details such as the chemical make-up of the product, and also precautions you should take, how to store it, and any advice for firefighters if the unfortunate time should come of the rust converter catching fire.
Most pieces of equipment you use to apply a rust converter product can be simply washed off with soap and water, but, again, make sure you check this before doing so.
Never allow rust converters to freeze. You should not apply any rust converter if the temperature is below 50 degrees Fahrenheit or above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Taking the time to do all this, and taking the necessary precautions when both using and storing a rust converter product, will keep you and also those around you safe.
General Tips and Advice
- When you are painting over a surface that you used a rust converter on, only work with oil or epoxy-based paints. Latex- or water-based paints will not work.
- In general, rollers or brushes work better when it comes to applying a rust converter product. You can also spray it on, but it’s best to find an airless sprayer to do this.
- Don’t apply a rust converter product in a pump-up sprayer – it’s too thick for this.
- A rust converter product comes ready-to-use. You will not have to thin it down.
- Lots of rust converters can be applied to metal when there is no corrosion evident without damaging it, but they will not provide any extra protection from rust. Therefore it’s completely useless to do this.
- Despite what some products may say they can do, it’s best not to risk using a rust converter on any surface that will be heated, such as a barbecue grill. These products are not heat resistant.
- Once a rust converter has been poured out of the bottle to be applied, it cannot be put back into the bottle.
Contact your local authority to check how to dispose of rust converters.
In conclusion, there are many examples of the best rust converter to choose from. Rust converters all have different chemicals used in them and also come in different shapes and sizes with different methods of application. The products on our list are some examples of some of the best rust converters you find.
The best rust converter for what you need may be different from someone else. It all comes down to what you need it for, how often, and also how long it needs to last.
Thanks for reading.