Rust is no reason to kiss your favorite cookware, tools, or wrought furniture goodbye. Buying new ones will set you back a lot, isn’t that right? So why not get your money’s worth by picking one of the top-notch rust converters from this expert review?
Most corrosion inhibitors nowadays have achieved the two-birds-with-one-stone effect: they act as rust removers and protective metal primers at the same time. They immediately prevent further oxidation, turning metal into a waterproof paint-ready surface.
This guide allows you to take a closer look at market leaders and pick just the right one for every particular project of yours. We’ll leave no questions unanswered, so have a great read.
Top 5 Rust Converters at a Glance
1. Corroseal Water-Based Rust Converter – the Widest Variety of Uses
A wide selection of packaging ranging from 1 Qt. bottles to 5 Gal buckets makes this primer suitable for all kinds of projects. Whether you want to remove rust from your garden pruner or coat the whole city bridge – Corroseal might be the very thing you need.
Proven in Both Household and Industry Use
This converter was initially created for marine purposes and didn’t lose any of its industrial-level grip. It creates a black latex finish on pretty much every metal surface, making it able to bond with oil and water-based paints, epoxy, urethane, and most other coats.
Corroseal is not only endorsed by house owners tending to their exteriors.
It is widely recommended by professionals in automotive restoration, ship work, and manufacture alike.
Easy, Economical & Safe
You can effortlessly apply the beginner-friendly converter using a roll, a brush, or by spraying it. No worries about bad shots! Thanks to Corroseal’s water-based formula, it washes off with just some water and soap before drying.
Some would say Corroseal is quite expensive compared to similar products. However, the price is justified by the coverage: 200-250 square feet per gallon is something, right?
- One-step metal prep & protection
- Easy to clean up
- Simple application process
- Non-corrosive and non-flammable
- Great coverage
- Sandblasting not required
- Versatile application
- The rust comes back sooner if the surface wasn’t cleaned thoroughly
- Relatively costly
2. Evapo-Rust The Original Super Safe Rust Remover – No Protective Equipment Required
New Level of Safety
Evapo-rust boasts a unique water-based and fully biodegradable formula. It contains no acids, VOCs, or solvents, which makes this rust remover safe for skin and eyes. You won’t even have to wear protective gloves while using it. Another bonus is zero odors or fumes.
The product is so safe it allows you to use it on toys and cookware that contacts food.
Evapo-Rust is non-corrosive, non-flammable, environment-friendly, and can be simply tipped down the sink when you’re done.
The remover doesn’t require you to sand or scrub the surface first. All you have to do is soak the equipment for mere minutes, then rinse and let it dry. Evapo-rust may be used several times before it’s spent.
- Safe for the environment and biodegradable
- Non-toxic and non-corrosive
- No bad smell or fumes
- No special equipment needed
- Reusable and cost-efficient
- No scrubbing or sanding required
- Takes longer to dry
3. PlastiKote 624 Rust Converter – Environment-Friendly Formula
Affordable but Powerful
PlastiKote’s non-toxic formula doesn’t contain any hazardous substances, which doesn’t make it any less potent.
The converter is also non-inflammable and won’t cause significant damage on skin contact, making it safe-to-use even if you don’t consider yourself a rust-converting professional. It doesn’t cause bubbling and foaming, unlike low-quality products.
- No bubbling or foaming
- Non-hazardous, environmentally safe
- No staining of paints
- Creates iron-hard coating
- Insufficient volume for most projects, no alternative packaging
4. Permatex 81849-12PK Rust Treatment – No Need to Clean Light Rust
You won’t have to worry much about how thin or even the layer is! The Permatex smart can does it for you. The optimal choice is a pack of 12 such cans for all your household purposes if you ask us.
In contrast to other manufacturers, Permatex doesn’t suggest you clean even the light rust from the surface, making prep easier.
If spraying doesn’t work well for you, you can easily switch to brushing – the application will be just as smooth. The working temperature range is also worth-mentioning: 10°C to 32°C is quite impressive compared to other products. Permatex can handle up to 93°C hot surfaces!
- Compatible with fiberglass & body filler
- Wide working temperature range
- Works on heated surfaces
- Vast automotive and marine applications
- Fast results
- Trusted brand
- Only available as little aerosol sprays
5. Skyco Ospho Surface Prep – Long-Lasting Effect
The Skyco manufacturer is a well-known brand, and the Ospho product has been in the market for about 40 years. It makes this rust converter the most time-proven on the list.
Cost-Efficient & Versatile
One gallon of Ospho is enough to cover 600 sq feet, while a one-quart bottle covers around 80 feet. That said, the price is one of the most affordable among other market leaders. Moreover, you won’t have to buy any other inhibitor: this one serves both interior and exterior purposes.
With a product of such level, no special pre-treatment is required. Just remove large chunks of rust that flake off, and you’re ready to start the project. Whether you choose to spray the inhibitor or brush it – the thin liquid applies effortlessly and spreads evenly.
Don’t worry if the product develops white-greyish powder after drying – just brush it off and enjoy the result.
- No need to remove light rust
- Various formats
- Doesn’t flake off after application
- Good penetrating
- Covers large areas
- Great for both interior and exterior projects
- Creates white powder coating which can be hard to rinse and doesn’t look good without further painting
- Low viscosity, hard to work with vertical surfaces
Rust Converters in 2020 – Buyer’s Guide
What is a Rust Converter?
Most water-based rust converters are a combination of tannic acid (found in fruit and plants) and an organic polymer. Rust converters:
- Don’t damage the metal
- Allow metal objects to serve longer
- Save you money on repairs, new items
- Correct dents and cracks on the surface
How do Rust Converters Work?
Unlike rust removers, converters don’t destroy rust, they react with it. They create a chemically neutral, mostly black surface resistant to future rusting – iron tannate. Such protective coating provides a perfect primer for most paints.
How to Choose the Right Rust Converter?
Here are some of the parameters you should consider before buying a rust converter:
- Ease of use – If you’re a beginner, opt for aerosols and thin converters. Check beforehand, what equipment is needed (protective gloves, brushes, sprayer pump).
- Volume – It depends on the scale of your treating project: one spray can may be enough to de-rust a few hinges, while a car’s undercarriage could use a gallon.
- Preparation – In any case, the surface should be clean, with no large flakes of rust, oil, or dirt on it. But does it require sanding or scrubbing too?
- Temperature & Drying – You should apply the converter under the right temperature conditions (usually between 10 and 38 degrees C) and then let it sit for some time.
- Compatibility – Make sure the product is compatible with both material you want to treat and paint or coat you’re about to apply. E.g., galvanized metal can pose a problem for most converters.
- Toxicity – Content of phosphoric acid, solvents, or VOCs determines protective equipment you’ll need and whether objects like kitchenware or grills can be treated harm-free.
- Biodegradability – While you can dispose of some converters safely by pouring them down the drain, others require proper utilization. Please do double-check.
- Price – Is the product cost-efficient considering the coverage? Is the object worth treating with a high-quality converter, or is it wiser to buy a new one?
How to Use Rust Converters?
Step 1. Remove ONLY large particles of rust with a wire brush or sandpaper. Leave most of the rust in place for the converter to react with it.
Step 2. Clean the material from dirt, oils, grease, or salts by brushing and rinsing. Then let it dry. If the converter has a strong smell, go outside to proceed with the next step.
Step 3. Apply the rust converter with a brush, a roll, or simply spray it on the surface following the temperature, humidity requirements, and recommended layer thickness.
Step 4. Let it sit and dry for as long as it says in the product description (typically, 24 hours). Repeat the previous step if you see gaps in coating or if rust remains.
Step 5. Clean up the residue. Many inhibitors develop white powder once dry. With some products, light brushing and rinsing will do. Others involve much effort to be cleaned.
Step 6. Paint or coat the treated object and enjoy using your as good as new rust-free things to the fullest!
Even if you have no prior experience, you shouldn’t shy away from trying out one of these top products. Rust converters are 3-in1 solutions: they destroy the rust, protect the metal from further oxidation, and prepare the surface for paints that are going to last.