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Best Rust Converter & Remover: Options for Corrosion Protection

Keep your vehicle corrosion-free with these top rust converters and removers.

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BYHeather Fishel/ LAST UPDATED ON June 23, 2022

If you’ve ever faced years of rust and corrosion on metal parts, you know just how annoying it is to remove — and how damaging it can be. Rust may seem like a simple fact of life, but once it appears, it only keeps growing. Over time, rust can literally eat away at metal, leaving behind holes, damaging the appearance of different components and tools. It weakens and destroys wherever it’s present, meaning you can’t let rust continue to grow. You’ll wind up with deterioration that you just can’t fix. And when your car is involved, rust is an even bigger concern.


Unfortunately, rust isn’t easy to get rid of once it forms. However, there are solutions, like rust converters and removers. With a rust converter and remover, you can apply a chemical that actually takes oxidation — or rust — and makes it disappear. These products can even offer protection against future rust and corrosion, as they literally “convert” rust into a new, surface-protecting material. If you’re hoping to get rid of rust and keep your car and its metal parts, we’ve got the best rust converters and removers you’ll want to consider.

Best Rust Converter & Remover Overall

Corroseal Water-Based Rust Converter

Summary
This easy-to-use metal primer solution is often regarded as the greatest brush on rust converter for both home and industrial use.
Pros
  • Corroseal is easy to use, non-flammable, and can be cleaned up with soap and water
  • Requires only one coat to get results and protects from future rust
Cons
  • Corroseal is more expensive than some other options
  • Doesn’t come in a spray
  • Requires light prep work
Best Value Rust Converter & Remover

Rust-Oleum Automotive 10.25-Ounce Rust Reformer Spray

Summary
This product removes rust and scale from the metal surface with the help of a sandpaper or wire brush.
Pros
  • Packaged in an easy-to-use aerosol can that can be sprayed in any direction
  • Works in less than an hour
  • Creates a smooth, primed surface
Cons
  • May take up to an hour to dissolve heavy rust buildup
  • Needs to be constantly shaken to work properly
Best Rust Converter & Remover Honorable Mention

VHT SP229 Rust Converter

Summary
This 10-ounce aerosol can, made by VHT, is one of the best rust converter sprays available thanks to its versatility.
Pros
  • Rust remover is user-friendly and perfect for auto body work
  • Protects against future corrosion and can be applied to several types of materials
Cons
  • This converter isn’t available as a brush-on product 
  • Requires sanding in order to be painted over
Best Rust Converter & Remover: Options for Corrosion Protection

If you’ve ever faced years of rust and corrosion, you know just how annoying it is to remove — and how damaging it can be. Rust may seem like a simple fact of life, but once it appears, it only keeps growing. Over time, rust can literally eat away metal, leaving behind holes, and damaging the appearance of different components and tools. It weakens and destroys wherever it’s present, meaning you can’t let rust continue to grow. You’ll wind up with deterioration that you just can’t fix. And when your car is involved, rust is an even bigger concern.

Our Methodology

A good rust converter and remover needs to work on all levels of corrosion, and that’s where the search for the best products in this category starts. The products here were chosen for their effectiveness on small spots of rust or larger, more significant corrosion, as well as extra benefits like protection from future corrosion in those same spots. 

Additionally, I took a look at details like the amount of rust converter solution offered, its application method, and its suitability for different needs, from auto work to household use. The top rust-tackling converters and removers were those that were also highly recommended by user reviews, as they performed best in a variety of real-world use cases across the board. 

Why Trust Us

Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

Learn more

Best Rust Converter Reviews & Recommendations

Corroseal is widely regarded as the best rust converter paint and metal primer available today. Corroseal is easy to apply with a one-step process of using a paintbrush or a roller. Though it doesn't come in a spray bottle, if you have your own, it is thin enough to use as a spray. Corroseal's superior performance is most noticeable when it comes to the number of coats needed. While most rust converters need at least two coats, Corroseal can usually finish a job with just one. This also means you need less product per job, so one gallon should last longer than the competitors. An additional highlight of this product is that it has a water-based formula. This helps make it incredibly safe for use, Corroseal also guarantees that it's non-flammable and non-corrosive. While still being an industrial-strength product, it is easy to clean up with just soap and water. Although Corroseal is one of the best rust neutralizers, it is not perfect. To achieve the best results, this product does require sanding where some products don't require prep work at all. Corroseal is also a bit more expensive than other options.

Specs

  • Brand: Corroseal

  • Size: 1 gallon

  • Application Method: Brush, roll, or spray

Pros

  • One-step application process

  • Water-based, non-flammable formula

  • Industrial-strength effectiveness

  • Easy to clean up

Cons

  • Does require sanding before use

Spray this rust remover on any rusty surface and it instantly bonds with the scales to weaken them and make it easier to brush them off. It also stops the rust from spreading to other uncontaminated parts. Just as with most rust treatment formulations, this also forms a protective primer layer that can be painted over. It comes in an aerosol bottle featuring any-angle spray technology, which lets you spray it in a back and forth motion, with overlapping strokes, or while the bottle is upside down. It dries in about 40 minutes and you can paint over the treated surface after 24 hours. While it may be fairly easy to use, you need to constantly shake the bottle for the formula to spray out evenly and work properly. Additionally, you need more than a 10-ounce bottle for full bodywork.

Specs

  • Brand: Rust-Oleum

  • Size: 10.25 ounces

  • Application Method: Aerosol spray

Pros

  • Easy application

  • Can be sprayed from any angle

  • Instantly bonds with rust scales

  • Stops rust from spreading

Cons

  • Requires constant shaking

  • Need multiple bottles to cover large areas

This honorable mention for corrosion removal is made by VHT. VHT's rust converter is very user-friendly: The spray can is used to apply the product, only needing to cover the corroded areas. The solution sprays on clear, then turns black once dried. The spray is formulated to protect areas from further corrosion. Once dried, this rust converter can be sanded and painted over. This makes it ideal for autobody use, especially when repairing problem spots like wheel wells and truck beds. The product is very versatile in terms of the materials it is compatible with. It can be applied like a metal primer, fiberglass, and body filler. VHT is also relatively budget-friendly. Even though it's a rust converter, it's roughly the same price as most rust removers, while still retaining the benefits of being a converter. Though very easy to use, this product only comes in a spray can. Also, compared to the other products on this list, VHT is a more aggressive and toxic substance.

Specs

  • Brand: VHT

  • Size: 11 ounces

  • Application Method: Aerosol spray

Pros

  • Easy spray-on application

  • Changes color as it works

  • Works as a primer, body filler, and more

  • Protects against future corrosion

Cons

  • More aggressive and toxic than other options

  • Only available in a spray

For customers who want a non-toxic and eco-friendly product, Evapo-Rust is the best rust removal product. While this product is a rust remover and not a rust converter, it has many unique qualities that make it an excellent option for certain customers. The safety of this product cannot be overstated. While a lot of removers use phosphoric acid, this water-based formula allows it to be non-toxic, non-flammable, eco-friendly, and completely biodegradable. Users can apply Evapo-Rust to cookware, utensils, and grill grates without worrying about harmful effects later on. Even more impressive is that this safe formula will not warp or damage any plastic, rubber, or painted parts. This is useful when it comes to storing for later use. While most rust converters will only activate once (when being applied), this formula can be used repeatedly. Along with all of its positive attributes, Evapo-Rust comes with some negatives. While you don't need to scrub the metal surface to take off the rust, this remover does require prep work to the corroded substrate. The rust remover does not protect parts from future corrosion, meaning that piece will rust again if not protected. Also, this remover works best when the rusted item can be submerged in the formula, making it less than ideal for larger projects.

Specs

  • Brand: Evapo-Rust

  • Size: 32 ounces

  • Application Method: Soak or brush

Pros

  • Non-toxic and eco-friendly

  • Water-based, non-flammable formula

  • Highly versatile for many applications

  • Won’t warp or damage plastic, rubber, or paint

Cons

  • Does require surface prep

  • Works best when items are submerged or soaked

FDC offers one of the best formulas for eliminating recurring rust on iron surfaces. It comes ready to use and one gallon is enough to cover about 500 square feet of a non-porous, rusted surface. It dries after only 20 minutes and converts rust into an inert polymer coating with a black finish. This layer seals out moisture and prevents further rusting. Once fully cured, it leaves a primer coating that can be used as a base for high-quality oil-based paint. When used as a primer, the painted surface will be more resistant to the harsh effects of rain, sun, and salt spray. The product is recommended for automobiles, machinery, railings, and other rusty surfaces. Though it’s easy to use, surface preparation can be quite tedious before you can apply the rust converter— it only works well on a thin layer of rust. First, you need to thoroughly clean dirt and grease from the surface and use a wire brush to get rid of the large rust deposits before you can apply the converter.

Specs

  • Brand: FDC

  • Size: 1 gallon

  • Application Method: Brush, roll, or spray

Pros

  • Covers large areas

  • Suitable for automotive and other uses

  • Dries in under half an hour

  • Acts as a primer coating

Cons

  • Requires surface prep before use

  • Works best on thin layers of rust

Designed for steel surfaces, the MRO Chem converts rust into an inactive polymer resin coating. The coating is corrosion-resistant and seals out moisture to ensure that the metal doesn’t re-oxidize to form rust. Not only does it remove dust, but it also acts as a paint primer, which sets a good base for painting on the metal to achieve a solid, smooth color. The formula can be used on automotive, farm, and marine equipment. However, you should cover other surrounding areas without rust since it can stain them. Another drawback is that your package may arrive with a leaking bottle. Also, it has a short shelf life and the performance may gradually decline while it’s in storage.

Specs

  • Brand: Black Star

  • Size: 2 gallons

  • Application Method: Brush, roll, or spray

Pros

  • Converts rust to polymer resin

  • Protects against reoxidation

  • Enough product to cover large areas

  • Best for steel, with versatile applications

Cons

  • Can stain non-rusted areas

  • Bottle prone to leaks

Here’s a rust converter that you can use however you’d like: AP Product 154 Rust Converter Liquid. This versatile rust-removing product comes in a liquid form that almost looks like paint, but its appearance means it can be used in multiple ways. Whether you choose to brush it onto small parts or tools with a paintbrush or pour it into a spray bottle for wider application, it’s suitable for either approach. This rust converter can treat any rusted surface. It contains chemicals that bind with iron oxide, transforming it into a new black polymer that stops rust immediately. And that polymer also helps prevent future rust from forming in the very same spots. Once it dries and cures, you can apply primer or topcoat and paint right over the rust converter. Backed by a one-year warranty, you’ll also get nice peace of mind that it’ll really work in the face of rust.

Specs

  • Brand: AP Products

  • Size: 1 quart

  • Application Method: Brush or spray

Pros

  • Acts as a primer when dry

  • Stops rust immediately

  • Prevents future corrosion

  • Backed by a one-year warranty

Cons

  • Small amount of product per bottle

The Rust Kutter is formulated to eliminate rust and corrosion from any metal surface by converting it into a phosphate coating. The coating then latches onto the metal to keep out moisture and oxygen to prevent further corrosion. The formula also works to prime the metal to ready it for a fresh coat of paint. It takes about 24 hours to dry, after which you need to rinse it away and leave the treated metal to dry. Apart from automotive detailing, you can also use it for home applications on any surface that tends to rust. It comes with a sprayer for easier application and better coverage. However, it can destroy clothes and fabrics, so be sure to wear protective clothing and cover any non-metal surface while using it. Also, one bottle may not be enough to remove heavy rust buildup.

Specs

  • Brand: Rust Kutter

  • Size: 32 fluid ounces

  • Application Method: Spray nozzle

Pros

  • Turns rust into phosphate coating

  • Seals out oxygen and moisture

  • Spray nozzle makes covering rust easy

  • For automotive and other uses

Cons

  • Can ruin clothing or fabric

  • May require multiple bottles for serious rust

Instead of sandblasting or scrapping, you can use the TotalBoat metal treatment to remove rust from the surface before painting it. It’s a phosphoric acid rust converter that’s formulated to remove rust by converting it into an inactive substance. It also acts as a primer and leaves the surface ready for the paint. The fluid is a water-thin formula that can effectively spread out on the applied surface for better coverage — one gallon can cover 500 square feet. The formula is safe for iron, steel, and stainless steel, and can be used on motor vehicles, bikes, trucks, trailers, and RVs. However, depending on the quantity you use, it may leave a white residue on the metal frame. It’s also not very effective at removing rust in cracks or crevices, and you may have to sandblast them out if not using a stronger rust remover.

Specs

  • Brand: TotalBoat

  • Size: 1 gallon

  • Application Method: Brush or roll

Pros

  • Bottle covers large spaces easily

  • Doubles as rust converter and primer

  • Works on iron, steel, and stainless steel

  • Versatile applications

Cons

  • Can leave behind white residue

  • Not effective on hard-to-reach rust spots

Rustzilla Rust Converter and Remover is truly a monster for any rust on any metals. This multipurpose product isn’t just for vehicles — though you can certainly use it on your car. Designed to work on all metals, including stainless steel, cast iron, steel, and more, it’ll tackle rust and corrosion just about anywhere you might find it. Available in 8- or 16-ounce containers, this rust converter is easy to use and apply. It’s thick enough to coat on, yet thin enough to seep into cracks and crevices. It’ll eat away at rust and dry black once it’s eliminated the corrosion in question. This product leaves behind no residue, only a nice, sleek finish. And it’s perfectly safe for you and the environment, with a solvent- and base-free formula that’s non-toxic, non-corrosive, and non-flammable. It’s even gentle enough to keep paint, plastic, and rubber perfectly safe. And once you put Rustzilla to work, you’ll be able to have confidence thanks to its 30-day, 100 percent money-back guarantee.

Specs

  • Brand: Rustzilla

  • Size: 16 ounces

  • Application Method: Brush, roll, or spray

Pros

  • Non-toxic, non-corrosive, and solvent-free formula

  • Safe for all metals

  • Leaves no residue behind

  • Safe for paint, plastic, and rubber

Cons

  • One can only covers 48 square feet

Our Verdict 

The best rust converter and remover is the Corroseal Water-Based Rust Converter, an easy-to-use product that primes the surface of vehicles, boats, and other rust-prone items, giving you plenty of versatility and value. And it’s highly effective at its job, too. If value is key for you, another solid choice is Rust-Oleum Automotive 10.25-Ounce Rust Reformer Spray, an affordable product that can remove rust with a little elbow grease. 

What to Consider When Buying Rust Converter and Remover

Picking out a quality rust converter and remover can be tricky, since it’s hard to tell how effective a product’s promises are until it’s put to use. Make your search easier and keep an eye out for these key considerations. 

Types of Rust Converter & Remover

Liquid

The most common type of rust converter and rust remover is liquid. While the individual products will have varying thicknesses, the application process is generally the same. After some prep work, the chemical can be painted on, submerged, or sprayed on with your own spray gun. The best and easiest method is going to depend on your specific project.

Gel

Rust converter also comes in a gel form. These products are thicker than the liquid removers, so they cannot be used with sprayers. One benefit they have over liquid is that you don’t have to worry about the product dripping if applied heavily. The gel can be painted or rolled onto the metal surface and allowed to dry for best results.

Spray

While some of the liquid removers can be used with a spray gun, some rust removing products come as an aerosol spray. Typically, this can be a faster application process. However, be aware that it might be hard to use a spray can for extensive restoration projects due to their smaller quantities.

Rust Converter Key Features

Ease of Use

Your average rust treatment can be applied by brushing or spraying it onto the affected metal surface. It’s best to consider the application methods that a product requires and which approach will help you complete your project. The amount of rust, whether or not the corroded piece can be easily removed, and how large the affected area is will help determine the best application method for you.

Toxicity

The corrosion of metals is a chemical reaction; often another chemical reaction is required to convert rust. While each brand has its own way of formulating a good rust treatment, this also means each one comes with its own potentially volatile compounds, like phosphoric acid. It’s important to know whether or not a rust converter is safe to touch so you can keep yourself safe while using it. It’s also vital to understand how to dispose of and clean up these chemicals.

Cleanup

Whether you're brushing on a liquid rust converter or using an aerosol can to get rid of corrosion, it all can make a mess. Before you use any corrosion-removing products, you'll want to know what to expect in terms of keeping your workspace clean. Some of the best chemical rust removers will only require soap and water to clean up. 

Strength

Rust converters come in different formulas, each with its own strength. Some products are formulated to tackle small spots of rust that have just started to appear. Others are tougher and harsher, made for rust that’s formed over years of exposure to corrosion-causing elements. The best rust converters are those that work on “medium” rust, or rust that’s been around for a bit but hasn’t yet caused significant damage. That should be enough chemical strength to tackle most rust. However, if you’re just starting to see the first signs of a potential rust problem, you can opt for a lighter-strength formula. 

Versatility

Because rust comes in all sizes and shapes — and levels of corrosion — it’s important to choose a rust converter that’s versatile. You don’t want to have to purchase multiple rust removers for different situations. Instead, look for a rust converter and remover that’ll eliminate small to medium rust on all kinds of metal surfaces or items. It’s also important to look for a formula that’s versatile in its approved materials; for example, you should be able to use the same product on auto parts and tools.

Rust Converter Pricing 

You don’t have to make a big investment in order to get a quality rust remover. These products are available for under $10, and you’ll get enough of the formula — in a convenient spray bottle, most often — to cover small, isolated areas of surface rust. The products in this price range are best for rust that’s newly or recently formed. Step up to the $10 to $25 range, and you’ll find an even wider array of rust converter and remover products. You’ll have more formulas and more types available to choose from, and you’ll also be able to select small or gallon-sized bottles. You’ll also find slightly stronger formulas within this price range, which are ideal for especially stubborn rust.

FAQs 

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.

What’s the difference between a rust converter and a rust remover?

Rust removers are used to completely remove rust from the metal surface of a corroded part. Rust converters chemically bond to the rust, which stops the corrosion from spreading and also conceals the existing rust altogether. 

What materials can I use rust converter on?

Rust converters can be used on multiple different metals. They work best with iron and steel, making them perfect for frames and other structural pieces. They are less effective on aluminum, which is becoming a more popular automotive material, so be aware of what your vehicle is made of.

How does rust converter work?

Rust converters use phosphoric acids and polymers to create a chemical reaction with the rust. In doing so, it converts rust and changes the properties, making it an inert substance.

Should I wear protective clothing when applying rust converter?

While the toxicity of your chosen remover is the real indicator, it’s always smart to wear some form of protection, since harsh chemicals are often used to convert rust. For liquid removers and converters, gloves should be enough, while aerosol sprays should only be used with eye protection and a paint mask.

Is rust remover non-toxic?

Not all rust removers and converters are non-toxic. Be aware of products that use phosphoric acid and look out for FDC ratings. Using non-toxic chemicals to remove rust is safer for you and eco-friendly.

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