Best Outdoor Wood Stains in 2023 – Reviews, Top picks & Guide

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Each best outdoor wood stains has specific features, making it more challenging to choose. But wait, don’t worry about that. We’ve already done some research and rounded up a list of 14 best outdoor wood stains on the market. Check out our selection and opt for the best outdoor wood stains with ease.

Top list for Best Outdoor Wood Stains in 2023 – Reviews, Top picks & Guide


Anyone can pick up a piece of wood and stain it. But if you want your work to look professional, there are some specific steps to take. Learning to use wood stains is the first step to becoming an experienced carpenter or furniture builder. Read on for what you need before attempting your first stain project!
Everyone has their favorite type of wood, but not everyone knows how to apply a stain properly. To help with this, we’ve created this blog post that outlines what specific types of colors need for them to be effective and fade nicely over time.

1. Storm Protector Penetrating Sealer & Stain Protector – Deck Protector, Fence Protector, 5 Gallon (Golden Oak)

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Storm Protector stains are designed to stand up to whatever comes down. Whether it’s months of baking sunlight and damaging ultraviolet rays, seemingly endless rain or brutal winters marked by ongoing cycles of freezing and thawing. Our Storm Protector Stains are there to ride out the storm.
This fantastic product protects the wood from elements like water, sun, and wind. It also protects it from minor scratches that may happen over time. You can purchase this at most hardware stores or Home Depot. As of this post, you can buy this stain protector in gallon sizes and 4.5-quart cans.
As soon as you apply this product to your freshly cleaned and prepped wood, let it sit for about 45 minutes before applying the stain. This will allow the sealer to fully penetrate the wood and protect it from deep within, rather than just on the surface.

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2. Ready Seal 512 5-Gallon Pail Natural Cedar Exterior Stain and Sealer for Wood

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  • Requires no primer. Ready Seal is darkest when first applied. It reaches its true color in approximately 14 days. Do not apply Ready Seal over painted or newly stained surfaces. Sealed surfaces inhibit penetration.
  • May be applied using sprayer, roller or brush onto the woods surface.
  • Requires no back brushing and will nerver leave runs, laps, or streaks.
  • Requires no wet-line application, the product will blend itself and can be applied in any temperature range for proper application.
  • Requires no diluting or thinning prior to spray applications.
  • Subject to or will include a PaintCare recycling fee in the following states: CT, or VT. Not available in CA.
  • Easy maintenance – no sanding or stripping required for re-application

This is your product if you are a Do Yourself type of person. The only downside is that you have experience with auto body work and spray painting acrylics.
First off, this is NOT a wood stain. This is an exterior wood coat that seals your wood from the elements. The “stain” part refers to the color injected into the product to look more like a natural stain than exterior paint.
There are several ways to apply Ready Seal. However, we highly suggest using either a brush or roller for the best results. Apply it in about 3-4 coats over the workbench surface area and let it dry for about an hour between each coat.

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3. Krylon K03601000 Exterior Semi-Transparent Wood Stain, Cedar, 12 Ounce

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  • Premium, durable stain
  • Water repellent and UV fade protection
  • Fast, even coverage
  • Model number: K03601000

If you are looking for a product that is a bit less difficult to use, this is it. Unlike the Ready Seal, this product resembles a traditional wood stain. However, unlike most colors available on the market, this one is highly moisture resistant and will not fade from humidity or rain exposure.
This product is meant for your property’s decks, fences, and fences. It comes in either a 12-ounce can or a 32-ounce spray can. This particular stain does not provide any protection from the elements, so if you’d like to protect your wood and make it look pretty, we’d suggest using a storm protector as well.

How to choose the best outdoor wood stains
1. Color :

Any wood stain will look best when it is the color of the wood itself. If you want a darker shade, use a darker stain. If you are looking for a lighter shade, use a more delicate color.
2. Texture :
A wood stain’s texture has very little to do with how well it stains but rather how good it feels when applied and how persistent the colors are over time. Most “finishes” are acrylics, so they do not feel natural to touch at all and often fall off after about 8 hours of exposure to the sun and water (and rain).
3. Quality :
A good wood stain is at least two layers of application. The first layer helps set the second. Many oil-based paints boast they can stain in one coat, but they only penetrate the first layer of wood fibers. Eventually, this will fade and require reapplication.
4. Dry time :
An excellent waiting time for a stain to dry is 1-2 hours between coats and 24 hours between with no contact with water or sunlight (LED lights are okay). This will ensure that the stains do not fall off prematurely or lose their color in a short period.
5. Coverage :
A stain should cover the piece of wood fully and have varying depths of color. A good test is to take a wet piece of wood and rub it in your hands. If you feel a layer of paint beneath your hands, you are not applying enough dry time to allow the stain to penetrate the piece thoroughly.
6. Size :
Always use a roller or brush rather than spray paint when applying a stain. Spray paint often comes out too heavy or will not flow properly because it is not being sprayed from enough distance away from the target area.

1. How long does wood stain last on wood?

 Depending on the quality, you should expect a wood stain to last up to a couple of years. If you want your color to last longer, you should consider applying two layers of paint. This will add an extra protection layer and leave a more natural look in your finished project.
2. How do I strip paint (varnish)?
There are many methods for stripping old varnish off of wooden items. The cheaper plans include using wine and lacquer thinner or mineral spirits. You can also apply oil or wax stripper or buy a stripper made explicitly for removing varnish (from your local auto parts store).
3. How do I remove old wax (varnish)?
Mix equal parts of vinegar and water. Apply this solution with a clean cloth to your project surface and wait 20-30 minutes. The wax will start to dissolve, and the finish will begin to come off. You can also use a mixture of lemon juice or rubbing alcohol to break up the wax faster.
4. How do I sand down wood stains?
Sanding is a must before applying any stain, especially when it comes out of the can! Be careful not to sand too much as you can easily remove too much color from the wood. We recommend at least 100 grit and then 400 grit for final smoothing.
5. What is the best way to stain wood?
There are many ways to stain wood and many different types of stains available. We listed a few here, but there are also some great websites with more DIY projects.

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Best Outdoor Wood Stains in 2023 - Reviews, Top picks & Guide



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