3 Best Stain For Outdoor Wood Furniture [2023]

4 Best Stain For Outdoor Wood Furniture

When choosing the best stain for outdoor wood furniture, there are a few things you need to consider. Of course, the most crucial factor is the type of wood you’re working with. Different woods have different hardness, porosity, and oiliness levels, which will affect how the stain attaches to the wooden surface and how long it lasts.

You’ll also want to consider the colour and opacity of the stain and any special features that might be important to you (such as level of UV protection or mildew resistance).To help you make the best decision for your task, we’ve compiled a list of the best outdoor wood furniture stains based on our experiences and customer feedback.

We’ve also included a helpful buyer’s guide covering all the important factors you need to consider before purchasing.

The best stains for outdoor wood furniture

When choosing the best stain for outdoor wood furniture, there are a few things to consider. The type of wood, the climate, and the amount of sunlight the furniture will be exposed to are all important factors. You’ll also want to consider the finish type and whether you want a solid, semi-solid, or transparent stain.

Our 3 Best Picks

Defy Extreme Wood Stain

Defy Extreme Wood Stain

Ready Seal 512 5-Gallon Exterior Stain

Ready Seal 512 5-Gallon Exterior Stain

Olympic Stain Maximum Wood Stain and Sealer

The type of wood stains 

Water-based stains

Water-based stains have become increasingly popular because they are easy to use and clean up. However, they tend to be less durable than oil-based products, so they may need to be reapplied more often. Water-based stains are available in a wide range of rich colours, including clear finishes that allow the natural wood grain beauty of the wood to show through.

Oil-based stains

Oil-based stains are an excellent choice for outdoor wood furniture because they protect against water and heat damage. In addition, they penetrate deep into the wood, providing a long-lasting layer of protection against the elements. However, oil-based stains can be challenging to apply and take longer to dry than other stains.

Gel stains

Gel stains are among the best choices for staining outdoor wood furniture because they provide perfect coverage and don’t run or drip when applied. They’re also easy to work with because you can see exactly where you’re applying the stain and where it has already been applied. In addition, gel stains come in various vibrant colours, so you can find the perfect shade to match your wooden outdoor patio furniture or décor.

Solid stains

A solid stain is the best choice if your goal is to change the colour of your furniture entirely or if the wood has significant wear and tear that needs to be hidden. A solid stain will also provide the most protection from the elements. However, achieving even coverage with a solid stain can be difficult, so following the directions carefully and applying a thin, even layer is important. You may also need multiple fresh coats to achieve the desired color.

Acrylic stains

As for outdoor wooden furniture stains, acrylic stains are one of the most reliable choices due to their excellent protection against the elements and ease of application. Despite this, it won’t penetrate the wood as deeply as oil- or water-based stains.

How to choose the best stain for your outdoor wood furniture

When choosing the best stain type for your outdoor wood furniture, there are a few things you need to consider:

  1. The type of wood you are using.
  2. The climate you live in.
  3. The look you want to achieve.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these factors:

The type of wood.

There are three main types of wood used in outdoor furniture:

  • Hardwood
  • Softwoods
  • Manufactured wood.

Hardwood is the most durable wood type but also the most expensive. So if you choose hardwood furniture, buy a high-quality piece treated with a waterproof sealer.

Softwoods are less expensive than hardwoods but are less durable. If you choose softwood furniture, make sure it’s sealed.

Manufactured wood is the least expensive type of wood, but it’s also the least durable. So if you choose manufactured wood furniture, ensure it’s been sealed with a waterproof sealer.

The age of the wood.

One of the first things you should consider when choosing a stain is the age of the wood. If the furniture is new, you will want to look for a product that will protect the wood from damage while still allowing it to breathe. You may also want to consider a stain that is easy to apply and maintain. On the other hand, if the furniture is older, you may want to consider a stain that will revive the wood and give it new life.

The climate

When choosing the best stain for your outdoor wood furniture, you’ll first want to consider the climate in your area. If you live in an area with a lot of sun and heat, you’ll want to choose a stain that offers UV protection. A waterproofing stain may be the best option for those in cooler climates.

How to apply stain to outdoor wood furniture

Staining outdoor wood furniture is a great way to protect it from the elements and give it a lovely appearance. When choosing a stain, be sure to pick one that is made for outdoor use. You will also want to determine the type of finish you want. For example, semi-transparent stains will allow some wood grain to show through, while solid colour stains will cover it completely.

How to Stain Wood | The Home Depot


The first step is always to prep the wood. Next, you’ll want to sand it down to create a smooth surface using an electric sander if you have one. Once you’ve sanded, wipe away any debris with a clean cloth. Once you’ve sanded, wipe away any debris with a clean cloth.

You may also consider using a pre-stain conditioner, especially if your furniture is new or the wood is particularly leaky. This will help the stain evenly absorb into the wood.

Applying the stain

Assuming you have picked out the perfect stain shade for your outdoor wood furniture and have read the label instructions, it is time to apply the stain.

The first step is always to do a patch test in an unnoticeable spot, such as the underside of a chair seat or the back of a dresser drawer, to make sure you like how the colour looks and that there are no adverse reactions.

Once you have verified that you are happy with the stain’s colour and performance, it is time to start.

Before applying any stain, cleaning the furniture’s horizontal surface is important to remove any dirt, dust, or other debris. A simple soap and water solution will usually do the trick. Still, you may need a commercial cleaner specifically designed for wood furniture for more challenging dirt and grime.

Once the furniture is clean, allow it to dry completely before moving on to staining. If there is even a hint of moisture on the surface, it could cause problems with adhesion and dry later.

When choosing what type of tool to use for your furniture, remember that most stains can be applied with a brush or a clean rag. A brush may be your best bet if you work with a large piece of furniture or with lots of nooks and crannies. A rag will probably be enough for smaller pieces or those with simpler lines.

Once you have chosen your staining tool, dip it into the stain and then apply it evenly to the surface of the wood furniture. Be sure to work in small sections so the stain does not have a chance to dry before you have had a chance to spread it around.

Once you have covered the entire piece with an even layer of stain, allow it to sit for the time specified on the label; the drying time will usually be anywhere from 2 to 8 hours. After this initial waiting period, return to areas that seem too light or patchy and add more stain until everything is evenly saturated.

Finishing up

After the stain has had time to set in and penetrate the wood, it’s time to wipe off the excess stain. Use a clean, lint-free dry cloth to remove any residue from the furniture’s surface. Wiping in the direction of the grain will help to avoid streaks.

Once the furniture is clean and dry, you can apply a topcoat for additional coat protection. Choose a natural finish that will allow the beauty of the wood grain to show through. Apply the topcoat according to the manufacturer’s instructions, being sure to work in a well-ventilated area. Allow it to dry completely before using the furniture.


There is no such thing as the best stain for outdoor wood furniture, as the choices depend on the type of wood being stained and the desired final look. However, some of the most popular stains for outdoor furniture include semi-solid stains, solid stains, and clear sealants.