Best Outdoor Wood Sealer – [Top Reviews & Rankings]

Best Outdoor Wood Sealer

Whether it’s cedar, cypress, redwood or exotic hardwood, good care and maintenance will extend the life and look of the wood for years.

An outdoor wood sealer does what its name sounds like- it seals the wood to prevent exterior elements like wind, water, sunlight and dust damage the look of the wood. Sealing wood will prolong its life by protecting it from the elements and wear and tear.

Resealing wood requires elbow grease but it’s worth the effort. So to sum up, here are some reasons to choose an outdoor wood sealer:

  • To lock out moisture and prevent the cracks and splits in the wood
  • Prevent warping and splitting of the wood due to harsh UV light
  • Provide a natural finish to the wood which allows the wood grain to show while also protecting the wood

Here are our top picks for the best outdoor wood sealer available online. Check out the reviews which will help you choose which one of the best for you.

List of Best Outdoor Wood Sealer:

1. Minwax Water Based Helmsman Spar Urethane

2. Thompsons Water Seal Advanced Natural Wood Protector

3. Waterlox Original Sealer/Finish

4. Star Brite Premium Golden Teak Oil

5. Rust-Oleum Ultimate Spar Urethane Oil Based

6. Tall Earth Eco-Safe Wood Treatment

7. Howard SunShield Outdoor Furniture Wax

8. ANCHORSEAL 2 Hybrid Log & Lumber end Grain Sealer

9. Bona ClassicSeal (Formerly BonaSeal)

10. Agua Pro Wood Sealer

Best Outdoor Wood Sealer Reviews:

Minwax Water Based Helmsman Spar Urethane

Why We Picked

The Minwax Helmsman exterior wood sealer is an excellent choice to reduce graying or fading effects caused by UV rays of the sun.

Apart from the general tin can, it is also available in an aerosol can to help spray it easily. It helps form a protective coating that is unaffected by moisture and rain.

It contains special oils that enable the finish to expand as well as contract with the wood in sync with seasons and temperature changes.

This adaptability makes it an ideal tool to be in your essential toolbox for working on doors, windows, bathroom cabinets, bar and kitchen countertops, and furniture.

It gives exceptional finish results and is ideal for over light-colored woods and stains. A big plus point is that it dries quickly and can be easily cleaned up with some warm water.

It contains spar urethane, which makes it a go-to for precise finish and any woodwork that sees regular rains and moisture.

Keep in Mind

It gives a yellowish tint to the final finish. It is less suitable for interiors but excellent for outdoors.

In a Nutshell

  • UV Resistant.
  • Resilient against moisture and rain.
  • It contains adaptable special oils.
  • Ideal for outdoor use.
  • Dries quickly and cleans up easily.

Thompsons Water Seal Advanced Natural Wood Protector

Why We Picked

Thompsons Water Seal gives a Long-Lasting Coating that Resists Mildew Growth, UV Damage, and Fading. It dries quickly and is a popular choice for using in single day projects where time is limited.

It’s applicable on dry as well as damp wood. Since the Thompsons Natural Wood Protector is water-based, it’s easy to clean without involving additional toxic chemicals.

The result is waterproof and smooth. This trait makes the Thompsons wood water sealer an excellent choice for using on decks, fences, exterior furniture, and exterior wood.

It has been known to provide long-lasting single coat waterproofing and resistance to mildew growth.

Keep in Mind

  • Might make slippery
  • Yellow tint

In a Nutshell

  • Long-Lasting
  • Resists Mildew Growth and UV Damage
  • Easy to clean
  • Great to use on outdoor projects
  • Protection against water damage

Waterlox Original Sealer/Finish

Why We Picked

Waterlox Original Sealer is one of the oldest products, and this particular exterior wood sealer has been in circulation since 1910. It’s a perfect companion for interior woodworking projects and furniture.

It can give a medium sheen appearance when used on wooden tables, doors, fishing rods, picture frames, and any other wooden undertakings.

Its ability to waterproof and penetrate comes in handy, primarily when it’s utilised to give a final touch to your project.

There’s no thinning required, and the number of coats generally varies as per the wood porosity.

Keep in Mind

The glossy finish can make it prone to scratches. Bit expensive.

In a Nutshell

  • Suitable for interior wooden projects.
  • It produces a medium sheen appearance.
  • Penetrates and waterproofs the project.
  • No thinning required.

Star Brite Premium Golden Teak Oil

Why We Picked

The Star Brite Teak Oil contains advanced polymers of tung oil that excellently protect teak and other beautiful woods from UV rays, weather wear-tear, and fading.

The outdoor wood protection is straightforward to use and dries quickly. This trait makes it ideal in areas prone to rainy conditions. It’s also great to use on boats, pools, and wooden furniture.

Its ultra-refined formula lends a long-lasting warm golden color to the teak.

It lasts about four times longer than general teak oils. It’s ideal for using as a Sealer/ Preserver/ Finish for Marine Teak.

Keep in Mind

The result has a strong smell.

In a Nutshell

  • Gives teak a natural warm golden color
  • Easy to use, fast drying
  • UV resistant
  • Long-lasting
  • Ideal for Marine Teak

Rust-Oleum Ultimate Spar Urethane Oil Based

Why We Picked

The Rust-Oleum Ultimate Spar Urethane is a reliable product for wood protection and making wood more durable.

It is suitable for use on furniture, fences, railings, and other wooden materials. It is UV resistant and can withstand weather conditions which protect the surface against fading or color loss.

The oil-based formula gives the product a smooth finish and is easy to apply.

Finally, the result leaves a smooth Semi-gloss finish that looks elegant and classy.

Keep in Mind

The application dries relatively slowly.

In a Nutshell

  • Best used in an outdoor environment
  • UV resistant
  • Protects against fading and graying
  • Semi-gloss finish

Tall Earth Eco-Safe Wood Treatment

Why We Picked

The Tall Earth Eco-Safe Preservative is non-toxic and VOC free, which makes it safe for use in your yard. Another advantage is that it is a blend of naturally sourced materials.

This wood preserver makes the product safe to be used around children and pets.

It can be mixed with water to produce about 1 gallon, which covers up to 200 square feet. This feature makes it value for money and can be used to cover large outdoor wooden surfaces at an economical cost.

The finished product gets a silver or brown finish(depending on the wood type) without any extensive preparation involved.

It is easy to apply and can penetrate the wooden material to ensure no scraping and flaking. Also, reapplications are rarely required.

Keep in Mind

  • Might require to be maintained once every few years.
  • Eco-safe.

In a Nutshell

  • Non-toxic and VOC free
  • Child and pet-friendly
  • Cost effective
  • Easy application
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor projects

Howard SunShield Outdoor Furniture Wax

Why We Picked

The Howard SunSheild Wax contains a blend of natural materials, which include carnauba wax, beeswax, and orange oil.

It highly resists UV rays to help impede the fading of the wood finish due to sun damage and renews the wood health.

It fights against hard weather conditions, changes in temperature, and moisture.

Apart from protecting the wood, it also enriches the wood’s natural grain depth and overall look.

This feature makes it a great waterproofing for wood to be used on any wood project which is prone to tropical weather condition — especially hardwoods such as teak, which can face severe problems due to moisture.

The product can also be used to replenish dry wood projects.

Keep in Mind

The result can be darker than expected so apply with caution.

In a Nutshell

  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use.
  • Resistant to tropical weather conditions.
  • Protection against UV rays.
  • Natural ingredients.
  • It replenishes dry wood.

ANCHORSEAL 2 Hybrid Log & Lumber end Grain Sealer

Why We Picked It

The Anchorseal 2 grain sealer is a popular choice to help prevent over 90% end checking (drying splits) in wood projects. It works wonders on hybrid log and lumber.

It is known for its use with greenwood as a sealer to turn wooden bowls, carvings, and blanks. It is suitable as an Ipe decking end sealer as well since it protects cut ends of wood decks and steps.

The product is water-based and environment-friendly. It has been a leading choice in the lumber industry for almost 40 years.

Keep in Mind

The container is weak, so take care to prevent any leaks. The result is light and might need a couple of coatings.

In a Nutshell

  • It prevents drying splits.
  • Water-based and eco-friendly.

TriCoPolymer Non-Toxic Lumber-Seal Wood Sealer

Why We Picked

The TriCoPolymer wood sealer is an incredible sealant and is a popular eco-friendly choice. It is non-toxic and VOC free that makes it child safe.

The product is easy to apply since it neither contains any dangerous ingredients nor produces any harmful fumes.

It helps in sealing already treated wood from further leaching.

It is suitable for use in projects which involve pets such as animal homes or livestock sheds.

Keep in Mind

Very sticky which could lead to seal ripping off

In a Nutshell

  • Environment-friendly and no VOCs
  • Easy to use
  • Protects against Leaching
  • Suitable for projects involving pets

Bona ClassicSeal (Formerly BonaSeal)

Why We Picked

The Bona ClassicSeal is widely used to prevent finish penetration by sealing the wood. It helps in minimising tanning bleed and works excellently on white oak wood.

The product’s leading advantage is a preventing chance of side bonding in the projects. It helps level finished coats and improves the overall flow.

It gives a clear result that accentuates the actual color of the wood.

Keep in Mind

Requires more than customarily required amount to apply

In a Nutshell

  • Prevents finish from penetrating
  • Minimizes tannin bleed
  • Decreases probability of side bonding
  • Levels finished coats
  • Accentuates actual wood color

Concrete Sealer & Wood Sealer

Why We Picked

The Concrete Sealer & Wood Sealer contains natural plant oil, water, and polymer emulsion.

The product’s highlight is its ability to mimic strong chemical properties without any of the toxicity involved.

This feature is a great benefit when the project requires a non-toxic, VOC free, and virtually odorless result.

Its properties also allow it to strongly bond and seal wooden or cement surfaces while also preventing the project from flaking.

It dries quickly between half an hour to an hour and is ideal for saving time on smaller projects.

Additionally, the Concrete Sealer & Wood Sealer is highly resistant to UV and water damage. It’s adaptable to moisture, which helps avoid premature substrate damage and delamination.

Keep in Mind

The end product could have a whitish tint.

In a Nutshell

  • Strong chemical performance yet non-toxic
  • Seals cement and wooden surfaces
  • VOC free
  • Dries quickly

Agua Pro Wood Sealer

Why We Picked

The Agua Pro Wood Sealer is a Stella Sealants product that gives a smooth acrylic finish. It protects against tough stains and helps maintain the desired finish.

The Agua Pro Wood Sealer is excellent at providing long-lasting protection to wooden projects from moisture and water.

Keep in Mind

The result has a whitish tint. Use sparingly.

In a Nutshell

  • Clear acrylic finish
  • Protection against tough stains
  • Suitable for outdoor and indoor projects

Rain Guard Water Sealer

Why We Picked

The Rain Guard sealer lives up to its name by being widely known for its protection against rain and moisture.

It helps seals the wood surface and is highly resistant to water damage, lime, and efflorescence. It is also effective against salt damage.

The Rain Guard Sealer is easy to use and cost-effective. It also helps in separating dust, debris, and other contaminants from the applied surface.

Its long-lasting sealant properties help protect the wooden projects for many years.

Keep in Mind

The intended effect will need several coating to be applied.

In a Nutshell

  • Excellent protection from rain
  • Resistant to water and salt damage
  • Extends project lifespan
  • Easy to Use

These are the top picks for best outdoor wood sealers. Remember that it is vital to understand how you can use your choice of sealer efficiently and smoothly.

Use this list to narrow down the ideal wood sealer for your project and choose the perfect one for you.

Types of Wood Stains:

Wood stains can change the colour of the wood while leaving the grain untouched. It can refresh old wood and add a layer of protection.

This guide discusses the different types of stains available and which one would fit your requirements:

Oil Stain

The most commonly used stain, these penetrate into the grain of the wood such as linseed or tung oil. Oil stains are earthier and look more natural but do not provide nearly as much protection.

Choose an oil stain to apply under any finish except water base, and in all cases where you don’t need any of the special characteristics offered by other stains. Allow overnight drying in a warm room before applying a finish.

Varnish Stain

Varnishes are like alkyd paint with less colour in it. Varnish stains dry hard since they only use varnish as the binder. Varnish stains are best left to the pros as there’s less time to wipe off excess.

Brushing and leaving the excess usually leaves prominent brush marks that stand out because they’re colored.

Use a varnish stain as an overcoat over an already stained surface or if you’re wiping off excess on a project.

Water-Based Stain

Water-based stains use water-based finish as the binder and replace most of the organic thinner with water. So these stains pollute less, are less irritating to be around, and are easier to clean up than oil or varnish stains.

Water-based stains are best used under water-based finishes as they don’t bond well over oil or varnish and need a long time to dry thoroughly.

Gel Stain

Most gel stains are oil-based, so they thin and clean up with mineral spirits. They are thick but are quite good at preventing blotching on pine.

Blotching is uneven coloring caused by varying densities and resin deposits in the wood and it cannot be fixed through stripping. The only solution is to sand it which takes time and or painting the wood.

Thus gel stains are a good option in wood finishing as they are easy to use and are a one-stop solution. A gel-stain is a great option if you’re working with pine or blotch-prone woods.

Lacquer Stain

Lacquer stains are loved by pro woodworkers since they can be applied in 15 mins and dry very fast. It’s best to work in pairs with one person applying the stain and the other wiping off the excess. They do have a strong odour because of the xylene and ketones in it though.

Water-Soluble Dye Stain

Sold in powder form, the dyes have become less popular in the furniture industry since metal-complex dyes were created. But you’ll still find them to be popular with amateurs and small-shop woodworkers because of the variety available, easy of usage and richness.

The dye has an infinite shelf life in both powder and liquid forms. This type of dye will not obscure the wood no matter how potently you make it.

Since there is no binder it, you can alter the colour on the wood itself even after the dye has dried out.

  • Apply more dye to darken the color
  • Wipe with a wet or damp cloth to lighten the color
  • Apply a different colored dye to change the color

However, these dyes can fade in UV light so you may not want to use them for your outdoor projects.

Metal-Complex (Metalized) Dye Stain

Since dyes fade when exposed to UV light, a more fade-resistant dye was created called the “metal-complex,” dye. These dyes are found in the concentrated form and you can thin it with water, alcohol, acetone or lacquer thinner.

The dye can be sprayed on the wood directly and as it dries out quickly, you can complete the work with a finish within minutes.

All in all, a metal-complex dye stain is a good choice if you want a deeper colouring achieved than through pigment or if you want to shorten the time between staining and finishing.

Things to Consider Before Buying Best Outdoor Wood Sealer:

Here are some characteristics you should keep in mind before buying an outdoor wood sealer:

Type of wood:

The outdoor wood sealer you use depends on the wood in your deck. Either check for instructions on the product or perform a test on a small part of your deck


The outdoor wood sealer you use should not contain any volatile organic compounds since they are harmful to humans and pets. Make sure that the wood sealer has ingredients that must pass EPA requirements.

Color payoff:

If don’t want to add color to your wood, choose a clear wood sealer. But if you want some color payoff, go for a semi-transparent stain.

Strength of the Wood sealer:

Some sealers last for a short while which means that you’ll have to reapply often. So make sure to read reviews and find the one that won’t take a lot of time to maintain

What Type of Protection Does Outdoor Wood Need?:

Leaving cedar unfinished allows it to weather and age to a mellow gray. Sealing protects the grain from raising but allows for a slow progression to to gray, unless you use a product containing ultra-violet blockers.

Wood Sealers partially or totally block the wood’s pores, preventing water penetration. When wood absorbs water and dries repeatedly, the grain becomes raised and rough.

Outdoor Wood Furniture Sealer Tips:

We got some of our pro woodworker friends to list down some tips that will make the process of applying the sealer easy and efficient:

  • Apply extra sealer for the end grain as this is the most absorbent part of the wood.
  • Use a brush or rag to spread out the polyurethane from one side to the other. This will keep the distribution equal and smooth.
  • Sand First: Before you paint anything, sand the wood so that the primer will coat the wood well
  • Seal Completely: Seal all nooks and crannies of the wood including the joints and bottoms.
  • Recoat the wood at least once a year for a long-lasting finish. Even with the best of precautions, wear and tear may occur due to the weather or external elements.
  • When you apply the sealer, make sure to use a second coat. Note that each coat takes longer than the previous. Then sand the wood, clean and apply the final coat.
  • Protect your furniture from sun and rain as much as possible. Use furniture glides to raise the piece slightly off the ground so it doesn’t sit in puddles of rainwater.

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