Best Wood Stains for Outdoor and Indoor: Ready Seal vs. General Finishes

Best Wood Stains for Outdoor and Indoor: Ready Seal vs. General Finishes


Staining doesn’t only change the look of the wooden surface but also it brings a natural beauty of furniture, deck or other wooden surface. And a quality stain adds a great finish that last for years. Since a quality stain can add something special to a wooden surface, it is important to consider few things before purchasing wood stain.

best wood stains

There are plenty amount of wood stain available in the market and you have many options to choose from. However, the most important thing is to consider that what wood stain best suits for your needs.

Though for many people it is easy to pick one as they need only what is already in their deck, but if it is first time for you then it will not be easy for you.

A best wood stain for you will not be similar to the best one for your friend. The reason is, maybe you and your friend are not using the same types of wood. Or you are using some rare type’s wood like aged pine, cherry, maple, and mahogany that do not even need to use any stain.

So to make it easy for you to choose the best wood stain, we have made a list of top 8 best wood stains with its features, drawbacks and benefits. Hope this will help you a lot to take decision. Read the article till the end and I believe you will end up with taking a decision.

How To Choose The Best Wood Stain?

As I said previously, choosing the best wood stain is not difficult for an expert but if you are buying stain for the first time then it will be tough for you for sure. The market is flooded with a lot of wood stains and paints. So you can pick any of those since you have a lot of options.

However, your choice of stain will not only affect the outlook of your wood project but also it will determine the lumber’s durability. So if you pick a wrong stain, you will definitely suffer in long run. But don’t worry; I am here to help you. I am writing some tips that will help you to choose the best wood stain from the market.

Your Wood Type

First of all, know your wood type. Your wood type will determine will determine the type of the stain. Not all stains are suitable for all kinds of wood. And there are some kinds of wood that do not even require staining such as Mahogany, Cherry, and Maple etc. So first know your wood type.

Stain Type

Now you need to select the stain type. Maybe you are thinking that since you know your wood type you have done there. But let me tell one thing. You are wrong. There might be several types of stain that could suit your wood. But among them, you need to select which one will be perfect for your wood.

For instance, there are many types of stain such as solid stain, water based stain, oil stain etc. and may be oil stain as well as water satin suits your wood. Then what will you choose?

Actually, it depends on your choice. Different type’s stains have different type’s features. Like, oil based stains are heavier than water based color. That means the water based stain produce lighter color than the oil based stain produce. So if you need lighter color, choose water based stain and if you need heavier color, choose oil based color.

In addition, water based stain dries very fast. It could be a problem if you use it for longer surface. so for longer surface, you should select oil based stain.

So consider stain type before choosing any stain.

Coverage Area

In general, wood stains are cheaper than paints. But still, you need to consider how much area your stain is going to cover. Not all the stains cover same area. It varies from brand to brand. Why I need to consider how much area it covers since it is cheaper? Well, because you need to remember that you have to reapply the stain at least once in every 2 years. So consider it when buying.

It is always better to take the one that covers the most area. But you should never compromise with quality. Do you remember what I have said in first line? A quality one doesn’t only change the look of the wooden surface but also it brings a natural beauty of furniture, deck or other wooden surface. And a quality stain adds a great finish that last for years. Since a quality stain can add something special to a wooden surface you should not compromise with quality right?

If any quality stain covers hundred square feet in one gallon that is enough.


Like the paint, there are various colors available in wood stain. So you can pick anyone from those colors that enhance the natural beauty of your wood.

The best way to choose the best stain color for your project is select only the color that matches with the color of your wood as well as other surfaces around the project. Also, you can select any color that you feel that it will look more natural than the color of wood.

But one thing I want to mention that, check before applies. Which that means is that apply small amount of stain in a small portion of your project to see how it looks like. If you are happy with that then select that color.


The last but least important thing you need to consider is price. First of all, not all the high priced products are good. And try not to use cheapest product since you know it will not last long and it may damage your wooden surface. Rather, choose the stain that is in moderate price. And, the one which is efficient. But never compromise with quality. Always try to pick the best quality in a moderate price.

If you follow this buying guide I hope you will be able to buy the perfect wood stain for your wood.


Best Wood Stain Rеvіеwѕ

Ready Seal 525 Exterior Stain Review

ready seal 525

Ready Seal 525 increase the natural beauty of your wooden surface allowing the grain and texture of the wooden surface to remain visible. This wood stain is a semi-transparent, oil-based, sealer and stain in one, perfect for all of your outer wood projects such as decking, fencing, siding, patio covers, and gazebos.

The best thing about the stain is that, as previously mentioned, it is a sealer and at the same time it is a stain as well. Combine the stain and sealer save your extra money, save time and save extra efforts but still produce a high quality, awesome, natural finish where most of the wood finishing products need multi-step application. Those products need stain to add color to your wooden surface and wood sealer to protect the surface from moisture.

The stain comes with variety of colors. That means you can choose whatever color you need and whatever color you like. And the good thing is that the stain is thinner than water. So you can apply it with a sprayer, brush or roller. But don’t worry about its effectiveness. It has a unique solution that penetrates very deeply and delivers you a natural finish.

The Ready Seal 525 offers you low maintenance by protecting your wooden surface from UV rays and mildew. Not only that, the stain is water proof as well. That means you do not have to worry about the protection of your wood from mildew, UV rays or water.

Moreover, there is no need for wet-line application or back-brushing that diminishes your effort. Other than that, it needs no primer to apply. Additionally, you can apply it in any temperature. What I am trying to say is that it is very much easy and simple to apply.

Overall, when you check the reviews about this amazing Ready Seal 525, you will find out that this one is the best wood stain for you and the users of this product are so happy using this.

Good Thing About Stain

  • Less expensive.
  • Easy to apply.
  • Low maintenance cost.
  • Can apply in any wooden project.
  • Various colors.
  • Water and UV protection.
  • Requires no primer.
  • Scaler and stain at a time.


  • Take long time to penetrate and dry.

Ready Seal 125 Exterior Stain Review

ready seal 125

Ready Seal 125 wood stain as well as sealer contains almost all the necessary elements that a quality coating should have for any outer wood projects. It is a professional top graded wood sealer and stain that is better than other sealer or stain products when compared to the ease of maintenance, application, and the natural beauty of the completed project.

The company makes this product easy to use in order to ensure all customers a hassle-free, simple and easy application, and at the same time save time and promise a good finish for homeowners.

The good thing about the product is that you can use it in any temperature no matter it is hot summer or cold winter. You can use it in decking, fencing, patio covers, gazebos and siding.

The thing I like most is that it is both stain and seal. That means you need not to buy any additional sealer where most of the other stain needs to seal and in order to do that you have to additional sealer. That means, it saves your money and I am sure you are happy to hear that.

Are you confused about the color? Don’t worry. It comes with variety of colors. So you can pick the color that best suits your wooden surface. Other than that, it has UV protection. That means you do not have to worry about the dangerous UV rays.

Not only that, this sealer as well as stain is water proof and mildew resistance. That means it won’t be damaged in rainy weather or flood or any other water related issues such as pipe licking.

As previously mentioned, the stain is very much simple to apply. You can use roller, sprayer, or brush to apply it. Additionally, this stain is thinner than water. But don’t worry. After applying, you will get a fine finish in your furniture, fence, and wooden wall or where you have applied it. Moreover, there is no need of well-line application or back brushing. But one thing I want to mention that it takes some time to penetrate and dry.

Overall, this stain and seal enhance the natural beauty of your wooden project. Not only its common consumer, but also the contractors love this stain for its amazing finish and its longevity. That is why this Ready Seal 125 is in the list of our best wood stain.

The Good Things I Like

  • Stain and seal at a time.
  • Excellent finishing.
  • Needs no primer.
  • No need for wet-line application or back brushing.
  • UV protected, water proof and mildew resistance.
  • Easy to use.
  • Inexpensive.
  • Can be applied in any temperature.

Needs to Improve

  • It takes few weeks to dry and penetrate.

General Finishes JP Gel Stain Review

general finishes jp

General Finishes JP Gel Stains, JAVA, have been featured in the whole nation’s social and mass media for upcycling & repurposing cabinets and furniture. Woodworkers, as well as contractors, love the glamorous finish which shows up when brushing out the second and third coats. This Stain is formulated with a mixture of oils, urethanes, and pigments to produce a beautiful and durable “hand-rubbed” finish.

General Finishes gel stains maybe the easiest of all satin to use and attain the "hand-rubbed" appearance without all the works. The application of this stain is so easy and simple with a lint free cloth or foam. However, it will give you an excellent finish without having any brush mark.

One of the amazing features of this product is that it is heavy-bodied. That means it allows the stain to flow out accurately and evenly. It helps to prevent any uneven penetration to make the color control consistence. And this is the reason why they are not affected more by the wood condition.

And the best thing of this gel is that it has the ability to provide more even look on the difficult woods like pine or aspen. And it comes with various colors. And the most important thing is you can use multiple coats to get even more combination of colors.

Do you need to refinish your old cabinets or new cabinets? Are you fed up with that golden oak boring color and want a modern updated color? General finish gel open up a huge world for you of easy-to-achieve possibilities for resurrecting wood furniture, and redecorating your house by bringing a new look of wood cabinets, floors and furniture, and attaining an amazing first-time finish. And that is why it makes it place in our best wood stain list.

The Good Thing About The Product

  • It is heavy-bodied.
  • Less affected by wood condition.
  • Good finish.
  • Easy to apply.


  • I haven’t found any.

General Finishes QSW Water Based Milk Paint Review

general finishes water

From the revolution of milk paint and being a buzzword in the woodworking circle is nothing but amazing. Almost each and every aficionado of these days aspires for a coat of milk paint on their project. And nowadays, it remains as aspiring as those days.

Basically milk paint is used as an alternative to the harmful toxic petro-chemical-laden paints that are generally used. The milk paint is made of lime and clay, milk based protein, or casein in addition to natural extracts or dyes to add color.

The good thing about the product is that the General Finishes QSW Milk Paint can be used in both indoor and outdoor project. That means you can use it in your furniture, cabinets, and crafts. And the most important thing is it is VOC free. As a result you can use it for the furniture of your baby.

Another advantage of using this GF QSW milk paint is it is very simple to use. You can use it without sanding or priming it in any surface you want. Additionally, it dries in a minute. However, it lasts for years if you use it with top natural resist coat. There is no fume as well.

It comes with variety of colors. You can pick whatever you want. Other than that, you can mix it to make a new color. Since it comes in a form of powder, you can add water and make it lighter, or glaze. You can distress it as well. That is why it is perfect for repurposing or up cycling furniture.

Actually, this GF QSW milk paint is not “milk paint” at all. Rather it is new modern form of old world pain in addition to strong base of mineral. There is a UV protection too. And the customer reviews are also so good. That is why we add this product to our best wood stain list so that you can choose the best one.

The Good Things About The Product

  • Very easy and simple to work with.
  • Requires no sanding or priming.
  • No fumes.
  • Dries in a minute.
  • Can use various colors to make a unique as well as great finish.
  • Simple to distress.

The Things Need to Develop

  • Take several coats to attain good finish.
  • Little bit costly.
  • Some complain about the shipping.

General Finishes SQ Gel Topcoat Review

general finishes sq

We are back again with another General Finishes product.

Actually this brand is so popular and it has so many good products that we cannot omit one. This General Finishes SQ Gel Topcoat is heavy duty oil based top coat that offers a beautiful and amazing hand rubbed finish. This one is a thicker constancy; as a result, there are no runs, drips, or spills.

The product dries very fast. It takes only 12-24 hours to dry if it gets ideal condition. That means 70 degrees as well as 70% humidity. If the temperature is high then the dry time will decrease and it will dry faster.

Besides, the cure time is 30 days under perfect condition. As previously mentioned, 70% humidity and 70 degrees temperature is the ideal condition. Don’t you know what cure time is? Well, basically, cure time is the time requires for your project reaching the maximum hardness and being ready for general use. This is not the same as dry time. Treat your project very carefully during this stage. And you will get a natural beautiful finish.

The good thing about this brand is that it is waterproof. So any kind of water spills cannot damage it. But one thing you need to remember, even stones decay if water is spilled regularly. Which that means is the surface can be damaged by spilled water as long as it is cleaned properly and regularly.

Overall, you can achieve a natural finish if you can use it properly. The product is ideal for indoor use. So if you need to stain any of your furniture of your home you can try this one without being hesitate.

The Good Thing About The Product

  • It dries fast.
  • Need less gel.
  • Good finish.
  • Good quality.
  • Easy to apply.
  • Waterproof.

The Things Need to Improve

  • Not suitable for outdoor project.
  • Expensive.

General Finishes QD Milk Paint Review

general finishes qd

This is a mineral based premium exterior/interior paint which is named for its amazing low-luster sheen that mimics the appearance of old-fashioned furniture paint. This General Finishes QD Milk Paint is not any powder, casein-based paint; rather, it is a modern premixed version that makes is so durable that it does not need a topcoat. But if you want to increase your sheen then you will need a topcoat.

Unlike the previous one of our best wood stain list, this one can be used indoor and outdoor. You can apply it to your cabinets, furniture, or crafts. One thing you need to know and I am sure you will be glad to know that this paint is UV resistance. So it will protect your project from dangerous UV rays.

The best thing about this milk paint is that you can lighten it, mix it, glaze it, distress it, layer different type’s colors, and antique it based on your demand. Isn’t it awesome? It allows its user to make the paint more compatible to any project.

Another good thing about the paint is that it is very simple and easy to apply. And with a strong and hard mineral base, the milk paint is superbly adaptable. That makes the paint a perfect option for repurposing and upcycling furniture. In addition, as you know, all of the General Finishes paints are waterproof. So don’t feel confused to get the best milk paint.

The Thing I Like Most

  • Easy to apply.
  • Waterproof.
  • UV resistance.
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor project.
  • Satin finish.
  • Low luster-sheen.

The Thing I Don’t Like

  • Takes a little bit time to try.

General Finishes QLB Milk Paint Review

general finishes qlb

The General Finishes Company made the milk paint palette double in 2014 and added 14 more colors to its premixed series. This high quality paint is durable, easy to apply and simple to repair, while offering an almost endless array of finish possibilities and colors. You can mix the colors or you can use it with GF water-based Wood Stains and Glazes to generate popular figurative effects and finishes such as antiquing, distressing, color washing, faux marble, and rag rolling on any surface.

This General Finishes QLB Milk Paint is one of the famous paint in the whole USA, and it is not only famous but also it is a classic color that has the ability to turn any project into timeless staple. And you can use it for your outdoor project as well.

This amazing milk paint is UV resistance that will help to protect your project from dangerous harmful UV rays. Also this lamp black color paint has satin finishes which will deliver you a natural, good looking, and amazing finish.

Remember the brand name, you will not find a lot of brand that can compete with this brand. That is why we have to pick most of our product form this brand. And if you concern about your project, furniture, cabinets, or crafts then you should choose this amazing lamp black milk paint. It will enhance the natural beauty and feeling of your wooden surface.


  • Waterproof.
  • UV resistance.
  • Easy to use.
  • Can use indoor and outdoor project.


  • Little bit expensive.
  • Need some time to dry.

Benefit Of Buying Best Wood Stain

Actually, wood stain is very much popular for ability to improve the look of the wood, but there are many other benefits of buying and using the stain including money saving, preservation and convenience. Let's see in details some major advantages of buying and using the wood stain.

Prevent Rotting

We all know wood is very prone to rotting, especially if we use it in an outdoor project without sealing. The rot not only makes your wood looks unpleased but also it will increase chance of collapse. Though rot maybe develop in various ways but termites, mildew, and mold are the main culprit. In addition, there are no actual ways that can prevent rotting once it starts. On contrary, using stain before rotting and re-apply the stain regularly can help to protect your wood from rotting.

Protect From Moisture and Sun

The moisture causes more damages than rot. Once the water enters into the wood and then the wood freezes, the wood will start breaking. And it is highly possible that your whole wood project will be destroyed just because of the entry of water. On the other hand, sun also causes some damages. Regular penetration of sunlight makes your wood discolor. Sealing your wood with stain will protect your wood from water and sun.

Cost Efficient

The stain is cheaper than paint. And it is more durable than paint. So for any wooden surface, stain could be a good choice especially for some outdoor project such as decks. The paint does not last long in water area where the stain survives longer than paint. So if your use paints that will be a poor choice and costs you lot money. In addition, when you use paint in the surfaces like deck, it will last only few months due to foot traffic. In that case, stain is more durable. That means stain can save your money a lot.

Preserve Aesthetics

When you paint any wood, it will lose its natural appealing and look since the aesthetics appeal lies in wood’s natural color. But the stain does not affect the natural color of wood and the grain of your wood remains visible. Though it is also possible to customize your wood color with stain since, nowadays, stain comes with a lot of colors.

Easy to Use

The best thing about the stain is it is very much easy and simple to use. And it is the best advantage I think. Also it is very easy to maintain since you need to re-apply the stain only once in a couple of year. You can apply the stain without primer. And some stains take only a few minutes to dry.

FAQ About Wood Stain

Why should I use wood stain instead of paint?

There are lots of benefits of using stain instead of paint. For example, stain is cheaper but more durable than paint. In addition, the stain is easy to use, simple to maintain and compatible with ay wooden surfaces. That are the main reason you should use stain instead of paint.

How long the stain last?

It, actually, depends on the quality of stain. A good quality best wood stain would last at least 2-3 years. Also, it depends on the age of the wood as well. The stain on new wood will definitely last longer than the stain on old wood.

What is the advantage of water based stain?

Water based stain is easy to apply and safe. And it has no odor. That is why it is best for indoor apply such as staining furniture.


Can stain survive in any temperature?

Yes, it does. The stain can survive any temperature.

Do I need anything to put over stain?

Basically, there are two types of stains are available in the market. The first type is for coloring. It will just color the wood and after staining, you need to put seal I mean you need to seal the stain. And the other type is all in one package. That one is stain as well as seal. If you use type two stain, there is  no need to put anything over the stain.

Final Verdict

It is not a wise decision to not stain your wood and keep your wood unseals. A smart person will never do this type of mistake and risk his wooden project. It can damage your wood in a very destructive way. And stain can protect your valuable wood.

In addition, the stain enhances the beauty of your wooden surface and brings a natural feel as well. Not only that, nowadays, the stain comes with a variety of options, so that people can choose whatever they need. They can pick any color they want, any type they want. We have mentioned some best wood stains in the list. You can pick from this list too.

But you should spend some time to choose the perfect one. I know you are eagerly waiting to take stain and apply to your wood but trust me; wait a little bit more will make your choice better. So read again the features of the product we have mentioned and take your decision.

Lastly, I hope this review will help you to take a good decision and buy the best wood stain for your wood stain. Best of luck.

Last Updated: 12th Dec, 2020


  • decoration
  • painting
Oğuz Tokatlı

Oğuz Tokatlı

Co-Founder, Editor, Content Creator, and Full Stack Web Developer of I am here to provide you the best content.


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