Last updated: 16/10/2022

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Welcome to our large wood stain test 2022. Here we present all the wood preservatives that we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

In this way, we would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best wood preservative stain for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy a wood preservative stain.


  • There are wood preservatives for exterior or interior use, water-based or solvent-based.
  • Furthermore, a distinction is made as to whether you want to paint dimensionally stable wood such as windows and doors or non-dimensionally stable wood such as screens or garden furniture.
  • Wood preservatives are available in up to 30 different colour shades depending on the selection of the different manufacturers.

The Best Wood Stain: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a wood preservative stain

What is wood preservative stain?

Wood is a very popular material for furniture, flooring or toys, whether outdoors or indoors. But buying it alone is not enough, because we all want to enjoy it for a long time.

A wood stain is ideal for the annual maintenance of teak garden furniture. (Image source: / counselling)

And that’s where wood preservative comes in. A wood preservative stain is a transparent or semi-transparent coating that preserves the grain and look of the wood. Wood preservative varnishes are best suited for oak, pine or teak.

Wood preservative varnishes ideally protect the natural woods from moisture and dirt, from wind, weather and other weathering influences. Wood preservative varnishes are available in different colours.

Do I need the wood preservative stain for outdoors or indoors?

Before you use a wood preservative stain, you should know exactly which wood you want to glaze, whether for indoors or outdoors. This is because a wood preservative for outdoor use must meet different criteria than for indoor use.

Indoors, wooden ceilings, doors and windows, as well as furniture, can be treated and maintained with wood preservatives, because even indoors, wood absorbs moisture, causing the wood to swell.

Outdoors, it is the garden furniture, the children’s playground equipment and the patio decking that need regular care. Only with good care will you benefit in the long term.

Do I have to prime the wood first?

Wood that is used outdoors is exposed to different weather conditions. If the wood is being glazed for the first time, a suitable primer or impregnation should be applied before the wood preservative glaze is applied.

With the right primer, you also ensure that the glaze is evenly absorbed by the wood. You can also apply a primer to even out any unevenness.

For exterior use, it is advisable to prime the wood beforehand. (Image source: / kissu)

What does a wood preservative stain cost?

There are different prices for wood preservatives depending on the manufacturer, and the prices in DIY stores and discounters also differ. Another factor to consider when looking at the price is the quantity needed. The smallest unit starts at 0.25 litres and the largest unit is a five-litre container.

What are the alternatives to a wood preservative stain?

There are five different ways to treat the wood.

Type Description
Wood oil Wood oils have no or only a few resins and therefore leave the wood softer. They do not form a closed film on the surface and do not protect as intensively as wood stains, but are much more environmentally friendly. They are ideal for interior use.
Wood wax surfaces treated with wood wax are smoother, shinier and more water-repellent, but still breathable and antistatic. Wood wax is ideal for furniture, floors and for people with house dust allergies.
Wood varnish Wood varnish is ideal for outdoor use when it comes to protecting wood from extreme weather conditions. They form a closed film on the wood surface and breathability is completely suppressed. The advantage is that you don’t have to repeat the painting every year, but the varnish cracks over time, flakes off and has to be completely removed from the wood before it can be repainted.
Wood preservative gel Due to its more viscous consistency, the wood preservative gel is easier to paint than a thin-bodied glaze. You can paint all wood surfaces with the gel, which makes them very popular. It comes in many different colours.

Decision: What types of wood preservative stains are there and which is the right one for you?

What distinguishes the thin-layer stain and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The texture of a thin-layer stain is open-pored, transparent and translucent because it has a low binder content. It is similar to water in its fluidity and can thus penetrate deep into the wood.

Several coats must be applied for protection. Thin-layer glazes are mostly used for building components where dimensional accuracy is not important, such as fences and cladding.

  • Re-treatment possible at any time
  • Low binder content
  • Easy application
  • Does not flake off
  • Mostly solvent-based
  • Wood continues to absorb moisture and weather

What distinguishes thick-film varnish and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Thick-film stains have a tough, viscous consistency and have a high binder content. They form a smooth surface, but do not penetrate as deeply into the wood. Thick-film stains are particularly suitable for interior hardwoods, as they can crack and peel over time. For a new coat, the complete old coat must first be removed.

  • High binder content
  • Natural grain is preserved
  • Smooth and glossy surface
  • Acrylic-based solvent-based
  • Becomes brittle and flakes off over the years

Buying criteria: These are the factors you can use to compare and evaluate wood preservative stains

In the following, we show you which factors you can use to decide between the many possible wood preservatives. With the following criteria, you can better compare the wood preservatives with each other:

  • Drying time
  • Protective properties
  • Colours / shade
  • Ingredients
  • Consumption
  • Processing

In the following, we explain in more detail what is important for the individual criteria.

Drying time

As versatile as the selection of wood preservatives is, almost every brand has its own drying time. A further distinction is made between dust-dry and paintable. Most surfaces are dust-dry between 30 minutes and 12 hours. The average, however, is between two and four hours.

To give the surfaces another coat, you have to wait longer, but here again the differences between the products vary widely. They range from two to 24 hours. The average here is three to six hours.

Protective properties

Thin-film stains are well protected against moisture and dust. However, they are not protected against extreme rainfall like the thick-film glazes. These also protect the furniture from extreme impacts. The majority of all wood preservatives have UV protection, including the colourless stains.

Colours / Shade

Wood preservative stains are available in many different colours. However, it varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. Not every manufacturer also offers a wide range of colours. Here you can get good advice from your local specialist shop and also see on site how the desired colour looks on the wood.


Wood preservatives are divided into solvent-based and water-based stains. Water-based glazes are suitable for indoor use, in contrast to outdoor furniture, where they can easily evaporate in the open air.

Solvent-based glazes can cause allergies and should not be used indoors. More and more manufacturers are opting for solvent-free wood stains, as regulations are also becoming stricter. For interiors, you should therefore use glazes with natural oils if possible.


Here it always depends on how often and how large the area to be painted is. On average, the figures are between six and 12 square metres with a single coat. The more intensive the colour is supposed to be, the more often you have to repeat the painting. It is often a matter of taste how intense you want the colour to be.

Facts worth knowing about wood preservative varnishes

How do I clean the tools?

This really depends on the ingredients of the wood preservative stain, because there are water-based and solvent-based stains. Cleaning should always be tried first without a cleaning agent.

However, if this is not sufficient, you can first use household soap. In the case of solvent-based glazes, the brushes should be cleaned with turpentine substitute or a special brush cleaner, just as when using varnishes.

How do I store wood stains correctly?

Wood preservative stains should be stored in a room that is as consistently cool as possible. The containers should be tightly closed, airtight and not exposed to direct sunlight.

Wood preservatives that have not yet been opened have a minimum shelf life of 24 months. Containers that have already been opened should not be stored for longer than one year.

If, contrary to expectations, air has dried on the stain, a little water will usually help to make the wood preservative stain brushable again.

How are wood stains disposed of?

First of all, a distinction must be made between water-based and solvent-based wood stains. Dried-in residues of a water-based wood stain can be disposed of in the normal residual waste or via construction site waste.

Containers that are still liquid or not completely dry can be disposed of at the local recycling centre or at hazardous waste collection points.

Residues of wood preservatives containing solvents may only be disposed of at local recycling centres or hazardous waste collection points.

How are wood stains removed?

A distinction must be made here between thin- and thick-layer varnishes. Thin-layer varnishes are difficult or impossible to remove because they penetrate very deeply into the wood. You can try sanding it off or re-priming and repainting.

Over time, even a thick-layer stain weathers outdoors. It must be completely removed before repainting. (Image source: / analogicus)

Thick-film glazes are similar to varnish and flake off over time, so you have three options here: Hot air dryer, stripping or sanding.

Image: / couleur