10 Best Fence Stains of 2023 – Reviews & Top Picks
As wood weathers and ages, the finish of your fence will start to degrade. Staining is one of the best ways to give a wooden fence a whole new look without spending a lot of money or hiring someone to do it for you. If you have looked at the wood stains available today, you might feel overwhelmed. With the number of products on the market, which one should you choose?
When choosing a stain to refinish your wooden fence, durability, ease of application, and color selection are all aspects to consider. Does the stain come with a sealer? Some do, but others don’t. If you choose one without a sealer, it will be necessary to apply one prior to starting your staining process. Below, we’ll discuss 10 excellent fence stains with reviews to help you determine which brand you need.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2023
|Best Overall||Ready Seal 112 Exterior Wood Stain & Sealer||
|Best Value||SaverSystems Deck Premium Wood Stain||
|Premium Choice||Sashco Transformation Deck & Fence Stain||
|Woodrich Brand Timber Oil Deep Penetrating Stain||
|DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Wood Stain||
The 10 Best Fence Stains
1. Ready Seal 112 Exterior Wood Stain & Sealer – Best Overall
With more than eight shades from which to choose, we love the selection that Ready Seal 112 exterior wood stain and sealer gives us. However, even better than its selection is the performance. It saves you a lot of money and time because it combines the stain with a sealant. In addition, it doesn’t require thinning or diluting, and you can use it with your paint sprayer.
We found it very easy to use with our sprayer, but there weren’t any runs or drips when we applied it with a brush. Despite all of the positive qualities, it’s a very affordable product. It is also biodegradable, so there’s no worry when washing off your paintbrushes and other tools.
Even though it’s fine to add another coat after just 45 minutes, for a complete cure, you’ll need to wait between 48 and 72 hours. Otherwise, this is the best overall exterior wood stain and sealer this year.
2. SaverSystems Deck Premium Wood Stain – Best Value
This high-quality wood stain from SaverSystems comes in 1-gallon or 2.5-gallon containers with four options for finishes. It is water-based, so it’s easily cleaned up and VOC-compliant. Because it’s a combination sealer and stain, it resists mildew and mold. However, we didn’t believe that it was quite as good at sealing as the Ready Seal in the top spot.
This durable formula resists fading, peeling, and graying for years when you use it on the softwoods. It isn’t recommended to be used on hardwoods. The four color finishes are easy to apply, look great, have a nice consistency, and aren’t very runny. We had success with spraying and brushing it on. Overall, we believe this stain and sealer system is high quality, and we think it’s the best fence stain for the money this year.
3. Sashco Transformation Deck & Fence Stain – Premium Choice
If you are searching for a luxurious and deep finish on your fence, Sashco Transformation Deck & Fence Stain is one of the most gorgeous stains that we tried. It is semi-transparent, so the grain of your wood shows through, and it’s available in six colors.
This stain is a bit more expensive, and you will pay a premium price for the quality. We should mention that it was so easy to apply the stain. It’s not runny but not overly thick. We tried brushing, spraying, and rolling it, and all three produced great results.
Despite being among the most expensive stains, it doesn’t come with a built-in sealer. Of course, this will cost you more money and time, but when you see the rich finish the stain offers, we’re confident you’ll agree it’s worth the additional expense. We recommend this stain if you’re willing to spend a bit more for the results you want. Ready Seal 112 is the one to choose if you are looking for something more budget-friendly.
4. Woodrich Brand Timber Oil Deep Penetrating Stain
This stain gives you a natural, rich finish that helps accentuate the wood’s natural beauty. We liked how easy it was to apply, with hardly any dripping or running at all. Brushes and sprayers both provided finishes that looked great. Not only that but the stain can also be used on new lumber. Many stains can only be used on aged wood, so this is a huge advantage.
It’s a great overall stain but far from perfect. To begin with, it is very expensive, and it falls somewhere between our number one choice and the premium choice. Even though it’s more expensive, it doesn’t come with a sealer, and you will be spending extra money and time. We prefer using products with the sealer included. We really like this stain, but in our opinion, the value isn’t good for the price you pay.
5. DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Wood Stain
DEFY Extreme semi-transparent exterior wood stain is fortified using zinc nanoparticle technology. What does this mean? It means that the sun’s UV rays, which can be very harmful to your paint and wood, will be reflected. This should improve your fence’s weather resistance. DEFY includes a stain and sealer together, so there’s no need to apply a separate sealer.
It’s water-based, so it’s easy to clean up and comes in seven colors. Even though it produces a nice finish, it’s our opinion that DEFY is a bit costly. The price is among the highest of the tested stains, even though nothing about the stain makes it more special than the rest.
We weren’t impressed with the sealer the product has, either. When we tested it, it only lasted around 6 months, and then our wood started to absorb water. However, our biggest gripe was the somewhat patchy finish. For this price, we expected better.
6. Olympic Stain Maximum Wood Stain
When you are looking for something affordable, we recommend Olympic Stain Maximum Wood Stain. This 2-in-1 stain and sealer comes in eight beautiful finishes. However, the eye-catching finish didn’t last very long.
In just a year, the fence we’d stained was beginning to show significant signs of weathering. Its color had drastically faded, so we had to apply a brand-new coat. We weren’t impressed with how the second coat covered the original; it appeared kind of tacky.
7. Restore-A-Deck Wood Stain
Are you looking for a fence stain to do the job quickly and forget about it? We recommend Restore-A-Deck Wood Stain. It has same-day sealing and staining and UV protection for weathering the sun. That’s the good news.
Unfortunately, it can’t be used on new wood. The fence must be weathered for at least a year before applying Restore-A-Deck. The stain comes in four finishes, but we wish it came with more. The biggest drawback with this stain is the high price. You’ll pay for the convenience of same-day sealing and staining, but other products on this list are more versatile.
8. Wood Defender Transparent Fence Stain
Wood Defender Transparent Fence Stain gives you a good product at an affordable price, but it’s not among our favorites. It comes in just four colors, which is unimpressive. Even though most similarly-priced stains come with a built-in sealant, this one doesn’t. The best thing about the stain is its even, deep finish, which can be used in extreme climates.
It also comes with a 2-year guarantee, which gives us some breathing room. However, we would prefer if it lasted longer than 2 years. Even though many of the other formulas are run-free and drip-free, we noticed several drips when using this stain. We had no trouble cleaning them up to create a beautiful finished coat. However, we’d prefer that it didn’t run in the first place.
9. SEAL-ONCE Penetrating Wood Sealer & Stain
We love the 11 colors offered by SEAL-ONCE nano-penetrating Wood sealer and stain. However, they come at a price because the stain is very expensive. The wood sealing properties of the product are excellent, which prevent moisture from seeping into your wood. However, it lacks UV protection.
The biggest problem is the runny and thin consistency. We had so many runs and drips that we had to pay close attention and ensure we smoothed them out before the stain became tacky. We recommend choosing one of the top 3 stains before choosing this one.
10. Rust-Oleum 321637 Fence Stain Redwood
Redwood is one of the most durable and decay-resistant types of wood, but its Achilles’ Heel is moisture. If you live in a wet climate, a redwood fence must be cleaned and stained yearly. Fortunately, most major brands make a reliable stain for redwood. Rust-Oleum could have been one of them.
The Rust-Oleum 321637 Fence Stain has a unique application process. Rather than using a sprayer or brush, you simply hook a hose to its bottle and spray it. Even though this is a unique idea, we didn’t think it worked well. Although it applied the stain quickly, it also left a huge mess we had to clean.
There was a lot of overspray, and we didn’t have much control over the spray pattern. It’s also pretty expensive for a fence stain for redwood only. If your fence is made of another wood, you won’t be interested in this product.
Buyer’s Guide – Choosing the Best Fence Stain
Now that you have seen the stains we recommend, you might be wondering how to choose the right one for you. Well, wonder no more because we have tips on choosing a fence stain.
Match or Compliment the Colors on Your Property
Think about the colors of other features around your home. You want to compliment the other colors rather than clash with them. Also, consider your garden’s patio stone, pergola, or shed. The color you choose should fit in with their design theme.
Consider Your Fence Type
If you’re considering the stain colors for your privacy fence, choosing a color commonly used, such as rich redwood, dark brown, or warm cedar, is a good idea. If you’re staining a rail fence on a ranch, you might want to choose a bright color like white.
For a fence with a modern design, a color pattern that is staggered with two colors of stain might be a good choice.
Think About Your Neighborhood
Sometimes, it’s possible you’ll want to make a bolder statement using your fence. However, if you live in an HOA, you might be limited. So, read over the rules before you make your choice.
Complement Your Property or Home: 3 Tips & Tricks
Don’t Allow the Fence to Compete
If you’re showcasing your landscaping or have a pool that’s your property’s focal point, your fence shouldn’t compete. It should complement your property’s best parts and not draw attention away from them.
Now that you have read the reviews of our best stain for fences this year, we hope you are ready to choose the stain for refinishing your fence. To recap, our choice for the best fence stain is Ready Seal 112 exterior wood stain and sealer. We like that it comes in eight colors, is biodegradable, and has a built-in sealer. Its overall finish was gorgeous and great at withstanding the elements.
When looking for the best fence stain on a budget, we recommend SaverSystems #1 Deck premium wood stain. It comes with a built-in sealer and is water-based, but we love the beautiful finish. When you are looking for a stain at a premium price, our suggestion is the Sashco Transformation deck and fence stain. This stain has a rich, deep look that is going to rejuvenate your fence. It also has a luxurious finish that you will love applying. Although there were aspects of the other brands we liked, our top three picks produced remarkable results.