Top 5 Best Stains For Cedar Fences (2021 Review)

Last Updated On September 17, 2021

Getting ready to stain your cedar fence/wooden fence to boost curb appeal? 

That's a great idea! Old and new fences need to be stained to maintain a long life. 

We've done all the research for you, from finding the right products to the whole staining process. 

Want to know which is the best stain for cedar fences? Sit back, and let Pro Paint Corner handle the business yet again. 

Top 5 Best Stains For Cedar Fences

In this ProPaintCorner.com guide, you will learn:

  • The best stain for cedar fences
  • Tips and tricks for a great stain job
  • Some safety reminders to keep your eyes, skin, and respiratory system from harm.
  • And much more!

Below is a quick list of all our top products. Keep scrolling to learn more about how to choose and use the best stain for a cedar fence.

Image Product

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Ready Seal Natural Cedar Exterior Stain
  • Made specifically for cedar
  • Choose from 8 different colors
  • Can be applied with a paint sprayer
  • Made specifically for cedar
  • Choose from 8 different colors
  • Can be applied with a paint sprayer
View on Amazon

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Thompson’s WaterSeal Waterproofing Stain
  • Easily applied
  • Water and mildew resistant
  • Less expensive than other products
  • Easily applied
  • Water and mildew resistant
  • Less expensive than other products
View on Amazon

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Defy Extreme Transparent Exterior Wood Stain
  • Water-based
  • Environmentally-friendly
  • Zinc nano-technology
  • Water-based
  • Environmentally-friendly
  • Zinc nano-technology
View on Amazon

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Olympic Stain Elite Woodland Oil Stain
  • Protection with just one coat
  • Urethane-fortified
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Protection with just one coat
  • Urethane-fortified
  • Lifetime guarantee
View on Amazon

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Cabot Semi-Solid Deck & Siding Stain
  • 10 colors to choose from
  • Deep-penetrating finish
  • Easily applied sealant in 1 coat
  • 10 colors to choose from
  • Deep-penetrating finish
  • Easily applied sealant in 1 coat
View on Amazon

Our Overall #1 Rated Pick

Updated On September 17, 2021

Our favorite is Ready Seal Natural Cedar Exterior Stain because it is made specifically for cedar, so you can guarantee that the finish will turn out perfect when applying to your cedar fence.

Ready Seal Natural Cedar Exterior Stain also comes in a 5-gallon container, so you are less likely to. runout while painting your project.

Choose from 4 different colors of Ready Seal to brighten or darken up the appearance of your cedar fence, and make your backyard look more presentable to others.

Our Top 5 Best Cedar Stains For Fences

If you're truly looking for the best stains to use for your fence project, you're in the right place!

Below is a list of our top 5 stains, keep reading to learn about the pros and cons of each one:

What Is Stain For A Cedar Fence?

Any exterior wood stain will work great for a cedar fence, but you'll want to do some research to find the product that fits your project best before you get started.

Luckily, we've done all the research for you. See our list of the top 5 best stains for cedar fences to get a good idea.

What Are The Different Types of Stains For Cedar Fences?

Oil-Based

Oil stains are the most classic and commonly used product for protecting your cedar fence from UV rays, water damage, mold/mildew, and more.

Acrylic/Water-Based

Water-based stains are typically more environmentally and are designed to do the same thing as oil-based stains in a less toxic way.

Keep your eye out for environmentally stains like Defy Extreme Transparent Exterior Wood Stain for a conscious solution to your paint job.

How Does Staining A Cedar Fence Work?

Staining a cedar fence is so easy.

We've provided some steps for getting the job done the right way, along with some supplies that you might want to pick up before starting. 

HVLP Paint Sprayer/Paintbrush/Paint Roller

It doesn't matter how you apply the stain to your cedar fence, but using an inexpensive handheld HVLP paint sprayer will make the job go a lot quicker.

Masking Supplies/Drop Cloth/Paint Masker

You will definitely want to cover up surfaces that aren't your fence when applying stain to avoid damage to plants, and also avoid getting stain on areas like cement that will end up looking ugly. 

Pick up a 3M paint masker to help you cover up undesired surfaces quickly and easily. 

How to use the paint masker: Simply load up some painter's tape and masking paper/plastic onto the paint masker, and join them together to create two-in-one paper and tape that rolls out like a dream.

Pressure Washer

The best way to prep your fence for paint is by using a pressure washer to get all the loose specs of wood or previous paint off of the surface.

Just be sure not to turn the pressure washer to a higher pressure, as this can cut or damage the cedar/other types of wood.

Mineral Spirits/Paint Thinner

You might want to use some mineral spirits/paint thinner to clean things up after staining when working with oil-based products.

When working with water-based products, you can simply clean up using water.

Sandpaper/Sanding Pole 

Sanding isn't necessarily essential when painting a cedar fence, but if it is especially rough, you could rough it up with some 120-grit sandpaper attached to a sanding pole before staining.

Read More >> How Much Does It Typically Cost To Paint/Stain A Fence?

Staining wood can actually increase its lifespan. This is because the stain prevents splintering, rot, and rain from destroying the wood's surface.

Step-By-Step Guide To Staining A Cedar Fence Like A Pro (5-Steps)

(Psst! You can click any of the links below to jump forward to that step.)

  1. Clean & Prep The Fence
  2. Mask/Cover-Up Undesired Surface Blemishes
  3. Apply Stain Using The Best Possible Method (for you)
  4. Let The Stain Dry, Inspect The Results, Re-Stain If Necessary
  5. Clean Up

Step 1 - Clean & Prep The Fence

Use a power washer to wash all of the loose material off the fence before painting. Remember, those loose flakes of paint will fall off after the paint job is done.

You shouldn't apply stain to damp wood if it is really wet, so wait for it to dry off a bit before applying the stain.

Step 2 - Mask/Cover-Up Undesired Surface Blemishes

Use a paint masker/throw some drop cloths down to avoid getting stain on the grass, garden, or concrete.

Step 3 - Apply Stain Using The Best Possible Method (for you)

Are you painting a huge fence? Some of you homeowners might want to invest in a little paint sprayer to help things run smoother. 

Trust us, you'll save a bunch of time spraying the stain onto the cedar fence, and HVLP handheld paint sprayers are so cheap these days that you can't go wrong with buying one for the tool collection.

When using a paintbrush, don't be afraid to get a liberal amount of stain on the brush. The same goes for using a paint roller. 

The ideal is to load up the paintbrush or roller with stain all the way to the point where it almost drips off but doesn't.

Step 4 - Let The Stain Dry, Inspect The Results, Re-Stain If Necessary

You won't know how the job really turned out until the stain cures. Some products take up to 12 days, and others say just an hour or two. 

Read the label specific to the product you are working on, and figure out how long it takes to see the end result.

Most of these products should be an easy one-step process, however, you might have to add more stain to areas with big knots in the new wood grains.

You might have to apply more than one coat depending on the kind of wood. Softwoods, for example, may absorb more of the stain.

Step 5 - Clean Up

You have now successfully stained your cedar fence! Stained wood always looks better.

You can now peel off or remove the masking and drop cloths, and move on with your life!

What Should You Look For In The Best Stain For A Cedar Fence?

Quantity

Buying in quantity is the best way to assure that you are getting the best deal on your purchase.

Besides, if you have some stain leftover, you can always sell it on websites like Facebook marketplace or Craig's List afterward to recuperate a couple of bucks if necessary.

The most important part is buying enough stain for the job. 

It's hard to know how much stain you will need because all wood surfaces take stain differently; some absorb a lot of the stain, and others function more economically for your pocketbook.

The idea is to buy enough stain to get the job done.

Environmentally-friendly 

Non-toxic products are a more conscious option. Try something like  Defy Extreme Transparent Exterior Wood if you are looking for a less-harmful solution to painting your cedar fence.

VOC-Compliant/Eco-Friendly

VOC(volatile organic compounds) compliance basically measures how toxic certain products are.

Some states ban products if they are harmful to the environment, so this is something to look out for when buying stain for your cedar fence.

Natural Color/Color-Toned/Transparent

Some of these products have different color options, so keep an eye out for different colors that might match the surrounding area.

Our Reviews Of The Best Stain For Cedar Fence

Choose from 8 different colors of Ready Seal that is made specifically for cedar exteriors. 

Apply this well-reviewed stain with either a paint sprayer, paintbrush, or paint roller for a perfect solution to protecting and embellishing the look of your cedar fence.

You can find the best price for Ready Seal Natural Cedar Exterior Stain on Amazon, so don't miss out on the opportunity to make your cedar fence look better than it did before.

Pros

  • Made specifically for cedar exteriors
  • 8 different colors
  • No primer required

Cons

  • Not sold in quantities smaller than 1-gallon
  • Takes 14 days to fully cure

Thompson's is an affordable and easy to apply waterproofing stain and sealer that is designed to resist water as well as UV damage/direct sunlight, weathering, mold, and mildew.

Thompson's exceeds the industry standard for waterproofing, and it is made from advanced polymers that are specially designed to be ultra-resistant from the elements.

Apply Thompson's on your cedar fence for a less-expensive solution to your home improvement needs.

Pros

  • Made from advanced polymers
  • Less expensive than other stains
  • Ultimate resistance to the elements

Cons

  • Only sold in 1-gallon quantities
  • VOC content not specified

Defy is an environmentally friendly semi-transparent wood stain for changing the color and protecting your cedar fence or any other exterior wood project.

Defy Extreme is fortified with a zinc nano-particle technology with UV protection that prevents loss of color.

Made from high-quality resins, this product lasts longer than other stains, and you can pick it up in 7 different colors.

Pros

  • Comes in 7 different color options
  • VOC compliant
  • Water-based and environmentally friendly

Cons

  • Isn't the traditional oil-based stain
  • Doesn't ship to California

Olympic stain is a great option for staining your cedar fence because it comes backed with a lifetime guarantee, and it will embellish the look of the wood in just one coat.

Spray or paint a layer of Olympic stain on your cedar wood fence because it is urethane-fortified to resist annoying occurrences like peeling and scratching.

Buy Olympic Stain Elite Woodland Oil Stain off of Amazon for the best possible price.

Pros

  • Made in the USA
  • Enhances the look of a cedar fence
  • Lifetime guarantee

Cons

  • VOC content not specified
  • Slightly more expensive than other products
  • Only sold in 1-gallon quantities

Cabot is an extra-pigmented semi-solid deck and siding stain that will give your cedar fence a quality finish and rich color. 

With a low VOC content, Cabot is ideal for a superior look that resists fades and scuffs in just one coat.

Use Cabot on a cedar fence or even your deck or siding and choose from 10 different colors for your favorite style. Choose this product if you are looking for a solid stain.

Pros

  • 10 colors to choose from
  • Low VOC content
  • Resists fading and scuffs

Cons

  • Slightly more expensive than other stains
  • Only sold in 1-gallon quantities

Our personal favorite is Ready Seal Natural Cedar Exterior Stain because it's made specifically for cedar.

You can apply Ready Seal in any temperature range, and it doesn't matter how you apply it - you could use a paint sprayer, paint roller, paintbrush, heck, you could even use an old sock or microfiber towel. 

Made in America, Ready Seal is ideal for basically any outdoor application on any wood. 

Pick from four different colors of Ready Seal Natural Cedar Exterior Stain from light to dark for a cedar fence of perfection, and of course, you will get the best deal of either 1 gallon or 5-gallon buckets of this product on Amazon.

Final Thoughts On The Best Stain For Cedar Fence

Need a ladder? 

You'll likely need at least a step ladder when staining your wood fence or another outdoor staining project.

Not sure which ladder to buy?

You're in luck because we've done some research to find out which ladders are the best match for your fence stain project.

Read More >> What Are The Top Step Ladders For Painting/Staining?

Don't Forget To Stain Safely 

When staining a wooden deck, there are some safety measures to follow to avoid either exposing yourself to dangerous chemicals, or an accident like getting stain in your eyes.

Here are the safety essentials when using stains:

Cotton mask/respirator

You don't want to breathe in harmful chemicals that come out of the stain in the form of vapor.

For this reason, always use at least a cotton mask when working with stains.

Read More >> What Are The Top Respirators For Spraying Paint/Stain?

Safety glasses

Wearing safety glasses could literally save your vision when using stain. It's really easy to splash harmful chemicals into your eyes.

Note: keep a source of water around to flush your eyes out with just in case.

Nitrile gloves/leather gloves

Cover up your hands when using stain products to avoid damaging your skin.

More questions? Ask our Pro Paint Corner page for a quick response to all your painting questions.

Meet Your Pro Paint Corner Author

Ryan Nichols

Ryan Nichols

I first painted professionally in my late teens. I have painted everything from long military base walls to spraying cedar wood siding on cabins in the mountains of Utah. I am also an automotive technician with plenty of auto body and paint experience. In my spare time, I even enjoy artistic oil painting.

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Got Paint Questions? Search For In-Depth Answers Below!

Ryan Nichols

Ryan Nichols

I first painted professionally in my late teens. I have painted everything from long military base walls to spraying cedar wood siding on cabins in the mountains of Utah. I am also an automotive technician with plenty of auto body and paint experience. In my spare time, I even enjoy artistic oil painting.

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