Top 5 Best Stains For Cedar (2021 Reviews)

Last Updated On January 15, 2021

Getting ready to stain your cedar wood fence or wood deck, or maybe even cedar siding to boost your home's curb appeal? 

That's a great idea!

And the good news is, we've done all the research for you.

Top 5 Best Stains For Cedar

In this ProPaintCorner.com guide, you will learn:

  • The best stain for cedarwood
  • Tips and tricks for a great stain job
  • Some safety reminders to keep you safe while staining
  • 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 cedar wood.

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 January 15, 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 Stains For Cedar Wood

If you're truly looking for the best stains to use for your cedar wood refinishing 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:

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Process Takes About 30 Seconds

What Is Stain For Cedar?

Any exterior wood stain will work great for a cedar wood surface, 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 decking, cedar siding, or cedar fences to get a good idea of which stains and pigments are best for your DIY project!

What Are The Different Types of Stains For Cedar?

Oil-Based

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

Because of this, they offer great durability and are one of the deepest penetrating stains which is great for cedar wood because it's amazingly preservative.

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 stain job.

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

Want To Just Skip All This Research And Hire A Decent Professional For Your Paint Job?

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What Supplies Will You Need?

Staining a cedar wood surface 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. 

Let's take a look at some of the supplies you'll need to stain a cedar fence, cedar shingles, or pretty much any other cedar surface:

  • HVLP Paint Sprayer or Paint Roller (stain applicator of choice)
  • Masking supplies (drop cloths, masking tape etc.)
  • Pressure washer
  • Mineral spirits or another solvent
  • Sandpaper, Sander, or Sanding Pole
  • Safety gear
  • Stain of choice
  • Sealer (only if using a sealant)

Remember: This isn't a comprehensive list! It really depends on what surface you're staining and what look you're hoping to achieve.

For instance, if you have a cedar wood surface that has a lot of dirt or paint build-up, you might need a deck cleaner and a pressure washer to prepare the surface for stain.

Make sure you do more research on your particular cedar surface to get a better idea of the supplies you'll need.

What Should You Look For In A Cedar Wood Stain?

Aside from supplies, you'll need to get clear on what type of stain you're using as each type of stain has its own properties and might need different steps to apply properly.

So make sure you choose the right stain to refinish your particular wood surface.

You'll want to take into account the wood finish you're working with. In order to do this, you'll need to ask yourself a few key questions:

Are You Working With Discoloration?

Does the wood you're staining have graying issues or has it been previously stained?

If so you might want to take that into account when choosing a stain and go with something to prevent that in the future.

What Different Formulations Do You Need?

Are you looking for UV protection? Mildewcide? Something water repellent? Make sure you find a formulation to meet your specific needs.

What Type of Cedar Are You Staining?

Are you staining a cedar deck, cedar fence, or cedar shingles? It might help to look for a formulation that is specific to the surface you're working with!

What Transparency Level Do You Want?

Are you looking for a solid-color stain to cover the wood grain or a semi-transparent stain to bring out the wood's natural beauty?

Do You Need A VOC-Compliant Stain?

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.

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

Want To Just Skip All This Research And Hire A Decent Professional For Your Paint Job?

Click here to check out our pro painter search tool where we instantly send you free quotes from trusted (and thoroughly vetted) painters in your local area.

Process Takes About 30 Seconds

Our Reviews Of The Best Stains For Cedar

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 deck or other cedar surfaces.

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 surface 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 wood surface 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 wood surface 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 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 wood grain
  • 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 wood surface 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 cedar wood or even your cedar deck or cedar 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. 

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

Want To Just Skip All This Research And Hire A Decent Professional For Your Paint Job?

Click here to check out our pro painter search tool where we instantly send you free quotes from trusted (and thoroughly vetted) painters in your local area.

Process Takes About 30 Seconds

Final Thoughts On The Best Stains For Cedar

Don't Forget To Stain Safely 

Here are the safety essentials when using stain!

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 if necessary.

Nitrile gloves/leather gloves

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

Meet Your Pro Paint Corner Author

Madison Rude

Madison Rude

I’m kind of a painting nerd. My mom taught me how to paint when I was nine, and since then I’ve painted rooms, furniture...you name it. I’ve written technical advice for Wagner sprayers, and I’ve spent a lot of time DIYing my own home. I’m no expert, but I love to learn. And here at ProPaintCorner, I learn more about painting every time I work with one of our painting pros to bring you the best product reviews and How To advice available. Together, let’s make your next painting project the best it can be!

Got A Paint Question? Ask Your Pro Painter!

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Madison Rude

Madison Rude

I’m kind of a painting nerd. My mom taught me how to paint when I was nine, and since then I’ve painted rooms, furniture...you name it. I’ve written technical advice for Wagner sprayers, and I’ve spent a lot of time DIYing my own home. I’m no expert, but I love to learn. And here at ProPaintCorner, I learn more about painting every time I work with one of our painting pros to bring you the best product reviews and How To advice available. Together, let’s make your next painting project the best it can be!

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