9 Best Stain for Rustic Look- Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

Image of wood coated with best stain for rustic lookThere are numerous ways by which you can do finishing on wooden materials, including painting. However, do you have guaranteed durability? Will your finished projects be water and UV fade resistant? The best stain for rustic look is the solution to your pertained dilemma as it adds a unique beauty to your structures and protects them at the same time.

Wood stains are capable of penetrating deep in any open pores. Besides, you can also use them on surfaces that had previous finishings. They come in a variety of colors to choose from and are also easy to apply. Some even come in a spray can, eliminating the need to use painting brushes.

These stains increase your wooden materials’ life by protecting them from the vigorous UV rays and water. Besides, they also disclose the natural beauty of the wood markings. However, the question still begs, which is the best stain for a rustic look?

In this article, I have reviewed some of the very best stains for individuals that are fascinated by rustic looks. Additionally, I’ve included a comprehensive buyer’s guide with all the necessary information that you should have at your fingertips even as you prepare to shop for stains that gives your structure that much needed rustic appearance.

Read on to find out more…

Best Stain for Rustic Look Comparison Table


Best Stain for Rustic Look Buyers’ Guide

Wooden materials can look bad if you don’t take much attention. Moreover, many have tried painting using ordinary paints- This has led to the raising of wood grains, especially those continuously heated by direct sunlight and the ones exposed to water. Therefore, they end up fading after a short period.

However, for a rustic look, you have to choose the best wood stain. They have the capability of resisting water and UV rays. Besides, they expose the beauty of the wood by highlighting all the wood marks. They also reveal the natural wood in a 3-dimensional view.

Read on to determine the reasons and factors to consider when buying or ordering the best stain for a rustic look.

Why You Should Buy Wood Stain for Rustic Look

Fast-drying. Unlike ordinary paints, wood stains are either oil-based or water-based. When spread on a wood surface, they penetrate deep through any available pores. They, therefore, give you a one day job by drying up in the shortest time possible.   

No multiple coats. These stains can form a smooth, even surface with only one coat. Thereby, it saves you the time and money you would have spent on applying several coats. 

It Offers Water and UV Resistance. You no longer need to worry about the scorching sunlight and rain. The best stains for a rustic look can resist both UV rays and water. They have incorporated pigments in an oil or water solution that prevents the sun rays and water droplets from fading away from the beautiful finish.

Vast colors. With these stains, you have the okay to pick the color of your choice. They come in enormous, diverse, rich colors. Some even have twenty-six or more different colors. 

Easy to spread. You don’t need to be a professional to use wood stains- This is because you can apply using any means, including a brush, foam applicator, or even a clean piece of cloth. Besides, some like Krylon K03603000 come in a unique easy to use spray can. The Krylon is an Exterior Semi-Transparent Wood Stain, with a track record of performance on exterior woodworking projects/

Durable. Being UV and water-resistant, these stains prolong all wooden materials’ lives by preventing fading and giving them a glazing look.

Factors to Consider when Buying Wood Stains for a Rustic Look

  • Coverage

The wood stains come in different packages. For instance, you can get some packed in a spray can while others in a standard container- Which means that they differ in volume. So when choosing the best stain for a rustic look, consider the size of your project and pick on a paint that covers a large area per square foot.

  • Drying period

Most wood stains dry very quickly. However, you will find some that take quite more extended time to dry. Those that dry after a short time are a bit costly, but better spend that extra coin and work in the shortest time to get the best output. Overall, water-based stains take longer to dry compared to oil-based stains.

Another thing you must know about oil-based formulas is that they have volatile organic compounds which makes them less friendly to the environment. If you are keen and caring for the environment and pollution in general then you should always go for water-based wood stains.

  • Color

 It’s a personal decision when choosing a wood stain. However, some brands have their stains come in only one color. Therefore, you should be very keen not to rely exclusively on the advantages of the colors you fancy.

  • Spreading method

Different types of wood stains have diverse spraying methods. For instance, some strictly require a brush, a piece of clean cloth, or other foam applicants. Whereas, some like the General Finishes Water Based Wood Stain allows you to either uses a brush or spraying can. Moreover, others come already packed in aerosol bombs so that you won’t require additional methods.

  • Composition

The wood stain composition will determine its functionality and resistivity to UV fading radiations and water. For example, the Unicorn SPiT 5771012 Gel Stain & Glaze has an enhanced stain with high-grade nano pigments. Thus, it provides a three in one capability of staining, glazing, and painting.

Additionally, wood stains can either be oil-based or water-based. But I recommend using the oil-based because it brings more flawless finishing and protects the wood surface from severe conditions.

Watch the video below how to stain wood:


1. Varathane 297426 Premium Fast Dry Wood Stain, Rustic Sage

Varathane 297426 Premium Fast Dry Wood Stain will give your woody amenities that old rustic look. It doesn’t matter if it’s either hardwood, softwood, or even engineered wood. Varathane 2974426 is a paragon for all your domestic wood ventures, including doors, trim, kitchen cabinets, paneling, etc.

This premium fast dry wood rustic sage eliminates the need for pre-coating and priming. You only need to apply one coating that can now cover up to 75% more than the previous wood stains, roughly equivalent to 275 square feet.

Besides, this stain has dissolved colorants to form an oil-based element. Thereby, it takes up to only one complete hour to dry. Being among the top-tier wood stains, it has a highly efficient stain scheme intensified with nano pigment shreds. Thus, it highlights the inherent wood pigments and grains to expose the natural beauty of the wood.

Summary of key features

  • This rustic sage doesn’t let you choose the type of wood to use for your projects. It’s compatible with all three major types.
  • It’s also oil-based. Thus takes only one hour to dry. Besides, you don’t need to prime your wood or apply any coat. 
  • The premium-fast-dry covers a larger part of the surface with only one coat.
  • The nano pigment particles in their composition strengthen the stain system. Therefore, enhancing the high-performance of any wood type. 

image of varathane the best stain for rustic lookPros

  • Reveals wood beauty.
  • Suitable for application on any kind of wood.
  • Dries in only one hour.
  • It covers 75% more.
  • Wide range of colors.
  • It requires the application of only one coat.
  • This sage also has a sophisticated stain system.


  • It can only cover up to 275 square feet.
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2. Wood Defender Semi-transparent Fence Stain RUSTIC OAK 

To achieve the semi transparent look on different varieties of wood types. The wood defender stain leverages the opaque pigmentation scheme at a very diminishing rate.  Besides, this characteristic has proven to protect wooden materials from intense UV rays.

The pigmentation in this stain has also contributed to the increased application area for every gallon per square foot. Most contractors regard this rustic oak as the best choice, and it’s also the number one selling wood stain on amazon.

Additionally, the wooden defender comes in eleven different rich colors that require no professionalism to apply. Besides that, it also incorporates a high-quality extreme climate formula for protection against severe weather conditions.

Summary of key features

  • This stain has a well-formulated solution with pigments that enhance its resistivity to vigorous weather conditions.
  • The pigments in its composition also increase the coverage of area-per square feet.
  • It’s the number one selling product, meaning most of the consumers trust in its capabilities.
  • This product also comes in different colors for you to choose from.

Wood defender, best stain for rustic lookPros

  • Easy to apply.
  • Effortless to clean.
  • Contractors choice.
  • It comes in a 5-gallon container.
  • Diverse colorations.
  • Assured durability.
  • Three-year guarantee.


  • Not ideal for staining decks. 
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3. Minwax 710480000 Wood Finish Penetrating Stain, gallon, Classic Gray

Minwax 710480000 wood finish has an exceptional convention that sanctions it to penetrate up to the bottom of any available pore in the wood making it the best stain for rustic look. Additionally, you don’t need to have a specific special brush or rolling brush. Its effortlessly applied using either a clean cloth, painting brush, or even a foam applicator.

Using the 710480000 wood finish, you have an assured one day job- The reason is that Minwax penetrates deeply in the wood and dries in only two hours. Besides, it also forms a very thin glaze in only one application. Thus, it prevents the formation of laps for a beautifully balanced coloring.

If you have a stripped or an unfinished wood surface, then Minwax 71048000 should be your ideal choice. Despite that it’s a stain, it also adds beauty to any wooden surface- This includes cabinets, doors, trim, molding, interior furniture, and wooden floors. On top of that, it comes in twenty-six rich colors to compliment the finishing.

Summary of key features

  • This stain has the capability of resisting lapping. Thus, it ensures that you get an even top on all your projects.
  • The fact that it dries in only two hours. It enables you to do all the stripping and staining in only a single day.
  • Its oil-based for fast drying and also prevents the raising of the wood’s grain even after prolonged use.
  • With this stain, you don’t need any additional spreading accessories. It can be applied using either a foam applicator, paintbrush, or a clean piece of clothing.

Minwax wood stainPros

  • This stain penetrates deeply.
  • You can easily clean the stained surface using mineral spirit.
  • It covers a range of 125 to 150 square feet per quart.
  • This wood finish prevents the raising of the wood grains.
  • The penetrating stain requires only one coating.


  • It covers only 125-150 square feet per quart.
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4. Krylon K03603000 Exterior Semi-Transparent Wood Stain, Rustic Brown

This wood finisher stands out among the other best stains for a rustic look. It’s the first and only wood stain that comes in an enclosed convenient spray can. Therefore, it has eradicated the use of brushes and other foam applicants.

Krylon K03603000 has a liquid state with a viscosity of <20.5 CST. However, It comes out under very high pressure. Thus, it covers a total surface of up to 25 square feet with a thin semi-transparent layer.

Additionally, this wood strain can also withstand very high temperatures ranging between 50 to 85 degrees. As a result, it protects the finished surface from dangerous UV rays. Thus prevents fading. Besides that, it also ensures the durability of your unit by repelling water that may bring about discoloration.

Summary of key features

  • This wood stain can dry to touch after only fifteen minutes and completely dries to handle within twenty-four to forty-eight hours.
  • Furthermore, it also guarantees the durability of your projects by being resistant to water and UV radiation.
  • This stain has also eradicated the need for brush and foam applicants to use a simple but effective spray can.
  • The K03603000 stipulates your project with a fast and even coverage of up to twenty-five square feet.
  • It has a semi-transparent rustic brown appearance, thereby unleashes the hidden beauty of your stripped wood. 

Krylon, one of the best stains for rustic lookPros

  • It protects the finished surface from UV rays and water.
  • This wood stain comes in an easy to use spray can.
  • Guaranteed durability.
  • It quickly dries to touch in only fifteen minutes.
  • Premium even coverage.
  • It applies to all wood materials and leaves a flawless finish.
  • Semi-transparent.


  • It’s only applicable to the exterior of the wood.
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5. Unicorn SPiT 5771012 Gel Stain & Glaze, Rustic Reality

The Unicorn SPiT 5571012 gel stain and glaze can do many new projects or those that require refinishing. Besides, you can also turn your piece of art or your boring furniture into a customized masterpiece. It’s suitable for use by hobbyists, makers, DIYers, crafters, and experts.

Additionally, this wood stain gives you a superlative three in one feel on all your wood applications. You achieve this from its fourteen dynamic colors that bring about painting, gel staining, and glazing all in one application.

This scheme also gives you the mandate to choose between either opaque or vibrant coating. If you prefer opaque, just use it as paint. However, for a transparent finish, simply mix with water to come up with glaze, gel, whitewash, stain, or antiquing tint.

The SPiT 5571012 can perforate deep into the grain of a stripped wood or even glaze over prevailing finishes. It also embellishes chalk paints and provides a three-dimensional effect. 

Summary of key features

  • You can use this rustic stain indoors and outdoors on glass, wood, metal, pottery, concrete, fabric, wicker, and laminate.
  • The three-in-one capability and a jasmine scent beautify and prolong the life of your resulting projects.
  • It’s also capable of enameling over existing finishes and providing a 3-d effect for a more stylish finish.
  • It gives you the choice of either a vibrant or opaque finish.

Unicorn, a stain with rustic lookPros

  • Usable both indoors and outdoors.
  • This wood stain can penetrate or settle on pre-finished surfaces.
  • Not only for wood applications.
  • Jasmine scented.
  • It comes in fourteen vibrant colors.
  • It’s also ideal for both professionals and amateurs. 


  • It covers a smaller surface area to volume ratio.
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6. General Finishes Water Based Wood Stain, Brown Mahogany

Unlike other wood stains, the General finishes brown mahogany is water-based. However, it can fabricate easy blending, spreading, repairability, and ample open times, just like an oil-based wood stain. This stain does not bring about a very sensitive odor as experienced from ordinary paints. 

Besides, using it makes your cleaning work more comfortable, as experienced by other water-based stains. The General finishes ingredients comprise of pigments blended with premium dyes- This compels the rich even color. Furthermore, it’s highly viscous. Thus, it has a flat penetration rate. 

This capability diminishes blotching on woods like pine, maple, and aspen that are hard to stain. On top of that, this brand has ensured that it doesn’t incorporate toxic chemicals and flammable ingredients. Thereby rendering General finishes suitable for use with furniture and children’s toys.

Summary of key features

  • You can choose how you want to make your application using a paint pad applicator or a foam brush.
  • This stain has a shorter drying time ranging between one to two hours within the suitable conditions of (70% humidity and 70 degrees F)
  • With this stain, you can cover up to 150 square feet per quart.
  • The high-quality blends of pigments and dies ensure you get an even color and also prevent blotching.

image of wood stainPros

  • Dual application methods.
  • Shorter drying period.
  • Water-based with the capabilities of an oil-based element.
  • Heavier bodied formula. 
  • Ideal also for hard to paint woods.
  • You can thin with 10-20% of water.


  • It covers only 150 square feet per quart.
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7. Roxil Wood Protection Cream Instant Waterproofing Clear Treatment

Roxil wood protection is in the form of a silicone cream. Like other wood stains, you only need one coat of the Roxil cream, and your wood is free from moisture and intense sunlight. Besides, it’s colorless; thus, it offers protection for decks, sheds, fencing, furniture, and many more, without altering their usual appearance.

This precise waterproofing treatment protects your wood structure from the growth of molds. Additionally, it prevents the expansion that can cause the wood to warp and start cracking or even rot.

With this stain, your wooden appliances can stay up to ten years without fading. Additionally, you won’t require to use acid cleaners, which brings about satisfaction and long-term damage. Roxil wood protection cream is resistant to ingrained dirt and any biological growth. Besides, you can easily clean using Roxil wood and patio cleaner.

Summary of key features 

  • Its high performance allows it to instantly waterproof. Moreover, it can waterproof wood for more than ten years.
  • This cream is dense enough that it penetrates to every open pore on wood. Therefore, it prevents the growth of algae and reduces cracking and warping.
  • Despite all its advanced capabilities, the roxil wood protection provides a colorless breathable coating for protection and waterproofing.
  • It’s also suitable for both weathered hardwoods and softwoods. Furthermore, you can apply using either brush or roller.

Roxil stain for rustic lookPros

  • No drip formulation.
  • Ideal for both soft and weathered hardwoods.
  • It includes a shower-proof application.
  • The formula provides a colorless waterproof barrier for 10+ years.
  • It protects against algae and mold growth.
  • This product covers approximately 130-200 square feet per gallon.


  • You can only use a roller or brush for application.
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8. Rust-Oleum 313835 Varathane Weathered Wood Accelerator, Grey

Just as its name goes, the Rust-oleum 313835 varathane weathered wood accelerator. It’s capable of giving your wooden structures a weathered wood look. Therefore, suitable for interior use on both untreated or bare planks of wood.

This wood stain is also among the water-based categories. Thus, it’s easy to clean with water and soap. Besides, it also has a low odor. Varathene rust-oleum covers up to 275 sq ft, making it one of the wood stains covering a wider surface area. However, it depends on the porosity and type of wood.

The 313835 varathane takes only one hour for it to dry. It also unleashes the natural beauty of the wood in a matter of just minutes. Nonetheless, the end look of your project will fluctuate depending on the type of wood.

Summary of key features

  • This stain is water-based. Thus, it makes cleaning more comfortable, like other water-based stains.
  • Varathane does not take away the natural beauty of the wood. Instead, it creates a weathered look on wood surfaces.
  • It covers up to 275 square feet per gallon depending on the porosity and wood type.
  • Additionally, you can use this wood stain on either bare or untreated wood surfaces.

varathane stain for rustic lookPros

  • This stain provides a beautiful grey look.
  • Works on all types of wood.
  • Reveals the woods’ beauty.
  • Low odor.
  • Water-based.
  • Easy to clean.
  • Dries to touch in only one hour.
  • For interior use.
  • It creates a weathered look.


  • Applying over existing finishes does not bring out the best look.
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9. Varathane 269394 Premium Fast Dry Wood Stain, Weathered Gray

Highlight and intensify the grains on your wood by using Varathane 269394 Premium Fast Dry Wood Stain. It features nano pigments that ensure high performance on any kind of wood. With this stain, you can obtain your target shade with only one coat.

This grain also saves your time by ensuring a three times faster job completion. Besides, you don’t require any type of wood conditioner. Varathane 269394 has it all in one to sustain your appliances even under callous weather conditions.

Moreover, if you want to get the best result for a long term sanctuary and durability, it’s advisable to top with varathane polyurethane. Notably from other Varathene brands, the 269394 also has nano pigment particles to enhance its high performance.

Summary of key features

  • This wood stain has nano pigments that highlight the natural wood grains to reveal the hidden beauty.
  • Besides, it’s oil-based. Therefore it takes only one hour to dry.
  • Varathane 269394 can also permeate deep into the open poles, thus sealing each of them as it stains the wood.
  • This stain also saves your time by letting you work three times faster than standard wood stains.

wood stain for rustic lookPros

  • It’s available in 26 rich colors.
  • This stain enriches the natural wood stain.
  • Conclude your project three times faster.
  • It requires no wood conditioner.
  • This stain is ideal for furniture, floors, trims, and many more.


  • You have to use varathane polyurethane for prolonged protection.
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You will no longer need to frequently re-paint or replace your wooden materials. All gratitude goes to the best stains for a rustic look. They are capable of giving the rigid appliance a longer life but with retained natural beauty.

Additionally, they are resistant to UV fading rays, water, mold, and algae growth. Wood stains also make cleaning easy since they don’t require the use of cleaning acids. I choose Varathane 297426 Premium Fast Dry Wood Stain, Rustic Sage as my overall best stain for rustic look.

With this stain, you can either choose to make your final finish vibrant or opaque. I hope this article helps you make a counseled purchase decision.

If you have a question, suggestion, or opinion about this post and anything related to stains for a rustic appearance, kindly feel free to share it with me in the comments section below. Meanwhile, I hope you have great shopping!

Image of a woodworker wearing hearing protectors for woodworking

Tyron Otieno

Tyron is an avid woodworker and writer. He founded this website to help other woodworkers, whether hobbyists or professionals by sharing his knowledge and experiencie after a decade of woodworking.