10 Best Polyurethane Protective Coatings in 2019

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  • Satin finish
  • Improves wood colors
  • Waterbourne formula
great value rating
  • Easy to apply
  • Hard protective coating
  • Versatile

When working with wood of any kind, it is very important for you to keep it protected. There are a lot of things that can impact the quality of wood, so you need to be prepared for anything. This is where polyurethane comes in as it provides a clear protective coating to all of your wood furnishings and surfaces.

This is a great product to use when you are dealing with wood of any kind as it will provide a protective layer to keep the wood in a good condition, without masking the natural beauty of this material. When you use a clear polyurethane, you will still be able to see all of the colors and grains in your wood furnishing without having to worry about it becoming damaged over time.

We have used customer ratings, manufacturer information, and other in-depth reviews to find the ten best polyurethane for all kinds of wood.

View the Best Polyurethane, Below.

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1. General Finishes QTHS High Performance Water Based Topcoat

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This water-based polyurethane is the hardest and most durable topcoat that can be bought by consumers. It is so durable that it emulates professional polyurethane without the hefty price tag or inconvenience of hiring someone to cover your wooden furnishings for you. This polyurethane comes with UV stabilizer properties that will prevent sun damage.

This is a very durable polyurethane, which also means that it is versatile and it can even be used on wooden floors. This topcoat has a clear finish so it can be used on a range of wood, even if it has been painted before. It is very protective and will keep your doors, floors, and furnishings in good quality for years to come.

Why We Like It
  • Water-based
  • Clear finish
  • Durable
  • Versatile
  • UV stabilizer
Type
Water-based
Finish
Clear
Size
1 Quart
Our Verdict

This polyurethane offers professional-standard protection as it is durable and includes UV stabilizing properties.

Editor Rating
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2. Bona Mega Wood Floor Finish Satin

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This polyurethane can be used to improve the appearance of the wood in your home as it has a satin finish with natural coloring. This is used to enhance the natural beauty of your wooden furniture, doors, or floors to bring out the colors and grains. This is an oxygen-crosslinking polyurethane that has a waterborne formula making it easy to use and durable.

This is a great polyurethane to purchase and keep on hand for a while as it does not have a limited pot life. This means that there will be no wasted product. This polyurethane has an exceptional flow making it easy to use and suitable for a range of different woods in your home or garden.

Why We Like It
  • Satin finish
  • Improves wood colors
  • Waterbourne formula
  • Good flow
  • No limited pot life
Type
Waterborne
Finish
Satin
Size
1 Gallon
Our Verdict

This polyurethane is a great one to keep on hand as it has no limited pot life and can be used to improve the appearance of wood.

Editor Rating
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3. Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane Aerosol

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With this polyurethane, you can easily protect your wood furnishings and décor as it is an aerosol. It provides one of the hardest of protective coatings to wood yet comes in a convenient package making it highly versatile. Using this polyurethane can add a lot of value to your wooden furnishings and it can be used on both finished and unfinished products.

This polyurethane dries fast once it has been applied and will offer lasting beauty on a range of different wood types. It has a durable finish that can enhance the natural beauty of the wood. This is easy to use and makes wood easy to care for as it is very protective against a range of different damages.

Why We Like It
  • Easy to apply
  • Hard protective coating
  • Versatile
  • Fast drying
  • Gloss finish
Type
Aerosol
Finish
Gloss
Size
11.5 Ounce
Our Verdict

This polyurethane is very easy to apply as it comes in an aerosol can to provide durable protection to both finished and unfinished wood.

Editor Rating

4. Rust-Oleum 200241H Varathane Ultimate Polyurethane

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This polyurethane offers an elegant design and finish to a range of wood furnishings as it is a satin topcoat. It has a clear appearance that makes it highly versatile and suitable for a range of projects, including indoor furnishings, doors, cabinets and trims. This polyurethane provides some of the best scratch-resistant protection in the business, making it suitable for homes with pets or children.

This polyurethane has a water-based formula that makes it easy to apply and clear away after use. The satin finish is guaranteed to improve the appearance of wood and will never yellow, even over time. This is a low odor polyurethane making it ideal to be used indoors on a range of different surfaces.

Why We Like It
  • Elegant finish
  • Clear topcoat
  • Water-based
  • Low odor
  • Scratch-resistant
Type
Water-based
Finish
Satin
Size
1 Quart
Our Verdict

This polyurethane provides an elegant finish to all wooden furnishings as well as being scratch-resistant.

Editor Rating

5. Minwax 255554444 Minwaxc Polycrylic Water Based

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This polyurethane can really improve the appearance of wood and make it seem like new again as it has a gloss finish. This finish can add great value to a range of wooden furnishings and surfaces, making this a great product to use for a variety of different projects. This is a clear gloss that offers durable protection to wood and will keep it high quality over time.

This polyurethane has a water-based formula that ensures it is easy to clean up after use. It is also low odor, which makes it suitable to be used indoors on a range of surfaces. This is a high-quality polyurethane that is guaranteed to stay clear over time, as it is non-yellowing. This is a fast-drying polyurethane that is convenient to use.

Why We Like It
  • Gloss finish
  • Adds value
  • Versatile
  • Non-yellowing
  • Low odor
Type
Water-based
Finish
Gloss
Size
½ Pint
Our Verdict

This polyurethane can really improve the appearance of wood as it has a clear gloss finish that will not yellow over time.

Editor Rating

6. Rust-Oleum 207008 Marine Spar Varnish

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This is a highly durable polyurethane that can protect your wood from a range of different damages. This is a crystal-clear varnish that will improve the appearance of your wooden furnishings and surfaces by bringing out the natural grain and colors. This polyurethane is fast drying as it does so in less than two hours and it can cover up to 150 square feet.

This polyurethane will provide excellent resistance and protection from UV, salt, and mildew, making it suitable to be used outdoors. It has an oil-based formula that will expand and contract with changing weather conditions to keep the wood protected in all seasons. The gloss finish is attractive and offers an additional layer of protection over other polyurethanes.

Why We Like It
  • Crystal clear finish
  • UV resistant
  • For outdoor use
  • Protects against salt and mildew
  • Oil-based formula
Type
Oil-based
Finish
Gloss
Size
1 Quart
Our Verdict

This polyurethane has an attractive glossy finish that offers protection from a range of damages, making it suitable for outdoor use.

Editor Rating

7. Water-Base Wipe-On Polyurethane

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Applying polyurethane to your wooden furnishings doesn't have to be difficult and with this wipe-on product, you can get it covered even quicker. This is a water-based polyurethane that is easy to apply and even easy to clean up after use. It has a fast-drying formula that makes it convenient to use on a variety of different surfaces.

This polyurethane provides excellent durability to a variety of wood and will keep it looking good for years to come. It has a stunning clear satin finish that will enhance the natural beauty of the wood. This polyurethane is made to be low odor so it can be used indoors on furniture, railings, and trim.

Why We Like It
  • Easy to use
  • Water-based
  • Wipe on application
  • Clear satin finish
  • Excellent durability
Type
Water-based/Wipe on
Finish
Satin
Size
16 fl Oz
Our Verdict

This polyurethane is very easy to apply as it is wiped on and it offers excellent durability to a range of wooden furnishings.

Editor Rating

8. ZAR 33912 Oil Based Polyurethane Wood Finish

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This polyurethane is made for interior use and it can be applied to a variety of different wooden furnishings and surfaces around the home. It has a clear finish that will not affect the natural beauty of the wood and is a smooth, self-leveling formula so you can apply it and forget about it. This polyurethane is ideal for wood flooring as it offers unbeatable protection.

This polyurethane provides tough abrasion-resistant protection to your wood flooring and furniture, which can add value to your home. It will keep all wood looking high quality for years to come and the formula will remain clear. As it is designed for interior use, this polyurethane is low odor and has a relatively quick drying time.

Why We Like It
  • Made for interior use
  • Self-leveling formula
  • Smooth and clear
  • Abrasion-resistant
  • Ideal for flooring
Type
Oil-based
Finish
Clear
Size
1 Quart
Our Verdict

This polyurethane is perfect for wood flooring as it has a smooth, self-leveling formula and is abrasion-resistant.

Editor Rating

9. Rust-Oleum 302736 Triple Thick Polyurethane

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This polyurethane has a thick consistency that can offer unbeatable protection to a range of wooden surfaces and furnishings. Even though it has a thick consistency, this polyurethane is fast drying and will be dry in less than two hours. It can be used to cover up to 50 square feet, making it great value and versatile.

This polyurethane is ideal for all indoor wood, including flooring, doors, trim and furnishings. It has a one-coat coverage, which makes it quick to apply and the water-based formula makes it easy to clean after use. The formula of this polyurethane is also scratch and stain resistant to provide excellent protection.

Why We Like It
  • Thick consistency
  • Quick-drying
  • One-coat coverage
  • Scratch and stain-resistant
  • Ideal for interior use
Type
Water-based
Finish
Matte
Size
32 Ounce
Our Verdict

This polyurethane offers a lot of protection as it has a thick, water-based consistency but will still dry in less than two hours.

Editor Rating

10. RUST-OLEUM FBA 230031 Varathane Floor Finish

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This polyurethane has an attractive gloss finish that can really improve the appearance and value of wood by highlighting its natural beauty. It has a water-based formula, which makes it versatile and suitable for hardwood floors. This polyurethane is designed to resist stains and household chemicals to keep your wood in good condition for longer.

This polyurethane offers superior durability as it is also abrasion-resistant and will protect against scuffs. As it has a gloss finish, it will provide an elegant design and finish to your wood floor, which can help improve the value of your home. This polyurethane is easy to use and clean as it has a water-based formula.

Why We Like It
  • Gloss finish
  • Scuff resistant
  • Water-based formula
  • Durable topcoat
  • Protects against household chemicals
Type
Waterbourne
Finish
Gloss
Size
1 Gallon
Our Verdict

This polyurethane is made for wooden floors as it is glossy and will protect against chemicals, stains, and abrasions.

Editor Rating

Polyurethane Buyer’s Guide

Wood can be very expensive to purchase and use, so you want to make sure you are taking care of everything in your home that is made from it. This is quite a delicate material that can be damaged by the elements and other features. Once wood has become damaged, it will lose its value and can make your home appear shabby.

If you want to improve the appearance of your home and keep your wooden surfaces or furnishings protected, then you will need to use polyurethane. There are lots of different kinds of polyurethane available so it can be quite hard to find the best one for your needs. As this is such a valuable thing to purchase because it has a lot of benefits, you really need to consider your options carefully.

What Kind Of Formula Is Best?

When it comes to polyurethane, there are two main types of formula that you will have to consider – water-based and oil-based. Both of these have been explored throughout this review and each comes with their own benefits based on your needs. A good thing to consider when trying to find the best polyurethane for your home is the kind of formula that will best protect your wooden floors, doors, trims, or furnishings.

Water-Based Polyurethane

Water-based polyurethane is typically preferred as it can provide clear results that will not hinder the natural beauty of the wood. A lot of the water-based polyurethanes throughout this review are clear and glossy, which will allow you to still enjoy the natural colors and grain in your wooden furnishings while also offering a much-needed layer of protection.

Water-based polyurethane can also prevent wood from drying out as it provides hydration. This will improve both the appearance and quality of wood, which can increase the value and ensure that it will last a long time.

Oil-Based Polyurethane

In the past, oil-based polyurethane was the most common type and it was used for a range of different woods. These can typically be more expensive to purchase than water-based polyurethane but may offer more durability. These kinds of polyurethanes are best used for exterior wooden furnishings and surfaces as they can offer excellent protection from a range of different weather conditions.

Oil-based polyurethanes have the ability to expand and contract based on the temperature, which means they will be able to keep your wood protected in all weather conditions, which is why they are ideal for outdoor furnishings.

Things To Consider In Polyurethane

In order to find the best polyurethane for the wood in your home, there are some things you should consider to help narrow down your options. When it comes to finding the best polyurethane, the most important thing to consider is, of course, the protection it provides wood and how it can be used. However, there are some other features that can be just as important.

Finish And Look

Throughout this review, we have explored all types of finishes when it comes to polyurethane. There are three main types of finishes – matte/clear, gloss, and satin. The finish of polyurethane will determine how your wooden furnishings and surfaces will look after it has been applied, so it is something you should consider carefully.

The best kind of finish will differ based on the type of wood that you are covering with polyurethane. For example, wooden tabletops would benefit from a gloss-finish top coat as this will improve the appearance and enhance the natural color. You may also want to consider the color of the polyurethane, although most are clear, and whether it will yellow over time.

Drying Time

The time it takes the polyurethane to dry can be very important, especially if you are working indoors or are on a deadline. Luckily, there are a lot of options when it comes to fast-drying polyurethane and a lot of products throughout this review can dry in less than two hours without reducing the quality.

Durability

As we have already mentioned, the most important thing when it comes to polyurethane is the protection and durability it offers. Although all polyurethane is designed to do the same thing, that doesn’t mean that they are all made equal. When it comes to finding the best polyurethane for your home, you should consider the type of wood you will be protecting, for example, whether it is flooring, doors, or furnishings.

This will help you determine the kind of protection you need and what the biggest causes of damage are likely to be. There are some polyurethanes throughout this review that are made with additional durability features, such as being abrasion-resistant or protected against household chemicals. You should consider what kind of protection is needed in your home based on the main causes of damage to find the best polyurethane.

Ease Of Use

Using polyurethane is very important for your wooden surfaces and furniture, so you need to make sure that you are able to apply it well. Being able to apply polyurethane yourself will save you time and money instead of having to rely on a professional. This means that you will need to consider polyurethanes that are easy to use.

Most polyurethane is made to be painted onto wooden surfaces, but there are some other types available. Throughout this review, we have seen wipe-on polyurethane which can be quickly applied using a cloth and aerosol products that can be quickly sprayed onto small wooden furnishings. You will want to make sure that you are able to use the polyurethane you have chosen and have the right tools on hand.

When it comes to ease of use, you should also consider how easy it will be to clean after application. No matter how careful you are, it is likely that you will spill or overline when applying polyurethane, so you may want to choose a product that can be easily cleaned. Water-based polyurethanes will be the easiest to clean away as this can be done using warm water and soap.

Will Water-Based Polyurethane Be Best For Me?

The best formula for polyurethane will differ based on the type of wood you are using it on, but there are some additional benefits to using water-based formulas. These kinds of polyurethanes will tend to have a better appearance over oil-based ones as they will be clear and should not yellow over time. These kinds of polyurethanes will also be quicker to apply and are easier to clean away after use as they will not stain.

Some additional benefit to using water-based polyurethane is the fact they are mainly low odor so they can be used indoors and they will also dissipate faster, which is good news for the environment. Nonetheless, oil-based polyurethanes may be better for outdoor wooden surfaces as they can expand and contract with the weather to offer year-round protection.

What Can Polyurethane Be Used For?

Polyurethane has been specially designed to protect wood so it can be used on anything that is made from this material. There are some polyurethanes that may be better suited to different kinds of wood, but it is something that you should apply to anything that is made from this material to provide protection and improve the appearance.

Conclusion

Polyurethane should be applied to all wooden surfaces to provide protection from the elements. It can also improve the appearance by highlighting the natural colors and grain in wood, which can add value to your home or furnishings.

Did You Know?

Water-based polyurethane is overtaking oil-based versions as it is cheaper and can offer the same levels of durability.

Expert Tip

Gloss-finish polyurethane can be used for a range of indoor furnishings, like tables and counters, to enhance the natural color and grain.