3 Best Dark Wood Stain

When working with wood, it is essential to give it the finish that you are expecting, and this is where wood stains come in.

From home improvements to DIY projects, having the stains for your surfaces plays a significant part in the overall outcome of your project.

As someone with experience working with wood surfaces, I have used many wood stains before.

Here are 3 of the best dark wood stains I can recommend to you.

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1. Ready Seal Pail Natural Cedar Exterior Stain and Sealer for Wood


The Ready Seal Pail Natural Cedar Exterior Stain and Sealer for Wood is used to stunt all types of woods and acts as a wood sealer.


  • It comes in a 5-gallon container.
  • Application using prayer, roller and even brush. PaintCare recycling free.


  • No need for wet-line application and no black brushing.
  • Doesn’t leave any laps, runs or streaks.

It is a natural cedar. True colour within just 14 days.



• Easy maintenance, so no need for sanding or stripping for re-application
• Portable
• Easy application

• It takes time to show true colour.

Why Included
This is included as part of the top 3 best stains since it offers the most versatility in application and the types of woods it can go on (see the best stains for Redwood decks specifically)

2. Minwax Wood Gel stain

The Minwax Wood Gel stain offers interior and exterior wood surfaces that give a professional look to any surface.

They are used in the staining of wood to get a specific tone.


  • It comes in a ½ pint, but you can increase the capacity.
  • With about 8.8 ounces, you have enough for any piece of work.
  • With mahogany being its primary colour, it is better if you are going for this specific look.


  • Non-drip and so works well on vertical surfaces.
  • Uniform colour delivery.
  • Use of different materials.

• Leaves professional finishes.
• Easy application
• Immediate results

• Limited colour
• Why included

With this wood stain, you get complete control of the staining process to produce your desired outcome.

3. General Finishes Water Based Wood Stain

It is mainly used for staining various surfaces such as wood, metal, and others in a specific wood finish colour.


  • 1 Quart with an Espresso colour.
  • One pint and 1-gallon sizes are also available. 2.5 pounds in weight, so easy to carry and handle.
  • You can choose from more than ten colours or decide to make your colour.


High-quality pigments, and you can create custom colours through intermixing with GF water-based wood stains.

• High-quality pigments
• Low VOC
• Water cleanup
• Low Odour
• Easy hand application
• Non-combustible.

• Indoor use only, so you can’t use it on outdoor surfaces.
• Needs more than one coat for best results.

Why Included

The General Finishes Water Based Wood Stain is one of the most popular stains due to the different features.

SaleBestseller No. 1
Varathane Less Mess Wood Stain and Applicator, 4 oz, Dark Walnut
  • Liquid Volume: 16.0 Fluid Ounces
  • 2-in-1 wood stain and applicator is perfect for crafts and small projects
  • Water-based, low odor formula is easy to use and cleans with soap and water
  • Enhances the natural beauty of wood without the mess of traditional wood stain
  • Easy flow sponge tip provides greater color control for easy application and less mess
SaleBestseller No. 2
Varathane 262025 Premium Fast Dry Wood Stain, Half Pint, Dark Walnut
  • Ideal for use on all interior wood projects: furniture, cabinets, doors, trim and paneling
  • One-coat coverage, fast-drying oil based formula
  • Dries to the touch in just 1 hour and covers up to 70 square feet
  • High performance stain system enhanced with nano pigment particles
  • Highlights natural wood grain to reveal wood's beauty
Bestseller No. 3
1/2 pt Minwax 273 Espresso Wood Finish Oil-Based Wood Stain
  • RICH EVEN COLOR – Minwax Wood Finish is a deep penetrating, oil-based wood stain that provides beautiful color and enhances the natural wood grain in one coat. It’s perfect for interior staining projects such as wood furniture, cabinets, doors and more.
  • QUICK DRYING – Staining interior wood has never been quicker. The special formula allows it to deeply penetrate wood pores within 5 minutes of application, resists lapping, and dries in two hours, making all your wood projects quick, beautiful and easy.
  • EASY TO APPLY – Use a clean cloth or wood stain brush to apply this wood stain in the direction of the grain. Wait 5-15 minutes and wipe away excess stain. The longer you wait, the darker/richer the color. Reapply coats for deeper color.
  • ESPRESSO WOOD STAIN – This dark wood stain provides a beautiful, rich espresso color. With dark brown and black undertones, it’s a great choice for a wide variety of projects.
  • A BRAND YOU CAN TRUST – Minwax is America’s leading brand of wood finishing and wood care projects. Since 1904, we have been inspiring consumers to Keep on Finishing. We offer consumers a complete line of products to meet every wood finishing need.
SaleBestseller No. 4
Varathane 349560 Premium Gel Stain, Half Pint, Dark Walnut
  • Designed for vertical surfaces including doors, window trim and furniture; creates a natural wood look on fiberglass and composite doors
  • Formulated with a thicker consistency to prevent drips and runs and provides twice the coverage of traditional oil-based stains
  • Dries to touch in 1 hour and covers up to 60 sq. ft. per half pint; allow 2 hours between coats
  • Applies evenly without causing lap marks or grain raise; not recommended for floors, decks or siding
  • Enhances the natural beauty of the wood grain with long-lasting, rich deep color
SaleBestseller No. 5
Varathane 347105 Charred Wood Accelerator, Quart, Black
  • For interior use on bare or untreated wood to create a charred look
  • Water-based, low odor formula with easy soap and water clean up
  • Dries to the touch in 1 hour and covers up to 275 sq ft depending on wood type and porosity
  • Replicates and creates a natural charred look in minutes
  • Final look will vary depending on the type of wood used


So What’s the Best Dark Wood Stain?

Here are my top 3 picks for the three best dark wood stains in the market.
1. Ready Seal Pail Natural Cedar Exterior Stain and Sealer for Wood
2. Minwax Wood Gel stain
3. General Finishes Water Based Wood Stain

My best choice would go to General Finishes Water Based Wood Stain since it offers just about all the features of a professional wood stain to give all sorts of finishes.

From its versatility in creating custom colours and working with different types of wooden materials to its portability, it is probably the best option you have in the market to date.

Last update on 2024-02-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API