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Top 10 Best Polyurethanes

Top 10 Best Polyurethanes Of 2022 (Ultimate Buying Guide)

Do you want to protect your wooden made furniture for a long time? Or Do you want to bring back the charm of your old wooden door? If yes, then coating your surface with polyurethane can be a big help.

Protecting your wooden surface with a beautiful classic and glossy look is now easier with the best polyurethane. It is basically being used for protecting the surface from water damage, scratch, and other elements.

But now, it is also being used for providing a glossy and shiny look on the wooden surface.

Top 10 Best Polyurethanes

Polyurethane seals the porous on the surface so that the wood doesn’t dry out. This actually protects the wood for a long time, giving it a natural shiny look.

Coating with polyurethane works as a protective shield. The finish it provides doesn’t spoil the natural wood color look.

But there are so many brands in the market offering different finishes and protection. Among them, we have brought to you ten amazing polyurethane products that will meet all your demand for perfect finish and protection.

To find out, Read On.

Our Top 10 Best Polyurethanes

Buying polyurethane isn’t something you can say is difficult. But picking the perfect polyurethane is certainly not an easy task for many of us. If you don’t have expertise in this field, then it seems really intimidating.

Don’t worry, we’ve covered you up. From hundreds of options, we’ve taken only 10 polyurethane to present to you. These items are more up-to-date and effective as well.

01. Varathane Water-Based Ultimate Polyurethane

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Do you want to give your indoor furniture a glossy finish along with protecting it from drying out? Varathane Water-Based Ultimate Polyurethane will be our first recommendation in this case. It is one of the most popular go-to polyurethane brands on the market.

From the finish to protection, this polyurethane deserves ten out of ten. Let’s dig a little deeper.

A water-based poly

This is basically a water-based poly. So unlike other polyurethane in the market, it will ensure a faster dry time. It dries to the touch in 30 minutes. But for a recoat, you will have to wait at least 2 hours. Hey, don’t worry. Its ultimate coverage of 31. sq.Ft in half an hour will not let you feel that you are wasting your time.

Also of its water-based formula, it’s very easy to use. You can clean your brush or the layer just by using water.

The natural wooden color 

The most amazing part is, it will retain the natural wooden color giving a glossy crystal clear finish. So protecting your wooden surface from scratch and other elements will not cost the look of your surface. Rather your furniture will look natural, shiny, and glossy.

This polyurethane is suitable for all your indoor wooden surfaces such as windows, trim, and furniture. But we won’t recommend you use it for your exterior surface.

Mind-blowing fact

Another mind-blowing fact about this poly is its low-odor formula. So it doesn’t create any discomfort while you work with it and you don’t have to take everything outside. This high-quality poly will not make your wooden surface older ensuring the same crystal clear finish.

The finish will never turn yellow. So with this poly, protecting your surface with a super glossy finish becomes easier and more effective.

  • Water-Based Formula.
  • Suitable for indoor wooden surfaces.
  • Glossy crystal clear finish.
  • Perfect protection from stains and scratches.
  • Odor-free and easy clean-up.

02. Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane Clear Finish

5150W5J2mlL. SL500

If you want to give your indoor wooden surface a tough satin finish for ultimate sustainability, Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane is the perfect match for you. It’s tough, shiny, and looks great after a few coats. And when it comes from Minwax, you cannot doubt its commitment.

Fast-drying facility

The first thing about this poly is its fast-drying facility. Though it’s oil-based polyurethane, it comparatively dries faster than any of its competitor’s products. Also, you can get the craziest sheen finish only within two coats.

The first coat will basically seal the surface. And the second coat will actually make sure that it provides the perfect sheen finish you are expecting.

For the best result, 

try to sand the surface a bit after the last coat with a piece of 320 sandpaper. The satin finish that this poly provides can bring a new look back to your old furniture. This poly is also available in a glossy and shiny finish.

It doesn’t matter if the surface is finished or unfinished. You can use this poly on both surfaces. It’s a perfect choice for any of your woodworking and interior furniture such as doors, cabinets, and windows.

Wood protection for a longer period

Protecting your wood for a longer period of time will not be a matter of concern when you have this polyurethane for your woodwork. It provides an amazing durable coating for long-term protection. Its durability will never let you worry about protection or beauty.

So without any doubt in the quality, you can bring Minax Fast-Drying Polyurethane for a sheen finish on your wooden surface.

  • Only for indoor use.
  • Fast-drying oil-based formula.
  • Provides a clear satin finish.
  • Suitable for both finished and unfinished wood.
  • Superior Durable coating for ultimate protection.

03. Minwax Water Based Oil-Modified Polyurethane

51qoO4emgbL. SL500

If you have a wooden floor in your home that needs to be varnished, nothing is greater than Minwax Water Based Oil-Modified Polyurethane. Not just the floor, it is a perfect choice for any indoor wooden surface.

A water-based oil-modified poly

It is basically a water-based oil-modified poly. This oil-modified poly ensures a very tough coat with amber color. And for its water-based formula, gives you an easy cleaning solution with water.

So any mistake is acceptable with this polyurethane. What you have to do is to clean the coat with soap and water as soon as you see it.

Apply at least three coats

If you buy this poly, you will have to apply at least three coats to get the look you want. But as it has a faster drying time of 2 hours, applying even a few extra coats will not cost you precious time.

Most of the users have recommended not using a roller to apply this poly. Rather you can use a brush or spray.

No complaint about its protection. 

Each coat of this poly dries tough so that it can save your wooden surface from scuffing, abrasion, water, alcohol, or any kitchen chemicals. The durable finish also gives your wooden surface a satin amber color finish.

This poly is so easy and smooth to work with. The added benefit is its ‘no smell’ facility. You can say there is “no smell” compared to other oil-based poly.

  • Odorless for its water-based formula.
  • Durable and tough satin finish.
  • Dries ultimate quick ensuring easy cleanup.
  • Ensure perfect warmth and beauty on a wooden surface.
  • A great choice for indoor wooden surfaces, especially for floor

04. Rust-Oleum Ultimate Polyurethane

We know how irritating it can be when you see your fingerprints on your polished wooden surface. It not only makes the furniture look worse but also increases your workload as you have to clean it. But we have a solution for you.

It is Rust-Oleum Ultimate Polyurethane that is fingerprint-proof and makes your surface smudge-free for its matt finish. It’s a worthy choice for you if you don’t like a glossy finish.

Unique soft-touch finish

Not just that. The unique soft-touch finish gives a soft texture to your wooden surface. So the soft matt finish will not let your hands off the furniture.

As it is a water-based poly, it’s obvious that it will dry faster. Also, it ensures easy cleaning with soapy water. It’s suitable for any indoor wooden surface. Don’t worry if you are a craft artist. Its water-based acrylic formula will ensure the precise and fine look of your wooden craftwork.

Want to know about the protection it provides?  

The top coat of this poly provides a scratch-free layer with a soft texture. So your surface will look new for a very long period of time.

It gives a perfect satin finish to finished wood but if you have unfinished wood to varnish then the wood color may turn slightly darker.

Best part of the item? -the perfect adhesion. 

It is smooth and white. But turns into a clear matt finish when dry.  The smell is pretty acceptable while working with it.

No wonder, Rust-Oleum Ultimate Polyurethane is going to be worth your money.

  • Fingerprint and smudge-free finish.
  • Soft touch finish.
  • Smooth and clear finish.
  • Durable scratch-free top coat.
  • Ultimate coverage and faster dry.

05. Minwax Fast Drying Polyurethane Semi-Gloss Clear Finish

It’s ok if you don’t like glossy or satin finish on your wooden surface. Because we have something that stays in the middle. It’s Minwax Fast Drying Semi-Gloss Clear Finish  Polyurethane.

If you have a surface with lots of imperfections to hide, a glossy finish is definitely not going to help. Because the glossier the finish, the imperfection will be more visible from underneath.

What is recommended by professionals? 

In this case, semi-gloss is always recommended by professionals. And if you have already decided to buy a polyurethane with a semi-gloss finish, I must recommend this poly for its high quality.

Always remember that durability does not depend on the finish the poly provides. And in this case, Minwax is pretty consistent.

Like its other variants, 

it also provides one of the most durable coatings you can find on the market. It will protect your wooden surface from any kind of chemical damage or scratch.

There is no chance of peeling off the varnish when you are applying this polyurethane on the surface.

As it’s an oil-based poly, 

you cannot clean it with water or soap. But the finish and smoothness of the top coat texture is very eye soothing. It may take 3 to 5 coats to ensure the perfect semi-gloss finish. But the extreme quick-dry feature will back you up.

If you want a natural-feeling surface with ultimate protection, Minwax Fast Drying Semi-Gloss Polyurethane is definitely worth the choice.

  • Oil-based Polyurethane.
  • Smooth semi-gloss finish.
  • Long-lasting protection and durability.
  • Suitable for interior finished or unfinished wooden surfaces.
  • Value for the money.

06. CrystaLac Brite Tone High Solids Polyurethane Instrument Finish

41IZE8NtnqL. SL500

Does the guitar look dull as you are playing for a long time?  What do you think about a new bright coat on top? If that’s what you are thinking before buying polyurethane, let me suggest you a Crystal Brite Tone Water-Based Clear Coat.

This is the game changer if you want your instrument to look brighter and shiner.

For its water-based formula, 

this takes fewer coats than any other poly in the market. The runny consistency ensures extra coverage. And when you will be applying it with a brush or spray, you don’t need to worry about its leveling.

It levels itself ensuring a smooth and flawless clear finish on the surface. It’s very easy to use. You don’t have to put extra effort into ensuring a perfect coat.

A durable hard coat

This poly provides a durable hard coat on your instrument with a super bright look. The hard and clear coat will stay glossy for a long time. But for an effective bright-looking surface, you must apply a very thin coat.

Otherwise, there is a chance that the top coat might get cracked.

A brighter-looking surface

Don’t worry about its heat resistance. If you are applying it on your bar tops, you must know that it can take the heat of a coffee mug without damage.

When you want a brighter-looking surface with perfect protection on your bar tops, furniture, and instruments, you will find nothing better than this top coat polyurethane.

  • This is especially suitable for top coats on instruments.
  • Provides a bright, shiny, and smooth finish.
  • Dries hard to ensure long-term protection.
  • Ensure perfect heat resistance.
  • Self-leveling capacity with no odor.

07. Watco Rust-Oleum A65741 Danish Oil Wood Finish, Quart, Natural

51cQhlj39bL. SL500

Do you want proper control over the application of polyurethane on your wooden furniture? If yes, then here is the solution- Watco 68141 Wipe-On Polyurethane Finish. This is the perfect and suitable polyurethane when it comes to ensuring the finest details.

For applying this poly, 

you don’t need any brush or spray. Just a clear dry cloth can do the job of applying on the surface. You will be able to reach each corner where a brush could. And most importantly it gives you proper control for precise application.

If you want something easy to apply on the surface, there is no alternative to Watco Wipe-On poly. This hand-applied poly makes your varnishing easy and effective ensuring proper protection.

No corner to clear the protective finish 

The oil-based formula ensures that there is no corner left to clear the protective finish. The amazing clear satin finish ensures perfect protection from water, stains, and scratches. This works great as a sealer.

As it comes thicker than other poly in the market, make sure you thin it before applying. Don’t worry about the look on your surface.

Super shiny stained wood

After you apply the Watco wipe-on with a clean rag on your cabinets or furniture, the poly will ensure a super shiny stained wood. So if you are up to making your wooden surface look new even after a long time, this watco Wipe on the durable solution will ensure both.

Last but not the least, this is an affordable option to go with now.

  • Ensure the finest details on the surface.
  • Durable and strong protection.
  • Provides ultimate control and finish.
  • Gives a glossy and shiny finish
  • Hand applied Polyurethane.

08. Deft Interior Exterior Water-Based Polyurethane

So far we have talked about polyurethane which is only suitable for interior use. But if you require something that works on both interior and exterior surfaces then here is Deft Interior Exterior Water-Based Polyurethane for you.

What makes it suitable for multi-purpose use? 

Basically, when you buy an interior poly, it doesn’t contain a UV ray protection formula. That’s why if you apply interior poly to your exterior surface, it will get faded after a few days.

But not with Deft Interior Exterior Water-Based Polyurethane. It has superior UV protection for saving your exterior surface from fading away.

After you apply this poly on any surface, 

you are free of worry about weather issues. Your surface will retain the new look across all seasons. It is a water-based polyurethane with oil modified urethane formula.

Here the water base formula will ensure a quick dry and oil base formula will provide a clear glossy finish on your wooden surface. This poly makes your varnishing easier and more cost-effective.

No need to apply any sealer 

You don’t need to apply any sealer before you apply this poly. You can use an HVLP spray, brush, or pad. Most importantly, it can protect your surface like any other best polyurethane in the market from any sort of damage or scratch. It is non-toxic when it’s dry.

So if there is a newborn kid at your home, don’t worry. It’s safe. It also provides an easy clean-up solution and dries within 2 hours for the next coat.

  • Suitable for both interior and exterior surfaces.
  • UV-protected Formula and weather-resistant.
  • Ensure a satin finish.
  • Nontoxic, Low VOC, and low odor.
  • Durable finish and quick dry.

09. Minwax Fast Drying Polyurethane, 11.5 oz, Semi-Gloss, 11 Ounce

When it comes to quality and finish, there is nothing you can compare with the products that come from the Minwax factory. We have already listed three of their products in our list.

Who is it great for?

But there are lots of people who are fond of polyurethane aerosol. That’s why we don’t want to make any injustice to them.

We have Minwax 33055000 Fast-Drying Polyurethane for those people who find aerosol more convenient for precise application and finish.

A perfect semi-gloss finish

This poly ensures a perfect semi-gloss finish on your surface. To get a perfect and smooth finish, you will have to apply several coats.

Firstly put 3-4 coats and then let it dry. Then sand it a bit before you put the other 3 coats. If you find the first three coats super shiny, then you don’t need to apply another coat. If it appears tiring to you, don’t worry.

The smooth and clogged-free nozzle will make your application easier and more comfortable. You can change the spray pattern to vertical and horizontal according to your choice.

Suitable for long-lasting protection

The durable top coat is well suited for long-lasting protection of your furniture, doors, or kitchen countertop. It doesn’t matter whether it’s finished wood or unfinished wood, protection is ensured. 

It has a perfect dry time to seal the pores of the surface. From precision to finish, everything is perfect with this poly. 

I highly recommend this amazing unit of polyurethane if it matches your applications.

  • Oil-based finish aerosol
  • Only suitable for interior Surfaces.
  • Durable and long-lasting coating.
  • Provides a semi-gloss finish.
  • Quick dry and clog-free application.

10. Rust-Oleum 200181 Polyurethane Water-Based Spray

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Want to protect your outdoor wooden surface with perfect precision? Here is a solution for you. Rust-Oleum 200181 Polyurethane Water-Based Spray is going to give you a durable protective layer on your outdoor wooden surface. What’s special about this Rust-Oleum poly?

Spending money on a Rust-Oleum is like insurance. 

Rust-Oleum is leading the market with its high-quality product from the beginning of its journey. So there is no doubt about the performance. They are committed to their quality products and sincere customer service as well.

Its water-based formula will ensure quick drying and easy cleanup. So ensuring protection and beauty will be easier with this poly.

Talking about protection.

It provides one of the most durable coats to protect your wooden surface from any sort of damage. It does not allow any stains on the surface.

The use of it is also pretty convenient. 

The nozzle is clog-free and smooth which ensures a fine finish on the surface. Its water-based formula gives the ultimate coverage of 25 sq. ft. in just 30 minutes. Also, it allows you to clean it easily with soap and water.

What is the reason to love it?

The main reason you are going to love this product is its protection and finish. The semi-gloss finish will bring a unique eye-soothing charm. And the smooth finish will make the surface look flawless and bright.

What else can you expect? This product is surely worth your money.

  • Perfect fit for your outdoor wooden surfaces.
  • Ultimate quick dry and easy to use.
  • Clog-free nozzles ensure maximum coverage.
  • Water-based formula for easy cleanup.
  • Provides a Semi-Gloss finish.

Top 10 Polyurethanes’ Comparison Table

Product Name



Varathane Ultimate Polyurethane Water-Based Glossy finish
Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane Oil-based formula Clear Satin
Minwax Water Based Oil-Modified Polyurethane Water Based Oil-Modified Gloss, Semi-Gloss, Satin finish
Rust-Oleum Ultimate Polyurethane Water-Based Acrylic Formula Matte Finish
Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane Semi-Gloss Clear Finish Water Based Oil-Modified Semi-Gloss
CrystaLac Brite Tone High Solids Polyurethane Instrument Finish


Clear gloss Instrument Finish.
Watco 68141 Wipe-On Polyurethane Finish Oil-Based Clear Satin
Deft Interior Exterior Water-Based Polyurethane Water Based Clear Finish
Minwax 33055000 Fast-Drying Polyurethane Oil-Based Semi-Gloss
Rust-Oleum 200181 Polyurethane Water-Based Spray Water-Based Semi-Gloss

Factors to Consider before Purchasing the Right Polyurethane

Though I have given quite a few options for the best polyurethane in this list, you may still have some confusion about which one to pick finally. But before you buy anything else instead of picking one from the list, keep your eyes on these below-mentioned things to make the perfect decision.

1. Types of Polyurethane

There are different types of poly such as Oil-based, Water-Based, and water-based oil-modified. Each type has different offerings. For example, water-based poly dries faster than oil-based poly.

Types of Wood Finishes

On the other hand, oil-based poly gives a smoother finish than water-based poly. So considering these factors is quite important for ensuring protection and beauty on your surface at the same time.

2. Suitability

Before you buy polyurethane you must consider where exactly you are going to use it. It can be indoor, outdoor, or both. But you have to be very certain about that. If you want to buy poly for protecting your indoor wooden surface that will not likely be applicable to the exterior wooden surface.

Because most indoor poly does not contain any UV protection so if you apply that on your exterior surface the poly will likely get faded in no time. But you can apply exterior poly to both indoor and outdoor surfaces.

So before you buy polyurethane for any wooden surface, make sure you know your surface so that you can buy the suitable one. And to make this easier, we’ve compiled our list with different types of poly from different brands all around the world.

3. Finish

Polyurethane is not only used to protect the surface. People also apply it on their wooden surfaces to get a bright glossy finish. In the market, you can get different types of finishes such as Satin, Gloss, Semi-Gloss, etc. So it’s very important to set the requirements.

The glossy finish is very bright and shiny. But it makes any wood spot more visible than hiding. The semi-gloss finish is a bit safer in this regard. It makes the underneath spot or stains blurry with a light glossy finish.

Wood Finish by Polyurethane

If you want to get rid of any fingerprints from the wooden surface, a satin finish is suitable for that. The matt finish makes the surface scratch-proof and smooth.

Top Questions About Polyurethanes

Why am I getting bubbles in my poly?

If you are getting bubbles in each coat then most probably you have shaken the can improperly. Most brands put this instruction on the label- not to shake the can. They suggest you stir the finish. Another reason you can get bubbles is if you don’t put your brush in the mineral spirit before you dip it into the poly.

Sometimes, you can also get bubbles if the material is thinner. Like, if you put water in the water-based poly which is already thinner.

Do I need to sand between coats?

Sand between coats

Sanding between coats is not mandatory to sand the surface between coats. But if you have time on your hand then it’s better if you sand between two or three coats. It will actually ensure perfect adhesion that will lead to the finest and smoothest and most durable finish.

How to get a smoother finish?

To get a smoother finish, density is important. If the poly is too thick, you will find it difficult to get maximum coverage. That’s why you have to thin your poly to an extent where the flow of application gets smoother.

In terms of water-based poly, do it with caution. Because water-based poly comes thinner most of the time.

Another important thing to get a smooth finish is to prepare the surface. If the surface is not well suited or uneven or has any remaining of previous finishing elements, then getting a smoother finish will be tough.

So make sure that you prepare the surface by sanding it properly.

Final Words

After going through the whole polyurethane explanation, picking the best polyurethane will not be a matter of hassle. You don’t need to ask every professional you know to suggest one which can protect your surface. That’s why we picked the best 10 products which will protect your surface giving your wooden furniture a brand new shiny look.

Buying any of these products can’t go wrong. Just make your requirements certain and see what matches- this is a list with diversified options. Why are you waiting? Bring the most suitable polyurethane for the next project.

About the Author

I'm Thomas Newin, and who has worked for home improvement since 1993. During this time, I completed many home constructions successfully. It's the reason why my friends call me the home expert. Also, I love to think about new ideas, designs, and arts for a unique home in a creative way.

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