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Best Varnish for Outdoor Wood Furniture 2024 [Top 6 Picks]

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Wood furniture is beautiful, but it can be hard to maintain. Varnish for outdoor wood furniture is a solution that will protect your investment in high-quality, custom-made pieces of furniture.

Therefore, you should use the best varnish for outdoor wood furniture. A highly durable outdoor furniture varnish can also protect against damage caused by dirt and insects.

However, don’t think it is easy to find a long-lasting varnish for outdoor projects. When searching online, you will get a lot of brands for varnish. To help you in your search, we have made a list of the top six outdoor wooden furniture varnishes.

Minwax Spar Urethane Clear Gloss Varnish for Outdoor Wood Furniture

TotalBoat Outdoor Wood Furniture Marine Spar Varnish

SamaN Interior Water Based Varnish for Outdoor Wood Furniture

Top 6 Reviews on The Best Varnish for Outdoor Wood Furniture

A varnish for outdoor furniture will typically depend on the type of wood, the climate it is in, and what you are using it for. However, there are certain qualities that can be found in any good varnish.

Here are a few reviews of different exterior varnishes that have been used on wooden outdoor furniture in order to keep it looking beautiful. We listed them based on the durability of the varnish, finish, and ease of use.

1. Minwax Spar Urethane Clear Gloss Varnish for Outdoor Wood Furniture

If you want to give your outdoor wooden furniture an extra layer of protection, then you should consider using Spar varnish by Minwax.

This varnish is designed to protect your furniture from the elements, and stains. It dries to a clear, hard finish. Additionally, it’s easy to apply, and you can use a natural bristle brush to get the best results.

With the spar varnish, outdoor wooden furniture will remain beautiful for a long time. It dries quickly and cleans up easily with mineral spirits or paint thinner. But you need to wait 24 hours before you can use the furniture.

This product is long lasting and will be a great investment for anyone who is preparing to have wooden furniture outside. It’s made to protect the furniture from the sun’s graying and fading effects, to form a protective barrier against rain and moisture, and it has UV rays blockers.

The Minwax Spar Urethane Clear Gloss Varnish For Outdoor Wood Furniture contains special oils that change with the seasons and temperatures. It can expand and contract with the wood, decreasing the possibility of cracking and peeling.

Highlighted Features:

  • Easy to apply with a natural bristle brush.
  • Dries to a clear, hard finish
  • Dries quickly and cleans up with paint thinner
  • Protects the furniture from UV radiation, rain and moisture
  • UV inhibitors prevent the wood’s color from fading
  • Contains special oils that expand with the wood
  • Decreases the chance of the varnish cracking and peeling

2. TotalBoat Outdoor Wood Furniture Marine Spar Varnish

When it comes to choosing a varnish for your outdoor use, it is important to find one that will protect the wood and give it a beautiful finish.

TotalBoat offers this premium marine spar varnish that contains tung oil and phenolic resins, which gives the wood a warm, transparent amber finish. This exterior oil finish varnish is also durable and perfect for brightwork on boats, kayaks, strip canoes, garage doors, and more.

The TotalBoat Outdoor Wood Furniture Marine Spar Varnish is easy to use, self-leveling, and dries fast, so you can recoat in just 1 hour at 72°F. Plus, it forms a durable, flexible finish that expands and contracts with wooden furniture during seasonal humidity and temperature changes.

Gleam Gloss and Gleam Satin are high-quality varnishes that provide a durable finish for outdoor wooden furniture. The marine varnish is available in a gloss or satin finish and comes in pint, quart, and gallon sizes.

With TotalBoat Special Brushing Thinner 100, it can be brushed or rolled, or sprayed with xylene, and will cover approximately 250 square feet per gallon. Apply up to 3 coats in just 1 day for long-lasting protection against the weather.

Highlighted Features:

  • Contains tung oil and phenolic resins for a transparent amber finish
  • Perfect for brightwork on boats, kayaks, strip canoes
  • Easy to use and provides a long-lasting finish
  • Dries fast, can be recoated 1 hour later at 72°F
  • Available in gloss or satin finish and Self-leveling
  • Will cover 250 square feet per gallon of varnish

3. TotalBoat High Gloss And Matte Varnish for Outdoor Wood Furniture

If you’re looking for a high-quality varnish that will give your wooden furniture a beautiful finish, this is another perfect marine varnish from the TotalBoat brand.

This product is designed for interior and exterior use, making it ideal for indoor and outdoor use on wooden furniture. It’s also perfect for boats, as it provides a durable, waterproof finish that won’t fade.

It is a high-build, fast-drying varnish that can be recoated rapidly. With multiple coats per day and no sanding between coats necessary, it can be finished in just over one day.

The TotalBoat High Gloss And Matte Varnish For Outdoor Wood Furniture is perfect, as it provides a high level of protection against the elements while still giving a beautiful finish.

With this oil-based varnish, your furniture will look fantastic. It won’t crack or peel. These exterior finishes provide superior protection against the elements, UV damage, and staining while giving your furniture a beautiful finish that will last for years.

This varnish is available in both finishes and comes in pint, quart, and gallon sizes. It can be thinned or xylene, and provides coverage of 360-400 sq ft per gallon.

So if you’re looking for the best way to protect and enhance your outdoor wooden furniture, be sure to choose Lust Gloss or Lust Matte Varnish.

Highlighted Features:

  • Great for both indoor & outdoor use
  • Provides a durable, waterproof finish that won’t fade
  • Colors will not fade or dull with age
  • Protects wood against the elements
  • Easy to apply and quick drying
  • Protects against the elements, UV damage, and staining
  • Can be thinned or xylene and covers 360-400 sq ft per gallon

4. Minwax Polycrylic Protective Wood Varnish for Outdoor Furniture

If you’re searching for a non-yellowing wood varnish that will protect your outdoor furniture, you may want to check out Minwax Polycrylic Protective Wood Varnish. It is designed for use on outdoor furniture but works well on interior wood as well.

Polycrylic Protective Wood Varnish is a clear top coat that can protect a wood surface from scratches, spills, and dirt. It also enhances the beauty of interior wood projects such as woodwork, furniture, doors, and cabinets.

With this product, you can keep your wooden surface looking great while protecting them against daily wear and tear. It is a clear satin varnish that protects wood projects from weathering, fading, and discoloration.

The Minwax Polycrylic Protective Wood Varnish For Outdoor Furniture has a sleek finish that gives the wood a modern and subtle look. It is non-ambering and has a low odor.

You can get your projects done faster with this polycrylic coating because it dries fast. It can be applied with a synthetic bristle brush, and it dries to a clear finish. This coating is ideal for protecting outdoor furniture from the elements.

The protective wood varnish is a high-quality protective finish that can be used on a variety of surfaces, including wood, metal, and plastic. It protects against scratches and UV damage. This product is also easy to apply and can be used on light wood colors like maple, ash, and birch.

It is a water-based wood finish that allows for easy soap and water clean-up. This makes it easy to clean up any spills or big messes. It doesn’t produce any harmful fumes. 

Highlighted Features:

  • Non-yellowing and durable satin finish
  • Protects against spills and dirt
  • Enhances the beauty of wood
  • Projects from weathering, fading, and discoloration
  • Ideal for protecting outdoor furniture from the elements
  • Non-ambering and low odor
  • Protects against scratches and UV damage

5. SamaN Interior Water Based Varnish for Outdoor Wood Furniture

If you are looking for an environment-safe varnish for your wooden furniture, SamaN is the best bet. It is natural, odorless, and safe for users, pets, and the environment.

This water based varnish is great for outdoor wooden furniture, but it also works well for indoor finishes. When applied properly, the high-quality finish creates an impressive look.

You can use it for all your renovation, decorating, or DIY projects because it’s durable and will protect and enhance the look of the wood. This is a water-based varnish that is safe for furniture, cabinets, wood panels, and molding.

It’s super simple to apply for a beginner on almost any wood surface without requiring any pro tools. One coat application, no overlapping marks, and no conditioner required.

There are 40+ colors to choose from, with the option of custom mixing two colors at once. You can clean up after using this varnish! SamaN Interior Water Based Varnish For Outdoor Wood Furniture is available in a 12 oz bottle.

Overall, it’s perfect for any furniture that is used outside, but it can also be great for indoor use.

Highlighted Features:

  • Safe for users, pets, and the environment
  • Simple to use for a first-timer
  • No overlapping marks, no need for a conditioner
  • Fast easy application in just one coat
  • Odorless water based finish
  • Can mix two colors at once

6. Howard Products Shine Wood Outdoor Furniture Finish Varnish

If you’re looking for a product that can help you restore the shine to your wooden furniture, look no further than Restor-A-Shine finish from Howard Products.

This unique polishing compound contains extremely fine micro polishing powders that will help to remove any scratches or blemishes from your furniture’s finish.

It also contains select waxes and oils that will give your furniture a beautiful gloss shine. Using Howard Products Shine Wood Outdoor Furniture Finish Varnish is a quick and easy way to keep a glossy wood finish looking clean and new.

The product will help polish the wood surface into a softer finish while also preventing future damage from occurring. 

You can use this furniture polish to revive dull areas, remove steel wool swirl marks and fix most minor surface blemishes. It can be used as the final step in rubbing out a new gloss wood finish to achieve a mirror like finish.

This lovely and painstakingly crafted wooden furniture has a smooth finish that is also resistant to outdoor elements which makes it one of the best we have ever seen. It’s made in the USA, so you can be sure of its quality.

Apply this varnish onto the surface with a cloth or an electric buffer on floors for a magnificent look. This polishing compound comes in a 16 oz bottle.

Highlighted Features:

  • Micro polishing powders remove scratches and blemishes
  • The waxes and oils help give a higher gloss shine
  • Quick and easy to use
  • Prevents future damage from occurring
  • Can be used to achieve a mirror like finish
  • Smooth, glossy, and resistant finish
  • Can be applied with a cloth or electric buffer

This is a list of the best varnish for outdoor wooden furniture. If you’re looking for a natural and safe varnish for your furniture, then go with our recommended choice.

Factors to Consider When Buying Varnish for Outdoor Wooden Furniture

oil finishes

Wooden furniture is a timeless classic, but it can become damaged from the elements if not properly maintained. One of the best ways to protect your wooden furniture from damage is by using exterior varnish for outdoor furniture.

Here we will be looking at what you need to consider before making your purchase in order to make the right decision.

Oil Based or Water Based Varnishes:

The first thing that needs to be considered when buying varnish for outdoor wooden furniture is whether or not it’s water-based or oil-based.

Water-based varnish is easier and cheaper than oil based, but it doesn’t last as long and may require more coats depending on how much sun there is in your area.

Oil-based varnishes are better suited to those who don’t want to apply multiple coats as it doesn’t dry as fast. However, the fumes from oil based varnishes may be too strong for some.

Gloss or Sleek Satin Finish:

how many coats

If you want to maintain the natural color of your furniture, you should choose one with a quality finish. The best finish quality will give you a beautiful natural wood grain. If you want a more natural look, you can go for satin finishes.

Dry Time:

The dry time is important to consider when you want to apply more than one coat of varnish. The faster the drying process, the less likely it will be that your furniture will get damaged from being handled while wet.

If you’re only planning on applying a few coats, then this probably won’t matter too much, but if you’re applying thick coats, then you’ll want to go with something that has a short drying time.

Cure Time:

The cure time is how long it will take until your exterior varnish is fully hardened. Oils are one of the main causes of smudges on your furniture. However, oils can take days or even more to completely cure. If you go with an exterior oil finish with a long curing time, it could be difficult to apply another coat until the previous has dried.

Coverage Area:

UV light

The amount of area that will need to be covered can be determined by how much furniture you have and where it’s located. For the best protection, the varnish should completely cover your furniture to prevent any future damage from occurring.


One of the main issues with wood is its susceptibility to becoming weathered and worn out over time, especially when exposed to direct sunlight.

This results in your wood turning a yellowish color because this is what happens when oils break down. When using exterior varnish for outdoor furniture, it needs to be non-yellowing so that it keeps its natural luster no matter how long it’s been outside.

UV Rays Protected:

Another thing you’ll need to think about is how much time your furniture will be exposed to direct sunlight. Once it is damaged, wood fibers separate from the underlying wood, taking the finish with them.

If it’s not often, you may want to go with a satin or matte varnish that doesn’t require as many coats or protection from UV rays.

On the other hand, if you live in an area with lots of direct sunlight then you’ll want something that will give your furniture a beautiful shine as well as prevent sun damage.

Higher gloss varnishes are perfect for those who have furniture that needs to be protected from the elements as they’re extremely durable and can also reflect sunlight.

When using exterior varnish to protect your furniture from damage, make sure you choose one with UV rays protection so that it will remain to look great for longer.

Stains Protected:

adirondack chairs

If your outdoor furniture is going to be placed in an area where it may become stained, you want to make sure that the varnish will prevent stains from penetrating deep into the wood.

Some varnishes contain a thin film that can be brushed on top of the furniture, which prevents them from entering into the wood’s pores while still allowing for natural expansion and contraction.

Rain and Moisture Proof:

In order to protect your wooden furniture from rain damage, you need to find a varnish that is 100% waterproof. If you go with a coating type varnish then it will form an artificial layer on top of the wood to protect it.

Dirt and Insects Protected:

The best way to protect your furniture from becoming dirty is by coating it with an exterior varnish that has dirt repellent properties. This will allow you to clean the furniture using soap and water instead of harsh chemicals or an electric vacuum cleaner. It must be capable of protecting untreated or treated wood.

Environment Safe:

When you’re looking for a varnish for outdoor use, make sure that it’s environment-friendly. There are certain varnishes that contain petroleum products which can cause damage to the environment.

Odor Free:

The smell from some varnishes can be so strong that it will attract bees and other insects and give you a headache. If you go with something that has a low odor then this won’t be a problem.


The cost of varnish will vary depending on durability, application process, and size of your project. You need to choose varnish that is value for money because there are some that could cost more but may not be as effective.


How Do You Seal Outdoor Wood Furniture?

When it comes to the exterior of wooden furniture, there are two options for sealing it against damage.

The first option is to use oil-based varnish. You simply apply a coat of your preferred oil-based compound with a paintbrush for this option. Let the coating dry and if it is needed to second coat you can do that as well. Finally, you need to wait for its cure time before applying it to your furniture.

The second option is to use water-based varnish. You need to pour some on a cloth and rub it into the surface, making sure to cover all of the wood. Leave it to dry and start the final coat (If needed). Leave the exterior varnish to cure according to manual instructions.

Does Varnish Protect Outdoor Wood?

The main purpose of varnish for outdoor furniture is to make sure that the wood doesn’t get damaged by moisture, heat, and humidity. If you want your wooden furniture to last longer, then investing in varnish is a must.

Which is Better Varnish or Polyurethane?

Both varnish and polyurethane are great products that protect wooden furniture from damage. However, if you have to choose between them, the best choice would be varnish. You can protect the wood for a long time if you use varnish instead of polyurethane.

How Long Does Varnish Last?

It depends on the type of varnish. If you use varnishes of higher quality, then they can last for up to 20 years if taken good care of. However, the majority of varnishes won’t last more than two years.


Wood furniture has always been a popular choice when it comes to home décor. However, you will need some protection for it if you want it to last longer. If you use the best varnish for outdoor furniture, the paint will last longer and protect the wood from damage by outdoor elements, insects, moisture, heat, and humidity.

There are oil-based or water-based exterior varnishes, and choosing one of them depends on preference and your lifestyle. Never go with the cheapest product since it can be the most expensive in the long run.

We hope that the list of varnishes in our reviews should be able to give you some guidance on your search for durable varnish for your next outdoor woodworking project.

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