Wood Defender and Ready Seal are very similar exterior wood stain products. They are both easy to apply and offer protection for your wood fence or deck. Although they are very similar, there are some key differences that might make one the better choice for you.
In my career staining fences, I have used both Ready Seal and Wood Defender. I recommend both products and have applied hundreds of gallons. I have not been able to find a noticeable difference in the quality of the two products or in the longevity that they offer.
When it comes to the differences between Ready Seal vs Wood Defender the biggest distinctions come down to availability and product options. ReadySeal is sold in many big box retailers so it should be easy to find it nearby. Wood Defender on the other hand offers a much wider variety of color and product options.
Keep reading to learn more about these two exterior stains.
Similarities Between Wood Defender and ReadySeal
Both products are exterior oil-based wood stains and sealers. They work to repel moisture by saturating the wood fibers in oil. They contain pigments that will block UV rays and prevent damage to the wood surface. They will also inhibit mildew growth.
Easy to Apply
Both Wood Dender and Ready Seal are very easy to apply. They both use very slow-drying oils in their formula. This means that the stain will even out over time as it dries. This eliminates the problems of drips and runs showing up in the finished stain. It also eliminates the need to back brush the wood which makes the job go faster.
They are meant to be applied in a heavy coat that saturates the wood. ReadySeal recommends testing to see if a second light coat will be absorbed by the fence.
Both of these stains will not form lap marks even if wet stain is applied over dry. This is a problem with most other oil-based wood stains and a major reason why many DIY fence stain jobs don’t turn out right. These stains eliminate this problem.
Both stains will easily clean off of non-porous surfaces with a rag and maybe a little bit of mineral spirits. Because the stain won’t dry on your hands, it won’t feel sticky as you are applying it.
Differences between Wood Defender vs ReadySeal
Although the products are very similar I can think of two main areas in which they are different. These differences may be the deciding factor for you when choosing which one to go with.
ReadySeal is sold in big box hardware stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot. This means it should be easy to get as much as you need. Also, if you run out of stain before the job is finished, a quick trip to the store will get you back to staining.
Wood Defender on the other hand can be picked up at fence suppliers and some local hardware stores. This means you may not have a store nearby where you can purchase it from. You can order the stain online though. It can take a few days for it to arrive after you order it so you will need to plan ahead. Also, if you run out of stain it will be inconvenient to have to order more.
Color and Product Options
Wood Defender will give you many more options when choosing the perfect color and stain type for your project. ReadySeal comes with 8 color choices. These may not all be available at every store so you may be even more limited. All the colors tend to be pretty transparent as well.
Wood Defender offers 8 transparent colors that are similar to the ones offered by ReadySeal. They also have a dozen additional colors in their semi-transparent line. This means you have over twice as many color options with Wood Defender vs ReadySeal.
Since Wood Defender offers semi-transparent stains you have more options for the look you want to achieve. These stains will cover up more of the underlying wood and provide a more even color. They are a great option for aged wood because they cover up imperfections.
ReadySeal and Wood Defender’s slow-drying oils have one major downside. They are not a great option for decks or outdoor furniture. Since they take weeks to dry, walking or sitting on the stain may leave an oily residue on your clothing or shoes. If you walk into your home from the deck, you can track the stain into your house.
To fix this problem, Wood Defender has created their 200 series deck stain. It will dry within 24 hours, meaning you can get back to using your deck our outdoor furniture much faster. You don’t have to worry about tracking stain into your home. ReadySeal has yet to come out with a similar product option.
Although both Ready Seal and Wood Defender are great options for staining a wooden fence or deck, we have chosen Wood Defender as the winner in this matchup. Because Wood Defender has so many more options for colors, transparency level and a fast drying version, it is far more likely you will find a fit for your specific situation.
While Wood Defender may be the best all around oil-based fence stain, Ready Seal can also hold it’s own in very specific circumstances. If you are staining your new cedar fence and you are happy with the color options, Ready Seal’s easy availability may make you want to choose their stain.
In either case, it is a good idea to learn how to properly stain a fence before you continue. Read our guide on how to stain a fence.