Best Oil Based Polyurethane for Furniture – Reviews

Our furniture often needs a tough and stylish varnish that makes it look glossy, fresh, neat, and brand new. Polyurethane finish helps to create a shiny new appealing look on old furniture which will capture your eyes immediately. The best oil based Polyurethane for furniture is formulated especially so that microscopic chains that are present in the resin molecules bind strongly with your furniture’s surface as it dries.

Polyurethane not only improves your furniture’s overall look but makes it resistant to water, solvents, force impacts, and other pressure. Get an amazing warm wood color on your old furniture with polyurethane oil-based finishing!

What is the best oil based polyurethane for floors & Furniture

The oil-based polyurethane finish makes your furniture durable. Apart from furniture, it works its magic on cabinets, doors, and wooden floors. Oil-based polyurethane finishing is heat-resistant to a certain degree.

It handles heat better than polyacrylic and other types of finishes. In this article, we have reviewed the top 5 best polyurethane finish for the furniture. To know all about the best polyurethane for furniture check this article!

01. ZAR Ultra Max Oil Modified Polyurethane

ZAR 36212 Ultra Max Oil Modified Polyurethane is an excellent polyurethane coat if you want to give your furniture a thorough cure stain color. It is very handy to apply and less time-consuming, as it takes only 2 hours to dry off before you can recoat it again.

If you are looking for a polyurethane-based finish to coat areas and furniture that are heavily used, this would be the best choice. It has consisted of dual dry technology for producing a thorough out the finish. Its self-leveling is notably praiseworthy as it makes furniture look idea with a smooth all-over finish.

It is also produced using a special low odor formula. Most finishes have a high intense odor which makes it tough to breathe in. However, ZAR Ultra Max polyurethane oil has little odor spread throughout the room and makes it easy to breathe. It also made your furniture hard and mar-resistant along with great wear and superb durability. You do not also have to worry about cleaning ZAR Ultra polyurethane oil, as you can easily wipe it clean with soap and water.                          

Notable Features:

  • Abrasion resistance: Resistant to any rubs or wear and tears
  • Dual Drying Technology: It causes coalescing and cross-links oxygen for a thorough smooth cure. Helps the oil to dry off faster (Takes 2 hours to dry). It has key ingredients which prevent it from being sticky for long.
  • Low odor formula: it is specially formulated to give off any pungent smell that can irritate.
  • Self-leveling properties: Provides gentle and shiny finish
  • Exotic Hardwood approved: It can be applied to any hardwood. 
  • Environment Friendly: This polyurethane oil is environmentally and child-safe
  • It is formulated with waterborne oil with specially modified polyurethane technology
  • Provides a smooth self-leveling finish to your furniture.
  • It has natural cambering that improves wood tones.
  • It is ideal for all wood types including Teak, Brazilian cherry, Pinewood, and other exotic woods.
  • Can be cleaned using water
  • Not available in many shades
  • Sometimes the lid may be too hard to open

If you are looking for a finish that is resistant to wear and tear and makes your furniture brand new, ZAR 36212 Ultra Oil would be a great choice. It is formulated with special technology to cross-link oxygen and enable a smooth dry finish.  

As it is hardwood approved, you can use it in countless pieces of furniture irrespective of its type of wood. Its dual drying features and lack of odor make it ideal for applying it indoors. It will make your old furniture look brand new again.

02. Rust-Oleum 9241 Ultimate Spar Urethane Oil-based, Quart, Gloss

Rust-Oleum Ultimate Oil-based Spar Urethane is a great oil-based polyurethane finish for all types of wooden surfaces. Not only can it protect your wooden furniture from dust and decay, but also from UV rays and mechanical damage too. It gives a different outlook that is different from all other polyurethane oil-based finishes.

This oil-based polyurethane has an advanced oil formula that protects the wooden from molds, mildew, scratches, microorganisms, etc. It also contains special substances to add a shiny effect to your furniture. Its long researched secure-formula also protects outdoor furniture from rainwater. It is available as a spray, gallon, cart, and quart.

Notable Features:

  • Weather Resistant: Protects your furniture both from sunlight, rain, and snow
  • Super-drying ability: It dries off within 2 hours
  • Great coverage: One can of Rust-Oleum Ultimate polyurethane help to cover 190 sq. ft. of wood
  • Specially Formulated:  it has a special formula to expand and contract depending on the type of climate conditions
  • Produces a warm glow shine
  • Very easy to apply
  • Takes less time to dry
  • The Interval between drying and recoating is 6 -8 hours
  • Protects furniture from most mechanical stress
  • Needs to be constantly stirred otherwise the glossy substance will deposit at the bottom.

If you are looking for a polyurethane finish for a satin-smooth texture, Rust-Oleum 9241 Ultimate Spar Urethane Oil-based polyurethane will be the best choice. It has been produced specially for coating outdoor furniture.

Since it is available in different amounts quartz, ounces, grams, etc. you can use it in any piece of furniture you want. Its special drying features make it easy to apply coats.

03. Rust-Oleum 130131 Varathane Premium Oil-Based Clear Floor Finish

Rust-Oleum® Varathane® Premium Oil-based polyurethane not only makes your furniture look brand new but gives it a durable finish too. It is the best finish for wooden floors and cabinets as well as furniture. People love its natural hardwood color, as it leaves behind a hard woody golden glow after it dries off.

Rust-Oleum Varathane makes your wooden closets and furniture regain its stability, firmness, and lost texture. Its self-leveling ability makes it top class and time-saving. It has one of the fastest drying times and requires 2-3 coats at max to get the desired look. It is mar and scuff resistant.

One can of Rust-Oleum Varathane cover 500 sq. ft. of any wooden furniture. It is produced as a semi-glass texture and is very easy to coat on floors.

Notable Features

  • Patented Aluminum Oxide Nano Technology: helps to provide maximum resistance to stains and scratches
  • Hardwood approved: Can be used in any kind of hardwood furniture
  • Resistant against chemicals: Any type of household chemical will have minimal effect on it
  • Fast drying time: Can dry fast as any other top polyurethane finish
  • Crystal formula: Its spotless crystal clear feature allows grains to be visible 
  • Great coverage: requires less paint per square feet to finish it smoothly
  • It is abrasion-resistant
  • Has an ideal flow rate
  • It is self-leveling
  • It can be cleaned easily with paint thinners or spirits
  • Cost-effective
  • Can be used in sanded Douglas floor
  • Only available in a can bottle
  • Available in a single color only

04. Rust-Oleum Varathane 9161H 1/2-Pint Interior Oil Polyurethane, Satin Finish

Rust-Oleum Varathane 9161H is designed to protect wooden surfaces and is ideal for finishing all interior surfaces. Varathane interior oil polyurethane helps to highlight the natural wood beauty and enhance its clarity.

Its stain and scratch resistance features provide highlight-level protection. Its best feature its color and texture get richer and denser along with time. It produces a rich wooden glow and gives a nice warmth to wooden cabinets and furniture. This finish contains a urethane-modified alkyd resin type. It has no added pigments on it.

Notable Features:

  • Self-leveling formula: eliminates the use of several brush strokes
  • Damage resistant: the finish makes the furniture resistant to all sorts of mechanical damage
  • High durable: This makes your wooden furniture 2X more durable than other ordinary finishes.
  • Ultra-fast dry: consists of a unique formula that helps it to dry very fast
  • Provides stain finish
  • Provides maximum protection
  • Helps to recoat within 4 hours
  • The coating is scratch-resistant
  • Can self-level
  • Not recommended for linoleum, or glazed surfaces
  • Cannot be used on floors

If you are looking for an oil-based polyurethane finish Varathane 9161H ½ Pint oil would be perfect! It will provide a full satin finish and make your furniture 2 times more durable. It can self-level and will keep your furniture protected from stains and scratches.

05. RUST-OLEUM 130031 Varathane Gallon Gloss Oil Base Premium Polyurethane Floor Finish

Varathane Gallon Gloss Oil Base Premium Polyurethane is the top finish for providing long-lasting results to your wooden floor. It is resistant to stains and will keep your floors protected against any household chemicals. Not only that, it is very easy to level and apply.  You will be stunned to see the results afterward.

This finish is also good for both outdoor and indoor furniture. It has heavy-duty coverage. It can also be used to paint metal furniture to protect it from rusting. The color will last till 5 years or more. This furnish can also be used in oak and pine furniture.

Notable Features

  • Classic Gloss: The oil-based finish leaves behind a smooth shiny appearance
  • Eliminates strokes: It does not require brushing several times
  • Great resistance: It is abrasion, mar, and also scuff resistant
  • Longlasting color: The finish will last for years
  • Highly durable
  • Provides a nice texture
  • Cost-effective
  • Resistant to chemicals and detergents
  • Takes less time to dry off
  • Available in only a single color
  • Has a strong odor

Given that Varathane Gallon Gloss is ideal for floors, but it can also be used to finish both indoor and outdoor furniture. It produces a shine that will make your furniture look brand new. It will not be damaged by any wear and tear processes and will provide a satisfactory result.

Buying Guide

To help you choose the best oil-based polyurethane finish for your furniture we have prepared a buying guide for you. This guide will give you a clear idea of what features you need to look for in a polyurethane oil finish before purchasing one.

The Type of Polyurethane

There are many types of polyurethane. Some polyurethane is used for coating and finishing furniture, while others are used to coat tables, fix mattresses, and vehicle interiors. In this section, we have discussed the different types of polyurethane that are available in the market.

1.      Rigid Polyurethane Foam

This type of polyurethane is not used for finishing or coating furniture.  They are foams that are used insulating houses and commercial places as they are energy-efficient and versatile. The foam helps to warm up houses during the winter months and cool them during summer.

2.      Binders

These polyurethanes are used to mainly tie different materials together. They are used to bind wood panels and floors.

3.      CASE (coatings, adhesives etc)

This type of Polyurethanes is used to cover different materials, as they help to increase the product’s lifespan and durability. They are mostly used in floors, cars, and other automotive vehicles.

4.      Thermoplastic (TPU)

This polyurethane is flexible, elastic, and abrasive-resistant. It can resist temperature and impacts therefore it can be used during many constructive applications.

5.      Waterborne Polyurethane Dispersions

This type of polyurethane is specially used for coating furniture and other objects. However, it is water-based. They are not volatile and hazardous, as a result, it has grown very popular as a material to coat furniture.

Application Method

If you have never applied polyurethane coating on your furniture by yourself this section will help you. First of all, never shake your polyurethane oil can. Shaking or stirring it will produce a bubble inside it and when you apply the coating you will also find a bubble on your furniture surface. This will produce an inconsistent texture. Instead, always try to stir the can gently with a stick. Do not stir it with your brush.

Next, you need to prepare your wood. You need to clean your furniture properly. Wipe all the dirt and dust on it with a piece of cloth, as good finishes can only be made on clean smooth wood. Now, take a piece of sand wood paper and rub your furniture. Pick a sand wood paper that has at least 220-grit sand. If your furniture is made of open-grain wood like walnut, ask, and such you can use a wood grain filler to produce a nice smooth surface. Rub your wooden surface with sandpaper back and forth several times. After you are done, clean all the wood grains away with a clean cloth.

1. Oil-based polyurethane:

If you are going to use polyurethane oil it is better to take a cloth and moisten it with mineral spirits and rub your furniture before applying the oil finish. Pick any oil-based polyurethane finish of your choice, and pick a brush. Dip your brush into the oil can and then brush it with the can’s corners to wipe off the excess polyurethane oil.

Gently apply it to your furniture carefully in 2 – 3 strokes. Coat your furniture 2 – 3 times. After the first coat, let it dry completely before you apply the next coat. After several coats, you will get a fine texture of your desired finish.

2. Water-Based Polyurethane

You have to apply water passed polyurethane oil the same way you apply oil-based oil. The difference is water-based polyurethane does no go well with oil-based stains on your furniture. You need to use synthetic steel wool for that.

Remember not to apply too much water-based polyurethane finish that would enhance the wood grain too much. Most water-based polyurethane coats require less time to dry off, so you can get your job done faster and proceed onto the next coats.

The appearance of the finish

The type of polyurethane oil finish depends on how much wear and tear will be visible in your furniture in the long run. The type of finish also depends on how much light is being reflected from your furniture and what kind of overall look it presents. There are 4 types of the polyurethane finish. Matte, High gloss, Satin, and moderate gloss

  • Matte: Matte appearance makes your furniture shine the least. A matte finish also makes scuffs, marks, cuts, scratches, and dirt less visible. Many people prefer matte looks as it has a unique beauty in it.
  • Satin: Satin is the most popular type of finish. This finish is not too shiny nor too matte. It also exposes less wear and tear marks. Satin appearance makes people see the beauty in the wood grain on your furniture.
  • High-gloss: this has the highest amount of luster. A high gloss appearance is used rarely and shows every wood grain and texture in your furniture. It has minimal traffic and is rarely used in floors and cabinets. 
  • moderate-gloss: Semi-gloss has more shine than satin but less than high gloss. The shine of the glossy furniture highlights all its features and wooden work. However, any glossy polyurethane oil finish requires the look of maintenance to preserve its appealing shiny look. 

Curing Duration

Polyurethane normally takes 24 to 48 hours off but takes about 28 to 30 days to get fully cured. The absorbency of your furniture’s wood, the temperature of your region, and humidity all effects how long it is going to take to cure.

Polyurethane oil is considered cured when you will notice that molecules thought the application has a chance to interact with oxygen in a chemical process that causes them to bind strongly to each other. As you apply each polyurethane coating, during curing it will bind to the coat beneath it.


Polyurethane coating will protect your furniture from environmental contaminants, dust, debris, dirt, water, oil spills, and other wear and tear processes. Oil-based polyurethane can seal the wood from external conditions, such as heat. Its protective ability greatly depends on how well the coating has dried and has bonded strongly with the wood. About three to four polyurethane coats are needed to properly seal and protect your wooden furniture.


Polyurethane provides furniture the durability and helps them keep their efficiency for a long time. However, the durability of oil-based polyurethane on your furniture will greatly depend on the method of application and the use of your furniture at home. For instance, according to normal wear and tear processes, you can expect your furniture coated with oil-based polyurethane to have a shelf life of at least 50 years. It can last longer if the furniture is properly managed and its condition is maintained. 


What Kind of Polyurethane is good for furniture?

DurabilityHas more durabilityHas good durability but is less than oil-based polyurethane
Better LookOil-based polyurethane provides a better shine and brightens the wood color.Water-based polyurethane helps to restore the lost shine and color but does not have a competitive advantage.
SmellHas a tough pungent smell. The coating needs to be done in a well-ventilated area, preferably outdoors. The smell can cause headaches or even make people nauseous.Water-based polyurethane has little or no smell. Yet it is still advised to carry out its application outdoors.
Drying TimeTakes two to three time more to dry between coats than water-based polyurethaneTakes less time to dry off
Thickness and HardnessOil-based polyurethane is thicker but softer. It is susceptible to dents but provides an adequate amount of hardness.Water-based ones are thinner but produce a harder coating than oil-based polyurethane.


Now that you have read this article, you should know about the best oil based polyurethane for furniture. Many people are confused about whether to go for water-based or oil-based poly. We would recommend you try oil-based ones for your furniture. Oil-based polyurethane makes your furniture look yellow at first, later turn them into a dark color that is rich and makes your furniture look gorgeous. Get your favorite oil-based polyurethane from your nearby store or order from Amazon.

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