There are several finishing materials that designers use to accentuate a millwork's features, interior details, and other crafted pieces.

One of the most preferred finishing materials is wood stain, which adds vibrant color to all sorts of wood. Using wood stain brings out the natural grain of a wooden surface. It can also be used to alter the color of wood to recreate or simulate a different type of darker wood.
 Many craftsmen prefer wood stain as it is the fastest and easiest way to dramatically change the appearance of any wooden surface, which could be furniture, flooring, or even the deck. Some wood stains are applied to last for over a decade.

The said finishing material will alter the color of the wood, unlike lacquer or varnish which could seal the surface without changing its color. Still, there are wood stains that can protect and stain the surface at the same time. Some products are even water-resistant and rot-resistant, but the limit is that the product does not make a surface scratch resistant.

There are two types of wood stain, namely oil-based and water-based products. Oil-based wood stain lasts longer but takes a longer drying time as compared to water-based wood stains. Oil-based stains are most recommended for exterior application as it also adds a hydrophobic quality to the surface. The water-based wood stain gives off less VOC and is therefore ideal for indoor projects. Even if oil-based wood stains are more durable, water-based wood stain is easier to clean up.

However, the market is saturated with products, and figuring out which product best serves a project could take a lot of time.

Experts have put together a list of the top-performing wood stains that they have tested and trusted over their years of practice. 

The crowd favorite Varathane Fast Dry Interior Wood Stain is ranked by the experts as the best overall wood stain because of its quick dry time and minimal odor even if it is oil-based. According to Varathane users, the said oil-based wood stain has excellent coverage and can be spread smoothly with ease.

The experts have chosen BEHR Premium Solid Color Waterproofing Exterior Wood Stain and Sealer for the best solid stain category because it solves two problems at once. The said product brings rich and lasting color to the exterior wood while sealing it against water and weather at the same time. The said coating will last for many years to come.

For detailed applications, experts say that Minwax Gel Stain is the way to go. The said product resists drips and is easy to control, making it perfect for application on intricate details. It is also great for items that are already attached to a base such as doors.

SamaN Interior Water-based Stain is the experts' recommendation for the water-based line of wood stain products. The said wood stain is easy to handle and easy to spread. The best thing about SamaN, according to experts, is that it can be applied without leaving overlapping marks as it blends evenly with itself.

Included in the experts' list is Purecolor Eco-Friendly EvenGrain Stain, which is a non-toxic and non-flammable product that almost has no odor for healthier and safer applications.

Experts added that proper brushes and tools should also be used for better results.