Wood Whiz

clear coat for kitchen cabinets

Best clear coat for kitchen cabinets

Best clear coat for kitchen cabinets

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Top Choice

General Finishes QTHSG High-Performance Water Based Topcoat

Minwax 65555444 Polycryclic Protective Finish Water Based

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Top Value

Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish Water Based

General Finishes QTHSG High-Performance Water Based Topcoat

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Top of Line

Deft Interior Waterborne Clear wood Finish Semi

Deft Interior Waterborne Clear wood Finish Semi

Wooden kitchen cabinets are the perfect complement to any kitchen. They provide a classic and timeless look that is a staple in any home. But with time, there comes wear and tear which can chip away at the beautiful finish of your wood. You probably chose to improve your kitchen cabinet instead of going the more costly route of replacing it. Wooden kitchen cabinets can be made from different types of wood, such as oak, maple, cherry or pine. The type of wood chosen will determine the look of the finished product and the care that needs to be taken in order to keep them looking their best.

With so many products on the market, it’s hard to know which one will work best for you. That’s why we put together this list of 10 clear coat for wooden kitchen cabinets so you can find what works best for your needs!


Wood Whiz- Eric Hawkings

Welcome to woodwhiz.com. My name is Eric Hawkins. I love all things wood. After getting a degree in engineering, I followed my passion of working with wood in different capacities like woodworking, staining, polishing, oils, crafts, finishing, refinishing and much more. Read More

Top 10 Clear coat for kitchen cabinets

Best Quality PRODUCTS


General Finishes High-Performance Water Based

General Finishes QTHSG High-Performance Water Based Topcoat

For tough jobs with tight deadlines, nothing comes closer to General Finishes High-Performance Water Based Topcoat making it our Top Choice.

 This special formula is made for sealing your wood or refinishing surfaces while still maintaining the exquisite look of a high-lacquer gloss finish. 

The easiest thing about it? The dry time between coats is only 1 to 2 hours! It’s ready before you know it, making this an excellent choice for interior work (and meeting those tighter deadlines)!

 General Finishes’ quality has been tested and proven on some of the world’s most famous projects such as Ledge Rock on PCH in Malibu, California.


Benefits: General Finishes High-Performance Water Based Topcoat is a special formula for sealing your wood or refinishing surfaces while still maintaining the exquisite look of high lacquer gloss finish. It dries within hours making it great for interior work (and meeting tight deadlines!).

It a faster seller compared to its competitors. Once you apply this coating, it never comes out easily. The finish sticks firmly to your kitchen cabinet. It remains resilient even to deliberate scratches.

Humidity and other related and other related conditions do not stand a chance against this product either. The manufacturers ensured this product has a stabilizing agent against UV effects. Thus, you can apply it over other paint layers as a protective cover. It is perfect for use indoors.


  • It dries within hours making it great for interior work

  • It gives a tremendous thick protective cover over your kitchen cabinet

  • It is a little costly


Minwax Polycryclic Protective Finish Water Based

Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish Water Based

Minwax polycrylic finishes are really good for your kitchen cabinet. It leaves them shiny and beautiful, making you feel like they will last forever! One coat is enough to leave it looking oozy-fresh with a sense of protection thanks to the high quality finish that hides scratches better than other products on the market today.

It works great on your wooden kitchen cabinet, giving it a shiny cover. What is most surprising about this Minwax polycrylic finish is that you need only one coat to achieve a lasting finish.
You will need to be careful while applying to avoid giving it a thick layer. 

  • It dries at a faster rate than many rival brands after application

  • It gives a shiny gloss to many types of wood

  • Low odor

  • It is not ideal for application over another layer of paint

  • It tends to get thicker if not applied carefully


Deft Interior Waterborne Clear wood Finish Semi

Deft Interior Waterborne Clear wood Finish Semi

This water based wood finish is a great alternative to traditional lacquer that dries quickly, resists common household chemicals and finishes indoor areas. It comes in satin finish and in 1-quart can.  

 Deft Interior Waterborne Clear Wood Finish Semi-Gloss is a water based acrylic formula that performs like a lacquer. It has excellent durability and superior resistance to moisture, scuffs, scratches, and stains. This finish dries to the touch in 30 minutes and recoats in 2 hours. Available in satin finish; comes in 1-quart can.


The Deft Interior Waterborne Clear Wood Finish has a low odor, dries quickly and is easy to apply.

Some of the cons are that it has a tendency to peel off dark woods, requires reapplication after washing or being exposed to high humidity for extended periods of time, and may take longer than other finishing products in order to dry completely. There were also some reports from users about its low quality, how it leaves an oily residue on light-colored surfaces or peels up with ease if not applied properly.


  • This product gives a beautiful shiny finish

  • The cost is friendly and worth it's quality

  • Low odor

  • Non toxic

  • It can be dangerous near a fire

  • Has a tendency to peel off dark woods, requires reapplication

  • Some reviewers complain about its low quality and leaving oily residue.


Varathane Water Based Ultimate

Rust-Oleum 200041H Varathane Ultimate Polyurethane Water Based

Varathane is an easy-to-apply water-based coating. This product provides strong resistance to your kitchen cabinet against scratches and other conditions. It would help if you have a perfect shine for your cabinets and a glossy appearance; this coating works perfectly to give you what you want.

Varathane Ultimate Water based requires application with a good synthetic brush. You must use it alongside its stain for great results. This product is friendly for the homeowner who are working within a strict budget. Nevertheless, Varathane Ultimate price does not lower its quality. If you cannot follow the instructions correctly, hire a pro.

  • Varathane Ultimate is relatively cheaper and readily available in the market

  • It has a devoted base of satisfied customers

  • It is clear and may look like it is not there, depending on the nature of your kitchen cabinet’s surface.

  • Some users have complained about yellowing over a white paint


Watco 63041 Lacquer Clear Wood Finish

Watco 63041 Lacquer Clear Wood Finish

Lacquer Clear Wood Finish is a high-quality, durable lacquer designed for interior furniture, cabinets and other wood surfaces. Watco Lacquer Clear Wood Finish eliminates the need for scraping, sanding, and filling before finishing. This product dries to a crystal-clear gloss with a durable finish that is one of the highest clarity finishes on the market. 

To get this deep high gloss shine start by applying Watco Tung Oil or Watco Natural Release Oil to wood surfaces as desired. Allow any oiled areas to dry for at least two hours before application of lacquer clear coatings. Wait at least 24 hours after applying other varnishes and waxes before using this product.

Lacquer Clear Coatings are nonflammable, fast drying formula; it will not stain work surface unlike polyurethane or nitro.

Lacquer is for those who prefer quality over price since it is more costly compared to its competitors.  With proper application, you can be sure your cabinet has durable protection against wear and tear.Lacquer clear wood finish manifests the ability to self-spread when used with a spray gun.

  • The ability to spread itself is convenient and makes work easier

  • It is one of the clearest coatings  

  • It fills in the pores of most wood types eliminating the need for wood filler. 

  • Doesn't need sanding between application coats

  • Expensive

  • Some users have complained about not being very durable and scratches easily


Minwax Helmsman
Water Based Urethane

Helmsman minwax

Minwax 630500444 Water Based Urethane is a clear resin finish designed to give exterior wood an easy-to-clean, extra protective barrier that withstands harsh sun and moisture. 

It offers UV protection so the wood doesn’t fade or turn gray in time, for up to 5 years with one application! Safe for use on finished or unfinished wood indoors , this water-based urethane dries quickly and cleans up easily with warm water. It also has special oils that allow the finish to expand and contract as the seasons change. Add long lasting beauty to any surface with Minwax Helmsman Clear Spar Urethane today! 

Helmsman’s product allow the finish to flex as seasons change, perfect for use on doors, windows, trims, bathroom cabinets, bar tops and kitchen cabinets. Clear coats can be put on top of existing finishes without incurring additional costs because it doesn’t require stripping old paints off first.

Spar finishing products are highly recommended by professional cabinetmakers

  • Contains UV blockers that protect against Sunlight

  • Clear finish

  • Some users complain about it yellowing


Aqua Coat Water Based Gel

Aqua Coat, Best Wood Grain Filler

Aqua Coat water-based gel is an eco-friendly way to fill the pores and smooth the surface of your wood. Not only that, but you can use it as a sealant for before painting. It’s easy to apply, fast-drying, low odor, and allows for great adhesion depending on the environment or project needs!

Aqua Coat stands out among the options that are easy to follow. If your kitchen cabinet is of hardwood, you are lucky. This product gives a sparkling finish after an easy application process that is easy to follow.

The product emits very little odor; hence you can use it without any inconveniences inside your kitchen.Aqua coat requires careful application since thick layers could hinder sanding, and delay the drying period. Applying too much of this coating will just be wasting it since thin layers are enough. You may want to get some gloves and apron since the coating is sticky.

  • You can use water to reduce the thickness

  • Sanding should be easy if you apply the coating correctly  

  • According to a top critical review on Amazon, it is not good for old cabinets.


KILZ Premium High-Hide Stain Blocking Interior

KILZ Premium Stain Blocking Latex Primer/Sealer

This KILZ premium product is a leader when it comes to concealing stains and sticking to layers of older painting. As its name suggests, it blocks and fills cracks and rough surfaces on your kitchen cabinet. It works perfectly well, whether you are applying it on the surfaces or edges.

One gallon of this product can cover a surface area of more than 350 square feet. KILZ Premium has components that make it a great protector against mildew and mold. This product is a perfect idea to use after a water-damage restoration exercise at your home.
Since the product has easy-to-follow instructions, it has become popular with DIY homeowners and professionals. You can apply a second coating after about 50 minutes.

  • It is a perfect remedy for water damage

  • It is not a health hazard, and you can use it even when there are other people in your kitchen

  • The cost of this product is slightly on the higher side.


Minwax Brushing Lacquer

Minwax Brushing Lacquer

This is an exceptional lacquer, which you are not going to apply using a spray gun. It is relatively too thick for the spray gun. The Spruce Crafts gives information on how to apply lacquer finishes using brushes, apart from spraying.

This type of Minwax lacquer dries relatively faster, and you can apply a second layer of coat within the first 120 minutes. You will not need to do any sanding before applying another coat. Therefore, the application process is not cumbersome.

This product gives the same results on wood and metal surfaces. Minwax lacquer creates nice looking finishes with a clear and shiny look.

  • This finishing product protects against color peeling

  • It lasts longer and is worth the money you spend on it  

  • It posses the risk of fire accident due to its highly flammable nature

  • This particular product works only with brushes as opposed to spraying


INSL-X Cabinet Coat Enamel

INSL-X CC550109A-01 Cabinet Coat Enamel

Applying this coat gives your kitchen cabinet a smooth appeal both in appearance and in feel. Besides the cabinet, this coat is suitable for most furniture at home; it makes them look like brand new ones. One gallon covers a large area as compared to some of its competitors.

Top angle sash brushes bring out the perfect results if you follow the right procedure before painting. For instance, removing any dirt and leveling uneven surfaces on your cabinet. To achieve this, you may not avoid sanding after all.

Many users have reported satisfaction while using these products. The fact that it has met their expectations shows that it is a product worth your attention too.

  • The coating stays for long without even scratches

  • Not suitable for cabinets attached to sinks due to effects of water

FAQ's about Clear Coat for Kitchen Cabinets

There are many different factors to consider when choosing the proper clear coat for your kitchen cabinets. While it is important to choose the right furniture for your home, the proper paint color for the exterior design of the house, and lovely area rugs for your living space, the cabinetry of the home is one of the most marked indicators of style. The kitchen cabinets are installed with care and by professionals who excel in the quality of their work. It is only suitable that this feature of the house be painted with quality clear coat in order to ensure long-lasting wonderful appearance.

There are many different reasons to coat your kitchen cabinets with clear coat. The first reason is that the appearance of a glossy set of cabinets is more aesthetically appealing that that of dull, matte wood, No matter how fine the quality of wood is from which your kitchen cabinets are fashioned, they will look much better with a coat of clear coat gloss. This reflect the light from onto the wood and gives the cabinets a more modern look, too. Another use for clear coat gloss on the kitchen cabinets is to protect from the absorption of cooking splashes into the wood material. When wood is left bare, it is a very absorbent material and a stray splash of oil or water from the stovetop can quickly become a permanent stain as it seeps into the wood. When you place a coat of clear gloss onto this wood, it makes the material stain repellent and easy to clean.

You should seek out a quality brand for clear coating your kitchen cabinets because the reputatio of the brand can make all the difference. General finishes and Minwax are some of the best names in paints and coatings. These brand can be found for sale at your local hardware store, big box hardware store or even on an online marketplace like Amazon. Their “Polycrylic” product is commendable for providing a luminous clear coat onto any wooden kitchen cabinet that will last for years. Another wonderful brand for clear coat is Insix, which makes a product called “Cabinet Coat” that is sure to last.

Overall, you may want to do some thorough research before purchasing a choice clear coat for your kitchen cabinets. The benefits of clear coating include protection from stains, good looks and much more. Be sure to choose the right brand that will offer a product sure to last for years.


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