8 Best Lacquers For Wood (April 2023 Reviews)

Preparation is important when painting. The right lacquer for wood or other materials will help insulate and protect any surface.

This article discusses what, why and how the best lacquer for wood and other surfaces is essential when painting.

1. Deft 037125017132 Interior Clear Wood Finish Satin Lacquer

Deft Inc. Deft 037125017132 Interior Clear...
  • Easy aerosol application
  • Self-leveling formula requires no sanding...
  • Dries clear and 4X faster than conventional...
  • Clear finish enriched finishes or unfinished...

This spray lacquer is the fastest drying finish available and works at enhancing wooden surfaces.

The deep, rich finish is ideal for wood furniture and cabinets. This best spray lacquer is 100-percent nitrocellulose lacquer and can also be used on metal surfaces. This easy to apply formula allows for professional results and gives a satin finish. It is great for beginners or novice refinishers and is known for its easy to use spray application and fast drying times.

This crystal clear spray lacquer for wood also will not yellow. In addition, it is baby-safe, resistant to alcohol, water, and fruit juices. You can also use this on paneling, antiques, crafts, rosewoods and other exotic woods.

If your wood project needs multiple coats and final coat, this lacquer for wood finishes will allow you to apply as many coats as clear coat spray as you need and can be buffed to a high polish, it won’t show signs of thickness and will remain thin coats and hard, even with four clear coat spray applied.


2. Minwax 15200 Gloss Brushing Lacquer Spray, Clear

Minwax 15200 Gloss Brushing Lacquer Spray,...
  • Dries to the touch in 30 minutes, ensuring a...
  • Requires no sanding between coats

This Minwax formula provides a beautiful, clear, and protective finish to your wood and metal.

It can be applied on bare or stained wood grain and lacquer dries to the touch in just half an hour. If you need to reapply, simply wait 2 hours. There is no sanding required between coats, and the lacquer acts as its own sprayer and own sealer.

The Minwax formula offers a superior finish with no bubbles, streaks, or splatters. Also, lacquer dries thin with a durable surface that will glow when polished. If you have never used paint before, this may not be the best one to practice with. However, for a trained hand (or confident beginner), the Minwax 15200 will surprise you in its application, ultra matte finish and durability.

This can be used on a variety of tasks, including drums, guitars, furniture, blacksmithing products, metal goods, craft projects, and more.


3. Rustoleum 63041 Watco Lacquer Finish

Rust-Oleum Watco 63041 Lacquer Clear Wood...
  • Ideal for use on furniture, doors, cabinets...
  • Formulated for a higher clarity finish than...
  • Dries to the touch in 1 hour and covers up to...
  • Eliminates the need for wood filler and...

For a super clear finish and durable protection, you’ll want this top lacquer from the rust oleum brand. This lacquer spray provides an elegant and perfectly smooth finish to all your home projects.

Apply this to your furniture, doors, cabinets, and paneling to give them a resilient shiny finish that is easy to maintain. In addition, it dries in just 30 minutes and will not require sanding sealer coat between coats. Once it is dry, the lacquer will be crystal clear. Like final lacquer finish, it won’t yellow over time.

You can purchase a quart of final finish in three varying varieties: clear gloss, clear satin, and clear semi-gloss. Consider using this lacquer for all your household projects, including crafts and musical instruments.

For the furniture up-scaler or refinisher, the Rustoleum brand is touted as one of the easiest to use and care for. Regardless of your initial application, you will look for other projects to use it on.


4. Deft Interior Clear Wood Finish Gloss Brushing Lacquer

Deft Interior Clear Wood Finish Gloss...
  • Non-Yellowing
  • This clear wood finish brushing lacquer is...
  • Easy to application provide professional...
  • Easy to application provide professional...

This non-yellowing formula will dry crystal clear in just 30 minutes. The clear wood finish lacquer is 100-percent nitrocellulose to be used on most interior wooden surfaces and metal.

This easy to apply formula provides even the amateur user with professional results. In fact, you don’t need to sand between coats which makes this simple to use. You can expect to cover about 400-square feet per gallon of materials.

Deft interior, clear lacquer is self-leveling and will also spray nicely from a quality paint spray gun. Use this on most household projects including furniture, doors, cabinets, craft projects and musical instrument.


5. PlastiKote T-5 Clear Lacquer 

PlastiKote T-5 Clear Lacquer Paint - 12 Oz.
  • Can be used on metal or wood; indoors or out
  • Most versatile spray paint available anywhere
  • Tough, hard wearing and resistant to...
  • Very UV resistant, water resistant, and will...

This versatile lacquer paint can be used for wood or metal and is suitable for indoor or outdoor wood finish.

It provides a tough, durable finish that is wood scratch resistance.

This clear lacquer paint is also UV resistant which means it will not yellow or fade over time and it is water resistant means waterproofing properties.

This premium clear lacquer paint provides a high gloss finish on metal or wood and is one of the best wood lacquer products on the market.


6. Rustoleum 1904830 Lacquer Spray

Rust-Oleum 1904830 Lacquer Spray, 11-Ounce,...
  • Ideal for use on interior/exterior surfaces...
  • Acrylic formula offers an ultra-hard, high...
  • Dries to the touch in 20 minutes, covers up...
  • Durable coating can sanded and recoated for a...

It is a popular choice and rates as on of the best wood lacquer paints for wood. 

It is available in white, black and clear lacquer.

Made in the United States, this product will give your work an elegant and professional finish, making it a very popular choice for furniture and accessories. 

It is fast curing and fast drying and can be polished up to enhance the glossy finish, if required.


7. SM Arnold (66-108) Lacquer Spray Paint

SM Arnold Aerosol Spray Paint Dull Aluminum...
  • ✅ REBUILD ALUMINUM PARTS: One step...
  • ✅ NON-LEAFING PIGMENT: What separates this...
  • ✅ SMUDGE PROOF: Won't smudge with excellent...
  • ✅ HOLD UP IN EXTREME ENVIRONMENTS: Use it...

Another highly rated lacquer paint is this one by SM Arnold. It offers a high-grade coating and the acrylic resins that has been incorporated ensures maximum adhesion and excellent durability.

Acrylic resin has the added benefit of being heat resistant up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes it extremely versatile and it can be used on water pumps, alternators, calipers, and transmission housing as well as most wood and other metal pieces.

The product is also perfect for giving aluminum parts a brand new look. The additional durability and non-leafing pigment means it does not rub off with time. It is VOC compliant. The lacquer is fast drying and does not smudge, ideal for a single coat covering.


8. Deft 37125015138 Lacquer Sanding Sealer Spray

Deft 37125015138 Lacquer Sanding Sealer...
  • Use for the first coat on any lacquer...
  • 1 thin coat will block most stains from...
  • Non-yellowing & will not skin over or harden...
  • This clear wood finish brushing spray is...

This was one of the highest rated of the lacquer products we tested is definitely one of the best wood lacquer paints for wood.

It is ideal for a first coat on lacquer finishing item. The single coat will prevent the majority of stains from seeping through the outer coat. It does not yellow with age.

The clear wood finish spray is totally nitrocellulose brushing lacquer suitable for almost any interior wooden surface and metal surface. It will dry in 30 minutes and be ready to sand in an hour. Once dry, the product is non-toxic.

One coat is ideal for sealing softwood, hardwood, plywood, particleboard, and MDF. It comes in a handy 12-ounce aerosol spray and has spray valve that can be adjusted.


Paint Lacquers Compared

Image

Model

Size

Buy Now

Deft Inc. Deft 037125017132 Interior Clear...

Deft

037125017132

12 oz

Minwax 15200 Gloss Brushing Lacquer Spray,...

Minwax

15200

12 oz

Rust-Oleum Watco 63041 Lacquer Clear Wood...

Rust-Oleum

63041

1 qrt

Deft Interior Clear Wood Finish Gloss...

Deft Interior

1 qrt

PlastiKote T-5 Clear Lacquer Paint - 12 Oz.

PlastiKote

T-5

12 oz

Rust-Oleum 1904830 Lacquer Spray, 11-Ounce,...

Rust-Oleum

1904830

11 oz

SM Arnold Aerosol Spray Paint Dull Aluminum...

SM Arnold

(66-108)

12 oz

Deft 37125015138 Lacquer Sanding Sealer...

Deft

37125015138

12 oz

What Should You Look For When Buying Quality Lacquer for wood?

Pouring lacquer into tacklife spray gun

When you are purchasing lacquer for wood, there are several things you’ll want to know about the various formulations that are on the market. Each of these will have its own characteristics.

Nitrocellulose lacquers are one of the more common choices. If the can doesn’t specify what kind it is, you can generally bet that it is nitrocellulose.

This is made from an alkyd and nitrocellulose resin that is dissolved. Once it’s dissolved, it is mixed with solvents that allow it to solvent evaporates quickly.

This lacquer offers moderate water resistance, but can be sensitive to certain solvents and heat. As it ages, it has a tendency to yellow slightly which shows up more prominently on light-colored wood.

Acrylic-modified lacquer has a mixture of non-yellowing cellulose resin or often called cellulose acetate butyrate (CAB) and acrylic. This cab acrylic lacquers have many of the same properties as the nitrocellulose lacquer, but it is water-white.

This acrylic lacquer will not appear as an amber color when applied to lighter woods and the finish doesn’t yellow over time. It is made up of synthetic acrylic polymers.

Catalyzed lacquers are more complex and made of urea formaldehyde or urea melamine with an alkyd. This has some nitrocellulose resin to allow it to act like a normal lacquer. This formula provides a durable, tough solvent based finish. You can purchase these in two forms: pre catalyzed lacquer and post-catalyzed lacquer.

The pre catalyzed lacquer has all the components pre-mixed either by the manufacturer or from the store you purchase it from.  That's why it is known as pre catalyzed. The post-catalyzed lacquer is actually a two-part system. Post catalyzed lacquers are systems that you will have to mix.

This can be tricky since you have to follow a precise ratio. They also have a short pot life once mixed.


Different Type of Lacquer Explained

Just as with almost all paints lacquers, lacquer has different types. The three largest types of lacquer paint, discussed here, can perform a myriad of projects.

Nitrocellulose

A solvent based paint, dissolved nitrocellulose type of lacquer is extremely fast drying. It goes on smooth, has a natural shine and thin layer well. Even with multiple coats, the pre catalyzed nitrocellulose paints remain thin but highly dense and strong.

Acrylic

Acrylic lacquer is the chosen paint for automotive industry restoration shops. It has an uncanny adhesion to metal and, once applied, has a very quick fast time. After the lacquer is applied, it can be buffed (by hand or machine) to enhance the sheen further, giving cars that like-new showroom glow.

Catalyzed

Catalyzed lacquer comes in two forms, pre, and post-catalyzed. The lacquer itself is a basic lacquer coat but dries fast, but uses a catalyst to cure properly. This lacquer is the chosen paint for woodworkers and furniture restoration professionals.

It is important to note there is a further type of lacquered surface, which is a waterborne lacquer that is completely different, they are not as hazardous and are better for the environment, but aren't as durable as other types of lacquer.

Best Lacquers Reviewed

What’s the Difference Between Polyurethane, Varnish and Shellac?

Polyurethane

This is just a plastic material in liquid form. It comes in both wood oil and water-based formulations and you’ll find both satin and glossy finish options.


Water-based polyurethane has low toxicity and odor. It applies clear and dries quickly. It’s ideal for use on desks, side tables, picture frames and bookcases.


Use it wherever you won’t face extreme temperature or abuse means in well ventilated space.

This wood lacquer spray is perfect for metal surface and interior surfaces (interior wood) and is pure nitrocellulose lacquer.


It is a wood spray lacquer that is also self-leveling, takes only two hours to dry, and is really easy to use. There are many advantages to using wood lacquer spray, which makes it a good choice for many.

Varnish

This spray varnish product is often used as a top coat or finish. It’s durable because of its high ratio of solids.


That’s why it’s commonly used on outdoor projects like exterior doors or trim work. Spray varnish is also found in glossy or satin formulations. 


You’ll want to apply this with a natural-bristle brush for the best results.

Shellac

Surprisingly, this is actually a natural finish. That’s because it’s made from the secretion of a lac bug and mixed with alcohol.


Once it’s hard and dry, it’s incredibly safe. Not only does it provide you with a protective coat to your project, but also adds a warmer amber color. Shellac is affected by heat.


You’ll notice white rings if you place anything hot on it. Because of this, your kitchen table isn’t the best place for shellac usage. Use a cotton rag or bristle brush to apply.

Advantages of Using wood Lacquer Spray

Wood lacquer paints have a few advantages over other types of paint. While they are thicker than a lot of paints and they aren’t designed for every same surface, there is a use for them.

  • Wood lacquer is a quick-drying paint that helps it prevent runs, even when sprayed.
  • The drying qualities and easy, smooth finish make it great for beginners looking for results.
  • You can polish wood lacquer paint to enhance its already natural shine.
  • When shopping for paints, you will find that spraying lacquer is cheaper than most other paint types.

How To Lacquer Wood Succesfully

If you want to lacquer wood, here are the steps you’d follow.

  • 1
    First, use a 50/50 mixture of wood lacquer and thinner. Lacquer wood start by applying a thick coat of wood sealant with a brush. You’ll want to wait about 30 minutes and then use some steel wool for buffing.
  • 2
    After that, you’ll prepare your sprayer by adjusting the regulator to 30 PSI. Fill up your gun with the mixture. It’s essential that you spray on a piece of wood surface you don’t need first. 
  • 3
    Once you have the application technique down, you can move on to your wooden surface. Be sure you apply a wet coat evenly.
  • 4
    Wait a minimum of two hours and then wipe with steel wool again.
  • 5
    Do a few more wet coats. Then, leave your work alone for at least two days.
  • 6
    If there’s any dust or bugs afterward, wipe it down with a microfiber cloth.

How to Remove Lacquer from wooden surface

  • Wear rubber gloves on your hands and then wear protective gear like wear gloves for protection while removing wood lacquer. 
  • Then, clean the wood with turpentine on a clean cloth. This takes off any wax that’s on the lacquer.
  • Mix equal parts of wood lacquer thinner and denatured alcohol.
  • Apply a coat of this mixture to a tiny area with your paintbrush.
  • Scrub it with steel wool. To do this, you’ll move in small circles until the finish is scraped off. You might need to use a scraper as well.
  • Then, wipe off any remaining thinner with a cloth while it is still wet.
  • If any lacquer remains, don’t be afraid to repeat the process.

How Long Does the slight smell of Lacquer Last? The lacquer smell will not last long – only while the lacquer is still drying. There are many different wood lacquer options out there, so always be careful when choosing the best wood lacquer for your specific project.

Epoxy paint provides a durable coating for many kinds of surfaces, including wooden surfaces such as tables and floors.

Using epoxy paint for wood will lengthen the life of your wooden surface, as the strength of this material will protect the wood against damage.

This spray lacquer can be used on an assortment of surfaces including masonry, metal, unglazed ceramics, and plaster as well.

By choosing to spray your wood lacquer you will not have any brush strokes or brush marks left on the surface, and you will be able to cover the harder-to-reach areas.

How Much Lacquer Do You Need to Apply? A minimum of two layers are required, but it is recommended to apply more.

Is Lacquer Expensive? Overall lacquer is cheaper than polyurethane or varnish, lacquer also offers you more options when it comes to sheen and color and requires less labor.


Common Questions About Lacquer

How do you maintain lacquer on wood?

To maintain a wood lacquer finish, you need to protect it as it scratches easily. When cleaning, never use circular motions and only use plain water (a drop or two of detergent is okay) and don’t use a soaking wet cloth. 

What are some safety precautions when applying lacquer on wood?

Lacquer has the same precautions of any paint. It is highly flammable and harmful if inhaled or ingested. When working with wood lacquer paints, you need to protect your skin at all times. This means using gloves, long sleeves, goggles, and respirators.

Varnish Vs Lacquer - Whats The Difference?

Both varnish and lacquer can provide a shiny protective coating (protective layer) to your lacquer product, but while varnishes are generally clear, lacquers can come in a range of color options. Lacquer tends to be more durable and hard wearing due to the inclusion of plasticizers.


Conclusion

Whatever the object that you wish to lacquer is, you want it to look professionally finished and stay that way for some time. 

Invest in one of these top quality wood lacquer paints for a convenient, easy to use products that will make you work look perfect immediately and stay that way for years to come.