Best Clear Coat for Painted Cabinets
Kristina Davis

What do you think is the best clear coat for painted cabinets?

Don’t you think it will be a shame to see a lot of time spent on difficult work go to waste? 

Especially on the grounds that you didn’t make use of the right topcoat?

To avoid this, you might probably ask what is the best clear coat for painted cabinets

Some of the best clear coats are Minwax Water-Based Polycrylic, Minwax Helmsman Water Based Spar Urethane, Watco Lacquer Clear Wood Finish, etc.

So What Are The Best Clear Coat For Painted Cabinets?

interior painted kitchen cabinets

A newly painted cupboard causes a home to feel whole. To maintain this look, you should get the best clear coat for your cupboards.

Indeed, we’ve found them, you simply have to pick the right one.

General Finishes High-Performance Water-Based Topcoat

painting clear coat

General Finishes is quite possibly one of the most trusted and notable brands available for wood wrap-ups. General Finishes produces a total line of carpentry products.

And each and everyone has breezed through various assessments by judges, pundits, experts, and novice users. 

This coat has earned the Fine Woodworking’s ‘Best Overall Choice Award’ as the most durable topcoat.

For that reason, this coat was included on this list. If you are thinking of what top coat to use on painted cabinets, then this is a good choice. 

This is because durability is one of the top qualities to look out for when getting a coat. The water-based polyurethane is made for inside wood surfaces like floors and wood entryways.

It also contains a bright (UV) stabilizer, which forestalls UV beams from harming the wood.

This is an awesome quality for open-air furniture pieces, for example, folding seats or porch tables. 

Tip: For anything made of wood that is planned to be kept outside, this would be a fair choice.


  • Straightforward to apply.
  • Truly hard, thick, durable, endures cruel circumstances and scratches
  • UV protection
  • Dries quickly


  • Somewhat more costly than others

The Minwax Water-Based Polycrylic Protective Finish

polyurethane paint cabinets

It is the top polyurethane on Amazon. This is an exceptionally normal item that most home improvement experts will know all about. 

The main thing you’ll appreciate is a large number of sizes, so finding the right amount for your project is simple.

As though that wasn’t sufficient, there’s likewise a vapor sprayer for speedy final details.

Like the durable finishes above, it has a variety of sheens.

You can purchase this paint in clear matte completion, clear silk, clear semi-sparkle finish, clear shine, and clear super level.

It also has the quickest drying time compared to other polyurethanes.

As the last reward, this reasonable coat can be washed perchance you end up spilling it or getting it on your hands.

Tip: This multitude of properties makes this coat an extraordinary choice for your kitchen cupboards.


  • Extremely quick drying time
  • Very low odor
  • Accessible in five different sheen versions
  • Accessible in a great many sizes
  • It can be used on white paint
  • Resists destruction/damage from alcohol, abrasions, and chemicals


  • It must be applied with a brush or the spray
  • It looks dull on incomplete wood, it adds no tone or color

Varathane Ultimate Polyurethane-Water Based

polyurethane paint

Varathane Ultimate Polyurethane is perhaps one of the most trusted coats.

It is a clear gleam, making it ideal for applications requiring wonderful sparkle and the greatest shininess. 

It provides great resistance to scratches, stains, abrasions, and household chemicals.

It is a good option for cupboards because the completely clear nature will draw out the regular magnificence of the wood.

This finish is water-based instead of oil-based, and that implies that it will dry both quicker and harder. 

It’s not difficult to utilize, speedy to apply, and gives enduring insurance.

It is affordable. 

However, it has a flimsy consistency, which makes it somewhat harder to apply various coats, which is expected as it is indeed very clear.


  • Very affordable
  • Trusted and clear
  • Low odor
  • Dries quickly


  • A minimum of four coats
  • May cause discoloration on white paints

Minwax Helmsman Water-Based Spar Urethane

painting cabinets

Minwax Helmsman spar urethane is a flexible clear coat that can be utilized for inside and outside use.

Its one-of-a-kind properties make it more water-safe than run-of-the-mill polyurethane and lacquer.

If you are looking for clear coat paint for cabinets, then this is another great choice

In the event that you love letting regular sunlight radiate through and into the house, you should consider a topcoat that can withstand any, all things considered, climate.

This coat is a good option because it has UV protection.

It has a low odor, and it needs just a short time before you can apply a subsequent coat.

At the point when you're finished, you can undoubtedly wash the coat off with warm water and a dish cleanser.


  • UV Protection
  • Quick drying – in only 2 hours
  • It tends to be utilized both inside and outside


  • May cause discoloration on white paints
  • You could require a minimum of four coats to get a sturdy completion

Watco Lacquer Clear Wood Finish

using paint coat on cabinet

This finish is of high quality and expensive.

However, you can give your kitchen cupboards the VIP treatment with this outright excellence.

Watco enamel clear wood finish is a flawless clear coat that is elegant.

Not at all like most other clear covers on this rundown, this is implied expressly for entryways, cupboards, framing, and other tasteful furnishings.

Another thing is that it has superior scratch protection, and it requires no sanding between coats.

It dries up quickly. It has a rich finish and it's very easy to apply. You can apply with either a brush or sprayer.


  • It dries rapidly
  • Easy to apply
  • You don’t have to sand between coats
  • You don’t require wood filler


  • It is expensive
  • It might cause staining on painted or stained surfaces
  • Transmits high amounts of VOCs

Deft Interior Clear Wood Finish

interior cabinet wood finish

Deft Interior Clear Wood Finish is a brushing veneer, so it is marginally thicker than customary enamel.

This makes it simpler to apply, as you don’t have to purchase or lease a sprayer.

Deft is less popular amongst other makers. This is astonishing, thinking about how great their paint is, and this coat is no exemption.

Another perfect advantage is that it is non-yellowing and budget-friendly. It is one of the cheapest lacquer options. 

It is good for inside wood surfaces, for example, kitchen cupboards requiring additional insurance from scratches and dampness.

Although it is thick, it dries in 30 minutes and is prepared for a recoat in two.

As it is nitrocellulose polish, although it isn’t hyper-flammable, it is still flammable enough to exercise precautions.

Also, you don’t have to sand among coats, and you additionally don’t require wood filler or wood clay while dealing with open grains.


  • Simple to apply
  • Budget-friendly
  • Resistant to bruising
  • It very well may be applied on white paint


  • Has a horrible odor
  • Flammable

Minwax Wipe-on Poly

wiping coat on cabinet

This finish is one of the oldest clear coats in this blog since it is intended to be cleaned with fabric instead of being painted on with a brush.

This makes a smidgen of a distinction in the looks of the eventual outcome. It is accessible in either full gleam or clear silk.

This allows for a variety of choices on the texture of your finish.

Some people prefer that hand-scoured look and this appearance just comes from the wipe-on items.

One little issue is that a wipe-on poly won’t ever be applied very as thickly as a paint-on finish.

It’s good for kitchen cabinets; however, it takes a long time to dry.


  • Slightly darkens the wood
  • Easy to use
  • Resistant to scratches


  • Takes a long time to dry
  • Not the best for softer surfaces


If you have been wondering about the coat to use for your cabinets, then I’m sure that this blog has fully outlined and explained the best clear coat for painted cabinets.

It also outlined the merits and the demerits of each.

However, please note that any of the items outlined above may become yellow over white paint.

Yellowing depends on the kind of wood, existing undercoat, finishes, colors, dampness in wood, resistance to directions, etc.