Best Deck Stain Applicators

5 Best Deck Stain Applicators (Manually Tested!)

When you’re finally ready to stain your deck, you’ll have a variety of applicators to choose from. Between sprayers, brushes, and rollers – there’s a lot to choose from!

But if you want to best results, you need to have a quality deck stain applicator.

That’s why I put together this list of the best deck stain applicators to help you find the best one for your deck staining project. Let’s begin!

In a hurry? The Wagner Spraytech Control Painter HVLP Handheld Stain Painter is the best deck stain applicator because it’s efficient, easy to use, and more affordable when compared to other top-quality deck stain sprayers.

Types of Deck Stain Applicators


HomeRight Finish Max Sprayer

A paint sprayer is a good option for a variety of reasons.

For one, they’re the fastest; even large decks can be stained in under 30 minutes. Who could say no to that!?

They’re also the best when it comes to achieving a uniform finish, so long as you have a steady, continuous spraying motion.

The only downside is most oil-based stains aren’t sprayable, so you’re somewhat limited in terms of what you can spray.

That said, there are plenty of first-rate sprayable stains on the market today, so you’ll always have a nice selection to choose from.


Deck Stain Brush

One of the most time-tested stain applicators is the simple paint brush, and fortunately there are many brushes on the market today designed specifically for stain.

Of course, a deck staining project carried out with brushes is probably going to take you all day, but at least you won’t have to worry about missing hard-to-reach areas.

And when it comes to ease of use, brushes certainly beat paint rollers and sprayers.

But you need to make sure you only use the best brush to apply stain, as some will have you staining for days before the entire deck is done.


Rolling Deck Stain

Paint rollers are another great option, whether you’re using oil-based or water-based stains. Like paint sprayers, rollers can cover a lot of area in a short period, and they’re also relatively easy to use.

It’s easier to track your progress with a roller, and one with an extension pole will be especially useful when you need to stain tall, vertical surfaces.

But when you apply deck stain with a roller, you’re bound to miss corners and other hard-to-reach places.

Also, you need to ensure you’re using a proper roller nap to roll stain, otherwise it’ll be hard to get totally smooth surfaces.

Are you wondering how to finish a cornhole board? Check the video below!

Best Deck Stain Applicators

1. Wagner Spraytech Control Painter HVLP Handheld Stain Painter – #1 Best Overall

Wagner Stain Applicator
Wagner Spraytech 520008 Control Painter HVLP Handheld Stain Painter, Yellow
355 Reviews
Wagner Spraytech 520008 Control Painter HVLP Handheld Stain Painter, Yellow
  • HVLP PAINT SPRAYER: The Control Painter applies coatings 5X faster than a brush, making it easy to spray…
  • FASTER THAN A BRUSH OR ROLLER: This paint spray gun applies a smooth, consistent finish with no brush marks….
  • MULTIPLE ADJUSTABLE SETTINGS: Achieve the perfect flow for your project by adjusting the material flow…

The Wagner Spraytech Control Painter HVLP Handheld Stain Painter is an incredibly efficient and well-built paint sprayer, and it’s the #1 Best Overall deck stain applicator because it’s faster and better at achieving smooth surfaces than other applicators.

This sprayer is equipped with a 1.5 q cup, and it can cover about 125 sq ft with a full cup of material.

It’s an HVLP, airless sprayer, and the manufacturer boasts that it’s 5x faster than any brush; I have to agree!

It can spray an 8’ x 10’ area in just 2 minutes, and it’ll release a steady amount of material until the tank is empty.

Of course, you can control material flow, spray width, and spray pattern (horizontal & vertical), and it’s easy to clean because all the major parts can be removed and cleaned individually. Love that!

In short, it’s not only great for staining decks, but fences, garages, and even furniture too.

And if all that isn’t enough for you, it’s backed by a one-year limited warranty!

What I Liked:

  • It’s compact and lightweight, so it’s easy to spray in a continuous motion.
  • It has fine-tuned controls, so achieving precise results is a breeze.
  • It can put down a lot of deck stain in a short period, so projects are completed quickly.
  • It’s easy to keep in good condition because all its components can be cleaned individually.

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Mostly made of plastic.
  • The grip could be better.

My Thoughts:

All things considered, the Wagner Spraytech Control Painter HVLP Handheld Stain Painter is a brilliant deck stain applicator in all the ways that matter most, and that’s why I can put it in the top spot on my list with 100% confidence. Not only is it good at achieving totally smooth, even finishes, but it’s also much, much faster than other applicators. If it had more metallic parts and a rubber grip, I wouldn’t hesitate to call it perfect!

Other Stores

2. Fuji Spray Semi-PRO 2-Gravity HVLP Spray System – Best Quality

Fuji Spray 2203G Semi-PRO 2 – Gravity HVLP Spray System
  • Professional non-bleed Spray Gun with Adjustable Pattern Fan Control
  • 1.3mm Air cap set installed
  • 400cc Gravity Cup

The Fuji Spray Semi-PRO 2-Gravity HVLP Spray System is one of the best paint sprayers on the market today, and its ability to spray virtually any liquid is what makes it worthy of the Best Quality title.

Its power mainly comes from a patented, two-stage turbine, and the turbine is protected by a sturdy metal case. This case has a space for the gun, and anyone who’s been around here awhile knows I’m a fan of on-board storage.

The 1-qt cup can work as a gravity-feed or bottom-feed cup, and I love that versatility.

The air cap is 1.3 mm, and the gun has an ergonomic handle to ensure it’s easy to spray continuously.

There’s also a very nice pattern-control knob, which most sprayers lack.

What comes with it? Well, you’ll get a cleaning brush and wrench to ensure it can be cleaned and maintained, as well as a two-year limited warranty.

What I Liked:

  • It’s a heavy-duty, well-protected system, so you can count on it working well for years.
  • Its gun has an ergonomic handle, so you won’t feel discomfort after spraying awhile.
  • It can spray thin liquids and viscous materials with ease, so it’s more versatile.
  • The fan pattern is easy to adjust, so you don’t have to worry about over-spraying.

What I Didn’t Like:

  • High price puts it out of reach for many DIYers.
  • It’s on the heavier side.

My Thoughts:

Terrific doesn’t even begin to describe the Fuji Spray Semi-PRO 2-Gravity HVLP Spray System. It’s got all sorts of high-quality components, so it’s no surprise that it can deliver top-notch results consistently, and always in a short amount of time. If you want unbelievably even coats and total control when applying stain, this system won’t let you down. Sure, its price is up there, but at least it’s backed up by its exceptional quality.

Other Stores

3. Wooster 4″ Stain Brush – Best Value

Wooster Brush F5116-4 Stainer Stain Brush, 4-Inch
  • Excellent results with all oil-based stains sealers wood toners
  • White China bristle with square construction
  • Nickel-plated steel ferrule

If you have to stain a deck and adhere to a strict budget at the same time, I highly recommend the Wooster 4″ Stain Brush, as it’s one of the all-around best brushes for deck staining.

It’s a 4-incher that weighs just 7 oz, and it’s got a threaded wood handle that can be removed if you want to attach the brush head to an extension pole. Love that!

And since its ferrule is made of nickel-plated steel, you can count on it being sturdy when you’re applying deck stain.

It’s particularly good at putting down oil-based stains, paints, and sealers, and the bristles are pretty easy to clean off, regardless of what you just used.

Lastly, there’s a hole in the handle so it can be attached to the stain bucket you’re using. Now that’s convenience!

What I Liked:

  • It’s easy to grip, so I don’t have to worry about hand cramps when using it.
  • After I clean it with mineral spirits, it’s condition is nearly brand-new.
  • It’s great for rough surfaces because I can ensure the bristles hit every bare spot.
  • It makes progress tracking easy, so you can avoid over-staining.

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Bristles are weaker than I expected, so clean carefully.
  • If you have a larger deck, it’ll take longer to stain.

My Thoughts:

For an affordable staining brush, the Wooster 4″ Stain Brush performs quite well time and time again, and that’s why it’s worthy of the Best Value title. It’s well-made and pretty versatile for a simple brush, and I like how it’s so easy to clean. It’s sturdy and easy-to-grip too—exactly what I want! The only thing I don’t like are the weak bristles, but this is only a problem if you clean aggressively.

Other Stores

4. Katzco 9″ Paint Roller – Best Roller for Staining a Deck

Katzco Paint Roller – 5 Wire Cage and 2 Roller Covers 9 Inches – for…
  • PERFECT FOR: Household painting projects. 5-Wire cage holds the roller cover firmly to prevent slipping. Fits…
  • COMFORT: Solvent resistant core provides lasting durability. Super smooth free-spin action works fast and…
  • HIGH QUALITY:Innovative blend of polyethylene fibers woven in a unique interlocking pattern for extra paint…

If you’re looking to stain large deck boards in a short period of time, the Katzco 9″ Paint Roller will help you do just that, since it was designed with large deck staining in mind.

This roller has a five-wire cage, and it takes 9″ naps.

Two naps come with it, and they’re both matt- and shed-resistant, so they’ll last a long time before they need to be replaced.

And both naps have polyethylene fibers that are woven in an interlocking patter, so they absorb quite a bit of stain in no time. Love that!

Plus, this roller has a quick-release spring to ensure the nap only comes off when you want it to, and the core is solvent-resistant to ensure longevity.

Finally, it weighs just 12 oz, so it’s easy to maneuver for a 9″ roller.

What I Liked:

  • It can be used with thick and thin deck stains, so it’s versatile and cost-effective.
  • It absorbs a lot of material quickly, so you’ll spend more time painting and less time prepping.
  • It doesn’t splatter when it makes contact with deck boards, so it’s not as messy as other rollers.
  • Its quick-release spring keeps the nap in place, leading to cleaner roller streaks.

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Naps are somewhat hard to clean, especially after a thicker material is used.
  • It can get at hard-to-reach places because of its size.

My Thoughts:

I’m a huge fan of the Katzco 9″ Paint Roller, and I’m certain it’s one of the best applicators for large decks both new and old. It covers a lot of area in a short period, and always without making a huge mess. Its design is absolutely first-rate, and I believe it’s the main reason why this roller is much easier to maneuver than its peers. If it wasn’t hard to clean, I could see this roller being in the running for the top spot on my list—it’s that good!

Other Stores

5. Precision Defined Large 7″ Deck Stain Brush – Best Large Deck Stain Brush

Precision Defined Deck Stain Brush, Large 7-Inch, Deck Brush for Paints,…
  • ✅ FINISH THE JOB RIGHT: Complete staining your deck in all nooks and crannies. Easily coat or paint the harder-to-reach places where a finer touch…
  • ✅ SUPER THICK BRISTLES: Each brush holds an incredible amount of stain, seal or paint to get a thick coating every time.
  • ✅ VERSATILE FOR PAINTS, STAINS, SEALERS: Universal application for paints, stains, waterproofers, and sealers for both rough and smooth surfaces….

Got a large, new deck that needs staining? The Precision Defined Large 7″ Deck Stain Brush was made exactly for this task, so it should be your go-to if you’re in the market for a large staining brush.

This 7″ wood brush is great at getting stain in nooks and crannies, and it works on smooth and rough surfaces alike.

And whereas other brushes can only do fine or large-scale staining/painting, this brush can do both with ease. Brilliant!

Plus, since it’s built to last, you don’t have to worry about getting replacement stain pads.

Finally, it’s backed by one of the most generous satisfaction guarantees I’ve come across!

What I Liked:

  • Since it has strong bristles, you should be able to accomplish dozens of staining tasks with it.
  • Its weight is evenly distributed, making it easier to use.
  • Though it’s designed for large decks, it can stain/paint a small deck too, so it’s quite versatile.
  • No need for replacement pads, so it’s not only affordable but cost-effective too.

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Takes awhile to clean thoroughly because of its size.
  • Hard to assess how much material has been absorbed by the bristles before staining.

My Thoughts

I’ve found that large brushes are usually cumbersome, but that’s definitely not the case with the Precision Defined Large 7″ Deck Stain Brush. This product is perfect for those who want to carefully stain a large deck by hand, and it reaches nooks and crannies much better than other large brushes. I just wish the bristles were a different color. But when this is my only gripe, that should tell you how great this product is!

Other Stores

What to Consider When Buying a Deck Stain Applicator

Ease of Use

When it comes to applying stain, your applicator needs to be easy to use, whether it’s a brush, sprayer, or roller.

After all, if you can’t control your applicator well, how are you ever going to get a totally uniform finish on every surface?

So look for an applicator that’s ergonomic, lightweight, compact, and easy to control. An applicator that checks all these boxes is bound to suit you well.

Need some help staining your deck? Check out the video below!


Your applicator must be efficient too, otherwise you’ll spend all day staining the deck, and you may waste a ton of stain in the process.

A sprayer, for example, should be able to coat a surface with plenty of stain in just under a minute. And if you want the same efficiency from a deck stain roller, get one with a long pole and large nap.


If your deck staining project is going to be a one-time thing, you won’t need a top-shelf applicator to get phenomenal results.

All of the products I’ve spotlighted here are affordable when compared with their respective peers, and not one is anything near low-quality.

Are you looking for a deck stain for an old deck? Check out these best deck stains for old decks!

Final Thoughts

To recap, the Wagner Spraytech Control Painter HVLP Handheld Stain Painter is the best stain applicator for decks because it’s an efficient system that can put down stain faster than any stain pad, and it’s also accessible to DIYers since it’s straightforward and affordable.

The Fuji Spray Semi-PRO 2-Gravity HVLP Spray System is the best in terms of quality, as it’s made with top-of-the-line materials and designed to deliver best-in-class results consistently.

And last but certainly not least is the Wooster 4″ Stain Brush, a simple yet highly efficient stain brush that can outperform most stain pads, and one that’s sold for a rock-bottom price.