What is the Best Wood Filler? For Doors, Holes, Outdoors, and More (2024)

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Wood pieces are bound to get damaged over time, so you must maintain them by filling holes and cracks with a versatile wood filler. The problem is not all options cater to the same wood fibers or suit indoor and outdoor use, resulting in damage over time.

So, I’ve taken the guesswork out for you—I’ve tested some of the best wood fillers on multiple surfaces to help you make the best choice for your DIY endeavors.

Premium Option
Aqua Coat Water-based Wood Fillers
Editor’s Choice
DAP Plastic Wood-X Wood Fillers
Budget Option
Goodfilla Wood Filler
Aqua Coat Water-based Wood Fillers
DAP Plastic Wood-X Wood Fillers
Goodfilla Wood Filler
• Type: Water-based Wood Filler
• Wood-inspired Colors
• Odor-free & Eco-friendly
• Fast Drying
• Type: Solvent-based Wood Fillers
• Application: Indoor and Outdoor
• Thick Consistency
• Color: Pink to Tan
• Type: Water-based Fillers
• Smooth Consistency
• Regular Color: White
• Drying Time: 15 Minutes
Premium Option
Aqua Coat Water-based Wood Fillers
Aqua Coat Water-based Wood Fillers
• Type: Water-based Wood Filler
• Wood-inspired Colors
• Odor-free & Eco-friendly
• Fast Drying
Editor’s Choice
DAP Plastic Wood-X Wood Fillers
DAP Plastic Wood-X Wood Fillers
• Type: Solvent-based Wood Fillers
• Application: Indoor and Outdoor
• Thick Consistency
• Color: Pink to Tan
Budget Option
Goodfilla Wood Filler
Goodfilla Wood Filler
• Type: Water-based Fillers
• Smooth Consistency
• Regular Color: White
• Drying Time: 15 Minutes

Reviews of the Top Wood Fillers

1. DAP Plastic Wood-X Wood Fillers

If you’re like me and working mostly with wooden furniture, DAP Plastic Wood-X is something you might want to consider. It’s solvent-based and actually contains real wood fibers, which I find helps with both durability and water resistance. Most woodworkers consider it the best exterior wood filler, and I can see why due to its sturdiness and resistance to water. 

Unlike most wood fillers, the DAP Plastic Wood-X has a great consistency that makes it easier to apply. And when the wood filler dries on the material’s surface, you’ll notice the color will turn tan from pink. 

The dried wood filler also has a smooth finish. It hasn’t given me issues with shrinking or cracking, and it’s reliable for filling in screw and nail holes.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

2. Aqua Coat Water-Based Wood Grain Fillers

While it’s not as affordable as other options, the Aqua Coat Water-Based Wood Grain Filler is the right one to buy if you’re working with unfinished materials. It can cover grain defects and achieve a smooth finish on porous woods like oak, walnut, and mahogany. 

This filler is on the thinner side, so my advice would be to use a regular wood filler for larger holes or cracks first, and then apply this one for a smoother finish.

Also Read: High-Quality Wood Fillers for Large Holes and Gaps 

One big plus for me is that this clear gel doesn’t have that overpowering smell you sometimes get with latex wood fillers. It also gives the wood grain great clarity, making it a suitable option for antique wood furniture restorations.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

3. Goodfilla Water-Based Wood & Grain Filler

The best wood filler doesn’t need to be too expensive. Case in point: GoodFilla Water-Based Wood & Grain Filler’s. Its application is hard and consistent, just what you need for a reliable fix.

These wood fillers dry for around minutes and only take a day to complete the curing [1] process. If it turns into a powder filler after drying in its container, you can reconstitute it with water and use it as usual. 

The most common option of this product is the white wood filler, but you can choose between ebony, cherry, natural, walnut, and many more. And yes, I’ve stained and painted over these without any issues. It’s a versatile choice for any wood project.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

4. Minwax Stainable Wood Filler

Newbie woodworkers won’t have difficulty applying Minwax Wood Filler because you only need to spread it using a putty knife on the damaged surface. Minimal sanding required afterward, at least in my experience.

After the filler fully dries, the material will be durable enough to withstand tasks like drilling, sanding, staining, or painting. Plus, the Minwax Stainable Wood Filler dries to what I find to be a natural wood color, blending in nicely with most projects.

You can also clean the finished surface with soap and water without the risk of shrinking or splitting. 

What I Like

What I Don't Like

5. Elmer's Carpenter's Wood Filler

If you only need to do minor touch-ups, the 3.25-ounce tube of Elmer’s Carpenter’s Wood Filler should be enough for your needs. I highly recommend it for beginners as it doesn’t cost much. Plus, it’s easier to apply than a solvent-based wood filler. 

After the wood filler has dried, this stuff holds its ground. No worrying about shrinking or cracking. If you intend to paint the surface, don’t forget to lightly sand the area where you applied the filler for a smoother finish. 

And since it’s a solvent-free, water-based solution, you can clean the surrounding surface with water and soap. 

What I Like

What I Don't Like

6. Bondo Home Solutions Wood Filler

Fixing a rotted wood surface requires a non-shrinking solution like Bondo Wood Filler. This product cures fast and can be sanded within 15 minutes of application — great for same-day wood fixes and repairs. 

I appreciated the filler’s color-changing feature. As soon as you mix it, the filler turns brown, making it blend naturally with most wood surfaces. That’s the kind of detail that shows thoughtful design, in my opinion.

It’s an all-purpose wood filler that dries with a strong bond and seamless finish. You can also stain and paint the surface after applying this thick solution.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

7. Coconix Floor and Furniture Repair Kit

If you’ve got materials that standard wood fillers just won’t adhere to, I’ve had success with the Coconix Floor and Furniture Repair Kit. This package has a wide range of filler colors to match the floor and furniture you need to fix. 

What stands out to me is the color guide that comes with it. I can tell you, hunting for a stainable wood filler that matches perfectly can be a real hassle. This guide eliminates the guesswork and saves you from having to stain the filler to match your project.

The Coconix Floor and Furniture Repair Kit includes mixing materials like the base, brush, spatula, and cup, so it’s a handy package if you’re a beginner.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

What is a Wood Filler?

Wood fillers are a mixture of typical wood components like sawdust. The product can come with water or solvent bases. Typically, woodworkers use these materials to fix cracks and holes on old wooden surfaces like furniture or flooring. 

Once these products are applied to a cracked or damaged area, they’ll dry quickly and seal the surface to prevent infiltration. They come in various colors to match different wood tones, and once dried and sanded, they can be stained, painted, or varnished to blend in with the surrounding wood. 

Wood Fillers Buyer’s Guide

Two Types of Wood Fillers

As previously mentioned, these wood fillers are sold with water or solvent bases. While both options are used in wood repairs, here are how they differ:

Solvent-based

Solvent-based products are categorized between vinyl and epoxy fillers. These options carry more VOC content, so expect them to carry a strong smell. They also take at least an hour to dry and require a stricter cleaning process. 

But here’s why I’d still recommend them: they offer top-notch resistance against water, extreme temperatures, and rot. They might cost you a bit more, but the durability can be worth the investment, especially for exterior jobs.

Water-based

This wood filler mix is often made of cellulose and wood fibers. Since they don’t produce very little VOCs, their scent is more bearable than solvent-based products. 

The biggest advantage, as I’ve found, is the drying time. You’re looking at a mere 15 minutes here. It also doesn’t need strenuous maintenance. You just have to clean the surface with soap and water. 

See Also: Highly Recommended Epoxy Wood Fillers 

Intended Use and Quantity

Before buying wood filler products, you must consider what tasks you’ll use them with. Although some wood fillers can be versatile, some options may not suit interior or exterior settings. 

You must also know some products are labeled if they’re suitable for filling voids or holes. Other options you’ll encounter are fillers specifically created for covering large pores on materials with open grains. 

Besides intended use, you should also consider how wide your application area will be. You may not know, but these products come in different sizes. 

Before making that purchase, I recommend doing some quick calculations to determine just how much filler you’ll actually require. It’s a simple way to save some bucks and avoid unnecessary waste.

Consistency and Color

Here’s something I’ve learned the hard way: the consistency of your wood filler matters. If you’re tackling larger voids or imperfections, go for something thicker, akin to putty. For smaller pores or open-grain surfaces, a thinner, smoother consistency—think pancake batter—is your best bet.

The color range of these products ranges from white to other wood-inspired shades. Some options may even offer clear mixtures. 

If painting the repaired surface isn’t what you have in mind, I suggest picking a tint that matches the natural color of the workpiece. 

On the other hand, it’s safer to check if the filler is paintable or stainable on the labels in case you apply these elements some other time. 

Packaging

If you shop around, you’ll know these products are packed in different containers, like tubs, sticks, and tubes. The ones in the tub are often applied using putty knives, except for two-part fillers that require a mixing process before the application. 

For fillers on a tube, you must squeeze the mixture out and apply them by hand to the area you need to repair. I don’t recommend these options for large-scale projects.

Interior or Exterior Filler

Don’t forget to check the product’s label to see if it suits interior or exterior applications. It may seem trivial, but interior-only fillers don’t have the components to withstand extreme heat and cold temperature exposure. 

On the flip side, some fillers can be so potent in odor that applying them indoors might not be the best idea.

Drying Time

When estimating the drying time, don’t forget to check the weather conditions, especially if you’re doing an outdoor project. Not all fillers have the same drying times, so it’s wise to check the product’s label for accurate instructions. 

Say you’re using an epoxy-based filler. Those usually take quite a few hours to dry and an entire day to cure fully. If time is of the essence, then latex or water-based fillers are your friends. Those typically take around an hour to dry.

However, faster drying times don’t mean you can leave the applied surface unattended. If you do that, you lose the chance to smooth the surface properly. 

Powder vs. Paste Wood Fillers

You’ll encounter powder and paste products when shopping for wood fillers, so it’s crucial to know their difference. 

The catch is that the paste fillers are ready to use, and all you have to do is apply them on the surface. Meanwhile, you must mix the powder options with water to reach a certain consistency. 

The perk of buying a powder wood filler is you don’t need to worry about it drying out in the storage. On the other hand, you should store paste products in air-tight containers to preserve their consistency. 

Price

The best wood fillers aren’t always pricey. Believe me, the price can vary quite a bit, influenced by factors such as the amount in the package and the brand. In the end, chances are you’ll find something that suits your needs without straining your wallet.

FAQ

What’s the difference between wood filler and wood putty?

Wood putties are used for stained or varnished wood materials, while fillers are best suited for unfinished surfaces. The wood putties also offer a more aesthetically pleasing finish than the latter.

Can I combine different brands of filler for my wood?

Most woodworkers don’t recommend using different brand fillers on surfaces because there’s no telling what outcome it can create. However, it can be done without risks if the applications are timed six months after the other. 

Can I stain or paint the wood after applying the filler?

These products absorb paint and stain differently, so check the labels to see if they’re stainable or paintable to ensure the best results. 

Can I drill screws on a wood filler?

As long as the filler is strong enough to withstand drilling machines, there’s no problem driving screws into them. However, it’s important to note that some fillers are only meant to cover flaws.

When do I know if a wood filler is ready to be sanded?

The wood filler should be ready for sanding if the application is completely dry. You can check the product’s instructions to determine the drying time to avoid miscalculations.

My Top Pick For a Wood Filler:
DAP Plastic Wood Fillers

Having done quite a number of tests, I have to say the DAP Plastic Wood Fillers as the best wood filler that stood out for me.

Considering its fast drying time and resistance to water, it’s one of the staples in my arsenal for different wood repair projects. Plus, it comes at a reasonable price. 

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Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.

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