What is the Best Wood Filler? For Doors, Holes, Outdoors, and More (2023)

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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.

Fortunately, we tested the best wood fillers on different surfaces to narrow the options for your DIY projects!

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

Although these are solvent-based fillers, the DAP Plastic Wood-X works well with wooden furniture because its mixture includes real wood fibers. Most woodworkers consider it the best exterior wood filler, and we 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. You wouldn’t need to worry about shrinking or cracking, making it a suitable anchor for screw and nail holes.

What We Like

What We 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. 

It’s a thin wood filler, so we suggest using regular ones to fill large holes or cracks before applying this product. 

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

This clear gel doesn’t carry an unpleasant odor, unlike a latex wood filler with a strong smell. It also gives the wood grain great clarity, making it a suitable option for antique wood furniture restorations.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

3. Goodfilla Water-Based Wood & Grain Filler

The best wood filler doesn’t need to be too expensive, and the GoodFilla Water-Based Wood & Grain Filler’s hard and consistent application proved that during our hands-on experience. 

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. You can stain and paint all these options with no problem. 

What We Like

What We 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. So long as this wood putty is applied properly, you wouldn’t need too much sanding to finish the process. 

After the filler fully dries, the material will be durable enough to withstand tasks like drilling, sanding, staining, or painting. If you look closely, you’ll see that the Minwax Stainable Wood Filler dries with natural wood color. 

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

What We Like

What We 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. Our testers 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, you can count on it to resist 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 We Like

What We 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. Because of this, we recommend it for same-day wood fixes and repairs. 

Upon mixing the Bondo Wood Filler, the solution turns brown. This color range allowed our team to blend the solution naturally into the wooden material. 

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

What We Like

What We Don't Like

7. Coconix Floor and Furniture Repair Kit

Some materials don’t work well with standard wood fillers, so you’ll need a complete repair kit like those from Coconix Floor and Furniture. This package has a wide range of filler colors to match the floor and furniture you need to fix. 

We’re also delighted that this repair kit includes a color guide. As you know, finding the best stainable wood filler can be a challenge. With this guide, you wouldn’t need to do any staining because color matching won’t be an issue. 

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

What We Like

What We 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. Most of these options are stainable and paintable. 

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. 

Despite being more costly, these fillers offer better resistance to elements like water, extreme temperature, and rotting.

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 major upside of these options is you can count on them to dry within 15 minutes. It also doesn’t need strenuous maintenance. You just have to clean the surface with soap and water. 

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. 

So if you don’t want to waste your money overbuying stuff you wouldn’t need in the long run, we suggest calculating the filler quantity you’ll need. 

Consistency and Color

Our team advise applying thick or putty-like wood fillers if you need to fill voids on the surface. However, thin fillers with smooth consistency (like a pancake batter) are the best choices for handling small pores and open-grain surfaces. 

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, we 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. We 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. 

Meanwhile, some wood filler products emit a strong smell that it’s not recommended to be applied indoors. 

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. 

For example, fillers with epoxy bases need several hours to dry and a whole day to cure completely. We urge you to use latex or water-based fillers for faster drying times. You can count on them to dry for around an hour. 

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. The cost ultimately depends on the quantity/packaging and the brand itself. Overall, we don’t doubt you’ll find a good wood filler according to your budget. 

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.

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

After several hands-on tests, our resident woodworkers picked DAP Plastic Wood Fillers as the best wood filler among the options we evaluated. 

Considering its fast drying time and resistance to water, we’re certain that this product will offer convenience and durability for different wood repair projects. Plus, it comes at a reasonable price. 

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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