7 Best Wood Fillers of 2023
The wood filler is an essential component in woodworking. This handy putty-like material allows you to quickly and easily repair wood or any other material in a professional manner. Best, the wood filler comes with different consistencies, textures, and dries at different rates for different needs. Many can even be stained or pigmented with a common wood stain. You can even apply a layer of paint or veneer to make it more aesthetically pleasing.
If you are fresh on the market for a wood filler, our wood filler review will help you find a sustainable wood filler for your need. It does not matter what kind of repair you are planning to perform, you will definitely find a solution and almost certainly get the best wood filler for your money by the end of this review. Stay tuned!
1. Abatron WoodEpox Replacement Compound Wood Filler - Best Exterior Wood Filler
2. Donald Durhams Rockhard Water Putty Wood Filler - Best Wood Putty
3. Elmer's E887Q Stainable Wood Filler - Best Wood Filler For Staining
4. J-B Weld 8257 KwikWood Epoxy Putty Wood Filler - Best Wood Filler Epoxy
5. 3M Bondo Home Solutions Wood Filler
6. FamoWood 40022126 Latex Wood Filler
7. Miller SF1203 Wood Stain Scratch Fix Pen / Wood Repair Marker
7 Best Wood Fillers - Reviews
#1. Abatron WoodEpox Epoxy Wood Replacement Compound
Editor's Rating: (4.6 / 5)
If you're looking for the best outdoor wood filler, The Abatron WoodEpox has long been a reference epoxy wood filler compound. This is a complete kit, that while not the cheapest, contains everything you need to get started. It will fill wood cracks quickly and easily. Moreover, the cure time of this filler is less than an hour, and customers of this product say that it is very easy to sculpt and mold. It gives the user enough time to apply and will not dry on application.
Winner: Best Exterior Wood Filler
You cannot stain this wood filler easily, but it works great as the best outdoor wood filler since it is very resistant. It can even be set in a place with direct sunlight, and as all epoxy wood fillers, it will not crack over time. The only recommendation is that this wood filler be used on hardwood like white oak and the likes as epoxy fillers do not work the best with soft wood.
As expected for an epoxy wood filler, it comes in a two-part solution with a 32 oz epoxy filler container and a 32 oz hardener. You even get a putty knife, plastic gloves and an applicator bottle with this purchase. If you are an absolute beginner to epoxy fillers, the instructions manual is very easy to understand and detailed. All in all, this “kit” is one of the best epoxy wood fillers AND one of the best outdoor wood fillers on the market.
Whether you need a wood crack filler, a wood filler for decks, or just a great overall wood filler epoxy, the Abatron WoodEpox is the way to go.
#2. Donald Durhams Rockhard Water Putty
Editor's Rating: (4.8 / 5)
If you're looking for the best wood putty for your money, this gypsum-based wood putty can be purchased as a 1 lb container or 4 lbs, depending on the task you have at hand. This is a heavy-duty putty that will fill and bond any type of material, from wood to even concrete. The main advantage of Donald Durhams Rockhard putty is that it does not shrink over time. This means that it will last as long as the material you were trying to fill.
Winner: Best Wood Putty
Out of the box, it comes as a white powder that only requires water as a solvent to prepare. It cures as a hard and whitish layer, so it will require a layer of paint – especially if used on wood. It is not a good wood filler for staining. Just keep that in mind. Additionally, since it is water-based, it is recommended to use only indoors. However, with a thick layer of paint and weather treatment solution, it can be used outdoors as long as it does not face direct sunlight. All in all, it is a low-cost wood filler solution that simply works. That's why it's the best wood putty on this list.
#3. Elmer's E887Q Stainable Wood Filler
Editor's Rating: (4.1 / 5)
Elmer's E887Q is possibly the most popular wood filler on the market. This is a small 3.25-ounce tube, but can be purchased as a two-pack, 3 packs or 18 packs depending on the amount of wood filling you have to do. This particular filler is made from actual wood fibers that gives it a natural wood texture when cured.
Winner: Best Wood Filler For Staining
This is an excellent product for those looking for a wood filler for staining, as it can indeed be stained quite easily. However, it can be tricky to get the exact stain of your material. We recommend that you apply, let it dry and then paint over it. It can comfortably be used both indoors and outdoors (although it is not the best exterior wood filler), and since it dries in a very solid state, you can sandpaper over with a power tool later on.
Since it is sold in small 3.25-ounce tubes, we recommend it only for those who have a small amount of wood filling to perform. If you have to renovate a big piece of furniture with big and deep holes, this product is the best sustainable wood filler out there. Scroll below as there are better products for larger projects in the wood filler review.
#4. J-B Weld 8257 KwikWood Wood Repair Epoxy Putty
Editor's Rating: (4.5 / 5)
The KwikWood repair putty is another wood epoxy filler intended for small projects. It's one of the best fool fillers and it can be purchased as a an individual 1 oz or larger 24 pack, in case you need it for a bigger job.
This wood epoxy filler has a very quick cure time of only 20 minutes, with zero chance of shrinking over time. This is a general purpose epoxy putty, and can be used on a wide range of filling applications from PVC to window frames.
This is one of the best woody putty options available.
Winner: Best Wood Filler Epoxy
When it comes to wood, it is not a good wood filler for staining, and it has a naturally light tan color when it dries. However, once it cures, you can sandpaper or drill over it, no problem. Due to the high-density of this product, we feel it suits hardwood better than softwood. A typical application of this putty is filling and restoring rotted wood. Moreover, since it is a wood epoxy filler, it can be used both indoors and outdoors. There is no premixing to do with this product. Simply empty the content in a container, mix the putty and apply. It will set under 20 minutes. Yes, that easy!
#5. 3M Bondo Home Solutions Wood Filler
Editor's Rating: (4.3 / 5)
The 3M Bondo Home Solutions Wood Filler is a 1-quart wood filler can that is specifically made for rotted wood replacement. But, there is more to it. This is a 2-part solution that comes with a filler emulsion and a cream hardener. It cures with a light brown tan in 15 minutes. The mixture is malleable and very easy to apply. It has a low-viscosity index, so it is guaranteed to penetrate deep into your material.
This is one of the best exterior wood fillers available.
In case you are wondering, this product is a true general purpose filler and can be used for almost anything that requires filling. It dries as a very solid filler that can be drilled or sanded. 3M markets this product as a sustainable wood filler for both indoors and outdoors use.
If this is your first time purchasing a wood filler, and unsure which product is the best wood filler for your need, you can be pretty safe with this 3M Bondo wood filler. It simply works very well on both softwood and hardwood, amongst others. You can even use this product as a window framing putty. It just works!
#6. FamoWood 40022126 Latex Wood Filler
Editor's Rating: (4.4 / 5)
The FamoWood 40022126 is a latex type wood filler. Since it contains latex, it sets very quickly with little odor and you will not have to premix this wood filler. But the beauty of this product is its ability to absorb wood stain. In fact, this is a true wood filler for staining. One of the best on the market! You can stain it to almost any color you want to match your material to the perfection.
We like how quick and easy this product cures, which is why we think it's one of the best wood fillers. In less than 15 minutes, you are all set. Yes, that fast! Additionally, it will not shrink or crack over time. As most latex-based wood fillers, it can be used both indoors and outdoors for maximum versatility. But, what we like the most about this product is definitely the price and bang for your buck that you get. It is a quality USA made product at a very affordable price. You also get quite a lot of wood filler for your money, compared to other products in this wood filler review.
#7. Miller SF1203 Wood Stain Scratch Fix Pen / Wood Repair Marker
Editor's Rating: (4.1 / 5)
The Miller SF1203 is a small wood filler marker intended for smaller filling applications. However, despite its small size, you can still perform 1,000 coats per pen. Quite impressive to think that Miller packed so much in such a small package. Moreover, it dries almost instantly and you even get to choose your color blend to match your wood.
- Black Brown
- Dark Brown
- Light Brown
- Medium Brown
- Red Brown
They are natural wood colors, and as long as you get the color for your wood right, the Miller SF1203 will blend perfectly with any one of the best wood fillers on this list. We recommend this highly economical solution to be used only indoors. Oh yea, did we say it was affordable? It is dirt cheap!
Types of Wood Fillers
There are several types of Wood fillers on the market. In order to find the best wood filler for your need, you will first need to understand the different types of Wood fillers that exist. Here is a quick and concise overview.
#1. Cellulose-Based Wood Fillers
Cellulose wood fillers are one of the most common available. They come as a dry mixable paste or powder that is suitable in a wide range of solvents, ranging from water to alcohol-based ones. The main advantage of this type of wood filler is that they are readily available in any hardware store and can be stored for years. Indeed, they have a very long shelf life and are quite inexpensive. You will require a little bit of work to prepare this type of wood filler, but most of the time it only takes only a few minutes and they have a long-lasting effect, especially when used to repair wood. This type is also an excellent wood filler for staining, especially when used in thin layers.
#2. Gypsum-Based Wood Fillers
As its name suggests, gypsum-based wood fillers consist of mineral powders. They are easily suitable in water to form a solid substance that is not easy to break once set. They also have a distinct crystalline and transparent look that makes gypsum-based wood fillers morph with the surrounding material in a superior way. However, the caveat with gypsum-based wood fillers is that they stain easily over time. You will most likely require a layer of paint on this type of wood filler for the best effect. Moreover, gypsum-based wood fillers are also recommended for indoor use only as they are not weatherproof.
#3. Vinyl-Based Wood Fillers
Vinyl-based wood fillers are very malleable and also very user-friendly. Basically, this fee that is a mix of calcium carbonate and poly-vinyl acetate that acts as a catalyst. Vinyl base wood fillers are the quickest to set but when applied as a thick layer, they are prone to cracking. Therefore, this type of wood filler is recommended to be used as a thin coat only. The major advantage is that since it is plastic-based, it is weatherproof and can be used outside as it would not stain easily. However, it is still recommended to apply a layer of paint over this type of wood filler.
#4. Epoxy-Based/Liquid Wood Fillers
Over the years, epoxy wood fillers (sometimes known as liquid wood fillers) are quickly becoming one of the best wood fillers on the market. Epoxy is a petroleum-based putty filler that can also be used as an adhesive glue. It is usually a two-part formula that needs to be mixed and has a relatively short dry time. Wood epoxy fillers fillers are excellent outdoor wood fillers since they are weather resistant and very tough.
Wood Filler Applications
There are different types of wood filler applications. They are not restricted only to repair wood. Here are a few common usages for wood fillers.
#1. Hole Filling
As per the original intent of wood fillers, hole filling is the most common use of the best wood fillers. No matter how deep the hole is, a wood filler should be able to accomplish the job. However, before proceeding you will need to smooth the surface with a high-grit sandpaper and remove any debris and dust before applying the wood filler. You can use any type of wood filler to fill deep holes and wood cracks, except for vinyl-based wood fillers that have a tendency to crack when used in thick layers. Feel free to apply a layer of paint later on.
#2. Wood Grain Smoothing
There are many types of wood that have long and wide wood grains. Wood such as white oak is a good example. One way to make this type of wood more aesthetically pleasing, is by applying a thin layer of wood filler on top and then polishing it out. This leaves a smooth and reflecting surface that looks premium. You can then apply a layer of wood stain to make it even more appealing.
You can also apply wood fillers on wooden flooring. However, we do not recommend water-based wood fillers for flooring applications for obvious reasons. First spread a thin layer of an oil-based wood filler on your floor and allow it to set. You can then use a high grit sandpaper to polish and resurface the wood floor. Depending on the type of wood filler use, you may or may not need to apply wood stain. But this, is on a case to case basis. Using a wood epoxy, liquid epoxy, or outdoor wood filler is the way to go when looking for a wood crack filler.
Read More: Oil vs. Water-Based Stain
#4. Furniture Repair
Another very popular application of wood fillers is for furniture repair. If you have parts of furniture that has rot away, you can carefully remove them and reapply a thick layer of any one of the best wood fillers on this list. However, bear in mind that to get a sustainable wood filler, your furniture must not be a load bearing one. If that is the case, then it is recommended to use a wood hardener rather than a wood filler as wood hardeners are tougher than their counterparts.
#5. Material Bonding
One of the best things about wood fillers is that they also act as a tough and durable glue. If you want to stick two pieces of material together, you can still use an appropriate wood filler instead of wood glue. Of course, wood glue is much cheaper than wood fillers but it is nice to know that it is a possibility in case you have to.
How to Fill Wood
As we will see in a stepwise manner, anyone can apply wood fillers in a professional way. It is a quick and easy process that requires almost no skill to perform. Here is how it is done. Bear in mind that you will still need some basic materials listed below.
- Wood Filler
- Wood Glue
- Wood Putty Spatula
- Sanding Sponge (or orbital sander)
- A few pieces of rags
Step 1: Prepare the Surface
Use a sandpaper to polish the area. Then, clean with a piece of wet rag. This is simply to allow the wood filler to set properly without cracking and merge perfectly with the surrounding environment.
Step 2: Choose Your Wood Filler
Next, you will need to choose the type of wood filler. Whether you are using it outdoors or indoors is an important factor to take into account when choosing the right type of wood filler. The end result is that you need a sustainable wood filler, and not just any type of wood filler you can grab your hands on. Now that you have, let’s go to the next step.
Step 3: Apply the Wood Filler
Generously apply the best wood filler you can find to the area with a putty knife. Smoothing it out without applying too much pressure. Let the wood filler work its way through the crack.
Step 4: Let it Dry
Let it dry completely. The drying time will depend from wood filler to wood filler. However, for best effect, we recommend that you let it set for at least 24 hours.
Step 5: Sand and Clean Again
Once it is dry, use an orbital sander or a hand sandpaper to smoothen the wood filler. You should see that it blends well with the surrounding material after a few sandpaper passes. This is when you stop and clean it with a wet rag once again.
Step 6: Final Treatment
Once done, you can apply a layer of wood stain, veneer or paint depending on your choice. Once applied, you should not be able to tell which part is wood filled from the rest of the material.
How to Prepare a Wood Filler
So, you want to prepare a wood filler? Let’s see just how easy it is! Whether you are talking about an epoxy wood filler, liquid wood filler, or a wood putty, there will be a slightly different approach. But in general, all you will need is the best wood filler you can find and a solvent. Depending on the type of wood filler you choose, this solvent can be water or an alcohol-based liquid like thinner. Additionally, you can use a putty spatula or even a thin piece of plywood for mixing the wood filler with the solvent.
When mixing the wood filler with the solvent, you need to make sure that you get a consistent and malleable putty. You do not want it to be too diluted or too dry. It needs to have the right consistency to penetrate the cracks easily. Also, bear in mind that you have a limited amount of time to prepare the wood filler and apply. Wood fillers will dry fairly quickly so once you have prepared it, there is no time to waste. Next time someone asks you what’s a wood filler and how to prepare it? Well, now you know!
Wood Filler vs. Wood Putty
Many people often confuse a wood filler with wood putty. Understandably so as they both look so much alike and do the same task of filling gaps. Here are the major differences between a wood filler vs wood putty.
#1. Wood Filler
Essentially, a wood filler is a water-based putty. It consists generally of chemicals like latex, clay, lacquer, epoxy, liquid or polyurethane. Wood fillers are very quick to set and also very malleable which makes it incredibly easy to apply by almost anyone.
Read More: Lacquer vs. Polyurethane
One of the best advantages of wood fillers is that you can mix sawdust or pigments to it before application. This gives it an aesthetically pleasing texture that requires little to no after work like wood staining.
However, one of the greatest advantage of wood filler vs wood putty is the quick cure time of wood fillers. Many water-based wood fillers can cure in 10 minutes or less. This is pretty remarkable as there is almost no wait time and this type of filler allows you to gain more in productivity, especially in a professional environment where you repair furniture for other people.
#2. Wood Putty
Wood putty, on the other hand, is calcium carbonate and oil-based. This makes it only applicable for oil-based finishes. It is not as versatile as wood fillers but more resistant, especially when used outdoors since it is weatherproof right out-of-the-box. The major advantage of wood putty is that it is much cheaper and more readily available in a local hardware store. Ideally, a wood putty is used on a large project like wood flooring where it would cost too much to apply a wood filler.
However, as already pointed out, it has a limited set of applications and to top it off, wood putty requires at least 48 hours to two weeks to set properly. This is a very long time compared to wood fillers that can set in a matter of minutes. At the end of the day, wood putty is only recommended for use on oil-based finishes but it can save you some money especially if you have a lot of application to perform since it is considerably cheaper than wood fillers.
Read More: 6 Best Deck Stains
Last Updated on January 6, 2021 by Tom Bradly