Wax- The most basic of all sealers offers little protection and has to be reapplied often. Reapplied OFTEN…
Acrylics- Widely used sealer and fairly UV stable however it scratches easy and does not offer good stain protection. Most solvents will melt or etch it, causing the product to fail.
Epoxies- Many different types on the market. Epoxy will provide a hard surface not prone to scratching, however epoxies are not UV stable and will yellow. This product is not tolerant to heat exposure. Not good for countertops!
Urethane- In general they are tough, UV stable, very stain resistant, scratch resistant and heat resistant. Very potent product, you will have to wear protective gear to apply.
I use a two part urethane sealer that offers my clients a finish of matte, semi- gloss and high gloss. The sealer can withstand staining from common house-hold products and highly used industrial products. It is heat resistant and can withstand a hot pot or pan right off the stove or oven with no effect and holds up well against scratches.
The most misunderstood claim about a sealer is it “won’t scratch!” All topical sealers can and will get scratches regardless of the manufactures statements. All in all, you have to be careful, and know that if it’s scratched or fails…it can be fixed!
I didn’t touch on penetrating sealers, because I don’t use them enough to give insight… stick with a topical product, you can always change it.