07-13-2013 02:25 PM - edited 07-13-2013 02:26 PM
Thanks for your question and welcome to the community!
One of the best applicators for stain can sometimes be a lint-free painters rag.
However, if you are doing a large area like a floor, then using a lambswool applicator with a handle will give you very excellent results. The wool disperses the stain evenly and gives you a nice look; provided you go with the grain of the wood planks.
For any hard-to-reach areas like spindles on a staircase, using a paint and stain mitt works wonders for these places. The mitt actually can hold more stain than a typical brush.
You still can use the traditional natural hair brushes rated for oil and water based stains. These work at applying stain on a substrate much easier than the cheaper synthetic versions.
Lastly, if this area if for an exterior deck, you can use a pump sprayer and/or applicator to save a lot of time.
Below is one that will give you professional results when applied correctly.
So in closing depending on where, how much, and what kind of stain will determine how you can apply it. Almost all can be done using the materials shown above.
Spraying stain is not an uncommon method as well, but something that more pros do than DIYers. I would only opt for this if you have familiarity using a power sprayer and making sure the settings are there for stains. Spraying is great for large areas, but isn't needed for smaller areas.
Once you know where the stain will go and how much you will need, then you can use one of the options above.
Let us know if you have any further questions,
I am a 12 year Home Depot Store Associate, trained and authorized to help people on the Internet.