On the surface it looks like gel stains are more "paint like" than actual stain - though I've never worked with it to tell for sure. We'd like to try doing a little staining of hideous cabinets as face lifts - and then escalate to doing more if it works well.
With both you need to clean the surface and sand previously finished cabinets.
Actual stain might take a little or a LOT more sanding?
Both seem to need top coats which would optimally be sprayed on for best result. (no brush strokes)
So what's the difference then - the few (amateur user) gel project samples I've seen looked like badly painted cabinets - uneven color with brush strokes all over. It would be nice if the finished look more wood-like than painted on.
And what about Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations? This looks even MORE like thinly veiled marketing of expensive PAINT. Or is it just their branded gel?