Water-based sealers and solvent-based sealers both have the same overall effect on concrete floors, but water-based sealers have less odor during application and are not flammable. In the end, however, both sealer types tend to provide the same levels of protection.
Because water-based sealer has less of an odor than a solvent-based sealer, applying the water-based sealer requires less prep time. Less ventilation is required, allowing water-based solvents to be applied after only opening the windows and doors of a room. This also allows for a quicker clean-up after application and cuts down the time required to complete an application job. The odor from solvent-based sealers is caused largely by the evaporation of the solvent from the sealer as it dries.
The solvent used in solvent-based sealers is highly flammable. To apply the sealant safely, an individual must spend time removing any sources of flame from the room, adding to the project time. Water-based sealers do not have this issue, which not only decreases total application time but also makes spreading the sealer safer.
Water-based sealer dries clear, leaving behind a matte finish. The finish from solvent-based sealer is far more glossy. This matte finish tends to create an understated look that pulls less attention to the concrete floor.