The 7 Best Caulking Guns

Updated May 14, 2018 by Chase Brush

7 Best Caulking Guns
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
Whether you have a few home DIY projects you are planning on tackling or you are a professional plumber, tiler or construction worker, chances are that one of these caulking guns will come in extremely handy at some point. The are ideal for quickly and easily dispensing fillers and sealants around bathtubs and sinks, and for squirting out all kinds of adhesives, too. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best caulking gun on Amazon.

7. Dripless Inc. ETS2000 Ergo Composite

The Dripless Inc. ETS2000 Ergo Composite is a basic, affordably priced model that won't stagger anyone with its beauty or efficacy, but which works fine with most caulks and adhesives, and that's what counts. It offers a solid 12:1 thrust ratio, too.
  • built-in spout cutter
  • hanging hook on back
  • not actually all that dripless
Brand Dripless Inc.
Model ETS2000
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

6. Tajima CNV-100SP Convoy Super Rotary

With an extra long barrel and a 1/10th gallon capacity, the Tajima CNV-100SP Convoy Super Rotary is ideal for the worker who needs to dispense large quantities of caulk in minimal amounts of time. Plus, it helps keep things clean with its auto flow stop feature.
  • twin thrust plates
  • rugged aluminum handle
  • requires a lot of effort to use
Brand Tajima
Model CNV-100SP
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

5. Campbell Hausfeld PL1558 Air Powered

If you've already got an air compressor at your home, in your shop, or at your work site, spend a few dollars and invest in this Campbell Hausfeld PL1558 Air Powered. Unlike manual units, it ensures even, effortless distribution of all kinds of sealants and fillers.
  • shuts off valve with trigger release
  • uses standard cartridges
  • requires additional equipment
Brand Campbell Hausfeld
Model PL155800AV
Weight 2.9 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

4. Adtech 0564 Pro Touch

For small home makeover jobs, such as finishing door frames or covering up holes in walls, the compact and nimble size of the Adtech 0564 Pro Touch should serve you well. Included with the gun itself are two little tubes of paintable caulk, so you can start right away.
  • steady trigger and no mess stop
  • comes with a scraper
  • quick-start guide on box
Brand Ad-Tech
Model 0564
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

3. Albion Engineering B12 Manual

This Albion Engineering B12 Manual was designed to work with all standard viscosity materials that come packaged in 1/10 gallon (or 300 millimeter) cartridges. In other words, it's perfect for the most common construction projects, from sealing gaps to gluing wood panels.
  • built-in cartridge puncture wire
  • full sized handle offers good grip
  • barrel holds tube securely
Brand Albion Engineering Comp
Model B12
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

2. Makita XGC01Z LXT 10-Ounce

For the professional plumber or tile installer who lays miles and miles of caulk each year, the battery-powered Makita XGC01Z LXT 10-Ounce will save you tons of time and energy. This powerful tool can deliver 1,100 pounds of dispensing force across 5 speed settings.
  • releases even dense filler smoothly
  • variable speed trigger
  • holder rotates 360 degrees
Brand Makita
Model XGC01Z
Weight 5.2 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

1. Newborn 930-GTD Drip-Free

There are a few reasons the Newborn 930-GTD Drip-Free is a best seller, including its Gator trigger and ergonomic grip, its auto-retracting hex rod, and its smooth pressure action. Mostly, though, it comes down to the rock bottom price tag.
  • 10 to 1 thrust ratio
  • sturdy steel half barrel
  • quieter than ratchet-style models
Brand Newborn Brothers
Model 930-GTD
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Choosing A Caulking Gun

Using a good caulking gun makes finishing the construction or remodel of a bathroom, kitchen, or any other space that needs seams sealed against water a pleasantly easy project. Caulking guns help their users apply an even amount of material at a constant rate, leaving behind a clean, functional space. This basic, affordable tool is an essential part of any professional builder's arsenal, and is a good idea for the homeowner (or the handy renter) to keep around, as well.

Most caulking guns operate using a pistol grip shape complete with a trigger-style handle squeezed by all four fingers at once. They allow for generous distribution of caulk with each squeeze and are easy to control with your grip strength serving as the source dispensing power.

For the person with limited hand strength caused by age, accident, or illness, however, these hand-operated caulking guns may not be the best choice. So, too, might the contractor or remodeling professional who goes through dozens of tubes of caulk in a given work week consider another option: the powered caulk gun.

Caulking tools that use a power source other than your hand fall into one of two categories: the electrically-operated tool, and the pneumatically-powered variety.

Battery-operated caulk guns reduce the strain put on the fingers and forearm of the operator, yet are rather heavy when compared to basic caulk guns, which might be a drawback for some people. They can be used anywhere, and with practice, they let their operator dispense nearly endless amounts of caulk in smooth, steady lines.

Pneumatic caulk guns require the use of an air compressor or air tank, which can be a limiting factor. They are lighter than batter-powered units, though, while still offering the same ease-of-use.

Proper Caulking Technique

Before you commence installing new caulk around a bathtub, sink, toilet, or in the gaps between tile, you need to remove as much of the old and worn-out caulk as possible. For new fixtures and/or tile, make sure the surfaces where you will be working are as clean and dry as possible, as dust, dirt, and moisture can prevent a proper bond. Use razor blades, the tip of a screwdriver, and brushes with stiff bristles to remove old caulk and grit, and consider running a high-powered vacuum around the area you have prepared.

When you cut the tip off of a tube of caulk, do so at an approximate 45-degree angle for applying caulk to seams with 90-degree corners, like you'd find around the rim of a tub or the pan of a shower. An opening of around 1/8-inch should be sufficient for these and similar projects. For applying caulk between tiles (or for other fine applications, such as woodworking), try a more acute angle and a smaller hole; a 60- or 70-degree cut off the tip and a 1/16-inch opening will allow for more precise distribution of caulk into smaller gaps.

Any experienced contractor will tell you that one of the best tools for proper caulk installation is a moistened finger. There is often no better way to help create a smooth, rounded, and seamless bead of caulk than by slowly and steadily running your finger along the corner or crack the material is filling. Most types of caulk are perfectly harmless to human skin, though you should be sure to wash your hands thoroughly to remove any traces left behind before they dry. You can also don a tightly fitting rubber glove to keep your hands clean while shaping the seams and strips you have dispensed. Just make sure to dip it in water frequently while you work.

There are also multiple caulk shaping tools available that can help you create a crisp, clean edge in fresh caulk. Most are made from plastic that is sturdy and rigid, but that will not scratch tile, porcelain, or other plastic components. Make sure to thoroughly clean the shaping tools as soon as you have finished using them.

To trim caulk that has dried, use as sharp a knife as you can, and trim the caulk in long strips. You can also use sand paper to lightly buff away small patches of caulk that strayed from their intended borders. If you think you will have trouble applying a smooth and steady bead of caulk, consider preparing the work space with masking tape leaving only the intended areas exposed.

How To Choose the Right Caulk

A caulking gun is a perfect example of an item that is absolutely useless on its own. You can use a caulk gun productively in one way only, and that is to distribute caulk from a tube. (Coincidentally, the tube of caulk designed for use in a caulking gun is worthless without its purpose-built counterpart; they are almost impossible to use by hand.)

For most projects, a general purpose caulk made of an acrylic-latex blend will serve admirably. This material resists water, is generally flexible, even over time, and is low-cost. Consider a quick-drying option for an area you cannot avoid using for a protracted period, such as a kitchen sink. Note that some acrylic-latex caulks respond well to paint, while others are best left unpainted as painting may lead to cracks and flakes as it shrinks over time. (This is usually the case with cheaper options only, though.)

Silicone caulk is highly flexible and completely waterproof, making it perfect for use around drains, faucets, and so forth. It cannot be painted, however, so consider it for out-of-sight applications, like the area around a garbage disposal or the pipes behind the toilet. Silicone caulk is also good for use in areas where the temperature fluctuates, as it resists expansion and contraction.

Finally, for outdoor caulking projects such as sealing gutters or filling gaps in a window frame, try butyl rubber caulk. This thick material is waterproof, flexible, and resilient, standing up to the ravages of weather, motion caused by wind, and impacts from falling twigs, pine cones, and other debris. Butyl rubber caulk tends to give off lots of VOCs (volatile organic compounds), so work with it only in a well-ventilated area and consider wearing protection over your mouth and nose.

When selecting a caulk, don't overlook the simplest factor: make sure the product you are considering will fit in the caulking tool you own or are considering buying. (This consideration is of special importance if you chose a non-standard unit, such as a miniature caulking gun.)

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Last updated on May 14, 2018 by Chase Brush

Chase is a freelance journalist with experience working in the areas of politics and public policy. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, he is also a hopeless itinerant continually awaiting his next Great Escape.

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