It seems like a simple matter to just snap up the cheapest caulking gun around, but if you’re tired of the frustration that sometimes comes with these often vital tools then you might want to put a bit of forethought into purchasing one. They come in a surprising amount of types and it can be hard to tell the good from the bad.
So why don’t you take a look at our favorites and see if one of them is perfect for you?
Best Overall !
While it’s not exactly a recommended product for the average DIYer, if you’ve got an enormous project or a whole career ahead of you this is money well-spent.
|Newborn 250 Super Smooth Rod||Smooth Rod||Built-in cutter and seal punch|
|3 in 1 Caulking Gun||Ratchet Rod||Built-in cutter and seal punch|
|Newborn 930-GTD||Smooth Rod||None|
|COX 41004-2T Ascot||Smooth Rod||None|
Why You Should Think About Your Caulking Gun
Most of us have been there when it comes to grabbing a caulking gun off the shelf and then finding ourselves frustrated with the whole affair before the job is over.
Most professionals refer to the cheap, ratchet-type guns as disposable. For good reason too, they have a tendency to drip and many novices make plenty of mistakes with them. It’s easy enough to clean up, but you don’t have to spend time cleaning up beads if you’re careful in your selection.
While we don’t recommend spending a whole lot of money on an electric or pneumatic model for most homeowners, there are better options than the “disposable” guns which most people think of when they hear the phrase “caulking gun.”
What Types of Caulking Gun Are There?
There are two available types of manual caulking gun and a couple of different powered variations. For homeowners who rarely use one we definitely recommend going with a manual one, but if putting together windows and sealing things is part of your day job then it might make sense to go with something that costs more.
Ratcheting guns operate by pushing things forward in set increments. They apply pressure in set increments, increasing the internal pressure of the sealant until it comes out of the gun. They can make a mess, however, and have a tendency to drip.
Some are better than others, of course, but for the most part these guns are super cheap and the results will show. They can also be a bit hard on the hands during longer jobs due to the lower pressure needed
If you’re already fine with using one, you may just want to upgrade to a higher end model instead of having to reinvent the wheel while you’re working.
Smooth rod caulking guns apply pressure cleanly and smoothly instead of in set increments. They’re pretty much ideal for home projects and they usually don’t cost much more than a decent ratcheting gun. If you’re consistently having problems with making your bead then they’re a great investment.
Electric caulking guns are expensive but they’re ideal if you’re constantly having to caulk. They’re easy on the hands, operate extremely well, and will cost you as much as ten manual guns.
They also require some practice to get used to, so don’t think you can get around developing the skills you need by investing in one of these.
Pneumatic guns are similar to electric guns and have the same advantages and disadvantages. The main advantage over electric guns is for specialty materials which are highly viscous and simply won’t push without a ton of effort in other types of guns.
For silicon or other common materials you’d be better served with a battery operated gun since you won’t have to drag a compressor around with you on the job site.
What to Look for in a Caulking Gun
For most people this question will resolve itself with personal tastes. Once you’ve decided on the type of gun it really does boil down to a balance between personal preference and budget. That said, keep a look out for the following features.
This definitely isn’t the province of ratcheting guns, which increase the pressure by a set amount with each click along their shaft.
That said, a quick and smooth release is pretty much essential to making the advantage of a smooth rod caulking gun present. The best of these will let off the pressure the very instant you let off the trigger, causing drips to be either non-existent or minimal.
If you don’t want to be digging around for a razor knife and a nail each time you want to open a new can of sealant then you might look for a model with these tools built in. There’s a lot of them available but the best will be out of the way while you’re working and allow you to get things open quickly and efficiently.
Caulking can get hard on the hands after a while since you’ll have to pull the trigger each time you need more sealant to come out of the gun. A higher pressure ratio means less of a trigger pull for you.
For reference, most ratcheting guns are about 5:1 while smooth rods will run about 10:1. The higher the ratio, the less pressure you’ll need to apply and a high ratio can be a complete lifesaver on larger jobs.
During a long job a closed frame gun with all sorts of extra widgets can be tiring to hold. Open frames can help you make sure that the gun weighs less and you’ll be able to work with it longer.
The guns which a professional and a DIYer are going to want are obviously going to be quite different. The truth is, we don’t use these tools all that often for the most part and it really is better to go with a manual gun if you’re just using it at home.
If you’re planning on projects around the home, then we recommend you look for the following:
- Smooth rod operation
- High pressure ratio
- Built in cutter and seal punch
A professional on the other hand would be best served by the best electric gun they can find that will fit into their budget.
Either way, if you use one of our recommended guns you can rest assured you’re in good hands at the end of the day.