Best Caulking Guns 2020 – Reviews & Top Picks
Many times, it turns out that you have found a problem and have invested in the caulk to fix the problem only to find that you still need a caulking gun or that your old one no longer works. When it comes time to choosing a new brand of a caulking gun, you might be surprised to see just how many different types they are and how advanced such a simple thing has become. You may find that purchasing a new caulking gun is quite tricky.
We’ve reviewed dozens of different models of caulking guns and have come up with our own system for finding the good ones. We have chosen ten of the top brands to review and go over with you. We’ll tell you what we like and don’t like about each one so you can see how we approach the reviews so you can get a better idea of what’s important to you.
We’ve also included a caulking gun buyer’s guide where we break the guns down and look at the different features they may offer, so you can learn what’s essential for the proper operation of these devices as you shop.
Below you’ll find our detailed reviews of each caulk gun, where we compare thrust ratio, drips, durability, and modern methods, to help you make an educated purchase.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||Ryobi P310G||
|Best Value||Newborn 930-GTD||
|Premium Choice||Makita XGC01Z||
|Dripless Inc. ETS2000||
|Albion Engineering B26||
The 10 Best Caulking Guns – 2020
1. Ryobi P310G Variable Discharge Caulk + Adhesive Gun – Best Overall
The Ryobi P310G Variable Discharge Caulk and Adhesive Gun is our choice for the best overall. This battery-powered caulk gun uses an 18-volt lithium-ion battery to provide up to 500-pounds push force and can dispense up to 200 tubes on a single charge. The variable speed control lets you easily dial in the perfect size bead while you work and is a considerable advantage over many other styles of automatic caulk guns. It features durable construction with a soft non-slip grip handle.
This model effortlessly applied any caulk we tried and produced even beads. The primary downside to the Ryobi was that it blew out the tube if we let it get down too far, and that would cause a big mess.
2. Newborn Drip-Free Caulking Gun – Best Value
The Newborn 930-GTD Drip-Free Caulking Gun is our choice for the best value, and we think you will find that this is the best caulking gun for the money. This standard operating caulk gun uses smooth rod technology to reduce dripping, and it goes a step further by adding an automatic rod pullback technology that automatically releases pressure applied by the rod when you release the trigger. It features a 10:1 thrust ratio, which will help you get thicker material out of the tube, but you will still have plenty of control over the bead. The handle and trigger are also padded to provide a more comfortable experience.
The only downsides that we experienced were that the supplied tip cutter kept giving us jagged tips, and some of the slightly larger containers that fit in other guns this size wouldn’t fit or needed forcing.
3. Makita Caulk & Adhesive Gun – Premium Choice
The Makita XGC01Z Caulk & Adhesive Gun is our premium choice for those that want a high-quality caulking gun and don’t mind spending a few extra dollars on getting it. This model takes the work out of spreading caulk and pushes it out of the tubes with electric power. An 8-volt lithium-ion battery powers it and can provide up to 100-pounds of a driving force.
It has five speeds so you can set your desired bead size, and the machine will continue to deliver it until it runs dry, and the rotatable cartridge will have you going around bends and corners without stopping. The only things we didn’t like about at were the lack of hole punch and tip cutter, and the caulk sits in a plastic barrel, and it makes us question its durability.
4. Dripless Inc. Ergo Composite Caulk Gun
The Dripless Inc. ETS2000 Ergo Composite Caulk Gun is a 10-ounce caulk gun featuring a revolving frame for getting around corners without stopping. It has a 2:1 thrust ratio that’s suitable for latex, silicone, and acrylic-based caulks. It comes with an aluminum punch and spout cutter so you can get to work without additional tools.
While we reviewed this brand, it worked well for a while, and the trigger was easy to squeeze, but after some time, it seemed to wear out and became increasingly hard to use.
5. Albion Engineering Manual Cartridge Caulking Gun
The Albion Engineering B26 B-Line Manual Cartridge Caulking Gun has a 10-ounce cartridge capacity and features a large full-size handle for easy gripping. It features an extremely high 26:1 thrust ratio that can blow the top off unopened tubes of caulk.
We found it easy to squeeze out very thick and dense caulk without trouble, and the main problem we had was trying to keep the bead even. It was so easy to pull the trigger that it was challenging to remain consistent. This brand also got heavy after a few quick jobs around the home.
6. Chicago Pneumatic CP9885 Air Caulking Gun
The Chicago Pneumatic CP9885 Air Caulking Gun is one of the pneumatic models we’ve chosen to review for you. This brand features solid, durable construction that’s capable of taking plenty of abuse. Using the Chicago Pneumatic is easy and only requires pulling the trigger to start the flow of material.
While we were trying this brand out, we had a tough time trying to adjust the flow rate and never quite got it. It also does a lot of hissing when you press the trigger, which translates into wasted air pressure and additional stress on your compressor.
7. Finder Silicone Caulking Gun
The Finder FD-HCG-01 Silicone Caulking Gun is a standard mechanical caulk gun that features superior smooth rod action for more control over your bead and less mess. Its all-steel body features a durable powder coating that won’t chip or peel and will prevent rust. We found it to be lightweight despite its steel construction.
Unfortunately, this brand doesn’t have a seal breaker or a tip cutter, so you will need to supply those items yourself. Another problem we had while we were using it is that the plunger would often get stuck when we were getting close to the end of a tube of caulk.
8. Caulk N’ Seal Revolving Frame Caulking Gun
The Caulk N’ Seal CG500 Revolving Frame Caulking Gun is a professional grade standard caulk gun with a revolving housing for getting around corners. It features a durable heat-treated steel rod and trigger components and comes equipped with a puncture needle. It features a powerfully high 23:1 thrust ratio that is suitable for even the most stubborn caulk.
We enjoyed using this brand and were able to get an even bead without much trouble. The high cost of this brand is preventative, and we hated the aluminum handle, which made the whole unit feel flimsy.
9. PC Products Steel Dispensing Caulking Gun
The PC Products 900550 Steel Dispensing Caulking Gun is made from heavy gauge steel and is sure to last many years under even the harshest abuse. It features a powerfully high 26:1 thrust ratio that can make short work of even the thickest caulks. It has a handy quick-release thumb trigger to remove pressure and stop leaks instantly.
The downside to this brand is the high thrust ratio makes it hard to get a consistent bead on the thinner type caulks for smaller jobs around the home. The all-steel construction also gets quite heavy after just a few minutes, and the large handles are slightly too big.
10. BOUSH Sausage Caulking Gun
The BOUSH CG0001-S Sausage Caulking Gun is the last model on our list to review for you, and though it’s not as good as the first three calking guns on our list, you might find this one has some features you like. It’s one of the few sausage guns on our list for one reason: Sausage guns are a great way to reduce waste. It also features an 18:1 thrust ratio, which usually works well at removing thicker compounds while still allowing enough control to get an even bead out of the thinner compounds.
While we were reviewing this product, though, we found it cheaply made, and it often dripped and leaked onto our work area. It also produced an annoying squeak when we squeezed the trigger.
Let’s break down the caulking gun to see how it works and what is essential to look for when buying one.
An excellent place to start is with the construction quality. A calking gun can seem like a simple device, but some caulks are very thick and will require a lot of force to expel them from the tube. The guns also tend to take a beating, and over time some parts can rust and make the gun hard to use.
Caulking guns can use many materials for their barrel design. Steel aluminum and plastic are just the most common material. The trigger mechanism that pushes the caulk is usually steel, as is the rod.
Plastics tend to crack but are lightweight, while steel can get heavy and will rust over time. If you have a lot of big jobs to do, weight is a more significant issue, but for many homeowners who only need to reapply to caulk occasionally, a more durable gun will provide better results.
There are two popular frame designs for caulking guns, an open design, and a half-barrel design.
Picture a tall can of beer or soda cut in half from the top own and put on its side to resemble a boat, that’s the half barrel design. The design holds the tube of caulk snug while a piece inserted in the back pushes out the caulking.
The open-frame design has the same overall shape as the half barrel, but a wireframe replaces its solid metal sides. This type of frame is lighter than the solid frames without sacrificing any durability.
There are two kinds of specialized frames that you should be aware of that might be helpful.
The revolving frame caulk gun is designed to go around corners without stopping. With traditional style caulk guns, you need to stop at the corners, which creates a raised area that will require cleanup.
Traditional caulking guns push the caulk from the gun but leave the outer shell of the tube intact. Sausage guns crush the container as they push out the caulking to reduce waste.
Automatic Caulk Guns
There are many reasons a person might not be physically able to squeeze the trigger on a caulking gun, and in these cases, you will need one of the following types of automatic guns that use other means to spread the caulk.
Electric and Battery Powered
There are several brands of electric calk guns available, and lithium-ion batteries have come a long way in the last few years, allowing many battery-operated tools to rival their plugged-in counterparts.
Electric caulk guns push the caulk out using an electric motor that you control with the trigger. These machines produce an even bead without any struggle, but you can waste some caulking trying to get the flow rate right. You are either tethered to a power cable, or the weighed-down by a heavy battery, so consider that downside before you invest.
A pneumatic caulk gun is another type of automatic gun that uses air to push the caulk from the tube. These guns are often lightweight and easy to use but the need to connect to an air compressor. Pneumatic guns are a great idea if you already have an air compressor with a long enough air hose but not likely to be worth the extra cost for most people.
Regulating the Flow
One challenging aspect of automatic caulk guns is getting the right flow rate. When using standard guns, you can change the flow rate in real-time by adjusting the amount of pressure you are applying to the trigger, but many automatic guns will want you to dial in the flow rate before you use it. Setting up the flow rate can lead to some wasted caulk, and flow rate needs often change over a job.
Plunger rods are the long metal bars that push the caulk from the tube. There are two kinds of plunger rods, smooth and ratcheted.
Ratcheted rods are much more common than smooth rods because they are the original style. The ratcheting caulk gun uses a serrated rod that uses a ratcheting action to move the plunger down the tube. This type of gun is prone to dripping, and you need to disengage the ratcheting rod to stop the flow of caulk.
Smooth rods, often referred to as dripless, are growing in popularity and are easier to use than ratcheted rods. These devices use a spring-loaded metal plate to grab and lock the plunger wherever you release the trigger. They work better because you bypass the strict distances created by the serrated teeth on the ratcheted rod. Smooth rods also create a stronger, more consistent pressure that makes the trigger easier to squeeze on a smooth rod caulking gun.
We recommend opting for the smooth rods if you have the choice.
The thrust ratio is a critical aspect of the caulking gun, listed as how many pounds of pressure you get from applying one pound of pressure to the trigger. For example, if a caulking gun had a thrust ratio of 3:1, three pounds of force is applied to the back of the tube for every pound applied to the trigger.
You can find caulking guns with ratios up to 24:1, and the higher the ratio, the easier it is to use. The thrust ratio can also be an indicator of gun quality. Cheaply made caulking guns often have very low ratios, which makes it difficult to spread the caulking and impossible to spread it evenly.
When shopping for your next caulk gun, keep in mind that caulk comes in two sizes, a 3 to 6-ounce size, and 9 to 11-ounce size. Each will need a caulk gun designed for that size tube.
Punch and Cutter
Something else you might want to look for before purchasing your next caulk gun is an easy way to open the caulk. Many brands include a long thin piece of metal to be used to poke open the foil sealing most caulk tubes. Some may also offer a type of blade for cutting the tip of the caulk to the desired angle. These additional features can be handier than you might think, and we recommend purchasing a brand that has them.
We hope that you have enjoyed reading over our caulking gun reviews and are closer to deciding which one you want. We stand by our choice for the best overall. The Ryobi P310G Variable Discharge Caulk and Adhesive Gun feature a battery-powered motor with real-time variable speed and comfortable rubber grip. It puts down a nice even bead with any caulking compound. The Newborn 930-GTD Drip-Free Caulking Gun is our choice for the best value, and it’s a great choice if you don’t mind caulking the old-fashioned way. The Newborn features anti-drip mechanics and a 10:1 thrust ratio.
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Featured Image Credit By: Finder Silicone Caulking Gun, amazon
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 10 Best Caulking Guns – 2020
- 1. Ryobi P310G Variable Discharge Caulk + Adhesive Gun – Best Overall
- 2. Newborn Drip-Free Caulking Gun – Best Value
- 3. Makita Caulk & Adhesive Gun – Premium Choice
- 4. Dripless Inc. Ergo Composite Caulk Gun
- 5. Albion Engineering Manual Cartridge Caulking Gun
- 6. Chicago Pneumatic CP9885 Air Caulking Gun
- 7. Finder Silicone Caulking Gun
- 8. Caulk N’ Seal Revolving Frame Caulking Gun
- 9. PC Products Steel Dispensing Caulking Gun
- 10. BOUSH Sausage Caulking Gun
- Buyer’s Guide