Best Way to Cut Drywall – Which Tool to use? – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

cutting through drywall

If you are in the position of needing to cut drywall, you’ll quickly realize that there are actually several ways to perform this task. And each one of them requires a unique tool.

The diversity of options serves as both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, it empowers do-it-yourselfers to take the preferred approach.

On the other hand, the variety of choices can also make it harder to decide how you want to tackle your job.

Fortunately for you, we’re here to help make the decision process a little bit easier. First, we’re going to identify five tools that are great for cutting drywall. Second, we’re going to pick our favorite versions of each of those tools to help you get the best product possible.

Now, read on to discover some of the best tools for cutting drywall!

Comparison of our Favorite Ways:

RankModelOur Favorite Product
#1A Utility Knife
A Utility Knife(Our Preferred Way)
DeWaIt Fixed Blade Utility Knife

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#2A Reciprocating Saw
A Reciprocating Saw
BLACK+DECKER BDCR20B Reciprocating Saw

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#3A Jab Saw
A Jab Saw
Klein Tools Drywall Saw 31737

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#4An Oscillating Tool
An Oscillating Tool
Dremel MM40-05 Multi-Max

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#5A Rotary Cutting Tool
A Rotary Cutting Tool
Dremel 4000-2/30 Rotary Tool Kit

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5 Best Tools for Cutting Drywall – Reviews Updated: 2019

1. A Utility Knife – Our Preferred Way

Our favorite method for cutting into drywall involves a simple tool that many of you probably already have in your home: the utility knife. Why do we like the utility knife? It’s pretty simple, really. Utility knives are safe, affordable, and easy to use, and they provide you with lots of control.

The utility knife won’t be as rapid or as powerful as some of the other tool options that are featured on this list, but for beginners the trade-off will be well worth it.

Ultimately, this method is reliable and effective for people of every skill level, which is why it claims the top spot on our recommendation list.

We recommend the DeWaIt Fixed Blade Utility Knife with 15 Blades Set:

DeWalt Fixed Blade Utility Knife with 15 Blades -...
3 Customer Reviews
DeWalt Fixed Blade Utility Knife with 15 Blades -...
  • Bonus Pack - DeWALT Fixed Blade Drywall Utility Knife Plus 15 Replacement Blades (5 in Knife Handle...
  • Blade Doesn't Retract Into Handle - Stays in Place for Safe, Secure, Accurate and Reliable Cutting
  • Easy-Change Blade Access - Large Thumb Dial Means You Don't Need a Screwdriver to Open the Knife

If you’re thinking about choosing the utility knife, we think that the DeWalt fixed blade is going to be the way to go. But don’t take our word for it! Check out this list of pros and cons.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Fifteen Replacement Blades
  • Comfortable Grips
Cons
  • A little pricey relative to the market

2. A Reciprocating Saw – The Best Power Tool for Cutting Drywall

If you want to go the power tool route for this job, there’s no beating the reciprocating saw. They’re powerful, efficient, and (in the right hands) extremely precise.

One nice thing about using the reciprocating saw for this job is that there are actually drywall cutting accessories available that are perfectly optimized for it.

However, with great power comes great responsibility. If you’re going to use a power saw for your walls, you need to understand the potential hazards associated with it.

Take your time, use proper safety equipment (goggles, gloves, etc.), and go slow. In addition to causing bodily harm, one wrong move can also damage the wall itself.

If you decide to use a reciprocating saw for this job, we do have a recommendation to provide.

We recommend the BLACK+DECKER BDCR20B Reciprocating Saw:

BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw, Tool Only...
758 Customer Reviews
BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw, Tool Only...
  • Tool Free Blade Change; Battery and charger sold separately
  • Pivoting Shoe
  • Maximum initial battery voltage (measured without a workload) is 20 volts; Nominal voltage is 18.

We’re personally very partial to the Black and Decker BDCR20B reciprocating saw. Here is a quick rundown of why we’re so taken with it.

Deal breakers? For some, maybe. However, others may find that the bargain is good enough to overlook these drawbacks.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Tool-Free Blade Change
  • Variable Speed Trigger
  • Pivoting Shoe
Cons
  • Short Battery Life
  • Lots of Vibration

3. A Jab Saw

The jab saw is another good manual tool that serves as an accessible and affordable means of tackling a drywall cutting job for people of every skill level.

You can get a jab saw for $10 if you really put your mind to it.  The best part though is that this tool is actually designed for drywall.

Using a “jabbing” motion, this saw stabs into the material, while the saw-toothed edges allow you to continue with a smooth downward stroke.

If you need any extra motivation to consider this tool, it’s worth mentioning that many people actually refer to the jab saw as a drywall saw. So there’s certainly plenty of precedence for using the jab saw for this type of job.

Of course, the big con here is that it will require some elbow grease. Unfortunately, this is an issue that you’ll encounter with any manual tool.

Jab saws also aren’t very precise. They make a big mess and leave rough edges behind. Since drywall stays behind the scenes, this isn’t always an issue. For some jobs though, it certainly will be.

Still, if you want to save money and avoid the expense and liability of power tools, the trade-off will be worthwhile.

We recommend the Klein Tools Drywall Saw 31737:

Klein Tools 31737 Drywall Saw, Folding Jab Saw /...
103 Customer Reviews
Klein Tools 31737 Drywall Saw, Folding Jab Saw /...
  • This durable, carbon steel blade is as sturdy as fixed blade Jab saws
  • Faster cutting blade with its triple ground teeth and ability to cut in both directions
  • Lockback mechanism secures the blade open at 125-degree and fully open at 180-degree

As far as we’re concerned, when it comes to jab saws, the Klein tools drywall saw really takes the cake. Here’s why we like it.

Pros
  • Foldable Blade
  • Affordable
  • Cushioned Handle
Cons
  • Some durability concerns

4. An Oscillating Tool

For our second to last recommendation, we have the oscillating tool. The oscillating tool is a little like the swiss army knife of power tools. It can provide a wide range of functions, from cutting to sanding and more.

It’s really a decent piece of equipment for homeowners to have even if they don’t have a drywall project on the agenda.

As far as working with drywall is concerned, there are plenty of reasons to think about using an oscillating tool. The motor is powerful enough to make precise cuts, and you also benefit from more sophisticated technology. Some oscillating tools feature LED lights that help you when working in awkward, poorly lit conditions.

There aren’t really many downsides to using an oscillating tool. They are kind of pricey, but if you cut drywall a lot, you’ll certainly get your money’s worth out of the tool.

They are also kind of loud, but then that’s what you get with power tools.

We recommend the Dremel MM40-05 Multi-Max:

Dremel MM40-05 Multi-Max 3.8-Amp Oscillating Tool...
276 Customer Reviews
Dremel MM40-05 Multi-Max 3.8-Amp Oscillating Tool...
  • High-performance 3.8 Amp motor for the most demanding applications
  • Quick-Lock for tool-less and secure accessory changes
  • Quick-Boost - maintains constant speed throughout toughest applications and materials

We really like the Dremel MM40-05. Check out the pros and cons to see if you feel the same way.

Pros
  • Powerful 3.8 Amp Motor
  • Tool-Free Accessory Changing
  • Variable Speed Controls
Cons
  • Pricey
  • Vibrates a lot

5. A Rotary Cutting Tool (with the right accessories/attachments)

Last but not least, we have the rotary cutting tool. This option actually looks quite a bit like the oscillating tool. The major difference is in how they operate. The rotary tool uses a rotational motion, while the oscillating tool features a back and forth motion.

The big benefit to this option is that it’s very precise, while also being fairly comfortable to use. Do note though that you need to make sure you have the right attachments if you’re going to use the rotary tool for this job.

It’s also somewhat pricey and potentially difficult for people (who are just starting out) to control. Still, this is the tool that a lot of professionals use. It’s hard to beat the accuracy that you get here.

We recommend the Dremel 4000-2/30 Rotary Tool Kit:

Sale
Dremel 4000-2/30 High Performance Rotary Tool Kit-...
1,645 Customer Reviews
Dremel 4000-2/30 High Performance Rotary Tool Kit-...
  • Variable speed from 5,000 to 35,000 RPM; easy-to-understand speed dial features
  • Compatible with all Dremel accessories and attachments
  • Includes 30 Dremel accessories and 2 Dremel attachments

Here we have yet another tool from Dremel for you to consider. Take a look.

Pros
  • Comprehensive Package
  • Wide Variable Speed Range
  • Travel Case
Cons
  • Lots of vibration
  • Very Noisy

Buyer’s Guide

Now that you know your options, here are two big considerations that will help determine which tool is right for you.

What is Your Project

The kind of project you have to tackle can determine what tool you choose to use. As a general rule, hand tools like the jab saw are nice and quick, but they also leave very rough edges. If you don’t require a lot of precision, they’re handy to use. Otherwise, you’ll want to look for something else.

Power tools like the oscillating tool, on the other hand, will be great for leaving very precise cuts.

What is Your Skill Level

As previously mentioned, some jobs demand power tools. When these situations arise you’ll either need to get comfortable using them, or hire out.

Other tasks can be handled with either a manual or a power tool. In such situations, your skill level may factor into what tool you choose. If you don’t have much experience with doing it yourself, you may feel shy around power tools.

For safety’s sake, however, you should never attempt something you aren’t comfortable with.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are lots of options for your drywall cutting do-it-yourself project. Now that you’ve read our drywall cutting tool reviews, you may want to decide what equipment you’ll use to complete your project.

To reiterate, we really like the utility knife method. It’s safe, accessible, and affordable. If you decide to take this approach, consider using the DeWalt fixed blade option.

The truth is, however, that all of the options mentioned in this list are great for getting the job done. Pick the tool that works for you and get cracking!

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