The 10 Best Caulking Guns for Easy Sealing

The 10 Best Caulking Guns for Easy Sealing

As your home ages, cracks will show up, allowing insects to come in and out of your house as they please. Cracks can also mess with your heating and cooling system, causing unwanted rises in your electricity bill. That’s where caulking guns come in! They cover up cracks with an adhesive sealant in smooth, even lines.

Of course, that’s just one use for caulking guns, and the best option for you will depend on the type of caulk you need and the home project you’re working on. In the following guide, we’ll share information with you on what to look for in a caulking gun, and you’ll learn all about the best caulking guns on the market today.

Important Factors to Consider When Buying a Caulking Gun

Caulking guns function in a variety of ways and have varying features for you to consider. In the following section, we’ll detail the main factors you need to consider when choosing the best caulking gun for you.

Types of Caulking Guns

Not all caulking guns perform in the exact same way. Listed below are the different types of caulking guns available and how they work.

1. Ratchet Gun

Ratchet guns are the traditional caulking tool. These types of guns function with pressure-based technology and come with a pushrod that you push and pull to release caulk from its tube. It can be difficult to control the caulk flow on these types of guns if it’s your first time using one, so these are better for people who already have experience.

2. Powered Gun

If you have sensitive hands, constantly squeezing a trigger to release caulk can be exhausting, especially if you have a lot of cracks to cover! That is why powered caulking guns are a popular choice. Listed below are the different types of powered guns there are to choose from:

Electric:

Electric caulking guns have a cord that needs to be plugged into an outlet. You can accurately dispense sealant by lightly pressing the finger trigger.

Battery-Powered:

These have removable batteries that you can repower overnight in a charger. This enables you to use the caulking gun in areas that don’t have easy access to electrical outlets.

Pneumatic:

Caulking guns that are air-powered are super popular for people who work in home workshops. They easily interchange with other air-powered tools, and there’s no need to recharge a battery. You will also need an air compressor to use a pneumatic caulking gun.

3. Sausage Gun

The sausage gun is made to hold sealant containers that are collapsible (i.e., called “sausages”). They operate similarly to other kinds of caulking guns, but they allow you to use every last bit of sealant. While they do reduce waste, they’re typically not as effective as the other types, and for that reason, none made our top 10 list.

Important Features of Caulking Guns

Most caulking guns will come with a seal puncture tool, spout cutter, and hanging hook built in the frame for your convenience. In addition to these features, consider the following when purchasing a caulking gun.

The Thrust Ratio

The thrust ratio is the force generated every time you squeeze the hand trigger. They can run from 3:1 up to 28:1. The higher the ratio, the more force you’ll need to exert when you squeeze the handle. Guns with a high thrust ratio work faster and more efficiently.

Of course, for powered guns, this thrust ratio does not apply, as you’re not required to squeeze a hand trigger at all.

The Rod

When you squeeze the hand trigger on a manual gun, it pushes the rod into the back of the tube of caulk. This pressure pushes the caulk out of the tube’s tip onto the surface you’re fixing. There are two main types of gun rods that perform in slightly different ways, ratchet rods and smooth rods.

For a deep-dive on how these rod types vary, you can skip over to our full guide on caulking gun rods.

The Revolving Frame

Stopping and starting a line of caulk in any given area can leave behind lumps and bulges that don’t look good. Working a caulking gun around corners can also pose a problem as you may have to change your hand position and the gun’s angle to work it properly.

A revolving frame helps you deal with this issue as you can rotate the frame rather than the whole gun to caulk without stopping and starting too much, resulting in fewer bulges and lumps.

The Weight and Grip

If you need to do a lot of caulking, a lighter gun is the best choice. They ensure that your hands and wrists don’t get exhausted over long-term use, so you can work as long as you need. The sealant you use in a lightweight gun should also be light in nature, to help you control your movements for more precise work.

You should also pay close attention to the grip handle on the caulking gun, especially if you have sensitive hands that tire out easily. Soft handles with ridges will be the best choice for you to ensure you maintain a firm grip on your caulking gun without stressing your hands and joints too much.

person holding a yellow caulking gun

Now you know the factors you look out for, let’s dive right into our product reviews. Here are the 10 best caulking guns you can buy in 2021.

Top 10 Best Caulking Guns 2021

1. Best Overall Caulking Gun: Newborn 930-GTD

Newborn 930-GTD

Why we like it: This lightweight caulking gun is made with sturdy steel. Its smooth pressure rod works quietly and pulls back after you release the handle to avoid wasting your sealant.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Type of Gun: Ratchet, Drip-Free
  • Thrust Ratio: 10:1
  • Weight: 1.5lbs

Key Features

The Newborn 930-GTD is approximately 1.5lbs and made with a sturdy steel frame. The welded plate in the back secures your cartridge in place, and the thermoplastic that pads the handle and trigger is comfortable to grip.

The smooth pressure rod works more quietly than traditional ratchet-style ones. Plus, it retracts easily after you release the handle so that excess caulk won’t continue to ooze out of your gun when you’ve stopped working. However, because the push bar has no actual ratchets, it will require more pressure to caulk out smaller beads. This caulking gun has a 10:1 thrust ratio that works well with light to medium viscosity caulks like latex or silicone.

Pros

  • Made with a sturdy steel frame
  • Thermoplastic padding on handle and grip ensures comfort
  • Smooth rod works quietly and easily releases to stop caulk flow

Cons

  • Handle and rod will require more pressure to caulk smaller beads

2. Best Budget Caulking Gun: Newborn 102D

Newborn 102D

Why we like it: Like the Newborn 930-GTD, the Newborn 102D is lightweight, sturdy, and designed to be drip-free.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Type of Gun: Ratchet, Drip-Free
  • Thrust Ratio: 10:1
  • Weight: 1lb

Key Features

The Newborn 102D caulking gun is lightweight (about 1 lb.) and made with steel. The 10:1 thrust ratio works best with low viscosity materials (i.e., latex, siliconized acrylic, etc.). There is no padded grip on this model though, so it’s less comfortable to use.

Like the Newborn 930-GTD, this caulking gun has a smooth pressure rod that works quietly and requires less pressure to release caulk. The rod also retracts when you let go of the trigger, preventing extra caulk from releasing from the tube. Additionally, the welded plate in the back secures cartridges easily into place. However, some users have noted that the rod may stop advancing enough to properly push out the caulk.

Pros

  • Drip-free design
  • Works best with low viscosity caulks
  • Smooth pressure rod works quietly

Cons

  • No padded gripping
  • Rod may not always properly push out the caulk

3. Best Caulking Gun for Large Projects: Dripless Inc. ETS2000 Ergo Composite

Dripless Inc. ETS2000 Ergo Composite

Why we like it: With a high thrust ratio, dripless design, and ergonomic grip, the ETS2000 Ergo Composite caulking gun is great for any large home projects you have to tackle.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Type of Gun: Ratchet, Drip-Free with Revolving Frame
  • Thrust Ratio: 12:1
  • Weight: <1lb

Key Features

The lightweight frame has a fairly high thrust ratio (12:1), which means that it will work well with most caulks and adhesives as long as they are in a 10 oz cartridge. Latex, acrylic, and silicone caulks perform the best with this gun. Though this model is dripless, that will depend entirely on the viscosity of the caulk you’re using. Thinner ones will tend to drip more.

The rod is designed to take the pressure off of the cartridge when you release the trigger to stop the flow and prevent spills. Though most users find the drip-free technology useful, some find it troublesome when they’re working with thicker caulks.

The ETS2000 Ergo Composite’s revolving frame means that the cartridge will rotate in order to maintain bead orientation when you’re working around corners. That, coupled with its ergonomic grip, will help keep your wrist in a natural position, ensuring overall comfort.

Pros

  • Drip-free design
  • High thrust ratio works well with most types of caulk
  • Revolving frame keeps your hands and joints comfortable
  • Ergonomic grips make it easy to hold

Cons

  • Thinner caulks may still drip

4. Best Caulking Gun for Occasional Use: Newborn 188 Super

Newborn 188 Super

Why we like it: The Newborn 188 Super is the best gun for the occasional DIYer. Its sharp ratchet teeth will hold caulk cartridges firmly in place while you work.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Type of Gun: Ratchet
  • Thrust Ratio: 6:1
  • Weight: 1lb

Key Features

If you’re the occasional DIYer, this is the best caulking gun for you. The Newborn 188 Super works with traditional ratchet rod technology. The pressure rod has extra-sharp teeth that hold the rod firmly in place with each pull of the trigger. This helps to minimize drips. It is important to note that this gun does not have a thumb-activated rod release; you will need to use both hands to release the rod.

Its thrust ratio is fairly low (6:1), so it will work best with low-viscosity sealants like latex. 1/10-gallon cartridges fit best in the half-barrel steel frame. There is also a welded plate in the back of the gun to secure the cartridge in place. It’s also quite lightweight: you won’t get overly tired carrying around this 1 lb. tool.

Pros

  • Great for the occasional DIYer
  • Lightweight and easy to carry around
  • Works well with low-viscosity sealants
  • Extra-sharp teeth on the ratchet rod holds cartridges firmly in place

Cons

  • Need to use two hands to release the rod

5. Best Premium Caulking Gun: DEWALT 20V Max Cordless

DEWALT 20V Max Cordless

Why we like it: Like the Campbell Hausfeld caulking gun, the DEWALT 20V allows you to caulk with excellent control.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Type of Gun: Electric (Battery-Powered), Drip-Free with Rotating Frame
  • Thrust Ratio: n/a
  • Weight: 4lbs

Key Features

The DEWALT 20V Max Cordless has a variable speed trigger design that allows you to adjust the flow of your sealant. The variable speed dial can also be set with maximum and minimum flow rates. The anti-drip feature will automatically retract the rod as soon as you release the trigger. It is also designed to allow users to easily and quickly switch between cartridge sizes. It can hold 10 oz. sealant containers and works at a speed of 21 in/min.

This caulking gun is really big and heavy, so it won’t hang easily on a tool belt, and you’d have to carry it within a separate tool bag, but we think the trade-off here is worth it considering the variable speed that it offers. That said, if you’re looking for a lighter tool, then you may wish to check out the ETS2000 Ergo Composite instead.

Unfortunately, in our experience, the plastic housing container that is attached to the rotating cylinder can shatter after a short period of use, which is worrying for the price.

Pros

  • Drip-free design
  • Variable speed trigger allows for easy adjustment
  • Can set minimum and maximum flow rates
  • Can house various cartridge sizes

Cons

  • Plastic housing container may shatter
  • Very heavy

6. Most Durable Caulking Gun: Newborn 250 Super

Newborn 250 Super

Why we like it: With its corrosion-resistant zinc alloy handle and its heavy-duty steel frame, the Newborn 250 Super caulking gun is built to last.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Type of Gun: Ratchet, Drip-Free with a Revolving Frame
  • Thrust Ratio: 18:1
  • Weight: 1.8lbs

Key Features

The Newborn 250 has a revolving frame, which makes easy work of caulking around corners without having to constantly start and stop. It’s made with a corrosion-resistant zinc alloy handle, ensuring that it’ll last a very long time. The frame is hefty (about 1.8 lbs.) and made with heavy-duty steel that stands up well to hard use.

The thrust ratio is quite high. At 18:1, it can easily dispense a variety of medium viscosity caulks like asphalt, cement, butyl, and acrylic. The smooth pressure rod works quietly and does not need much force applied to properly release caulk. It also has a thumb release, making it more or less drip-free.

You can purchase this caulking gun in packs of 2, 3, 4, or 5 if you’d like. Some users have stated that the spout cutter does not cut cleanly enough and that the seal puncture tool was too thick for cartridges with thinner spouts.

Pros

  • Corrosion-resistant zinc alloy handle
  • High thrust ratio (18:1)
  • Thumb release stops dripping
  • Can purchase in a pack of 2 to 5

Cons

  • Seal puncture may be too thick for certain cartridges
  • Spout cutter may not cut very cleanly

7. Best Gun for Thick Caulk: Red Devil 3989

Red Devil 3989

Why we like it: If you’re working with thick caulks, the Red Devil 3989 is the gun for you. With a thrust ratio of 26:1, you’ll be sure to extrude the thickest sealants.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Type of Gun: Ratchet, Drip-Free with Revolving Barrel
  • Thrust Ratio: 26:1
  • Weight: 1.65lbs

Key Features

The Red Devil 3989 exerts 950 pounds of force with its 26:1 thrust ratio. This means that the gun can easily handle extruding high viscosity materials like hybrids adhesives and epoxies. Its drip-free design will stop the flow of sealants as soon as you release the lever. However, it may still drip if you’re using thinner caulks.

The barrel on this gun revolves so that you can work efficiently around corners and in hard-to-reach areas. The ergonomic handle is made with rubber that is comfortable to grip.

Pros

  • Drip-free design
  • 26:1 thrust ratio works well with thick caulks
  • Revolving barrel is easy to work around corners
  • Ergonomic, rubber handle is comfortable to grip

Cons

  • Thinner caulks may still drip

8. Edward Tools

Edward Tools

Why we like it: Edwards Tools guarantees a lifetime of service to its customers. If anything breaks down or stops working in your caulking gun, you can replace it with a new gun at no cost.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Type of Gun: Ratchet
  • Thrust Ratio: 15:1
  • Weight: <1lb

Key Features

The heavy-duty steel half-barrel is designed to work well with 10 oz. caulks. The thrust ratio is 15:1, which means that it works best with low to medium viscosity caulks. The smooth rod retracts after releasing the trigger, making it dripless. Though you can use thicker caulks with this gun, you will find that you need to apply a lot more pressure in order for it to properly release. Some users have said that the release trigger is quite hard to release.

Your purchase comes with a lifetime warranty. If any part of your caulking gun breaks or no longer works, you can replace it with a new one for free.

Pros

  • Drip-free design
  • Heavy-duty, half-barrel frame
  • Works well with low and medium viscosity caulks
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Release trigger may be hard to manipulate

9. SolidWork

SolidWork

Why we like it: Like the Edwards Tools caulking gun, SolidWork has an excellent return policy: if you are not satisfied with your purchase, you can return it for a full refund for up to a year from when you purchased the gun.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Type of Gun: Ratchet with Revolving Frame
  • Thrust Ratio: 26:1
  • Weight: 2.14lbs

Key Features

With a high thrust ratio (26:1), the SolidWork caulking gun is able to extrude sealants with thicker viscosities. It is comfortable to grip and ensures that your hands won’t tire out too easily when using it, even when working in cold environments.

The frame of this caulking gun is made with high-quality, die-cast aluminum that is built to last, even under extreme conditions. The cartridge holder can be rotated 360° so you can easily release caulk in corners and tough-to-reach places.

If you need to apply more pressure to your cartridge, simply use the adjustment screw to adjust the grip. Unfortunately, there is no automatic dripless feature in this caulking gun, and you will have to press the pressure release tab when you’re done applying sealant. If dripless use is a dealbreaker for you, your money would be better spent on the Newborn 930-GTD. It also does not come with the spout cutter that is common in most guns.

More positively, if you are not 100% satisfied with your caulking gun, you can return them for your money back for up to a year after purchasing it.

Pros

  • High thrust ratio (26:1) works well with thick caulks
  • Comfortable grip lessens hand fatigue
  • Frame made with high-quality, die-cast aluminum
  • Cartridge holder rotates 360°

Cons

  • Not dripless
  • Does not come with a spout cutter

10. Campbell Hausfeld

Campbell Hausfeld

Why we like it: The air-powered functionality of the Campbell Hausfeld means that you can release sealant with an even pressure using an air compressor. No more manual adjustments and tired hands.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Type of Gun: Pneumatic
  • Thrust Ratio: n/a
  • Weight: 2.8lbs

Key Features

The Campbell Hausfeld is an air-powered gun that works with the assistance of an air compressor. Standard cartridges fit into this gun, and its frame is approximately 8.5 inches in diameter.

Since it is air-powered, it is easy to operate since all you have to do is shut off the valve to stop the caulk flow. You can also experiment with the air pressure to figure out how much pressure you want to apply to release the sealant. The trigger can feel harder for some people, especially if you have arthritis. However, the benefits of better control and not having to vary the pressure manually with your hands make up for this.

Some users have found the trigger design problematic and uncomfortable. You cannot simply squeeze it to retract it back into the handle. It also pivots unusually on the handle, and you have to line your trigger finger up with the bottom corner of the trigger and push it up.

Pros

  • Easy to operate with even pressure for caulk flow
  • Control is simple thanks to the air-powered functionality
  • No need for manual adjustments

Cons

  • The trigger may be hard to manipulate for people with sensitive hands

A Complete Guide to Buying the Best Caulking Gun

person using caulking gun on window

Whether you’re a DIYer or professional contractor, it’s important for you to do your research before you buy a caulking gun. Read this guide to understand what type of caulking gun is best for you.

Benefits of Using Caulking Guns

Let’s start with the benefits of caulking guns and why they’re a handy addition to the toolbox of anybody who’s into DIY home improvements.

1. Quick Seam Sealing

Caulking guns makes easy work of sealing joints because most of them have soft triggers that release the exact amount of sealant you need for the job with little to no fuss. They are also comfortable to hold, which makes them easier to operate.

2. Better Precision

Caulking guns are designed with special nozzles and mechanisms that help you accurately release the sealant for a smooth, clean, and finished look. You can also control the flow of caulk that comes out of the nozzle to help avoid dripping.

3. Less Waste

Because caulking guns are more precise than dispensing sealant purely by hand, you can better control the amount of caulk you need to use for any given job. Some guns are even designed with rods that retract automatically after every pull to further prevent unwanted dripping. Standard caulking guns use 10-14 oz. tubes.

4. Varied Uses

You should be able to use a good quality caulking gun in multiple places where seam sealing is needed (e.g., bathroom door, car windows, wooden surfaces, etc.).

Caulking Gun Types

There are three main types of caulking guns to choose from: ratchet, powered, and sausage.

Ratchet guns are the traditional choice. They work with pressure-based technology and are better for people who have experience using caulking guns.

Powered guns can be electric, battery-powered or pneumatic and are best for jobs long-term projects. If you purchase a pneumatic caulking gun, you’ll need to have an air compressor to operate it.

Sausage guns operate similarly to other kinds of caulking guns, but they use collapsible sealant containers to ensure you don’t waste any caulk. While these have their purpose, none were good enough to make our top 10 list.

Important Features of Caulking Guns to Consider

The thrust ratio, rod, frame, weight and handles are the most important factors to consider when purchasing a caulking gun.

Thrust Ratio

Thrust ratio relates to the force needed to squeeze the hand trigger. The higher the ratio, the more force you’ll need to exert. Guns with a high thrust ratio work faster and can operate with thicker, more viscous sealants.

You must pay close attention to the thrust ratio on the package or in the online description for the caulking gun of your choice, as it will determine where you can use the device and the type of caulk you can buy.

The thicker the sealant you choose, the more thrust ratio you’ll need to properly release the sealant. If you choose a gun with a lower ratio, thinner caulks (e.g., water-based, latex caulk, etc.) are better sealant choices. Guns with a higher thrust ratio can handle thicker, more viscous caulks like epoxy sealants.

The Rod

The rod pushes into the back of the tube of caulk and out of the tube’s tip when in operation. There are two main types of gun rods: ratchet and smooth.

Ratchet rods are best to use for simple projects, but they do release sealant continuously until you twist the end of the rod and pull it back to stop the pressure. Smooth rods are “dripless” and less likely to waste sealant. When you’re done using the gun, all you have to do is depress a thumb lever to stop the pressure on the sealant tube.

Revolving Frames

Stopping and starting a line of caulk when you’re operating the gun can leave behind lumps and bulges that look unattractive. This can be especially hard to avoid when you’re working on corners that force you to change your hand position and the gun’s angle. Revolving frames make it easier to caulk without stopping and starting too much, which means you’re less likely to leave behind bulges and lumps.

Weight & Handling

The lighter the gun, the easier they are to operate over long periods of time without exhausting your hands and wrists. If you use a lightweight gun, however, you’ll need to use a lightweight caulk.

Electric vs. Manual Guns

Electric caulking guns are easier to use than manual ones. They are especially important to consider purchasing if you have sensitive hands or wrists or if you are working on a particularly large-scale project. They are either powered with rechargeable batteries or with a power cord that you plug into a socket. Manual guns are the better choice for small projects as they don’t need to be plugged in.

Drip vs. Drip-Free Guns

Drip-free, smooth-rod guns are the most common type of caulking gun available. A drip-free caulking gun is the best choice because it stops releasing caulk as soon as you stop putting pressure on the trigger. This reduces waste and makes it less intimidating for first-time users.

How to Choose the Right Caulk for Your Project

While choosing the best caulking gun is of vital importance, you also need to know how to choose the right caulk. Even if you buy the best gun, you’ll be left disappointed after application if you’re not using the best caulk for your purpose. Here’s what you need to know.

How to Properly Use a Caulking Gun

So you’ve chosen the best gun from our product reviews, know the best caulk for your needs, and you’re ready to get caulking! That’s great, but before you get stuck into your DIY project, we suggest that you take a second to learn how to properly use your gun. It’ll save you from making costly mistakes that can be difficult to rectify. Here’s a great guide to get you started.

Helpful Tips for Clean Sealant Application

  • Even a small drip can create a huge mess when you’re caulking. To make sure your work is as clean as possible, choose a tool that is dripless.
  • The caulking gun you use should have a smooth and even pressure. This will ensure that the caulk application is clean. Your gun should also be equipped with a pressure release system to release the appropriate amount of sealant to reduce waste.
  • Choose a tool that comes with a seal breaker and tube tip cutter. They seem like simple additions, but they go a long way in ensuring that sealant application goes smoothly and leaves behind less mess.

How to Care for Your Caulking Gun

Make sure to clean your caulking gun with a wet cloth after use and wait for it to dry completely before storing it away. Store it in a cool, dry place so that it doesn’t rust. It is also important to make sure it is properly lubricated if it is a manual caulking gun.

Final Thoughts

Whether you need a caulking gun for basic, home DIY, or you’re looking for one for your next long-term work project, our guide is sure to provide you with all the information you need to find the best caulking gun for you.