The Best Caulking Gun – Complete Buying Guide & Reviews

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If you're going to be working on weatherproofing, waterproofing, or any large scale construction project, you're going to need a solid caulking gun. No matter the size of the project, a caulk gun that can make your job a whole lot faster and easier.

You don't want to spend a whole lot of time on caulking because it's meant to be a quick job. But at the same time, you need something that's going to be done right the first time to avoid an inevitably sloppy job that needs to be redone. 

In reality, this is one of the simplest tools that you'll need to use because there are few moving parts and you can do it all under your own power. It's going to be entirely up to you which type of caulk gun you like best and just how you're going to use it, so take a look at what we have right here for you.

Last update on 2018-12-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Tarvol 3-in-1 Caulking Gun

3 in 1 Caulking Gun (HEAVY DUTY CHROME PLATED) Fits Standard Size 10oz Caulk - Refillable 3 in 1 Design Includes Built in Cutter and Puncher Tool - Perfect for Industrial & Home Use!
  • HEAVY DUTY INDUSTRIAL DESIGN - Chrome Plated Pressed Steel. Fits Standard Size Caulk
  • SPIN LOCK DESIGN - Simply Unlock Groove Shaft for Dripless Setup
  • 3 TOOLS IN ONE - Half Barrel Caulk Gun, Built in Sharpened Blade Cutter, and Seal Punch

Last update on 2018-12-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Designed for standard 10 oz. caulk, this caulking gun is made with a heavy-duty chrome plating to increase durability and longevity. It also has a built-in cutter and puncher to get your caulk tube ready to go when you are and there's a rod to clear out any obstructions as well.

The spinlock design means that you can unlock the shaft to make sure it's dripless and the contractor grade quality means you can use it for absolutely anything and feel confident it's going to get the job done. In fact, there's a money back guarantee that says just that, for life. 

Lightweight and easy to use, this gun has a half-barrel design and a serrated groove shaft as well as an ergonomic handle. When you're ready to change out the caulk you the quick change rod makes the process even easier, providing excellent security but the ease of removal at the same time.

The plunger is also sized just right to give you even dispensing without leaving pockets in the tube. While you're working there's even a wrist strap that keeps you from dropping the tool itself.

Things we like:

  • Wrist strap for easy hold
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Built-in cutter and puncher
  • Multi-use

Things we don't like:

  • Metal finger guard has sharped edged metal, may be uncomfortable without gloves
  • A bit bulkier than other models

Newborn Brothers 930-GTD Caulking Gun

Sale
Newborn 930-GTD Drip-Free Smooth Hex Rod Cradle Caulking Gun with Gator Trigger Comfort Grip, 1/10 Gallon Cartridge, 10:1 Thrust Ratio
  • Steel half-barrel (also called cradle) frame caulking gun for 1/10-gal. cartridges
  • Thrust ratio of 10:1 for use with low viscosity materials
  • Smooth pressure rod requires less force and is quieter than a ratchet-style pressure rod

Last update on 2018-12-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


​Here you’re actually getting a half-barrel design that’s made with steel and designed to hold average size caulk tubes. It has a thrust ratio of 10:1, which works great for low viscosity materials and there’s a smooth pressure rod that means you need less force and have less noise.

The rod retracts after each time you pull the trigger and it’s designed to keep you comfortable for longer periods of work with the comfort design handle and trigger padding.

The ladder hook makes it easy to set up the gun itself and be ready to go when you need to, but while you’re climbing or working on anything else you can set it off to the side. Lightweight, you’ll have the seal puncture tool and cutter that you need and you’ll have a secure hold with the welded plate at the back. Made by a company that’s well known in this industry, this caulk gun makes the entire process easier.

Things we like:

  • Thrust ratio of 10:1
  • Ergonomic and comfort designed handle
  • Includes cutter and puncher

Things we don't like:

  • Only designed to fit standard caulk tubes
  • More prone to drip 

Newborn 250 Super Smooth Caulking Gun

Last update on 2018-12-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This caulking gun looks sleek with the red and black design and it’s just as high quality as anything else you’ll find. With a thrust ratio of 18:1 it’s actually designed for very low viscosity products, meaning you have a lot of versatility when it comes to what you want to use it with.

It can work on acrylics, adhesives, asphalt, cement, and butyl. There's even a revolving frame design for this system that rotates the cartridge so your bead stays where you need it at all times.

The smooth pressure rod and zinc alloy handle and trigger are designed not to corrode and to keep the amount of effort that you need to get the job done to a minimum. There’s a ladder hook attached to the gun to make sure it’s always within your reach when you need it but not in the way when you don’t. 

Things we like:

  • 18:1 thrust ratio for lower viscosity products, one of the highest thrust ratios of it's class
  • Rotating frame design
  • Smooth pressure rod
  • Zinc alloy handle and trigger

Things we don't like:

  • More expensive than other designs
  • Heavy for long term use

Dripless Inc. ETS2000 Caulk Gun

Sale
Dripless Inc. ETS2000 Ergo Composite Caulk Gun
  • Lightweight composite frame caulking gun for 10 oz. cartridges
  • Thrust ratio of 12:1 for use with latex, acrylic, and silicone
  • Revolving frame allows cartridge to rotate for maintaining bead orientation when caulking around corners

Last update on 2018-12-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This lightweight gun is actually made with a composite material to keep the weight even lower than the standard for calk guns. It's a half barrel design and holds the standard size of caulk tubes but even more than that it has a thrust ratio of 12:1, higher than the standard design.

It also has a built-in cutter to open your tube and is heavy duty to contractor quality. There's even a ladder hook attached so you can keep the gun itself ready whenever you are.

The cleanout rod is longer than average, making sure you can get further into the tube and make sure that it's really clean and ready to go, plus it can snap away when you aren't using it. The barrel rotates to keep your bead going in the right direction when you work in corners and the ergonomic grip make sure that your hand and wrist are in a comfortable position the entire time you're working.

Things we like:

  • 12:1 thrust ratio for latex, acrylic, and silicone
  • 40% lighter than other designs
  • Extra-long clean rod
  • Ideal for small household jobs

Things we don't like:

  • Lighter design makes it feel cheaper and less durable for heavy jobs
  • Not ideal for thicker caulk

Albion Engineering B12S20 Caulking Gun

Sale
Albion Engineering B12S20 B-Line Manual Sausage Caulking Gun, 20 oz, 12:1 Drive
  • 12:1 manual drive 20 oz sausage adhesive caulking gun, with 2" diameter aluminum barrel. Thrust: 375 lbf, Pressure: 120 psi
  • Designed for standard viscosity materials.
  • Features include full size handle for comfortable and efficient dispensing, double gripping plate technology for no slipping and long life,...

Last update on 2018-12-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This gun is a little more expensive than some of the other options out there, but it’s also a bit larger, at 20 ounces instead of 10. It offers a 12:1 thrust ratio for higher viscosity products including latex, acrylic and silicone and is considered a manual drive sausage style gun because it has a canister to hold the caulk.

The aluminum barrel is designed to be lightweight but still durable and resistant to corrosion and the rotating handle keeps the caulk in the right place at all times.

Two extra nozzles are included to make sure that you have the right direction and focus on the materials you use and this system is designed to get into tighter places because of the nozzle and reach. It can mix and dispense 2K products and can hold larger volumes at the same time. There's even a ladder hook included so you can hold the gun in place for when you need it next.

Things we like:

  • Ladder hook to keep it nearby
  • Mix and dispense 2K products
  • 12:1 thrust ratio
  • 20-ounce total size

Things we don't like:

  • On the pricier side of caulking guns
  • Not ideal for small or infrequent projects

Features to Consider

The first step in deciding is understanding the different options you have to find the best caulking gun for you. Most people have seen (if not used) a basic caulk gun before and while a basic caulk gun should be enough for most purposes, some people prefer to have something a little higher tech that will take a little more of the effort out of it.

Battery Powered vs Pneumatic Caulking Guns

A battery powered caulk gun holds the caulk the same way, but as you push down on the trigger you get constant speed for the caulk that comes out. If you need to adjust the speed or the flow as you go it can be difficult (if not impossible). Not all battery options have a variable speed setting but if they do it still means you get one speed until you stop and then adjust again.

Pneumatic​​​ caulk guns actually hold the entire caulk bottle inside the sleeve. You pull the trigger and air goes through the hose attached to the sleeve, pushing out caulk by pressure. When you release the trigger it stops pushing the air through and releases the amount of pressure it’s under.

Smooth vs. Ratcheted Plunger Rods

If you are looking at a basic caulk gun you'll need to take a look at these ​two features​​​. A smooth rod will give you a little more control when you're working and you'll be able to stop however and whenever you want. Stopping the flow of caulk is much simpler with these types of rods.

Ratchet rods are the more common ones you'll find in local home improvement stores, however. These ones require you to stop at specific ratchet stops and follow a very specific (and complicated) process to get the flow of caulk to stop.

Another thing to consider with these different types of rods is how easy it is to actually use the caulk gun itself. A smooth rod makes it less effort to squeeze the caulk out, which means you’re going to save a bit of your strength and that can be great if you’re doing a lot of work at the same time or if you’re just not as strong in your hands. The ratchet rod will take a little extra effort to make sure the caulk releases.

Easy Open

You want a gun that’s going to let you open up the seal on your caulk quickly and easily as well. There are several different things that could be on the gun itself to make sure this happens. Some have a seal punch, which is designed to punch through a foil seal on the inside of the caulk. They may also have a cutter, which can trim off the tip to the size that you want it. You may also find an open rod that goes through the tip that you cut in your caulk to make sure it’s clear and ready to use.

Open Frame

The open frame design of a caulk gun is one way of cutting down on the overall weight. Because it only has a few rods to hold the caulk in place instead of a full sleeve there's less of whatever material your caulk gun is made of. That means you have less weight to carry while you're working and even a little bit of weight can add up over time. By carrying around less you set yourself up to be more comfortable when you work.

Material

Traditionally caulk guns (the basic kind) have been made out of lightweight metal, but that's not necessarily the case anymore. Some are being made out of plastic which has a lighter weight and allows you a little more versatility. These are generally the less expensive options and they tend to have good quality to them but they're not as durable or long-lasting as a metal option. Only you can decide which way is the best one for you and which design is going to give you the best balance of price, weight, and durability.

Wrap Up

For anyone that's caulking around their home, a simple caulk gun could be the best way to go. If you're using it for more professional applications or you'll be doing a lot of work you may want to consider something a little bigger and easier to use. Still, you're not going to go wrong with any of these options, which are all affordable and are sure to keep you from breaking the bank.

Our personal favorite of these options is the Travol 3-in-1 caulking gun. If you think that's the way to go, you can check it out here