If you are a homeowner or a do-it-yourself enthusiast, then one of the tools that should not miss in your toolbox is a caulking gun. You already have duct tape, a highly-versatile item, which you probably use in all your repair projects. Well, a caulking gun is like duct tape’s perfect complement. You can use it for a ton of tasks ranging from weatherizing your house to re-caulking the shower or bathtubs tiles.
Caulk is often used to attach seams, joints and close gaps. This way, no water, dust or bugs can penetrate into your home. If you’ve never had the opportunity of using caulk, you are missing out on a lot. To use caulk to seal gaps and for other applications, you’ll need the best caulking gun.
What’s the Best Caulking Gun?
The best caulking guns are ones made from high-quality. Sturdy build is important because it ensures that caulking gun lasts long. It also prevents rust, giving you a very powerful rod for applying caulk.
The Ryobi P310G has a number of extras that are rarely found in similar caulking guns. Even though it’s a little pricier than other caulking guns, it delivers a superb performance. For one, it has an ergonomically designed handle fitted with anti-slip polymers. This construction helps in balancing the weight of the tool across the center; hence, improving its accuracy.
Next to this handle, you will see two buttons that will enable you to lock the gun and regulate speed. This caulk gun also comes with a hooked end piece, which makes it easy to replace the tube when you’ve completed your repair project.
The Chicago CP9885 is a pneumatic caulking gun, meaning that it uses air pressure to dispense the adhesive. This caulking gun boasts a high pressure output that is ideal for a range of projects, from simple repairs to heavy-duty jobs performed by professionals.
The compatibility of the Pneumatic CP9885 with standard cartridges, makes it the perfect device to use around areas like windows, doors, faucets and sinks. What’s more, it’s equipped with a trigger that controls the distribution of caulk. The fact that it’s able to adjust the amount of caulk, saves you from having to clean a messy area afterwards.
This cartridge gun from Newborn Brothers is the best manual model on the cheap side of the spectrum. Its steel revolving rod fits well in 1/10-gal cartridges, and it has an 18:1 thrust ratio, allowing you to use it with acrylic, cement, adhesives and asphalt.
Another thing to love about this caulking gun is its quiet operation. The smooth pressure rod does not require a lot of force and it’s quieter compared to the ratchet-style pressure rods. Its handle is made from zinc alloy, rendering it resistant to corrosion and rust.
Are you tired of buying cheap cartridge guns that fall apart after a few projects, then you should consider the B12 B-Line by Albion Engineering. This model will get all your tasks done without compromising on its durability.
Apart from its reliability, this caulking is also preferred because it can be used with all kinds of standard viscosity materials; be it silicone, acrylic or polyurethane. Other notable features of the caulking include a thrust ratio of 12:1, advanced screw adjustment technology by Albion and improved pump efficiency.
If you’re looking for a heavy duty gadget that will improve your precision in caulk jobs, you couldn’t go wrong with the OX Tools Pro. This caulking gun is designed to hold the caulk tubes firmly without any wobble.
It has a thrust ratio of 12:1, which is ideal for caulking different kinds of materials. It also has a rubber-made handle to provide a comfortable and secure grip. Also, this 10-cartridge caulking gun uses dripless mechanism. The benefit of this is that it pulls the rod backward to prevent additional flow of caulk.
What is the Use of a Caulking Gun?
As its name suggests, this is a tool used in the application of caulk. Most caulk guns have shells that hold caulk tubes in place. The user then controls the flow of caulk from this tube using a trigger-like handle. Whether you decide to buy a simple or more sophisticated electric caulk gun, using this tool requires a bit of practice. Nonetheless, nearly every individual is able to learn its basic mechanism.
Different Kinds of Caulking Guns
Battery-driven Caulking Guns
It is no secret that using battery powered caulking guns is very easy. These types of caulk guns are the best for fast applications. They’re also fairly cheap. You can get any one of these cordless units for as low as $35. But you can always go for more advanced models that cost between $200 and $600. If the purpose of purchasing a caulk gun is to use it for simple home repairs, then pick one with a decent pricing. A 10-ounce battery powered caulk gun will serve you well.
Pneumatic Caulking Guns
This caulk gun has an entirely different design from the battery-powered model. More specifically, air powered caulk guns have compressors, which are the parts that dispense caulk. The average price for a pneumatic caulk gun ranges between $35 and $80. But if you want a high-end model, be prepared to spend at least $350.
Ratchet-Rod Caulking Gun
This is one of the most common caulk guns among homeowners. In fact, this is the caulk gun that you’re likely to find in hardware stores. Ratchet-rod caulk guns operate on the principle of pressure. More specifically, they consist of ragged pus rods that are responsible for pushing the caulk out of the tube. If you want the caulk to stop flowing, then you’ll have to turn the tool upside down and pull the rod back.
Doing so relieves pressure, which may have accumulated. The majority of ratchet-rod caulking guns have a thrust ratio of 5:1. Keep in mind that controlling the flow of caulk as explained earlier is not that easy. To open the cartridge, you will have to cut it using a knife or other sharp item; hence, release the seal.
Dripless Caulking Gun
This is another popular caulking gun. But unlike the ratchet-rod caulk gun, this one does not require as much pressure when pushing the caulk. This is because it has a higher thrust ratio of 10:1. The rod consists of a spring-loaded plat lock, which is responsible for pushing the pressure rod. The rod enables users to regulate pressure by pressing the trigger at different pressures. Getting the flow of caulk to stop is also incredibly easy. All you have to do is to release the trigger and the flow stops. All things considered, a dripless caulking gun is more convenient and less fatiguing to use.
Why You Should Consider a Pneumatic Caulking Gun
If you’ve been planning to buy a caulking gun, we recommend going for the pneumatic model. This is because it offers many benefits that you would not get with other types. Though expensive, air powered caulking guns are superior to their counterparts.
For some home improvement or repair projects, precision is an important factor. If you’re repairing your window or shower door, for instance, then it’s important to keep these areas watertight. So when applying caulk, you’ll need to place it as close to the window or shower door as you can. Failing to use sufficient caulk will only translate to a weak seal, that won’t be capable of providing the required support.
Fortunately, a pneumatic caulking gun can help you achieve the results you’re looking for. Rather than having to re-caulk some of the sections because they did not get enough coverage, a pneumatic caulking gun will help you do the job right the first time. This type of caulk gun provides the right amount of caulk every time, and the application is uniform.
Another perk of using the air-powered caulk gun is that it’s much faster. Using the standard models is not only slow but also very tiring. This is because the standard caulk gun requires extra caution to ensure you deliver the right amount of caulk. And that’s not all; standard caulking guns often exert excess strain on your fingers and wrists when you have to deal with large-sized projects. A pneumatic gun, on the other hand, forces caulk through effortlessly; hence getting the project done faster.
The majority of pneumatic caulking guns are fitted with adjustable regulators that help in controlling the amount of caulk being used. This minimizes drips and wasted caulk. You may come across pneumatic caulk guns that require unique cartridges, which are usually pricier than the caulk tube. On the plus side, such caulk guns save you a significant amount of money in the long run. In fact, most guns can hold 10 to 14-ounce tubes of caulk, which makes them an economical option.
When you invest in an air-powered caulk gun, you can choose to purchase special tips to use for different applications. Put simply; this means that you can use one tool to fix your sinks, cars, bathroom, boat, windows and more.
Besides, most pneumatic guns are pretty easy to clean, especially those that use standard tubes or cartridges.
If the only time you use caulk is when you’re undertaking a small upgrade project, then you might not need to buy a pneumatic caulking gun. But if you are a devoted DIY aficionado, then this tool will come in handy.
Caulking Gun Buying Guide
A dripless caulk gun does not work the same as a ratcheting one, which increase pressure by a certain amount every time the user clicks along the shaft.
This type of caulk gun gives you a fast and smooth release, which is important when performing caulking jobs. The best dripless caulk gun is able to release pressure the minute you let the trigger go. This working mechanism ensures that drips either don’t happen or that they’re minimal.
If you don’t want to start looking for a knife every time you want to open a can of sealant, then you might want to consider a model that comes with built-in accessories. These attachments come in different designs, but the best one is one that doesn’t get in your way when you’re working.
You can experience a lot of fatigue when caulking, especially if you’re at it for a long while. Fortunately, there’s a way to prevent this fatigue, that is, by choosing a high pressure ratio. With more pressure, you won’t have to press that trigger as much; hence, friendlier to your fingers.
If you line of work involves a lot of caulking jobs, then using a closed frame can make you feel tired very quickly. Open frames are better so they translate to less weight of the caulk gun; thus, easier to work with for longer.
Before buying a caulk gun, determine the purpose for which you will use it. A caulk gun used by a professional is different from one used for simple do-it-yourself projects. If purchasing one for home use, you can choose the inexpensive manual caulk gun.
Ease of Opening
Another factor you’ll want to check is the ease with which you can open the seal on your caulk. Some caulking guns come with tools to ease this specific task. Some are fitted with a seal punch, cutter or open rod. With a seal punch, you’ll be able to punch through the foil seal. A cutter, on the other hand, enables you to cut the tip to your desired size. An open rod is designed to penetrate this flexible tip that you cut in your caulk; thus making it clear and ready for use.
Originally, caulking guns have always been constructed from lightweight metal material. But this is no longer the case. You can now find caulk guns made of plastic. Plastic material offers several advantages such as being cheap and versatile. They’re also of good quality. But, they are not as reliable as the metal guns.
How Should One Use a Caulk Gun?
Using a caulking gun is relatively simple. Follow these steps:
Look for the release trigger at the back end of the gun and press it with your thumb. Doing so will cause the plunger to get released.
Put the plunger backward then place the tube inside the gun. The nozzle should be facing in front.
Try pushing the plunger to the rear of the tube and then remove your thumb. By doing this, you are loading the caulk gun.
Cut off the end of the cartridge to allow the hole to correspond with the size of the gap that you want to seal.
Look for a small pin or nail and push it through the hole. This step is to puncture any inner seal.
Place the gun at a 45-degree incline along the crack or gap that you want to seal.
Next, just squeeze the caulk gun’s handle gradually while also pulling the gun in your direction. When you reach a point where you cannot squeeze further, release it. The handle will immediately spring back to its original position. Once it’s gone back to its shape, you can squeeze again and repeat the whole process. The amount of caulk that comes out will depend on two main things: the intensity with which you squeeze the handle and the speed of moving the gun. So if it was hard to squeeze, you might only be able to get a small amount of caulk.
Once you finish applying the caulk, you can smooth it out using your finger.
If you’ve been planning to seal those cracks and gaps in your home using caulk, a simple caulk gun will come in handy. However, if you intend to use it for more advanced applications, then you should pick one that is bigger and easier to use. All in all, none of the caulking gun models is going to disappoint you.