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The Best Caulking Guns for Home Maintenance and Repair Projects

Popular Mechanics Logo By Alex Rennie of Popular Mechanics | Slide 1 of 9: Caulking guns are the handheld tools used to apply caulk, a sealant that prevents water and air leaks between two surfaces — like around your bathtub or sink. Their pistol-style design makes it easy to switch in and out caulk packaging, and also allows you to precisely create neat and even beads of caulk, leaving you with a clean and professional-looking result. Most caulk guns are powered manually — by the user squeezing a trigger — but they’re also available in pneumatic, electric, and battery-powered options. These automatic options tend to be more expensive, but they do require much less effort to operate. What to ConsiderFirst of all, think about what kind of caulk, sealant, or adhesive you’re going to be using. These materials can come in different viscosities, so you’ll want to make sure your gun is able to generate the pressure necessary to push the material out of the tube. Luckily, most caulk guns clearly state this “thrust ratio” on their packaging, and a general rule of thumb is the higher the thrust ratio, the higher the viscosity they can handle. It's worth noting that if your caulking project is very small, you may want to forgo a caulk gun and simply purchase a tube of caulk instead.How We SelectedWe’ve used countless caulk guns in our career, in a variety of projects, from sealing bathrooms and kitchen appliances, to using liquid adhesives on heavy-duty construction projects. This experience, combined with feedback from experts we reached out to and additional online research, helped us curate this list of the best caulk guns you can buy. We made sure to include a range of styles in our picks, including models that use traditional caulk cartridges, as well as those that are designed to accept sausage packs of caulk, so regardless of the material you’re using, you should find something that works for you.

Caulking guns are the handheld tools used to apply caulk, a sealant that prevents water and air leaks between two surfaces — like around your bathtub or sink. Their pistol-style design makes it easy to switch in and out caulk packaging, and also allows you to precisely create neat and even beads of caulk, leaving you with a clean and professional-looking result. Most caulk guns are powered manually — by the user squeezing a trigger — but they’re also available in pneumatic, electric, and battery-powered options. These automatic options tend to be more expensive, but they do require much less effort to operate.

What to Consider

First of all, think about what kind of caulk, sealant, or adhesive you’re going to be using. These materials can come in different viscosities, so you’ll want to make sure your gun is able to generate the pressure necessary to push the material out of the tube. Luckily, most caulk guns clearly state this “thrust ratio” on their packaging, and a general rule of thumb is the higher the thrust ratio, the higher the viscosity they can handle. It's worth noting that if your caulking project is very small, you may want to forgo a caulk gun and simply purchase a tube of caulk instead.

How We Selected

We’ve used countless caulk guns in our career, in a variety of projects, from sealing bathrooms and kitchen appliances, to using liquid adhesives on heavy-duty construction projects. This experience, combined with feedback from experts we reached out to and additional online research, helped us curate this list of the best caulk guns you can buy. We made sure to include a range of styles in our picks, including models that use traditional caulk cartridges, as well as those that are designed to accept sausage packs of caulk, so regardless of the material you’re using, you should find something that works for you.

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