I haven't used a (manual) caulking gun in years, but I recall it was particularly dreadful to use one. Pressing the lever at a uniform angle (or what I imagined to be one) never produced a consistent caulking speed. The resulting caulking was of variable thickness. The lever was particularly nasty to use, etc..

After a bit of hesitation—will I use it or will I just add it to the collection of never-used tools (such as a router) that are sitting in the basement?—I went ahead and got an impact driver and hammer drill from a certain prominent orange-and-black brand.

That same brand has an adhesive gun that uses the same Li-ion batteries, but this one (and many other bare tools) is hardly in the same attractive price point as the initial "combo", which suggests that it is not meant for the amateur.

How useful is a cordless caulking/adhesive gun for the DIYer?

  • The price point of the initial combo is not pro/amateur, it's "Here kid, get hooked on this" followed by making more profit on other things you buy because they are compatible. Frequently the "drill 2 batteries and a charger" is cheaper than 2 batteries, or two batteries and a charger, if not bought as part of that kit.
    – Ecnerwal
    Sep 11, 2021 at 23:03

3 Answers 3


Even with consistent pressure pushing the caulk out of the tube, inconsistent movement speed will also result in an uneven bead. In fact, for me personally it is always a result of not being able to move quick enough that results in an uneven and sloppy bead. Whenever I have free movement and an open space, that bead will be even and clean. If I'm confined, caulking the inside of a rim joist, I'm happy if I can just get all the caulk in the joint.

In other words, you need practice to lay a good bead, this is a skill that pays dividends. That's why automatic caulking guns are not more ubiquitous, because they don't really make that much of a difference in the quality of your bead.... they really just help your hands from getting sore, if you are caulking an insane amount.

I personally recommend you get a 26:1 caulk gun, it's night and day from the cheap ones, it especially helped me... and I'm a DIYer, not a professional. I got two JES M26S, it's fairly inexpensive, but a major upgrade. It's not at all like the crappy lever on a cheap gun, you don't need nearly as much force. Use it for thick construction adhesive, no problem.

  • 1
    IMHO it's "get a quality manual caulking gun" rather than a specific brand/model of quality caulking gun. There's a ton of cheap junk available, and there are multiple good options as well. I'll have to look to even see what mine are...other than decades old and going strong. Newborn 111 and 125 (small/big) "skeleton" guns. They call it "parallel frame." Both are 10:1 ratio, I see, but I see they do make other ratios.
    – Ecnerwal
    Sep 11, 2021 at 16:55
  • @Ecnerwal I'm not solely recommending the caulk gun I got, I'm just saying I got two of them, and so far they work way better than the box store cheapos i had been using. What I do highly recommend is that you get the 26:1 thrust ratio. Sep 27, 2021 at 1:10

I have a powered caulking gun and I have found it not useful for caulking. It's difficult to control and doesn't seem to stop on cue like a nice manual one.

However it's fantastic if you use large amounts of adhesive. For example I used over 200 tubes of green glue when I did my home theater room and the power gun made it an absolute breeze. I imagine if you were a tradesman who used tube goods often but didn't require detail work it's a good buy.

For me, at least, manually gunning a common adhesive like PL3 for an hour can really wear out your forearms surprisingly.

  • All the ones currently one the market (at least that I've seen) have a feature called "no drip". The feature purports to solve exactly the problem you describe. Is your powered caulking gun from the generation with that label or from a preceding one?
    – Sam7919
    Sep 11, 2021 at 8:26
  • Mine also has a "no drip" feature but it still doesn't stop on a dime.
    – Matthew
    Sep 11, 2021 at 15:52

I love my power tools (and do use both of my routers!), but I'm not sure i would bother with a powered caulk gun unless you do a LOT of caulking. Instead, maybe consider a manual gun with adjustable leverage ratio, which will give you more options for matching the accuracy and required strength to each job...


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