The Wonderful Caulk Gun

Let me tell you about our new caulk gun.

We had a cheap-o metal caulk gun that was your basic caulk gun, no bells, no whistles. It worked OK, except for construction adhesive, which is much harder to squeeze out of the tubes; I hardly have the hand strength to do it at all and Noel can do it with both hands but that was getting ridiculous. So one day we were browsing around at Pagano's and we found this little baby:

Dripless caulk gun

It's a Dripless caulk gun, and it is awesome. How is it so awesome?

1. The weight. This caulk gun weights considerably less than the old one, because it is made of plastic rather than metal. If I were heavy caulk user, I might be wary of the durability of plastic, but given that we caulk something on average once a month, and between times the caulk gun lives on a shelf rather than rolling around in a toolchest in the back of a pickup, durability was not a huge concern. And since most of the time when I use a caulk gun I am lifting it above my head, the weight mattered a LOT.

2. Built-in tip cutter. Oh, this seems silly, but not having to break out the utility knife to cut the end off a tube is super-nice.

Tip cutter

3. Extra-long pokey thing. I don't know what they call the little wire poker you use to pop a hole in the foil cap on a tube of caulk, but this one is longer than the one on the old caulk gun. Not something I'd use to choose a caulk gun, but nice to have.

Extra-long pokey thing

4. Lever action. Rather than have a direct lever press against the back of the tube, the Dripless moves the pressing pad a shorter distance for the same effort. This is using the physics of leverage in your favour, and it makes it possible for me to apply construction adhesive with one hand on the gun, instead of hardly being able to manage with both hands and all my grip strength. Because of the shorter movement per squeeze, you also don't end up with gobs of caulk shooting out if you make the mistake of setting the gun down without releasing the pressure on the back.

Special lever action

The company that makes these sells heavily on the no-catch release on the back, but I don't see that as much of a feature, myself (it seems likely to be the first part to wear out, actually). But if the catch to release the tube really irritates you (or that metal-on-metal scraping sound sends shivers up your spine), this one doesn't have it, and the sliding is metal against plastic and very quiet.

The real irony is that we spent only a few dollars more for this much finer caulk gun. If we'd just sprung for a better one to begin with, we might have had a much easier time with various caulking jobs. We're very fond of this particular one, and recommend it for your caulking needs, especially if you have poor grip strength.

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posted by ayse on 10/07/08