Manual caulking guns are commonly used for sealing up cracks and gaps. But what about a power tool for caulking?
Yes, electric caulk guns are available in the market, including those from major brands such as DeWalt, Milwaukee, Makita, Ryobi, etc. At first, it may seem like an electrically powered caulking gun is not worth the extra money. However, there are advantages to this type of powered tool that make it perfectly worth for some people.
Advantages of a Cordless Caulking Gun
There are at least five distinctive advantages that an electric or cordless caulking gun offers compared to the old manual versions. If you are considering getting this type of caulking gun, then here are the benefits you will enjoy.
1. High Dispensing Force
The main advantage of a battery-powered caulk gun is that the plunger is driven by an electric motor. Using a rack and pinion drive mechanism, this pushes out the caulk at a controlled speed. The benefit here is that the tedious work associated with a manual caulking gun is eliminated. It means less pressure on your fingers as you release the caulk.
Some of these electric caulking guns can exert very high force on the piston rod. For instance, the Milwaukee M18 tool shown below can deliver a dispensing force of up to 950 lbs or 431 Kilograms-Force (kgf).
This can become an even bigger advantage for professionals who work all day on caulking cracks and gaps. But even those who use it for the first time will benefit from setting the adjustments to put out the proper amount of caulk.
2. Speed Adjustment
The amount of caulk that comes out of the electric caulking gun can be adjusted to best fit your needs. This is a highly valuable option, especially for those who do not caulk often. By selecting the proper speed, you put in the exact amount of caulk needed with greater accuracy.
Keep in mind that different brands of electric caulking guns have their speed dials in different locations. For example, you’ll find that the Ryobi and Milwaukee brands have their dials on the side. The DeWalt has the dial on the back end. While the RIDGID features the speed dial at the top.
Be sure to fully check out your electric caulking gun before putting it to use.
3. Variable Speed Trigger
Because you can adjust the speed, you can adjust the amount of caulk that will come out of the tube. This means you can get precisely the quality of silicone sealant you want and when you want it, thanks to the variable speed trigger.
I don’t use this feature often. While the variable speed trigger helps when you fill irregular profiles or a large/deep hole, I prefer to set the speed dial and fully press the trigger to get a consistent flow of the sealant. This will produce a uniform bead with a much cleaner appearance.
Test it out first by setting it at the lowest speed and running it across some scrap material such as flat cardboard. Increase the speed to push out more caulk or alternatively, you can slow down the speed at which you run the tip along the surface.
4. Automatic Anti-Drip
A seemingly small but nifty feature is the automatic anti-drip. What this does is when the trigger is released after you have put out the amount of caulk desired, the plunger inside the electric caulking gun is reversed. This pulls back the pressure, and any caulk that is extended from the gun but not put into the crack will go back inside the tube.
This means getting the right flow and having it stop when needed. The result is less cleanup and greater accuracy when filling in gaps and cracks.
Many manual caulking guns also come with the anti-drip feature. However, it is much more effective on the cordless versions.
5. Better Quality
Perhaps the greatest advantage is the constant flow of caulk. This ensures that the beads of caulk you deliver are even and predictable. While squeezing the trigger with your finger is not bad, the electric caulking gun is going to be more even and produce better quality results.
The disadvantages of this power tool are relatively few.
An electric caulking gun will cost more than the manual versions. Plus, with the battery, it will weigh more which may be an issue if you are doing lots of caulking. However, if you are doing a lot of caulking, then an electronic gun is much easier to use with far less strain.
How Do You Use an Electric Caulking Gun?
Using an electric caulk gun is straightforward, but you should start by following the steps as laid out in the instructions.
The tool manual should guide you through how to use the specific electric caulking gun that you purchased. What follows are a few general steps that will help guide you through the process.
- Charge and Load the Battery: Make sure that the battery you use for the cordless electric caulking gun is fully charged. You can do this overnight before you start the project.
- Clean the Plunger: Take a dry cloth and wipe down the caulking gun. A wipe before and after use will clear away any dust, dirt, or debris.
- Pull Back the Screw: The screw or driving arm of the caulking gun will need to be pulled back far enough to allow the tube to be inserted.
- Cut and Insert Caulking Tube: Cut the tip of the caulking tube at a 45-degree angle. Then load the sealant tube into the front of the caulking gun. Once the tube is in place, gently pull the trigger until the screw presses up against the back of the tube.
- Set the Speed: The speed dial lets you control how fast the caulk comes out, which also determines the amount. The range starts with a tiny amount that comes out slowly up to a considerable amount that comes out quickly.
Lay out some scrap cardboard, set the speed, and pull the trigger while moving the gun along the cardboard. You can adjust the speed to what you desire based on the test. Start at the slowest and work your way up. This will also allow you to practice moving the tip along the surface.
- Fill in the Gap: Now you are ready to address the crack or gap with the caulk. You’ll want a scraper to wipe away any excess caulk that comes out. Start on one end of the crack or gap, then pull the trigger and move the caulk gun to the other end of the gap or crack.
- Change Tubes: If you run out of caulk before the job is finished, you will need to remove the old tube and replace it with a new one. Use the same steps to add a new tube to the caulking gun but be sure to wipe away any caulk or contaminants before getting it set.
Once you are finished, you should remove the tube and seal or cover the tip if there is any caulk left. Remove the battery and recharge if needed. Clean the caulking gun and store it properly.