How to Use a Dripless Caulk Gun

Orange dripless caulk gun adding caulk to edge of bathtub

The Spruce / Adelyn Duchala

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 15 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $6 to $20

Dripless caulk guns require minimal pressure and are easy to use without the mess of dripping caulk when using it as a sealant around the house. It makes it more manageable to seal in any kind of crevice of any room or appliance. Whether it be a leaky faucet or corner cracks that need an improvement, this is the tool to fix all of those minor problems.

The smooth-rod dripless caulk gun requires about half the effort to squeeze. Besides having a 10:1 thrust ratio that makes caulk dispensing very easy, dripless caulk guns have many superior features.

There are smooth-rod dripless caulk guns readily available at most home improvement centers and hardware stores. This new type works great on silicone caulk, acrylic, or vinyl latex caulk—virtually any type of caulk.


Watch Now: How to Caulk Like a Pro

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Dripless caulk gun


  • Tube of caulk


Materials and tools to use a dripless caulk gun

The Spruce / Adelyn Duchala

  1. Cut the Tube Tip

    Dripless caulk guns have a built-in cutter to sever the tip on caulk tubes. Just insert the tip of the caulk tube through the opening on the handle and squeeze the handle lever. As you squeeze the handle, a razor knife cleanly cuts the plastic caulk tube at precisely the right distance from the tip. 

    Tip of caulk tube cut off through opening hole on handle

    The Spruce / Adelyn Duchala

  2. Pierce the Caulk Tube Seal

    One of the most convenient features of dripless caulk guns is the built-in wire rod for breaking the foil seal at the bottom of the caulk tube spout. 

    Mounted on the metal housing of the caulk gun, you'll find a length of stiff metal wire. Use the wire as a probe to reach into the plastic tip on the caulk tube and punch through the seal inside. Wipe the wire clean after puncturing the seal and fold it away against the body of the caulk gun before mounting the tube in the gun. 

    Wire rod poking hole into tip of caulk tube spout

    The Spruce / Adelyn Duchala

  3. Advance the Pressure Rod

    The smooth-rod dripless caulk gun works with a simple mechanism. A spring-loaded metal plate locks the pressure rod wherever you stop it. Unlike ratchet drives that force the pressure bar to move in set small increments, the smooth-rod design of the dripless caulk gun provides you with an infinite range—a short handle squeeze for a small amount of caulk, a large squeeze to dispense more caulk. 

    As you squeeze the trigger, the pressure-bar lock plate is released slightly which allows the pressure bar to move and discharge the caulk. Once you release the trigger, the bar is locked in place by the spring-loaded pressure bar.

    This design creates twice the pressure on the caulk tube. This means less work for you and less hand fatigue.

    Pressure bar turned to discharge caulk

    The Spruce / Adelyn Duchala

  4. Release the Pressure Rod

    Releasing the pressure on the plunger rod when you want to stop the flow of caulk is much easier with dripless caulk guns. A simple push of the locking plate lever releases the pressure on the plunger and instantly stops the flow of caulk. To remove the caulk tube, press the lever and pull back on the rod to expose the entire tube and slip it out of the gun.

    Locking plate lever pushed to stop flow of caulk

    The Spruce / Adelyn Duchala

  • How does a dripless caulk gun work?

    A dripless caulk gun has a mechanism that automatically releases pressure, so the gun doesn’t squeeze out any excess caulk. With caulk guns that aren’t dripless, you have to manually pull back on the rod to release that pressure. 

  • How do you remove the tube from a dripless caulk gun?

    To remove the tube of caulk, there is usually a rod release button that allows you to pull back the rod. Then, simply slip out the tube.

  • Is it better to push or pull a caulk gun?

    For the most even line of caulk, it’s better to pull a caulk gun rather than push it. This helps to create a consistent bead coming out of the tube.