Drywall taping and mudding can seem a simple task when you first think of it, but when you get to actually doing it, you will most likely realize it’s quite the opposite.
Using the right technique when spreading and wiping excess mud, taping, and hand coating is essential, but none of that can be done properly without the right tools.
A good and reliable drywall taping knife is one of those tools. You can’t do the work right without it, so it’s crucial to choose the best drywall knife. But with so many models and so few good ones, which one to choose?
We’ve compiled a list of the 5 best drywall knife models you can buy. Along with a list, we’ve made a short guide where you can learn a bit more about drywall and knives.
Last update on 2021-04-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
We thought our list will be much longer, but we cut it down to just 5 models. There were initially more than 50 models we reviewed, but only 10% made it through our rigorous examination. Those 5 are truly the best drywall taping knives you can find!
Best Drywall Taping Knife – Reviews
LEVEL5 Soft-Grip Stainless Steel Drywall Joint Knife
This 6-inch drywall joint knife is a tool of the highest quality. It has all the features you would want in a drywall taping knife and is highly durable. It’s by far the best drywall knife we tried!
The blade is made of sturdy stainless steel that resists corrosion and is of high hardness. The blade is lightweight and has little flex to it which makes it really easy to work with. The angle of the sharp, curved edges of the blade is just right for getting into corners and helps wipe off the excess mud.
The sticky label that usually comes on the blade is easy to peel off. Sometimes these labels get in your way when cleaning, but this one doesn’t. The blade is also polished, which makes it super easy to clean after use!
The handle of the knife is absolutely superb! It feels excellent in hand because of the ergonomic design. The grip is perfect, and the handle doesn’t slip when your hands get wet or muddy.
When in hand, the handle feels perfectly balanced with the blade in terms of weight. It’s perfect for fast application and control over the knife.
The handle is a full tang which means that the blade extends all the way to the bottom of the handle making the whole knife more durable and sturdier!
At the butt of the knife, there is a metal hammer end that helps in banging the screws in the drywall. Along with the hammer, there is a hang hole for easy storage and organization of your tools.
The overall weight of the drywall knife is low. This lightweight makes it much easier to control and prevents hand fatigue when working for extended periods.
This drywall taping knife is made by a family company from Kansas City. They have done extensive research and collected feedback from professionals to perfect this knife. You can really see that this is true in the way the knife is designed. It’s truly a professional tool that does its job perfectly and is built to last.
DEWALT 12-inch Taping Knife
DEWALT is an American hand tool manufacturer with almost 100 years in the business. They are known for making high-grade, durable tools that will get the job done. This 12-inch Taping knife is no different as it is perfect for drywall mud floating.
This knife comes with a 12 inch or 305mm high-quality stainless steel blade. It has excellent corrosion resistance properties and is very sturdy and durable. The blade has a proper flex point that makes it effortless to control and provides a much faster application. It’s perfect for mud floating after taping!
The handle on this 12-inch drywall knife feels superb in hand. It’s lightweight and doesn’t slip. The grip is excellent, and the ergonomic design successfully prevents hand fatigue when using the knife for a few hours.
The backplate on this knife looks and feels sturdy. It’s very thick and provides much better overall control of the knife. It makes the knife feel high quality.
We all know that drops occur when on the worksite, but that’s why it’s important to choose tools that are sturdy and resistant. The whole knife is splendidly well protected from dropping and will last a long, long time!
The blade cleans like a breeze. The sticker that comes on the blade is easy to remove as well. You will spend much less time cleaning this tool than most others!
We really like that this knife comes with a lifetime limited warranty. It makes this a risk-free purchase and shows that the company stands behind its product.
Overall, this is an excellent drywall knife, especially for floating mud. It’s a necessary tool for finishing drywall and is the best 12-inch drywall knife we found!
Goldblatt Drywall Hand Tool Kit
Do you want to save yourself money, time, and trouble by getting a full high-quality set for drywall work? This Goldblatt set includes everything you need to get started on your drywall projects with no necessary tools missing.
This kit includes 6 tools:
- 12-inch drywall knife
- 8-inch drywall knife
- 6-inch drywall taping knife
- 4-inch putty knife
- 3-inch paint scraper
- 12-inch mud pan
These 6 tools are in the toolbox of every professional drywaller finisher. They are all crucial for a good job.
All of the blades on these tools are made of sturdy stainless steel that prevents rust excellently. They all have precise flex to ensure your work is accurate and efficient. They are all polished and are extremely easy to clean.
The handles are designed well. No fatigue occurs when using for extended periods and all of the knives and paint scraper have excellent grip. No slippage occurs when working with the knives whatsoever, even when your hands get wet or dirty!
All of the knives in this set are excellent, but we particularly like the paint scraper. It’s a highly versatile tool that you may find yourself using the most. We like to call it a drywall utility knife.
You can scrape just about anything from old walls easily with this little tool. It also has a bottle opener, utility cutter, lid opener, pull nails, and many other features on one compact tool! There are endless applications for this convenient tool which really makes this set shine!
Another very useful addition to this set is the 12-inch mud pan for mixing mud. You can, of course, use a homemade alternative to a mixing pan, but it just doesn’t work as well. It’s made of the same stainless steel as the other tools in the set and cleans as easy as pie!
The curved inside corners prevent the build-up of the mud and the straight edges make the application of the mud to the knife much easier. The overall quality of this mud pan is high, and it looks sturdy and durable.
This set comes at a very affordable price when you consider all the pros. It’s without a doubt the best drywall knife and mud pan kit you can find!
DEWALT 6-inch All Stainless Steel Joint Knife
Here is another DEWALT knife on our list. Their tools are certainly high-grade and are designed for professionals that don’t settle for anything but the highest quality.
This 6-inch drywall taping knife is a one-piece stainless steel knife that looks and works awesome!
The stainless steel used for the construction of this knife is of the highest quality and resists corrosion and rust with no issues.
This is one of the few drywall knives that are full tang. This means that the steel extends all the way to the butt of the knife, makes it much sturdier, and improves longevity.
The ergonomics of the handle are superb, and the grip is excellent. Handling this knife feels effortless, and the handle is nicely balanced with the blade making it easy to work with and much more precise.
The blade of the drywall knife has just the right flex. It’s sharp, and the curved shape makes it easy to get into corners and makes the result look clean. It is polished, which makes cleaning a child’s play.
This knife is also very lightweight despite having a full-tang and being a one-piece stainless steel knife. It weighs only 6.4 ounces and makes for extra easy handling and reduced hand fatigue.
If you prefer a larger or smaller drywall knife, you have the option of going for the 3, 4, 5, 8, and 10-inch versions of the same knife.
As with all DEWALT tools, you get a lifetime warranty against any manufacturing or workmanship defects. Their customer support is excellent as well and will help you if you face any problems with their tools.
All in all, this is a true professional-grade drywall knife. It’s designed specifically for drywall taping and is one of the best drywall knives we found!
Warner 12-inch ProGrip Blue Steel Drywall Taping Knife
The Warner 12-inch drywall taping knife is a great budget knife that has all the features you would want in a drywall knife.
This knife features a blue steel blade that has great corrosion-resistance properties. It has just enough flex to make it very efficient and speed up your drywall taping work.
The blade widens at the edges making it easy to reach the corners. This is a very useful feature, especially for a drywall knife at this price range. It will make your mud floating work much cleaner, easier, and professional-looking.
The backplate is very sturdy and is made of aluminum which is a pleasant surprise. It is sturdy enough to ensure resistance and longevity while maintaining the lightweight of the whole knife. That’s some smart engineering!
Budget knives mostly fail because they focus too much on the blade and forget the handle. This is not the case with this knife, as we were pleasantly surprised with the ergonomics of this handle. It feels secure in the hand, and no slippage occurs whatsoever.
The handle and the blade weight ratio is on point. The overall weight of the knife is low, but it definitely doesn’t lack stability.
This knife is an ideal choice if you are looking for a drywall knife for finishing coats of mud. It even has some unique features, like the aluminum backplate, that aren’t found on models with a higher price tag. It is the best budget 12-inch drywall knife you can buy!
What To Look For When Choosing Drywall Taping Knife
In this section of the article, we will take a look at the features that are crucial for a drywall knife to work properly.
Choosing the right size knife for the task is crucial. A 6-inch knife can do things a 12-inch knife never could and vice versa.
For drywall taping, both large and small knives are required. We recommend getting at least one 6-inch drywall knife and one 12-inch drywall knife so that you can efficiently tape and float the mud.
A 6-inch putty knife is great for taping, which is why it’s most commonly referred to as a drywall taping knife. It does a good job at filling the joints and generally all taping drywall tasks.
Since it has got a curved blade shape, it can easily get into corners and help to wipe the excess mud.
It’s also good for spreading the mud, scraping chunks of mud, wiping, and hand coating.
What it isn’t good for is floating. This is where we need to use a bigger knife, preferably above 10 inches and ideally between 12 and 14 inches.
Smaller knives can’t spread a thin coat of mud without making a mess. Larger drywall knives can give you a smooth and much more subtle hump than the smaller knives that tend to make abrupt humps that look messy.
For drywall finishing work, both of these are necessary. You can’t get away with using just one of them, and we always recommend going for a few in-between-sized drywall knives for an easier application and better results.
Consider going for a 4-inch and 8-inch knife as well. When you get a hang of drywall finishing, those will make a whole lot of difference for certain applications.
The weight can make or break the drywall knife. If the knife is too light you can’t get enough pressure, while on the other hand, a knife can be difficult to maneuver when too heavy.
Generally, you will find bad drywall knives to be heavy and the good ones lightweight. A quality drywall knife will have lightweight plastic, aluminum, and metal parts which make it easier to handle.
Going for a lightweight model reduces hand fatigue when working with the knife for extended periods.
The blade of the drywall knife should be made of stainless steel since it will be in contact with water a lot. Carbon steel blades aren’t bad, but they don’t have as good corrosion and rust-resisting properties as stainless steel models.
The blade should be able to flex to apply and work with the mud easier.
Always go for the polished blade models. Those are much easier to clean and maintain. They will save you a lot of time and frustration.
Smaller drywall knives up to 6 inches need to have a curved shape that gets more curved down the handle. This kind of shape allows you to get into corners much easier and wipe off the excess mud.
Bigger drywall knives that are over 10 inches sometimes have a useful feature where the blade flares out to the edges. This gives you much easier access to the corners that are usually hard to reach. If you find a drywall knife with this feature, we recommend going for it.
Handle makes 50% of the knife and is as important as blade. If you get a knife with a perfect blade but a faulty handle, you can consider your money wasted.
We recommend going for a full tang handle. Those are the handles where the forged blade extends all the way to the butt of the handle. Those handles are sturdier, easier to control, and last longer than partial or no tang handles.
Consider the ergonomics of the knife handle. If the knife doesn’t feel comfortable when working for extended periods, it should be avoided. A curved ergonomic grip handle made from rubber or plastic is what we mainly use and recommend.
The last thing to note before choosing a knife handle is the weight balance of the handle and the blade. They should be roughly the same weight, with the handle being only slightly heavier. The overall weight of the handle and the drywall taping knife should be light.
The Hammer end is a metal part of the drywall knife that is located at the butt of the knife. This part is used for setting drywall nails and is very handy to have.
The hammer end should be very sturdy and impact and drop resistant. It needs to be able to withstand the banging pressure that will be applied to it.
While not necessary, this is a useful add-on to a drywall knife. It’s a bonus that you get with the knife and is not a primary deciding factor when the quality of drywall knife is concerned.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best drywall knife?
The best 6-inch drywall taping knife is the LEVEL5 Drywall Joint Knife that we reviewed in this article. It’s made of the highest quality materials, has an ergonomic full tang handle, and works excellently for drywall taping tasks.
The best 12-inch drywall knife is the DEWALT 12″ Taping Knife which we reviewed as well. It’s extremely sturdy and is perfect for mud floating.
What is the difference between a taping knife and a joint knife?
While these are essentially the same knives, they are sometimes marketed differently.
You will often see taping knives being advertised as larger 10 inch and above knives, while some advertise joint knives as 6 inches and below.
What are the best taping knives?
The best taping knives are the ones around 6 inches. They have curved blades that make them handy for getting into corners. The best ones have stainless steel blades and full tang handles.
All the models we reviewed are like that and will make your drywalling project an effortless experience.
That about covers it for everything you need to know about drywall taping knives.
There are many models available for purchase online but only a handful are worth going for. Make sure the ones you pick are full tang, durable, and flexible.
You can’t go wrong with any of the models we reviewed. They are all excellent choices!