Covering drywall joints is an art that requires a great deal of skill. Having the right tools can make the final product look seamless, which is why it’s important to have the proper taping knife.
Whether you work in construction or you’re completing a DIY project, odds are, you’ll need more than one taping knife to get the job done. Taping knives, or drywall knives, come in a variety of different shapes and sizes and their purposes can vary depending on these elements. For instance, a corner knife features a 90-degree angle that makes it perfect for filling corner joints.
Ideally, you want to 3-4 different knives of varying sizes to get truly professional results. More importantly, investing in multiple tools means that the job will take less time.
This guide provides a detailed list of the best knives available for purchase, compiling data from taping knife reviews and our own research. To build your own set of knives that work best for you, you’ll have to keep a few considerations in mind.
Truly high-quality knives are discernable by the metal they’re made out of. The best taping knives are crafted from stainless steel, which is rust resistant. Unlike other materials, stainless steel is resistant to the effects of water and the joint compound, which lengthens its lifespan considerably.
Other key considerations include the sharpness of the blade, shape, and the overall weight of the product. The lighter the knife, the less strain you’ll suffer in your wrist. Finally, another important element to any taping knife is the handle. Quality knives come with handles that designed with user convenience in mind, made with softer, graspable materials and contoured to fit the palm of the user’s hand.
Now that you have a firm understanding of what distinguishes a great knife from other competitors, you can start assessing which is the best product for you. Read on to find the right knives for your toolkit.
10.TEKTON 69277 4-Inch Taping Knife (Flex)
There are a lot of perks to using the TEKTON 69277 Taping Knife, including increased flexibility and control. The lightweight design makes it comfortable to use for long periods of time, with a hardwood handle that fits firmly in the palm of your hand.
Although smaller than average drywall knives, it’s great for working with smaller areas or even making quick fixes. Also, the sharper edge is a good option for scraping off old drywall finishes as well.
Unfortunately, this product rusts pretty quickly. The tempered steel will start to corrode over time, but considering the price it’s a great deal for one-time use.
9. Goldblatt G05644 Pro-Grip Taping Knife, Stainless Steel, 14-Inch
The stainless steel blade of the Goldblatt G05644 makes it one of the best taping knives for the money. Not only is it rust resistant, but also it’s one of the best blades for spreading mud. It also comes with an aluminum spine that helps the blade maintain its ideal shape, making it stronger and long lasting.
As an added perk, the rubber handle on this product is specifically designed to enhance the overall comfort of this product, with rubber grips on either side. An extra feature is it’s “hammer-end”—a convenient option for when a hammer is out of reach.
However, the aluminum on this product can corrode over time if you get putty on it, so it’s really important to wipe away any joint compound from this surface as quickly as possible.
8. MARSHALLTOWN The Premier Line 4510SD 10 Stainless Steel taping Knife with DuraSoft II Handle
If you’re a professional in the building industry, you’ve probably experienced the frustration of having your knife leave traces of rust in the mud, which can stain the drywall. Unfortunately, with a lot of taping tools rust can accumulate relatively quickly. Since the MARSHALLTOWN Premier Line 4510SD taping knife is made from stainless steel, however, it’s rust-resistant.
The 10-inch blade is tapered, so you can use it to both fill regular joints and corners. Made from DuraSoft, the handle is uniquely contoured to fit in your hand, allowing you to work comfortably for hours.
This is a high-quality knife that’s moderately priced and versatile, but its design makes it a little less malleable compared to other knives on the market. Although it’s not a major flaw, this can be a bit of a problem when trying to smooth the mud, making it hard—but not impossible—to get a smooth finish.
7.Hyde Tools 09373 12-Inch Pro Stainless Steel Taping Knife
The preferable thing about the Hyde Tools 09373 12-Inch Pro Stainless Steel Taping Knife is its versatility. While 12-inch knives are typically used for feathering and smoothing, this unit also works wonders for patching.
Crafted with a flexible design, you can use the knife to do everything from taping to smoothing off paint. The lightweight structure also enables users to work for long periods of time without feeling effects in their wrists.
Since it’s rust resistant, this knife has the capacity to outlast many others, making it one of the best on the market.
6. MARSHALLTOWN The Premier Line 3520SD 20-Inch by 3-Inch stainless Steel Taping Knife Dura Soft Handle
The MARSHALLTOWN Premier Line 3520SD 20-Inch by 3-Inch Stainless Steel Taping Knife is the perfect tool for feathering and scraping off dry mud. The 20-inch blade provides users with enough surface space for flawless smoothing.
In fact, the additional surface area makes this among the best taping knives for various purposes, including skimming and blending. Considering the versatility, this is a moderately priced option that’s built to last.
While the DuraSoft handle is ideal for reducing fatigue and helping you get the job done faster, it does give way a bit more than other models. This extra flex limits some of your control it terms of pressure.
5.Hyde Tools 09363 10-Inch Pro Stainless Steel Taping Knife
Rarely will you ever find a stainless steel knife that costs fewer than 15 dollars, but that’s exactly the nature of the Hyde Tools 09363 10-Inch Taping Knife. This is one of the best taping knives for the money, especially since it eliminates the need to scrape off rust.
The 10-inch blade makes easy work of jointing, trimming, and smoothing. Additionally, the handle is specially designed to enhance flex, while also minimizing fatigue.
However, this knife is not as versatile as more expensive models. For that reason, it makes a good addition to any painter or specialists’ toolbox, but consider buying complimentary tools to get optimal results.
4. MARSHALLTOWN The Premier Line 3506SD 6-Inch by 3-Inch Stainless Steel Taping Knife with DuraSoft Handle
At 6-inches, the MARSHALLTOWN Premier Line 2506SD Taping knife does a phenomenal job of smoothing and feathering. Also, the Dura-Soft, rubberized handle provides the right amount of comfort, reducing the effects of strain felt in the wrist and hand.
Like a lot of other MARSHALLTOWN products, this taping knife is made of stainless steel, so it’s long lasting and durable. The blade also has the right amount of flex, providing users with the precision they need to smooth the mud to the ideal consistency.
However, the shape of the knife can be a little awkward to use, especially in corners. According to some reports from taping knife reviews, the tip of this model can actually cut into corners.
3. Red Devil 4838 6-Inch Flex Taping Knife
Among the best taping knives available, this is one of the most affordable options. Red-Devil products are known for their quality, which includes the Red Devil 4838 Taping Knife. The carbon steel blade is rust-resistant and thin, so it’s perfect for scraping as well as smoothing.
The flexible and durable design also makes this tool easier to use, with a handle that is equally high quality, sturdy, and comfortable. This handle is also solvent-resistant, so the putty won’t eat away at the plastic.
The major complaint that most taping knife reviews cite about this product is the highly adhesive label. The sticker is difficult to get off and can leave plenty of residue behind, which can get into the joint compound. You can easily resolve this issue by using rubbing alcohol to get the sticker off.
2. Allway Tools 6-Inch Drywall Flexible Steel Taping Knife
In light of its unique shape, this is one of the best taping knives to buy if you plan on scraping trimmings, drywall, or popcorn ceilings; it’s also perfect for applying mud. Affordably priced, this is a great addition to any professional tool kit, especially since it’s size allows it to be versatile—useful for everything from smaller jobs like spackling to spreading.
Overall, this is a great knife for DIY projects because it will give you professional quality results, especially if you use it for scraping. However, there are a few drawbacks to this model. For starters, it comes with a metal handle, which can grow uncomfortable to hold.
The bigger issue, however, is the fact that this knife is made from tempered steel. Although it comes with a coating that’s supposed to protect the blade, this coating can start to chip after several washes. Not only can this impact the overall quality of the mud, but also it will eventually lead to the rusting of the blade. For these reasons, this is a better knife for scraping or use on a one-time project.
1. Red Devil 4218 6-Inch Flex Taping Knife
With a range of uses, this is a great tool for removing caulk, scraping, and small amounts of spreading. For professional painters and contractors, you’ll find that this tool is especially great at removing paint stains from all surfaces without scratching.
Also, the carbon used to craft the blade is rust resistant and the blade provides a good balance between flexibility and stiffness, which makes it both reliable and durable.
If you’re looking for a dependable product at an affordable price, you can’t go wrong with the Red Devil 4218 Taping knife. It’s design and high-quality features—such as the shatterproof handle—means that this product is built to last.
Best Taping Knives under 30 Dollars
Few knives are as versatile and dependable as the HydeTools 09373, which is why it’s among the best taping knives for the money. This product is also backed the manufacturer’s forever guarantee. If you experience any rusting or corrosion, you can rely on HydeTools to replace it.
Best Taping Knives under 10 Dollars
When it comes to buying the best taping knife under 10 dollars, you can’t go wrong with the Red Devil 4218. Although it’s not made of stainless steel, the metal alloy used is exceptional quality, which means that this product will be around for a while. Its classic shape also makes it perfect for removing popcorn ceiling, caulk, or other adhesive materials.
Commonly Asked Questions:
How to joint drywall?
If you’ve ever looked at finished drywall you’ve probably been left wondering how the gaps between the drywall sheets, or joints, have mysteriously vanished. The secret lies in the process of taping and then applying coats of drywall compound over the sheets.
To joint drywall, begin by adding a layer of drywall tape over each seam. Be sure to press the tape firmly into the seams. Once that sets, it’s time to apply your first coating of compound. Add a thin layer of compound over the joint, and add more tape to it. Then, add another layer of joint compound with a taping knife. Sand down once dry.
The next step is to add a filler coat to help fill out the joints. This will require using a smaller knife, about 6 inches, in order to feather and blend. Additionally, this process includes covering up any drywall nails or screws. Remember to remove any excess joint compound by scraping along the seams once this coat has dried.
With a wider knife, about 10 inches, smooth another coat of putty over the seams. To finish the drywall, add another third layer of mud once the second has dried. Ideally, a wider knife will give the best effect. You can also use a trowel to help you smooth the compound.
What is the purpose of taping knives? And what are they used for?
Taping knives provide you with a smooth, flexible surface, allowing you pull joint compound along any grooves or seams so that the final product is as glossy and imperfection-free as possible.
Typically, these knives, also known as drywall knives, are used for drywall. However, contractors can also use them to scrap dry paint off hard surfaces or even remove caulk. Since these tools are thinner, they’re also great at slipping behind objects like mirrors or cabinet surfaces so that you can work them free with ease.
How to determine the right size taping knife
The size of the knife you need will depend on what step in the drywall process your working on. Smaller knives, such as 4 inch or 6 inches are perfect for the initial jointing step, enabling users to smooth the tape between the seams and also fill any gaps. Bigger knives work best for blending or smoothing surfaces, which is why they’re ideal to use in the later stages.
How to keep taping knives from rusting
If you’re a professional contractor, one of the biggest frustrations can be dealing with drywall tools that get rusty. Unfortunately, because these products are constantly exposed to both the joint compound and water they can rust pretty quickly.
While cleaning and drying off these tools after each use is a great preventative measure, sometimes it’s simply not enough. The best solution is to spray WD-40 on the tool after drying it off. This provides a protective layer from the drywall compound and prevents the development of rust.
What material should the taping knife be made of?
Taping knives can be made from a variety of materials—everything from plastic to carbon steel. Ideally, you want a taping knife that’s made of stainless steel, since this metal will never rust or corrode. However, some kinds of metal, depending on the coating used by the manufacturer, can also resist rust for long periods of times.
What are the advantages of using a taping knife during a job?
Taping knives allow you to easily create a smooth surface, which—although you may be able to accomplish with a trowel in the final phases—is really important in the first few steps. The smoother the initial mud layer you lay down, the more flawless the final product will be. These tools also allow you do more detailed work when applying the filler coat. The better you fill any gaps and cover any holes, the less apparent they’ll be when you apply the final layer.