Albert has a big waterproofing job ahead of him, and is looking to buy a new cordless caulk gun.
He is already invested in 2 cordless platforms – Milwaukee M12, and Dewalt 20V Max, and is considering both models. But there’s a catch – both have good reviews, and he’s stuck trying to determine which will be better for his needs.
It’s down to:
Milwaukee M12 2441
Dewalt 20V Max DCE560
Looking at each model, I see that both are around the same weight, and both have similar features.
They both have anti-drip features, variable speed, hanging hooks, and both can be expanded to work with other types of cartridges. As shown here, both models are equipped to fit 10 oz caulk and adhesive tubes.
In terms of runtime, Milwaukee’s M12 cordless caulk gun is said to be able to dispense up to (150) 10-ounce tubes on a full battery charge. Presumably, they’re referring to the 1.5Ah battery included in the kit.
The M12 cordless caulk gun can provide up to 400 lbs of force, which is a little higher than an Albion 12:1 manual drive caulk gun. (Their 26:1 high viscosity model is rated to 300 lbf of thrust.)
I can’t find a power spec for the Dewalt cordless caulk gun, but Milwaukee’s M18 model (previewed here) can deliver up to 950 lbs of force and can dispense up to (200) 10-ounce tubes of material. I would assume that the Dewalt is similarly spec’ed.
The smaller Milwaukee cordless caulk gun is priced at $119 for the bare tool, and $149 for the kit. The Dewalt cordless caulk gun is $180 for the bare tool, and $299 for the 1-battery kit.
Reviews for both models are positive. I advised Albert to try to find reviews that specifically mention the thickest types of caulk (or adhesive) that he plans to use it with, but in trying that myself, not much comes up.
He believes that the Milwaukee will be sufficient, but is worried that he’ll run into problematic applications at a later time, and regret not spending more for the 18V-class tool.
So, what do you guys think?
Can the Milwaukee M12 cordless caulk gun handle everything that one could throw at it, or is stepping up to the Dewalt 20V Max cordless caulk gun (or maybe the Milwaukee M18 or another model) be the better choice?
Unfortunately, this is not something I could look into testing myself, at least not before Albert wants to make his purchasing decision.
Buy Now(M12 Kit via Acme Tool) – bare tool is also available
Buy Now(M12 kit or bare tool via Home Depot)
Buy Now(Dewalt via Amazon)
The Dewalt, or another 18V-class tool, might be more future-proof, but it’s hard to do with each and every tool. There are many instances where one can spend more on the higher-rated tool, “just in case.”
Taking a closer look at Albion’s high viscosity caulk gun, which has its 26:1 ratio and 900 lbf thrust rating, it says that model is for:
Especially designed to and for comfortable, efficient dispensing of thicker materials (cold weather) and 2-part adhesives packaged in universal or peeler-style cartridges with static mixers.
I’m leaning towards thinking that the Milwaukee M12 caulk gun, and its 400 lb rating, would be sufficient for most caulking or adhesive applications, unless the user knew they would specifically need a higher thrust ratio. Even then, for one-time application, or every now and then, a high viscosity manual caulking tool comes in below the price difference between Milwaukee M12 and Dewalt 20V Max models.
I’m not sure about the features of performance of either. But something to consider is what accessory carriages are available for the guns. We had some Milwaukee 6562-51 guns back in the “dark ages” of 14.4V Ni-Cad batteries. I don’t recall any comments about them one way or another – but I know they had carriages and plungers to accept different sizes of caulking tubes or sausages.
color me curious about this too. I’ve looked at them for a while and I always shy away on price. I hate to caulk but I have to do it fairly often it seems and I see some pros using them.
Normally the dewalt flavor – but I think that’s mostly commonality wise.
The M12 was a godsend when constructing our cabin. We picked up the quart conversion kit, and was one of the best buys for the build. My only complaint, and would probably apply to any battery caulk gun, is your arm can get tired quickly, if you have to extend your arm to use it, such as on a ladder. So with that, you may prefer getting through lighter gun. The M12 had no problems with anything we put in it, but I’m sure we werent using the least viscous materials
The dewalt waste alot of glue leaving roughly 4 inches of sausage un-used
The rod simply needs to be longer for 600 ml sausage
Great gun light weight but waste product
The m12 is also great id buy the m12 over the m18 the m18 is over kill
Im a windshield installer
Buy both return the 1 that dosent suit his needs. Returns at most stores are pretty easy these days.
I bought a Milwaukee years ago and still use it occasionally with no problems. The 2 seem very similar. Back in my days of masonry restoration there were days pushing 100 cartridges with the Milwaukee brand.
I have the same platforms as Albert and recently had to make the same choice.
I went with the m12, because:
– it was lighter, and if I am caulking over my head it matters
– iirc, the m12 only needs different attachments to handle different tube sizes, where dewalt offers completely different tools. Details have escaped me.
The m12 does not feel super heavy duty, and the way the no-drip works, you cannot really feather the trigger. But i would think that would affect any motorized gun. Bought it bare on sale, worth the 90$ or so I paid.
I have the M12 gun. It is more than powerful enough. Generally when working by hand I make a very small hole to get more control. The first time I did that, the M12 version was capable of pushing so hard it oozed out the back (around the plastic ram that pushes the caulk out).
So taking pushing strength out, things I like… The M12 automatically backs off when you take your finger off the trigger to cut back on ooze. What I will say, unless you are laying a lot of caulk (think construction adhesive), you may not need one. For anything require control, I use my cheap metal one. I only use this if I am using adhesive that I need to get out fast and don’t really care where it goes.
I’m a real price-conscious tool shopper. I don’t necessarily buy the cheapest version of the tool in question, but I carefully consider the value. So for me, I’d be carefully considering the price gaps.
In this case, when you’re already invested in both platforms, I’d probably make this decision based on whether I wanted another battery for either brand. Comparing Milwaukee to Dewalt, it’s a $60 price jump between the bare tools, but a $150 price jump between the kits.
Looking at it another way, because the Dewalt kit includes a low capacity battery (not sure whether it’s a 1.5ah or 2.0ah) and the DCB112 charger (which is slow), I don’t think it’s worth the $119 increase for the “kit” version. For Milwaukee, it’s only $30 more for a battery and charger.
So if you only need a bare tool, I think the $60 premium for the Dewalt might be worth the extra potential the 18v class tool brings. But if you want the extra battery and charger from a kit, it’s hard to justify the $299 price tag for Dewalt.
I am a plumber that works with a tub fitting company. For Christmas I bought the crews Milwaukee both caulking and sausage guns. The are used 6 days a week and have performed flawlessly. I used to be a Dewalt guy however from chainsaws to flashlights Milwaukee build tough, reliable tools.
I have a ton of tools in the DeWalt 20v and now Flexvolt family that I love and use heavily.
However, when it came time for a caulk gun, I went Ryobi. I considered the cost of the caulk gun from DeWalt way too high.
I got the Ryobi caulk gun for $40, a DeWalt DCA1820 adapter for $28, and a Ryobi NiCd battery for free. I used the last two to make an ugly but solid adapter complete with low voltage stop, and I now have an appropriately priced caulk gun that runs on DeWalt batteries (along with a number of other Ryobi light use tools).
I’ve been thinking something similar to this
Lol, you could have just bought a premade adapter for $30ish from Surebonder. The have ones for DeWalt, Makita, and Milwaukee batteries to use with Ryobi tools. You probably made yours before they widely available though, and more to be proud of.
Only negative I have now, is my Milwaukee 12ah battery decides where the Ryobi fan will sit, not the fan. But it goes FOREVER.
I know some have mentioned the Ryobi caulker gun. Only thing with that, is it is only for 10oz tubes, and as far as I know there is no quart conversion. I’d love to be wrong on that, as I would buy one to add to the tool collection.
I did not know there was a commercially made adapter like this available. Thanks for posting!
I’ve definitely passed on some Ryobi tool deals just because I didn’t want to invest in a third battery platform. This could change the equation! If only I could find a retailer in Canada – the Surebonder website said $30 shipping for the $20 adapter. No thanks.
Adam, the Surebonder adaptor does not have any electronics in it, I wanted the low-voltage shutoff to protect my expensive batteries in the cheap tools. I considered getting the (admittedly smaller and sleeker) Surebonder adapter and wiring in a 5S voltage alarm, but the DeWalt solution seemed easier.
For the rare times I care how sleek a Ryobi tool might be, I did get a pair of the promo batteries with the awesome LED light (which does have some kind of flickering issue with my homebrew adapter, everything else runs perfectly).
Don’t bother, that gun is junk. The ram bends even on regular caulking tubes. For some reason, Ryobi thought it prudent to use really low grade aluminum. You can bend it with your fingers. I’ve been through four of them.
Why worry about an adapter? I’ve seen a battery and charger for Ryobi for like $35 on http://www.directoolsoutlet.com (TTI outlet). Those adapters seem like like they add height to a tool and Ryobi seems like they are coming out with a ton of new 18v tools all the time.
I use the Milwaukee for tubes of 5200. We shoot 4 cases a go with no problems. For the price I haven’t found a better caulk gun.
We have the m12 caulking gun it struggles pushing out colder caulking,glues,(pl400,liquid nails) or bonding agents……the DeWalt or Milwaukee 18v handle everything no problem…
So if your in a warm climate and only use the M12 gun for glue or caulking…get that , but anything else and you’ll regret not having the 18v tool…..
Great suggestions above, when I have worked on trucks in the super cold we kept the lubeguns (Lincoln (?)) and truck oil in the running truck to make usage easier.
Would this make the M12 work better if the chairman or adhesive was warm before use?
Definitely, but it’s a added step and cost…really if your using glue for flooring ( like laying advantec plwood down, advantec makes a foam gun, that works at any temp..it’s a very good construction adhesive and a very easy “gun” to control and use…
There are too many days where it is hard to keep your caulk warm. 😉
Has the m12 caulking gun worked for mulco on colder days or was it a waste of time?
I’ve used my M12 caulking gun during house construction and love it! Lower weight and more than enough power to push out pl type adhesive. All m12 battery’s are interchangeable so if you’re up on a ladder plug in a 3 Ah battery and you’re good for the day.
The M12 works well for me , no reason to even consider DeWalt .
I have the ryobi calking gun so thats my only experience BUT it is indeed a data point so i’ll share.
-My opinion the ryobi caulking gun is HUGE. I mean it probably needs to be but i agree with some others that it’s really only for when your doing a LOT of caulking. If i was doing a small caulking job that required precision i would use my favorite Dripless SH200 caulking gun.
For a long term tool investment, I put future battery support at the top of the list. Milwaukee, while they seem to have learned their lesson, does not have a good track record with battery support. That is why I am a DeWalt user.
As a commercial user, all of my tool purchases are long term investments.
Milwaukee has had the same battery platform for at least ten years, and each new battery improvement has been backwards compatible with all M18 tools. DeWalt has gone through at least three iterations of batteries in that time, with only one being backwards compatible, and the other needing an adapter, and there is no homogenous compatibility amongst all three platforms.
I’m sorry Milwaukee 28v tools and batteries are where at home Depot ? All DeWalt batteries nicad or lith ion are for sale at home Depot , Right now,today…
DeWalt never abandoned any battery platform which is ..two..BTW….all DeWalt lith ion batteries work on all 20v 60v 120v tools…
Why DIY guys like you insist that Milwaukee HD Tools can use a 5ah or smaller battery is freaking ridiculous, ya the tools blade will spin but it won’t work correctly or for long.its (HD) tools are designed for the 12ah battery and are SHIPPED WITH A 12 AH BATTERY, NOT A 5ah or even 9ah ….why is that? …geez
A flexvolt tool can use 20v Max batteries? If building highrises in a place where it’s below freezing 7 months of the year is DIY, you must be a better man than me. Cheers!
No, 20V Max tools do not work in 60V Max or 120V Max FlexVolt tools.
If I recall, Milwaukee had 2 18v lithium platforms
DeWalt had 2 technically, but one was a nicad upgrade… And they made a factory adapter to use the new battery on the old tool platform. So DeWalt never abandoned there older users.
Rigid slide packs still work. I use my new packs on my old 18/24v impact driver
So what did get abandoned?
24v stuff across the line, for almost all mfgs. Old 12v tech. Old 14.4 tech.
I don’t think you’d go wrong with the 12v Milwaukee, nor the 20v dewalt.
“As a commercial user, all of my tool purchases are long term investments”
While we would have liked every tool that we bought to have lasted forever – Our accountant had us expense most items costing less than $500. Another way of looking at this – is that if we could not cover the cost of a small tool purchase within the year of its purchase – we would not have bought it. On larger tools and machinery – we’d naturally put them on a depreciation schedule.
One concern that I had with cordless tools – was that our anecdotal experience was that it seemed like more than their fair share were not as serviceable as many of their older corded cousins. I wasn’t buying thousands of pieces or even hundreds – so my statistical base was not significant – but I recall that many times when we brought a cordless tool in for repair we were advised to scrap it – and that advice usually came from sources that were not in the loop for selling us the replacements – and were actually losing out on the cost of the repair. Many of these were older NiCad or NiMH battery-based tools – so maybe this has improved with the new generation of LiIon battery tools – but I wonder.
I’d your doing a big job that needs lots of caulk of adhesives or whatever, you need to spec out the price of two part or sausage tube, which is about the only way to get some speciality urathanes.
If that’s the case, I know the milwaukee comes with a kit that can do both. I may not sure of the DeWalt, though also probably true. The sausage tube is a big money saver.
Agreed. I use a pneumatic sausage gun for doing the Wedi system. The Wedi caulk is a highly viscous, urethane waterproof adhesive. If Albert has sausage tubes available for his job, it is far more efficient, cost effect and easier than 10 oz or quart tubes.
What’s a sausage gun? I am guessing that the gun have an airtight cup like a pump so the gun essentially become a cartridge?
I am guessing the cheaper but what are the chance of ruining the gun of the adhesive is dried in? IE in the case of a cartridge only the cartridge is ruined.
It’s like a cherrizo sausage. It doesn’t have a hard plastic outer tube for support and doesn’t have a built in nozzle. The tube and nozzle are part of the gun. You cut the tip of the sausage, and drop it in. The cup seals in the back and pushes the contents out. The only trash you produce is the casing. It’s cheaper to use, by far, and for speciaty stuff, its one of the only ways. Most of these also allow you to fill from the pail as well or for you to mix two parts, but I’ve never used it that way. I use very little two part stuff that didn’t come with a double plunge system.
And why aren’t the two 18 volt models being compared to each other. Why is it that it always comes.foen to DeWalt 18v VS Milwaukee M12? I’ve seen this a few times recently.
Respectfully, read the posts, and you’ll understand why.
I was in the same position and just recently bought the M12 for $95 shipped during one of the eBay coupon periods.
I thought I would be happier with it than I am, not sure if the DeWalt does better or not.
The flow is static, on or off at a specific rate. A variable trigger with the max adjustment speed would help a lot.
The auto retract is a bit excessive for mid to low flow speeds. It retracts the same amount on low as it does on high, the next time you press the trigger takes a long time to pressurize and begin flowing again. This is a pain if you start and stop often.
I simply can’t see it working well for any sort of precision work.
Eric, Curious – The M12 I have, I swear it’s got a “max speed” knob, and a variable speed trigger, up to that max speed. Are there two different M12 tools?
Based on the manual, looks like you’re correct:
Starting and Stopping and Controlling Speed
1. Pull trigger to dispense material.
2. Increase or decrease pressure on the trigger to dispense the material. Adjust the speed dial to select the maximum speed for proper bead width and material fl ow rate (“1” for slowest, “6” for fastest).
The trigger pressure, selected speed, material type, temperature and nozzle diameter will all affect the fl ow rate. When using a tube or pack with a smaller nozzle diameter use a slower speed or the material may be forced around the rear tube seat.
NOTE: Operating the gun at high speeds may damage the dispensing tube or pack for some materials. For best results, gradually increase speed settings.
3. Release trigger to stop dispensing material.
NOTE: The piston will stop automatically when it has reached the end of the tube.
No. Dial sets max speed, trigger goes from 0-100% within that range. VERY effective setup. I use 6 speed to load tubes and start dispensing then run around the equivalent of 2 on the trigger(pulled to about 3/4 range of movement). I leave it on 3 so I have a little extra speed for large gaps, and to restart sealant flow after stopping for a second(plunger retracts 1/4 every time).
Mine is brand new from CPO and is on/off. I assume it is defective then. Thanks for the heads up, there is a Milwaukee service center not far from me that unfortunately I have had to use a few times.
How difficult is it to run a bead of caulk, silicone, or adhesive with a $10 dripless caulk gun? Beginners prep 101. If you’re using a cordless caulk gun for dap, liquid nails, loctite, or anything you’ll find at HD, then you’ve obviously never hung drywall, prepped for paint, installed subfloor, or have ever used a normal $10 dripless caulk gun and you probably shouldn’t try it if you think you need a $300 caulk gun to do it. There’s nothing difficult about it. Roofing adhesive (np1, etc) , commercial and industrial size tubes and adhesives are about the only thing that these should be applicable to.
Joseph Li Mattice
I’m a tile contractor and have a job coming up that will require me to apply 50 tubes of silicone. It’s not a matter of difficulty as much as ergonomics and consistency for me. I just purchased the M12 to try on this job and am very excited to see it
How did you like the m12 caulking gun? I have done 35 10oz of mulco supra expert and another 60 tubes to go in the winter months. How has the tool worked? Everything you though it would be? Tia
I took a look at an old tool inventory I had for one of the businesses.
We had 3 cordless (old style NiCad) Milwaukee Guns – one setup to handle quarts of material and the other set for 20 oz. sausages and one set for 10 oz. sausages. The stock plunger/carriage was listed as a spare. To be honest I don’t recall how much we used these.
What we mostly had in inventory were manual guns from Albion, Cox, Dripless Inc. and Newborn Brothers. I suspect that there were others from Home Depot or our other suppliers – in pails on some of the trucks.
My at home gun is an Albion:
There’s no need to be so judgmental.
If your gluin ply or osb for foors, you probably shouldn’t be using the smaller 10oz size. Your also not going through the large tubes that fast, and even if you are, a good looking bead isn’t something you care much about.
If you caulking 20 windows the starts and stops is more finish work Everytime you reset the trigger.
I’ve run hundreds of tubes of all kinds of goo through my M12 in temps down to -20F. I’ve always found with the heavy stuff that the packaging gives out way before the tool does. I’d save the $150 and go with the M12 — it’s one of my favorite tools that I have. It’s one of those where I thought before ‘eh, do I really need that?’ and after was angry I didn’t buy one sooner.
The Hilti “dripless” manual dispenser is my favorite. Overpriced in some ways (it is “Hilti” afterall) but the control seems superior to the many other manual ones I’ve used.
I’ve run a fair number of caulks, adhesives, and silicone grouts through my M12, never ran into an issue. Slap an XC battery in it, you can even stand it upright. The anti-drip feature is a little lackluster, the plunger does back completely off of the tube, but the tubes usually drip a little until they are about 1/2 used, no matter the type.
I run both m18 and m12 guns. Either will work, I find the m12 good enough in most cases and it’s lighter. M18 better in use(very slightly faster response, nicer trigger), but not enough to use another platform, m12 faster to reload and less button pushing to do it, better tube puncturing needle position too. I really like the clear sausage tube as well. Have put 800+ sausages through it and at least a few hundred tubes. Doesn’t handle 2 part epoxy tubes well in the freezing cold(barrel pops loose) but fine when warm, can’t do them manually either then. Sausages were structural silicone for cruise ship windows, tubes: pl400, bathroom caulk, 3m 4000uv and 52000 polyurethane, sikaflex 291, 295 uv, sikatack drive(windshield adhesive), six10 thickened epoxy from west, system 3 2 part polyurethane, dow 795 silicone.
I wonder why the Ryobi wasn’t in the running? It’s like $40 at Home Depot. A few of the reviews i have seen from Home Owners were pretty good.
I have both the DeWalt 20v & Milwaukee M12 tool lines as well, but if I were Albert I would be thinking about getting the Ryobi . A charger and battery at DirectTools Outlet (TTI outlet) is I think only $35 . And there are always new 18v tools from Ryobi I might consider getting in the future. I could buy both the battery starter kit and the caulk gun and still be under the cost of the Milwaukee.
I went through this debate last year since I have 20V Dewalt Tools and 12V Milwaukee tools. I went with the m12. Same reason as others… lighter. I needed to do some 1 handed caulking and the m12 worked great. So far I have not had anything that this thing could not handle from construction adhesive to silicon. Plus when I was buying the bare toll was a lot cheaper than the Dewalt.
I’ve got the M12 and primarily use it a box of 10 oz, sausage setup and the 20 oz barrel for 2 part mix. It does everything I’ve needed it for. If it’s cold weather, like any product, I try to keep the product warm….
But for CONTROL and finessing joints, I still prefer a manual hand gun
Awesome post! Great feedback. I’ll be putting one on my wishlist.
Simple answer. Big job get the big battery.
If Milwaukee thinks it needs to offer both a 12v and a 20v version then I would think the 20v Dewalt would be comparable to the 20v Milwaukee.
Neither! Ryobi instead. I’ve been using mine for a year and it kicks butt
Ryobi, the ryobi is a much better option and costs a fraction of what these two cost.
I actually wrote to you, personally, asking you to compare these two plus the Makita one vs the Ryobi but never got a reply.
The specs on them are similar but, while the Dewalt and Milwaukee look cooler the Ryobi is $40, not $200 or so.
These two are identical, the only difference is whats on sale at the moment and what battery platform you’re locked into.
I just checked on https://www.directtoolsoutlet.com/zrp310g for the Ryobi
It is a CPO tool but only $23.99! Even better
I have a brand new Milwaukee 12v caulk gun I’m selling. Albert should buy mine at a discount. 🙂
MC: Still got it? How much? ???.
I am reading this thread because my boss and I were working together last Thursday applying some very old (e.g., stiff) quart tubes of Liquid Nails to vinyl base. A few hundred feet, maybe a thousand feet of caulking bead.
We both have arthritic hands.
We both have arthritic hands.
The topic of cordless guns came up, and he related that he is very happy with his cordless grease gun, so he might think about a cordless caulking gun in the future.
Did I mention that we both have arthritic hands?
So how much for the new m12, if you still have it? I drive past at least two Home Depot stores every week, and Amazon delivers to the house as often as the pizza guy.
I’ve been considering exploring the m12 line since about Thanksgiving anyway; this particular tool just hit my radar last Thursday, after the 5th or 6th four-foot strip of vinyl.
Oh, and does yours have the max speed dial, the variable speed trigger, and/or the quart attachment? And thanks!
The Makita is absolutely the best of all
I have a pc products high thrust 26:1 gun and it’s a dream to use. Very little effort required to dispense product. I’ll never buy another cheap gun again. Was going to get an m12 powered gun but after buying that I felt it would be a waste.
Others like Albion – make quality 26:1 guns too:
If your caulk gun comes with:
A stamped metal handle
A stamped metal frame
A plastic handle
A plastic frame
It is probably a cheapie. The kind you keep around because your too lazy to break out the new one, or the one with pl in it for that random trim piece that keeps popping up. I have more than a few, mostly due to the fact that sometimes you find you need one and don’t have it with you..
Got the 12V Milwaukee and I love it. Used it on a concrete job doing hundreds of feet of Vulkem fill. Battery lasted, weight was good and the design was on point. Saved my hands big time.