5 Best Drywall Taping Tools in 2023

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A drywall taping tool, also known as a drywall banjo or a drywall mud applicator, is a device used to finish drywall installations. It is designed to help with the application of joint compound (mud) to the seams and joints between sheets of drywall.

This tool is especially useful for professional drywall installers and can also be handy for DIY enthusiasts looking to achieve smooth and professional-looking drywall finishes.

The “best” drywall taping tools can vary depending on your specific needs, preferences, and budget. I tested some of the most popular models and below is my list of the ones you should consider buying.

Bazooka Drywall Taping Tool Vs. Banjo Drywall Taping Tool

The choice between a Bazooka and a Banjo drywall taping tool depends on the scale and type of drywall finishing project you are working on.

Bazooka automatic tapers are ideal for large, flat areas, while banjos are versatile tools suitable for various drywall finishing tasks, including corners and angles. Professionals often have both tools in their arsenal to handle different aspects of drywall finishing efficiently.

Best Drywall Taping Tools

1. Goldblatt G15301 Banjo-Dry Tape

My Pick
Goldblatt G15301 Banjo-Dry Tape
  • Made of lightweight aluminum
  • Holds up to 500 feet of drywall tape and enough joint compound to tape 40 feet of drywall seams
  • The tape stays dry and remains visible through the back of the tool

This tool is versatile and can be used for a variety of drywall taping tasks, including taping seams, inside corners, and angles. It is suitable for both small-scale and medium-scale drywall finishing projects.

With the body made of rugged, lightweight aluminum, Goldblatt G15301 Banjo-Dry Tape can hold up to 500 feet roll of drywall tape.

This banjo drywall tape has two sections. One section holds the tape roll, and the other is for the drywall compound.

The partition between the two sections doesn’t let mud reach the tape. So, the tape stays dry, and mud sticks to only one side of the tape. Remember to position the tape above the mud in the mud section to get it on the correct side of the tape.

You can use 40 feet to 45 feet of tape to fill joints before mud in the mud section gets finished. After that, you have to refill the mud section.

You don’t need any extra tools to cut the tape as Goldblatt banjo has a serrated tip to do this work. Above the serrated tip is an adjustable knob that you can use to control the mudflow.

The latched side is smaller than the other side, leaving a gap in the back of the tape holder portion. You can check how much tape you have used without opening the banjo through this gap.

The handle is made of wood and includes a thumb rest that will not let your thumb slip away while working.


  • Lightweight body
  • Adjustable screw to control mudflow
  • Tape stays dry
  • Can hold up to 500-feet tape roll
  • Jagged tip to cut the tape


  • I have found the initial setup and loading of joint compound and tape into the banjo to be a bit tricky and time-consuming until they become familiar with the process

2. MARSHALLTOWN TapeShooter Drywall Taper

Most Efficient
MARSHALLTOWN TapeShooter Drywall Tape
  • Constructed from lightweight aluminum
  • Available in right-handed and left-handed styles
  • Easy to load the taper with one hand

MARSHALLTOWN TapeShooter Drywall Taper is made for both right-handed and left-handed people.

This tape-shooter or drywall banjo has two compartments, one is for tape, and another is for holding the mud. There is a spool for holding the tape roll. By opening the latch of the tape compartment, you can easily fit the tape roll in the tape compartment. Remember to set the tape clockwise to roll easily and insert the tape through the groove in the bottom, which connects two compartments.

In the mud section, the tape should stay above the mud so that when you use the tape-shooter, the bottom side of the tape will be coated with mud, and you can easily tape your drywall joints.

There is an adjustable screw in the front of the banjo, which controls the mudflow. Just under the screw, there is a piece of steel which, whenever you tighten the screw, will push the steel beneath it, and the steel will pinch the tape, resulting in a thin mud coat on the tape. Now, if you want a thicker mud coat, all you have to do is loosen the screw in your preferred way.

The tip is serrated, so it is very easy to tear the tape off when you are done taping a joint, and obviously, you won’t need scissors. The side handle on the opposite of the latched side will help you hold the tape-shooter while you are taping easily.


  • Mud can be loaded in one hand
  • Both for right-handed and left-handed users
  • The side handle is adjustable
  • Very efficient in mud-controlling
  • Good mudflow setting


  • It can get heavy when filled with mud

3. LEVEL5 Automatic Drywall Taper

Recommended by Professionals
LEVEL5 Automatic Drywall Taper
  • Allows users to apply the first bed of joint compound (mud) and tape in a single pass
  • Precision-machined components
  • Inclusion of a QUICK-CLEAN head with a simple thumb screw

The LEVEL5 Automatic Drywall Taper is a professional-grade drywall taping tool designed to streamline and enhance the drywall finishing process.

So the first thing to mention is the creaser trigger at the bottom of the taper, which lets you control the creaser wheel at the top. This trigger gives an easy switch between flat surface taping and corner taping or vice versa.

Right above the trigger, there is a tape dispenser where you can place the tape roll. You have to twist the tape to make it go into the head. As tape has a front and a back, make sure that you twist the tape in the right direction when you are feeding it through.

This automatic drywall taper is attached with a control sleeve made of hard-coat anodized aluminum that is three times harder than typical aluminum. This control sleeve has three basic functions.

The control sleeve stays neutral while lifting the sleeve can advance the tape. You can advance the tape by going back and forth from a neutral position to lifting. Whenever you need to cut the tape, you just have to pull the sleeve from the neutral position.

This taping tool has a mentionable feature that is easy head cleaning. You will just need to pop out the thumbscrew to get access and clean the tube.


  • Easy cleaning
  • Easy controlling of the corner applicator wheel
  • Built-in tape-cutting mechanism
  • Control sleeve for holding the tape
  • Wearable parts are compatible with other brands


  • Fiberglass mesh tape cannot be used
  • Higher price tag

4. Delko Plastic Drywall Banjo Taper

Best for Beginners
Delko Plastic Drywall Banjo Taper
  • Durable plastic material
  • Quick-release tape holder mechanism
  • Holds rolls of 250 feet or more
  • Delko's internal corner attachment is included

You can easily trust Delko Plastic Drywall Banjo Taper to tape board joints and corners like a professional.

The body of this drywall taper is made up of high-quality plastic, and plastic makes the taping tool lightweight so that you can easily carry and control the tool while working. The plastic handle on the top will make carrying the taping tool a lot easier.

With a tape holder in the back and a mud compartment on the front, this taping tool can hold a tape roll of 500-feet of tape and can contain 5-lbs of mud at a time. Loading mud is easy as you only have to remove the side cover. After closing the latches, the removable side sits perfectly, so you don’t have to worry about leaking mud out of the mud compartment and making your work messy.

Delko Plastic Drywall Banjo Taper comes with both an internal corner applicator and as flat joints or surface applicator. Depending on where you want to tape, you can easily attach or detach your preferred applicator.

When you are taping internal corners, just attach the corner applicator wheel or creaser wheel. The creaser wheel will let you crease the tape at a perfect 90-degree angle and make your corner taping smooth and effective. When you need to tape flat joints or cracks, just attach back the flat applicator.

An adjustable knob or dial will help you to control the mudflow.


  • Lightweight plastic body
  • Mud can be controlled with the control knob
  • Easy attachment and detachment of the corner as well as flat applicator
  • Faster than other traditional banjos
  • Easy to wash


  • Tape doesn’t roll easily if the mud is thick

5. DEWALT Automatic Drywall Taper DXTT-2-760

Most Durable
DEWALT Automatic Drywall Taper DXTT-2-760
  • Simultaneous taping
  • Stainless steel components
  • Integrated, trigger-controlled creaser wheel
  • Equipped with a quick-clean cover plate that can be easily removed using a thumb screw

The DEWALT automatic taper is constructed with premium materials, including extruded aluminum and stainless steel components. This ensures durability and resistance to corrosion.

The integrated, trigger-controlled creaser wheel efficiently sets tape into drywall corners, enhancing the quality of the finish. The quick-change tape holder feature allows for fast and easy replacement of tape rolls, minimizing downtime during taping.

The rolling chain idling system reduces drag during operation, ensuring smoother taping and reduced fatigue while using the taper.

The adjustable roller brake and cutting spring tensioner enables you to customize the feel of the taper to their personal preferences, enhancing comfort and control.

Moreover, the hard-coat anodized aluminum compound tube and quick-clean cover plate simplify the cleaning process.


  • High quality construction
  • Precise corner taping
  • Easy cleanup
  • Adjustable roller brake and cutting spring tensioner


  • Not for individuals who are new to these types of tools; learning curve is quite sharp
  • Higher price tag

How to Use A Taping Tool

Factors to Consider When Buying Drywall Taping Tools

When buying drywall taping tools, it’s essential to consider several factors to ensure you select the right tools for your specific needs.

These factors can help you make informed decisions and ultimately lead to more efficient and effective drywall finishing.

Here are key factors to consider:

Type of Project:

Consider the scale and type of drywall project you’ll be working on. Smaller DIY projects may require different tools than large-scale commercial projects.

Experience Level:

Your experience with drywall work can influence your tool selection. Beginners may prefer simpler tools, while professionals may require more advanced equipment.


Determine your budget for drywall taping tools. Quality tools can be an investment, so balance your budget with the need for durable and efficient equipment.

Tool Quality:

Invest in high-quality tools from reputable brands. Quality tools are more durable and tend to perform better, providing long-term value.

Tool Types:

Assess which specific drywall taping tools you need. Common tools include automatic tapers, banjos, flat boxes, corner finishers, nail spotters, and more. Choose tools based on the tasks you’ll be performing.


Ensure that the tools you select are compatible with the type of drywall joint compound and tape you plan to use.

Ergonomics and Comfort:

Comfort is essential, especially for long hours of work. Look for tools with ergonomic designs, comfortable grips, and features that reduce user fatigue.


Some tools offer adjustable settings, such as mud flow rate or blade tension. These features allow you to customize the tool’s performance to your preferences.

Weight and Portability:

If you need to transport tools to different job sites, consider their weight and portability. Lightweight tools are easier to carry and maneuver.

Availability of Replacement Parts:

Check if replacement parts for the tools are readily available, as wear and tear can occur over time.


Investigate the warranty offered by the manufacturer. A good warranty can provide peace of mind in case of unexpected issues.

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Drywall Taping Tool Accessories

Drywall Tape Types

Drywall tape is an essential component of the drywall finishing process, used to reinforce and conceal the joints and seams between drywall panels.

There are several types of drywall tape available, each with its characteristics and purposes.

Here are the most common types of drywall tape:

Paper Tape

  • Paper tape is one of the most traditional and widely used types of drywall tape. It is a thin strip of paper with an embedded crease down the middle.
  • Paper tape is designed to be applied to seams and joints after the initial layer of joint compound (mud) has been spread over them. It is often used for the first layer of taping.
  • Paper tape is available in both perforated and non-perforated varieties. Perforated paper tape has small holes that allow the mud to penetrate for better adhesion.
  • Paper drywall tape is not that costly compared to other drywall tapes. Paper tape can be ripped easily with a knife.
  • Remember to press the tape after applying the tape on a surface as there may exist some air bubbles underneath the tape. The air bubble is not a big issue when taping using an automatic taper or a banjo.

Fiberglass Mesh Tape

  • Fiberglass mesh tape is made from woven fiberglass threads with an adhesive backing.
  • This type of tape is self-adhesive and can be applied directly to drywall seams without the need for an initial layer of mud.
  • Fiberglass mesh tape is known for its strength and resistance to cracking. It is often used in high-stress areas such as corners and angles.
  • The good thing about this tape is that it has an air bubble resistance feature, making it easily stuck to the surface.

Metal Tape

  • Metal corner tape is designed for use on drywall corners to reinforce and protect them from damage. It typically consists of a metal strip with paper or fiberglass tape on both sides.
  • Metal corner tape is applied to outside corners and is covered with joint compound to create a smooth, durable corner.
My Pick
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10/09/2023 04:32 pm GMT

Tape Cutting Knife

Most of the drywall taping tools out there have a built-in knife to cut the tape when necessary. The cutting mechanism is easy to use in an automatic drywall taper where there is a sleeve which by pulling down you can cut the tape, but in a drywall banjo taper, a knife is installed on the tip of the banjo, and you have to give a little bit of pressure for cutting the tape.

There are also taping knives (also called joint knives) you can buy for cutting the tape. Usually, the 6-inch taping knife is widely used among professionals.

A taping knife can be used for cutting the tape and applying mud, finishing, laying tape, and much more.

So whether your drywall taping tool has a built-in knife or not, buying a taping knife is a good idea.

Corner Applicator

A corner applicator, also known as a corner finisher or corner roller, is a specialized drywall taping tool used in the drywall finishing process. It is designed specifically for applying joint compound (mud) to inside and outside corners of drywall, including 90-degree corners and angles.

Corner applicators help achieve clean and sharp corners, which are essential for a professional-looking finish.

The pre-built corner applicator in the drywall taping tool is usually a big creaser wheel that creases the tape when taping on the inside corner. In the automatic drywall taper, there is a trigger to control the corner applicator. But with the banjo, the corner applicator comes as an attachment that you can attach when taping inside the corner.

You can also buy a corner applicator attachment for your banjo at a fair price if your banjo has that mechanism of attaching a corner applicator.

Flat Applicator

A flat applicator refers to a flat box or flat finishing tool. This is a specialized tool used in the drywall taping and finishing process to apply joint compound (mud) to flat seams and joints between drywall panels. Flat applicators are designed to cover larger areas quickly and efficiently, resulting in a smooth and uniform finish.

A flat applicator is the default applicator for all drywall taping tools which means if you own a drywall taper, you will not need to buy a flat applicator attachment. The flat applicator is the two small wheels in the drywall taping tool. Both roll simultaneously for rolling out the tape and applying the tape on the flat surface smoothly.

Joint Compound

A joint compound is widely recognized as mud and is used with tape to cover the drywall seams or repair cracks between two drywall joints.

There are several types of joint compound, each designed for specific purposes in the drywall finishing process:

  1. All-Purpose Joint Compound: This type of compound is the most versatile and commonly used. It can be used for taping seams, embedding tape, and finishing coats. It is available in both pre-mixed and powdered forms.
  2. Taping Compound: Taping compound, also known as “setting-type” compound, is designed for the initial taping and embedding of drywall tape. It dries relatively quickly and is available in different setting times (e.g., 20, 45, or 90 minutes).
  3. Topcoat or Finishing Compound: Topcoat or finishing compound is used for the final coats over taped seams and screw/nail indentations. It is formulated to be smooth and easy to sand, resulting in a seamless finish.
  4. Lightweight Joint Compound: Lightweight joint compound is formulated to be lighter in weight, making it easier to handle and reducing fatigue during application. It is suitable for all-purpose and topping coats.

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FAQs About Drywall Taping Tools

1. What Tools Do I Need for Taping Drywall?

Taping drywall effectively requires a set of specialized tools to achieve professional-looking results. Here’s a list of essential tools you’ll need for taping drywall:

Tape Measure: A tape measure is essential for measuring and cutting drywall sheets accurately, as well as determining the length of drywall tape needed.

Utility Knife: A utility knife with a sharp blade is used to cut drywall sheets and trim excess tape and joint compound.

Drywall T-Square: A T-square helps ensure straight, precise cuts when scoring and snapping drywall sheets.

Mud Pan: A mud pan is a shallow tray used to hold and mix joint compound (mud) while taping. It’s available in both plastic and metal.

Joint Compound (Mud): You’ll need joint compound to fill gaps, cover seams, and finish the drywall. It comes in various types, including all-purpose, taping, and topping compounds.

Drywall Tape: Drywall tape, such as paper tape or fiberglass mesh tape, is used to reinforce and cover joints and seams.

Drywall Knife (Taping Knife): Drywall knives come in various sizes, including 4-inch, 6-inch, 8-inch, and 10-inch. They are used to spread joint compound and feather edges during taping and finishing.

Corner Trowel: A corner trowel or corner knife is used to apply and smooth joint compound in inside and outside corners, creating clean and sharp corners.

Corner Bead: Corner bead is used to protect and reinforce outside corners. It can be made of metal, vinyl, or plastic.

Sanding Tools: Sanding is an essential part of the finishing process. You’ll need sanding blocks or sandpaper (usually 120- to 150-grit) to smooth the dried joint compound.

Sanding Pole: A sanding pole or drywall sanding tool with an extendable handle allows you to reach high walls and ceilings more easily.

Bucket and Mixing Tools: You’ll need a bucket for mixing and holding joint compound. Mixing tools, such as a mixing paddle or drill attachment, are used to blend joint compound to the desired consistency.

Sponge or Damp Cloth: A damp sponge or cloth is handy for cleaning excess joint compound and smoothing edges during finishing.

Drywall Saw or Rasp: A drywall saw or rasp helps cut openings for outlets, switches, and other fixtures in drywall sheets.

Drywall Screw Gun or Drill: A screw gun or drill with a screwdriver bit is used to secure drywall sheets to wall studs or ceiling joists.

Drywall Screws: Drywall screws are specifically designed for attaching drywall sheets to framing. They come in various lengths.

Drywall Adhesive: Drywall adhesive can be used to provide additional support when attaching drywall sheets to walls or ceilings.

2. What is the difference between drywall joint tape and joint compound?

Drywall joint tape is used to reinforce and cover seams and joints on drywall, while joint compound is used to fill gaps, seams, and imperfections and create a smooth surface.

Both materials work together in the drywall finishing process, with joint compound applied over the tape to embed it and achieve a seamless finish.

Know More: How to Fix Bubbles in Drywall Tape: The Easy Way

3. How do you determine where to tape drywall?

Identify the Joints and Seams:

  • Drywall sheets are typically installed with the long edges (factory edges) butted together and the short edges (cut edges) meeting at wall studs or ceiling joists. These joints and seams need to be taped.

Check for Inside and Outside Corners:

  • Identify inside corners (corners that form angles less than 180 degrees) and outside corners (corners that form angles greater than 180 degrees). Both types of corners require taping, but the taping technique may vary.

Inspect Screw or Nail Indentations:

  • Look for screw or nail indentations in the drywall where the sheets are attached to wall studs or ceiling joists. These indentations need to be taped and covered to create a seamless surface.

Evaluate Any Gaps or Irregularities:

  • Examine the drywall surface for gaps, cracks, or irregularities in the seams and joints. These areas should be filled with joint compound and taped to achieve a smooth finish.

Plan for Ceiling Joints:

  • If you are working on a ceiling, you will have vertical and horizontal joints similar to those on walls. Identify these joints for taping.

Consider Corner Beads:

  • If you are using metal or plastic corner beads to protect and reinforce outside corners, you will tape these areas as well. Corner beads are applied before taping.

Assess for Taping Around Openings:

  • If there are openings for doors, windows, electrical outlets, switches, or other fixtures in the drywall, plan to tape around the edges of these openings to create a finished appearance.

4. Should you prefill drywall joints before taping?

Prefilling drywall joints before taping is a common practice in the drywall finishing process, and it can help you achieve a smoother and more professional finish.

Prefilling involves applying a thin layer of joint compound (mud) to the joints and seams before embedding drywall tape.

5. What is the best way to seal drywall seams?

Prepare the Surface:

  • Ensure that the drywall panels are properly installed and securely fastened to the wall studs or ceiling joists.
  • Check for any protruding screws or nails and ensure that they are below the surface of the drywall.

Apply the First Coat of Joint Compound (Prefill):

  • Using a taping knife and a mud pan, apply a thin, even layer of joint compound over the seam. This is often referred to as the “prefill” coat.
  • Make sure the mud covers the entire seam and extends slightly beyond it to feather the edges.
  • Allow the prefill coat to dry completely, which can take 24 hours or more.

Embed Drywall Tape:

  • Once the prefill coat is dry, inspect the seam for any imperfections. If needed, lightly sand any high spots or imperfections with a sanding block or sandpaper.
  • Cut a piece of drywall tape to the length of the seam, using a utility knife and a T-square for a straight edge.
  • Apply a second, slightly thicker coat of joint compound over the seam.
  • While the second coat is wet, press the drywall tape into the mud along the entire length of the seam.
  • Use a drywall knife or taping knife to smooth out the tape and remove any excess mud. Ensure that the tape lays flat and is fully embedded.

Apply Additional Coats of Joint Compound:

  • After the tape is embedded, apply additional coats of joint compound over the seam, feathering the edges with each coat.
  • Use a wider drywall knife for each successive coat, which helps create a smooth, tapered transition from the seam to the surrounding wall or ceiling.
  • Allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next. Depending on humidity and temperature, drying times may vary.

Sand and Finish:

  • Once all the coats are dry, sand the seams using a sanding block or sandpaper. Sand until the seams are smooth and there are no visible ridges or imperfections.
  • Use a damp sponge or damp cloth to wipe away any dust generated during sanding.

6. Why Does My Drywall Tape Keep Bubbling?

  • When taping drywall seams, applying a thin layer of joint compound (prefill) is crucial before embedding the drywall tape. This initial layer helps fill gaps and create a solid base. If you skip this step or if the prefill layer is too thin, the tape may not adhere properly and can bubble.
  • Air bubbles or pockets can become trapped under the drywall tape during the embedding process. These trapped air pockets can cause the tape to bubble as the joint compound dries.
  • Rapid drying of joint compound, particularly in hot and dry conditions, can lead to tape bubbling. When the compound dries too quickly, it can shrink and pull the tape away from the wall.
  • Proper taping technique is essential for avoiding bubbles. Make sure you’re applying even pressure when embedding the tape and using a taping knife or drywall knife to smooth it out.
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