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The Best Drywall Cutting Tools: 2019 Buyer’s Guide

To fashion clean and flush holes in drywall, you must first have some basic knowledge and the proper tools to execute the jobs. Whether you are doing a full renovation of a property or just replacing damaged drywall, most circumstances have special tools and tips to help reach your goal in a simple and efficient manner. This guide will detail everything you need to assemble the necessary tools to complete most jobs and tips for the best uses of each specialized tool.

 

The Best Drywall Cutting Tools

Utility Knife

The first and simplest of drywall cutting tools is the utility knife. Utility knives may use any type of blade, but the most common blade used for drywalling is the replaceable, retractable blade. Due to the hard composition of drywall, a firmly constructed knife with multi-stage locks is recommended.

Utility knives are versatile and nearly without burden to carry, which makes them extremely useful as random use pocket knives. When drywalling, they are ideal for repairs or straight-line scoring during installation. A multi-stage blade will allow for shallow, staged scoring when deep cuts are necessary and provide the safest blade length for any random use.

One major negative with using a utility knife during drywalling is that the amount of energy exerted and physical stress imposed on the human body is excessive. Long and deep cuts are not recommended because fatigue and the chance of error increases rapidly with length of use.

Our Top Choice:

Kapro 1254-40 Multi-Purpose Drywall Cutting Knife

The Kapro 1254-40 Multi-Purpose Drywall Cutting Knife provides multiple drywall tools in a compact 4.6 ounce frame. This model includes:

  • Tempered steel knife blade with auto-lock
  • Drywall plane for smoothing edges and rounding corners
  • Tempered steel saw blade
  • Measuring tape hook attachment

Tips for cutting drywall with your utility knife:

After measuring, mark your cutting lines directly on the drywall panels.

Use the knife to score a line through the drywall then snap the back of the panel on the reverse side of the scoring mark.

Complete the cut by slicing through the remaining board material along the reverse side of the panel.
Once cutting is complete, sand any rough edges before installation.

 

Drywall Cutting Saw (Jab Saw)

Small and easy to carry, the jab saw is a tool specially designed for jobs like cutting drywall. Although there are many variations in design, the jab saw typically has a blade tapered to a sharp point and widest at the handle. The pointed, serrated blade with large teeth allows this tool to be efficient at both pushing through and sawing drywall in situations that precision and smooth cuts aren’t necessary.

Jab saws are most often utilized after or during installation to adjust previous cuts and create new holes for remodels. Renovation specialists, electricians, plumbers, and anyone else needing to remove small to moderate sections of drywall will benefit greatly from having this tool at their disposal.

Our Top Choice:

Platinum Tools 10711C Pro Drywall Saw

The Platinum Tools 10711C Pro Drywall Saw is a strong and comfortable to use blend of simplicity and craftsmanship. The heavy-duty handle combined with the high carbon steel blade and the one-piece handle/blade design provide a durability capable of withstanding the wear and tear of consistent use. The hardened tip will allow you to punch through new sections of drywall quickly and easily.

Tips for using your jab saw:

  • Measure and mark the areas you want to cut, making sure to avoid any other construction features if cutting after installation.
  • Pre-drilling on your cutting line will allow for an easier transition to sawing than punching through using your tool.
  • Be sure to always cut away from yourself and stay within your marked cutting area. It is far easier to remove a little extra drywall than fill in gaps after installation.

 

Rotary Tool

Rotary tools are electrically powered tools with bits much like that of a drill. Unlike a drill, rotary tools are designed to cut laterally instead of punching a hole directly through a material. There are even specially designed rotary tools made specifically for drywall work that come with powerful motors, adjustable depth guides, and special guides and guards.

Rotary tools are effective at nearly any drywall cutting job. Accurate and easy to use, the rotary tool is designed for the craftsman who wants the burden of the work to be almost completely on the tool. The tool glides smoothly along the surface of the drywall while precisely cutting through the entire panel, making it a great tool for large or long cut areas.

The major disadvantage with rotary tools is their size and weight. The necessity of using both hands to control the tool make every cutting job a two-person exercise. As well, novice users may find it difficult to consistently make accurate cuts since there is a small learning curve to operating a rotary tool.

Our Top Choices:

Dewalt DCS551D2 20V Max Lithium Ion Cordless Drywall Cut-Out Tool

The Dewalt DCS551D2 20V Max Lithium Ion Cordless Drywall Cut-Out Tool Kit is a premium choice for drywall specific rotary tools. The 26,000-rpm speed makes drywall easy work to cut through. Tool-less bit changing, cordless power supply, and an LED light make environmental problems a non-issue. At a weight of just over 3 pounds, you can use the tool for long periods of time without extreme amounts of physical stress.

For the corded version of this model, look for the Dewalt DCS551B.

 

Ferm Rotary Cutting Tool Kit with Circle Cutting Guide

If you are looking for a great general rotary tool, we recommend the Ferm Rotary Cutting Tool Kit with Circle Cutting Guide. The speed control switch allows for efficient cutting through multiple materials, including drywall. This kit includes a free-hand cutting guide for precision and accuracy, as well as multiple attachments for different jobs.

Tips for using your rotary tool:

  • Measure and mark the areas you want to cut, making sure to avoid any other construction features if cutting after installation.
  • If cutting a circle, mark your pivot point and then use the circle cutter attachment.
  • Always hold the tool with both hands and begin cutting inside your marked cutting area.
  • Always wear protective eyewear and keep your cutting area clean and dust free.

 

Reciprocating Saw

Reciprocating saws are machines built for cutting through a wide array of materials. With a compact body, electric motor, and variable speed settings, reciprocating saws are versatile machines that can be used for many different drywalling tasks. Although they lack precision and finesse, a reciprocating saw can still be an effective drywall cutting tool.

The pushing and pulling action of the saw blade in rapid succession removes large amounts of drywall at a time making this tool ideal for demolition and large cutting jobs that require little precision. The mobility and efficiency of a reciprocating saw make it ideal for cutting large sections from drywall panels and removing any unnecessary obstacles to your drywall installation.

The primary negative with a reciprocating saw is its lack of precision and overall destructive force. The pushing and pulling through drywall can sometimes break drywall if the saw blade is not given enough time to work its way through the material. As well, the edges of cuts made by a reciprocating saw are often jagged.

Our Top Choice:

Makita XDS01Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Cut-Out Saw

The Makita XDS01Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Cut-Out Saw is an elegant solution to your drywall cutting needs. Being a cut-out saw, it is far more precise and executes better control than the standard reciprocating saw. The variable speed motor can run at up-to 6,000 strokes per minute. Adjustable blade depths allow this saw to be used after installation without destroying any nearby construction features. The clear dust box and vacuum tube attachment keep your work area dust free and reduce aerated particles.

Tips for using your reciprocating saw:

  • If not included, purchase a special drywall blade.
  • Start out slow to increase your control, and once the saw direction is established, increase your speed to allow the saw to do most of the work.
  • Always hold the saw with both hands, using one hand to guide the saw and the other to operate the control handle.
  • If wanting to make precise cuts, using a broad-toothed blade at a slow speed along a marked surface is the best method.

 

Drywall Cutting Tool

This category of tool is specially designed to cut through drywall quickly and easily. Some are designed primarily to cut straight lines through drywall parallel to an existent edge, while others are made to cut in a freer nature, allowing for arcs and omni-directional cuts.

Straight line cutters are great for quickly cutting sized pieces to the needed measurements. Ideal for professional drywall installers and large-scale drywalling projects, this tool allows you to cut each piece to size individually; However they are hindered by their special design, making them great at one aspect of work and lacking in all others.

Our Top Choice:

DL Ripper Drywall Cutting Tool

The DL Ripper Drywall Cutting Tool is engineered to cut straight lines with ease and accuracy. Adjustable up to nearly 2 feet, this tool is designed to use the lateral force of your hands gliding the device along an existent edge to cut at the desired measurement. This tool allows you to make any size rectangle of drywall needed to finish the job at hand.

 

Free Use Cutters

The free use cutters tend to be very different from their linear counterparts. Often made using magnets or interlocking pieces, these tools are normally parallel blades with a guiding handle on one side. To use them, you just need a basic understanding of how the specific tool fits together and where the blades are located. The inherent negatives that go along with using these tools is the amount of energy needed to use them and the learning curve of the specific design.

Our Top Choice:

Goldblatt G15850 Blade Runner

The Goldblatt G15850 Blade Runner Drywall Cutting Tool is a magnetized tool with mirrored construction for even cutting of both sides simultaneously. Cuts corners, arcs, and many other shapes quickly and effectively. Quick blade changing and a simple design make use easy for anyone.

Tips for using your drywall cutting tool:

  • Inspect the tool and its directed uses so you understand the limitations and specialties of the design.
  • Maintain constant pressure during cuts to prevent damage of both the drywall and tool.

 

Hole Saw

Hole saws are exactly what they sound like, circular bits designed to cut holes. This is done by attaching the hole saw to a drill and pushing through the drywall. These bits normally consist of a hard steel with large teeth on one side and a fastening point on the opposite side.

This tool is great for adding holes after an installation if remodeling near existing drywall. Before and during installation, a hole saw is a beneficial tool to have for making pipe, faucet, and handle holes for plumbing. The limitation in their design also limits their usefulness for drywall cutting.

Our Top Choice:

QWORK 11 Piece Hole Saw Set

The QWORK 11 Piece Hole Saw Set is a great set for drywalling. The multiple piece set comes inside a plastic case for convenience and organization. Included, are hole saws ranging from ¾” to 2-1/2″ and two different diameter mandrels for simple attachment and use. This set is affordable and has the attachments needed to complete most drywall hole cutting work.

Tips for using your hole saw:

  • After measuring and marking where you will need the hole and drill a hole into the center. Use this as your guide for where the drill bit will enter once the hole saw is attached.
  • If slug is stuck in the hole saw bit, use a screwdriver or other small tool to remove the slug.

 

When selecting tools for a drywalling job, it is important to anticipate the different tasks you will be doing. If you are going to be working on high drywalls, you may need some of the best drywall stilts in addition to the tools discussed in this post. Knowing which jobs you will be doing allows you to understand which tools will be necessary to complete the job, as well as which tools will allow you to get the work done quicker and easier. As your guide to drywall cutting tools, we hope our recommendations are beneficial to your task and peace of mind.

 

 

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