The Complete List of Drywall Tools: 14 Essential Items

Kelly Weimert
Written by Kelly Weimert
Updated March 24, 2022
Man patching drywall ceiling
Photo: Mike Kemp /Tetra Images / Adobe Stock

Highlights

  • To repair your drywall, you’ll need to fill your toolbox with a few items. 

  • Drywall lifts can help you tackle projects solo.

  • Drywall T-squares are ideal for cutting large drywall sheets.

  • You can use a texture sprayer to create different drywall effects.

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Whether you're patching drywall holes before moving out, needing to fix a hole in your door, or adding a new room to your home, drywall tools come in handy for many home improvement projects. But there are so many out there that it's tough to hone in on the essential drywall tools you should have on hand—so we did the hard work for you. These essential drywall tools will help you tackle the most common projects with ease.

1. Utility Knife

Utility knives can help you smoothly cut drywall and perform other tasks, like breaking down cardboard boxes and trimming roof shingles. They're an essential component of any toolbox. 

However, some utility knives come with snap-off blades, which aren't suitable for drywall projects. Ensure your utility knife's blade is either fixed or interchangeable but securely set into a screw-down handle for optimal stability. 

2. Drywall Knife

Speaking of knives, a drywall knife is another important one to have on hand for drywall projects. Drywall knives feature a flat blade that makes applying drywall mud over seams and gaps easy. You can also use them for final drywall coats and drywall techniques like feathering. 

They typically come in 4-, 6-, and 12-inch sizes, but you can tackle most projects with a combination of a 12-inch knife and either a 4- or 6-inch knife. 

3. Jab Saw

Jab saws, also called drywall saws, are typically used to cut small shapes in your drywall. For instance, you might use a drywall saw to cut a hole for your light switch plate. We don't recommend using a drywall saw for large cuts, however, since the small, narrow blade makes it tricky to cut long straight lines. 

4. Drywall Screws

Hanging drywall with nails and a hammer is no longer considered the best way to go about it since it's not very secure. These days, you can purchase specialized drywall screws that offer a tighter fit than nails. Most standard drywall projects use 5/8-inch screws. A 4-foot-by-8-foot drywall board usually requires 32 drywall screws. 

5. Power Drill

Power drill drywall gloves
Photo: yellowj / Adobe Stock

Since most drywall projects require screws, you'll need a good drill to drive them through. A standard 12-volt power drill should work well for most drywall projects, but you can purchase an 18-volt model if you want more power. 

Professional drywall contractors often use special screw guns that automatically load up new screws after each one is drilled in. This tool makes the job faster and more efficient, but it's not usually necessary for your average homeowner.

6. Drywall T-Square

Drywall T-squares feature two pieces of metal affixed together in the shape of a "T," creating a straight 90-degree angle. They're intentionally 48 inches long, making it a breeze to create a straight cut along the entire width of a standard drywall sheet. Some drywall T-squares also have adjustable heads that allow you to cut at different angles than 90 degrees. 

7. Drywall Mud Pan

Drywall mud pans hold your drywall mud so you can easily take it wherever you need it around your home. They come in many different sizes. As a rule of thumb, it's best to purchase the largest size that you can easily move from point A to point B. This way, you won't have to refill it as often as you would with a smaller size. 

8. Tape Measure

Most drywall projects need a tape measure because most home projects need one, so it's a good investment. For drywall projects, you probably want a tape measure that's at least 12 feet long so you can easily measure large walls. 

9. Sanding Sponges

You’ll probably be doing some sanding to achieve a smooth, consistent finish in your drywall. Sanding sponges are commonly used for touch-ups rather than whole projects. There are two primary types of sanding sponges: abrasive and non-abrasive.

  • Abrasive sanding sponge: Abrasive sanding sponges look similar to kitchen sponges, with one very coarse side and one less coarse side. You’ll use these for most drywall touch-ups. 

  • Non-abrasive sanding sponge: Non-abrasive sanding sponges have a smooth side without any grit and a side with very fine grit. You’ll exclusively use these for touching up the tape work around your drywall seams. 

10. Sanding Blocks and Pole Sanders

Man sands patched drywall
Photo: Visivasnc / Getty Images

Sanding blocks and pole sanders are used to sand over your entire drywall project once the mud dries. 

  • Sanding blocks: Sanding blocks are small, handheld manual sanders that usually feature a handle on one side and removable sandpaper on the other. 

  • Pole sanders: Pole sanders are essentially sanding blocks but with a longer handle. These are great for when you need to reach the ceiling or other high areas. 

11. Corner Sander

As the name suggests, you can use a corner sander to tackle corners. These tools feature a 90-degree angle with sandpaper on each side, allowing you to sand the corners of your wall easily. Some corner sanders are small, handheld tools, while others are attached to an extension pole that you can use to reach high areas, like ceiling corners. 

12. Sanding Sheets

Of course, with all of this sanding, you'll also need sandpaper, which you'll attach to your sanding tools. Most drywall projects benefit from a combination of fiberglass mesh sanding sheets and standard sandpaper. 

  • Fiberglass mesh: Fiberglass mesh sanding sheets are coarse with relatively large holes that allow drywall dust to fall through without clogging the sheet. Their coarse design makes them ideal for sanding off larger pieces of drywall. 

  • Standard sandpaper: After using a fiberglass mesh sanding sheet to slough off bigger drywall bits, you can use standard sandpaper to create a smooth, polished finish. Depending on your project, you'll probably want several different grits to achieve a professional look. 

13. Texture Sprayer

For some projects, you might want a textured finish rather than a perfectly smooth finish. Texture can make your walls look unique while hiding any imperfections in your drywall. To apply texture, you'll need a texture sprayer. These sprayers often come with various nozzles to apply different effects. Some can also work double-duty as paint sprayers. 

14. Drywall Lift

A drywall lift is a piece of construction equipment that looks similar to a painting easel and is designed to lift drywall into place on the wall. If you're installing drywall with multiple people, you likely won't need a drywall lift since other people can help you. However, if you're tackling a drywall project yourself, you might want to rent a drywall lift.

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