The 5 Best Drywall Taper Banjos [Ranked]
Drywall taping tools, or "banjos", as they are often called, are designed for DIY hobbyists and professional contractors to simultaneously mud and tape drywall seams.
The users that we spoke with say that, in general, they can do the taping 3 to 5 times as fast using a drywall taper than by hand.
You can also rent these tools- typically for around $10 a day- but many contractors and DIY-ers prefer to keep a spare one on hand in their garages.
Novice users will discover that it takes a little bit of practice before you can use the tool effectively, especially in tight corners where the bulk of the taper makes it tricky to operate. However, once you get familiar with how it works it will make short work of covering drywall seams with paper tape.
Speed is not the only advantage a banjo taper offers. It will actually eliminate the annoyingly common problem of loose or bubbling tape that irritates many beginning tapers.
Our Top Pick: The Walboard Drywall Taper
The Walboard quick-loading drywall taper was one of our favorite banjos. It can hold up to 500 linear feet of the drywall tape, with an adjustable mud flow dam in the front, and an easy to fill mud compartment.
One novice user who hates taping drywall says that it is a well-made machine that was incredibly useful for his drywall taping project in his kitchen and bathroom.
This reviewer told us that he liked that the tape came out of the taper totally coated on one side with mud, which meant that it wasn't a tremendously sloppy process to get the job done.
As well, this reviewer we consulted applauded the construction of the tool saying that the stainless steel build was top-notch, making it easy to clean up and pretty simple to use.
Let's take a look at five of the best-selling drywall taping tools on the market today and see how they compare.
Best Drywall Tapers For 2019
How To Professionally Mix Mud And Apply Tape
What are buyers saying?
The Delko Plastic Drywall Taper was one of our favorites- it is a 1.76 lb. tool that features a banjo-style build for added durability & ease-of-use. In addition, the manufacturers have been handled construction to make it easier to use. As well, it ships with flat and internal corner applicators to make drywall taping as easy as possible.
Users, in general, are satisfied with this drywall taper, saying that it is a quality tool, working as advertised, easily enabling drywall taping without blistering your hands. It's definitely best to watch some instructional videos before starting to tape that way you don't overload the taper with mud and create a mess.
On the downside, another reviewer we interviewed said that if you load it up with too much mud and are trying to do overhead work it becomes a little bit cumbersome to use.
There is definitely a learning curve with drywall taping, with some users saying that working in tight spaces takes a little bit of practice to perfect. A professional home renovator commends the wallboard drywall taper, saying that it is similar in quality to the tools he has used professionally on construction and home-repair sites.
The Homax 6500 drywall taper was another option we examined- the manufacturers claim that it is able to apply 60 feet of tape and mud within 60 seconds. One novice user that we spoke to said that he was easily able to get this taper up and running for long and straight areas, but he had some trouble getting up to work in tight, corner areas.
Overall, though, he said that using a drywall taping tool saves him a ton of time as opposed to doing it by hand. In addition, he does say that, yes, it is messy to refill the device but that is to be expected when you are taping drywall.
Another buyer said that he can tape 4x as fast using a drywall taping tool as opposed to doing it by hand, but he does say that this particular tool is a little bit too delicate- one drop from a ladder would certainly destroy it. Another reviewer we spoke to says that initially he thought the inside apartment for the mud would be too small, but once he filled it up he realized that it had a fairly large capacity and was actually quite heavy once he began using it.
The majority of buyers that we spoke to seem to intensely dislike the process of drywall taping, and they were all pretty eager to discover a new solution that made it faster and easier to do.
The Marshalltown Tapeshooter was another option that we examine that received mixed feedback. One of the contractors that we spoke with says that he's been using it for over three years now without any trouble. He says that it cleans really easily, that the tape feeds and cuts well, and it is a comfortable grip in his hand.
Other reviewers we interviewed said that they had apparently received a defective model with an inside plate that was not correctly drilled and would not fit. This user had to go the extra distance drill holes wider to get a fit. Another reviewer that had a negative experience told us that he thought the price was too high, especially when he experienced excessive mud leaks using it.
However, another buyer that we spoke with said that it worked perfectly for taping corners, though he said that he thought the tape cutting blade near the front of the drywall taper should be a little bit sharper.
The Kraft DC401 tape shooter was the final option that we examined- it is made for right-handed users, constructed from aluminum, and has the capacity for 500-feet rolls of tape. The majority of users we spoke with said that it was a solid option, although one buyer complained that it came to his door poorly assembled with an off-center mount.
If you are in the market for a drywall taping tool, check out our reviews on this page, and even watch some YouTube videos to get a sense of how best to use the taper you end up purchasing.