Drywall Mud Pan - Drywall 101 Tools

Drywall 101
First Published:
November 08, 2014
Last updated:
May 03, 2024

Drywall Mud Pan

A drywall mud pan is an essential tool for a drywall finisher. For a drywall finisher to do his job he must at least have a pan and knife. A drywall pan serves as a tool for carrying drywall mud. It would be difficult to complicate the description of a mud pan so we will mention some basic features that professionals look for when purchasing a drywall mud pan.

SVG image of drywall pans lined up next to one another

There are mud pans made of plastic and those made of metal. Few professionals use plastic pans. A finisher needs a straight edge against which to scrape the drywall knife. Most plastic pans have a small piece of metal on one of the top edges. The metal strip of a plastic drywall pan often warps easily or comes out of its setting. For professional use, this is unacceptable. Also, plastic mud pans easily become pitted and unfit for use.

When buying mud pans it is important to look for stainless steel construction. This is necessary for avoiding rust and ensuring a long-lasting product. Some stainless steel pans come with slightly rounded bottom corners. This feature, though nice to have, is by no means critical.

Drywall mud pans come in a variety of sizes. As a general rule, the shorter the pan the easier it is to use. A drywall finisher will carry his mud pan with him most of the day so the lighter weight of a short pan is generally desirable. The main reason for its light weight is how much mud a pan can hold. Though the lighter weight is nice, it also means you have to fill it up more often throughout the day.

When determining what size pan to use, more important than the question of weight is the size of knife a finisher will be using. A drywall finisher needs a pan that is at least two inches longer than the longest knife he will be using. For example, if a drywall finisher is taping corners or flats with a six-inch knife, he can probably get away with a ten-inch pan. However, if he is finish-coating corner bead or butt joints using a twelve-inch knife, he will probably need at least a fourteen-inch pan. To skip-trowel texture using a twenty-inch knife you would need at least a twenty-two-inch pan.

High-quality mud pans sell for around ten dollars in most general supply stores. It is worth it to look for a pan made completely out of stainless steel. For most tapers who will rely on only one pan, a fourteen-inch pan is a good size to choose as this will allow for finish-coating with a twelve-inch knife.