Joint Compound vs. Spackle: What’s the Difference?

Home walls are always vulnerable to damage, be it external or internal. Even if you paint it or construct it with a sturdy form of drywall and composition mixture, there are holes, dings, dents, and cracks that remain during the course of use. Rather than frequently painting over or repairing the walls with drywall options, you can use compounds that are a quick fix to such issues. 

The joint drywall compound and spackle are two strong contenders for paste and plaster compounds. People often use both joint drywall compound and spackle to repair both large and small holes in walls, enhancing their appearance and reducing damage.

The following article provides you with the necessary details to understand more about the uses, types, and cost of each compound, as well as its distinct properties, so that you can gain some insights before buying them for your patchwork at home.

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What is a joint compound? 

What is a joint compound 

The joint compound is also referred to as the drywall compound. It bears a striking resemblance to the drywall mud or plain mud commonly used to solidify compound mixtures on walls. In addition to limestone and gypsum, it also contains other materials such as clay, perlite, starch, and perlite.

The joint compound has an easy-to-spread consistency, similar to mud, and it derives its name from its similarity to mid-properties. Additionally, it varies in its application method, type, and surface for compounding.


People often use the joint compound to smooth and seam new drywall installations, adding more structure or texture to the mixture. We sell it in powdered form and also in premixed powdered form in 1-quart to 5-gallon containers, which you can mix with water to create a proper, consistent mixture.

You can use this mixture to fill in small holes or mid-cracks in walls. We sell these compounds in large containers, catering to both large and small areas with holes and dents on the walls. After drying for around 24 hours, you can paint or sand it to achieve a more complete and polished look.


As shown below, there are actually four types of joint compounds:

  • All-purpose: used for patching purposes
  • Topping: used for the final topping and coating, spread with taping compound. 
  • Taping helps to create a seam between the drywall.
  • We use quick-setting to patch holes and cracks and to speed up drying times.


Considering that you can only use a joint compound for patchwork or other minor repairs, its overall cost is not that high. However, when sold in large containers and quantities, the cost increases significantly, regardless of whether you’re buying it for a minor purpose or to seal a small hole. And because it is quite hard to use it as a finishing top due to its cracky and muddy consistency,. 

What is spackle? 

What is spackle 

Spackle, made of gypsum powders and binders, is also another type of compound used for drywall. Due to its thick consistency, it is much preferred over joint compounds.

It is available in different grades, sizes, and types depending on the purpose of its use and the surface application. Spackle resembles toothpaste in consistency and comes in a tub-container, already pre-mixed for use.


You can use spackles for any type of hole or dent in the wall, including nail holes, small damages, and dings. While joint compound takes a whole day, spackle is a quick-drying compound that takes half an hour to dry. It is much thicker than the consistency of a joint compound, making it difficult to spread.

We add a binding agent to the gypsum powder, which enhances its elastic properties and reduces the likelihood of cracking or breaking after application. It can get the job done with a single coating, unlike a joint compound, which requires multiple coatings to keep the space neat. 


Spackle has many types, and it differs depending on the object or surface you are using it for.

  • Lightweight spackling compound
  • Standard/all-purpose spackling compound
  • Vinyl spackling compound 
  • Acrylic spackling compound 
  • Epoxy-spackling compound 


Spackles are quite a bit more expensive than the joint compound. Spackle comes in small quantities, unlike joint compounds, which are only available in large tub containers. Because it doesn’t dry out easily or require more coatings for use, you can store and use such small quantities as and when required.

Which should you choose?

Considering the availability of quantities of joint compound and spackle, it is advisable to choose spackle. Both compounds have their own specific properties, and it all depends on choosing the correct one for fixing the job that they are required for. 

But here is a quick tip: use joint compound to fix larger holes or cracks on the walls, and spackles to cover small dents, nail holes, and cracks that require quick fixing and drying.

When should I use Spackle?

You can use Spackle to fix small dents, dings, nail holes, cracks, and small damaged areas on the walls. Spackles are required grades that are essential for particular purposes.

You can purchase it in small or medium quantities as needed, and it only requires a single application on the surface, making it an efficient solution for your drywall.

When should I use the drywall joint compound?

You can use a drywall joint compound to repair larger areas of the walls where holes have formed or dents and cracks have appeared, making patchwork difficult. Drywall joint compounds typically require 24 hours to dry, and their strong consistency necessitates coating them two or three times to achieve a more neat and smooth surface.

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