It is closely related to the concept of Reebless foliation. A taut foliation cannot have a Reeb component, since the component would act like a "dead-end" from which a transverse curve could never escape; consequently, the boundary torus of the Reeb component has no transverse circle puncturing it. A Reebless foliation can fail to be taut but the only leaves of the foliation with no puncturing transverse circle must be compact, and in particular, homeomorphic to a torus.
The existence of a taut foliation implies various useful properties about a closed 3-manifold. For example, a closed, orientable 3-manifold, which admits a taut foliation with no sphere leaf, must be irreducible, covered by , and have negatively curved fundamental group.