If you are working on a bookshelf or simply hanging pictures, you will be fine with a hammer. However, if you are working on a building or a two story house, frequently install hardwood or have your own furniture repair shop, you will need a nail gun. What are the Best Nail Guns for your projects? Continue Reading…
A nail gun is a modern tool used by carpenters when they need to work on a lot of nails. This tool can efficiently sink over a thousand nails in one day with proven accuracy. It can fully sink in nails in a fraction of a second. This powerful tool has made the job of carpenters a lot easier and faster especially when they are working on roofs, frames, and numerous other jobs.
Nail guns can strike nails on materials ranging from thin wood to concrete. There are different types of nail guns but these power nailers work similarly. There is, however, a nail gun specific for every job that needs to be done. Other than the specific application they were designed for, nail guns also vary in the nail size they can be used with and power source.
- 1 How to Choose the Best Nail Gun for Your Project
- 2 Things to Look for When You Buy a Nail Gun
- 3 The Different Types of Nail Guns (Best Nail Guns that you need)
- 4 Comparison Chart: Compare Types of Nail Guns – Side by Side
- 5 What are the best nail gun brands?
- 6 How to Use a Nail Gun
- 7 Power Sources for Nail Guns
- 8 10 Must-Know Nail Gun Safety Tips
- 9 Nail Gun Maintenance
- 10 References
How to Choose the Best Nail Gun for Your Project
A nail gun will allow you to finish a project with a professional approach. The right nail gun will get your project done on time, will accurately shoot nails and will bring down the occurrence of smashed fingers.
There are different kinds of nail guns and each is specific for a particular job. A palm nailer, for instance, will never work well for a flooring job. It is therefore imperative that you choose the right nail gun for a particular job.
Here is a quick look at the types of nail guns and their specific applications.
- Carpentry works
- Wood sliding
- Nail Length: 2 inches to 3 ¼ inches
- Some underlayment
- Nail Length: ¾ inch to 1 2/4 inches
- Nail Length: 1 inch to 1 3.4 inches
- Interior Moldings
- Smaller crowns
- Trim works
- Nail Length: Up to 2 ½ inches. Can work with longer sized nails although it will have a bigger hole
- Cabinet making
- Interior moldings
- Small trims
- Nail length: 5/8 inch to 2 inches.
- Areas manual hammers cannot reach
- Nail Length: 1.5 inches to 3.5 inches
- Keeping pieces together while glue is allowed to dry
- Small moldings
- Nail Length: Up to 1 ½ inches
- Nail Length: Can hold 18 different nails ranging in length from 5/8-inch to 2-inches
Things to Look for When You Buy a Nail Gun
The Different Types of Nail Guns (Best Nail Guns that you need)
Comparison Chart: Compare Types of Nail Guns – Side by Side
Brad Nailer vs Finish Nailer
A Brad and Finish Nailer generally look the same. They are also almost of the same size. On top of that, they use almost the same types of staples and nails.
|Brad Nailer||Finish Nailer|
|Power Source||Pneumatic / Electric||Pneumatic / Cordless|
|Nail Size / Gauge||Brad nailsThinner and smaller head|
No need to cover holes
Fine 18 gauge wire brad nails
5/8” – 1/1/2” long
|Finish NailsHoles need to be covered|
15 or 16 gauge finish nails
1 ¼” – 2 ½” long
Magazine can store more nails
|Magazine Type||Straight clip (square/perpendicular) or angled||not angled|
|Firing Mechanism||contact / sequential trip,||contact / sequential trip,|
|Pros||+ Compact and portable|
+ Easy to use
+ Ensures nail is in right position
+ Holds the most number of fasteners per magazine load
|+ Versatile nailer|
+ Great holding power
+ Often comes with anti-marring tip
|Cons||+ Not much Holding power||+ Hole marks need to be covered|
|Uses||Small DYI projects, repairs and crafts||Heavy trim, cabinets, baseboards and wide crown molding.|
|Best Seller||WEN 61720 Brad Nailer||NuMax SFR2190 Framing Nailer|
Siding Nailer vs Framing Nailer
Both the siding and framing nailers use pressurized air for power. They are both built for different functions. Close scrutiny needs to be done because often it is just how they look that differentiates them both.
|Siding Nailer||Framing Nailer|
|Size||About 6 pounds average||about 10 pounds average|
|Power Source||Pneumatic / Cordless||Pneumatic /Cordless|
|Nail Size / Gauze||1 ¼ “ to 2 ½” nails|
With wider heads
|3” to 4” nails|
|Magazine Type||About 350 nails per magazine load / Coil||Coil / Stick|
|Firing Mechanism||Contact / sequential trip||Contact / sequential trip|
|Pros||Easy to load nails|
tool-less depth-of-drive adjustments
tool-less adjustable air exhaust
Easy to fix a jam
|Uses||to apply wood siding to house exterior|
|Framing, fence building, sheathing, carpentry, wood siding|
|Best Seller||BOSTITCH N66C-1 Coil Siding Nailer||BOSTITCH F21PL Round Head Framing Nailer|
Brad Nailer Vs Pin Nailer
|Brad Nailer||Pin Nailer|
|Power Source||Pneumatic / Electric||Pneumatic|
|Nail Size / Gauge||Brad nails|
Thinner and smaller head
No need to cover holes
Fine 18 gauge wire brad nails
5/8” – 1/1/2” long
|1” in length and in gauge 23|
|Magazine Type||Straight clip (square/perpendicular) or angled||Coil / Stick|
|Firing Mechanism||contact / sequential trip||Contact / sequential trip|
|Pros||Compact and portable|
Easy to Use
Ensures nail is in right position
|No holes or marks|
|Cons||Not much Holding power|
|Uses||Small DYI projects, repairs and crafts||Delicate trim work|
Delicate and soft finish work
Keeping pieces together while glue is allowed to dry
|Best Seller||WEN 61720 Brad Nailer||Hitachi NP35A Pin Nailer|
18 Gauge Brad Nailer vs 16 Gauge Finish Nailer
The 18 Gauge Brad Nailer and the 16 Gauge Finish Nailer are closely similar. They are used in jobs that are only slightly different.
|18 Gauge Brad nailer||16 Gauge Finish Nailer|
|Pneumattic / Cordless|
Broad head nails for easy removal
|Headless and bigger|
|Pros||Shoots nails to desired position|
Easy exhaust control
Nose easily cleaned during a jam
Easy to use
|Versatile (can do what a bard and finish nailer can)|
Shoots nails into both wood and metal
Nails easily / seamlessly fit into products
Best and easy to use
Faster speed than18 gauge Brad Nailer
|Cons||Some brands have no effective mechanism to clear jams||More expensive than 18 gauge Brad Nailer|
Temporarily attach woods
|Permanently attach woods|
|Best Seller||WEN 61720 18-Gauge Brad Nailer||Hitachi NT65M2S 16-Gauge Finish Nailer|
Bostitch vs Dewalt nailer
Both Bostitch and DeWalt are subsidiaries of Stanley Black & Decker.
|Bostitch Nailer||Dewalt Nailer|
Oil free tools
Available in Stick /Coil style
Multiple gauge / degree depending on nail size/angle
Known for ergonomic design
Lightweight bit powerful
Can sink nails even on the hardest materials
Tool-free depth setting
Easy clearing of jams
Preferred by the pros
|Cons||Compatible only with Bostitch nails||Tools are mostly on the heavy side|
|Nail Gun Line||Finish|
|Best Seller||BOSTITCH F21PL Framing Nailer||DEWALT DWFP12231 Pneumatic 18-Gauge Brad Nailer Kit|
What are the best nail gun brands?
How to Use a Nail Gun
Nail guns are getting to be extremely popular because of the speed and ease in which they can complete any type of carpentry jobs. They come in extremely useful for jobs ranging from large projects such as roofing, fencing and framing a house to smaller DIY home projects such as putting together a cabinet.
Nail guns fire nails with consistency and accuracy. You need to, however, know the right way to use a nail gun to make good use of it. If you are new to nail guns, or if you are using a new one, it is a wise idea to practice firing nails on strips of wood before working on the actual wood.
- Slide a strip of nails into the nail gun’s magazine. Securely lock the magazine.
- Wear safety glasses.
- Turn on the tool.
- Position the tip of the nailer on the wood. One of your hand should be on the trigger and the other on the nailer to keep it from slipping.
- Exert pressure on the tip of the nailer pushing it against the wood.
- Pull the trigger to release a nail. (holding down the trigger too long may release multiple nails)
- Pull the nail gun far away from the wood.
- Disconnect the nailer from its power source before reloading additional nail strips.
Tips: Exert enough effort so the nail fired does not appear crooked. Another reason nails appear crooked is you may have pulled the nail gun away from the wood surface too quickly.
Power Sources for Nail Guns
Nail guns get their power from either a hose and air compressor (pneumatic), compressed air canisters and battery (cordless) and a power outlet (corded). The power source is one of the factors you need to consider before choosing the right nail gun for your project.
Pneumatic nail guns work through an air compressor. A hose connects the air compressor and the nail gun. This is the most reliable and powerful type of nail guns. Limited mobility can be an issue though because the nail gun is connected to an air compressor.
- Most powerful and reliable.
- Ideal for heavy duty construction work.
- Able to withstand tough environments
- Limited mobility
- Must be frequently oiled to avoid rusting.
- Internal mechanisms need to be lubricated regularly
Cordless gun nails run through a combination of gas (compressed air pressure in canisters) and a battery. Gas is ignited and the battery provides the spark to power the nail gun. This type of nailer has more mobility than a pneumatic nailer although you need to frequently load fuel and recharge the battery,
- No need to worry about a hose lugging behind you
- Gives you maximum mobility
- Has a faster start up than a pneumatic nailer
- No messy oiling of the nailer to deal with.
- Nailer does not need any lubrication.
- You need to have at least a few fully charged batteries on stand-by to avoid work interruption.
- Less powerful than a pneumatic nailer.
- More prone to damage than a pneumatic nailer.
Electric nail guns are ideal for small projects. They get power from a regular electric outlet. Being corded, mobility is also a bit restricted. On the other hand, you do not need a compressor, replace fuel canisters and re-charge batteries.
- Weigh lighter than pneumatic nailers
- No messy oils and lubrications to deal with
- No air compressor, batteries and fuel canisters to deal with
- Has less impact than a pneumatic nailer.
- More prone to damage than pneumatic nailers
- Mobility is dependent on the length of the power cord.
Depending on the type of job that needs to be done, you will be able to choose the right nail gun based on their power source.
10 Must-Know Nail Gun Safety Tips
They are guns so they are dangerous. Nail guns provide a lot of convenience in getting the job done fast. However, using comes with some responsibilities to avoid injuries. Injuries range from being hit by a misfire or being stuck on the hose of a compressor. Most nail gun injuries are on the fingers or hands. Burns, eye, ear and dental injuries have also been caused by misuse of nail guns.
- As much as possible, work with a nail gun that is equipped with a sequential-trip trigger mechanism. This type of trigger reduces the possibilities of misfires or unintentional firing which could injure you or bystanders.
- Read the instruction manual for warnings and safety tips from the manufacturer before using the nail gun.
- Always wear protective glasses and other safety gear.
- Clear the work area of any bystanders.
- Avoid pointing the nail gun at anyone even if it is disconnected from its power source and also even if it is empty.
- Avoid carrying the nailer with your finger on the trigger. You may accidentally fire it.
- Keep your fingers, hands, and body away from the nail gun when you are going to fire nails.
- Make sure the nailer is firmly and securely positioned on the material you are going to fire nails.
- Always disconnect the nailer after every use or when you need to take a break. The same holds true when you are clearing a jam.
- Make sure nailer is not connected to the power source when you do maintenance work on it.
Nail Gun Maintenance
You may look at nail gun maintenance as additional work. However, if you want your nail gun to be working efficiently all the time, you will need to develop a plan and checklist for regular maintenance work.
- Make sure to regularly oil and lubricate the mechanisms.
Lubrication keeps your nail gun in top shape and allows you to use the tool for longer periods of time. Use lubrication oil that is specified in the Owner’s Manual of your nail gun. Some lubrication oil may be too thick for your type of nail gun.
- Always check that the screws are tightly fastened.
Loose screws will cause the tool to work inefficiently. Loose screws can also be a cause of major accidents. Make sure to check too if the trigger is moving the way it should.
- Clean the Feed System.
Wipe the magazine before reloading. You could also blow out dust that has gathered. A dirty magazine can affect nail firing and can cause nail jams. Avoid using a lubricant as it can only attract more dirt.
- Use the right hose and air compressor
Make sure you are using the right size hose. Make sure too that it can effectively handle the pressure it will be subjected to. To keep the hose functioning effectively, regularly check for breaks or cracks.
Make sure the power of the air compressor is compatible with your nail gun. Too little air powering your nailer will affect its efficiency. Too much air powering your nailer can cause its sealers and other mechanisms to break down.
- Replace worn out components.
All components of your nail gun must be in top condition. Check on them regularly so you can immediately replace worn out or damaged parts. Using the nail continuously can cause a major damage.
A nail gun has two major goals. First is to make the job easier, faster and accurate. Second is to lessen the stress and pains to the user which could otherwise be caused by a manual hammer. It is definitely cooler to be pulling a trigger and firing multiple nails per second than pounding a single nail for a couple of seconds.
There are a lot of different types of nail guns, each specific for a particular job. Choosing the right nail gun is always dependent on the job that needs to be done.
A nail gun is a dangerous tool. Safety precautions need to be taken when using it. Using a nail gun without much care can cause accidents in the workplace both to the user and bystanders.
Nail guns are machines that need to be maintained to ensure its efficient operation. Always make sure to check on those screws and other components. Not maintaining your nail gun properly will not only let it function inefficiently, it will also lessen its lifespan and worst, it can be a cause of injuries.
- How It Works: A Lean, Mean Nail Gun by By Max Fischer
- Nail guns can be hugely helpful but also deadly dangerous By Tim Carter
- Different Types of Nail Guns and How They’re Used by Kathie Cnair
- The Ultimate Nail Gun Buying Guide for Pneumatic Newbies by cslagle