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.
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.
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
Things to Look for When You Buy a Nail Gun
Nail guns vary in application, thus you need to choose the right air gun for a specific job. With the right nail gun features, you will be able to do your job with ease and accuracy. You will also be saving on time and more importantly, you will be able to avoid accidents.
Here are the features common to most nail guns. Take a close look at them and make an informed choice.
Nail guns come with three different power sources.
• Pneumatic Nail Gun
This nail gun gets power from an air compressor. The compressor needs to have ample pounds per square inch (PSI) to allow the tool to function at the pace it is expected. Air volume, cubic feet per minute (CPM) is also important so buy a hose in the right size. Make sure the nail gun you buy has a compatible PSI and CPM requirement as air compressor you are going to buy.
This nail gun gets power from a flammable gas and a rechargeable battery pack making it portable. When the trigger of this nail gun is activated, the battery will ignite the gas which in turn will supply the energy to get a nail released.
A magazine holds the nails that a nail gun shots. Both magazine types can be positioned in various angles.
• Stick Style
This nail gun type pounds nails that are bunched together in plastic, paper or a thin wire. The bunch of nails are loaded on a long stick (50-100 centimeters long). The carpenter then slides the stick into the magazine of the nail gun.
• Coil Style
This nail gun type pound nails which flexible wires hold together. The nails are loaded into a round type magazine and into the nail gun. The round magazine can hold up to 300 nails at one time.
Nail guns come with two types of trigger settings. For the first type, a nail is released when the user holds the trigger down and taps the nail gun to the surface being nailed. The second type has the nail gun shooting nails as soon as the trigger is pressed. Even the slightest unintentional press will make the nail gun release nails. There are nail guns though that have multiple settings.
• Adjustable Depth Features
The depth setting of a nail gun controls the force by which a nail is released. The level of force is important when changing frequently between nails. Some nail guns have depth settings that are hand adjustable. Some nail guns require a special to change the depth of the nail.
• Jam Clearing Mechanism
At one point or another nail guns will jam. The feeding mechanism of the nail gun should be easily disassembled to clear the jam. The nail gun should also come with an easy to jam clearing mechanism.
• Dry Firing Lockout
This feature stops the gun from shooting nails when there are no longer nails in the magazine. This is helpful for new users who may not have noticed that the nail gun has run out of nails.
The nail gun must be comfortable to hold as well as easy and stable to use. It can be a heavy tool but if you choose one with either an aluminum alloy of magnesium construction it will be much lighter.
Nail guns are dangerous tools to handle. It is therefore important that you choose a nail gun that is comfortable, easy to hold and grip. The nail gun too should have a big trigger and an automatic safety lock to prevent accidental pressing of the trigger.
The Different Types of Nail Guns (Best Nail Guns that you need)
A framing nailer is what is needed when large pieces of materials have to be nailed together accurately and fast. This gun nailer is specifically for high-powered projects and is considered as the heaviest duty of all nail guns. This gun nailer will cut project time by hours and will prevent muscle soreness in Carpenters.
Framing nailers come as either pneumatic (powered by hose and air compressor) or cordless. (powered by a compressed air canister and battery). Framing nailers have stick-style magazines which can hold 40 or fewer nails or coil style magazines which can hold over a hundred nails. Framing nailers can fire 2 ¼ inches or 3-inch nails.
Framing nailers often come with triggers that are interchangeable between a contact and sequential trip.
Framing nailers can do two styles of fastening nails. Through nailing is driving a nail squarely. Toe nailing is driving a nail at an angle. In a case of a jam, all framing nailers come with an easy and fast way of opening the nailer’s head to remove jammed nails.
Best Suited for Wood framing kin heavy construction, buildings (hard word, hard pin, spruce)
This cordless framing nailer runs on a Lithium-ion battery (rechargeable). This model requires a fuel cell. Pressing the trigger ignites a tiny spark that will allow propane in the fuel cell to shoot the nail. The battery propels the spark. A 1 hour full charging time can make the nailer run for 5 hours firing 6,000. It is also capable of a two-minute quick charge which can allow the firing of about 200 nails. The battery has a standby mode.
This framing nailer can accommodate Paslode nails between 2 inches to 31/4 inches nails in strip form. Loading of nails in the magazine is quick and easy. How deep the nails go into the wood can be easily adjusted by the drive depth adjustment dial on the fly. This nailer rarely misfires and jams. Jams are easy to clear. Its durable nose makes it ideal for heavy duty indoor and outdoor projects.
This unit comes with a built-in fan that is directed toward the internal components of the nailer. This is to avoid overheating and to keep the nailer working great for long hours.
With a dimension of 17 inches x 17 inches x 5 inches and weighing 7.25 pounds, this unit is heavy-duty and still easy to transport. A utility hook which can be used either as a rafter hook or a belt is included for ease of use. The unit comes with 1-year full coverage warranty.
It is ideal for project sites with inconsistent power supply and when it can be a challenge to carry an air compressor while nailing. This framing nailer comes with a nosepiece that is super heavy-duty allowing toe-nailing in all angles.
As its name obviously suggests, this nail gun is to shoot nails for roofs. Since they are brought all the way to the top of buildings it is important that roofing nailers are portable and lightweight. These nailers are either Pneumatic or electric. A few models are cordless. Electric roofing nailers are quieter although heavier than the pneumatic ones. Most pros go for pneumatic roofing nailers, though.
Roofing nailers use large and rounded head nails to fit into the roofing requirements. Coiled type magazines are also used to hold hundreds of nails. Nails are through contact or sequential trip. Nail guns also often come with a single guide to ensure each shingle is fitted correctly.
These nailers always come with a depth setting dial to ensure nails are driven on the right depth to avoid damage to shingles. They also have a dry fire lockout to prevent misfires especially when the nailer is not loaded with any nails.
This roofing nailer comes in a magnesium material with carbide tips making it lightweight, durable and long lasting. It has a coil style nail magazine that can hold ¾” to 1-3/4 roofing nails with 0.120 shank diameter. The magazine can quickly load up to 120 pieces coil nails via its single-action side load canister (patented). It’s zero nail lock-out feature ensures the nailer will not fire when a magazine is empty.
This nailer comes with an easy depth setting adjustment via a 5-setting depth dial to ensure nails at the right driving depth required for the job. Nails are driven at 100 nails per minute with either the sequential trip (precision work, ideal for finishing) or contact tip (bouncing motions, ideal for roofs) firing methods. To control single space this roofing nailer features a tool-less gauge. Unit comes with a 7-year limited warranty.
Installing hardwood floors is a lot faster and a lot easier with a flooring nailer. A flooring nailer will also ensure that nail cleats are accurately inserted.
A manual flooring nailer includes a spring inside the unit. The user uses a mallet to strike the flooring nailer to drive a nail. A pneumatic flooring nailer on the other hand functions similarly as the manual type except that air pressure is used to drive a nail. Pneumatic nailers are most preferred by the pros.
Nails used in flooring nailers are called cleats which are packaged in cartridges. The entire cartridge is loaded into the unit. Manual flooring nailers always work with cleat nails. Pneumatic flooring nailers use either cleats or staples. A pneumatic model can use either a T-cleat or an L-cleat.
This flooring nailer comes with a die-cast aluminum construction that is durable and dependable. For added stability and durability and to avoid scratching the surface of the floor. This flooring nailer includes 2 composite base plates (non-marring). It comes with a rubber mallet, oil, and wrench.
This nailer fires both staples (15.5 and 16 gauge/1” to 2”) and cleated nails (“L”/”T” from 1 ½” to 2”). The magazine can hold up between 100-120 cleats/staples at a time.
Base plates are interchangeable to allow the installation of ½” to 3/4” nail on the flooring. Using the right base plate makes sure nails are fired at the ideal height. Choose the base plate that matches the thickness of the flooring. This nailer also has a long reach handle combined with a padded grip makes the tool comfortable to use. This unit comes with a 1-year limited warranty
Finish Nailers are used for nailing moldings and small trim boards into assemblies. It is also used for other lighter projects such as a finish for a job for aesthetic purposes. This nailer leaves only a small imprint on the surface of the floor.
Finish nailers can either be pneumatic (powered by an air compressor) or cordless (powered by a compressed air canister and rechargeable battery. This nailer can hold 15 to18 gauge nails (angled or straight) in 1 ¼” – 2 1/2. These nails are available in 50 to 100 strips in a box of 200 nails. Brad nailers (finish nailers that are smaller) will fit thin brads with lengths between 5/8” up to 1 ½”.
Best Used for: Trim work, paneling, interior moldings, baseboards, small crowns
This finish nailer is a powerful tool that can handle extremely demanding tasks while being portable. Its compact body makes it easy to use even in tight angles. It also has a rubber grip that makes it comfortable to use even for long hours. This nailer works with 1 ¼” to 2 ½ “ 15 gauge nails. It can switch from contact nailing to sequential nailing with a simple switch.
This nailer is equipped with an exhaust portal that can be adjusted (3600 ) so the user can avoid annoying air. It is also equipped with an air duster to remove dust and debris to prepare the surface for nailing.
This nailer is only 4.2 pounds making it lightweight and portable so it does not cause undue fatigue to the user.It c comes with an aluminum housing taking it rust-free. It comes with an ergonomic handle with a rubber grip that does not strain the hand of the user. Unit comes with a 5-year warranty.
A brad nailer is small finish nailer. It works with small nails that are difficult to drive with a manual hammer. Brad nails are almost invisible once used on wood thus it no longer needs to be concealed once used on a trim. Most brad nailers are pneumatic (requires air compressor) and some are of the cordless type (compressed air canister with battery).
Brad nails work with the thin 18-gauge wire brads with thin heads. Less or no hole filling is required because just a small hole is left when brads are driven to wood. Brads are usually between 5/8” and 1 ½” long and often come in 1.22 diameters. Nails are loaded in either straight clip (square/perpendicular) or angled magazines
Best suited for: delicate trims, small moldings, paneling, temporary nailing of wood
This multi-purpose pneumatic nailer can be used in any project regardless of scale. It features a maintenance-free motor that will not stain surfaces it is working on. It has a rear exhaust that will keep debris out of the working area to ensure a clean job.
This nailer works with 18 gauge brad nails that are between 5/8” to 3” long. It comes with a 100 nail capacity magazine.This nailer uses a sequential style firing method making it easy to handle. It also comes with a depth-of-drive adjustment that does not require any tools
This tool comes with a durable magnesium body. It also features a non-marring nose tip to ensure that no unnecessary markings are left on the surface. An anti-slip rubber grip provides comfort to the user. At 4.8 pounds this tool is lightweight and portable. This unit comes with a 3-year limited warranty with 1-year free service.
A palm nailer is a tool that fits into the palm of your hand. Some of the models are as powerful as the larger nail guns but of course, palm nailers are more comfortable and convenient to use.Palm nailers come in pneumatic or cordless models.
This nailer can drive nails between 1.5 inches to 3.5 inches long. For bigger projects, you can go for the more heavy duty models which can drive between 2 inch and 6-inch nails. Palm nailers are compatible with ordinary nails so you do not need any specialty nails to use this tool.
Best suited for: It is ideal for any task especially on tight spaces. Can also be used for framing, fences, and decks
This pneumatic palm nailer can drive nails of up to 5” in length. It is a pneumatic power tool and comes with 3 steel noses to fire different kinds of nails. This nailer is best used as a metal connector.
This nailer has a sequential firing mode and also includes a contact trigger. It has a straight magazine angle with a 1 nail capacity. The magnetic nose of the nailer has a nail slot (recessed) that balances the nail while hammering is ongoing. The magnetic nose keeps the nail always in place. Nose is made of hardened steel so the nailer can be up to any task.
This nailer comes with 3 noses. 1 Standard nose, 1 finish nail nose, and 1 large bore nose.
This nailer comes with a comfortable design complete with a rubber grip for the protection of your wrist. It is lightweight and portable at only 3.3 pounds and dimensions of 4.13 inches L x 3.5 inches W x 2.9 inches H. This unit comes with a 7-year warranty.
Pin nailers are handy and small tools ideal for DYI projects and also for woodwork pros. These nailers can fire the thinnest nails without leaving any marks. You won’t even see a hole. This pneumatic nailer are sometimes referred to as micro pinners or headless pinners.
Pins nailers work with headless nails. These nails are 1” in length and in gauge 23. Some pin nailers can accommodate nails up to 2 ½ inches in length. Pin nails come glued together in a sheet
Best suited for: Projects that need a discreet and soft finish, delicate trim work, temporarily hold materials, crafts work
This 2-pound low maintenance pneumatic pin nailer works with 5/8 inch to 1 3/8 inch 23 gauge nails. It has a large nail capacity to it does not need frequently reloads. It has a reload indicator to prevent dry firing. This tool has a dual trigger to make sure nails are fired accurately in place. Its nose tip is soft so it does not leave any visible marks.
This nailer features a rear exhaust so debris and dirt are kept far away from the users. This pin nailer also features a depth adjustment to ensure nails are fired to their ideal depth in the wood. The kit includes the pin nailer, a hex bar wrench, 1/4 inch male plug, safety glasses and a carrying case.
Siding Nailers are for installing sidings. Its main task is to nail thinner pieces of wood (or non-wood) into a wood mount. A siding nailer works with short nails usually 1 ¼” to 2 ½” long. Some siding nailers can accommodate aluminum nails which are ideal for aluminum sidings. Most siding nailers are pneumatic.
Best suited for: siding, decking, fence boards, sheathing, pallets, subflooring
This siding nailer is equipped with a 3 mode trigger selection (contact, sequential, lock).
This nailer is equipped with a built-in air filter to reduce debris and dust coming from the wood. Its multi-directional exhaust port also ensures exhaust is not in the direction of the user. This nailer is 13.2 inches x 5 inches x 12.5 inches and only weighs 5 pounds. It comes with a 1-year warranty.
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.
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
Straight clip (square/perpendicular) or angled
contact / sequential trip,
contact / sequential trip,
+ 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
+ Not much Holding power
+ Hole marks need to be covered
Small DYI projects, repairs and crafts
Heavy trim, cabinets, baseboards and wide crown molding.
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.
When you talk about the best nail gun bands, you talk about two things. The nail gun brand that has the best reputation and the nail gun brand that is the best for a specific application
Nails guns are available in different applications. There is a specific nail gun that matches the requirements of a specific carpentry job.
Nail Gun Brand
Framing, Roofing, Siding, Pin, Palm Nailers
Finish, Siding Nailer
Brad, Roofing, Pin Nailers
9. Nu Max
Framing, Finish, Floor Nailers
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
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.
My name is James F. Core , and I write this blog.
Staple guns are a great tool to have for Your DIY projects that require stapling. I hope this guide to apply the information that you find to make an informed buying decision.
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