Your Choice of a Best Nail Gun – What Exactly do you Want?

Disclaimer: There are affiliate links in this post. At no cost to you, I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

You can use a nail gun to roof, join, frame, fence, suspend, finish or floor wood- and metal-work. This refined version of its crude counterpart: hammer, can be a great time- and energy-saver if you use it precisely for its intended purpose.

There are plenty of models to choose from, and each has a different set of features. Choosing best nail gun from a large variety can be confusing and time-consuming. A key takeaway is to consider your budget, professionalism, size of project, type of material (wood or metal), and durability.

This brief review will guide your choice of a nail gun, but it all boils down to what exactly you want. Consider the following nail guns we’ve handpicked on your behalf.

1. Dewalt’s DC608K – Best Brad Nailer

Beginners and professionals alike can find this brad nailer useful for purposes such as construction, carpentry and home improvement. The electric brad nailer is cordless, and fires one brad (or 18-gauge nail) every second. The brad size ranges between 5/8” and 2”. A power from 18-volt batteries drives the brads.

You can find this budget nail gun handy for heavy-duty work, because it weighs 7.4lbs, and is cordless. The magazine is straight, and has a brad capacity of 110. The dewalt brad nailer is suitable for fine nail holes, such as baseboards, panels, frames, upholstery, trims, crown moldings, jambs, casings, chair rails, etc.

Dewalt’s DC608K nailer is a high-precision power tool whose slim and tapered nose allows it to penetrate tight spaces. Trigger’s adjustable between bump firing and sequential modes, which allow batch and single nailing, respectively. 

Risks of firing unintentionally is minimized by a safety lock. The brad nailer is suitable for continuous workflow.

Reasons to Buy:

  • Dual mode ensures efficient performance
  • Battery is durable.
  • Nose piece is removable.
  • Nail blockage is minimal.
  • While it's costly to buy, compactness and portability make up for that cost.

Reasons Not to Buy:

  • Noise increases as the product wears out.
  • The brad nailer's inconsistency is seen when used to drive nails into hardwood and sheet rocks.
  • There's likelihood of accidental trigger.

2. Paslode XP Nailer - Best Framing Nail Gun

The pasload nail gun is powered by a lithium ion battery. You can drive up to 9000 nails with a single charge. This rate is twice as much as you would find on an average budget nail gun.

In addition, this framing nailer weighs 7.2 lbs; hence, you should find it relatively easy to carry every time. Moreover, the top rated nail gun offers you a huge holding power.

Hence, the best of the best framing nailers is suitable for heavy-duty work like framing beams and posts.

The budget nail gun can drive nails into hard and soft materials. Paslode xp framing nailer offers you the convenience you need for safety, nail removal and portability. Such convenience makes up for its costliness.

Reasons to Buy:

  • 2 minutes quick charge can last long enough to drive about 200 nails.
  • The framing nailer weighs a few pounds, and isn’t attached to anything.
  • Strong design and materials make up the power tool's body.
  • The magazine is easily reloadable, thanks to a streamlined design.
  • No-mar tips prevent you from leaving unsightly marks.

Reasons Not to Buy:

  • Chances of misfiring are real due to large nose size.
  • It’s difficult to operate a noisy nail gun without earmuffs.
  • Changing nail depth is time-consuming.

3. Hitachi NP35A - Best Pin Nailer

The Hitachi pin nailer uses air compressor as a source of power, and weighs 2lbs. Hitachi NP35A pin nailer fires 23-gauge pins, which are headless and small.

The pinner is suitable for delicate materials, and so requires little holding power. You can use the pinner for chair rails, baseboards, crown molding, panels, picture frames, etc.

The Hitachi nailer allows you to adjust nail length between 5/8” and 13/8”. The magazine can accommodate up to 150 pins, and slides automatically.

It's easy to remove dust and broken pieces of wood, thanks to the rear exhaust. You can also set up depth to suit various materials and pin lengths.

Reasons to Buy:

  • The magazine slides in and out; hence, reduces load- and down-time.
  • A high-capacity magazine can accommodate up to 150 pins, and so you don't the need to reload frequently.
  • Removable nose plate makes it easy to clear blockages.
  • The pinner is lightweight and compact, ensuring holding comfort and portability.
  • You don't need to wear ear muffs.

Reasons Not to Buy:

  • Imprecision increases when you drive nails longer than 1”.
  • Real chances of accidental firing for a first-timer who's not got a hang of the tool.
  • Unsightly appearance: Marks can still be visible if you press the nail against a material.

4. Freeman PF18GLCN L-Cleat - Best Flooring Nailer

The freeman nail gun fires 18-gauge L-cleat nails whose size ranges between 1 ¼” and 1 ¾". You can switch between three plates whose sizes are 3/8”, ½” and ¾” for tongue and groove floors. 

These plates stabilize the nailer, and prevent the nose from scratching a finished surface of a flooring. Hardened steel makes up the driver blade.

Encasing the nail gun’s body is a die-cast aluminum, which is durable. The cylinder is made of aluminum, and O-rings are made up of high-quality rubber. Freeman PF18GLCN flooring nailer is suitable for a dense, solid, exotic or engineered flooring, using rare hardwoods such as teak, bamboo, engineered timber, bamboo, and cherry. 

The magazine can accommodate up to 120 L-cleat nails. The presence of no-mar tips prevents the nozzle from creating unsightly marks.

Reasons to Buy:

  • The power tool is made up of aluminum, which is a light metal.
  • Strong and fire-resistant materials such as anodized aluminum and steel contribute to durability.
  • Freeman provides you with a seven-year warranty.
  • The high-capacity magazine is easily reloadable.
  • Holding power’s high.

Reasons Not to Buy:

  • You'll spend a fortune to get this tool.
  • It's difficult to notice when L-cleats run out, because spring load isn't visible; unless you paint it.
  • Chances of misfiring are real – cleats can ran up the board during reposition.

5. Dewalt DC618K - Best Finish Nailer

The dewalt finish nailer is suitable for hard materials, because it affords a high holding power. Hence, the finish nailer is suitable for hardwood flooring, light woodworking, trimming and making cabinet. You can also use the nail gun for paneling or molding doors and windows.

Dewalt DC618K finish nailer is cordless, and the magazine accommodates 16-gauge nails whose sizes range between 1 ¼” and 2 ½”. The nail gun weighs 8.5lbs. You can switch between bump and sequential modes of triggering. 

Moreover, you can remove jamming using dials located on 6th position. The magazine bends at an angle of 20 degrees, and can house up to 120 nails. Every second, it fires five 16-gauge nails.

The electric nail gun is powered by 18-volt XRP batteries. This power is enough to drive nails with similar speeds as pneumatic nailers. The battery is long-lasting -- it's 40 per cent more durable than a typical Ni-Cad battery. 

You can view battery life on an LED screen, and it takes one hour for a battery to recharge fully. You don't have to be a pro to operate this nail gun.

Reasons to Buy:

  • Durability compensates for costliness.
  • High-precision is due to sequential-trip mode.
  • LED lighting assists in illuminating poorly lit areas.
  • You don't need nail removers or screwdrivers to remove blockades of nails from a nose piece.
  • High-capacity magazine ensures that you can do more with less effort and time.

Reasons Not to Buy:

  • The finish nailer is heavy, making it difficult to move around with it.
  • The power tool doesn't work for every type of nail size.
  • The 20-degree angle and large capacity of the magazine mean longer load times and downtimes.

6. Hitachi's NV45AB2 - Best Roofing Nailer

Compressed air, whose pressure ranges between 70 and 120 PSI, is a source of power of the Hitachi roofing nailer. An internal filter removes debris or sand, preventing jamming on the open nose.

The magazine accommodates nails whose sizes range from 7/8” to 1 ¾”. The magazine can accommodate no more than 120 nails, and is inclined at an angle of 16 degrees. The Hitachi nail gun weighs 5.5lbs. The nails are coiled, and have collations.

You can use this nail gun to install shingles and insulation boards on roof. It's possible to change the depth to which the nail can go inside the work-piece.

To pull upwards nails that have sunk deeper than expected, rotate the adjuster anticlockwise. If you rotate the adjuster clockwise, you'd be pushing the nail deeper. This operation is suitable if nails are shallow.

Reasons to Buy:

  • The roofing nailer is lightweight; hence, easy to carry.
  • The roofing nailer is lightweight; hence, easy to carry.
  • The rubber casing provides grip to suspend the power tool on your belt or roof side.
  • The budget nail gun fires every time its nose comes into contact with a work surface.
  • The tool is made of weatherproof materials.

Reasons Not to Buy:

  • You need to purchase the sequential mode.
  • The risks of misfiring with bump mode are considerable.
  • Movement is limited.

7. Grex P650L Headless Pinner

The grex headless pinner utilizes powerful motors to drive 23-gauge nails, whose size is not more than 2”, without splitting the work-piece. The pinner weighs 2lbs.

The grex headless pinner utilizes powerful motors to drive 23-gauge nails, whose size is not more than 2”, without splitting the work-piece. The pinner weighs 2lbs.

Grex P650L headless pinner is suitable for nailing trim and finish, paneling and assembling light wood. You can also use the pin nailer for pinning joint and dowel, assembling picture frame, molding, beading window and glazing strip.

Reasons to Buy:

  • The spring load is visible: You can view the number of pins available in a magazine.
  • The spring load is visible: You can view the number of pins available in a magazine.
  • A built-in rafter enables you to hook the nailer on your belt.
  • A built-in rafter enables you to hook the nailer on your belt.
  • Self-adjusting magazine makes refilling easy.

Reasons Not to Buy:

  • The grex pin nailer is costlier than brad nailers.
  • You'll need lots of practice to get a hang of the trigger system.
  • Small pins tend to bend.

8. Bostitch’s LPF21PL Framing Nailer

The nose of the best quality framing nailers can penetrate every space and angle. This nail gun is suitable for framing.

Hence, if you want to drive nails in tight spaces, as in between rafters and small cabinets, then this could be a very useful power tool.

The nose can eject nails whose size ranges from 2” to 3 ½”. The magazine is straight. Refilling takes places at the magazine's rear.

Bostitch’s LPF21PL draws power from pneumatic sources: compressed air whose pressure ranges between 70 and 100 PSI.

This pressure is enough to drive nails into engineered timber, let alone softwood and hardwood. Besides, the bostitch nailer is easy to carry, weighing 7.3lbs.

Hence, you don’t have to worry about pain – back, neck or hand – after working for a long time. Thus, the framing nailer is suitable for industrial purposes.

Reasons to Buy:

  • An internal filter removes dust or debris from the engine.
  • An internal filter removes dust or debris from the engine.
  • No-mar tips prevent the nozzle from accidentally making unsightly scars on your work-piece.
  • You don't have to worry about firing in tight areas.
  • Compressed air offers high holding power.

Reasons Not to Buy:

  • Switching exhaust direction can cause discomfort.
  • Chances of dry-firing are real: There's no lockout or warning.
  • Mobility is limited.

9. Bostitch HP118K Pin Nailer

The bostitch pinner fires 23-gauge pins whose sizes range from ½” to 1-3/16”. The bostitch nail gun is made of aluminum encasement, and weighs 2.5lbs. The driving power is 60”/lbs. The tool’s neither compact nor too large -- it's moderately sized. 

The low profile design comes with a tapered nose. This design increases the visibility of the location to which pins are driven. You can set the depth below the surface to which nails can penetrate using a power switch.

Power comes from compressed air (with pressures ranging from 70 and 120 PSI), but you don't have to adjust the compressor when changing depth.

The bostitch pin nailer is suitable for a thin sheet or a delicate material. The power tool can be of great assistance when you face difficulties when clamping glue sets.

Reasons to Buy:

  • The aluminum encasement contributes to durability.
  • The high-capacity magazine can house up to 200 pins.
  • The pinner is extremely light to carry, because of aluminum material.
  • Primary and secondary safety triggers can prevent accidental firing.
  • The rear exhaust removes debris, oil and dust from a work surface.

Reasons Not to Buy:

  • Absence of no-mar tips means real danger of scratching finished surface.
  • It can be difficult to clear nosepiece of blockages: You've got to deal with frequent jamming.
  • The magazine may not adjust itself automatically.

10. Max’s CN445R3 Roofing Nailer

Max roofing nailer is air-powered. The multipurpose tool is useful for DIY, industrial and professional roofing. The max roofing nailer weighs 5.2lbs; hence, it's handy for a long working day.

The magazine's adjustable, and holds up to 120 coil nails whose sizes range between ¾” and 1 ¾”.

The max nail gun is made of cast aluminum casing, which is resistant to tar, lessening wear and tear. Therefore, Max CN445R3 roofing nailer is eight times more durable than an average nail gun.

The max nail gun is made of cast aluminum casing, which is resistant to tar, lessening wear and tear. Therefore, Max CN445R3 roofing nailer is eight times more durable than an average nail gun.

The filter of the end cap allows oil and air to enter the nail gun, but traps and expels micron-sized sands or debris.

Reasons to Buy:

  • The magnetic nose is more resistant to tar than an average roofing nailer.
  • Adjustable magazine reduces downtime and load time.
  • The end cap's filter automatically captures and expels fine-grained sands or debris.
  • The tool has a “dial” to balance nail's penetration depth.
  • All-round swivel fitting allows your wrist to twist at impossible angles.

Reasons Not to Buy:

  • You've to buy a compressor yourself.
  • One-year warranty is all the manufacturer can offer.
  • You can’t move with the tool everywhere.

Nail Gun Safety

Most injury incidences orbit around hands and fingers. But it’s common to encounter back, feet, legs, knees, thighs and toes injuries. It’s also important to protect your eyes, ears and teeth. Nail guns can rupture your bones, tendons, nerves and joints. Nail guns can also cause electrical burns.

First, install a sequential-trip mode. Second, if you’re a contractor, be sure to offer brief, engaging and easy-to-understand training to sensitize your workers to hazards and correct usage. Third, come up with safety procedures, manuals or maintenance schedules. 

Fourth, ensure your workers wear protective gears, such as safety goggles, hard hats and earmuffs. Importantly, encourage your workers to report injury incidences.

The Ultimate Guideline to Choose a Best Nail Gun

The question is: which nail gun best suits your needs? Let's take a look at what you need to consider when selecting a nail gun for your project.

Power Source

Fuel: If you're working on a hardwood or metal, you require a lot of holding power. A high-energy source like burning of fossil fuels is necessary to produce an explosive push to drive large nails into hard materials. Normally, fuel-powered nail guns are cordless, so you can carry them anywhere.

Air pressure: A pneumatic nail gun can provide the necessary power to fire large nails. However, pneumatic nail guns are attached to air hose and compressor, so you won't be able to move with them everywhere you go. Most pneumatic nail guns require a pressure of between 70 and 120 PSI.

Battery: If you're working on sensitive, thin, light, soft or delicate materials, and finesse is your main concern, then you require a nail gun that gives you a low holding power. You don't want ugly marks to remain on finished surfaces. 

Small nails or pin can be suitable for this project, but these don't require lots of power to drive. A battery-powered nail gun is suitable, because it's cordless.

Shape

A nail gun can either be coiled or stripped:

Coil-shaped nail guns: The latter usually have a high-capacity magazine, which is round, and concentrates the weight of nails in a roll. Coil-shaped nail guns are also suitable for situations in which you want to fire many nails in a tight space or angle.

Strip-shaped nail guns: If your project demands a lot of balance and precision, a strip-shaped nail gun should be your top priority. The oblong-shaped magazine houses nails whose weights are scattered through an arrangement in which plastic, paper or wire strips glue the nails.

Scale and Type of Project

Framing is in and on itself a large project, because it involves construction of decks, frames, plasters, subfloors, fences and additions of rooms and houses.

Finishing involves light-duty tasks such as trimming, molding, installing, paneling, assembling, and framing cabinet, furniture, hardwood flooring, millwork, decorative trim, baseboard, chair rail and casket.

Pinning requires involves light tasks such as tacking and stapling.

Roofing involves installing shingles.

Flooring involves applying hardwood flooring.

Trigger Mechanisms

Understanding firing modes can help reduce hazards.

Sequential-trip modes: There are three categories of sequential-trip modes: full- and single-sequential, and single-actuation.

If you're looking for high precision, and you don't want to fire many nails in quick succession, as in bump mode, then turn to single-sequential. The latter requires you to follow a certain order to release a safety catch and activate a trigger.

In a single-actuation mode, you can perform the same operations as in single-sequential randomly. In full-sequential mode, you must activate the safety catch and the trigger to drive a single nail.

Bump-firing isn't possible. To drive the next nail, you must release the safety catch and the trigger first before you reactivate them in the correct order. This reduces risks of accidental firing significantly.

Contact-trip or “bump” mode: If speed is your main concern, you simply need to press the barrel against the surface of a work-piece, and nails would be driven automatically in quick succession, thanks to the bump of the safety catch. The risk of accidental firing is high.

What is the Difference Between a Brad Nailer and a Finish Nailer?

It can be misleading to differentiate a brad nailer from a finish nailer if you focus on features. Focus on what you want, instead. The two types of nailers have similar features, but they differ in pricing, nail size, function and usage. Let's have a look at differences.

For one, brad nailers accommodate 18-gauge nails whereas finish nailers accommodate 16-gauge nails. Higher-gauge nails are thinner; and so, finish nailers accommodate thicker nails. Therefore, finish nailers are more suitable for hard materials than brad nailers.

In addition, finish nailers have bigger heads, which means that they make bigger, more visible holes. Brad nailers are much more suitable for delicate materials, which require more precision and accuracy.

If you’re looking for stronger bonds between materials; hence, durability, finish nailers are much more appropriate. Hence, you're more likely to find a single mode: sequential, in brad nailers. When it comes to pricing, both types of nailers cost more or less the same.

How to Load a Best Electric Nail Gun?

First, consider whether you can feed nails from top or bottom of a magazine. You can judge whether a nail is top- or bottom-loading by looking at the point of nail exit, and finding a release button. The location of the latter is usually opposite of the nozzle.

Second, ensure you’ve the right size or head type of nails. Third, switch off power supply, and ensure that the nozzle faces away from you. For a top loading nail gun, lock a magazine follower into position by pulling it back. 

Then, place nail strips over a rail so that there's free movement of the nails. Lastly, unlock and release the follower to push nails toward the nozzle.

For a bottom loading magazine, at the back of the magazine, find the release button. Afterwards, depress the release and slide away the rail from the nozzle. Turn the nail gun upside down and insert nails into a notch facing the nozzle. 

Then, load the staples and slide back the rail to lock it into position. Lastly, connect power supply and fire the first nail.

Conclusion

Choose a nail gun that best suits your needs. To avoid confusion, focus on what exactly you want – not on features. If you work on an extensive project that requires lots of movement, choose a cordless and lightweight nail gun to save yourself from back- and neck-pain. A battery- or electric-powered nail gun is suitable.

And if you’re working on hard materials, such as hardwood floors, an electric- or air-powered nailer is more appropriate, because you need high holding power. 

If, on the other hand, you work on a light material, you require little holding power, but a lot of precision and accuracy. You can use a brad nailer, but, for strong bonds and durability, a finish nailer is more preferable.

0
Shares
Abraham
 

This is Abraham. Professional power tools mechanic with years of experience. Writing is my hobby. So I decide to share my experience with people by writing about all types of power tools review and buyers guide that I'm using.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments