When you are looking at how to start woodworking, you will be gathering your list of tools. Everyone knows you always need the right tools for the job.
Things change, and hammering regular nails can be time-consuming and cause the odd sore thumb. With a bit of foresight, you can see how beneficial it is to use a nailer instead of a hammer.
These save time and save your fingers, so here, we look at the best on offer so you can find the very best nail gun for your projects.
Why You Need a Good Nail Gun
When you take on lots of jobs around the home, or you are a keen woodworker, you can spend hours nailing wood in one way or another.
Once you begin nailing more than five or ten nails, then this is repetitive and can take hours.
The same is said when you wish to staple something quickly and to keep reaching in your pocket for another handful of staples; you can either stick them in your finger or drop them on the floor.
Once you check out the nail gun reviews, you’ll see how efficient these nailers are — no matter where your job is in the home, or even up on the roof. You can easily carry a cordless nail gun if it meets the kind of work you are doing.
While you can find nailers for heavy-duty jobs, these are out of the scope for home woodworkers.
You may find you don’t even need framing nailers; you need one that can fire a combination of either staples or brads.
The best nail guns will be durable, easy to use, light to hold, and easy on the pocket. Now, we will look at the best, and you may find the ideal one suitable for all your home woodworking projects.
In summary, here are the primary reasons a good nail gun can be a great benefit around the home.
- You can work much faster
- You will protect your fingers
- You don’t need a nail pouch
- Nail guns deliver more consistent power
- A nail gun will be more accurate than nailing by hand
Top Nail Gun Reviews
1. Stanley TRE550Z Electric Staple/Brad Nail Gun
Not everyone goes out looking for a cheap nail gun, though at times something stands out and catches your eye.
An easy to use and electric nail guns offer a quick way to set up shop and get going. There is no need to connect the three separate compressor components.
Stanley’s TRE550Z takes full advantage and has all the flexibility of all nail gun types with the electric drive. You can use Stanley Sharpshooter staples or a variety of brads.
You can select the type and length of the fastener in this all-purpose nail gun so that it can match your projects. The gun comes with an eight-foot power cord, and in some instances, this can limit movement if you are not using an extension.
Nevertheless, it does deliver a continual supply of unvarying power, so you’ll never run out while working.
The heavy-duty staple/ brad nail gun has extensive driving power you can adjust with the dual power-setting lever. You can also switch between high and low for use with both hard and soft materials.
- Easy to use
- Lightweight at around 2.5 pounds
- Easily clear jams
- Rugged and durable
- Staples may not load first time when at varying angles
- The grip can pinch some users as they fire the nailer
- Only uses specific sizes of brads
When you look at the best budget guns, the Stanley TRE5500Z quickly rises to the top. There is zero setup time, and for a nailer gun that comes with an asking price in the region of $35, it can be tough to beat.
It can’t handle the largest nails, but when you use the sizes it caters for ½”, 9/16” and 5/8” brads), you are on a winning streak, and can finish your projects in no time.
2. WEN 61720 3/4-Inch to 2-Inch 18-Gauge Brad Nailer
The WEN 61720 18-Gauge Nail Gun you will find is among the most affordable brad nailers around. The 61720 fires 18-gauge brads, which can range from 3/4” to 2” in length.
The WEN 61720 is surprisingly powerful once you connect it to a compressor. It uses ¼” NPT air inlets, and then it can then range between 60 to 100 PSI. Its large nail magazine, which is capable of holding 100 brads. If these jam, it takes seconds to clear with the quick-release design.
For depth adjustment, you have an adjustment wheel so that you can cater for various projects. The nailer comes with a 360-degree adjustable exhaust deflector as well as a magazine window to see how full the magazine is.
- Robust and rugged
- Easy to clear a jam
- The exhaust is adjustable; direct it away from your face
- Comes with tools and warranty
- Can be out of balance when the magazine is full
- Needs a separate compressor
- Air can leak from the hose fitting when using at an angle
The durable aluminum body makes it take a few knocks and bangs while keeping the weight down to around only 3 pounds, this makes it one of the best finish nailer guns for extended use, though it will feel heavier dragging the air hose with it.
There is a comfortable rubber gripped handle and this aids in not slipping as you pull the lever. The nail gun kit even arrives with oil, wrenches, and the carrying case. For prices around $25, this makes it one of the best value brad nailers on the market.
3. BOSTITCH Air Compressor Combo Kit, 3-Tool (BTFP3KIT)
Unless using cordless or electric, the majority of air compressor gun will work just fine with a suitable air compressor.
Nevertheless, it does make things far easier on the budget when you can purchase everything together.
The Bostitch nailer delivers all you need with this air compressor nail gun combo. No matter what your projects, you have three guns to choose from. A combo such as the Bostitch BTFP3KIT can act as a common 18-gauge or 16-gauge nail gun for varying lengths up to two inches.
One gun takes large crown staples for use in covering furniture, or anything that takes fabric. The air compressor is a 150 max PSI six-gallon and can deliver a continual 90 PSI.
Using this combination means, you have more than enough power to drive staples or nails into the majority of hard surfaces.
You can also ease off the air pressure on the compressor while working with softer woods to avoid dents.
- All the air guns you could need
- Affordable for an air combo kit
- Long 15-foot air hose
- Compressor builds up quickly
- 18-gauge nailer can jam easily
- Compressor issues common
- Air hose adds to the gun weight
The Bostitch air nailer does deliver a lot. With a guide price of around $220 for all you get in the air nailer combo, it does appear good value for money.
The biggest concern is the compressor, the product comes with a 1-year limited warranty, but the Bostitch nail gun repair between the numbers of users may be a little frustrating.
4. Freeman P4FRFNCB Pneumatic Framing & Finishing Combo Kit with Canvas Bag
Nobody said that you have to stick to one nail gun to get the job done. Often, it’s easier to have several options available to you to do the most efficient work on your project.
As opposed to purchasing separate nail guns, the Freeman P4FRFNCB provides you with four different nail guns, each designed with the same quality of construction and functionality.
The nailers in this combo kit are suitable for all types of work, from heavy-duty work such as sub-flooring, roof decking, fences, and building pallets through to fine detail work like cabinets, molding, windows covers, and baseboards. (Read Porter-cable 382)
The wide range of available choices means you’ll have everything in one canvas bag.
- Every nail gun to match any project
- Biggest nail gun warranty at seven years
- Multi-use with different nail guns
- Comes with carrying bag and adjustment tools
- Nail gun can frequently misfire
- Construction not as durable as some brands
- Still need to purchase a compressor
The Freeman nailer kit delivers all you could ask for, though for some it may be a gun too many. One of the most significant drawbacks being you still requires a compressor and hose. With a guide price of around $198, you do get decent value for money with four guns.
However, add in a compressor and hose cost, and it can stretch most DIYers budgets.
5. PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Cordless Brad Nailer Kit, 18GA (PCC790LA)
The PORTER-CABLE PCC790LA 20V MAX Brad Nailer is one of the best battery-powered nail guns on the market. It comes from one of the largest manufacturers of best drill presses, so they are quite familiar.
With its rechargeable 20-volt lithium-ion battery, this nail gun delivers excellent performance without a compressor, hose, or electric cable anywhere.
The PCC790LA Porter Cable nail gun kit is durable and built to take knocks and bangs so that it can be the best roofing option of any.
It comes with a high-capacity magazine, which can accept 100 5/8” to 2” brads and can drive up to 1,300 on one charge.
There is a sequential firing mechanism, as well as an auto-lock feature. Setting your nails accurately is straightforward. The battery-powered nail gun has a tool-free release for nail jams and a handy depth adjustment wheel.
For added ease of use, the cordless nailer comes with dual built-in dual LED’s for visibility. It is heavier than none battery-powered models, yet at 5.9 pounds with the battery, it isn’t too heavy for extended use.
Balance is excellent, and it is easy to see why it is among the best cordless nail gun options you will find.
- Clear jams easily
- Can use anywhere with the cordless design
- 3-year guarantee
- Heavy-duty construction
- Heavier than corded models
- Lacks some power for heavy-duty jobs
- Can be large for tighter spaces
- Expensive for one nailer
The Porter-Cable cordless nailer comes with a guide price of just under $200. It may appear at the top end of your nail gun budget, yet it does deliver.
One thing that may put off some people is it is a pure Brad nailer, and nothing more. However, for ease of use in any area, it can be all you need.
With a 3-year limited warranty, Porter Cable nail gun repair comes without charge for any defects through faulty materials or craftsmanship, from the date you purchase the cordless nailer.
You can be worry-free, and you do have the same backup they offer with their best belt sander or other tools in their range.
Nail Gun Buying Guide
Before looking at purchasing a nail gun, you do need to know a few things. In the wrong hands, or with new users. Nails guns can lead to some nasty accidents.
In this section, you will find all you need to know regarding the purchase and use of your new nail gun.
Different Types of Nail Guns
Here are the nine most common types of nail guns you will encounter in your search for purchasing one for your home DIY projects.
Framing nailers deliver the heaviest duty nail gun. Not to be mistaken for picture frames, these framing nail guns are for building house frames, or for large construction jobs while building.
Framing nailers work with nails up to 3-1/2 inches on timbers of 2×4. You find these in use to build:
- Decking, fences and wood sidings
- Interior room divisions
- Wood sheathing
- House frames
Many models come with interchangeable sequential and contact trip, and often they have tool-free depth adjustment.
You will find two styles of framing nailers: round-headed and clipped head. Clipped head types are perfect for high volume work as they hold larger nail loading magazines.
Roundhead nailers, aren’t limited by some building codes, yet can hold fewer nails.
A finish nailer is used commonly for carpentry work, thus designed with correctly sized nails in mind.
You often use finish nailers for:
Molding and baseboards
Finish nailers vary from brad or pin nailers because they handle larger, bulkier pieces of timber. Most are also compatible with 15 or 16-gauge finishing nails. Finish nails have more holding power than brad nails, as they are a bit bigger.
Flooring nailers differ from typical nail guns you will be used to seeing. They are explicitly designed to make light work when laying tongue-and-groove floors.
You hold the flooring nailer on the edge of the board, and you then hit the plunger with a mallet, often made from nylon.
You will drive nails or the cleats to the correct nail depth and angle each time. You can find two types of flooring nailers: Manual and pneumatic nail gun options, which are both used similarly, though pneumatic use air pressure to drive nails rather than hitting it with the mallet.
Flooring nailers have a specific purpose and are so less versatile.
Staple Guns and Brad Nailers
Staple guns bear no resemblance to other nailers listed above, but they can still drive staples into different materials.
Staple guns are very versatile tools, and can often shoot a nail (brad nails). You can use these to carry out the following:
- Fasten fabric to furniture frames
- Fix carpeting to floors, or soundproofing to walls
- Used in small home DIY woodworking projects
What to Look For When Purchasing a Nail Gun
There are many areas; you need to look at when purchasing nail gun aside from the type.
Here are things that can influence your purchasing decisions:
Weight: A regular hammer weighs around a pound, depending on the type of nailer; you can be looking at three to eight pounds in weight. A small nail gun makes sense unless you know you will have more extensive projects.
Ease of Use: It isn’t just a matter of loading your nail gun with nails and pulling the trigger, which makes it easy to use.
You need to consider jamming, will it fire two nails rather than one, is there a heavy compressed air hose connected to it, and how easy to pull the trigger is. One area often an oversight is the pressure of the trigger. A rubber grip can help cushion the recoil of the nailer.
You will find three power sources for nailers; here is a rundown of each:
- Electric: Although these may limit the range of use, you can use an extension if you need to use these away from your workshop. While electric nail guns may lack the power of a larger framing gun, they are often the ideal finishing nail gun on home projects.
- Battery: You will find, these are all cordless drills and used in the same manner as all other cordless tools. In many cases, you can interchange batteries, so you will never run out of power. Like the electric nailers, these can lack the top end power delivered by the next option.
- Pneumatic: You will use a nail gun compressor for these, though you can also use other air-powered tools as well as. You often see these for framing, more than anything else, although there are many smaller models for use on other projects.
Types of Nails: You find metal connector nails come purpose-made for nail guns. These sit in plastic strips in most cases, though you can find paper or wire as the holding mechanism.
Modes of Firing: You find most nailers use a sequential trigger, and you physically have to pull the trigger to fire a nail. Sequential and bump or bounce firing modes differ because you don’t have to pull the trigger in the same manner. You see roofers use these, but they do require a lot of practice to use effectively.
Capacity: If you are on a big project, you don’t want a magazine capacity that is too small. A coil-style nail gun can hold up to three times as many nails as a conventional strip magazine.
One safety tip is to make sure there is no one else in the local vicinity. In most cases, nails won’t fire on their own, yet you can never be too careful. Besides, always remove the power source when you are jam clearing, or reloading the magazine.
After pushing all the nailers through their paces, we began compiling the results. Much of finding the best option comes down to home use, and what projects will be most often undertaken.
It can be easy to recommend a roofing nailer, yet most people won’t be doing this very often. Likewise, an air-powered nail gun falling in the same bracket.
With the power to performance, we found the Stanley TRE550Z Electric Staple/Brad Nail Gun to make the most sense for home use.
It is highly affordable and can cater for the majority of tasks around the home without being a burden.
It is light and easy to maneuver and doesn’t have a compressor hose hanging off the back. It is durable and easy to use so that it can be one of the best small finishing guns; you can use in your workshop or around the home.
The Stanley nailer kit is a step up from a smaller palm nailer and leaves this behind in terms of performance.
It is a little powerhouse, and it can last ages when used on tasks it is suited for. Throwing one of these in your tool bag, you will find it a great accompaniment with the best circular saw or other power tools you have.