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“Owning the best nail gun can mean the difference between saving money you’d spend hiring a contractor and safely completing a construction job. Whether you’re a professional contractor or DIY enthusiast, one of the most important tools you’ll need to invest in is a power nailer.”
Welcome to the Best Nail Gun Reviews and Buying Guide of 2019. We live in a time where every homeowner is remodeling their homes to increase its value. At the same time, many people are opting to handle simple to complex construction jobs by themselves rather than hire general contractors. General contractors on the other hand are competing against each other in a bid to land new clients. Getting new referrals largely depends on how fast a job is completed. Both the DIY enthusiast and professional contractor need to invest in high quality tools to ensure all construction jobs are completed in time.
Nail guns are one of the most important type of power tool you can ever invest in. Thanks to technological advances and the increase in the number of power tool manufacturers, its now easy to find an affordable but high quality nail gun.
There are hundreds of different nail guns to choose from. Each nail gun can be placed under a specific category based on its primary purpose. This can make it quite difficult finding the best nail gun for your upcoming construction project. This Best Nail Gun Reviews and Buying Guide of 2019 has been created to provide you with all the information you need to know which type of nail gun to invest in. we’ll begin by reviewing eight different types of nail guns one from each category. Once you’ve viewed the top rated nail guns on the market today, we’ve prepared a detailed buying guide addressing many of the questions you might have regarding these power tools.
Comparison Table For Top Ranked Nail Guns
Different Types of Nail Guns
A framing nailer is a power tool that’s specially designed for driving long nails through thick pieces of lumber. Framing nailers as their name suggests are specially designed for joining two pieces of lumber or even metal. As such, they’re usually powerful nailers capable of driving nails of up to 3-1/2 inches in length. These nail guns are used for different construction jobs including deck work, framing houses, bracing, subflooring and sheathing, etc...
Our Top Pick for Best Framing Nailer: Bostitch F21PL
(4.4 / 5)
The F21PL from Bostitch comes in a lightweight and strong magnesium body. It’s a powerful framing nailer that offers up to 1050 in/lbs of driving power. It’s a pneumatic power tool that will run on most portable air compressors. The Bostitch F21PL features a stick magazine that can hold up to 60 nails. It can drive both plastic and metal collated nails. It’s worth noting that this nail gun drives round head nails of 1-1/2 to 3-1/2 inches in length. The magazine features a 16 inch layout indicator allows you to have a quick glance and estimate the distance between the studs.
One feature that makes this one of the best nail guns for framing is its ability to drive both wood and metal fasteners. It comes inclusive of two interchangeable nosepieces for the job. It’s sequential and bump trigger firing actions allow you to choose between fast firing and more precise firing. A depth control feature allows you to control how deep into the timber you want the fasteners driven. This framing nailer’s body features integrated rubber skid pads which prevent it from slipping off sloped surfaces. A durable rubber grip ensures that you’re comfortable while using the nail gun. Bostitch offers a 7 year limited warranty on this nailer. Although the best framing nailer you can find, the Bostitch F21PL is a bit heavy. Weighing 8.1 pounds, it’s heavier than many competing units. It compensates for its weight by coming in an ergonomic design and having one of the best power to weight ratios you’ll find on a nail gun.
What customers are saying about Bostitch F21PL?
A finish nailer is a special type of nail gun that’s used to fire 15 gauge and 16 gauge nails. These nails are usually thicker and stronger compared to brad nails. Finish nailers are therefore best suited for fastening two pieces of wood where a stronger bond than would be provided by 18 gauge brad nails. These projects include molding installation, cabinets and furniture construction, home remodeling, chair rails, baseboards, window and door casings as well as installing exterior trim.
Our Top Pick for Best Finish Nailer: Hitachi NT65MA4
(4.6 / 5)
Hitachi NT65MA4 – This is one of the units you’ll find in many nail gun reviews. This finish nail gun is designed to drive 15 gauge nails of lengths between 1-1/4 inches and 2-1/2 inches. It’s a lightweight finish nailer that weighs just 4.2 lbs. This ensures that you don’t suffer from muscle fatigue even after using it for many hours. The Hitachi NT65MA finish nailer comes fitted with a stick magazine that’s capable of holding up to 100 nails. The magazine is set at a 34 degrees angle. This makes it easy to maneuver in tight spaces without compromising on your comfort.
The Hitachi NT65MA finish nailer features a strategically positioned air duster. This feature keeps working areas free from dust and debris. A 360 degree adjustable exhaust portal allows you to direct exhaust pressure away from your body while working. This pneumatic finish nailer has been designed with ease of use in mind. A tool-less depth drive adjustment dial makes it easy to control how far nails are driven into the wood. You can also easily change from sequential to bump firing with the flip of a switch. In case of nail jams, you can easily extract the stuck nails without needing any special tools. This finish nailer comes with a 5 years professional warranty. While its one of the best nail guns on the market today, one minor flaw in its design is the lack of a dry firing lockout mechanism. This however doesn’t affect the tools performance.
What customers are saying about Hitachi NT65MA4?
Brad nailers are specialty nail guns. Like finish nailers, they’re used for finishing projects such as installation of trim and moldings, baseboards, home renovation, or smaller projects. These nail guns are designed to fire thin 18 gauge brad nails. These nail guns are designed to drive nails ranging from 5/8” to 2-1/8”. As such, they’re used for fastening thin and delicate pieces of wood which would otherwise split if larger nails were used. Brad nailers are usually lighter and smaller compared to most nail guns. They’re designed to fit small spaces and offer comfort for users.
Our Top Pick for Best Brad Nailer: Dewalt DWFP12231
(4.6 / 5)
Dewalt DWFP12231 – If you’re looking for the best nail gun for driving brad nails, the Dewalt DWFP12231 nailer is worth considering. One feature that makes this brad nailer stand out is its built in maintenance free motor. It doesn’t require constant oiling which keeps your working surfaces stain free and, saves you money you’d spend on lubricating oil. This brad nailer can drive 18 gauge brads of lengths ranging between 5/8 inches and 2 inches. It comes fitted with an easy to load stick style magazine that can hold up to 100 nails.
The Dewalt DWFP12231 brad nailer weighs 4.8 pounds and comes in a lightweight and strong magnesium body. The handle features a comfortable rubber grip which prevents muscle strain from working with the tool for extended periods. A rear exhaust helps to keep your working area clean while also directing exhaust pressure away from your body.
This brad nailer drives nails through sequential firing. A removable non-marring nose tip with tool free depth drive adjustment give you control over how deep the tool drives fasteners as well as prevents damage to materials you’re working on. Its tool free jam release feature makes it easy to remove stuck nails and get back to work fast. Other items included with the Dewalt DWFP12231 brad nailer kit are a carrying case, 500 nails of 1-1/4” and owners manual.
Although a great brad nailer kit, having both sequential and bump firing action could be a major improvement.
What customers are saying about Dewalt DWFP12231?
Roofing nailers are specialty nail guns that are designed for installation of roofing shingles. In some instances, they can also be used for installation of siding. These nail guns are designed to drive hails with broad heads and shorter lengths compared to finish and brad nailers. Typically, the roofing nailer features a coil type magazine and drives nails of lengths between 7/8 inches and 1-3/4 inches.
Our Top Pick for Best Roofing Nailer: Hitachi NV45AB2
(4.4 / 5)
The NV45AB2 is one of the popular products you’ll find featured in many nail gun reviews. It’s a lightweight and well balanced roofing nailer that’s designed to get the job done fast. This pneumatic roofing nailer will drive nails of lengths ranging from 7/8 inches to 1-3/4 inches. It features a high capacity side load coil magazine that can hold up to 120 nails.
The Hitachi NV45AB2 roofing nail gun’s pneumatic nail feed mechanism is engineered to drive dirt and moisture out of the tool extending its life. With an operating pressure or 70 to 120 PSI, this nail gun is compatible with most portable air compressors. It features tool-free depth drive adjustment and both sequential and contact firing modes. This makes the tool easy to handle and operate. Weighing 5.5 pounds and including a rubber covered handle, this roofing nailer is designed to enable comfortable one handed operation. The nailer kit includes safety glasses and shingle guide assembly. It comes with a 5 year limited warranty. The plastic parts on this nailer can break easily if accidentally dropped. The tool manufacturer has gone the extra mile to include non-skid rubber to prevent slipping from sloping surfaces such as roofs.
What customers are saying about Hitachi NV45AB2?
Pin nailers are another type of specialist nail gun that’s designed to drive small nails. They’re designed to drive thin 23 gauge nails which fall within length ranges between 3/8” and 2”. Although pin nails are as thin as sewing needles, pin nail guns have enough power to drive them through hardwoods. This makes pin nail guns a good option for carpentry jobs that include fastening picture frames, trim work, molding, glazed bead and cabinetry details.
Our Top Pick for Best Pin Nailer: Hitachi NP35A
(4.6 / 5)
Hitachi NP35A – If you’re looking for the best nail gun for driving pin nails, the NP35A from Hitachi is worth investing in. it’s a small and lightweight pneumatic tool that offers comfortable handling as well as protects your working area from damage. It drives 23 gauge nails with lengths ranging between 5/8 inches to 1-3/8 inches.
The Hitachi NP35A pin nailer features a high capacity stick magazine that can hold up to 100 collated nails. The magazine automatically adjusts itself to accommodate different nail lengths. A reload indicator located on the magazine informs you when you’re running out of fasteners. This helps to avoid dry firing. Like most of the best nail guns, the NP35A offers depth adjustment which allows you to choose whether to drive nails flush with the wooden surface or deep into it.
Since it’s designed to drive pin nails into all types of surfaces including delicate softwoods, this pin nailer includes two no mar tips which prevents the tool’s metal parts from banging onto the surfaces you’re working on. A large plastic housing shield also helps to protect surfaces from damage. Other features you’ll find on this nail gun include a rear exhaust, dual trigger and removable nose plate for easy jam clearing. The kit includes safety glasses, carrying case and 3mm hex bar wrench. This nail gun comes with a 5 year warranty. The Hitachi NP35A includes many useful features that make it stand out among the competition. However, depth adjustment using a hex wrench is a bit mechanical and time consuming.
What customers are saying about Hitachi NP35A?
Palm nailers are one type of nail gun that’s probably not designed for a specific type of job. As their name suggests, these are small power tools that fit onto the palm of your hand. They’re general nail guns which can be used for a variety of carpentry jobs ranging from roofing to flooring and multitude of projects as installing hanging joists, framing, decks, fences, a ceiling or trim. Their small size makes them a good choice for working in tight spaces. These versatile tools are powerful enough to drive nails with lengths of up to 6 inches. Their only shortcoming is that you have to set and drive one nail at a time.
Our Top Pick for Best Palm Nailer: Bostitch PN100K
(4.3 / 5)
Bostitch PN100K – This small and powerful palm nailer is one of the best nail guns you can ever invest in. It measures 5.25 x 3.5 x 4.13 inches which is small enough to fit inside the average adult’s palm. Its 2.9 pound body features a rubber grip which not only makes it comfortable to hold but also acts as a shock absorber reducing muscle strain. The PN100K impact nailer is powerful enough to drive nails of up to 5 inches in length. It’s a versatile tool which can be used to drive nails through different kinds of materials. To achieve this, the kit includes three replaceable nose drives for standard, finish and large bore nailing. The nose is magnetized to ensure that it holds nails in place right before driving them. The Bostitch PN100K palm nailer kit includes spare o-rings, nose and hex wrenches, leather glove, lubricant and carrying case. It comes with a 7 year limited warranty. One slight problem we noticed about this palm nailer is that it’s unusually loud when fired. Be sure to invest in quality ear muffs to operate this tool.
What customers are saying about Bostitch PN100K?
Flooring nailers are another type of nail gun that’s specifically designed for installation of wooden floors. They can be used to install both hardwood and softwood floors. Their design makes them unsuitable for other carpentry jobs such as framing or roofing. They’re probably the largest and heaviest type of nail gun. In addition, unlike many nail guns which only have power tool types, flooring nailers also have manually operated tools. The best nail guns for flooring are also quite versatile with some being able to drive both staples and cleats. These nail guns are designed to fire 15 gauge and 16 gauge nails or staples.
Our Top Pick for Best Flooring Nailer: NuMax SFL618
(4.6 / 5)
The NuMax SFL618 is a unique flooring nailer that you’ll find in many nail gun reviews. It’s a versatile tool that will drive cleats and staples. With regard to cleats, this tool will drive both L and T cleats. It comes fitted with a high capacity stick magazine that will hold up to 120 cleats. This nailer will fire nails and cleats ranging between 1-1/2 inches to 2 inches in length.
The NuMax SFL618 flooring nailer’s body is made from die cast aluminum. This ensures that the tool is highly durable and lightweight. The tool comes with three interchangeable composite base plates for ½”, 5/8” and ¾” installations. It’s a pneumatic tool that will work on most portable air compressors. The body is fitted with an extra long handle with a comfortable grip to ensure that the tool is easy to work with. A one piece steel drive blade ensures that this flooring nailer doesn’t break down easily and an internal air filter ensures that its internal parts aren’t damaged by dust and debris. This tool kit includes a no mar white rubber mallet, oil, wrenches and a 1 year limited warranty from NuMax. This flooring nailer truly stands out as one of the best in the market. However, the driver needs a lot of regular oiling to ensure that the nail gun works efficiently.
What customers are saying about NuMax SFL618?
Siding nailers are another specialist type of nail gun. They’re specifically designed for installing roof siding. However, they can also be used for other jobs including sheathing, decking, fencing and attaching thinner pieces of wood or non-wooden materials (like siding) to a wooden surface. The typical siding nail gun has a coil style magazine and will drive nails ranging from 1-1/4 inches to 2-1/2 inches. They’re usually lightweight and powerful nail guns.
Our Top Pick for Best Siding Nailer: Bostitch N66C-1
(4.4 / 5)
The Bostitch N66C-1 siding nailer is a powerful nail gun capable of producing up to 515 in/lbs power. This makes it a good choice for installing siding made from different materials ranging from soft woods to steel. It comes in a lightweight and well balanced aluminum body that’s strong and durable. This siding nail gun comes fitted with an easy reload coil magazine that can hold up to 350 nails. The magazine can hold both wire and plastic collated nails.
With an operating pressure of 70 to 120 PSI, the Bostitch N66C-1 will work with any portable air compressor. It features a tool-less depth drive adjustment which gives you control over how deep fasteners are driven into the material you’re working with. It includes a soft rubber foot which protects the materials you’re working on from damage. A fully adjustable exhaust directs the tools exhaust in any direction you want. This nail gun comes with a 7 year limited warranty. Overall, it’s a good nail gun. However, it could include a single firing mode which is easier for many people to work with.
What customers are saying about Bostitch N66C-1?
Best nail guns summary
From the eight nail gun reviews, you can notice that there are many different types of nailers to choose from. Many of these are specialty nailers designed for a specific type of job. You might have also noticed that all nail guns reviewed are air powered. This doesn’t mean that you can’t find any electric powered or cordless nailers. However, air powered nailers are usually lighter, less expensive and easier to maintain compared to their electric counterparts. If you’re looking for a specific type of nail gun, these eight we’ve reviewed offer the best value for your money as they offer unmatched performance, durability and ease of use compared to their competitors.
How to choose the best nail gun
Nail guns will simply make your life a whole lot easier if you engage in all kinds of construction jobs. Whether it’s installing a new roof or floor or repairing broken furniture, a good nail gun will ensure that the job is completed fast. Compared to traditional hammers, nail guns are safer and drive nails faster. However, unlike hammers which can be used to drive nails of different lengths and gauges, many of the nail guns on the market are specialty power tools which are designed for specific construction jobs. Despite their differences, nail guns operate more or less the same way. This means that the considerations you make when selecting one type of nailer can be used to select a different one. So what are the considerations to make?
The best nail guns are powered by air, electric current or fuel.
Pneumatic nail guns are the most popular and common types. Their popularity stems from the fact that they’re compatible with most portable air compressors on the market today. They’re also quire reliable when you’re working on highly intense construction jobs.
Electric powered nail guns are usually battery operated. Many run on 9V, 12V, 18V or 24V batteries which need to be recharged often. One major advantage of battery powered nail guns is their portability. This makes them good options when working in remote areas or extremely tight places.
Fuel powered nail guns are also called paslode impulse guns. These use a combination of a gas and battery to drive nails. The battery provides a charge which fires up the gas which in turn drives a piston. The piston drives the nail into the wood. Although powerful and highly portable, these cordless nail guns tend to be expensive and heavier compared to the other two types.
If you compare nailers in nail gun reviews, you’ll notice that they either come with a stick magazine or a coil magazine.
Stick magazines are straight and usually don’t hold more than 150 nails at a time. The nails held by stick magazines are joined by paper, plastic or a thin wire. In some nail magazine types, stick magazines are placed at an angle to make it easy to use the tool in tight spaces.
Coil magazines are high capacity nail holders capable of holding up to 350 nails at once. The nails are held together using plastic or wire strips. The nail strips are held as a coil within the magazine. This makes it possible to come across small magazines with a high nail capacity.
Nail firing method
Nail guns come with their own unique firing action which can be single shot, sequential firing, bump or multiple firing.
Single shot firing is the simplest type where pressing the trigger once will fire a single nail. Sequential firing on the other hand enables firing of more than one nail at the press of the trigger. However, the driving nose needs to be in contact with the surface you’re working on. Bump firing method releases a fastener only when the nose is bumped onto the working surface. Finally, multiple firing modes nail guns offer versatility where you can shift from one firing mode to another.
A nail’s gauge refers to its thickness. Many of the nail guns you’ll come across are designed to fire nails with specific gauges. One thing to note is that a larger gauge size actually means a thinner nail diameter and vise versa.
Weight and comfort
The best nail guns are designed for single handed use. Weight and comfort should therefore be one of the critical considerations you make before investing in a nailer. Depending on the type of nail gun you’re looking for, you’ll find tools with weights ranging between 2 pounds and 9 pounds. Go for the lightest unit you can find since its weight is likely to increase once you load the magazine with nails.
With regard to comfort, look for nailers with a well balance profile. For example, when buying a nailer with a coil magazine, look for a tool whose magazine is places towards the handle rather than the front. The handle design also matters with rubber covered handles being the best.
Brand and warranty
Less than 10 brands dominate nail gun reviews. These brands are known to provide high quality tools and offering the best prices. The brand you choose will also determine the warranty you get on your tool.
Price is always a major factor when it comes to investing in a tool. You’ll want to know that the money you invest on a new nail gun hasn’t gone down the drain. Nail guns come in different prices. If you’re looking for a deal on a quality product, it’s recommended that you do some research and compare prices offered by different retailers.
Other key features to look for in the best nail guns
Jam clearing: The best tools offer tool free jam clearing ensuring that you can remove stuck nails with the least effort.
Trigger size: Large triggers are usually easier to work with especially when wearing gloves.
Depth adjustment: Tool free depth adjustment makes it easy to change from one setting to another. It saves time.
Nail size adjustment: The best nail guns on the market will accommodate nails of different sizes. If possible choose one whose magazine automatically adjusts to accommodate nails of different sizes.
Carrying case: A carrying case is usually the basic accessory you should look for when buying a nail gun kit. It makes it easy to transport and store your tool. The case should be made of quality materials to ensure that it doesn’t break easily.
Swiveling air connectors: If you’re interested in a pneumatic nail gun, it’s recommended you go for one with swiveling air connectors. It’s easier to use since you don’t need to worry about tangled hoses.
Exhaust plates: 360 degree fully adjustable exhaust plates are one of the most important features to look for in pneumatic nailers. They help to direct exhaust away from users and working surfaces.
Replaceable protective guards: Many nail guns feature protective guards which protect users from flying debris. These guards will eventually wear down and need replacement. If you can find a nail gun with replacement guards, invest in it.
Tips for using nail guns
Nail guns are high power tools which can easily cause injury or damage property. It’s therefore necessary to ensure that you use your tool as recommended by its manufacturer. The following are simple tips to follow.
1. Wear safety gear and observe general safety rules
If you’re going to use a nail gun, it’s recommended that you wear the necessary safety gear which includes glasses and gloves. In addition, observe general workshop safety rules such as only firing the tool when it’s pointed at the surface you’re working on and disconnecting it when not in use or clearing jams.
2. Refer to user manual always
Your nail gun will come inclusive of a user manual. Even if you’re a pro who’s used nail guns before, make sure to read the manual before using the tool. Remember that every nail gun model is unique and how one works might be slightly different from another.
3. Inspect and maintain nailer frequently
Before using your nail gun, ensure that you first inspect it for any defects. If there are defects, make the necessary repairs or replacements. If the nailer is in working condition, add some lubricating oil before powering it up.
Maintenance for nail guns
If you want your nail gun to last long, it’s necessary that you carry out the necessary maintenance procedures. Each tool is unique and its maintenance procedures are usually outlined within its user manual. However, there are general maintenance procedures which apply to most nail guns which include the following.
1. Lubricate the moving parts before and after use
Most of the available nail guns require regular lubrication to keep them in top condition. In particular, you’ll need to lubricate the drive nose which is the main moving part.
2. Inspect and make necessary repairs or replacements often
Your tool’s user manual will usually provide information on basic repairs that you can make while at home. Before using your tool, perform a thorough inspection removing any parts. If a part requires repairs or replacement, ensure that this is done before you can use the tool.
3. Avoid keeping the tool in extremely cold or moist conditions
Nail guns are composed mainly of metal parts. This means that they’ll contract when placed in extremely cold conditions. This can make it difficult to operate your tool unless you first warm it up. It’s also recommended you avoid storing the tool in moist/humid and dusty places as this can lead to gradual damage of its internal parts.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. Can a framing nailer be used to install siding?
2. Which is the best nailer firing mode?
3. Where can I get the cheapest nail gun?
4. What is the importance of a nail gun warranty?
5. Should I buy a battery or pneumatic nailer?
6. Does every nailer come with a carrying case?
When looking for the best nail gun, it’s necessary that you consider all the available options. As you’ve seen, there are many different types of nail guns each designed for a particular construction job. Each tool comes with its own unique features that make it stand out among its competition. Our eight nail gun reviews exhibit just how diverse these tools can be. Knowing what to look for when searching for a nail gun online is important and that’s why we’ve included the detailed user guide to help you out. It’s our hope that this guide and review has offered all the information you need to make an informed purchasing decision.