Best Pin Nailer Reviews and Buying Guide of 2020

Welcome to the Best Pin Nailer Reviews and Buying Guide of 2020. If you’re a DIY enthusiast or general contractor whose projects mainly center around finishing, you’ve definitely come across pin nailers. They’re one of the least used and often confusing power tools you’ll come across. Many people actually can’t tell the difference between pin nailers and brad nailers. They look almost the same and, are used for almost the same kind of job. However, pin nailers are completely different tools which will come in handy on your next finishing job.

Pin nailers are used to drive thin 23 gauge headless or slight head nails (pins). These nails are designed for mounting finishing material rather than fastening two pieces of wood together which is better suited for larger nails. Some of the tasks you’re most likely to use a pin nailer include fastening picture frames, installing crown molding, kitchen cupboard, cabinetry, or any other home remodeling project. Generally, these nail guns should be used where you’re working with thin strips of wood, baseboards or delicate materials which would get split or damaged when using large diameter nails.

Best Pin Nailer Reviews and Buying Guide

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One good thing about pin nailers is that the pins they drive will not leave a small hole on the surface. This makes it unnecessary to use wood putty to fill in and smooth out the surfaces. In addition, they’re designed such that they don’t leave marks on surfaces where they’re used. This is a necessary feature when you’re using finishing tools.

If you’re looking for a new pin nailer, here’s our 5 best pin nailer reviews plus a detailed buying guide to help you out.

Comparison Table For Top 5 Best Pin Nailer

Pin NailerPower SourceOperating PressureShippingEditor's RatingPrice
Hitachi NP35A 1-3/8" 23-Gauge Pin Nailer
Pneumatic65-100 psiFREE Shipping4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)See on Amazon
PORTER-CABLE PIN100 1/2-Inch to 1-Inch 23-Gauge Pin Nailer
Pneumatic60-100 psiFREE Shipping4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)See on Amazon
BOSTITCH HP118K 23-Gauge 1/2-Inch to 1-3/16-Inch Pin Nailer
Pneumatic70-120 psiFREE Shipping4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)See on Amazon
Grex P635 23 Gauge 1-3/8-Inch Length Headless Pinner
Pneumatic60-100 psiFREE Shipping4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)See on Amazon
Grex P650L 23-Gauge 2-Inch Headless Pinner with Lock-Out
Pneumatic60-110 psiFREE Shipping4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)See on Amazon

Top 5 Best Pin Nailer Reviews

Hitachi NP35A 1-3/8 Inch 23 Gauge Pin Nailer Review

Editor’s Rating:

4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

Hitachi NR90AE(S)

The Hitachi NP35A is one of the popular pin nailers on the market today. It’s designed to fire 23 gauge pins that come in lengths of between 5/8” and 1-3/8”. The magazine automatically adjusts to match pin length. A reload indicator enables you to know when the magazine is empty. The body includes two no mar tips which help to protect the surface your working on. Adjustable depth allows you to have better control over how deep the pin is driven into the material you’re working on. Its design also includes a rear exhaust which helps to keeps your working area free from debris and oil. You’re also provided with a carrying case, 3mm hex bar wrench and safety glasses to get started with. Although designed to fire nails of up to 1-3/8” length, some users reported that it their tools weren’t very efficient firing long nails. However, this problem can be easily resolved if you adjust to an operating pressure of about 100 PSI.

Read My Full Review About Hitachi NP35A!


There is a new combo of this item:

Hitachi NP35A 1-3/8″ 23-Gauge Pin Nailer with Headless Pins, 2000-Pack

Editor’s Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)



What customers are saying?

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Porter Cable PIN100 ½ Inch To 1 Inch 23 Gauge Pin Nailer Review

Editor’s Rating:

4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

Hitachi NR90AE(S)

Porter Cable PIN100 – One of the most popular nailers in best pin nailer reviews, the Porter Cable PIN100 will fire 23 gauge pins with lengths between ½ inch to 1 inch. It features a high capacity bottom loading magazine which can hold up to 170 pins. The magazine will also automatically adjust to complement the nail length you’re using.  A low nail reload indicator helps avoid dry firing when the magazine is empty. Its dual trigger feature makes it easier to increase shooting accuracy. This pin nailer comes with a 1 year limited warranty. One slight shortcoming of this pin nailer is that it doesn’t come with the conventional tool-less depth adjustment. If you want to adjust for depth, you need to change its operating pressure. This however isn’t much of a big deal since making the right pressure adjustments is a part of the initial checks most people make before using their air powered tools.

What customers are saying?

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Bostitch HP118K 23 Gauge ½ Inch to 1-3/16 Inch Pin Nailer Review

Editor’s Rating:

4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)

Hitachi NR90AE(S)

Bostitch HP118K – If you’re looking for a pin nailer kit that will get you started right out of the box, the Bostitch HP118K is a good choice. It can fire 23 gauge pin nails of ½ inch to 1-3/16 inch lengths. This nailer features adjustable high/low operation that makes it easy to set the depth to which the pins are driven. A 200 nail capacity magazine makes it easy to work for long periods without need for reload. This pin nailer also features a low profile nosepiece which greatly improves on firing accuracy. Other features you’ll find on this pin nailer are a rear exhaust, reversible belt hook, 1/4” air fitting, carrying case and pin nails. It comes with a 7 year warranty. One flaw many users point out about this pinner is that, at low pressure settings, the nailer doesn’t sink the nail under the wood surface. Increasing the air pressure (towards 100 PSI) usually does the trick. Also using headless nails is recommended.

What customers are saying?

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Grex P635 23 Gauge 1-3/8 Inch Length Headless Pinner Review

Editor’s Rating:

4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

Hitachi NR90AE(S)

The Grex P635 has received a lot of positive feedback in many best pin nailer reviews. It can drive pin nails of lengths of up to 1-3/8 inches. It’s a unique pin nailer that works with headless 23 gauge nails. This makes it a good choice if you want a practical tool that ensures clean results. A high capacity magazine allows you to use the tool for long periods without need to reload. A dual trigger function enhances the tool’s safety and a no mar tip ensures that all materials you work on remain clean. It comes in a lightweight aluminum body that includes an extended nose for working in tight spaces. The design also includes a rear exhaust and convenient belt hook. This pin nailer comes with 1 year limited warranty, bottle of oil lubricant, hex keys and carrying case. This nailer is designed for driving headless nails only. Users who like using both headless and slight head pins point out that you might have to get a separate nailer for the small head pins. However, the headless nail only function has an advantage where you don’t have to worry about the pins not being driven under the wood’s surface.

What customers are saying?

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Grex P650L 23 Gauge 2 Inch Headless Pinner with Lock Out Review

Editor’s Rating:

4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

Hitachi NR90AE(S)

Grex P650L – If you’re looking for a versatile pin nailer that will fire nails of up to 2 inches in length, the Grex P650L is a good option.  This nailer has a powerful motor that will drive nails into hard materials. Its high capacity magazine is designed such that it self adjusts depending on the length of fasteners used. A built in lock out mechanism keeps the unit from dry firing. This nailer also features an extended narrow nose which makes it easy to use in extra tight areas. A rear exhaust helps to keep the working area clean while no-mar rubber tips help to prevent damage to the work area. This pin nailer has a drop in magazine that’s easy to load. Other features you’ll find on the Grex P650L include belt hook, dual trigger and a one year limited warranty. Like the Grex P635, the P650L fires headless pin nails only. This means you might need a different nailer to fire small head nails. This feature however ensures nails are driven under the wood surface and there’s minimal jamming.

What customers are saying?

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Top Ranked Pin Nailers Summary

The best pin nailer is designed to handle finishing jobs which aren’t suited for brad and finishing nailers. They drive thin 23 gauge pin nails which rarely split thing strips of wood. From the 5 reviews, it’s evident that each pin nail gun has its unique features that make it stand out from the rest. It’s these features that make one pin nailer more expensive or cheaper than another. If you want a quality pin nail gun, look through the different features of those reviewed above and you’ll find the one that best meets your needs and budget.

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Benefits of using a pin nailer

Pin nailers are one of the commonly used tools for finishing tasks. Compared to other nailers such as the brad nailer, pinners are less versatile and purely designed for working on intricate jobs. This however doesn’t mean that they don’t have any advantages over other nailers. The advantages include the following.

  • Pin nailers are designed to fire ultra thin pin nails. The 23 gauge nails can either be headless or small head. Ultra thin nails are your best option when fastening delicate materials such as thin picture frames because they are less likely to split the wood. This goes a long way in saving on time and materials.
  • Due to the delicate nature of the jobs they’re designed to handle, pin nailers are usually lightweight and come with several safety features. Many pinners have dual firing feature which makes the tool safer to use. Many also come with unique no-mar nose designs which help to protect the surfaces you’re working on.
  • Another benefit of using pin nailers is that you’ll get a cleaner and smoother finish. Depending on the depth setting you use, pin nailers are designed to drive the pin through wood or other materials such that its head is flush or goes under the surface. The hole is so small that you won’t need to fill it in with putty. If you were to use brad or finishing nailers, the hole left would require filling in and sanding.

Finally, pin nailers can come in handy when you’re using glue to fasten to pieces of wood or other material together. If the pieces being fastened cannot be easily clamped, driving a few pin nails can keep them intact as the glue dries out.

Types of pin nailers

Pin nail guns are categorized under two main types, pneumatic nailers and electric nailers. Here’s a brief explanation about the differences between the two.

Pneumatic pin nailers

These are powerful nail guns that use pressurized air supplied by an air compressor. Many of these nailers have operating pressure rating of between 70 PSI and 120 PSI. This makes them compatible with many portable air compressor units. They’re lightweight power tools since they don’t have built in motors. They’re the most popular type among all pin nailers and come in a variety of price ranges. Their main disadvantage is that you might have to buy a new compressor and accessories if you don’t already own them. This makes the initial investment high. However, over the long term, they’re cheaper to operate and maintain.

Electric pin nailers

These are battery operated pinners. Most people believe that these nailers aren’t powerful. However, the contrary is true. Even when running on an 18V battery, many of these pin nailers can fire pin nails as well as their pneumatic counterparts. One major advantage of battery pin nailers is the convenience they offer. They can be used in different sites and don’t need to be connected to a power outlet or air compressor. Most people avoid electric pin nailers due to the fact that if the battery runs out, you’ll need to charge it before use. This wastes time. To get around this, you can buy an extra battery which can be alternated with your current pin nailer battery. While one is charging, the other is running your nailer.

How to choose the best pin nailer

Pin nailers are special types of nail guns that are designed for finishing tasks. Whether you’re fastening trims, molding or thin sheets of wood, pin nailers are the best choice. Many people might think that this is the job reserved for brad nailers. However, pin nail guns fire thin nails which are very unlikely to split thin pieces of wood. In addition, the thin nails used usually leave holes so small that they aren’t immediately noticeable.

If you engage in regular finishing tasks and looking for the best pin nailer, here are the top considerations you should make.

Electric vs. pneumatic

Battery operated pin nail guns are a good choice if you don’t regularly engage in finishing jobs. In addition, if your job isn’t intensive, a battery operated nailer is a good choice. If however you regularly engage in carpentry finishing projects, the pneumatic type offers more power and extended use compared to electricity operated types. You’ll however need to invest in a compressor and some accessories if you don’t have them already.

Tool safety

Pin nail guns drive nails that are roughly the same diameter as a sewing needle. This makes them dangerous tools if improperly handled. You’ll therefore need to look at the different safety features included on the nailer’s design. One of the prominent safety features you’ll find on pin nail guns is the dual trigger. This feature requires you press two triggers before the nailer shoots a nail. Other features that improve human and tool safety include inclusion of safety glasses and a carrying case along with the nailer.

Magazine design

Many of the best pin nailers on the market today have stick magazines. Beyond the magazine type, you should also consider different design factors such as how easy it is to load, the magazine capacity, whether the nailer features a nail reload indicator and, the length of nails the magazine can hold. If the magazine can hold pins of different lengths, you should also consider whether you need to manually make adjustments or, if the magazine automatically adjusts to accommodate the different nails.

Nail Types

Pin nails are of two types, headless and small head. Headless nails are usually recommended when you want to drive them below the surface of the material you’re working with. However, their joints usually won’t hold well under pressure. Small head types are a good choice for finishes where you want stronger joints. Many of nailers available today will drive both types of nails.

Ease of use and maintenance

Like with any other tool, pin nailers are meant to make work easier. This however doesn’t mean that every nailer is easy to use. Some of the features to look out for when considering how easy it is to use include depth adjustment control, jam correction and anti-dry firing. The pin nailer you invest in should also be easy to maintain in order to keep it operational.

Weight and design features

Due to their purpose, pin nail guns are usually smaller and lighter compared to other nail guns. A lighter build makes them easy to use without causing strain on your arms. These guns are also designed for use on delicate materials. Their design should therefore be such that little or no damage occurs on the materials you’re working on. No-mar tips made from rubber of another soft and quality material is one of the important design features you should look at with this regard.

Brand and pricing

If you look at most of the best pin nailer reviews, you’ll notice that most are specific brands. The brand and model of your pin nail gun will affect a number of factors such as the warranty, performance and features included on the tool. Before buying your nailer, you should also compare among the different prices offered on different sites in order to get the best deal.

Tips for using pin nailers

To prolong the lifespan of your pin nail gun, you should follow some basic tips for using pin nailer below:

1. Always refer to the user manual

Each pin nailer comes with its own unique user manual. This acts as your guide on how to use and maintain the tool. It also gives you guidance on how to solve common problems that might be encountered while using the pin nailer. Using your pin nail gun in line with what’s recommended in the user manual ensures that you don’t void the warranty provided. User manuals are supplied with your tool or downloaded at the manufacturer’s website.

2. Only use the recommended nail sizes

Many of the pin nailers you’ll come across can fire nails of different lengths. It’s therefore important that you only use nails within the recommended range. Using larger nails might cause the tool to jam.

3. Oil your tool often

Many nailers require regular oiling to lubricate their moving parts. If this is the case for your pin nail gun, add a few drops of lubricating oil before and after using it.

4. Only use the recommended power source

If you have a pneumatic pin nailer rated at 70 to 120 PSI, you should only attach it to a compressor that offers operating pressure within this range. On the other hand, if you own a battery operated nailer, only use the recommended battery type (e.g. Li-ion) and with the required voltage.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. I want to buy a pneumatic pin nailer. What’s the best air compressor to use?

  • “The best air compressor to use with your pneumatic nailer depends on its operating pressure. Most nailers have operating pressure rating between 70 PSI and 120 PSI. A portable compressor within this range should do.”

2. Will my pin nailer drive nails through hardwood?

  • “Many pin nail gun manufacturers claim their tools will drive nails through hardwood. However, it depends on a number of factors such as the tool’s power and the thickness of the wood.”

3. My pin nailer is rated 5/8” to 1-3/8” can it fire 2” long nails?

  • “No. if you try using nails longer than 1-3/8” possibly they won’t fit in the magazine or, will end up jamming your tool.”

4. Should I use a specific brand of pin nails with my pin nailer?

  • “This depends on what the manufacturer recommends. Many pin nailers will drive nails from different brands as long as they’re 23 gauge and within the recommended length.”

5. What does the warranty cover against?

  • “Pin nailer warranties usually cover against defects caused by use workmanship of use of defective materials in making the tool. However, if you need specific details, it’s best you check the warranty policy that came with your tool.”

6. I want an air powered pin nailer. What accessories will I need to get?

  • “If you receive the bare tool only, you’ll need to get fittings, hose, couplers and safety glasses.”

7. Can my pin nailer shoot staples?

  • “No. pin nailers are only used to fire 23 gauge nails.”


If you engage in carpentry jobs, finishing tools are an important investment to make. Among these are the best pin nailers which are specialty tools designed to drive 23 gauge nails. Over the past few years, new pin nail guns have been introduced into the market. This has resulted in cheaper tools with high quality useful features.

If you’re looking for a good pin nailer, we’ve reviewed the 5 best tools on the market right now. Each nailer has its own unique features which make it the preferred tool among DIY enthusiasts and even general contractors. Besides the reviews, we’ve included a detailed buying guide to help you choose the best tool that meets your needs and budget.

5/5 - (6 votes)


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