The Differences Between Brad Nailer and Framing Nailer

Using pneumatic nailers such as brad nailer and framing nailer is a great way to help you save a lot of time when doing a lot of different construction activities that you can perform when on the job. Not only will they save you time, but they will also help prevent you from over stress yourself by having to to hammer everything by hand.

Brad nailers and framing nailers and very similar in their design and the concept of how they work. Both use air pressure which forces the nail out of the nailer with very high speed to that the nails can penetrate wood well enough to sink in flush with the surface. There are differences, however, between the two that essentially make them completely different relating to what they are used for.

Perhaps the most notable difference between brad nailers and framing nailers is the type of nails used for each.


The Brad Nailer

A pneumatic brad nailer is one of the air-power tools (pneumatic) most commonly found in the wood shop. It is designed to shoot light gauge (very narrow) wire brads into all types of wood without leaving a large hole to be filled. Almost brads are ½ inch to 2 inches long, and in general, they have no head or a very slight head. This allows them to penetrate the wood below the surface when shot, doing away with the need to follow behind with a nail set.

Using the Brad Nailer

The brad nailer is commonly used during the assembly process of woodworking projects. The brad add stability and strength to the glue joints such as steel wire spans both pieces of wood. The impact of the fastener also serves as a kind of clamp, drawing the glued joint tighter as the glue sets. The brad nailer is useful for trim components that do not have to contribute to the structural integrity of a project: The brad nailer joins the wood without the need for glue.

The brad nailers can not be effective when framing the stud walls because they often do not have enough power.

The Framing Nailer

The larger framing nailer has replaced the claw hammer in the home building industry. This pneumatic tool is capable of generating upwards of 1,000-pounds of hammering power to drive the heavy nails used in the home or building framing. Shooting, rather than hammering in, a large number of nails commonly used in new construction increases productivity and has moved most builders to make the switch to the air-power tool.

Using the Framing Nailer

The framing nailer has a specific application: driving nails into wood used in construction. Some nailers are better at working with the harder, wooden design often used in modern framing; this is a tool selection consideration. The narrow application range is mainly constrained by the fact that the framing nailer is not suitable for other kinds of fasteners such as, for example, a finish nailer will be.

The framing nailers require the use of more force because the nails used can be quite large. Thus, framing nailers require the use of more pressure.


A brad nailer will not be suitable for framing stud walls because it simply does not have enough energy and does not use the right size nails to secure the stud boards and other larger pieces of wood together.

You will not want to use a framing nailer to complete any finish work that has to be done, such as fastening trim boards, because the framing nailer uses nails that are much too large. Another reason that you will not want to use a framing nailer in this situation is because the high amount of pressure can damage the wood that is used for the finish work, which will not look good when finished.

The brad and framing nailers are not interchangeable. The power of the tools, and the fasteners that each uses, are very different. These differences ensure that one tool will not be useful for accomplishing the tasks of the other. You can find a huge range of pneumatic nailers on the retail market; with the exception of middle-class finish nailers, each performs a singular, specific tasks for the carpenter or woodworker.

So you can see that in the fight of brad nailer and framing nailer, each has it’s own separate purposes and are really completely different from each other.

The Differences Between Brad Nailer and Framing Nailer
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