What are the differences between Brad Nailer vs Finish Nailer?

House repairs and renovations are a thing that you will find yourself doing from time to time. It is, therefore, important to know the various nailing tools that are at your disposal and how they are used to do a neat job.

Two widely used tools are the Brad nailer vs Finish nailer. The two devices are similar in many ways and can be used interchangeably in various situations. They, however, have a few differences that make them unique to perform different tasks.

differences between Brad Nailer vs Finish Nailer

Differences between Brad nailer vs Finish nailer

Nail size

A Brad nailer will have small usually 5/8 up to 2 inches 18 gauge nails and the tool also uses brad nails which have heads, or occasionally can be headless. The nails are used on this nailer usually have a small diameter of only 1.22 millimeters.

On the other hand the finish nailer comes with 14 to 16 gauge nails usually 1 to 2.5 inches long. Their big nature makes them better to hold bigger pieces of wood firmly on the wall. Their headless nature makes nails from a finish nailer blend better with furniture.


When using any of the two nailers it is important to have in mind where they fit best to help you decide which tool will be favorable to be used where. Brad nailers due to the heads on the nails they use are more suitable for using in hidden places. This could be when nailing things that will be out of sight like the back of a drawer. The distinctive and flat head on brad nails makes the nails easy to pull out of wood. As a result the nails can be used temporarily when glue is applied on two pieces of wood to help them stick together. Once they fully bond the nails can be pulled out without affecting the bond made.

In finish nailers just as the name suggests they are mostly used in finishing the job making it pleasant to look at while being strongly bond. The nails having no head are easy to blend with the material used making the finished look appealing and the job to look professionally done. After they are nailed unlike brad nails finish nails re not meant to be removed. They join wood and stay in making the piece looks beautiful and professionally done.

Some of the most common areas where we find great use for the brad nailer vs finishing nailer are:

1. Holding wood together

When holding together wood, brad nails are the best pick especially as you wait for glue between the woods to dry up. Their heads enable for safe removal when you no longer need the nails in place. Finish nails on the other hand are much more useful when you are finalizing your works. They have no heads and therefore disappear into the wood.

2. Carpentry

Doors and casings are best fit by brad nails and every carpenter knows this, finish nails will best suit cabinets. In a cabinet, you do not need to see the heads of the nails as they may interfere with the design which makes finish nails shine in this area.

3. Hard and soft wood

Brad nails are generally thinner than finish nails and are mostly used for soft woods. They are also shorted. Although some carpenters use brad nails for hard woods, finish nails are more suited for hard surfaces.

4. Projects

Brad nails being thinner and shorter are mostly used in smaller projects where they will be able to hold together the wood. For larger projects like a wardrobe, finish nails take the day.

5. Corner spots

Brad nails are blunt and will therefore not split wood when hammered into corners. Finish nails are more pointed and a majority of times when they are hammered into corners, they split woods.


Before you make any purchase how much the item costs is usually the first consideration one makes. The brad nailer differs in price from the finish nailer and it is important to know the difference when making your decision.

Brad nailers are among the most popular pneumatic nailers in the market. This has caused manufacturers compete against each other with better quality and at cheaper prices. The average brad nailer could sell at price which is way cheaper than the finish nailers.

Finish nailers on the other hand are a little bit pricy. It is however important to note finish nailers are more versatile as compared to brad nailers as they can perform the duties of a brad nailer if the appropriate nail is used.


Brad nailers are very affordable and easy to use which makes them the perfect tool for professional carpenters and DIY enthusiasts when making their crafts. Brad nails are strong and have a better cohesive force making them better for joining corners without splitting the wood.

The nature of their heads makes it easy to pull them out of wood with much ease and their small diameter makes the hole they leave small and barely noticeable.

Finish nailers on the other hand are mostly used professionally to finish jobs leaving them looking smooth and natural. They can be used to accomplish the tasks performed by brad nails but their long nails cannot be pulled from wood as they would leave big ugly holes.

The nails of finish nailers at times does split wood due to their sizes and are mostly used to finish a job in a discreet manner rather than in corners which need a more solid bonding.


All we have been talking about gives you a clear comparison of the two nailers that are mostly used in carpentry. What you should have in mind when choosing between brad nailer vs. finishing nailer is that brad nailers are mostly used when working on small projects which require the use of soft material.

Depending on what you will use the furniture for keep in mind that brad nails will be visible and the finish nail in most cases is completely hidden.

Finish nails should therefore be used on the front of furniture without it looking bad. When using the brad vs finish nailers, always have in mind that brad nails can be removed without damaging the structure while finish nails cannot be removed once they have been nailed in.

What are the differences between Brad Nailer vs Finish Nailer?
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