Nowadays, you don’t need to swing around a hammer to drive nails. Brad nailer has become a blessing for carpenters and homeowners. If you have a new carpentry project in mind, waste no time and get the best brad nailer from this list of reviews.
Why waste energy and time on hammering nails? Let the tools do all the hard work. The specialty of these tools is that they offer more precise work; they are lightweight and does a better job than a regular hammer.
Don’t feel like going through all the products and deciding on your own? Check out the WEN 61720; this is perhaps the best 18-gauge brad nailer out there. Keep in mind that it’s a pneumatic tool which means you need an air compressor to power this tool.
If you want the freedom to move around with your tool, you need a cordless one. If that floats your boat, check out the PORTER-CABLE PCC790LA. It’s powered by a 20V MAX Lithium-ion battery which means you won’t have to worry about the performance of this one.
In A Rush? Check Out the Best Brad Nailer Comparison Table
This is a short list of some of the best and high-quality tools out there. Some might be a little pricier than others, but what you need to look out for is the right product that will give you the most value for your money.
Here are my top 10 picks for the Top Rated brad nailers
Don’t feel like picking what I picked? Perhaps you want to consider other choices? Have a look below at some of the top contenders in the market. All of them have something unique to offer at different price points.
Nonetheless, there are other factors that also come into play like durability, performance, weight, ergonomics, portability and safety features. Don’t worry; I’ve made a complete buying guide at the end of this article that will make your purchasing decision much easier.
1. DEWALT DC608K 18-Volt 18-Gauge 2-Inch Brad Nailer Kit
- Engine design allows the tool to work as fast as the end user with consistent nail penetration into both soft and hard joints
- Sequential operating mode allows for precision placement and the bump operating mode provides the user with production speed.
- Straight magazine, accepts 18 gauge nails ranging in legths from 5/8-inch to 2-inch
- Easy access to the nosepiece for the removal of jammed nails without the use of screwdrivers or tool wrenches
- Part of the XRP DEWALT Cordless system; Contact Trip Lock-Off allows trigger to be disabled when not in use
The DEWALT DC608K is the best cordless brad nailer money can buy. It features both sequential mode and bumps firing mode to work as fast as the user in a consistent manner. Newly improved engine design allows the tool to work flawlessly and increase the performance as well as overall durability.
This leading class cordless nail gun is backed by hundreds of satisfactory reviews from users. After all, it’s a tool manufactured by DeWalt, and we all know how famous they are for making quality power tools. This 18-gauge brad nailer comes as a full kit so that you can start working with this right out of the box.
The DEWALT DC608K is powered by an 18V XRP NiCad battery. It’s powerful enough to penetrate brads into both hard and soft joints. It also has enough power to drive approximately 600 brads in one charge. The straight magazine can hold 110 brads from 5/8-inch to 2-inch lengths. Since it’s a brad nailer, you can only work with 18-gauge nails.
It’s fast and accurate and is made for both precision lovers and speed lovers alike. Thanks to its dual mode operation, you only need one tool to work on all of your projects. It doesn’t jam up often, but when it does, you can easily remove jammed nails thanks to the unique design that allows easy access to the nose piece.
Last but not least, the safety features. When not in use, the contact trip lock-off feature disables the trigger and prevents accidental fires. In addition, you get the freedom of mobility and don’t have to drag an air compressor along with you.
- Dual mode operation.
- Easy jam removal.
- Long lasting battery.
- 110 nail holding capacity.
- It comes with a fast charger.
2. PORTER-CABLE PCC790LA 20V MAX Lithium 18GA
- NO COMPRESSOR NEEDED: this cordless brad nailer is battery-powered, eliminating the need for a compressor, hose, or expensive gas cartridges.
- CONSISTENT DRIVING DEPTH: our depth adjustment wheel allows you to properly countersink nails consistently. Nail Diameter: 18 gauge
- INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY: a tool-free release lever, jam release, and depth adjustment wheel make your life easier.
- BETTER RUNTIME: Included 1.5 Ah 20V MAX Lithium-ion battery lasts longer than NiCad, charger included. Integrated Belt Hook: Yes
- 3 YEAR LIMITED WARRANTY: PORTER-CABLE will repair, without charge, any defects due to faulty materials or workmanship for three years from the date of purchase.
The PORTER-CABLE PCC790LA is a gun that can go head to head with DeWalt’s top of the line cordless brad nailer. For over 100 years, PORTER-CABLE has provided and serviced quality power tools for the professional woodworker and trimmer. Their tools are engineered to deliver high quality and professional results every time and at a great value.
The legacy continues with the introduction of the PORTER-CABLE PCC790LA. This 18-gauge straight brad nailer is powered by 20V MAX 4.0Ah Lithium-ion battery. This battery is powerful enough to shoot up to 1300 nails per charge. The motor uses a flywheel mechanism to provide power and consistency.
For simplified troubleshooting, the tool-free jam release mechanism provides quick adjustments. Along with that, it comes with multi-functional LED lights, tool-free stall release, depth window guide and more. Go cordless. Eliminate the need for big noisy compressor, hoses or costly fuel cartridges.
Being a cordless tool, the only downside is the weight. But that’s not the case with this one. It’s lightest in their class. The handle ergonomics, lightweight design and a balanced center of gravity provide comfort during extended use. In the end, you can work faster, better, less set up time and effortless maneuvering on the job.
It also comes with a depth adjustment wheel to adjust the driving depth of the wheel properly. The narrow nose size is perfect for tight spaces and fits well in small places. It’s a versatile tool and a powerful one and comes at a price that’s much user-friendly.
- It is powered by 20V 4.0Ah battery.
- A lot of tools-free features.
- Very lightweight and comfortable.
- Battery lasts for a long time.
- LED lights.
3. WEN 61720 3/4-Inch to 2-Inch 18-Gauge Pneumatic Brad Nailer
- Fire brads from 3/4 to 2 inches in length
- Operate at 60 to 100 PSI with a 1/4-inch NPT air inlet fitting
- Lightweight aluminum body weighs in at 3 pounds with rubber-grip handle for maximum comfort
- Hold up to 100 brads in the magazine with a quick-release to make jam clearing a breeze
- Includes oil, two adjustment wrenches and a custom carrying case
If you are tight on a budget or perhaps you do not want to spend a lot of money on a cordless nail gun, then the WEN 61720 is the best pneumatic brad nailer you can get on the market. This air powered tool from Wen gives excellent value for money. Compared to other similar tools, it is relatively very easy to use. In addition, you get all the features you can expect from a modern electric power nail gun.
It might look small, but don’t let the looks fool you. This is one heck of powerhouse that is available at a fraction of the price compared to more expensive models. It has a pretty basic design but does the job well. Cast-aluminum construction not only makes the whole unit lightweight but also puts less strain on your arm during extended periods of use.
To increase the comfort, even more, there is a rubberized handle grip and a balanced center of gravity. It has the capacity to fire nails from ¾” to 2” in length. To run this tool, you will need a 1/4-inch NPT air inlet and an operating PSI which is 60 to 100. The magazine can hold up to 100 brads.
There are occasional jamming’s with this one but the clearing process is a breeze because of its tool-less quick release jam clearing mechanism. It comes with a custom carrying case, lubrication oil, and two adjustment wrenches. The exhaust port is adjustable too.
You can easily control the direction of the released air. The port is a full 360 degrees rotatable. Like any other tools, this one too comes with a depth adjustment wheel to determine how deep you want your nails to be driven. In short, for the price you are paying and the quality of this tool, it’s a true bargain.
- Comfortable grip.
- Spacious magazine size.
- Aluminum construction for durability.
- Strong blow mold case.
- Adjustable rear exhaust port.
- Selective Actuation allows the user to select bump fire or contact fire modes with the simple flip of a switch
- At only 2.2 lbs, this finish nailer is lightweight & well-balanced making it easy to use all day long
- Elastomer grip adds comfort and prevents slippage
- Tool-less, easy to clear nose for quick and simple nail extraction should a nail jam during use
- Depth of drive dial allows the user to easily adjust the drive depth for a professional finish
Another highly popular budget tool is the Hitachi NT50AE2. At this price point, there aren’t many pneumatic nail guns that can top this model. It has excellent value for the money, very lightweight and a great tool to work with. However, the only downside of this tool is that it doesn’t have any dry lockout. However, there is a yellow indicator window that will let you know when you are low on nails.
That is not something that will be a deal breaker for you. Jamming is a rare occasion with this tool. It drives a 5/8-Inch to 2-Inch brad. This tool has a selective actuator switch which allows you to drive a single nail or you can flip it in to bump mode which will allow you to fire rapidly every time the safety is DE-compressed.
Another thing that I love about this tool is the no-mark tip. I don’t know if you ever dented your work when using a nail gun. But it can be very frustrating. The tip of this tool is very small and won’t get in your way. And it’s not going to leave a mark when you are doing fine finish work.
It has got a factory installed angled air hose which is going to keep the air hose way when you are down on the floor or using the tool in a really tight spot. It’s a really nice feature. This tool also comes with a tool-free depth adjustment guide which allows you to decide how deep you want to drive the brads in the workpiece.
The depth adjustment dial is right above the trigger, and you can change the depth without removing your finger from the trigger. It also features an easy clear nose. You simply need to flip, lift, clear the jam, replace and you are ready to go. The small window located in the magazine lets you know when you are running low on nails.
- Nice and soft grip handle.
- Very lightweight and weighs only 2.2 lbs.
- Selective Actuation button.
- Angled air hose tip.
- Small tip size.
5. Ryobi P320 Airstrike 18 Volt One+ Lithium-Ion Cordless Brad Nailer
If you are looking for a cordless tool to work on your remodel project, the Ryobi P320 Airstrike is the one. It’s the 18-gauge version of their famous Airstrike lineup and operates on 18 volt One+ series battery. These batteries are known for their reliability and performance. The Ryobi P320 is a very impressive tool.
It may look a bit bulkier, but it is much better than being tethered to an air hose all the time. If you pair this tool with the high capacity 4.0Ah lithium-ion battery, you can get a long run time. The construction is very durable — bumpers on the side and bottom that protects your tool from accidental falls.
On a full charge, you can fire up to 700 brads up to 50mm long. You also get the tool-less jam clearing mechanism. On the front of the tool, you will see two different LED lights. They will on the side of the magazine and does a good job of lighting up the workpiece. The depth adjustment dial is on the front and behind the tip.
You can also adjust the air pressure using the rotating knob on the back. Turn the knob left to right to increase or decrease air pressure. In order to set the nail correctly, it’s a combination of the depth and the air pressure — dual firing modes. One being the rapid fire or the bump mode and another one is a single shot mode aka sequential mode.
When you run low on nails, the tool will automatically stop firing. Overall, the Airstrike series of tools are really impressive. I feel like they are more of a professional grade tool. They do a great job and are very affordable.
- Impressive run time.
- Comfortable grip.
- Solid build quality.
- Air pressure and depth adjustable.
- Dual LED lights.
6. Stanley TRE550Z Electric Staple/Brad Nail Gun
- Heavy-duty electric staple / brad nail gun with outstanding driving power
- Unique dual power lever (Hi/Lo) designed for use with hard or soft materials
- High Quality New!!!!!!!
- Includes 8-foot power cord
- Uses Stanley Sharpshooter TRA700 Series or Arrow T-50 heavy duty staples and 1/2-, 9/16- and 5/8-inch brads
With the Stanley TRE550Z, you get the functionality of an electric staple gun and a brad nailer in one single unit. It’s a low-cost tool and works well for what it is. And with the 8-foot power outlet, you have ample space to move the tool around your workspace. You don’t have to worry about changing battery packs, refill costly gas cartridges or dragging a noisy air compressor.
This small electric model will end up saving a lot of money in the long run. It is quieter and works a lot faster than other corded models. This electric staple gun can fire 1/2-, 9/16- and 5/8-inch brads. You can work with Arrow T-50 heavy duty staples or SharpShooter TRA700 Series. The only downside is that you can’t use longer brads.
But at this price point, you can’t beat this model. Compared to other models, it is slightly heavy because this is a heavy-duty model. You can adjust the dual power lever to work on hard or soft materials. The unique flush nose design comes handy when stapling in tight spots. The contour grip handle provides good grip, but it is slightly further back from the tip.
You need to apply ample pressure to fire staples and brads. It also features a quick jam clearing mechanism, but you don’t get any dry lockout feature. However, you do get a low brad indicator that will let you know when you are running low on ammo.
This model is a perfect fit for small projects. This combined stapler and brad nailer is sturdy, versatile and heavy-duty but heftier than others. But that’s the price you have to pay if you want to get a powerful tool.
- Comfortable contoured grip.
- Hassle-less anti-jam grip.
- 8-foot long cord.
- Dual power lever.
- Flush-nose design.
7. BOSTITCH BTFP12233 Smart Point 18GA Pneumatic Brad Nailer Kit
- SMART POINT TECHNOLOGY: Easy nail placement due to a smaller nose and no need to compress the contact trip to actuate the tool.
- DRIVES: 18 GA Brad Nails from 5/8" to 2-1/8" length.
- TOOL-FREE JAM RELEASE MECHANISM: For easy nail removal.
- DIAL-A-DEPTH(TM) CONTROL: For precise countersinking of nails.
- KIT INCLUDES: Nailer, 1/4" Air Fitting, Sample Fasteners, Carrying Case and Extra No-Mar Tips
This is the 18-gauge brad nailer kit from BOSTITCH who made a name for themselves in the industry as a premium nailer brand. It has one cool feature that no other tools have, and that is a pencil sharpener. I have to say; this is a cool feature. It’s not directly related to the product, but we all like to see innovations, right?
BOSTITCH has integrated a smart point technology. As you can see from the tip, it’s very thin. It also allows for pinpoint accuracy. You will know where the nail will go, and once you place it, you don’t have to move the tip around to pinpoint the location. The whole unit weighs around 3.1 lbs. which is very lightweight. The magazine can hold 100 brads at a time.
It has tons of features built-in. This tool has set the standard when it comes to implementing no-mar tips. It’s comfortable to hold and has a nice grip on it. The speed is amazing and no kickbacks whatsoever. The lightweight design and bumpers on both sides provide durability and protect the work surface.
This 18-gauge oil free nailer is very precise, and all the hype that it got is because of that tip. The micro nose design eliminates the need to push the tip or decompress against work to actuate the tool. To put it simply, you don’t need to press the tool to fire. The narrow tip also allows for better visibility and also be able to stick the tip in tight places.
This product is designed in a way that eliminates the need to add oil and still manages to prolong the lifespan of the tool. The combination of this oil-free design and the rear exhaust port greatly reduces the contamination of the work surface. It is also equipped with a tool-free jam release. You also have the option to select between sequential mode and bump mode.
- Smart point tip design.
- Quick and accurate brad placement.
- Minimizes workpiece damage.
- Rubber bumpers protect the tool from scratches.
- Dual firing mode.
- Belt hooks and pencil sharpeners.
8. Hitachi NT1850DE 18V Cordless Brad Nailer
- Freedom from cumbersome air hose and compressor saves time in setup, during applications and in jobsite clean up
- Selective actuation switch transitions between sequential mode and bump fire mode
- Tool-less depth of drive adjustment for flush drives into various materials
- Brushless motor for longer run time, less maintenance and increased durability
- Powered by a Compact 3.0Ah Lithium Ion battery that is 3/4" shorter and .6 lbs lighter than a conventional 3.0Ah battery for complete portability
If the weight bothers you and you need something more compact, more lightweight and more versatile without sacrificing power, then look no further than the Hitachi NT1850DE. Finish more projects with less. Lose the hose, the compressor and gas cartridges. You don’t need them. Experience total fastening freedom brought to you by professional’s preferred brand Hitachi.
With their line of 18V lithium-ion cordless nailer guns. These tools are powered by Hitachi’s new compact 3.0Ah battery that delivers all the power you need with half the weight that you would expect. And this compact 3.0Ah battery is compatible with all Hitachi 18V slide type Lithium-ion power tools.
For even more flexibility, these cordless tools implement Hitachi’s unique Air Spring Drive System. They use permanently sealed compressed air to drive each nail. Their highly efficient brushless motor increases run time and prolong the life of the tool.
Tool-free features like depth of drive, sequential or bump fire modes and integrated belt hook make this tool convenient to use. These tools can shoot 1650 nails per charge. They deliver quick response time in between drives, and consistently set nails flush even at an angle.
With this tool, you will not only save time in set up but will also save a lot of time cleaning up in the job site. It has zero ramp-up time, and the recoil feels like pneumatic nailer. You will also get built-in LED lights. For a safety feature, it has a side lock switch that will prevent accidental firing. In addition, it also features a low battery indicator and tool-less jam release.
- Lightweight and powerful.
- Compact design and ergonomic handle.
- Shoots more nail per charge.
- Smaller battery size without losing power.
- A lot of tool-less features.
9. Valu-Air F50Q 2″ 18 Gauge Air Brad Nailer
- Lightweight body only 2.2 lb. Working air pressure 70-110 PSI (air compressor needed)
- Drives 18GA brad nails from 5/8" to 2" in length
- Durable aluminum housing to withstand tough working environment
- Quick jam release mechanism for easy nail removal
- Include 2 strips of 18GA nails, oil and allen wrench
This 18 Gauge Air Brad Nailer from Valu-Air is a valued option. But that doesn’t mean that it’s underpowered. I’m not saying it’s a cheap product. It’s a lower priced model but performs just like any other mid-tier pneumatic nail gun. This model is available in two versions. The F50Q is a brad nailer only model, and the SF5040 comes with stapler option.
Both of these tools are capable of driving 18-gauge brads of 5/8”-2” in length. And crown staples of 5/8”-1 5/8” in length. The aluminum constructed body makes this tool very lightweight, and the whole unit weighs around 3.2 pounds. It has a compact shape and suitable for working long hours without any fatigue. Since it is an air powered tool, you would need 70 -110 PSI of working air pressure.
Jamming is rare on this tool. But if you do happen to come across this problem, this tool features tool-less quick jam release mechanism. The depth-of-drive adjustment is also tool-free. It has a no-mar rubber tip, but it isn’t as narrow as the one you found on the BOSTITCH BTFP12233. The magazine can hold 100 brads at a time.
Both of these tools have 360-degree adjustable exhaust and come with lubrication oil. You will also get two strips of 18-gauge nails, and if you happen to choose the SF5040 model, you will get a dedicated carrying case. The durable blow mold case is sturdy and feels rigid.
Speaking of durability, even though it’s a lower priced model, but they didn’t skimp out on the construction. The main components are housed in a durable and ultra-light aluminum that can withstand the tough working environment. Last but not least, it has a nail reload indicator. But you won’t get any dry lockout feature.
- Ergonomic and comfortable rubber grip handle.
- Aluminum housing.
- Tool-less depth adjustments.
- 360-degree directional exhaust.
- No-mar tip.
10. Makita XNB01Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless 2″ Brad Nailer
- Drives a range of 18 gauge brad nails from 5/8" to 2"; magazine capacity up to 110 nails
- 2-mode selector switch for sequential or contact nailing operation. Net weight (with battery): 7.7 pounds
- Easy to use "tool-less" depth adjustment dial for a wide variety of finish applications
- Anti-dry drive mechanism engineered to prevent driving blanks and damage to work surface
- Battery gauge indicates battery charge level
Makita XNB01Z is a big tool. It’s not for someone who is looking for a lightweight and compact nail gun. But this big size comes with more power. For me, I think this model is aimed at professional users. This 18-gauge nail gun is running off on an 18V LXT Lithium-ion battery. With the battery connected, this tool weighs around 7.7 pounds.
It’s not the most affordable tool on the market and certainly not the lightest. But it makes up for those lacking with raw power. This tool can drive a range of nails from 5/8″ to 2″ in length. The magazine can hold 110 nails at a time. You will also get two operating modes and a selector switch to switch between sequential mode and rapid-fire mode.
You will also get the depth adjustment feature to adjust the nail drive. This is suitable for working on a wide variety of applications. It also features the dry-lockout or as they call it the “Anti-dry drive mechanism.” It prevents the tool from firing blanks and damaging the workpiece.
Another feature that I wish others would incorporate on their tools is the battery charge level indicator. Makita has this built-in. It will let you know how much charge is left on the battery. It takes the guesswork out, and you will know when you need to charge the battery again.
If you pair this tool with a 5.0Ah battery, you can drive up to 1660 nails on a fully charged battery. That’s a lot of nails. It’s not compact, but it is powerful. In addition, you will also get built-in LED lights. There are rubber bumpers all over the tool that protects the tool from scratch and the surface too.
- Dual mode operation.
- Longer lasting battery.
- Easy to use depth adjustment dial.
- Battery charge indicator.
- LED lights.
Brad Nailer Buying Guide – How to Choose the Right Tool?
This section is dedicated to those of you that want to do a little bit of research before making the final decision. Since it’s a matter of investment, it pays to spend a little of time and do some proper research.
Now, when it comes to a handy tool like a nail gun, you need to make sure you have everything in the right order. That includes the right gauge, depth of drive, types (yes, pay extra attention to this one), functions and level of maintenance.
I’ll also add some extra tips that will keep you and your tool safe. So, without further ado, let’s start with this guide.
What are Brad Nailers Used For?
I’m sure you already know that by now. But for those of you that don’t, here is a short example of a nail gun’s usage.
1. For Homeowners
Got a window to fix? A nail gun is very effective when you have to do some home improvement schemes. Small jobs around the house like fitting a door casing, adding new floors, baseboards, light trim crown molding and other similar work around the house. Having a tool like this can be really useful.
On top of that, when you need to do some home renovations, they are often very handy at it. As long as you know how to do it and have the proper skill set, all you need is suitable nailer.
If you have some basic carpentry skills, you can’t work efficiently without owning a nail gun. You can pretty much make anything you want like chairs, cabinets, tables and other furniture. By adding a combination of nails and adhesives, you will be making that furniture sturdier and more beautiful.
3. DIY Crafting
Your imagination is the limit here. As long as you know woodworking stuff, you can pretty much make anything your mind thinks of. Whether you want to create some secure picture frames or piece down you some broken woods to turn them into something useful or make toys for your kids, you can do them all with a nailer.
If your crafts are solid, you can even start your own small business by making office and home crafts. They are also perfect for doing other odd jobs around the house like fencing, roofing, framing and different kinds of flooring projects.
Most of the time, you will see construction workers using this tool. It makes their job site safer for working by attaching different structures in place in different blind spots.
Some of them make a decent living by doing only that. Just by knowing how to operate one and with a few skills, you can make some extra cash.
Now that you know the different usages of this tool, it’s time to pick one for your own. There are certain criteria that you should keep an eye out for when making the final decision.
Types of Brad Nailer
Depending on the power source, there are four types of brad nailer guns. Pneumatic, electric, cordless and gas.
The most expensive of the bunch is the corded brad nailer. The power comes from a powerful Lithium-ion battery which is attached to the tool itself. Most of the time this tool is used by professionals because of the portability and compact size.
These battery powered tools aren’t suitable for professional work because they do not generate enough driving force. But it is more than enough for a homeowner who is looking to do some renovating around the house or for a DIY enthusiast who is looking to make some new projects.
You also get freedom of movement because these are the more portable tools out there.
This type is powered by an electric motor. It’s quite similar to the corded ones but usually much heavier and bulkier because of the heavy-duty motor. It will make your work faster and more efficiently. This one also produces less noise and can double as a staple gun.
It’s not that expensive compared to the corded version but costlier than a pneumatic tool. Since you do not need to buy an additional air compressor and also the fact that this type of tool requires less maintenance, it becomes cost-effective and pays off in the long run.
The only downside of having an electric powered gun is the weight. Because they have more internal components and a large motor, the weight can really wear you down if used for a long time.
The third type is the pneumatic nailer. The tool itself is cheap, but the air compressor can be quite expensive. These are air powered tools which means you need to have a decent air compressor to run them.
There are some compact compressors that are made for tools like these. If you are looking for a clean finish while working efficiently, these are the perfect tool for the job. They have a continuous supply of power and also provide a good amount of driving force.
They are also the top-rated nail guns out there, but you need to be careful while handling them. Pressurized air is dangerous if not handled properly and can occur accidents on the worksite.
Similar to their pneumatic cousin but more versatile than a cordless tool. You get the same amount of performance without having to drag around a hose pipe and an air compressor. It’s the perfect tool for a trim carpenter to work on some punch-list work on a job site.
It uses fuel rods and batteries to deliver power to the tool. This type is used by both amateurs and professionals alike because of the reliability.
Things to Look for When Buying
An 18-gauge brad nail gun is a great addition to any handyman’s toolkit. There are so many places where this can make your work more efficient and a lot easier to do. If you are looking for a reliable way to get the work done, this buyer’s guide will surely help you make the right choice.
Difference in Types
It is important to consider the specific type of tool for the job. If you have a lot of nailing to do, and you have a power outlet nearby, you should consider the electric models. If you have an air compressor at your garage, buying a pneumatic tool will save you a lot of money.
On the other hand, if you work in remote places and need a lot of mobility, consider the battery powered guns. Keep an extra battery pack with you, and you will have enough power to last through the whole work day. You can also consider the gas-powered tools for the same purpose.
First thing I want to talk about is gauges. Nail guns are available in different gauges. 23-gauge, 18-gauge, 16-gauge, 15 gauge, etc. Remember that with gauges, as the number gets bigger, the pin gets smaller. So, a 23-gauge nail gun uses a smaller pin than an 18-gauge nailer.
18-gauge nails are also known as brad, and that’s why most of the tools here use 18-gauge nails. This also determines the area where these tools will be used. Because brads are thinner, they are not suitable for holding bulk objects together.
The purpose of a brad tool is to work with lighter and more delicate materials, and brads have less risk of damaging them. To work with thick woods, you need a finish nailer. The only difference between the two is in the nail size.
You can check out the differences between Brad Nailer and Finish Nailer later in this article.
Depth of Drive
All the tools have some sort of mechanism to control the depth of drive. Most of the tools in this list have an automatic mechanism that controls how far the nail will go into the material.
Usually, it is dependent on the thickness of the material, and the tool will automatically adjust it. Some wood will require more force for the brad to penetrate. And for that, you need to adjust the depth in order.
Regardless of the material, you need to make sure the brads sunk to the right level. Different manufacturers have different mechanisms to control this. Some will have dials while some use buttons to control this.
Tools these days have either a sequential trigger or a bump trigger. The difference in modes can affect your working speed as well as the precision of nailing. Between the two modes, the sequential trigger is safest. You need to press the nose down and then press the trigger for the nails to come out of the tool.
On the other hand, bump operation only requires the nose to touch the surface. It is quicker because it drives the nails as you touch the device down. It’s better suited for mass production work.
However, if you are working on delicate projects where you need more accuracy, the sequential mode will the right choice for you.
The size of the nose is very important as it is directly related to the accuracy of your tool. You want the brads to end up exactly where you pointed them to go and not half an inch off. If the size of the nose is small, it is easier to pinpoint where the nails will go.
However, if the size is too big, it makes the whole process a lot harder. You can’t line up the entry point of the nails and won’t be able to drive them exactly where you needed them to be. And that is why it is important to consider the diameter and length of the nose.
Exhaust Air Control
This is only applicable if you are going to pick up an air powered tool. Because these tools are powered with compressed air and you need to control that in a safe manner. This compressed air powers the driving force of the nails. And once it has done its job, the air needs a place to come out of the tool.
Otherwise, you won’t be able to fire another nail. Every air tool will have an opening for the jammed air to get out from. And it’s crucial that the exhaust should be at the rear of the tool and not at the front.
When it comes out of the compressor, the air is no longer pure because it is mixed with oils and lubricants. And that’s why you need the exhaust at the rear. You should also need the feature to control the direction of flow. You don’t want the air blow directly at your face or into your eyes.
Dry Lockout prevents you from ever shooting blanks. The idea is that it will stop the gun from firing any nails when there are only a few brads left in the magazine. This feature saves the tool from damage and the most high-end tool will have this feature built-in.
If your tool doesn’t have this feature installed, don’t worry. There will be some sort of window or an indicator that will let you know how many brads you have left in the magazine.
This is not a must-have feature, and most tools won’t have any lights. But some do, and it’s great when you have to work on low light situations. When working on tight situations, you can have a clear view of the place that you want to drive the brads.
It’s not a recommended feature but will surely assist you when you have to work for longer hours. From time to time, you would want to put the tool down and having a hook will keep it secured and safe.
Whenever you need the tool, you can quickly grab it and start working. Pick a belt hook that is fully adjustable so that you can easily carry around the nail gun around when not in use.
For most household works, you don’t need more than 100 nails. And all the tools in this list have a magazine capacity that can hold 100 of brads at a time. If your work requires more nails, there are some models that accept more than 100 nails at once.
But this is a feature that you can ignore because a full load of the magazine can usually last a whole day of work.
On the handle of the gun, you should always check out the grip design. Soft grips are preferable. You want to have a firm hold of your tool. Slippery grips or metal grips are not up to the task anymore.
Pick a tool that has the right size for your work purpose. Brad nailers are usually small in size. Most of you would buy them for home improvement work around the house. However, there are some bulky tools out there. Make sure you pick the right one that you can easily operate in your work environment.
Ease of Use
Face-frame applications are the spot where Brad nailers and finish nailers often get used. When shopping for a nail gun, you should always consider the tool’s ease of use. Check the cord length, weight, and trigger.
Most of the high-end nail guns will allow tool-less adjustments. This feature is definitely a time saver. By adjusting the knob and dialer of the tool, you can set the length of how deep the pin will go.
Easy Jam Removal
Compared to air powered nail guns, electric guns have less power which means more feeding issues. Every now and then you’ll have a jamming problem. It’s not uncommon for a nail gun and that’s precisely why you should have an easy jam removal feature. Most of the tools will give you easy access to these places.
Price is also a key factor in choosing a nail gun. Cheap tools will not last long. Investing is a pricier tool will guarantee durability and service time of your tool. It doesn’t mean that you should always pick the expensive ones. This list covers all the best nail guns for your DIY purpose by keeping the price/value in mind.
Benefits of Using A Brad Nailer
There are some perks of using a brad nailer over a finish nailer and certainly much better than driving nails with a hammer.
This first benefit I can think of is the small and thing gauge of a nail. Since you are not using a hammer and the size of the nails are very small, you don’t need to cover the nail holes with wood putty.
Since you don’t have to cover up the holes, it will save more time and allow you to work quickly and efficiently. You will end up saving a lot of materials and don’t have to worry about making the workpiece look good.
On top of that, you can put almost five brads in a second. No experienced worker can work that fast. It is only possible when you are using a nail gun.
Work on Delicate Projects
When working on delicate projects that involve thinner wood trims, you can just go and drive nails by hand. Besides that, there are other similar materials where you need to be extra cautious when joining them together with nails.
This is where brad nailer shines the most. These tools are made for working on such fragile materials.
There is always risk involved when working with nails. You can injure your fingers at any time in this line of work. But with an automated tool, the risk will be low compared to working with a hammer.
Although nail guns have their own risk factors and you should never forget about safety precautions when working with one. But it is much safer than a regular hammer.
When you have to work manually, you need to carry around the hammer as well as the nails. And you need a bunch of those nails to finish the work at hand. But with a nail gun, you can simply load the magazine with brad and can easily carry it.
On a typical gun, you can carry about hundreds of nails easily. In addition, you can carry the tool around and work in remote places. This is only applicable when you buy a cordless model. This is much better than carrying buckets of nails around all the time.
How to Maintain A Brad Nailer?
Just like any other power tool, you need to maintain it properly. Depending on the type of tool that you choose, the maintenance process will vary. Out of the most, electric powered tools need less maintenance.
Here is how you can take care of your tools and prolong the lifespan.
This applies only to a pneumatic tool. You should always keep the tools lubricated with a tool lubricant. Don’t use any additives as it would damage certain parts of the tool. Rubber parts and O-rings can be damaged if you use detergent or oil.
Don’t store the tool in a cold place especially during the winter. Always keep in in a warm place to avoid rust. You can do that by reducing the air pressure, removing all the nails and by doing some blank fires. This will keep the rust sensitive parts warm.
Inspecting the Magazine
Make sure the magazine is always cleaned and dirt free. Keep it lubricated to avoid jamming and malfunction.
Safety Tips For Using Nail Guns
Every year there are approximately 42,000 nail gun injuries reported in the U.S. Mainly with hand and finger injuries, thousands of workers end up in the ER. Most of these injuries are preventable.
- Safety first. Treat this like any other power tools. What I mean is that you need to purchase dust masks, ear protection, safety glasses, appropriate clothing, and footwear.
- If you are not nailing, keep your finger away from the trigger. Never shoot your nail guns empty.
- Never load the nails with the air hose or gas or battery connected. This tip is for all-purpose nail guns. In terms of electric nail guns, never load the nails while connected to a power source.
- Never clamp the trigger on a locked or an operating position. Also, keep your holding hand well back from where you are nailing.
- After you are done using your tool, give it a good wipe to clean any dirt and debris.
- Keep away from children.
- For general power tool safety check this article
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the recommended working PSI for an air powered brad nail gun?
Each tool has a different working PSI. Before you connect the tool to the hose, make sure to read the instruction manual that comes along with your nailing tool. Generally, the minimum PSI is 60 and the maximum is 100.
What do you use a brad nailer for?
These tools are capable of driving brads and hence the name. 18-gauge nails are known as brads, and since they are thinner nails, they are mostly used for attaching lightweight trim. The advantage of using brads is that they are thinner and eliminates the need to use wood putty to cover up the hole on the workpiece.
Can I use a brad nailer for trim?
Yes, they can be used for attaching lightweight trim. Since they are thinner, they are not capable of holding strong wood joints.
Who Makes the Best Cordless Brad Nailer?
There is no “the” best brand when it comes to cordless tools. But I can point out a few of them, and each of them has something unique to offer. Some have longer battery time, some are lightweight, and some have great safety features. Here is a list of the top 18-gauge brad nailer brands.
How big of a nail should I Choose?
A good rule of thumb is that your fastener should be twice as long as what you’re going through. For example, if you have a ¾ inch piece of solid wood that is going on to another piece of wood, you need a nail that’s an inch and a half or a little bit longer would be okay.
Which angle do I hold the gun?
The answer to this question depends on the type of nail you are using. I always use a nail gun perpendicular to the face frame. Most of the nail has a V-shaped end. You want to put it parallel to the surface you are nailing.
Which type of nail gun do I choose for larger jobs?
For larger jobs like construction works or furniture repair, framing nail guns are the best. Those are big heavy duty guns with a lot of power. Not ideal for home use.
Is there a nail gun that can handle all sorts of jobs?
No, this is why there are different types of these tools. Each tool is made specifically to handle specific jobs. They also have different gauge sizes. Select the right size for your job.
When shopping around for anything you must first look at all options. Yes, some of them will have more features and gadgets that go along with them than others. And some may cost less than the rest. But that should not be your only reason for buying it.
When you are trying to find the best brad nailer for your project, just keep in mind what you are doing and what type of nail gun you need. Is the project small like nailing/stapling some insulation? Or, is it a heavy-duty job outside of the house? Buying the gun that is going to get the job done while saving you some money is always the way to go. You do not have to have the most expensive nail gun, just one to finish the task.