Nail guns are great to have in your home. Not only do they speed up a DIY job, but they’ll also help drive your nails into areas that are otherwise hard to reach. Additionally, they’ll easily help to embed small nails without bending or breaking them. If you’re new to purchasing a nail gun however, the sheer number of options available can make it relatively overwhelming.
To help, we’ve curated a list of some of the best nail guns out there. Before delving into it however, we’ll talk about a couple of things you need to consider when choosing your nail gun and answer some frequently asked questions.
Our Top Picks
Best All-Round: NuMax-SFR2190 Full Round Head Framing Nailer
This particular nail gun is everything you need and more. It’s versatile, powerful, durable, and has both a quick fire and single shot function.
Most Portable: PORTER-CABLE Cordless Brad Nailer Kit
This cordless brad nailer is battery-operated so there’s no compressor required. It’s also dependable, long-lasting and comes with various features that’ll make your DIY job a whole lot easier.
Most Sturdy: TACKLIFE Brad Nailer
This brad nailer is not only an incredibly versatile tool, but it’s also made with sturdy material and comes with an ergonomic design.
Most Versatile: Metabo-HPT-NT65NT65MA4 Finish Nailer
This versatile tool not only comes with an integrated air duster, but you can also switch between sequential or contact nailing with ease.
Most Easy to Use: Hitachi-NT65M2S Finish Nailer
This easy to use nail gun is not only powerful, but it comes with a comfortable grip and a simple flip that’ll allow for easy transitions between modes.
Best Pneumatic Nail Gun: DEWALT-DWFP12231 Brad Nailer Kit
This pneumatic nail gun not only has a tool-free jam release mechanism, but it also comes with an adjustable belt hook and rear exhaust.
How to Choose
When choosing your nail gun, there are a couple of things that you’d need to take into consideration.
Size and Type of Your Nails
Nail guns come in various sizes and the nail gun that you choose to purchase is highly dependent on the size of your nails, brads or staples. If you’re building furniture for example, you’d most likely want a nail gun that shoots brads, pins and finish nails. If you want a nail gun that’s good for upholstery jobs or laying floor underlayment, you can consider a staple nail gun instead. Framing nail guns on the other hand are – as the name suggests, good for framing out new structures.
Pneumatic vs. Electric
There are two types of nail guns, so you need to consider which one would best suit your needs. Pneumatic nail guns are incredibly powerful but you’d need to have them hooked up to an air compressor if you’d like them to work. On the other hand, electric guns are easy to use and can be portable as they’re mostly cordless. Electric nail guns are usually the preferred option of the two as you won’t have to worry about dragging extension cords with you.
What are the Various Types?
There are a couple of different types of nail guns and we’ll discuss them in greater detail below:
These are heavy-duty nail guns that are great for heavy construction jobs or building. Some things that you can build with a framing nailer include decks, rooms, fences, wood siding and more.
These don’t look like typical nail guns as they’re mainly used to help with laying floorboards. There are two types of flooring nailers – pneumatic and manual. If you’re looking for something that doesn’t require as much effort, pneumatic flooring nailers are the way to go.
These are smaller nail guns that are great for smaller jobs. They rest comfortably in the palm of your hand and there’s also a strap that you can wrap around your hand to make sure that it stays comfortably in place. There are different variations that these nail guns come in such as pneumatic, electric and cordless. Palm nailers are usually great for tight spots along with smaller projects.
These are also heavy-duty and are quite similar to framing nailers. While they’re usually only used by serious contractors, those that do plenty of DIY projects may also have one. A roofing nailer can drive nails into wood and roofing materials quickly. There are a couple of different types spring-loaded, pneumatic, and solenoid.
These are used to install siding. Similar to the framing nailer, you’d typically use this for projects that require larger pieces of wood. Depending on the siding nailer that you purchase, some may also be compatible with aluminium nails.
These are generally used for finishing and are the most delicate nail guns that you can buy. They’re compatible with pin nails which usually have no holding power. They’re usually used for finishing work, cabinetry, thin veneers along with small furniture trim.
These are also used for finishing work, but they’re also compatible with larger nails. They’re good for baseboards, trim work and crown molding.
Then, you’ve got a finish nailer that’s good for finishing carpentry work and is usually designed to be used with nails of specific sizes. Some things that finish nailers are used for include baseboards and crown molding.
Finally, you’ve got a staple gun that’s not a typical nail gun but can still drive staples into a diverse range of materials. They’re a highly versatile tool and you can use them for upholstery, carpeting, home repair, construction and more.
Pros and Cons of Nail Guns
- A powerful tool that you can use to help you with your DIY jobs with the press of a button.
- A wide variety of choices depending on the job that you’re doing
- Doesn’t require much effort
- Allows you to work through a job quickly
- Can be heavy (depending on the nail gun that you purchase)
- Can be restricted – especially if you’ve got a nail gun that has a cord or uses batteries
- May not set nail depth accurately
DIY Project Ideas
Looking for some DIY projects that requires a nail gun? Here are some of our suggestions!
Building a deck
With a nail gun – especially a framing nailer, you’ll be all set to build a deck onto your home. If you decide to go ahead with this project, we recommend you looking for a round head framing nailer as they’re best suited to building a deck.
Installing hardwood floors
Another great DIY project you can do in your home is installing hardwood floors. Not only will it add a touch of elegance to your home, but it can also increase the value of your home. With this particular job, you can opt for either a manual or pneumatic nail gun. Most individuals usually go for a pneumatic nail gun as you’ll be able to get the job done quickly and efficiently. Ideally, you should also opt for one that’s stable and long-lasting.
This is a great DIY job if you want to save yourself to the hassle of painting or wallpapering. All you need is a nail gun and you’ll be able to get the job done in no time at all.
If you’re looking to build a shelter over your outdoor seating space, you’d want to consider building a roof. A nail gun can help you with that and ensure that you’re protected from the various weather elements.
Need some finishing touches to your home? A nail gun can definitely help with that. Whether it’s moulding, skirting or cornices, a nail gun will help you get the job done quickly.
Best Nail Guns
This all-around fantastic nail gun is not only lightweight and durable, but it also comes with an ergonomic secure handle that’ll allow you to hold it with ease. Additionally, it also comes with an interchangeable trigger for a quickfire or single shot function and can be used by both professional contractors and home DIY projects alike. It’s adjustable and great for various working surfaces and is perfect for framing. It’s also made of durable materials and is a great high-quality framing nail gun. Feel free to use it to install roof decking, wood fencing, sheathing and more. It also comes with air tool oil, hex wrenches and is a 21-degree pneumatic framing nailer that you’d definitely want to purchase for your DIY needs.
This portable nail gun is battery-powered and doesn’t come with a compressor so you can carry it around with no issues at all. It also comes with a depth-adjustment wheel that allows you to countersink nails all the time. Other great features of this particular nail gun include a tool-free release lever, jam release along with a depth adjustment wheel that’ll help make your life easier. It also has a battery that lasts longer than NiCad and comes with a charger so you can easily charge up your nail gun with no problems at all. It’s a great nail gun to purchase if you’re thinking of bringing it with you while you’re on the go.
This pneumatic nail gun is extremely powerful and comes with an empty oil bottle so you can fill it with the oil of your choice. It comes as a set so you’ll get everything you need from safety glasses to hex wrenches and more. As it’s multi-functional, it can drive both 18-gauge pneumatic brad nails along with crown staples. It’s also made with heavy-duty material and can hold up to 100 brad nails – so you can finish the job quickly. Additionally, this nail gun also comes with a nail reload indicator so you’ll know when nail quantities are low. It’s also comfortable to hold as it comes with an anti-slip rubber grip and the tool-free jam release mechanism ensures easy nail removable. As a bonus, this nail gun is also relatively light so you won’t feel fatigued after using it.
This versatile 15-gauge nail gun not only comes with an integrated air duster that’ll allow you to clear away dust and debris while you’re working, but it also comes with a switch that’ll allow you to toggle between sequential or contact nailing. The tool-less depth of drive dial helps with flush fastening into a wide range of materials, and the adjustable exhaust portal will allow you to direct air exhaust away from either yourself or the piece that you’re working on. As it isn’t too heavy and weighs around 4 pounds, you’ll be able to hold it for a good amount of time without feeling fatigued. Another great feature of this nail gun is the no-mar tip that’ll protect your DIY project from damage and an easy to clear nose in case of nail jam.
This easy to use nail gun comes with everything you need for a comfortable DIY experience. Not only does it have an elastomer grip for additional comfort, but it also comes with an ergonomically-designed flip switch that’ll allow you to easily transition between bump fire or sequential fire modes. It also comes with an integrated air duster button that will allow you to clear dust and debris away from the project that you’re working on. The easy to clear nose allows for simple nail extraction in case of a nail jam, and the no mar tip will help protect the surface of your work space from damage. It’s also lightweight and balanced for maximum maneuverability, and you can easily adjust the drive depth according to your preference.
This pneumatic nail gun from Dewalt comes with numerous great features. Not only is the motor maintenance-free, but you’ve also got a tool-free jam release mechanism in case you need to remove a nail. The adjustable belt hook will allow you to keep the nail gun close to you while the rear exhaust will prevent your work from being contaminated. It also has a sequential-style trigger, has a depth-of-drive adjustment to properly set your nail heads and has a design that’s both strong and lightweight. Additionally, the rubber grip will also allow you to hold your nail gun comfortably for some period of time.
What kind of nail gun do I need?
It really depends on what you plan on using your nail gun for. As a rule of thumb however, 16-gauge nails are the most versatile size and is the best option to go for if you’re planning on using your nail gun for a wide variety of projects. On the other hand, 15-gauge nails are great for installing thick trim while 18-gauge and any other higher-gauge nail guns are good for finer detail or trim work.
What is the best nail gun for home use?
There isn’t really a best nail gun per se, but you shouldn’t be opting for one that’s too heavy-duty if you plan on using it at home. It’s also good to opt for a nail gun that’s cordless so you don’t have to worry about purchasing an air compressor or bringing an extension cord with you. Cordless nail guns are usually able to accurately drive nails for smaller DIY projects around the home with no issues at all. If you plan on doing construction jobs around the home however, it might be good to opt for a nail gun that’s a little more heavy-duty – but nothing excessive.
Here’s a brief list that serves as a great reference:
Smaller jobs such as woodworking or carpentry – brad nailers, finish nailers and crown staplers. Technical projects such as framing out a basement – framing and roofing nailers.
Do all nail guns require an air compressor?
No, there are some nail guns that don’t use air compressors. Nail guns that use air compressors are typically called pneumatic nail guns. If you’re not a fan of using an air compressor, you can opt for an electric or cordless nail gun. There are of course, other nail guns that you can choose from but those two are a good starting point.
We hope you’ve got a better idea of which nail gun you’d like to purchase and have selected one from the product options above. If you choose to get a nail gun, make sure that it suits the DIY project that you plan on doing. Ideally, you should also try and get a nail gun that’s not too heavy or you run the risk of getting fatigued when you’re working on your project. It’s also a good idea to consider a cordless or electric nail gun (if possible) so you won’t have to worry about air compressors.