Best Nail Guns in 2018 – Framing, Finish, Brad, Roofing & Pin Nailers

When shopping for best nail guns you will notice that there are far more specialty nail guns compared to most other power tool categories. Nail guns can decrease the time required to complete projects by discharging multiple nails in the time it would take you to drive one nail with a hammer. It is important to choose the right tool for the task at hand.

Best Nailer

Best Framing Nailer 

A framing nailer is a type of air gun designed to make a carpenter’s job easier by replacing the need for a hammer. Best framing nailers are intended for use in quick, high-powered projects unlike smaller versions of nail guns that are used only for precision work.

A framing nailer is the best tool in your arsenal when the job requires nailing large pieces of material together quickly and accurately.

1. Hitachi NR90AE(S) 3-½-Inch Framing Strip

The NR90AE(S) can nail through even the toughest construction materials with an operating pressure of 70-120 PSI. The two-piece magazine provides a 64 nail capacity using 2 to 3-1/2-inch nails without issue. It is constructed with a unique ergonomic design and an ideal weight to power ratio. It provides optimum performance for any job.

It comes equipped with a simple flip actuation switch allowing the user to transition between sequential and contact nailing without losing time. The hardened claw tip minimizes the chance of slippage during toe nailing and reduces wear and tear of the nose. The two-piece anodized aluminum magazine allows repairs or replacements to be completed with minimum expense. The tool-less depth adjustment dial makes it easy to drive a nail into a variety of materials without making any changes in pressure in the compressor.

Whether you are a professional shopping for a framing nailer for work or just making simple home repairs, the Hitachi NR90AE(S) will not disappoint.

What we liked

  • Lightweight
  • Hard hitting
  • Elastomer grip trigger reduces slipping

What we didn't like

  • No dry-fire lock
  • Does not include a rafter hook
  • Tends to jam when using thinner nails or in intense heat

2. Paslode S200-S16 Framing Stapler

This pneumatic stapler provides excellent power for professional framers looking to invest in a product that will last decades, not just years. Longer tool life is expected due to the new piston valve and bumper design. This product is effective for use on floor decking, soft wall sheathing, roof sheathing, insulation and vinyl siding. The Paslode S200-S16 features increased speed, power and comfort.

The stapler uses finger and thumb operated controls making it simple and efficient to use. The soft grip and contoured handle provide maximum comfort and minimizes fatigue in hands, arms and shoulders during long periods of use. It also features nail lock capabilities to prevent accidental firing.

This is a top loading stapler with two magazine capacity to increase speed and productivity with the ability to shoot 12 staples per second. For best results, use with Paslode brand staples. The staple magazine easily opens and closes making it quick to reload and get back to work. In the event of jams, the redesigned clear zone allows for easy maintenance.

What we liked

  • Extremely powerful
  • Reliable
  • Easy to load

What we didn't like

  • Does not work well with all staples

3. PORTER CABLE FR350BR Factory

The Porter Cable FR350BR is a lightweight and sturdy nailer designed for easy usability. It is factory-reconditioned, meaning it was previously used but revived by the factory. External blemishes are possible, but it should not affect the performance. The compact design and body ensures better style and balance. Comfort and control are provided by an over-molded grip allowing for extended use without fatigue.

It is a pneumatic nailer, using an air compressed system ideal for tough nail shots. The internal piston catch mechanism is the source for consistent power on every shot. It uses a full round head and plastic collated nails with a total capacity of 60 nails. Easy reloading is achieved through the 22 degree magazine and bypass nail pusher.

It has the ability to drive large nails up to 3.5 inches into solid wood without problem. The tool-free adjustable depth and drive allows the user to easily set nail heads. This product features a selectable trigger ideal for getting restrictive or contact actuation modes. Avoid accidental or premature firing with the added safety of a trigger lock.

What we liked

  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Tool-free adjustable depth
  • Selectable trigger
  • Reversible rafter hook

What we didn't like

  • Carrying case not included
  • Trigger safety can be too sensitive

Also read: Best Dowel Jig

Best Finish Nailer 

A finish nailer is perfect for installing large pieces of trim such as baseboards or crown molding and is even strong enough for shelves and cabinetry. You will achieve stronger attachment with a finish nail, compared to a brad nailer which is best for thin trim. Finish guns will run finish nails at 15- or 16-gauge.

For simple home improvements you will likely find a battery powered finisher is best as it does not require an air compressor. This provides the added simplicity of being used in hard to reach places. Contractors and professionals may consider a pneumatic nailer for long-term reliability and no recharging.

1. Freeman P4FRFNCB Framing/Finishing Combo Kit

Four different tools are included in this combo kit ensuring that you have the right finish on every project. It includes one full head framing nailer, an angle finish nailer, a brad nailer with quick release and a narrow crown stapler with quick release. The full head framing nailer is designed for home construction. Angle finishers are useful in tight corner construction and cabinetry. The crown stapler is ideal for decorative projects such as fabrics and picture frames. The range of options means having everything you need in one bag.

The framing nailer magazine holds up to 55 nails. The magazines of the three remaining tools hold up to 100 nails. This feature allows you to reload less often and be have higher efficiency while completing large projects. The magazines and cylinders of each tool are made from anodized aluminum for lightweight durability. Each tool is fitted with a Teflon made O-ring for less wear. In the event of jammed nails, the brad nailer and finish nailer are equipped with quick release mechanisms for fast resolutions. We recommend this product for anyone interested in DIY projects.

What we liked

  • Includes four tools in one kit
  • Move seamlessly between tasks
  • Added versatility in projects

What we didn't like

  • May be more equipment than needed
  • Depth dial is not very sensitive making precision difficult

2. BOSTITCH BTFP12569 2-in-1 Flooring Tool

This mallet-actuated pneumatic flooring nailer efficiently completes projects with its 2-in-1 capabilities. It has the ability to drive both 15.5-gauge flooring staples and 16-gauge “L” shaped cleat nails into hardwood and engineered floors, which helps eliminate gaps between flooring boards. Increased comfort is achieved with an ergonomically designed longer handle and rubber grip. The BTFP12569 features non-marring, interchangeable base plates to accommodate 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch flooring. It includes depth adjustment for precise placement of fasteners. The sequential actuation and tool-free jam clearance reduces downtime during use.

What we liked

  • Ergonomic design for comfort
  • Lightweight
  • Uses both 15.5-gauge flooring staples and 16-gauge "L" shaped flooring cleats from 1-1/2-inch to 2-inch length

What we didn't like

  • Low durability
  • Does not have dry-fire lockout

Best Brad Nailer 

Brad nailers are so named after the thin gauge of nail they use, called brads. Due to their size, they are very hard to drive manually, making the brad nailer essential for their use. They are ideal for attaching lightweight trim. At only 18-gauge, the nail is thinner than the gauge of a finish nail. Once installed, they are nearly invisible to the naked eye. You will likely not need to use wood putty to cover the hole because the head of a brad nail is so small. The downfall of these small nails is that they do not have the strength to hold heavier projects such as baseboards or crown molding.

1. Dewalt CD608K 19-Volt 18-Gauge 2-Inch Brad Nailer Kit

This electric brad nailer uses an 18V NiCAD battery that can fire 1,000 nails on a single full charge. The battery and charger are included unlike many other electric tools. It features a straight magazine that accepts 18-gauge nails ranging from ⅝-inch to 2-inch. It is valuable to professionals and those who are completing jobs in small places that cannot accommodate the bulk of an air compressor. Without a cord to get in your way, this product is easily maneuverable and versatile.

It can quickly change from sequential to bump mode with the press of a button without lagging between firing. Whether you want speed or accuracy in nailing, this nailer will fit your needs. The engine design allows for fast and consistent nail penetration into soft and hard joints. The Dewalt CD608K features a tool-free jam-clearing mechanism and depth adjustment. Contact Trip Lock-Off allows the trigger to be disabled when not in use.

What we liked

  • NiCAD battery and charger are included
  • Battery is fully charged within an hour
  • Cordless
  • Impact-resistant nose cap
  • Reversible belt hook

What we didn't like

  • Heavier than other popular models

2. Makita XNB01Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion

The Makita XNB01Z is compatible with other Makita products and accepts any LXT lithium-ion 18-volt battery. The Rapid Optimum charger optimizes battery life by actively controlling current, voltage and temperature through a built-in fan to cool the batter faster. Protect against over-discharging and overloading with Star Protection Computer Controls. It can powerfully and consistently fire 1,000 fasteners with only one charge of the battery. Magazine capacity up to 110 nails and accepts 18-gauge brads from 5/8-inch to 2-inches.

It features both sequential and bump fire modes for speed and accuracy in firing. The sharply tapered nail tip allows you to place nails as precisely as a pin nailer. A white LED light helps illuminate the nailing area for increased accuracy. Anti-dry drive mechanism prevents damage to surfaces caused by driving blanks. Added safety with the inclusion of a safety lock near the trigger. Tool-less depth adjustment dial is great for a wide variety of finishing applications.

What we liked

  • Nailing precision 
  • Substantial power
  • Quality build to withstand the toughest job sites
  • Easy to switch between sequential and bump modes

What we didn't like

  • Imbalanced body causing wrist fatigue during extended use
  • Requires screw removal to clear jams

3. Hitachi NT1850DE 18-Volt Cordless Lithium Ion

The brushless motor allows the nailer to work powerfully, operate smoothly and drive nails without feedback delay. Capable of firing 1,650 nails on a full charge this nailer is perfect for trim work and furniture assembly. The motor also provides a longer run time, increased durability and less maintenance.

The NT1850DE can be used with any Hitachi 18-volt lithium-ion battery. These batteries are equipped with Hitachi’s Multiplex Protection Circuit to prevent overcharge and overload, which extends the life of the battery. With fewer internal parts to maintain, these features offer key benefits such as increased shooting speed, zero ramp up between firing, better flush driving and recoil that feels like a pneumatic nailer.

Additional features include a tool-less nose latch to easily clear nails and a tool-less depth dial. The selective actuation switch allows for either sequential or bump fire modes. A narrow-profile nose cap protects work surfaces while a visual nail reload indicator on the magazine limits dry-firing. It includes a built-in LED light for added visibility and accuracy. Increased safety is achieved through a side-lock switch to prevent accidental firing.

What we liked

  • Long lasting brushless motor
  • Durable
  • Reliable operation and infrequent feed errors
  • Pivoting belt hook is standard
  • Automatically shuts off power after 30 minutes of inactivity

What we didn't like

  • Bulky and sometimes difficult in tight spaces

Best Roofing Nailer 

Roofing nailers are designed to work with a range of roofing and siding materials such as exterior drywall, shingles, insulation board, steel, waterproof tar paper and fiber cement applications. They use short, wire-collated, flat-head roofing nails. Roofing nailers come in two varieties: coil and stick. 

Coil nailers use an adjustable canister to hold coils of nails strung together by two thin wires and are angled at 15 degrees. On average, they have the ability to hold between 200 and 300 nails which means less time is spent on reloads.

Stick nailers require the user to pay attention to the angle of the nail to ensure that it will fit the tool you’re using. In place of a canister, stick nailers have a long magazine which will hold two sticks of nails ranging from 25 to 40 nails each. The nails are positioned together at a specific angle using plastic, wire or paper collated nails.

1. WEN 61782 3/4-Inch to 1-3/4-Inch Pneumatic Coil Roofing Nailer

The WEN 61782 operates with pneumatic pressure from 70 to 120 PSI. It has a coil capacity of 120 nails and is designed for fiber cement roofing, siding, asphalt shingling, vinyl and waterproof tar paper. The quick release makes fixing jams simple. It features a depth adjustment dial and shingle guide to help evenly space nails, making it perfect for DIY projects.

This compact tool with rubber grip handle adds comfort and support which will prevent fatigue during extended use. It has versatility in nail sizes allowing you to complete a range of projects with only one tool. This low cost nailer is best suited for amateurs or someone new to roofing, and is not recommended for a professional who intends to use it daily.

What we liked

  • Turnable exhaust valve to aim the output air away from the user
  • Lightweight
  • Adjustable shingle guide
  • Easy to load
  • Comes with a carrying case

What we didn't like

  • No lock nut to hold depth adjustment wheel in place which requires the user to reset with each new bundle
  • Modest build construction does not feel solid

2. SENCO 8V0001R RoofPro 445XP 15 Degree

The Senco RoofPro 445XP holds a full coil of 120 fasteners using less air consumption and weight than similar nailers of the same brand. Reduced air consumption is achieved through the power in, power out design that seals off the exhaust using the firing valve. Senco is able to save nearly 5% on air consumption without limiting performance. This nailer has the ability to fire 12 fasteners per second at 324 inch pounds of force at 100 PSI.

Bi-metal driver blades improve the time required between replacements. The aluminum housing increases durability while decreasing weight. If maintenance is required, all wear parts are accessible from the top of the tool.

It is designed to handle fiberglass and asphalt shingles, as well as insulation board, drip edges and waterproof tar paper. You will need an additional attachment to install aluminum and vinyl siding.

What we liked

  • Lightweight aluminum body
  • Wear plates reduce abrasions during use
  • Adjustable depth drive
  • Dual action trigger

What we didn't like

  • Does not install vinyl and aluminum siding out of the box

Best Pin Nailer 

Pin nails are nearly as thin as a sewing needle at only 23-gauge. The small diameter of these pins means leaving no trace during assembly. Despite the pins having no head, they have strong holding power. Pin nailers shine when installing small to medium-sized molding on cabinets, interior millwork and furniture. A few pins from a pin nailer will easily hold irregular shaped trim in place compared to the difficulty that can arise using clamps and glue. Pin nailers can also be helpful on large pieces of wood as they will prevent side-to-side movement with glue covered pieces. The finesse of these tools comes from their ability to place nails exactly where they are needed.

1. Grex P650L 23-Gauge 2-Inch Headless Pinner

The Grex P650L features a powerful motor and double trigger safety. The narrow nose is perfect for detailed trim work and use in tight spaces, but powerful enough for use on the hardest of hardwoods. It easily drives fasteners up to 2 inches in length with automatic adjustment so that you never have to choose them yourself. It has an auto lockout mechanism with a lockout overdrive button to force out the remaining pins. In the case of misfire, the nose is removable for easily clearing jams. We recommend this pinner for hardwood floors, picture frame assembly, furniture and paneling.

What we liked

  • Lockout mechanism prevents dry-firing
  • Ideal tool for lightweight assemblies and hardwood floors
  • Rear exhaust and silencer
  • Integrated wrench storage

What we didn't like

  • More expensive than other pinners

2. Grex P635 23-Gauge 1-3/8-Inch Headless Pinner

The versatile P635 holds 100 pins and automatically adjust for different fastener sizes. It’s ergonomic design and soft rubber handle makes it easy to handle and comfortable to hold. We recommend this lightweight nailer for added precision even in tight spaces. The no-mar tip and narrow nose provide accuracy and greater maneuverability without concern for damaging your materials. As with the Grex P650L, the P635 also features a double trigger safety to prevent accidental discharge.

What we liked

  • High-quality construction
  • Double trigger mechanism prevents misfires
  • Automatic pin fastener adjustment

What we didn't like

  • No adjustable depth control
  • Less powerful than the P650L

Conclusion 

Whether you are a professional builder or a home improvement amateur, nail guns will help you complete projects faster than using a hammer and nails. They take the guesswork out of nailing, provide absolute precision and more control over your final product. Investing in a nailer is worth the cost for the time it will save.

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