The Best 18 Gauge Brad Nailers 2019: Buying Guide & Reviews

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When it comes to the hammering of trims, the standard nailers may cause more of a damage than good. This is because they may end up splitting the trim, thus affecting the finish outlook. The best 18-gauge brad nailers have so far proven to be the best tools for such projects. Professional craftsmen make a point of acquiring the right tools for each task to deliver high-quality, efficient work.

Our Top Picks for the 18 Gauge Brad Nailer

Our top pick for the best 18 gauge brad nailer is the WEN 61720 18-Gauge Brad NailerIt is lightweight and comes in a compact design so you can move it around without getting tired. Its handle's design offers a great non-slip grip for comfort and optimal control while working. It also has no issues with jamming and clearing.

Best 18 Gauge Brad Nailer Reviews

1. Our Pick: WEN 61720 18-Gauge Brad Nailer

Specifications

  • Fastener Length: 3/8" to 2"
  • Weight: 2.6 lb
  • Dimensions: 10" x 8.2" x 2.8"
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    Power source: air-powered
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    Operating Pressure: 60-115 PSI
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    Magazine capacity: up to 106 nails 

Key Features

  • Durable blow mold case
  • Adjustable 360°exhaust port 
  • Hassle-free nose latch
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    Aluminium body

Features and benefits

  • It comes with a durable blow mold case for ease of portability. It also features hex keys, air tool oil, and a rubber grip handle for ease of use.
  • It is sold with a one-year warranty-inch.
  • The operating pressure allows you to work on even the toughest materials.
  • The NPT air inlet fitting has a diameter of a 1/4 inch, which allows the nails to be drilled on the material with ease.
  • The exhaust port is adjustable by just rotating it to 360° until you get the right direction of the outputted air.
  • The quick release latch is designed near the front of the nailer. This makes it easy for you to clear jammed nails quickly without affecting your work.

Pros

  • The aluminium body , which makes it lightweight 
  • It is available at a super friendly price.

Cons

  • A poorly designed instruction book, which makes it difficult for beginners to use it.

2. Budget Pick: Valu-Air F50Q 2" 18 Gauge Air Brad Nailer

Specifications

  • Fastener Length: 5/8" to 2"
  • Weight: 2.2 lb
  • Dimensions: 10.3" x 9.4" x 2.2"
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    Power source: air-powered
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    Operating Pressure: 70-110 PSI
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    Magazine capacity: up to 100nails 

Key Features

  • 360° tool-free air exhaust adjustment
  • Heat treated aluminum housing
  • Quick jam release mechanism

Features and benefits

  • You can adjust the height of the fastener (5/8" to 2") depending on the application requirements
  • It is light enough for portability and features dimensions make the design compact for ease of storage
  • Its operating pressure ranges allows you only apply little energy to nail both soft and hard materials
  • You can get the right airflow settings during use thanks to its 360° air exhaust adjustment
  • The housing of this nailer is made with heat-treated aluminium that enhances strength and durability
  • Aluminium also makes it lightweight for ease of handling even when using it for longer periods
  • It has a quick jam release mechanism so you can remove any jam easy and fast
  • Its magazine comes with a large capacity allowing you a continuous usage without needing a reload
  • Once you purchase this nailer, you will get air tool oil, 2 strips of 18GA nails, and a set of Allen wrenches
  • To maintain the nailer you only need to put around 3-4 drops of a lubricant in the air plug

Pros

  • This 18 gauge brad nailer is super lightweight so it is highly portable.
  • Opening, loading, and latching this nailer is easy.

Cons

  • The nailer tends to jam occasionally, thus affecting its efficiency during use.

3. Premium Pick: Hitachi NT50AE2 18-Gauge 5/8-Inch to 2-Inch Brad Nailer

Specifications

  • Fastener Length: 5/8" to 2"
  • Weight: 2.2 lb
  • Dimensions: 10" x 9" x 3" (LxHxW)
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    Power source: air-powered
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    Operating Pressure: 70-120 PSI
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    Magazine capacity: up to 100nails 

Key Features

  • Selective actuation switch 
  • Visual nail reload indicator
  • 360° adjustable exhaust port
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    Lightweight aluminium body

Features and benefits

  • The selective actuation switch lets the user easily adjust the firing modes such as bump fire and contact fire
  • The body is lightweight and well-balanced. These features will allow you to use the nailer all day hassle free.
  • The grip is designed with elastomer, implying that you will be comfortable while holding the nailer.
  • The nose is easy to clear and you don't need tools to operate it. This makes nail extraction simple and quick in the event of a nail jam while using it.
  • The drive depth can be easily adjusted with the dial to give your project a professional finish.

Pros

  • It is lightweight so you can transport it with ease.
  • The elastomer featured on the grip makes it slippage resistant.
  • 30 days money back guaranteed 

Cons

  • The nailer tends to jam sometimes.
  • If it jams, clearing it can a little challenging.

4. Stanley TRE550Z Electric Staple/Brad Nail Gun

Note: this nailer is not a 18g brad nailer itself but we decided to included because the quality of the job done with this machine is very similar and it can deliver an outstanding driving power.

Specifications

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    Power source: electric
  • Staples: T-50 heavy-duty
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    Brads: 1/2, 9/16, 5/8-inch
  • Weight: 2.4 lb
  • Dimensions: 5.9 x 3 x 3.6 in

Key Features

  • Heavy-duty electric staple
  • Dual power lever 
  • Stanley Sharpshooter TRA700 Series
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    Quick-jam-clear mechanism
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    8-foot power cord included

Features and benefits

  • It features a unique dual power lever, which you can adjust to low or high. This allows the nailer to be used with either hard or soft materials.
  • It uses Stanley Sharpshooter TRA700 Series or Arrow T-50 heavy-duty staples and 1/2-, 9/16- and 5/8-inch brads.
  • The depth of the fired staples can easily be adjusted by simply turning the wheel to get the desired settings. It also has a flush nose that will enable you to staple the tight spots.
  • It is designed with a contoured grip so you are most comfortable while handling it.
  • The design gives the nailer an antijamming feature so that you can save time as you work.
  • It is made with a low-brad indicator window that shows you when the magazine needs reloading.

Pros

  • Its mechanism allows quick and easy jam clearing for efficiency while working.
  • The driving power of this nailer is flexible so it can fit versatile projects.

Cons

  • It may be hard to control the nailing process.

5. PowRyte 18 Gauge 2-in-1 Air Brad Nailer

Specifications

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    Fastener Length: 5/8" to 2"
  • Weight: 2.73 lb
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    Dimensions: 10.2" x 9.7" x 2.2"
  • Power source: air-powered
  • Operating Pressure: 60-100 PSI
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    Magazine capacity: up to 100 nails

Key Features

  • Two tools in one
  • Free drive depth adjustment 
  • Jam release mechanism
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    360 adjustable exhaust port
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    Reload indicator

Features and benefits

  • This nailer has a narrow crown stapler that is complemented by the tool-free jam release mechanism for easier working time.
  • Its operating air pressure ranges makes the nailer a perfect choice for use in multiple projects.
  • The nailer can work with nails that have a height of 5/8 to 2-inch for Brads and 5/8 to 1-5/8-inch for Crown staples. What's more, the magazine can hold up to 100 nails.
  • The depth of drive can be adjusted with ease since the nailer allows for the counter-sinking of the staples or nails.
  • It has a 360° adjustable exhaust which allows you to rotate the port to get the air direction you want for work efficiency.

Pros

  • Reload indicator helps prevent dry firing
  • The elastomer grip and a non-slip elastomer trigger
  • Compact design and lightweight 

Cons

  • It may leave a staple mark on your work surface

You may also be interested in The Best Electric Brad Nailers

Buying Guide

18 gauge brad nailer uses

You should have an 18-gauge brad nailer to enhance the efficiency in your workshop. When working on projects that require soft or hard materials, a brad nailer will enable you to drive nails precisely where they are needed. This is bound to make your work accurate, thus giving your project an attractive finish. It's a must-have power tool in any toolbox.

What is a 18 Gauge Brad Nailer used for?

You can use an 18-gauge brad nailer to trim around the interior windows as well as doors. This nailer will also allow you to install the quarter-round and baseboards. (source)

It is also an ideal choice for crown molding, working on your cabinet and furniture and for users looking to attach thin strips to wooden projects. The same also applies to individuals working on delicate trims. (source)

How to choose an 18 gauge brad nail gun

Here are the things to consider when buying an 18-gauge brad nailer.

Nail size

When buying the best 18 Gauge Brad Nailer, you first need to decide on the nail sizes you are to work with.  While most 18-gauge nailers are designed to use a nail length of 5/8 to 2 inches, there are brands that use smaller or bigger nails. 

nails for nailers

Electric or pneumatic 18 gauge brad nailer

The source of power should also be in your mind since there are electric and corded, electric and cordless, and pneumatic 18-gauge nailers. The first two types use electric power while the pneumatic is a 18 gauge air brad nailer which means it is operated using compressed air.

Adjustability

The best nailer is one that comes with an adjustable nail depth, power settings, and jam clearing features. To fine-tune how deep the nails are driven into your material, some nailers may only need your bare hands while others require tools.

Functionality

Before deciding on the 18-gauge nailer you want to buy, you need to consider the type of project you are looking to work on. This will help you pick the nail size as well as depth of the nails based on the stability of the project.

It´s not the same working on frames where are more convenient cordless framing nailers than working on proyects where you just need the finishings. 

Convenience

Ask yourself, how convenient the nailer is for storage, transport, and use. A lightweight, and compact is easier to handle, carry around etc. You need to find one that comes loaded with your desired features.

Nose design

The nose design will influence how deep and accurate your nailing is. Narrow nose designs allow the nailer user to drive nails to the precise spot even if it is in a tight space. 

Anti-dry fire mechanism

Most 18-gauge nailers have a reload indicator or a display window that helps you see whether the magazine has nails or needs a reload.

18 nail gun market

Magazine

The capacity of the magazine matters because it determines the number of nails you will have at a time. Most 18-gauge brad nail guns have a magazine capacity of 100 nails. 

Additionally, consider how easy it is to open, lock, and close the nailer.

How to use a 18 ga brad nailer? 

You need to first load the brad nailer with the correct nail length. Load them in continuous strips and as you work, keep looking at the reload indicator to avoid dry firing. Shut and lock the magazine to begin nailing. The power source will determine how you put the nailer on/off.

Brad nailers fall in the family of the finisher nailers. These nailers are:

The 18-gauge brad nailers are the most versatile of the other types because they can be used to finish various projects.

Advantages of using a brad nailer

Remember the time you needed to make little home repairs and you didn't have the right tool. A brad nailer is will come in handy when making repairs on upholstery, furniture and other light pieces of wood. 

It can also be used for tacking carpets, mounting base moldings or building new stands. You may not need to call a professional carpenter for little tasks such as those if you have a brad nailer

A brad nailer is safer to use than using a hammer. You don’t have to hold nails in place with your fingers and thumb before hammering, this reduces the risk of personal injury.

Brad nailers get the job done faster since all you have to do is press the trigger. 

Safety

  • Always wear safety goggles, hearing protection, and hand safety gloves during maintenance. If the area is dusty, you may also need to wear a dust mask.
  • Disconnect air supply when clearing a jam, servicing the tool or moving the tool to another work area.
  • Always assume the brad nailer is loaded at all times. Don’t point the tool at yourself or towards others as this might result in personal injury.
  • Keep children and untrained persons outside work area to prevent injury.
  • Store your brad nailer properly and out of the reach of children and untrained persons
  • Don’t operate the tool when under the influence of drugs, alcohol or any other substance that will not allow you to be focused at all times.
  • Before you start maintenance, make sure your brad nailer is disconnected from the air supply to prevent serious injury

Care & maintenance

  • Oil any moving parts of the nailer to reduce wear and tear before and after use
  • Because screws and bolts tend to loosen over time with use, you need to tighten them from at least once a month. You don’t want the parts flying about during operation.
  • Clean the feed system daily by using compressed air to blow out any dirt stuck in it.
  • When replacing parts of a nailer, use only factory-authorized replacements parts from the manufacturer to avoid product damage or hazard.
  • If you have a cordless nailer, you need to inspect the battery periodically to check for the expiration date and make necessary replacements.

Tips for how to use an 18-gauge Brad Nailer

  • Don’t try to straighten bent brads, doing this will only make it bend further. The best thing to do is replace the brads completely.
  • Nailing brads close to the rim of a wooden board might split and damage the board.
  • Check your nail clip from time to time and replace brads when necessary. Most brad nailers will continue to fire even when the clip is empty. This can damage the brad nailer if it happens often.
  • Don’t grip the trigger too hard when firing nails. A brad nailer recoils slightly when a nail is fired, holding the trigger too tight will allow the nailer’s nose to hit the wood which may result in damage to the tool.
  • Use a brad nailer only on softwoods, it might not be effective on hardwoods such as plywood or MDF due to the nail’s thickness. Use a finish nailer instead to prevent wastage of brads.

FAQ

Q: What psi for a 18 gauge brad nailer

A: An 18-gauge brad nailer will need around 60 to 100 psi

Q: How to load a 18-gauge brad nailer

A: Disconnect the air hose from the brad nailer before you start loading it and ensure that your brads are of the correct length. Loading oversized brads may result in jamming of the tool.

Then place the brad strip into the magazine in the direction of the tool’s firing end (similar to the way you load your stapler).

When loading, handle the strip with care so it doesn’t break. Although broken brad strips can still work, it does not allow smooth feeding of nails            

Slide Magazine cover shut until it latches into place. However, this must be done with care so the brad strip doesn’t fall out of place after sliding the cover.

Q: Difference between a 16 and 18 gauge brad nailer

A: A 16-gauge brad has a thicker head than the 18-gauge brad. Higher gauge numbers indicate thinner cross-section. 16-gauge nailers can fire nails that are up to 21/2" long while 18-gauge can only fire nails up to 2" long.

Q: Can a brad nailer use staples

A: Although some brad nailers can perform multiple functions and can be used for finish nails, brad nails and staple, I would advise you get a stapler for this.

Q: Can a brad nailer use finish nails

A: No, Finish nails are usually thicker and larger than brad nails, they might jam the brad nailer when fixed into it.

Q: Can I use a brad nailer for framing

A: No. Owing to the fact that brad nails are small, they can only be used to attach or frame any light wood. A brad nailer is only used for small projects and would not be appropriate for heavy duty tasks such as wood framing.

Q: What size compressor for a brad nailer

A: For a brad nailer, you need to get a portable pancake air compressor with a  high CFM rating (around 0.3 -0.5 CFM) and low amp motor.

Q: How to connect a brad nailer to a compressor

A: Make sure the air compressor is pressurized before you connect the brad nailer.

When the air compressor is ready, connect the air hose to the compressor and make sure that connection is tight enough. Tighten the connection with an adjustable wrench if it’s not tight enough.

 Q: Difference between a brad nailer and a crown stapler

A: A crown stapler uses staples to fasten an object to another object while a brad nailer uses compressed air to fire nails into wood. A crown stapler is used most times to hold the fabric in place to a wood surface while a brad nailer is mostly used for cove moldings or baseboard shoe molding and other similar tasks.

What is the best 18 gauge brad nailer: Our Pick

The best 18 gauge nailer according to our research is WEN 61720 18-Gauge Brad Nailer.

It is lightweight and comes in a compact design so you can move it around without getting tired. Its handle's design offers a great non-slip grip for comfort and optimal control while working. It also has no issues with jamming and clearing.

The magazine also holds 100 nails, implying that you won't have to reload too often. It is also one of the cheapest top rated 18 gauge brad nailer in the market. As such, it is a great choice for anyone on a budget looking for an efficient workshop tool.

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