Pin nailers are extremely useful power tools that are somewhat similar to brad nailers. The best 23 gauge pin nailers are much more accurate, using a small, 23 ga. pin for fastening material. While there are electric powered models, pneumatic pin nail guns are generally better when it comes to power, ergonomics, and quality of work.
This pin nailer review sought to list among them the top options you can go for. Expect to learn more about our editor’s choice, budget, as well as best value options.
Top Rated 23 Gauge Pin Nailers. Our Picks.
Our Editor's pick for the best pin nailer 23 gauge is the BOSTITCH HP118K 23-Gauge.... It has a number of useful features, including his low-profile and adjustable depth control. It can accommodate pin nails as big as 1-3/16 inch, which is more than adequate. It also offers durable, aluminium construction and is highly versatile.
23 Gauge Pin Nailer Reviews
1. Editor's Pick: BOSTITCH HP118K 23-Ga. Pin Nailer
Features and benefits
- Its heavy duty aluminium construction means that it is highly durable and lightweight. This versatile pin nailer should provide you with years of efficient use.
- This model can accommodate pins ranging from ½ inch to 1-3/16 inch in length and also has an adjustable depth control. This means it is very versatile.
- One of the best things about this particular unit is that it has a low-profile form factor, allowing it to easily be used in small, tight spots. In addition, it has a control for adjusting the depth, which simplifies working with different types of materials.
- Another great feature of this pin nail gun is that the magazine holds 200 pins, meaning you can get a lot of work done between reloads. Plus, there is an easy-to-use lever for quickly removing the magazine and replacing it.
- The units tapered nose allows you to more easily see what you’re nailing, increasing accuracy.
- The handle is rubber coated and ergonomically designed or comfort and ease of use. You can use this tool for hours without experiencing a lot of fatigue.
- Ergonomically designed and compact
- Double trigger safety feature
- Extremely useful adjustable depth control
- Tapered nose allows clear view of nailing
- Comes with carrying case
- Depending on the pin, the tool is prone to jamming
- It does not countersink pins
Features and benefits
- The Freeman PP13823 is just what you need for fastening trim, assembling picture frames and other similar hobby activities.
- This model features and easy to load magazine that can handle pin nails ranging in length from 5/8 inch to 1-3/8 inch, while the no mar tip and narrow nose mean you can reach tight spots without damaging the surface.
- The ergonomic handle and construction make this tool easy to use. It’s also made out of diecast aluminium, ensuring that it’s both lightweight and highly durable.
- This pin nailer also includes a handy exhaust that is fully 360° adjustable to ensure that you can keep oil and contaminants away from you while you’re working.
- There is also an indispensable safety trigger feature to prevent accidental firings.
- This particular model is designed for professionals but will be equally useful for do-it-yourselfers thanks to its light weight.
- Lightweight, sturdy aluminium body construction
- No mar tip helps to protect the material you’re working on
- Trigger safety feature prevents accidents
- Sometimes leaves him above the surface
- Has a tendency to jam with some brands of pin nails
Features and benefits
- At only 2.2 pounds, this Porter-Cable offers you rugged durability with its aluminium construction.
- This tool is great for furniture makers, cabinet makers and more, providing a convenient belt hook clip so that the tool can travel with the worker without being carried by hand. Excellent for affixing trim and other small details, as well as wood joining and mantle building.
- Its smaller size means less likely to split materials than larger tools might.
- It also has a lockout mechanism that prevents dry firing, as well as a low nail indicator.
- It automatically adjusts to different nail lengths, which speeds up your workflow.
- This tool can handle pin nails ranging from 5/8-inch to 1-3/8-inch. The rear mounted exhaust ensures that any contaminants or moisture travel away from the material you’re working on, while the removable no-mar tip prevents wood indentations.
- It's also much cheaper than the Grex P635 than other sites recommend.
- Comes with 2000 pin nails and a sturdy case
- Can automatically adjust to a different pin nail length
- Does not offer a control for depth adjustment
- Not quite as ergonomic as some other models
Features and benefits
- This particular pin nail gun is a quite affordable model that has features and specs that are competitive with much pricier models.
- The porter-cable pin100 is provided as part of a kit, meaning that it comes with pin nails when you purchase it. While the capacity is not as great as some, the 170 in nails it can handle is adequate for most purposes.
- It can automatically adapt to different fastener sizes, allowing you to work faster when you’re changing out pin nails.
- This model handles pin nails ranging from ½ inch to 1 inch, which means it can’t handle some of the longer nails professionals might need. In fact, among all of these reviews, this one has the smallest fastener size. This means that it works well only on fairly thin materials. It does come with rubber coated handles that make for easy use and an indicator letting you know when the nails are low.
- Quite affordable model
- Comes with pin nails as part of the kit
- Automatically adjust to different fastener sizes
- Dual trigger feature for greater safety and accuracy
- Rubber coated handle for better handling
- 1 inch thin nails are the maximum length it can handle
- Does not come with depth adjustment
5. Hitachi NP35A Pin Nailer 23 Gauge
Features and benefits
- This pin nailer is powerful, versatile still very affordable.
- It can be used for any number of tasks and will be delivered to you with a carrying case and safety goggles.
- The magazine automatically accommodates a standard pin size, ranging from 5/8 inch to 1 3/8 inch. This range of pin sizes is one of the reasons this particular model is suitable for many different nailing applications. You’ll also get more precise nailing and greater safety thanks to the dual trigger feature.
- The Hitachi NP35A also features a no-mar narrow nose that allows you to work in tight areas without damaging the material you’re working on.
- This model does come with a depth adjustment function, allowing you to work on materials of different thicknesses without having to adjust the compressor PSI. This function is simple and can be quickly adjusted in seconds.
- You’ll even get an indicator that lets you know when you need to reload, while the convenient rear exhaust ensures that any oil or particulates don’t get on the user.
- Affordable price
- Accommodates a wide range of standard pin lengths
- Comes with no-mar tips
- Includes control for depth adjustment
- Reload indicator
- Carrying case and goggle provided
- It may have some problems with 1-3/8 inch pins so the nails don’t set very well
What pin nailers are used for
While on the surface, they might seem like brad nailers – and certainly they will very much like – there are in fact significant differences in how they are used and what they are used for. Pin nailers are particularly useful for trim work in situations where you don’t want the nail to be visible.
In other words, if you’re putting trim up in a room that you don’t want to mar with lots of exposed nails but also don’t want to cover with paint, a pin nailer is the ideal tool for this job. In the same way, if you’re doing cabinet or craftwork, you probably won’t want the nails to show either.
As the name suggests, it shoots thin 23-gauge nails also referred to by many woodworkers as pins. They leave almost no holes on your wood surface.
Nobody likes filling nail holes after finishing a stool, a coffee table or any other woodwork project. Most pin nailers can take between 1/2" - 1-3/8"" long nails.
The extremely thin, headless pins these tools use will drive deep down into the material so that they are virtually invisible unless someone looks very closely at the surface. This makes them ideal for trim work. This is one way they differ from brad nailers, which still have visible heads.
So clearly, pin nailers are best for delicate materials where the affixing needs to be as discreet and unseen as possible.
How to choose the best pin nailer
Just like with any other power tool, there are certain criteria you need to consider when you’re thinking about purchasing a pin nailer 23 gauge type. The following gives you some ideas of what you should look for and expect:
Length of the Fasteners
When you are choosing a pin nailer, you will want to have one that can accommodate a wide range of pin lengths. At the very least, you will want your pin nailer to be able to handle down a pin length from ½ inch and up to 1 inch. The best pin nailer would be one that can also handle 3/8 inch to 1-1/2 inches.
You also need to think about the capacity of the magazine in your pin nailer, since you don’t want to have to constantly be reloading. In a good quality pin nailer, the magazine should hold a minimum of 100 pins. It’s also a good idea to buy a nailer that has a status indicator so you’ll know it the magazine is getting low.
Every time you fire a pin nailer, it’s going to expel oil and air out of its exhaust. For this reason, you’ll want to buy a pin nailer that has an adjustable exhaust that can be pointed away from you while you’re using the tool.
In all likelihood, you’ll find yourself in your woodworking using different kinds of materials of varying densities and thickness. Therefore, it is very handy to have a pin nailer that includes depth control. Otherwise, you will find yourself forced to adjust the pressure on your air compressor every time you change to a different material, which is inconvenient and interferes with work.
Warranties and Durability
One other thing you want to be sure about with your new pin nailer is that it is made by a reputable manufacturer and solidly built. After all, you want to get your money’s worth out of it, so it needs to last you many years. In addition to durability, make sure the manufacturer provides at least a one year limited warranty.
Types of Pin Nailers 23g
There are two major types of pin nailers, pneumatic and electric.
23 gauge pin air nailer
This type of nail guns fire nails with the use of compressed air delivered by an air compressor.
Pneumatic models are cheaper than electric ones. However, you should also consider the cost of an air compressor and general cost of maintenance. They are lighter than electric ones and can be the best option for you if you already have an air compressor.
23 gauge pin nailer electric
Electric models operate on electricity. They are not very common and generally shoot staples rather than nails
Advantages of using the best pin nailer
They are useful in joining delicate trim pieces of wood or veneers and also when working on small and medium size furniture trim.
Gluing and clamping large pieces of wood together accurately could be a daunting task sometimes as the pieces tend to slide. This can be solved with the best pin nailer. A couple of shots will prevent any side movement of the wood pieces.
Pin nailers don’t come with safety retractable nose, instead, most use a dual trigger arrangement to prevent accidental misfiring. Pressing the trigger the first time engages the tool while the second time actually fires the nail.
Safety for the Best Pin Nailer
Although a pin nail is very small, you’ll be surprised about the extent of injury it can cause to the body if not used properly. There are thousands of injury cases every year caused by nail guns most especially to the hand, fingers, and legs.
Below are some tips to follow in order to be protected from the hazards of nail guns.
- Wear safety googles, ear protection, and hand gloves during maintenance. You may also need to wear a dust mask if your work area is dusty.
- If you have a pneumatic nail gun, always disconnect air supply when servicing the tool or moving entirely to another work area.
- Pin nailers are the only class of nail guns that don’t come with safety engagement, so don’t point the tool at yourself or towards others.
- Store your tool properly and keep children and untrained persons outside work area to prevent injury
- Make sure you’re in a good physical condition before operating your nail gun. Don’t operate the tool when fatigued or under the inﬂuence of drugs which might affect your sense of judgment.
Best Pin Nailer Care & Maintenance
- Lubricate your tool with a few drops of air tool oil applied to its moving parts before use. Do this from time to time throughout your session if you’re going to be using your pin nailer all day.
- Heavy vibration tends to loosen some screws and bolts after extended use. Tighten any screws or bolts at least once a month and replace damaged parts immediately. You don’t want a screw or bolt coming off while operating the tool.
- If you’re using a pneumatic model, you need to clean the feed system daily by using a can of compressed air or an electric blower duster to blow out any dirt that may be stuck inside the feed system.
Best Pin Nailer Tips
- Although some models come with a feature that lets you know when your nails are almost finished, always check your nail clip periodically and replace nails when necessary.
- Don’t place your hand or fingers too close to the board you’re nailing because you could accidentally fire your hand.
- Use complete safety gear when operating a pin nailer and ensure you’re within a safe working environment.
- Ensure you’re within a safe working environment free from children, pets and untrained persons.
- Ensure your air compressor pressure is set within the acceptable range of your tool.
- Use the tool only on light wood trims, using it on thicker boards will not hold them in place.
Q: When to use a 23-gauge pin nailer
A: When working on delicate trim pieces of wood such as base and casing, bead board or wainscoting, board, and batten. Pin nails provide almost no holding power, so it is essential to use them with adhesives.
They can be used in holding the pieces of wood together while the adhesive dries. They are easy to pull out after using them for this purpose.
Q: Can you use the best pin nailers for baseboards
A: No, it is not capable of doing heavy wood tasks such as installation of baseboards or other heavy wood trims. The highest it can take is a 2" nail, a more suitable tools for heavy-duty wood tasks such as those are framing nail guns, a high-end brad nailer or 15 gauge finish nailers.
Q: Can you use the best pin nailers for quarter round
A: When installing a quarter round, the size of your nail should be as small as possible leaving only a small hole to fill. However, you also need a nail long enough to hold them in place.
Brad nails are the most suitable nails for this task but a pin nail would be nice if you can manage to hold the quarter round in place.
Q: Can you use the best pin nailer for trim
A: Yes, it can be used for light trim wood pieces, tiny furniture trim, and in other cases where larger nails will damage the wood.
Q: Can you use the best pin nailer for picture frames
A: Yes, you probably don’t want large nail holes to be showing on your picture frame. Using a pin nailer gives you a very fine transition between the nail and the frame. Your visitor might not even notice the nail unless you intentionally show it to them.
What is the best 23 gauge pin nailer: Our Picks
Our Editor's choice is the BOSTITCH HP118K 23-Gauge... The low-profile form factor means that you can more easily get your pin nails exactly where you want them – even in particularly tight spaces. It has a double trigger safety feature and it is ergonomically designed. While it’s not out front in every category, this 23 pin air nailer still offers real value for your money.
If you can't afford the previous model, the Freeman PP123 Pneumatic... may be a good option for you.
Our Upgrade Pick, the PORTER-CABLE PIN138... is also a really good choice.
Resources and Further Reading
- The pros of pin nailers by Steve Maxwell
- Tool Test: Pin Nailers by Kit Camp
- Nail Gun Safety A Guide for Construction Contractors by OSHA(PDF)
Last update on 2019-08-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API