How to Choose The Best Nail Gun: Buying Guide

A nail gun is a must-have tool for fastening workpieces like wood together. Grabbing one that can get the job done efficiently from a myriad of models is a sound investment for some quick repairs and renovations or a new project. The following are some of the best nail guns you can invest in.

Brad Nailer

A brad nailer is a compact and lightweight tool that guarantees efficiency for any befitting project. Mostly, it is used for smaller projects like wood, baseboards, trim work, and upholstery ones, among other precision tasks. While it is lightweight and draws fairly smaller holes than other nailers, its brads hold well on a workpiece.

The brad nailer uses 18-gauge nails, also referred to as brads. As with other current varieties of nailers, it has a switchable contact or sequential trip. It is also designed to allow for tool-free depth-drive adjustment, allowing maximum efficiency and convenience.

Our editor’s pick for the best brad nailer is the PORTER-CABLE Nail Gun, Pneumatic,.... It is a pneumatic model, that is, air-powered with an operating pressure of between 70-120 PSI. The nailer has a magazine capacity of up to 100 18-gauge nails, a rear air exhaust, and tool-free jam release.

PORTER-CABLE Nail Gun, Pneumatic,...
  • Tool-free jam release mechanism for easy nail removal
  • Rear exhaust to keep contaminates away from work

>>> See our list of the best brad nailers here

Framing Nailer

The framing nailer is perhaps the heaviest. It is used for such heavy-duty tasks as wood framing for structural buildings and other heavy construction needs. It also offers a better option for driving nails through large wood framing, fence building, deck building and a variety of other major carpentry projects.

With a framing nailer, you are guaranteed of optimum efficiency as it also promises and delivers sequential trip or switchable contact and a tool-free depth-drive adjustment. It can shoot 2-3.5-inch nails perfectly for decks, rooms, wood sheathing, and wood siding too.

The Hitachi NR90AES1 Framing Nailer, 2-Inch... is our editor’s choice as its features and qualities outsmart its peers. It is also a pneumatic model and requires between 70-120 PSI of airpower. Its magazine capacity is between 64-70 nails, has a 21o magazine angle, selective switch, two-step nail loading, and an open nose design for fitting longer nails.

Hitachi NR90AES1 Framing Nailer, 2-Inch...
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Hitachi NR90AES1 Framing Nailer, 2-Inch...
  • Hitachi Power Tools has renamed to Metabo HPT. Same great tools, with only a new name.
  • New head guard design allows for quicker disassembly during tool maintenance
  • Lightweight and well balanced for ease of maneuverability and less user fatigue
  • Selective actuation allows for quick changes between sequential and contact nailing with the flip of a switch
  • Tool less depth adjustment to countersink or flush drive into a variety of materials

>>> See our list of the best framing nailers here

Pin Nailer

A pin nailer closely resembles a brad nailer only that it uses pin-like nails rather than the usual nails. Among the common nailers, it is perhaps the smallest and most delicate that one can have in their toolset. Its uses include small carpentry ones like finishing work, fastening thin workpieces, crown molding, small furniture trim, thin veneers, and delicate trim pieces.

A pin nailer uses 23-gauge headless nails that resemble pins which explains its name. The pins have almost no holding power and are often used together with some adhesive types like glue. In some cases, the pins are also used for holding workpieces together until the glue or adhesive dries off.

Our editor's choice for the best pin nailer is the BOSTITCH Pin Nailer 23 Gauge, 1/2-Inch.... The nailer has a fastener length of between 1/2 – 1-3/16, a magazine capacity of 200 pins, and a 70-120 PSI of air pressure. The nailer has a rear exhaust, over-molded grip, and adjustable power control that sets pin depth.

BOSTITCH Pin Nailer 23 Gauge, 1/2-Inch...
  • 1/2 Inch to 1 3/16 Inch 23 Gauge Pin Nailer, Low Profile Nose Piece Tapers for Clear Site
  • Adjustable High/Lower Power Switch for Depth Control and Longer Life
  • Lightweight and Durable Aluminum Housing
  • Includes Nailer, 1/4 inch Air Fitting, Oil, Nail Selection, Carrying Case, and Belt Hook

>>> See our list of the best pin nailers here

Finish Nailer

A finish nailer is a tool designed for indoor trimming needs and such other applications. It also features a sequential trip or switchable contact as well as a tool-free depth-drive adjustment. Usually, it is used for molding around baseboards, windows, and doors, chair rails, as well as in cabinet making.

Finish nailers use shorter and lighter gauge nails due to their applications. The nails can be between 14-16 gauge and 1-2.5 inches in length. However, the nailers differ from brad and pin nailers since their nails are relatively bigger and have more holding power.

The Makita AF635 15 Gauge, 2-1/2" Angled... is our editor’s choice for the best finish nailers. It accepts a nail length of 1.25-2.5 inches, has a magazine capacity of 100 nails, and is powered by air with 70-120 PSI of pressure required to use it. It also features a nail lock-out mechanism, two-mode selector switch, built-in air duster, and a multi-directional exhaust port.

Makita AF635 15 Gauge, 2-1/2" Angled...
  • Powerful motor drives 15 gauge "DA" style angled finish nails from 1-1/4" to 2-1/2"
  • Magnesium body, aluminum MAGAZINE and cylinder deliver strength and durability
  • "Tool-less" depth adjustment for more precise flush and Countersink nailing
  • Nail lock-out mechanism protects tool and work surface from dry-fires
  • Built-in air duster provides convenient air flow to clear work surface

>>> See our list of the best finish nailers here

Things to Know When Buying a Nail Gun

Before settling on a nail gun, you may want to consider the following:

Power Source

A nail gun’s choice of power source is entirely dependent on you. If your application needs more power, you would, for example, go for an air-pressure nail gun. When it comes to power, the choices include battery, air (pneumatic), or electric-powered nail guns.

PORTER-CABLE Nail Gun, Pneumatic,...


The angle at which a magazine is designed speaks much about the purpose of a nail gun. As such, each magazine has a specific angle, and one may want to focus on it more. The angle is usually indicated on the description and determines how easy or hard it will be getting through corners, for example.

Paslode, Pneumatic Framing Nailer,...

Firing Mode

The firing mode can also be a consideration at the point of sale. With each nail gun designed with a specific trigger mechanism, you should ensure to get one that will work for you. Whether you need one with a single or dual trigger is a decision you have to make prior.

WEN 61720 3/4-Inch to 2-Inch 18-Gauge...

Magazine Capacity

Quantity is always a matter of concern. The same thing applies to a nail gun with the magazine capacity being a key consideration. You may, therefore, check first how many nails your preferred nail gun can carry at a go before replenishing.

NuMax SFR2190 Pneumatic 21 Degree 3-1/2'...

Depth Control

For enhanced efficiency, it is crucial that you choose a nail gun with adjustable depth features. This will help you to control how deep a fastener can go. In return, it will be easier to avoid deep pecker markings, nail protrusion, and fasteners countersinking.

PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX* Cordless Brad...

A nail gun is a more modernized tool for driving nails through workpieces such as wood. It is one of those must-have power tools for homeowners, contractors, and DIYers as well as professional woodworkers. If you evaluate different varieties and get the right choice of a nail gun, you will be on the way to achieving your desired efficiency.

Last update on 2024-04-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API