How to choose the right nail gun for your projects. A complete nail gun guide.

How to choose the right nail gun for your projects. A complete nail gun guide.

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After working on my projects for a long time without a nail gun, I started to experience more and more what the convenience would be if I did have a nail gun in my woodworking workshop.

Quickly fix two pieces of wood temporarily when gluing or making permanent connections, if you have a nail gun at hand, this is done within seconds.

I can already tell you, buying a nail gun was one of the best investments I have made.

Which nail gun do I need to buy?

When I looked for which nail gun to buy, I was overwhelmed by the offer. 

Not only by the brands who offer nail guns but also in the different types of nail guns.

Which one do I need to buy? What is the right nail gun? Which one is the best? All questions that came to mind.

The answer to that is: there is no such thing as the best nail gun.
The only right nail gun is the one that fits the projects you are working on.

To find the best nail gun for your project, You will have to understand the different types of nail guns, how they have to be powered, or what kind of wood you will use for those projects.

Those are the things that I will discuss in more detail in this complete nail gun guide.
By the time you have read this blog, you will be perfectly capable of choosing the best nail gun that is tailored to your needs in your woodworking workshop.

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Recently I made 2 videos in which I review brad nailers. 

Below you can watch the videos of the Makita AF505N and the Bostitch SB2IN1 and find out if one of these tackers is for you.

What is a nail gun

A nail gun, also known as a nailer, is a type of tool that can be used to hammer nails into wood or another type of material in an easy and fast way. 

Hammers are often replaced by nail guns as tools among builders.

Nail guns can be powered in several ways, of which the best known is the air compressor. 
How a brad nailer can be powered I will discuss below in this guide.

Facts about nail guns

  • The nail gun was designed by Morris Pynoos
  • The first nail gun used air pressure and was introduced to the market in 1950 and could nail 40-60 nails a minute

Do all nail guns require an air compressor?

Nail guns Can be powered in different ways.

The best-known way is with air pressure. Air is compressed by the compressor and fed to the nail gun through an air hose.

Sometimes nail guns are also electromagnetically driven. This can be done with or without a cord by means of batteries.

Other wireless ways to power nail guns include gases or, for powder actuators, a small explosive charge.

I will discuss this in more detail below.

What accessories do you need when you buy a nail gun?

If you work wirelessly with batteries, you don’t need anything but properly charged batteries and nails to get started.

If you have a nail gun that is powered by gas, you will also have to purchase these gas cells.

With a pneumatic nail gun, it is driven by compressed air.
For that, you need a compressor, like this California air tools lightweight air compressor, that can provide a constant supply of air. 

So take a good look at what the manufacturer of the nail gun proposes and make sure you have a little overcapacity. 

To transfer the air from the compressor to the nail gun you will need an air hose. Choose an air hose, for example this Good Year rubber air hose, that is long enough so that you can reach most places in your woodworking workshop.

Types of nail guns

To better understand which brad nailer suits you, it is good to know which nailers are available. 

In this complete nail gun guide, I will go over the different types below and describe what you can use them for.

Pin nailer

Pin nailers are the littlest, most fragile completion nailers you can purchase. These are commonly utilized for completing carpentry ventures or on sensitive zones where thicker nails could split the wood. 

Pin nailers use headless nails that resemble pins. 

Since these nails are headless, they have basically no holding power. Therefore, these nails are just used to hold materials set up until the glue dries. 

A pin nailer is normally utilized for: 

  • Finishing work in carpentry
  • Thin veneers
  • Crown molding
  • Delicate trim pieces
  • Small furniture trim

I selected the best pin nailers with matching nails for you.
Check them out on Amazon.

Makita AF353 Pin nailer

Matching nails

Cordless Pin

Matching nails

Bostitch pin

Matching nails

Brad nailer

If you want just that little more than a pin nailer, the brad nailer might be something for you.

The brad tacker is usually used for smaller woodworking projects.

While the brads are still relatively small and leave a fairly small hole for filling, they have more holding power than the pin nails.

The difference between brad nailers and the finish nailers is that the nail magazine is not at an angle like finish and frame tackers.

A brad nailer can be used in applications such as: 

  • Baseboards.
  • Crown molding.
  • Trim work, including door and window frames.
  • plywood projects

I selected the best brad nailers with matching nails for you.
Check them out on Amazon.

Bostitch Brad 

Matching nails

Makita AF505 Brad nailer

Matching nails

Dewalt 20V Brad nailer

Matching nails

Finish nailer

If you are looking for an all-around nailer for interior trimming, the finish nailer is the best choice.

The difference between a finish nailer and a brad nailer is that it can handle larger pieces of wood.
That is because the finish nailer nail is a bit bigger than a brad nail.

As a result, finishing nails have more hold power than the brad nail.

In contrast to the pin nailer and the brad nailer, the nail magazine is at an angle. This is to make the larger nails fit closer together and save space in the warehouse.
That way this nail gun is more compact.

You can use a finish nailer for: 

  • Baseboards
  • Crown molding
  • Cabinet making.
  • plywood and smaller lumber projects

I selected the best finish nailers with matching nails for you.
Check them out on Amazon.

Dewalt 20V Finish nailer

Matching nails

Makita AF635 Finish nailer

Matching nails

Bostitch Finish

Matching nails

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Framing nail gun

The framed nailer is the heaviest nailer.

The name of this nailer explains what you use this nailer for.
These nailers are ideal for use on timber frame construction for heavy construction tasks and buildings.

If you need to join larger pieces of wood for outdoor projects you will need a framing nailer.

These framing nailers are often used to build: 

  • Houses
  • Decks
  • Wooden facade cladding.
  • Heavy lumber projects

I selected the best framing nailers with matching nails for you.
Check them out on Amazon.

Bostitch Framing nailer

Matching nails

Makita AN924 Framing nailer

Matching nails

Dewalt 20v Framing nailer

Matching nails

Flooring nailer

Flooring nailers are specially designed for the placement of tongue and groove boards and look very different from the typical nail guns. 

Due to their unique design, every nail is placed at the right angle and at the right depth time and time again.

On the other hand, due to their unique shape, these nailers can only be used for these activities. Because of this, floor nailers are not as versatile as other nailers.

These nailers can only be used for: 

  • Flooring

I selected the best flooring nailers with matching nails for you.
Check them out on Amazon.

Dewalt Flooring nailer

Matching nails

Bostitch Flooring nailer

Matching nails

NuMax Flooring nailer

Matching nails

Roofing nailer

Due to their weight, roof nailers can be compared to framing nailers.

The shorter nails with larger heads usually come on a coil and are suitable for attaching roofing materials or siding and similar materials.

Due to its specific application, like the floor nailer, the roofing nailer can only be used for roof work.

As a result, this nailer is less suitable for the DIYer and is usually used by professional roofers and contractors.

These nailers can only be used for: 

  • Roofing

I selected the best roofing nailers with matching nails for you.
Check them out on Amazon.

Dewalt Roofing nailer

Matching nails

Bostitch Roofing nailer

Matching nails

Makita AN454 Roofing nailer

Matching nails

Siding nailer

If you’re looking for a nail gun to install siding, a siding nailer is what you need.

These tackers are able to connect thinner pieces of wood or synthetic material with a wooden holder.

To do this, a siding nailer uses shorter nails with wider heads.

These nailers can only be used for: 

  • Siding

I selected the best siding nailers with matching nails for you.
Check them out on Amazon.

Dewalt Siding

Matching nails

Siding nailer

Matching nails

Makita  Siding

Matching nails

Palm nailer

The name says it all, these nail guns fit perfectly in the palm of your hand and are therefore the smallest nailers on this list.

Palm nailers have a few important advantages over other nail guns.

Since these nailers are light and small, one of the main benefits is less fatigue.

Due to their small size, these nailers work very accurately.

Another big difference from other nail guns that use coils or strips is that these guns use regular nails just like a hammer.

You can use these nailers for: 

  • Tight spots.
  • Smaller projects.

I selected the best palm nailers with matching nails for you.
Check them out on Amazon.

Ridgid Palm

Matching nails

Palm nailer

Matching nails

Metabo Palm 

Matching nails


Staple nailers are usually combination devices.
These nailers can shoot staples as well as brad nails.

Because of their versatility, these are the most useful DIY nailers for a small hobby woodworking workshop, in my opinion.

Staple guns are often used to attach a piece of fabric or paper to wood.

You can use these nailers for: 

  • Upholstery
  • Carpeting

I selected the best staplers with matching staples for you.
Check them out on Amazon.

Bostitch staple

Matching staples

NuMax staple

Matching staples

Neumaster staple nailer

Matching staples

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Conclusion, What kind of nail gun do I need?

Now you have read the complete nail gun guide, you will understand that there is no general answer to this question.

What is good for one, becomes useless for another.

By better understanding what types of nailers are available, it will now be easier for you to select the right type of nail gun that best suits your projects.

Above that, decide how you want to power the nail gun, and that’s how we come to the answer what this blog is all about: 

You have found which nail gun you need to buy!

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I hope this information was helpful and that this blog and video inspires you. Let me know in a comment below.

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I’m looking forward to seeing you soon in another blog or video.
Woodworking | DIY | Home decoration

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