by Christopher Clark
Last Updated January 16, 2019
If you’re going to be doing a job that requires you to nail brads into place, then you need to have a top rated product. The products that have been covered in the best brad nailer reviews are all excellent and have some great features, but it’s also important that they have some basic features that will ensure that the job is done right. In this section of the guide, we’re going to review some of the best features to look for in your brad nailer so you choose one that can do the work that you need it to do.
Most brads nails are 18 gauge, which isn’t very large in overall diameter. Also as a general rule, most brad nailers have one of two 18 gauge nail length limits: either a two-inch or two and one-eighths inch varieties.
For the most part, it’s always a good idea to err on the larger sizing because many brands of brad nails typically run slightly larger than two inches. Usually, they aren’t much larger, but if you have a two-inch limit, then it can reduce your options somewhat. For this reason, two and one-eighths inch brad nailers are often considered the more versatile of the two.
This being said, keep in mind that these larger nails are still only 18 gauge, which means that they may also be more likely to bend or break during most work, so there’s something of a trade-off when comparing the two nail sizes.
The Size of the Magazine
For the most part, most brad nailer magazines will hold 100 nails or so, but there are more professional models that can hold more. Typically, most home-level jobs won’t require a larger magazine, so if you’re just going to be doing around-the-house brad nailing, consider a standard 100-count magazine.
As with most power tools, there are a wide variety of brad nailers out there to choose from, and each has its pros and cons. Here are a few of the more common types:
When you’re working with a brad nailer, you’ll need to put it aside from time to time. With this in mind, you should have a belt hook so you can neatly carry your brad nailer around on your belt when it’s not in use. As a rule, buy one with a hook that’s fully adjustable to give you some versatility between belts.
When you have a narrower nose on the brad nailer, it eliminates the need to have to push hard against the wooden surface that you’re trying to nail. As a result, you won’t mar or damage the top surface of the wood. Additionally, you’ll have better visibility at the surface point so you can be much more accurate during your job.
Finding the top brad nailer for your money can be tough, but the products that we’ve featured in our brad nailer reviews are some of the best brad nailers on the market. If you’re looking for another top rated brad nailer model, simply use the buyer’s guide to ensure that you find a model that has all of the features that you need.
Brad nailers from companies like Bostich are constantly evolving. Some models have micro-thin noses, allowing less marring and more control over your nail points, and some even have additional features like pencil sharpeners so you can more easily mark your brad nailing point.
It’s clear that as time progresses, more and more revolutionary technologies will work their way into the modern nailer and future brad nailer gun options will be even more feature-rich.
This model from Bostich is a brad nailer kit that uses a pneumatic system to drive brads into the preferred surface. It can manage brads from 5/8 of an inch to two and one-eighth of an inch and has a nose that was fairly well-received in the industry.
Unfortunately, there is a tendency for this particular brad nailer to jam occasionally and it’s not particularly easy to clear the jams when they occur.
This is one of the first brad nailer models to feature a micro nose that is specifically designed to prevent marring the wooden surface. Additionally, the tiny tip makes it easier for the operator to see the surface while brad nailing.
This 18 gauge pneumatic brad nailer is a good well-rounded gun that can be used on a wide variety of jobs. Not only does it require less physical force when placing brads, but it also has improved visibility during the job.
When you need portability and freedom of movement, this battery-powered brad nailer is a good option. It can nail 18 gauge brads that are 5/8 to two inches in size and also has a fairly consistent driving depth that doesn’t jam often.
While the gun is fairly convenient to use, it can struggle with some types of hardwood. Also, over time, the magnet can sometimes falter, which means that it can start to degrade over time.
This product has a tool-free jam release that makes clearing up the nose very convenient. Additionally, the gun also has LED lights that make it easy to see where you are nailing in your brads.
Usually, battery powered nailers have a tendency to be heavy; this product, on the other hand, is only about six pounds.
For those looking for maneuverability, this gun from Porter-Cable is a good option to buy. It lasts for about an hour on a charge and is completely cord-free, which can be useful around the house.
For those seeking a battery-powered unit, this brad nailer from industry icon DEWALT has a very easy-to-use design that provides one of the best mobile brad nailing experiences available. It accommodates brads that are 5/8 to two inches in size.
At 7.4 pounds, the product is definitely not one of the lightest brad nailers on the market.
Also, understand that it’s not really rated for tougher woods and sheet rock, so if you’re going to be doing more professional-quality work, this may not be the product for you.
This product features bump operation, which means that you’ll be able to get a lot of brad nailing done in a relatively short period. When you’re done, you can lock the trigger so you can store it on a belt quickly and easily.
Overall, this product from DEWALT is a good option for anyone looking to execute some around-the-house work. It’s cordless, keeps a charge for about an hour, and has a reversible belt hook for convenience.
If you need convenience and an easy-to-use design, then the Hitachi NT50AE2 is a good option for just about anyone that needs a good brad nailer. In fact, with its simple pneumatic design, you’ll be able to comfortably get the job done nailing in brads that are 5/8 to two inches.
If you’re going to be firing the brads at an angle, then you may encounter problems because it won’t really fire unless you’re straight-on. In addition, when it runs out of brads in its 100-brad magazine it’ll continue to fire, so you may be firing blanks.
The cap of this product is designed specifically to not mar the materials that you are working with when you fire your brads. The device is also very ergonomic, which can decrease hand fatigue.
If you are looking for a quality pneumatic brand nailer, this Hitachi product has more than enough features to get the job done.
Another pneumatic nailer that can drive 18 gauge brads that vary from 5/8 to two inches in size, this device may be the best 18 gauge brad nailer in DEWALT’s product line for home use.
Like the first DEWALT product in this guide, this unit has a smaller non-marring tip.
Despite its heavy-duty DEWALT brand, this isn’t suitable for heavy-duty jobs. Instead, this works well for DIY-style jobs that don’t need a lot of power.
One of the best features of this product is its composition. DEWALT constructed this nailer out of magnesium, which is a lightweight metal. As a result, not only is this an easy to use product, but it’s also very durable.
If you are thinking of buying a durable pneumatic nailer that can manage most home and industrial applications, then the DEWALT DWFP12231 is a good option for your needs.
Most brad nailers that use pneumatics come in at a fairly low weight, and this product is no different; it weighs only 2.8 pounds and can manage nails from 5/8 of an inch to two and one-eighth inches in size.
Sometimes, when using this product, the nails just won’t set appropriately, which means that you’ll have to set them manually.
Not only is this a fairly high performing product, but it also has some great comfort features. The grip and trigger are both rubber-coated for ease-of-use.
Additionally, the product includes a nose light so you can place more accurately in low-light situations.
The SENCO FinishPro® 18MG, 2-1/8″ 18-Gauge Brad Nailer is a great all-around brad nailer for just about any job. It’s lightweight, fairly easy to use, and has enough power for most types of hardwood, though you may notice occasional issues with setting.
Frequently asked questions
If you have an air compressor and do not need the mobility and power of a cordless nailer, a pneumatic nailer would be a right way to go. Additionally, an air nailer would be a good choice if you do not mind to spend more on its maintenance in the long run. Otherwise, you should look for an electric cordless brad nailer.
You will need an air compressor and air hose in order to use any pneumatic brad nailer.
If you are thinking about using 16- or 15-gauge nails with a brad nailer, just know that it won’t work as they are bigger and won’t fit into the magazine. Do not experiment and have the tools you need.