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WHAT IS THE BEST NAIL GUN?

Ronald Paugh by Ronald Paugh

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (4 votes, average: 4.25 out of 5)
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Last Updated January 30, 2019

DEWALT DWFP12231 review (6)
DEWALT DWFP12231

Pros

  • Rear exhaust prevents workspace contamination
  • A great all-purpose nail gun for under $100
  • The maintenance-free motor extends the life of the device
  • Provides an adjustable depth of drive

cons

May seize up after repeated use

Best Overall
PORTER-CABLE PCC790LA review small
PORTER-CABLE PCC790LA

Pros

  • 100% battery-powered with a long runtime
  • You don’t need to own a compressor or hose
  • Three-year limited warranty
  • Large capacity magazine (100 nails)

cons

Expensive

Less power than air-powered nailers

Best Value
NuMax SFR2190 21 review (6)
NuMax SFR2190 21

Pros

  • Dual-mode trigger offers sequential and single firing options
  • Adjustable depth
  • No-mar tip
  • Internal mechanism prevents dry fire

cons

Heavy

Not suitable for aesthetic fishing jobs

Paslode 905600 review (6)
Paslode 905600

Pros

  • Capable of shooting up to 9,00 nails per charge
  • Long-lasting lithium-ion battery and charger included in the kit
  • Automatic heat protection
  • Adjustable depth setting

cons

Requires specialty all-weather fuel for below freezing temperatures

Hitachi NT65MA4 review (4)
Hitachi NT65MA4

Pros

  • Removable mar-free tip
  • 34-degree magazine for tight corners
  • Weighs a mere 4.2 pounds
  • Boasts a factory-installed hose fitting

cons

Occasional misfires and jams

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Buyer’s Guide

WHAT IS THE BEST NAIL GUN 2If you’re thinking about completing a large job that requires sinking hundreds or even thousands of nails, let’s hope you not considering using a hammer. Unlike hammers, nail guns do the driving for you.

Many offer precise depths of drive and specialty applications. To help you find a suitable nail gun to buy, we’ll break down the different types of nail guns and provide a basic nail gun comparison.

  • Framing Framing guns can be used to frame houses, frame new walls, or help assemble decks and patios. They are heavy-duty power tools designed for large indoor and outdoor jobs. Oftentimes, framing guns are less precise than finishing guns, as the nails are covered in paint or material.
  • Roofing If you didn’t guess it already, quality roofing nailers are designed to affix roofing shingles. They are often heavier and more cumbersome than other types.
  • Finishing These are often the lightest variety of nailer. They are used for precision work, such as installing cabinets, putting up decorative trim, and even constructing standalone furniture.
  • Brad and Stapler These are two other lightweight power tools designed to make little impact and install precision pieces.

How to Choose a Nail Gun?

Before you purchase a nail gun, you will need to consider several determining factors, including your ideal price, job volume, intended usage, and desired power. It is also important to consider the power source of your device, as it will have a direct impact on your mobility.

Other things to consider before you buy include safety features, comfort, and ease of use. Before you buy, compare your budget to your long-term intended use.

Devices are either battery-powered or pneumatic. Cordless battery-powered models are less burdensome than air-powered ones, as they do not need to be connected to an air compressor and connecting tube.

They allow you maximum mobility for a reduction in power. On the other hand, air-powered power tools offer high-powered pressure that helps drive fasteners through stubborn materials. Air is measured in PSI, or pounds per square inch.

When it comes to safety features, many tools boast sequential settings. This means you cannot drive in a fastener without applying pressure to the tip and trigger at the same time.

While it may not seem like an essential feature, bump releases are a common and dangerous safety hazard associated with older devices. Products vary between single and full sequential settings, with the latter being the safest and potentially slowest.

If you’re a professional contractor, think twice before considering a gun’s compatible nails. Nail gun fasteners may be clipped to fit in an automatic-release magazine. This may or may not be an issue when it comes to safe building standards and local construction laws.

Conclusion

We hope our top nail guns and comprehensive buying guide helped you to find the best nail gun for your project. Not only are these devices designed to make jobs easier and more efficient, they are a good excuse to finally finish that remodeling job you’ve been daydreaming about.

These nail gun reviews offer a unique view of a product’s long-term performance. Plus, when you finally settle on a good nail gun, you can probably start budgeting for a new and improved compressor and hose.

Reviews

01

DeWalt is known for its inexpensive yet reliable products and its all-purpose 18-gauge air-powered nail gun kit is no exception.

The gas-powered device drives 5/8-inch to 2-inch long fasteners with ease. It even features a tool-free depth-of-drive adjuster that ensures each nail is properly set. You won’t get in a jam thanks to the tool-free release mechanism that frees seized up nails.

DEWALT DWFP12231 review (5)

The lightweight (5.15 pounds) magnesium body makes it far less cumbersome than most guns. In addition, the rear exhaust prevents workspace contamination. There is also a rubber grip for enhanced safety and comfort.

The sequential-style trigger is yet another essential safety feature, and it requires that the tip is pushed up against a hard surface before the trigger can be successfully set off. Finally, this nail gun also features a belt fastener for hands-free handling.

This device delivers professional results. Its no-mar tip allows you to work on susceptible surfaces without risking damage to them. Beyond that, nails are driven consistently.

You can even select between varying nail sizes and drive lengths to ensure you meet the requirements for a variety of projects. It holds up to 100 nails in the magazine.

We recommend this product for easy to difficult DIY projects. It’s an inexpensive and versatile device that drives nails cleanly. It also features several extra safety features and is lightweight.

Specifications
Power Source
Pneumatic
Case
Included
Weight
5.5 pounds
Dimensions (inches)
13 x 3.7 x 13.1
Pros
  • Rear exhaust prevents workspace contamination
  • A great all-purpose nail gun for under $100
  • The maintenance-free motor extends the life of the device
  • Provides an adjustable depth of drive
Cons
  • May seize up after repeated use
DEWALT DWFP12231 review (6)

DEWALT DWFP12231

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02

If you don’t want to be bothered with setting up a compressor, hose reel, or gas cartridges, the Porter-Cable PCC790LA is an alternative cordless model.

It runs off of a 1.5 Ah 20-volt max lithium-ion battery. The device includes a charger, and it features a tool-free release lever, jam release, and depth adjustment. This can be dialed to countersink nails with ease.

The gun weighs around 5.9 pounds and provides an optimized center of gravity to reduce hand fatigue. There are also two multifunctional LED lights that serve to illuminate your workspace and indicate machine errors.

PORTER-CABLE PCC790LA --

It fits fasteners between 5/8 and 2 inches. Meanwhile, it has a high capacity magazine that fits up to 100 nails. It also comes with a Porter-Cable battery and charger set, and it features a sequential firing mode and trigger lock for safety.

While battery-powered devices are typically less powerful than gas-powered ones, we recommend the Porter-Cable nailer for home improvement and DIY projects.

While it isn’t going to hold up to professional use, it offers a good amount of power and tons of accuracy.

You don’t need to worry about dragging an easily tangled compressor hose, and the battery runs for hours on end. Plus, the nailer is backed by a three-year limited warranty from the date of procurement.

Specifications
Power Source
20 volt
Weight
5.9 pounds
Dimensions (inches)
13.9 x 5 x 12
Display
LED
Pros
  • 100% battery-powered with a long runtime
  • You don’t need to own a compressor or hose
  • Three-year limited warranty
  • Large capacity magazine (100 nails)
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Less power than air-powered nailers
PORTER-CABLE PCC790LA review small

PORTER-CABLE PCC790LA

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03

This budget framing nailer offers the flexibility that comes with professional nailers for a fraction of the price. For starters, the dual-mode trigger allows users to switch between single and sequential firing modes.

The depth can also be adjusted to accommodate a variety of applications, and it is compatible with 21-degree nails with plastic collated round heads ranging in size from 2 to 3-1/2 inches.

NuMax SFR2190 21 review (5)

This pneumatic system is very efficient, and you’ll never have to worry about dry firing. A unique feature prevents the gun from releasing air pressure when there are only five nails left in the magazine.

Keep in mind this nailer weighs over eight pounds. While it is a bit bulkier than other models, it’s easy to use and extremely durable. It also features a no-mar tip that prevents damage to the surface of wood and other materials.

We recommend this nailer for anyone looking to execute a home-based framing job. While the price is high, it will tirelessly fire nails for your deck, walls, and much more.

It runs at around 95 to 100 PSI. It is important to note that its lack of accuracy (which isn’t too significant) should deter you from using this gun on surface jobs.

Specifications
Power Source
Pneumatic
Weight
8.5 pounds
Dimensions (inches)
5.5 x 14.2 x 20.1
Fastener Size
3-1/2 in
Pros
  • Dual-mode trigger offers sequential and single firing options
  • Adjustable depth
  • No-mar tip
  • Internal mechanism prevents dry fire
Cons
  • Heavy
  • Not suitable for aesthetic fishing jobs
NuMax SFR2190 21 review (6)

NuMax SFR2190 21

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04

The Paslode Framing Nailer is a battery-powered model with a 7.4-volt lithium-ion battery. According to the manufacturer, this nailer is capable of releasing 9,00 nails per charge. It also can be charged for just two minutes and provide up to 200 shots.

If you are looking for a jam-free experience, it works well with Paslode framing fasteners.

At just over seven pounds, this framing nailer is brawny without being too heavy. Plus, the weight is distributed evenly which prevents your hands from becoming strained.

It even has a temperature control gauge that aims to keep the heat down to 14 degrees when using Paslode all-season formula framing fuel.

We’d recommend this nailer for those looking for a professional-grade nail gun that is battery-powered. Not only does this drive through hard materials with ease, but it also rarely misfires or jams. It is also lightweight and ergonomic, making cumbersome jobs less taxing.

Specifications
Power Source
7.4 v battery
Weight
7.2 pounds
Fastener Size
3-1/4 in
Dimensions (inches)
5 x 17 x 17
Pros
  • Capable of shooting up to 9,00 nails per charge
  • Long-lasting lithium-ion battery and charger included in the kit
  • Automatic heat protection
  • Adjustable depth setting
Cons
  • Requires specialty all-weather fuel for below freezing temperatures
Paslode 905600 review (6)

Paslode 905600

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05

The 15-gauge Hitachi Finishing Nailer is a pneumatic beast that features a unique air-dusting feature. The gun offers 70 to 120 PSI of operating air pressure, which allows you to clear dust and debris away from your workplace before setting a fastener.

Hitachi NT65MA4 review (3)

The device features tool-less nose extraction to clear jams as well as a tool-less depth of drive dial. Plus, you can easily toggle between contact and sequential settings. Beyond that, the 360-degree exhaust allows users to redirect debris away from their workspace.

This 4.2-pound power tool is lightweight and features rubber grip for a forgiving grip. It even features a 34-degree angled magazine that ensures users can fit into tight spaces and corners.

The many tool-less adjustments ensure that each fastener is countersunk to perfection. It boasts a removable no-mar tip that prevents surface damage, and it is compatible with 15-gauge fasteners that are 1 1/4 to 2 1/2-inches long.

We’d recommend this device for contractors looking for a solid finishing nail gun. You can drive fasteners with ease and precision, plus you can choose between the length and depth of drive to ensure each fastener is consistently countersunk.

Specifications
Power Source
Pneumatic
Weight
4.2 pounds
Case
Included
Dimensions (inches)
16.9 x 4.8 x 15
Pros
  • Removable mar-free tip
  • 34-degree magazine for tight corners
  • Weighs a mere 4.2 pounds
  • Boasts a factory-installed hose fitting
Cons
  • Occasional misfires and jams
Hitachi NT65MA4 review (4)

Hitachi NT65MA4

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06

The DeWalt DC618K is an 18-volt battery-powered nailer that can be used for a number of jobs. It features several adjustable settings, including the option between sequential and bump operating modes.

It also features a tool-less nosepiece that allows easy access when freeing jammed fasteners.

The device features a 120-capacity 20-degree angled magazine that allows it to be used in tight spaces and corners. It also boasts integrated LED lights.

It takes around one hour to fully charge the 18-volt XRP NiCad battery, and once charged, the manufacturer claims this device can sink up to five nails per second.

Other perks include the reversible belt hook and removable no-mar tip. Not to mention, this nailer is compatible with 16-gauge fasteners ranging from 1 1/4 to 2 1/2 inches long.

The kit even includes safety glasses. Plus, it boasts a generous three-year warranty and a two-year service contract.

We recommend this nailer for individuals looking for a powerful cordless option. It offers a wide variety of adjustable settings you won’t find in budget models.

It also has one of the most generous manufacturer’s warranties, with a guaranteed replacement of worn parts for two years.

Specifications
Power Source
18-volt battery
Weight
8.5 pounds
Dimensions (inches)
12.5 x 4.2 x 12.8
Components
bare-tool; case
Pros
  • Integrated LED light
  • The 18-volt XRP battery charges within one hour.
  • 2-year service contract offers free replacement parts
  • Safety glasses, belt hook, and removable no-mar tip included in the package
Cons
  • Expensive
  • It weighs nearly 8.5 pounds.
DEWALT DC618K XRP review (6)

DEWALT DC618K XRP

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07

The Bostitch Roofing Gun is compatible with 3/4-inch to 1-3/4-inch coil roofing fasteners. It features a lockout mechanism that prevents dry fires. It also operates at a whopping 70 to 120 PSI.

Bostitch RN46-1 review (5)

When countersinking at maximum capacity, you’ll be happy to discover tool-less drive depth adjustment. Plus, you’ll find that the durable magnesium housing holds up to drops and falls.

Overall, this lightweight roofing gun is easy to maneuver.

It is priced well at below $200, making it a great bargain. It features incredibly resilient housing and a carbide tip made of aircraft-quality aluminum.

It also boasts a patented single-action side-loading magazine that holds up to 120 coil fasteners. Not to mention, all Bostitch brand kits are backed by an impressive seven-year limited warranty.

We’d recommend this gun for professional roofers and DIY repairmen looking for an affordable, long-lasting gun.

The pneumatic pressure sinks roofing coils with ease, and you can choose from a variety of settings depending on your intended application.

Specifications
Power Source
Pneumatic
Weight
6.3 pounds
Pressure
70 -120 psi
Dimensions (inches)
13.4 x 14.4 x 5.1
Pros
  • Incredibly lightweight for a roofing gun; weighs 6.3 pounds
  • Aggressive wear guards and skid resistant pads
  • Aircraft-grade aluminum carbide inserts in the tip to prevent lockout
  • Over-molded rubber grip
Cons
  • Jams occasionally
Bostitch RN46-1 review (6)

BOSTITCH RN46-1

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08

The Freeman 4FRFNCB Framing/Finishing Combo Kit comes with four separate nailers. The framing nailer uses 20 to 21-degree round head plastic collated framing nails ranging 2 to 3 1/2 inches in length.

The 15-gauge 34-degree angle finish nailer uses 34-degree angle finish nails ranging 1 1/4 to 2 1/2 inches in length.

The 18 gauge 1 1/4-inch brad nailer is compatible with 18-gauge 1/2 to 1-1/4 inch glue collated straight brad nails.

Lastly, the 18-gauge 1-1/4-inch narrow crown stapler works with 18-gauge 1/4-inch narrow crown staples ranging from 1/2 to 1-1/4 inches in length.

The four products come with a pocketed canvas storage bag and are backed by the Freeman brand’s seven-year manufacturer’s warranty. The framing nailer is large, yet offers precise countersinks.

Meanwhile, the fishing gun offers an adjustable depth of drive and features a no-mar tip. The brad gun also has an adjustable depth of drive and no-mar tip. Finally, the finishing staple gun has an adjustable depth of drive too.

We’d recommend this kit for the avid repairer on a budget. While these products are surpassed by pricier models, they are solid performers and offer a wide range of application possibilities.

Having this kit on hand ensures you can complete any job, so long as you have a suitable supply of fasteners.

Specifications
Power Source
Varies
Weight
6.39 pounds
Components
bare-tool; case
Dimensions (inches)
23 x 9.4 x 14.8
Pros
  • The kit includes four nailers and a stapler for a fraction of the price if sold separately
  • Includes a pocketed canvas tote bag
  • The guns feature adjustable settings and offer a wide variety of applications
Cons
  • Only needed if you will be doing a variety of jobs
Freeman P4FRFNCB review (6)

Freeman P4FRFNCB

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FAQ

Frequently asked questions

  • 1
    What safety precautions should I use when operating a nail gun?

    It is always essential to ensure you have a safe workspace. We also recommend the use of protective eyeglasses to prevent injuries from unexpected projectiles. Beyond that, we recommend you wear work boots, gloves, and protective clothing.

  • 2
    What do I do if my nail gun stops working?

    Never attempt to fix or alter a nail gun. Many manufacturers offer warranties and replacement policies for defective products. Keep track of any policies or warranties that may cover your product and reach out to the manufacturer when in doubt.

  • 3
    Why do I need a depth adjustment toggle?

    You use depth settings to determine how far the device drives a fastener into the surface of the material you’re working with. You may need to adjust this setting to prevent heads from protruding above the surface or sinking too deep within a material.

  • 4
    Tell me more about the different firing modes.

    Some guns offer a variety of firing modes. Bounce firing mode allows users to hold the trigger and move the gun along a work surface, triggering the release of a fastener each time it touches the surface. Meanwhile, sequential firing mode requires you to manually pull the trigger each time you wish to release a fastener.