by Ronald Paugh
Last Updated January 30, 2019
If 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Frequently asked questions
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.
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.
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.
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.