Best Nail Guns
- Dimensions : 10 x 3 x 7 inches
- Power Source : Battery-powered
- Item Weight : 6 pounds
- Dimensions : 23 x 16 x 6 inches
- Power Source : Pneumatic
- Item Weight : 4.17 pounds
- Dimensions : 22.84 x 13.03 x 5.71 inches
- Power Source : Pneumatic
- Item Weight : 9.5 pounds
When determining which nail gun to purchase, the most important factor to consider is what type project is being worked on. There are many different types of nail guns, each suited for a specific project.
Framing nailers are considered the prime type of nailer to handle heavy duty tasks. Specifically, this includes jobs that require shooting nails deep into hard wood. An example of a job that requires a framing nailer would be framing a house or finishing a basement.
As the name implies, roofing nailers are intended for use with shingles and other thick roofing materials. Roofing nailers are special made for roofing projects, which require an extra level of safety due to the implicit danger associated with working on a roof as well as the importance of ensuring tight seals when working on residential or commercial roofs. Accordingly, there are two factors to keep in mind when purchasing a roofing nailer: weatherproofing and non-slip surfaces.
As contrasted with framing nailers, which are well suited for heavy duty tasks, finishing nailers are the more delicate of the two. Finishing nails are quite small and intended to be hidden from view. This is because finishing nailers are intended for detailed finishing work that leaves no trace of the nail and a beautiful, finished appearance.
Brad nailers are similar to finishing nailers, but it’s important not to get the two confused. Brad nailers use similar nails to finishing nailers, but are much smaller in design. In fact, the type of nails that are used in Brad nailers are such a small gauge, that they would be impossible to strike with a hammer. Brad nailers are used for the most delicate of projects that no artisan would dare bring a hammer near.
Flooring nailers are intended to install flooring, such as hardwood and other synthetic or exotic options. Flooring nailers, like framing and roofing nailers, are considered heavy duty given the great deals of stress and tension placed on floor installations that are intended to remain stable for decades and beyond.
The nailers described in this review are quite versatile and can cross many project types. However, the nailers listed here are typically used for framing or finishing. Although these nailers might be able to tackle flooring and roofing applications as well, one would be well advised to seek the right tool for each job.
Table Of Contents
- Top 10 Best Nail Guns
- 1. Ryobi P320 Airstrike
- 2. BOSTITCH F21PL Round Head
- 3. DeWalt DWF83PT
- 4. NuMax S2-118G2
- 5. Paslode 905600
- 6. Makita XNB02Z
- 7. DeWalt DWFP12231
- 8. Porter-Cable PCC790LA
- 9. Makita AF505N
- 10. Bostitch BTFP3KIT
- Things To Consider Before Buying Nail Guns
Top 10 Best Nail Guns
1. Ryobi P320 Airstrike
The Ryobi P320 brad nailer is a battery-operated nail gun that is intended to have comparable power to gas-powered nailers, while also retaining the convenience of a cordless power tool. The Ryobi P320 is a versatile nail gun that is well purposed for home and residential use by the casual home improvement aficionado whether you are installing roofing tiles or reinforcing framing joints. Powered by a 4-amp hour battery from Ryobi’s One+ system, Ryobi claims that you can fire up to 700 nails on one charge. An adjustable depth dial allows you to ensure proper depth for your project. The Ryobi P320 also comes with some creature comforts, such as built in light and belt clip to keep the nailer right where you need it.
Most users of the Ryobi P320 are happy and satisfied with the tool according to consumer reviews. This tool is an excellent entry level nailer for driving nails at a reasonable price. You won’t find too many features on this tool beyond the basics. However, for many consumers, that’s exactly what they’re looking for
- Easy jam clearing functionality
- Adjustable depth allows you to dial in the desired nail depth
2. BOSTITCH F21PL Round Head
The Bostitch F21PL is the ideal tool for all your home improvement needs, including framing, flooring, and even finishing. This nailer can be usedby seasoned professionals or for home improvement projects by the weekend warrior. The design is strong with a magnesium body and quick-change nose pieces. Like many of the top nailers on the list, the Bostitch comes with a depth of drive features that allows you to set nail depth with the simple switch of a button. The quick switch nose piece allows the user to switch from plastic collated framing nails to metal connector nails in seconds. This nailer also comes with a high capacity magazine that holds up to 60 nails, which is higher than some of the other competitors on this list. An interesting feature we have not seen thus far is a 16-inch layout indicator, located on the magazine, that allows the operator to see the correct distance between studs.
The Bostitch F21PL Round Head is our number-one pick for nailers. This nailer has all the features that either a casual or professional user could want with an excellent balance of price and weight. The impressive materials used to construct this tool make it dependable, whether being used only on the weekends or daily by contractors. The slanted design allows maximum visibility, while the ergonomic handle allows maximum comfort. The feature list contains most
- Impressive all-around build quality
- Rich feature list that makes this hard to pass up
- Versatility – works with multitudes of nail types with a high capacity magazine
- Slanted design for maximum visibility
3. DeWalt DWF83PT
The DeWalt DWF83PT is a pneumatic nailer offering powerful air compressor powered design. The body of the DWF83PTis made with industrial grade materials and form for high speed and high volume framing applications. The nailer itself is lightweight with enhanced ergonomics and balance for comfort and control. One impressive feature of this DeWalt is that it comes with a recoil dampening engine system to minimize recoil and ensure you hit your mark on every drive. The other features that round out this nailer are tool free depth-of-drive adjustment for precise nail driving and a selectable trigger for bump or sequential actuation mode.
If you’re looking for an industrial grade pneumatic nailer with high speed and high volume for framing applications, look no further than the DeWalt DWF83PT. This nailer offers high quality materials, construction, and design for intense projects. It also comes with professional features such as recoil dampening depth of drive, and a selectable trigger. However, the features are not without a cost: both in terms of money and weight. The DeWalt is one of the more expensive options on this list, and though not the heaviest it is also not the lightest. We recommend this tool for those who have more serious projects around the house or for commercial contractor use.
- High quality materials and commercial design make this an excellent tool for demanding and long projects
- Depth of drive adjustment
- Rich feature list
4. NuMax S2-118G2
The NuMax S2-118G2 is a pneumatic, air compressor operated brad nailer and stapler two-in-one combination. That makes it an excellent choice for all your finishing needs, including both interior and exterior finish work and trim, cabinetry, cabinet backing, window casing, picture frame assembly, and hobbies and crafts. The S2-118G2 comes with an ergonomically engineered body that is durably constructed with top materials like aluminum which results in a lightweight tool that is excellent for long shifts. With ergonomics in mind, NuMax has added a comfort grip handle, which helps to reduce fatigue and increase control and accuracy when driving nails or staples.The NuMax is also quite feature-rich, including a no mar safety tip to prevent damage to your working surface which is excellent for detailed finishing work or sensitive surfaces, a 360-degree adjustable exhaust vent to direct particles and contaminants away from your face or work surface, and a convenient reload indicator so you are able to see when you are running low on fasteners, which is a feature we have yet to see on some other models discussed on this list.
Most of the tools on this list have been clearly denoted as being for either home improvement hobbyists or for commercial applications, but typically not both. The NuMax S2-118G2 is different. Its rugged, durable design makes it ideal for both the amateur and professional user. The feature list also makes this an excellent choice for professionals who have higher demands and expectations for longer working shifts. This NuMax gets a strong buy recommendation from The Wrench Guy, especially at the lower price point compared to some of its competitors.
- Indicator light for low nail levels in the clip
- Affordable price, especially for a tool with this many features
- Durable aluminum design
- No mar safety contact to protect sensitive work surfaces
5. Paslode 905600
The Paslode nailer is one of a kind on this top ten list. It is a dual battery and fuel cell combination offering the best of both worlds: maximum portability that a battery operated nailer provides while also maintaining the strong performance offered by the fuel cell charge. This cordless nailer is designed to deliver 15% more power over the competitionto increase productivity. This nailer can drive nails deep into hard woods, eliminating the need for a hammer on most job sites. Additionally, the Paslode framing fuel allows the operator to work in all weather conditions, including cold climates where pneumatic air hoses would freeze up. This is a high-end system for serious home improvement needs. However, the price tag reflects the capabilities of this tool. The Paslode is not cheap and in fact is one of the priciest options on this list.
The Paslode is one of the most impressive nailers on this list by far. It is a substantial tool that offers maximum performance, but at a maximum price. If this is your first nail gun, you should probably skip the Paslode and look into one of the entry level options on this list. If you have serious, heavy duty projects to tackle or are looking for a nailer that can handle commercial applications, you should give this nailer a look.
- Dual battery and fuel cell allows stronger driving of nails and maximum portability
- Ability to operate with strength in cold weather conditions
- No compressor needed
6. Makita XNB02Z
The Makita XNB02Z is powered by an 18V LXT Lithium-Ion battery that provides an ideal solution for both detailed finishing as well as heavy duty flooring work. The XNB02Z has a compact design, but does not lack power as it is capable of driving standard 16 gauge straight finish nails from 1” to 2-1/2” in length with a magazine capacity of up to 110 nails. This unit’s battery allows it to drive up to 1,000 finish nails on a single charge, making this an ideal tool for longer projects and beating out some of its competitors in this class which can typically drive 700-800 on a single charge. A neat feature that this Makita offers that we have not seen so far on this list is an anti-dry fire mechanism that is intended to help prevent driving blanks and damage to work surface, which is especially helpful when working on sensitive surfaces when doing finishing or high visibility surfaces such as hardwood flooring. This tool also has a 2-mode selector switch, trigger Lock button, and “tool-less” depth adjustment for precise flush and countersink finish. Another benefit of this tool is that it allows you to take advantage of Makita’s 18V battery system, which powers an entire universe of tools, making this an extremely cost effective selection if you intend on increasing your battery operated tool list. Makita states that its 18V Lithium-Ion batteries have the fastest charge times among competitors, allowing the user to spend more time on their projects and less time waiting for tools to charge.
The Makita is an excellent tool to consider for the home improvement hobbyist who is looking to get more serious and build a collection of battery operated tools. The Makita battery system is unrivaled in terms of selection. This particular nailer has excellent build quality and performance. The feature list is also strong. However, nothing is without its cost and this nailer comes in at a higher price point than some of its competitors.
- Excellent build quality
- Rapid charging capability
- Incredible feature list
7. DeWalt DWFP12231
The DeWalt DWFP12231 18 gauge, 2-Inch Brad Nailer Kit is an excellent nailer that offers many features above and beyond its competitors, as one would expect from a strong name brand like DeWalt.The DWFP12231 has been uniquely designed with a magnesium body that delivers a strong and lightweight design. This nailer also includes a tool-free depth ofdrive adjustment with proper setting of nail heads. Also, the nailer comes standard with a tool-free jam release mechanism for easy jam clearing, which is bound to happen with any nailer regardless of the brand name or quality. The list of features continues with a rear vented exhaust that directs particles such as sawdust away from your work surface or your face. This DeWalt unit is made to drive 18 gauge nails from 5/8″ to 2″ in length, with a sequential style trigger, and 100 nail magazine capacity. The list of features is rounded out by a non-marring nose tip, an integrated rubber grip for comfort and anti-slip, and a tool hook to keep the nailer handy when on the jobsite.
Although not perfect, the DWFP12231 is a strong contender in this space due to its feature rich design. It’s fast, efficient, solidly-built and has all the features that one would expect from a nailer at this price point. Specifically, the maintenance free motor, the jam clearing functionality, rubber grip, and tool hook make this unit hard to pass up. Give this nailer a strong consideration when you see it on the shelf of your local home improvement store. Although at spot number 6 on our list, this is a strong contender and can be number one depending on your needs. Be sure not to pass up this tool.
- Strong and lightweight design
- Rear vent helps to keep the work space and user’s face free from contaminants
- Built in tool-free jam clearing makes clearing any jams a breeze
- High capacity magazine
8. Porter-Cable PCC790LA
The Porter-Cable PCC790LA is a battery-operated brad nailer that comes with a 20V Max Lithium Ion battery. The battery kit eliminates the need for a compressor or any hoses. Porter claims that the PCC790LA has a special motor design that provides consistent firing power into various materials and climate conditions. The PCC790LA also comes with several tool free settings to provide increased productivity and user safety. The PCC790LA is surprisingly lightweight and has been engineered to provide an optimal center of gravity for user comfort in multiple positions which helps to reduce user fatigue and pain on long projects. This nailer also offers a multi-functional dual LED light system to light up your workspace in low light conditions.
If you are looking for a strong all-around contender, consider the Porter. It has a powerful battery-operated motor that offers a consistent depth of drive and excellent additional features such as the LED light, and tool free jam release. Porter also prides itself on the comfortable ergonomic design. Porter is known for standing by their products with a repair or replace warranty, which should give potential buyers some peace of mind.
- Battery operation means no cords or air compressor required
- Lighter weight than many other battery operated nailers in its class
- Multifunctional LED lights and ergonomic design make operating this nailer a breeze
9. Makita AF505N
The Makita AF505N allows the inexperienced residential user to work on home improvement projects with ease. The nailer contains a selective actuation on the trigger, allowing for either sequential or contact nailing. In terms of convenience, this tool offers a tool hook, allowing the user to keep it handy when needed. Similar to other models, the Makita also offers depth adjustment for improved control and flexibility. Makita advertises the comfort and convenient grip of the tool as well, which helps maintain a secure hold during extended use.
If you do heavy construction work, you probably want to skip this Makita. If you are using it for light jobs around the house here and there, you should give the Makita a look.
- No frills, strong body, maintenance free
- Depth adjustment with no tools required
- Rotatingbelt hook
- Light weight
10. Bostitch BTFP3KIT
The Bostitch BTFP3KIT 3-Tool Portable Air Compressor Combo Kit is a nailer and compressor combo for the user who is looking to acquire a pneumatic nail gun and does not already have a compressor. This nailer is well suited for both internal and exterior work. This is the perfect starter kit for those who wants to get into air tools but has not had experience with these tools before. The associated air compressor is of the “pancake” style, which balances sufficient compressed air for most projects with space saving. The air compressor can also be connected to other pneumatic tools as well.
The Bostitch BTFP3KIT 3-Tool Compressor Combo Kit is excellent for entry level users who are looking for their first air compressor and pneumatic tool experience. We recommend this tool for the casual home user. Experienced home improvement aficionados or commercial professionals will want to pass on the Bostitch as it doesn’t have the polish or air capacity for larger projects.
- Pancake style air compressor for pneumatic application while also saving space
- Air tank is quite fast to fill
Things To Consider Before Buying Nail Guns
# Safety First
Nail guns are incredible tools that can make a multitude of projects easier, whether its framing, flooring, or finishing. However, it is important to take heed of the serious safety considerations with regard to nail guns. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), thousands of people are treated yearly for unintentional nail gun injuries with many of these injuries occurring in non-commercial home-use applications.
Most modern nail guns contain a manual trigger and contact element that prevent unintentional firing. The safest type of nail gun is that containing a sequential trip trigger, which requires the nose of the nail gun to be placed on the work piece before the manual trigger is pulled for a nail to be successfully discharged from the gun. As you can imagine, this level of control helps to ensure that unintentional discharge is less likely.
The most obvious injury that can occur from a nail gun is being shot by a nail ejected from a nail gun. However, there are other types of injuries that can occur when using a nail gun, specially being struck by a nail gun or hose from a compressor (in a pneumatic style operation). When using a nail gun, it is important to keep a few considerations in mind:
- As with any tool, read the instructions before operating
- Always inspect the nailer before use and repair or replace any damaged parts
- Do not operate nail guns while under the influence of alcohol or any drug
- Utilize a nail gun that contains the sequential trip trigger type described above
- Never point a nail gun at any other person
- Never alter a nailer to circumvent a safety feature such as a sequential trip trigger or to increase the firing power of the nailer
- Never assume the nail gun is empty
- Never carry a nail gun with a finger on the trigger
- Never point a nail gun at your own face when cleaning or inspecting it
- Always wear personal protective equipment such as safety goggles when operating a nail gun
# Power Types
There are several different types of power sources for nail guns. The type of power source depends on two main criteria: the type of project, and hence the type of gun, and the portability requirements.
Battery powered nail guns are considered the most common type of gun and are the guns that are most commonly thought of when considering a nail gun for a home improvement project. These are nail guns that line the aisles of your local Home Depot or Lowe’s. These nail guns are operated by the same types of lithium ion batteries that power other battery-operated tools such as drills. While not as powerful as pneumatic powered nail guns, these battery powered alternatives are ideal when portability is desired, such as working in small cramped spaces or when moving frequently from area to area within the jobsite. An important consideration to keep in mind is that because these nail guns are connected to a battery, they are naturally heavier than pneumatic air guns. That might not seem like a big deal, but a bulky battery can make a long job difficult and put additional strain on the operator.
Fuel and Battery Combination
Fuel and battery combination nail guns utilize a battery to power combustion of the fuel which drives the nail into place. The battery acts as the equivalent of a spark plug in an internal combustion engine. The benefit of a fuel and battery powered nail gun is that you naturally get more power than a simple battery-operated nail gun (although less powerful than a pneumatic powered nail gun). These types of nailers are more rare than either battery-operated or pneumatic nailers. They also tend to be more expensive given the complex design. These are typically preferred by more experienced users or for commercial applications.
Pneumatic or Air Powered
Pneumatic nail guns are considered the king of the hill in terms of nailing projects. These are the types of nail guns you see professional contractors and home builders using on their projects. The benefit of a pneumatic powered nail gun is obviously the power. These tools allow you to drive nails deep into woods for projects such as framing and flooring. Another benefit is the price. Because pneumatic nail guns don’t have batteries or fuel cells, they are typically cheaper than their alternatives. However, the nail gun does require an air compressor and tank, which can be quite costly. The biggest downside with pneumatic nail guns is obviously their lack of portability. You are limited to working in the area immediately surrounding the air compressor and further limited to the length of pneumatic hose available on the job site.
# Types Of Nails
Nails that are inserted into nail guns are typically joined together with glue, plastic, or wire. These nails typically come in “clips” of a certain number of nails that allow the nails to sit in a straight line and be rapidly loaded into a nail gun. Many nails even have a lubricant or adhesive on the nail and when the nail gun strikes the nail, the adhesive is heated and eventually bonds the nail with the work surface upon cooling, which increases holding strength. As described in the introduction to this article, the type of nail will be primarily influenced by the type of project being worked on. Heavy duty projects such as framing, roofing, or flooring will require a low gauge, thick, long nail for maximum holding power. More delicate projects that require finishing or brad nailers will require a higher gauge, narrow nail to preserve delicate work surface and provide mild to moderate holding power, while remaining hidden from view.
# Coil Nailer vs Strip Nailer
Nail guns can deliver the nails in either a strip or clip, as described above, or in a coil. Coil nailers hold their nails in a tight coil that offers a larger capacity. These types of nailers are ideal for longer projects that require you to shoot more nails. Clip or strip nailers tend to take longer to reload, so are less recommended for large, time consuming projects.
# Common Features Available In Nail Guns
Once you’ve selected the type of nail gun for your project (framing, flooring, roofing, finishing, or brad), you can then further select the exact gun for you by comparing the different features. Manufacturers compete with each other in terms of additional features to make the job more comfortable and efficient. Listed below are some of the most common features you may find on a nail gun intended for both residential and commercial applications:
- Large triggers for ease of operation when gloved or for individuals with large size hands
- Work lights to allow the operator to see the work surface in low light conditions
- Carrying cases to protect the nail gun from surface or operational damage
- Jam clearing systems which can help remove jammed nails
- Exhaust systems that allow the operator to channel the tools exhaust. This feature is most commonly associated with pneumatic nail guns that produce an air blowback when punching in nails. This feature is especially valuable when working in a dusty area.
- Swiveling air connectors that allow the operator to reduce tangles with the air cords. This provides increased mobility, which is critical for pneumatic nail guns specifically due to their inherent lack of mobility when compared to batter operated alternatives.
- Hooks to allow the user to carry the tool from site to site
- Depth of drive adjustment that allows the user to determine how deep to drive the nail depending on the job requirement