A nail gun is a compact but most useful tool for woodworking at construction sites. However, most of the users fail to select the right nail gun according to the need of the application. It happens because of the variety of nail guns or nailers. And today we are going to clarify all your confusions about how to choose nail guns according to the places of application.
Selecting the right nail gun according to the application is a must as you cannot nail out the roof with a brad nailer or cannot use the flooring nailer for adjusting pieces of wood to make furniture. By focusing on the demand of the users, we divide the article into three segments.
In the first part of the article, we will discuss nail guns and their classifications. After that, we will show which nail gun is suitable for what project. And in the last part, which is the most interesting part of the article, we will additionally give you tips on maintenance along with the solutions of commonly used questions of the users. So, without any further delay, let’s begin!
- 1 Chapter -1 How to Choose Nail Gun
- 1.1 Nail Gun: What and Why?
- 1.2 Types According to Gauges
- 1.3 15 Gauge
- 1.4 16 Gauge
- 1.5 Types of Nail Gun According to Application
- 1.6 Figure: Brad Nailer
- 1.6.1 Finish Nail Gun
- 1.6.2 Framing Nailer
- 1.6.3 Pin Nailer
- 1.6.4 Siding Nailer
- 1.6.5 Roofing Nailer
- 1.6.6 Palm Nailer
- 1.6.7 Flooring Nailer
- 1.7 Types according to Power
- 2 Chapter -2 How to Choose Nail Gun
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions
- 4 The Closer
Chapter -1 How to Choose Nail Gun
Nail Gun: What and Why?
By the word nail gun, it’s easy to assume that a nail gun is a special kind of gun that blows out nails instead of a bullet. Bullet gun is dangerous and furious. However nail gun is calm and user friendly, which makes the nailing project easier and faster.
A nail gun is a special kind of tool that is used for driving nails into a hard surface. This handy tool is the ultimate alternative to a manual hammer. Just because a manual hammer needs more time and labor to drive a nail into a wall or wood. Even if it’s tough to drive nails by hand hammer on corner or angular area where the trigger of the nail gun can easily reach.
On the other hand, a nail gun can drive 100 nails within a few minutes. And the most interesting fact is that a nail gun is not an expensive tool. You can afford a cordless battery nail gun within 200 bucks and a pneumatic nail gun with a magazine and a pancake style air compressor under 300 bucks.
Types According to Gauges
Gauge is the term which is related to the diameter and the length of the nails. And according to the nail shape and size, that means according to the measurement of the nails, the manufacturer categorizes the nail guns. There are four commonly found gauges for nails. They are 15 gauge, 16 gauge, 18 gauge, and 23 gauge. The gauge number is proportional to the size. That means the more the gauge number is, the smaller the nail is.
15 gauge nail means angled finish nailer. These wire nails are longer and thicker in diameter. 15 gauges nails are 2 to 2.5 inches longer with head. These nails are ideal for heavy-duty woodworking, as there is no chance of splitting the nails while driving into thicker wood pieces.
16 gauge nails are also finished nailers but the difference is the shape of the nails and the nail guns. We have already been told that 15 gauge nailer is angled in size, however, 16 gauge nails are straight. As the nails are a little bit smaller and the heads are also smaller. As a result, the holes are not too visible.
Like 15 gauge nailer, 16 gauge nailer is ideal for finishing carpentry, baseboard casing, chair rails, and crown molding. Generally, the finish nailer has a nails length of max 2.5 inches for holding thicker material tighter.
18 gauge nails are brad nailers. The thickness of 18 gauge nails is 5/8 to ¾ inches. In thinner material like plywood thicker nails split the wood and remain bigger holes.
But for an 18 gauge nailer, there are no chances of splitting the material when the thickness of the wood is ½ inch or less. Brad nailer shoots ½ inch to 1-inch nails. So 18 gauge brad nailer is perfect for trim work and joining wood pieces together as it leaves smaller holes that you can easily hide by using glue or paint. And for having a head, it has more holding power to join the pieces of wood together.
23 gauge means the smallest nail which is headless or semi-headed. This nailer has very thicker and shorter (½ inch). And these tiny nails are very light pull-resistant.
The most interesting feature of pin nailers is the headless nails. As they have no head, there is no visible hole in the surface. These types of nails are ideal for shoe mending, glue setting, and adhesive setting of carpeting.
Types of Nail Gun According to Application
The use area of nail guns is versatile. For carpenters, it’s a part and parcel to adjust the joint, making a frame of the furniture, hiding small holes on wood, and so on. And for home garage, a nail gun performs multiple tasks like driving nails on the wall, mending the roof, repairing the old wooden floor, fixing fences, and so on. The different nail gun has a different place of application. And according to the places of applications, the major type of nail guns are:
A staple gun is the smallest member of the nail gun family. It’s a tiny, lightweight gun that is mostly used in carpeting, upholstery or adjusting fabrics on wood or any hard surface, small construction projects, wiring, roofing, and craft-making.
The nails of a staple gun are not like regular nails. They look like the pin of the stapler. And for this Staple gun has higher holding power.
Figure: Staple Gun
The most interesting feature of a staple gun is the portability and easy operation for lightweight design. The grip handle of a staple gun is easy to hold for the user.
So a staple gun is ideal for both personal users at the home garage and construction workers for wiring and carpeting.
Brad nailer is a special kind of nail gun that is widely used for construction sites. The nails gun inside the magazine of the brad nailer is bigger than a pin nailer in diameter (18 gauge) but smaller than a finish nailer. As the finish nailer has a bigger pin (16 gauge) it is not the right nailer for trim work like narrow trim on windows or so in trimming and molding.
Figure: Brad Nailer
Finish Nail Gun
Finish nailer or finish nail gun is a powerful tool with 15 to 16 gauge nail size. Though they are powerful in nailing they are lighter in weight than typical framing nailers.
Figure: Finish Nailer
15 gauge finish nailer is angled and 16 gauge is straight. The finish nailer has up to 3.5 inches longer-headed pin. And as the diameter and length correlate with each other, the holes that leave the pin are visible and bigger. That’s the only cons of finish nailer.
You can use it for crown molding, baseboard trimming, fixing chairs, cabinets, and hardwood.
A framing nailer is the most powerful and heavy-duty nail gun. The nail size of this powerful machine is 15 gauge, which is thicker than any other nail. So with the bigger nails, you can drive 2 inches to 3.5 inches inside any hard surface like steel or concrete.
A framing nail gun is suitable for all types of heavy-duty work like fencing, framing, roof covering, and sub-flooring. So this powerful tool is the best choice for construction workers and professional DIY workers.
Figure: Framing Nailer
According to the shape of the head, framing nailers are two types. One is the round head, and the other is the clipped head. A chipped head nail gun has the capacity of holding more nails than the round head one. So professional DIY workers prefer chipped head nailers for faster framing.
Pin nailer is the smallest type of finish nailer as it can drive 23 gauge headless nails like a pin. Most often, pin nailers are used by woodworkers and carpenters to hold the nail as a support of the adhesive. You may ask from where this adhesive has come.
Well, as we have already said, that 23 gauge means very slim pin from ¾ inches to 1-3/8 inches. They can only be used on very thin wood. Usually, these nailers are used where glow or adhesive is applied for adjustment of woods, joints, or fabrics. The nail is used to hold the pin until the glow is fully dried.
The siding nailer is different from the finish nailer. It is a special type of nailer which is only used for installing siding of wooden projects. Siding nailer is also a powerful nailer which is heavy duty as it can join larger pieces of wood together.
Figure: Siding Nailer
Though with a finish nailer you can install siding, siding nailer is less expensive and lighter. So you can easily carry the unit with faster nailing. This nailer has nails with a length of 1.25 inches to 2.50 inches.
Roofing nailer is a heavy-duty nailer gun that is ideal for professional contractors and DIY jobs. There are two types of roofing nailer; one is a cordless roofing nailer, and the other is a pneumatic roofing nailer.
Figure: Roofing Nailer
The cordless roofing nailer is either gas-powered or battery-powered. Operating a cordless roofing nailer is easier than pneumatic as a pneumatic roofing nailer has a hose connection. However, pneumatic nail guns are powerful, as they can ensure continuous nailing.
You can easily assume that a palm nailer is a mini nail gun that you can hold in your palm. There are pneumatic palm nailers, cordless palm nailers, and electric palm nailers.
Figure: Palm Nailer
Palm nailer is ideal for garage work, home appliances, tight spots, and joist hangers, as this powerful gun is inexpensive. This small nailer can drive 1.5 to 3.5 inches.
When you see a flooring nail gun, you may call it a plow for its appearance, as flooring nail guns look exactly like a plow. The flooring nailer is of two types; one is pneumatic, and the other is a manual flooring nailer.
The flooring nailer is only for floorboard carpentry. There is no other way of using this flooring nailer, so it’s not a multiple using device.
Figure: Flooring Nailer
Pneumatic flooring nailer is more powerful than manual flooring nailer. However manual flooring nailers are easy to operate for slow speed and comfortable handgrip.
Types according to Power
All the power tools need the power to operate. As a nail gun is a kind of power tool, it also needs the power to operate. According to the power connection, we can classify all the nail guns into four types
Pneumatic Nail Gun
Pneumatic nail guns operate with the force of compressed air. And for adjoining the force of compressed air and nail gun, there is an air hose. What you need is to connect the air hose with the nail gun.
Pneumatic nail guns are more powerful than battery-powered nail guns for the continuous flow of air. Along with being heavy-duty, the weight of a pneumatic nail gun is lighter than the battery nail gun.
Though pneumatic nail guns are versatile and powerful, you need to spend more if you don’t have an air compressor. However, for garage users and carpenters, a pneumatic nail gun is adequate for having continuous working capacity.
Battery Nail Gun
Battery-powered nail guns are heavier than pneumatic nail guns as there are battery clamps for operating. And the most attractive feature of a battery-powered nail gun is the cordless configuration.
A battery nail gun is the best option where portability is a major issue. And for having a rechargeable lithium-ion battery cell, you don’t need an electrical connection or the help of an additional air compressor for power.
Read Also: How Do Battery Nail Guns Work
Gas Powered Nail Gun
A gas-powered nail gun runs with the help of a gas cartridge within the gun. This type of nail gun was popular before the invention of battery-powered nail guns for their portability. At present, battery nail guns have taken the place of gas-powered nail guns for having more versatile and portable.
Electric Nail Gun
There are also corded electric nail guns which are operated with direct connection of AC. These nail guns are mostly used in carpentry and woodworking shops.
Chapter -2 How to Choose Nail Gun
As you have already seen different types of nail guns according to their places of application as well as a power connection, now the choice is yours, which is the best nail gun for you. When I chose the nailer for myself, I focused on the power connection first.
- For roofing and air stapling portable cordless air compressor is ideal
- And if you need a brad nailer for trimming you can go for 18 gauge pneumatic brad nailer with a pancake-style air compressor
- If you are a contractor then you need a heavy-duty finish nailer with an air compressor of 6 to 10 gallons air tank
- And for home application, you can take a portable pin nailer and a 16 gauge finish nailer with that you can do almost all the home application of nailing
Tips of Maintenance
- Clean out the nailer after every single-use
- Use a few drops of oil before operating a pneumatic nailer
- While nailing, hold the trigger with a 45-degree angle on the surface to avoid the splitting of the material
- Don’t put the hand on the path of nails as it can make serious injury
- Wear safety goggles while nailing
- Hold the trigger with both hands and put both legs apart from each other for the resistance of back kick of the nail guns
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What is the difference between 16 gauge and 18 gauge nailers?
Answer: 16 gauge nailer has bigger and thicker nails than the 18 gauge nail gun.
Question: How much do I cost for a pneumatic nail gun?
Answer: A pneumatic nail gun is cheaper than a battery nail gun, as this nail gun is powered by an air compressor. There is a combo kit in which you can get different kinds of nail guns along with a pancake-style air compressor to operate. And the combo will cost you no more than 200 bucks.
Question: What is the difference between a finish nail gun and a roofing nail gun?
Answer: Roofing nailer is more powerful and expensive than a finish nailer. A finish nailer is ideal for woodworking. On the other hand, roofing nailer is used by professional contractors.
Question: Pneumatic or battery-powered which nail gun is the best for the home garage?
Answer: Battery-powered nail gun is the best option where portability is an issue. On the other hand, for industrial-grade heavy-duty nailing, pneumatic nail guns can ensure continuous nailing.
Question: What is the best nail gun for woodworking?
Answer: Finish nailer is the best for heavy-duty woodworking and brad nailer with 18 gauge is ideal for trimming.
By focusing on the need of the project, you need to choose your ultimate nail gun. And the article entitled with how to choose nail gun has explored the secrets of selecting the right nail gun according to the need of the project. However, if you have any queries and confusions, then feel free to share with us as our expert team is ready to case all your confusions.