What Kind of a Nail Gun Do I Need?

Stuart Wellbert
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Framing Nail Gun

The framing nail gun is for the person that is going to be working on framing walls and doing a lot of framing work. To be able to nail into wood like this, you need a nail gun that is powerful, and that can drive a very long nail into wood without breaking a lot of them. Although nail guns are not left-handed friendly, these two are.

Many times, the framing nail gun is not your only nail gun, so you want to be able to use it for mortise work as well. So there is a selection that is really designed for framing, but it has the ability to be used for mortise work as well.

Finishing Nailers

Handle Normal and Heavy-Duty Projects

When you need to secure objects to your walls, you are almost definitely going to need a nail gun of some kind. Given the amount of options that are available, you may be overwhelmed when you are go to make the final decision. So we’ll walk you through the nail gun options from must-have to luxury.

Compact Pneumatic Framing Nailer

Framing nailers are the workhorse of nail guns. They can easily drive any size of nails into any type of wood, including timber. So no matter the size or weight of your project, you’ll need at least a framing nailer.

As a general rule, be sure to get a framing nailer that has a magazine capacity of 2-3 times the amount of nails you’ll actually need. Also, make sure your tool’s no-mar tip will avoid marking the floors, walls, and trim.

Pneumatic Nail Gun

Pneumatic tools use air pressure to drive nails, while compact pneumatic nail guns use the same kind of air pressure. Both types of nail guns are best for people who want a nail gun that is lightweight, quiet, and easy to use.

Brad Nail Gun

Vs. Finish Nailer

Brad nailers and finish nailers are two different things. They may look like twins and be used in the same type of situation, but they are very different.

What Brad Nail Gun Do I Need?

A brad gun is a gun made for driving thin (fixed) nails. The nails, especially if you are using them for hanging picture frames, have smooth heads and often are small so they won’t stick out from the side of the frame.

Finish Nailers Vs. Brad Nailer

A finish nailer is different because it can drive nails that are thicker than a brad. Two examples of this are a floor nailer, where nails are driven into hardwood flooring, and a roofing nailer where pins are driven into shingles. Because these nails are thicker, the head sticks out from the piece of material, and they are easily visible from the side of the material.

Nail Gun Nail Sizes

Nail gun nails are sized by gauge. The size of a nail is known informally as "gauge". The higher the gauge number, the larger the nail is. The larger the nail, the more damage it will do to the surface of the drywall, so it's important to use nails that are small enough to do the job.

In the United States, standard gauge numbers range from 10 to 48 (for example, 10-gauge nails are 0.131-inches in diameter, and 1-gauge nails are 0.112-inches in diameter).

The smaller the diameter of the nail, the lighter the nail gun that can be used to effectively drive it into a wall. The safest choice would be a 16-gauge nail that can be driven by all models of nail gun.

Nail Gun Power Options

Nail guns are available in different powers. More nail guns are coming with Lithium-Ion batteries. They are lighter than traditional cordless nail gun batteries but they are not very powerful. In fact, a lot of the 16-gauge nail guns use a 20-gauge or smaller gauge nail head. 20-gauge nail guns have less power than 16-gauge nail guns. Because they are typically less powerful than cordless nail guns, they use a truck battery.

Another significant difference is the amount of brads (headless nails) the nail guns can drive. A 20-gauge nail gun drives only 10 brads before the battery needs recharging. 16-gauge nail guns can drive 16 brads before the battery needs recharging. Remember you are using larger brads, a heavier gauge and going through more material with 16-gauge nail guns. Because of these factors, a 16-gauge cordless nail gun can drive as many brads as a 18-gauge air nailer can drive.

Dewalt has come out with cordless and corded models with a technology that has dramatically increased the power, driving 50 nails per charge. These are all-purpose nail guns that perform well in drywall, wood, and metal. They handle 16-gauge nails.

Pneumatic Models

There are two types of nail guns: pneumatic and electric. Pneumatic models use compressed air to operate, and they generally require a compressor (though there are some that are completely air-independent). Electric models use a battery to be operated. Although there are some batteries and chargers that can be used for both models, it is better to be familiar with the pros and cons of each and decide which features you would like to be prioritized in your model.

Nowadays, pneumatic models are expanding in the market. It is safe to say that they are more advantageous than the electric counterparts.

If you are wondering about the pneumatic nail gun, here are some significant points that you should know beforehand:

It is often used by professional workers in several industries, especially construction, building, and etc.

This tool has been designed with a trigger to allow its user to control the speed and power of the nail go through the material.

Its metal body and rubber grip makes it user-friendly and comfortable to use.

Through its safety features, it is less dangerous when compared to the electric nail gun.

It is often used in construction, building and etc.

The electric nail guns are also called cordless nail gun. They are more popular in newly established home improvement industries.

Fuel-Driven Models

An HPA (high-pressure air) compressor is required to power these kinds of nail guns and they will deliver higher pressure to the nail. You need an air compressor for HPA-powered gun so you won’t have to be pre-charged a thousand times. There are two types of HPA fuel-driven compressor available:

Air driller (nail drillers) are plain nail guns that don’t have a nail magazine. They have a muffler and work at a low level of noise.

The most familiar type of fuel-driven nail gun is the pneumatic nail gun. They have a magazine to hold nails and a high-pressure air cylinder to drive them.

Gas/Propane Driven Models

Gas and propane also need a high-pressure air compressor to power it. Electric compressors will only drive a nail gun for a short period of time before shutting off. This kind of compressor is heavier and more expensive. Batteries are required to make the compressor work. It’s best using a mix of both battery-powered and cordless compressors to save cost and space.

Electric Models

If you use a nail gun for occasional household jobs around the house, you’ll want to go with an electric nail gun.

These guns generally feature better safety mechanisms and typically require less manual force to operate. In addition, they typically have a backup magazine which can lessen the downtime of the nail gun when reloading.

Pneumatic Models: If you use a nail gun on a regular day-to-day basis, you’ll want to go with a pneumatic nail gun.

Pneumatic nail guns use pressurized air to shoot and drive nails into your target material. These nail guns have a significant advantage over electric models in that they are capable of driving more nails in less time. This makes them ideal for projects that require a lot of nails to be driven in quickly.

This is because they require little effort on the part of the user and also because they tend to have a larger magazine capacity. This means that you can shoot multiple nails into your target in a shorter period of time.

If you want to get a large number of nails driven into your material in as short of a time as possible, you’ll want to go with a pneumatic nail gun because they are capable of this.