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9 Different Types of Nail Guns [Uses and Features]

Last Updated on January 14, 2020 by Robert Bennett

Nail Guns are prevalent and in-demand power tools that are specifically used to drive nails into the surface. This surface could be wood or any other material. In many parts of the world, people still use that traditional tool (called hammer) to drill a nail into the cover. But if you’re looking to save your precious time, then buying a nail gun would be very helpful. The significant benefit of nail guns over hammers is its super-fast speed and efficiency. With the help of different types of nail guns, your work becomes a lot easier.

There are several types of nailers available in the market, and each type has its specific uses. So it becomes challenging to check whether a particular type of nail gun is suitable for you or not. In this article, our only aim is to discuss all the types of nail guns in detail and help you find the right one according to your needs.

9 Different Types of Nail Guns

Here are all the different types of nail guns available in the market which are useful for your woodworking projects.

1. Framing Nailer

Framing Nailer

Framing Nailers are the heaviest-duty nail guns available in the sector. The primary purpose of using this type of nail gun is to accomplish massive projects. Framing Nailers are very popular and are sometimes known as the ‘tank’ of the nailers. They are specifically designed to join two big boards at a faster speed. These nailers can make use of many nails with different thicknesses, lengths, and material.

Users can use nails of 1 inch to 3-1/2 inches with a framing nailer. These nails could have rounded, semi-circular, or sharp pointed ends. But make sure whether your local regulations permit you to use round-end nails on big projects or not. You can use framing nails for building homes, decks, fences, basement recreation room, wood siding, and many other tasks.

These nailers are available in both models: corded and cordless, where corded model offers you more power and cordless provides extreme portability. Pneumatic framing nailers are the one which is driven by compressed air and requires 70-150 PSI to operate. So if you’re buying one, make sure you also get an ideal air compressor. You can find the best framing nailer for yourself with our detail buying guide.

2. Finish Nailer

Finish Nailer

Owning a powerful nail gun doesn’t make sense all the time. For delicate and light jobs, you are supposed to use a particular type of nail gun with less power. Because of its high power, users can’t use framing nailers for lighter projects, and here comes the role of finish nailers.

As the name indicates, a finish nailer is useful for finishing jobs that don’t require much power. In general, a finish nailer makes use of 14-16 gauge nails because of the thinner latter. The length of these nails varies from 1 to 2½ inches. The nails are hardly visible from a certain distance.

However, finish nails are slightly bigger than brad nails, so they have certain holding power, which makes them capable of attaching boards permanently. The most common uses of a typical finish nailer are trim work, interior moldings, paneling, baseboards, door jams, and other lighter jobs.

Finish nailers are going popular and are highly available as cordless tools. Due to advancements in technology, lithium-ion finish nailers are gaining immense popularity. Users can complete their DIY projects with these nailers for a longer period. Overall, a finish nailer would be an excellent pick for woodworkers or DIYers with lighter projects.

3. Palm Nailer

Palm Nailer is another type of nail gun that has a tiny size and works the same as other regular nail guns. It connects to an air compressor and fixes nails at a much faster pace. The main difference between a palm nailer and the other nailer is, it is so small in size such that it can easily fit in your palm. And so is the reason why it’s called palm nailer.

Because of its small size, the palm nailer comes with a lightweight and compact design. When you use a conventional nail gun for longer periods, you might end up with pain in your hands. But this is not the case with palm nailers as it reduces fatigue.

These palm nailers are available in three versions: pneumatic, electric, and cordless. Cordless variants are those that operate on a battery and offer more convenience. Apart from comfort, palm nailers are very portable and allow users to drive at hard-to-reach places.

Typically, most of the palm nailer models can use nails from 1.5″ to 3.5″. And if you go with heavy-duty models, then it makes you eligible to use nails between 2″ and 6″. It means palm nailers even welcome bigger projects. One significant advantage of the palm nailer is you can easily find the compatible nails at any hardware store. Users can use this type of nail gun for ceilings, edges, corners, joist hangers, and tight spots.

4. Roofing Nailer

Roofing Nailer

As the name suggests, a roofing nailer is a type of nail gun that is used to perform roofing made of fiberglass, asphalt, polyester, and insulation board. It is also a heavy-duty nail gun similar to framing nailers and useful for contractors or serious DIYers.

You might be wondering what makes roofing nailers different from other nail guns? Roofing Nailers has got a unique feature that can drive coil nails, due to which you don’t have to refill the gun frequently. If you’re working on the roof, then you don’t have to climb down to refill your weapon.

On average, you’ll save around 75% of your time while working with a roofing nailer. Performing roofing with this type of nail gun lasts for years, and you’ve to reassemble your roof after that. But don’t just worry as re-roofing is even more effortless with roofing nailers.

One thing you have to keep in mind is, you can perform only a single task with roofing nailers. Meaning, you can’t do any other type of job with this tool. There are different types of roofing nailers available in the market: Pneumatic, spring-loaded, and solenoid versions.

Pneumatic variants drive nails by an air compressor, spring-loaded versions use spring to drive the nails, and solenoid ones use electromagnetic polarization to complete the job. Although, if you’ve any posts regarding the roof, then buying a roofing nailer is a great decision.

5. Siding Nailer

Siding Nailer

Siding Nailers are specially designed to install siding and to deal with wood, rubber domes, or vinyl siding. Siding nailers have quite a similar operation with framing nailers, but they are even more precise and accurate than framed ones. So if you have any requirements regarding the siding jobs, then this is a must-have tool for you.

These nailers use a particular type of siding nails that are used to uphold the siding up for a longer time. Usually, they are ring shank nails which have better gripping and stays in position for the life of the siding. Siding nails are typically 1-2 inches longer as compared to the roofing nails and even hold higher weight.

Most of the siding nailers feature depth-of-drive adjustment, which allows you to adjust the depth as per your need. So you can buy nails of different lengths. Typically, the length of the nails used by siding nailer ranges from 1-1/4″ to 2-1/2″. And if your siding nailer is compatible with aluminum nails, then you can perform aluminum siding with great ease.

Siding nailer can be used for various jobs that include both soft and hard siding materials like oak or cedar. Furthermore, you can efficiently complete the task of joining two different materials (like vinyl and wood) with a siding nailer. Overall, a siding nailer has got some authentic features that make it a more versatile tool. They are best when it comes to siding projects.

6. Pin Nailer

Pin Nailer

Pin Nailer is a power nail gun that is used to fire nails (without head) into thin sheets of wood. Pin Nailers are designed to complete small tasks. These tasks could be any woodworking crafts, cabinet finishing, or any other job that involves filling holes.

The nails used by a pin nailer are tiny in size, i.e., 23-gauges. Higher the number means thinner the nail. The nails used here is headless that looks like a simple pin. You might have seen this type of nails drilled in your sofas and other wooden furniture. Since the nails used are headless, they create a tiny hole that doesn’t need to be filled with wood putty, also called plastic wood.

In terms of length, the nails are typically 1-inch long. In some cases, this length could increase to a maximum of 2 inches. Since the pins are small and narrow, there is no risk of the splitting of wood. And this makes pin nailers capable of dealing with delicate pieces as well.

Pin nailers are not much useful for thick woods or heavy loads. The holding power of a pin nailer is low so that users can use it with wood glue. And when the glue dries, it can add extra support and hold the wood pieces together. Although using a pin nailer with heavy-duty tasks will be a wrong choice, it is the best for lighter jobs. For fragile finishing work and delicate furniture trimming, this is a great tool to have.

7. Brad Nailer

Brad Nailer

Brad nail guns are one of the most versatile types of nail guns helpful for beginner woodworkers. So if you’ve any trim work or basic household repairs, then it is best to choose a brad nailer. Most of the woodworkers get confused while choosing between a brad nailer and a pin nailer. Both the nailers work for finishing jobs, but there is a little difference.

Brad nailers are a next step ahead to pin nailers. They make use of brad nails, which are relatively small in the field of nails but are quite larger than pin nails. These are 18 gauge nails and usually comes with the length from ½” to 2″.

Since brad nails are larger, so they provide as much holding power as 15 gauge nailers exhibit. Also, they don’t leave any large holes in the material which you need to fill with wood putty. However, the holes are relatively larger than the holes created by the pin nailers.

Users can also use this type of nail gun for base-boarding, one thing which you can’t perform with the pin nailers. A brad nailer is typically available in two different versions: pneumatically-powered, and cordless model.

Overall, brad nailers are better for finishing work and in the cases when you don’t want to use glue. You can’t use this tool with hardwoods as it can’t hold heavy pieces. But when it comes to trim work, crown molding, baseboards, cabinetry finishings, and door/window casing, brad nailers are the best ones. You can check out our best brad nailer buying guide to find the right one for you.

8. Flooring Nailer

Flooring Nailer

If you’re looking to improve or work with hardwood floors, then you must need a good flooring nailer to make it happen. Of course, you can do it manually by using your hands for nailing the wood pieces, and people have been practicing the same effort for many years. However, this process is not at all time-saving, convenient, and even the results are not convincing.

Flooring nailers not only make the job possible but also make it easier and efficient. In terms of design, a flooring nailer looks different from the other available types of nail guns. It comes with a unique design that completes the tasks quickly and helps to make tongue and groove floorboards.

A flooring nailer also makes sure that the nails are drilled at the correct angle (about 45 degrees). So you don’t have to think about the placement of the nails. To work with flooring nailer, take the tool at the edge of the material, where a nylon mallet is supposed to hit the plunger. It inserts the nails at proper depth and angle.

There are two different models of flooring nailers available on the market: Pneumatic and manual. The pneumatic flooring nailer makes use of air pressure to drive the nails into the material, while the cordless flooring nailer is battery-powered. Overall, it is not the most versatile nail gun available but performs its particular tasks well.

9. Staple Gun

Staple Gun

We’ve listed various types of nailers till now, but staple gun is different from what we’ve seen so far. If you’re in search of a furniture building gun, then the staple gun is the right choice for you. So, what does a staple gun is meant to do? Well, a staple gun creates bigger holes (than any other nail gun), and always keep the materials in their position.

Furthermore, it doesn’t require any oiling, so there’s no risk of splattering of oil. As the name suggests, staple guns perform like a staple that quickly drives nails into a variety of materials(like wood, plastic, and many more).

Staple guns are not like your regular office staplers, as they not just limit you to staple papers. They can be used for a variety of purposes, including carpentry, upholstery, construction, and home repairs. So if you’ve to prepare dog house, birdhouse, fix carpeting to floors or attach a piece of fabric, a staple gun will always make your work easier.

Working with staple guns doesn’t leave any mark on the surface, so they flawlessly execute the task. However, we would still recommend users not to use this tool for finishing carpentry work.

This handheld nail gun is available in three variants: pneumatic, manual, and an electric staple gun. A pneumatic staple gun can be used for heavy-duty tasks; electric staple guns are faster and efficient, whereas standard staples are cheaper and easy to use. Overall, a staple gun is a beneficial and useful tool to have for your home.

Choose the right type of nail gun according to your needs:

Final Thoughts

Nail Gun is a helpful tool for all woodworkers who love to complete their carpentry and finishing jobs by own. Different nailers have different usage and features. We have mentioned all the details and usage of every kind of nail gun, which will help you while doing research.

We understand that finding an ideal nail gun is always going to be a tough job for the buyers. But if you’re aware of the purpose of your usage, then it becomes easy to make a call. All your confusion regarding different types of nail guns ends if you know your purpose of buying a nail gun.

About Robert Bennett

Hey there! I'm Robert from San Antonio, Texas. I've worked as a carpenter for six years, and I'm very passionate about writing on stuff related to woodworking and DIY. I love to spend my free time working in the workshop or playing with my kids.