10 Best 18 Gauge Nailer for Brad Nails – Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

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As a hobbyist or DIYer, you may wonder why it’s beneficial to get a brad nailer. They are typically the same size as your finish nailer and use similar nails. However, the primary difference is that they use brad nails.

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Bostitch BTFP12233 Smart Point 18-gauge Brad Nailer Kit

Bostitch BTFP12233 Smart Point 18-gauge Brad Nailer Kit Best Values

If you’re on a budget or just starting out with using brad nails, the Bostitch brand is ideal for you.
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NuMax S2-118G2 18-gauge 2-in-1 Brad Nailer and Stapler

NuMax S2-118G2 18-gauge 2-in-1 Brad Nailer and Stapler Best Values

The NuMax 18-gauge brad nailer has you covered.
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A brad is a nail with a thinner gauge that’s used to attach your lightweight trim. Therefore, you don’t have to use wood putty or other products. Knowing why you need it is the first step. Then, you have to read brad nailer reviews to figure out which options are the best brad nailers.

Though the review tells you everything you must know about the top 10 options, you also must learn about the factors to consider when purchasing the best brad nailer. You can find that information toward the end of this article. Let’s get started!

10 Best Brad Nailers on the Market

Wen 61721 18-gauge Pneumatic Brad Nailer

Since it’s pneumatic, you require an air compressor to fire nails. The compressed air goes through the air hose to shoot the nails out of the gun and into the wood or material.
9.3Expert Score
Hassle-free nose latch makes clearing jammed nails quick and easy

This is a highly-efficient option when compared to other brad nailers. It sets brad nails between 3/8-inch and 2 inches effortlessly.

Depth adjustment
9.5
Rotatable exhaust
9
Pros
  • Great features and highly affordable
  • Ideal for casual users of the brad nails
  • Higher magazine capacity than others
Cons
  • Not ideal for heavy-duty work
  • Nail shooting mechanism falters with time

Most people love this pneumatic brad nailer because it’s so lightweight. The body weighs just 2.7 pounds and features a comfortable rubber-grip handle to help you get jobs done quickly.

Don’t let the small stature fool you, though. This is a highly-efficient option when compared to other brad nailers. It sets brad nails between 3/8-inch and 2 inches effortlessly. Overall, you might be shocked when you remember how little you paid to get the best brad nailer ever.

Wen 61721 18-gauge Pneumatic Brad Nailer

Since it’s pneumatic, you require an air compressor to fire nails. The compressed air goes through the air hose to shoot the nails out of the gun and into the wood or material.

With that, this product operates at 60 to 115 PSI and carries an NPT air inlet fitting of just 1/4-inch. The magazine holds up to 106 brads, which means you don’t have to reload it as often.

You’re sure to appreciate that a jammed nailer is in the past here. Your purchase includes oil and adjustment wrenches, which can set any jammed nailer straight.

Plus, it comes with an adjustable exhaust port. You can rotate it 360 degrees to control the air output direction. That’s not all, either! You can customize it with the depth of nails you fire because of the adjustment wheel on its body.

Bostitch BTFP12233 Smart Point 18-gauge Brad Nailer Kit

Those who do renovation work or DIY construction around the house, such as with upholstery or cabinetry, are sure to enjoy this tool. Plus, the gun includes a dial-depth control slider for precision. It’s possible to switch between sequential and contact operation, too!
9.3Expert Score
Selectable trigger system for sequential or contact operation

This technology is found in the nose, which is smaller. That way, you get easy, smooth nail placement.

Reduces oil stains
9.5
Easy nail placement
9
Pros
  • Achieve good angles with nailing points
  • Great for hardwood items
  • No-mar head
Cons
  • Requires prior skills to use
  • No anti-dry fire mechanism

If you’re on a budget or just starting out with using brad nails, the Bostitch brand is ideal for you. Those who are experienced with using pneumatic nailers are sure to have a great time with this one, even if they tend to overuse them. Those who do renovation work or DIY construction around the house, such as with upholstery or cabinetry, are sure to enjoy this tool.

What makes it possible is that this pneumatic brad nailer allows you to customize it with trigger and countersinking systems unique to the project. The most admirable thing here is the Smart Point technology, which is built right into it.

Bostitch BTFP12233 Smart Point 18-gauge Brad Nailer Kit

This technology is found in the nose, which is smaller. That way, you get easy, smooth nail placement. That also means that during selective actuation, you don’t require compression of the tip.

Overall, this nailer can drive brad nails ranging from 5/8-inch to 2 1/8-inch in length. Plus, it operates at 70 to 120 PSI.

With that, this gun doesn’t require oil, so it reduces the risk of staining your garage or workshop. You also get a 1/4-inch air fitting with a rear air exhaust. Plus, it features a belt hook.

You’re sure to appreciate the tool-free jam release lever, too. Plus, the gun includes a dial-depth control slider for precision. It’s possible to switch between sequential and contact operation, too!

Because this is a kit, you get a few other additions. They include extra no-mar tips, sample fasteners, and a carrying case. Overall, this is a quality nailer!

9.3Expert Score
An anti-vibration comfort grip, and tool-free adjustable depth for multiple applications

If you tend to use staples and brad nails, it makes sense to choose a gun that lets you shoot both.

Ultimate Versatility
9.5
Lightweight
9

If you tend to use staples and brad nails, it makes sense to choose a gun that lets you shoot both. The NuMax 18-gauge brad nailer has you covered.

It can shoot 1 5/8-inch crown staples or 2-inch 18-gauge brad nails. Therefore, it works well for the exterior and interior trim and to finish cabinetry. Still, you can also use it for other hobbies and crafts.

NuMax S2-118G2 18-gauge 2-in-1 Brad Nailer and Stapler

If that weren’t enough, this brad nailer operates at 60 to 110 PSI, meaning you require an air compressor.

You’re sure to love how lightweight your new brad nailer is. However, it’s still powerful without having to pay a lot for it. There are so many ways to use this nailer, such as baseboards, crates, wire fencing, and window casings.

Some users have claimed there is light denting when you switch from brads to staples. Just remember that the nailer features a tool-free depth adjustment setting. Therefore, you must alter that depth when switching between the options.

Despite the low price, this nailer gives top brand names a run for the money. That’s because the manufacturer is devoted to giving great customer service. You’re likely to use this nailer frequently!

Dewalt DWFP12231 18-gauge 2-inch Brad Nailer Kit

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The Dewalt brand is synonymous with quality, so you know you’re getting what you pay for with it. However, you can’t just see the Dewalt name and be done. You still need to get the rundown on the nailer.

Overall, the Dewalt Brad Nailer Kit has a few great qualities. The motor is designed for durability and reduces the need for maintenance. Plus, the 18-gauge brad nailer body is constructed of magnesium, so it’s lightweight and strong. However, be aware that you require prior practice with handling brad nailers to get the most use from it.

Because of the sequential style on the trigger, you can fire your 18-gauge brad nails that are 5/8 to 2 inches long. Don’t worry about running out of your nails; it features a 100-nail capacity from the magazine.

You’re sure to love the depth of drive adjustment and the tool-free jam release mechanisms. They’re essential for a nailer. With that, there are detents included to ensure the accurate setting of your nail heads.

One feature that stands apart from the crowd is the removable nose tip (non-marring) with an integrated rubber grip. You get more comfort when handling it.

Another plus is the adjustable belt hook. You can work faster when your tools are right beside you.

Pros:

  • Includes carrying case, owner’s manual, and 500 1 1/4-inch nails
  • Tool-free jam release
  • Rear adjustable exhaust port to keep out contaminants

Cons:

  • Jams easily
  • Might leak oil

Metabo HPT Brad Nailer Kit

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Finish nailers of all types offer tons of adjustment options. They’re more flexible and can be used for many things. The Metabo brand of nail gun lets you adjust your nail depth. That means you control how much of the nail goes into the wood surface. A feature like that is highly useful for professional jobs.

On the nose of this brad nailer, there’s a no-mar protective layer. That helps to eliminate or reduce the scratches you see on the nails. Such scratches could be distracting and make the finished piece look unprofessional.

You also get a low-nail indicator (reload) to show you when the nails in the magazine are getting low. That way, you can reload them and keep working. Since you’re alerted to the quantity, you are prepared for anything.

This brad nailer is pneumatic, so it requires the use of air hoses. However, with one switch, you choose the mode to work in. There are two options: bump fire and contact fire. They can be altered when you’re working, so you don’t have to stop.

You don’t require a tool to clear the nose. Therefore, if a nail jams, clear it fast and go back to work.

Pros:

  • Maintenance-free motor
  • Bump fire option included
  • Adjust depth of nails
  • No-mar cap on head to keep nails from getting scratched
  • No tool needed for nose extraction

Cons:

  • No belt hook
  • Not as lightweight as other finish nailers

Porter-Cable PCC790LA 20V Max Cordless Brad Nailer Kit

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There are clear advantages of choosing electric nailers over pneumatic ones. You don’t have to lug a hose everywhere or deal with a noisy air compressor. That means you can do more types of work, too. Plus, you’re sure to save money with cordless nailers because you don’t have to buy gas cartridges and all the rest.

With that, the Porter-Cable PCC790LA is a great option. You’re sure to get reliable and consistent nail sinking with this nail gun. Plus, it features a great depth adjustment wheel. That’s the most important thing to look for when deciding if a brad nailer is worth the money.

The Porter-Cable Cordless Brad Nailer increases your productivity in other ways, too. A good nailer must be easy to maintain. This one includes a tool-free jam release and a release lever for just that purpose.

Another thing to love about the Porter-Cable 20V Max Cordless Brad Nailer is the battery. It features a lithium-ion battery, which lasts longer and serves you well. It’s a huge upgrade because you no longer have to carry hoses with you.

Those who want an electric nailer should consider the Porter-Cable brand. However, it’s not as affordable as others because of the brushless motor and aluminum body. Still, the features make up for all that.

In the long term, you can save money by buying the Porter-Cable brand because you don’t have to purchase extra parts.

Pros:

  • Delivers 1,300 18-gauge brad nails per charge
  • Tool-free jam release
  • Tool-free depth adjustment wheel

Cons:

  • Can be heavier because of the brushless motor
  • Hard to get into tight corners

Dewalt DCN680B 20V Max XR 18-gauge Brad Nailer

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Are you a professional hunting for the right brad nailer to make your job easier? If so, you might have found it.

What makes this cordless brad nailer perfect for professionals? Well, it can drive brad nails from 5/8-inch to 2 1/8-inch and does it with a brushless motor. That means you get a higher run time with more durability for the nail gun itself.

One small and crucial detail here is the narrow nose. Dewalt made it unassuming and small on purpose, and it actually calls it a micro-nose. It improves accuracy by giving you a clear line of sight while working. Plus, the nailer fires easily and can get into tight spaces better than a pneumatic model.

Since the brad nailer is cordless, it doesn’t need an air hose. Plus, it features an automatic shut-off option, so you don’t overwork the battery when you don’t need it. Many other models forget about that, though it’s crucial to get a long life from the battery and tool itself.

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The depth adjustment option for this nailer is effortless. Plus, you don’t get jams frequently and can get rid of them easily with the jam release mechanism. Overall, this cordless brad nailer kit doesn’t give you oil stains in your workshop and is a lightweight tool.

Pros:

  • Accurate nail placement with micro nose
  • Greater durability with the brushless motor
  • Ideal for moldings and baseboards

Cons:

  • Quite heavy
  • Leaves nail holes
  • Doesn’t sit on tool belt
  • No reload indicator

Valu-Air SF5040 2-inch 18-gauge Brad Nailer and Stapler

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Pneumatic models are often easier to find and a great choice for some light construction or DIY work. The selling point of this pneumatic nailer is the name itself. You can tell you’re getting good value for money and expect it to work well.

Here are some of the specifications of this brad nailer: It drives your standard 18-gauge brad nails from 5/8 to 2 inches and can also drive crown staples from 5/8 to 1 5/8-inches. Plus, the aluminum-alloy body is lightweight at 3.3 pounds.

You do need an air compressor to make it work, as with other pneumatic nailers. It features air pressure of 70 to 110 PSI to give you a seamless experience. Plus, there’s 360-degree adjustable exhaust air control with a no-mar rubber tip, so you get smooth delivery.

Despite the low price, the nailer sinks nails effortlessly and competes with standard options. It includes a depth adjustment feature with a jam release mechanism, making it a high-quality nailer.

Though most affordable options can’t be used for much, this pneumatic model is ideal for carpentry work around the house. Whether you’re doing finishing work, putting in trim, or fixing a cabinet, this nailer can assist.

Pros:

  • Tool-free latch on nose for quick jam release
  • Includes two strips of staples/nails with carrying case
  • Ergonomic rubber handle

Cons:

  • No reload indicator
  • Not ideal for woodworking
  • Could misfire

Senco FinishPro 18-gauge Brad Nailer (ProSeries)

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Another non-nonsense and straightforward 18-gauge brad nailer comes from Senco, and it’s quite affordable. However, you shouldn’t let its low price fool you because it’s highly durable. This is surprising since it’s quite light at 4 pounds or so.

This brad nailer is also oil-free, which is a nice surprise, especially from a nailer that isn’t as well-known as some of the others. Having an oil-free engine means less downtime because you can work more and spend less on figuring out how to work it. Plus, there are no oil stains!

Another pleasant surprise here is the selective trigger. You can toggle between multi- and single-shot modes to find the right fit for your project and needs. Many people appreciate different trigger mode settings because it means the manufacturer put more thought into its products.

This nailer features a standard exhaust air control at the back and bottom of the handle, which is similar to other pneumatic models. There are no surprises. With that, it adjusts 360 degrees and works with various air compressors.

You also get depth adjustment capabilities, so there’s no need to worry about denting the workpiece. With that, the nailer works well for crowning and casing jobs. If you like to dabble in construction or are a part-time professional, this is a great power tool to have.

Pros:

  • Very affordable
  • Oil-free motor
  • Lightweight body (magnesium construction)

Cons:

  • Stuck piston problems
  • Potential for magazine to wear out with time

Makita AF505N 2-inch Brad Nailer

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It’s crucial to have a Makita brad nailer on the list. This is the most common brand for nailers on the market, and it’s well-known for smooth work and durability.

Thanks to its Smart Point nose, the narrow nose gets into any crevice. It gets into those hard-to-reach areas to place a nail securely and safely.

Jams happen with good-quality nailers like this one, and you can’t do much to prevent the problem. However, this brad nailer has a quick-release button, so the power tool can easily be disassembled to release that jammed nail. Get back to work faster!

Another feature to enjoy about this brad nailer is that you can adjust the nail depth without having to use more tools. Just click a button to adjust it to your preferences for shooting 18-gauge brad nails.

With that, the nose features a no-mar cap. That keeps the nails and material from getting scratched to ensure that the product looks professional.

You’re sure to appreciate the low-nail indicator because it tells you when to change it out. Whether you’re a professional carpenter or not, you can fire brads, reach tighter spaces, and do everything you must with this tool.

Pros:

  • Hook rotates 180 degrees
  • Effortless nail depth adjustment
  • Narrow nose to reach any corner
  • Machine-nosed piece for more accurate nailing
  • Gets out jammed nails easily with the jam release lever

Cons:

  • Hard to adjust or work with magazine

Buyer’s Guide

Now that you’ve read through the reviews on each brad nailer listed, it’s crucial to understand how to choose the right brad nailer for the job. Since they use thinner nails, it’s essential that it contains the depth of drive adjustment feature, bump fire mode, and much more. Plus, you may want to consider extra options, such as an LED light.

Functionality

Of the name finish nailer types out there, brad nailers are just one option. What sets them apart from others? Typically, a brad nailer shoots 18-gauge finish nails. The gauge refers to how many wires per inch or nails are within the nail strips. Therefore, 18-gauge nails have 18 nail pieces per inch.

The nail’s diameter is inversely proportionate to the gauge. Those with a higher gauge have a small diameter for the nails.

Since brad nailers are used with thinner-gauge nails, they’re compatible with light or thin trim moldings. If you’re worried that a large nail of 15/16-gauge might split the moldings, that’s when you might want to consider a brad nailer instead. They don’t often split the wood or leave any holes in it.

Tip Design

The tip of your brad nailer is called the nose and comes into contact with the work material. The design of the nose is crucial because it determines how precise you can be when you sink nails. There are bound to be a few proud nails that stand up and don’t want to go into the wood. However, this issue should be few and far between with a brad nailer.

Typically, a narrower nose is great because it lets you have more precision. You can get into tight spaces and have a better line of sight. There are bonus points if the nailer has an LED light, which allows you to see more clearly while working in darker spaces.

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Generally, a no-mar tip is ideal because it doesn’t leave scratches on the nails or work material. With that, a narrow nose design is crucial for precise countersinking. In a sense, the narrow nose helps you work in any condition.

Depth-adjustment Capability

The depth of drive adjustment is very important and depends on the thickness of your material and the size of nails you use. You must always adjust the depth for which the brad nailer sinks the nails to get the best results.

It’s crucial to look for a wheel or drive adjustment dial, and it’s found by the nose of the brad nailers. That way, you can turn it to decrease or increase the depth. This is an obviously crucial feature, so you don’t accidentally sink the nails too shallowly or deeply.

Tool-free Jam Clearing Mechanism

Regardless of how good the brad nailer is, there’s a chance that it might get jammed one day. Therefore, it’s important to pick a brad nailer with a tool-free jam release mechanism.

Usually, that’s a lever that you flip open at the nose of the nailer. Ideally, it should have one of these instead of something that must be changed with an Allen wrench.

Anti-dry Fire Mechanism

Dry firing means that the nailer fires even if there are no nails in it. If that happens, the piston leaves an impression on the work material, which might damage or dent it.

With that, dry firing is bad for your brad nailer and could affect its longevity and durability.

Therefore, it’s crucial to find an 18-gauge nailer with a mechanism that prevents that problem. When no nails are in the machine, it can’t be fired at all.

Regulating Nailing Modes

It’s crucial that your brad nailer lets you decide how to nail. There are two common modes: Bump or contact nailing and sequential nailing. While contact nailing is great for safety, sequential firing increases productivity and speed.

When you can switch between both modes on your brad nailer, you get a smooth work experience. You can use each one as needed to ensure that you work safely and quickly while installing trim. Make sure your 18-gauge nailer lets you easily switch between modes.

Types of Brad Nailer Options

The two primary types of brad nailers are the electric nailers and pneumatic nailers. Both of them work well, but they are different based on affordability and their application options.

In general, an electric 18-gauge nailer is more powerful, but it costs a lot more. You get more efficiency with it. On the other hand, a pneumatic nailer is delicate and more compact. Keep reading to learn the details of each:

Pneumatic Power

Sometimes called an air brad nailer, pneumatic nailers use compressed air to operate. A hose must deliver the air to the power tool.

Typically, a pneumatic brad nailer is popular when you’re on a budget and already have the compressor. They work well for complex tasks and give you decent efficiency, depending on the work you’re doing.

However, it’s best to think about the downsides of this type of machine. Overall, the mobility of the nailer is affected by its hose. You can’t move it around as efficiently and work wherever you want to. The hose might also be an inconvenience because it gets in the way or gets tangled up.

You must also have a compressor already or buy one. If you own one, it’s crucial that it is compatible with your brad nailer. Most compressors do supply appropriate pressure to work with any nailer, but it’s best to double-check that to be sure.

Overall, a pneumatic 18-gauge nailer might cost you more in the long term. You have to figure in replacements, oil checks, and other maintenance. This uses money and time that you might not have.

Electric Power

In most cases, electric nailers are more powerful and efficient than other options. They should be because they are operated with an electric motor. Overall, they are more mobile and make your life easier while you work.

However, because of the motor, a cordless brad nailer is heavier, larger, and bulkier than its pneumatic counterparts. Despite the fact that they’re more mobile, they could slow you down even more because you must take more frequent breaks to rest your arms.

You may have guessed by now that electric brad nailers are more expensive, too. However, this only pertains to the initial or upfront cost. With time, you can save a lot of money when you factor in the related expenses you don’t have. Therefore, electric nail guns are actually more cost-effective.

With that, electric nailers are cordless and easier to work with. Just remember that this depends on your needs and the workplace environment.

Finally, you should understand that an electric nailer has extra safety precautions you must take. If you mishandle the tool, it could cause severe injuries because of the power behind them.

If you do go with a cordless option, make sure that it has a trigger-lock function. They are safer. Still, it’s best to have a first-aid kit around, regardless of what you’re doing.

Conclusion

Finding the best brad nailer on the market is a time-consuming task. You want to make sure that you get the right one, and there are so many brad nailers out there.

These reviews should help you determine which option is right for you. The Wen model is a great choice for an 18-gauge nailer because it’s so lightweight and carries 106 brads. Plus, the brads remaining in the magazine are counted, so you’re told when it goes low.

Overall, it comes with all the great features you need to do trim work and all the rest.

However, if you don’t have an air compressor or prefer a cordless brad nailer, the Porter-Cable PCC790LA brand has you covered. Its lithium-ion battery is durable and strong enough to let you work for a longer period. Plus, you don’t have to worry about compatibility issues or problems with the air hoses.

With both options, you get a decent nose design, a depth of drive adjustment dial, and appropriate air exhaust options to help you control the machine and use it efficiently.

Why trust Handyman.Guide?

s written by Itamar Ben-Dor, who has 25 years of experience in renovations, carpentry, locks, creation, landscaping, painting, furniture construction, and furniture renovation, works with concrete, plumbing, door repair, and more.

Itamar Ben-Dor has been in the home improvement business for over 25 years. Itamar Ben-Dor is a jack of all trades. He's worked in the renovation field for years, doing everything from locksmithing to carpentry. He's a small repairs specialist. But his true passion lies in furniture construction and renovation - he loves seeing old pieces come back to life with some new woodwork or a fresh coat of paint.

He has taken courses on many topics in these fields at professional colleges in Israel. Over the years, Itamar has also become quite skilled in gardening, carpentry, and renovations. He's worked on projects of all sizes, from massive renovations to small repairs. No job is too big or too small for him!


Disclosure: handyman.guide participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for publishers to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Itamar Ben Dor

Itamar Ben Dor

My father is a practical engineer, and as a hobby he was also involved in construction, renovations, carpentry and woodwork at home; So there was always tools, saws, drills and more at home. Already I was a little kid Dad and I would renovate the house. Once we built a shed for garden tools, once we did flooring for the garden, once we renovated the bathroom and that’s the way it is. Long before there was an internet, directories and plans. We would build things, kitchen cabinets, install electrical appliances, do flooring, pour concrete and more ... I in this blog want to pass on to you the experience I have gained over the last 20 plus-minus years since I was a child to this day and give you information about the best tools, project plans, guides and more.

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