Sometimes, it’s hard to know which nailer you require, as there are roofing, siding, pin, and finish nailers out there. You’ve also got a brad nailer, staple gun, and palm nailers. However, if you’re adding new sections to the house or having it remodeled, you probably need the framing nailer.
If you’re buying one for yourself or someone else, it’s likely you don’t know much about them. Therefore, we’ve included a helpful buyer’s guide at the end of the review. Here, we discuss what it does, why you want one, and when it’s the right tool for the job.
However, that isn’t all we’ve done. You get a full list of some of the best framing nailers out there. That way, you can learn about each one, compare them, and pick the best framing nailer for your needs. Tool reviews often don’t explain things well, which is why we did something different.
The 7 Best Framing Nailers in 2021:
Paslode 905600 Cordless XP Framing Nailer Editor's Choice
NuMax SFR2190 Pneumatic Framing Nailer BEST OVERALL
Milwaukee 2742-21CT Nailer Kit Best Values
Hitachi NR83A5 Best Values
Senco 701XP Best Values
Makita AN924 Framing Nailer Best Values
Bostitch F28WW framing nailer Best Values
Top Product Recommendation:
We feel that the best framing nailer is the Paslode 905600 Cordless XP Framing Nailer. While pneumatic framing guns have sheer power and more speed, this particular nailer performed about the same and might even do better than the air-powered framing nailers out there.
The best framing nailers have an appropriate depth adjustment, and pneumatic framing nailers can have a problem with that. However, with the Paslode brand, it’s easy to connect hardwood all day long. It doesn’t matter what the temperature is outside, either. It’s going to do the job when you need it.
Ultimately, we think this is the best framing nailer because it uses fuel and a battery. With a dual power source, you get a longer runtime. If you run out of power (fuel), you can use the backup and keep it ongoing.
Though the power source limits it, it is lighter than pneumatic framing nailers. Plus, it’s cordless, so you don’t have to worry about climbing ladders and tripping over the cords. You’re going to appreciate that it uses ‘normal’ framing nails. That is to say that they are 3.5 inches long. This 30-degree option has great depth adjustment and is suitable for framing nails in decks, houses, and more.
The Paslode Framing Nailer frees you from having to use hoses and compressors because it’s gas-powered.
- Includes carrying case
- Powered with fuel cells and lithium-ion batteries
- Easy to load framing nails into magazine
- Durable housing
- Easily adjust depth without hex key
- Extremely loud
- must use ear protection
- Expensive to replace fuel cell and battery
Power tools are essential for contractors and those who like to do it themselves. However, you’ll find that when you’re on a job site, you need the right tool for the job. The Paslode Framing Nailer frees you from having to use hoses and compressors because it’s gas-powered. It also includes a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, and the fuel cell helps it fire 9,000 nails on a charge.
You’re going to like that it’s powerful enough to fire the nails flush with hardwood and lumber. There’s also a ‘quick charge’ feature, which means you can charge up the battery for two minutes and get up to 200 more shots.
This nailer uses 2- to 3.5-inch framing nails, and the compact design ensures that it fits 16-inch studs. Plus, it’s only 7.2 pounds, so it’s lightweight. If that weren’t enough, this framing nailer includes the carrying case for extra fuel cells, the gun itself, and the nails.
- Lightweight at 7.2 pounds
- Long runtime
- Works in extreme temperatures
If you plan to work outdoors or don’t have an air compressor, the Paslode Framing Nailer could be the best option for you. The portable and cordless framing nailer is powered by a lithium-ion battery and fuel cell. When you buy it, you automatically get one fuel cell, battery, and charger.
Please note that this framing nailer can only accommodate single strips of framing nails. Therefore, it isn’t as fast as pneumatic nailers, but it performs well. In fact, it can shoot about 2 to 3 nails per second.
The dual-mode trigger allows sequential and single select firing, so you can speed up those big framing jobs that need tons of nails.
- Anti-dry fire mechanism
- More affordable than other models
- Interchangeable triggers to adjust firing mode
- Already comes with the 1/4-inch NPT fitting
- Accommodates two rows of nails
- Not as lightweight as manufacturer claims
This pneumatic framing nailer can perform just as well as the competition. It features a 21-degree angle magazine, so it handles roundhead nails effortlessly and can still fit into small spaces. We like the die-cast magnesium body because it’s durable, but it’s also lightweight at just 8.5 pounds.
The dual-mode trigger allows sequential and single select firing, so you can speed up those big framing jobs that need tons of nails. This nailer holds 3.5-inch long nails and includes a depth adjuster so that you can fine-tune it for different material sizes.
You’re going to appreciate the adjustable exhaust, which directs the air away from the face. Plus, you can use it to get debris away from the work area. There’s also an anti-dry fire mechanism, so you aren’t going to fire the gun when the magazine is empty. It features a capacity of 55 nails, so it’s suitable for medium and small jobs.
- It’s lightweight and durable, so you can hold it for long periods without arm fatigue.
- There’s a no-mar tip, so it is suitable for different working areas. You can use it to install roof decking, sub-floors, wood fences, and more.
This nailer is a top choice because it has a durable metal body and gives an impressive performance each time. You don’t have to use hex keys or other tools to adjust the depth, either.
We think it performs and looks similar to the Paslode pneumatic nailer, but it’s more affordable. If you’re on a budget and want something heavy-duty, this is the one for you. This is the 21-degree head framing nailer, but there’s also a 34-degree model, which uses clipped nails.
It’s lightweight but also durable because the body is made of aluminum and magnesium. Plus, the 21-degree magazine ensures maneuverability while being compatible with roundhead nails.
- Tool-less depth adjustment included
- Contact and bump fire modes, as well as sequential firing
- Anti-dry fire mechanism – stops firing when you've got 2 to 3 nails in the magazine
- Comes with its own carrying case, safety glasses, Allen wrenches, and air tool oil
- Switch easily from contact, bump firing to sequential
- Heavy for overhead needs
- Hard to toe-nail studs with it
The quality build and tons of features make this nailer worth your consideration. It’s lightweight but also durable because the body is made of aluminum and magnesium. Plus, the 21-degree magazine ensures maneuverability while being compatible with roundhead nails. It can fire nails of 3.5-inches long, and there’s an interchangeable trigger so you can switch quickly between modes.
You’re going to appreciate the adjustable exhaust because it keeps the air and debris out of your face. There’s also the anti-dry fire mechanism that protects the machine from damage. If that weren’t enough, the no-mar tip protects the wood. We like the non-slip tip and a rubber grip.
- 21-degree pneumatic nailer
- Lightweight and durable body
- Ergonomic handle
- Suitable for DIY projects and professional construction contractors
- Ideal for pallet building, siding installation, wall sheathing, and more
The Freeman Nailer is a 21-degree tool, and it uses plastic collated nails. If you want something that’s budget-friendly and performs decently, then this is the best product for you.
It’s easy to load the nails because the aluminum magazine is high-capacity. Therefore, you’re not going to have to stop and load it in the middle of your project.
However, the tool is quite large and weighs 8.5 pounds. Still, it’s good to have if you’re not going to hold it above your head or use it for more than an hour at a time.
The PowerMaster from Paslode offers great maneuverability. The low-recoil ensures that the center of gravity is closer to the trigger for more balance and less fatigue.
- Convenient design with rafter hook moving out of the way
- Slim nose design
- Reduced recoil
- Can be heavy for certain folks
The PowerMaster from Paslode offers great maneuverability. The low-recoil ensures that the center of gravity is closer to the trigger for more balance and less fatigue. You’re going to appreciate the powerful performance it offers. In fact, you can frame the walls faster because it drives nails into hardwood, even LVL. Plus, you don’t have to worry about jams and misfires because of the jam-clearing mechanism.
This product is so heavy-duty that it’s one of the best models out there. The compactness means that it is easy to hold for long periods, and you can get between rafters and joists easily. However, we like the convenient design because the soft-grip handle is comfortable. Plus, the rafter hook is designed to get out of the way when you’re not using it.
- The rafter hook moves out of your way when you aren’t using it.
- You’re going to find the soft handle is more comfortable to hold.
- It’s more compact than some of the others.
- There’s more balance because the center of gravity is near to the trigger.
- You get a more powerful performance, which speeds up your job.
This is the ideal product for builders and carpenters who deal with many remodeling projects. It’s designed for heavy-duty applications and is robust, but it is heavy.
We like the patented depth guide because it works with the push of a button and is highly adjustable.
- Aluminum body
- Uses coil magazines
- Can't get into tight spaces
The Bostitch brand is another great tool and one you’re sure to appreciate. This pneumatic nailer comes with an adjustable exhaust feature, so you can clear the air around your face while you’re working. It often means you cough less and have fewer issues with debris getting into your eyes.
We like the patented depth guide because it works with the push of a button and is highly adjustable. Therefore, you can set the nails to the desired depth fast and without extra tools.
- 7-year warranty (limited)
- 14 inches high
- Weighs 8.1 pounds
- 12.25 inches long
This product is unique because it has a large round magazine and stores 300 nails. There are two triggers, so it’s easy to control. Plus, the triggers are color-coded.
However, the Metabo doesn’t because of the brushless motor and the 3 Ah battery. Therefore, it can drive in 2- to 3.5-inch nails flush at a rate of about two nails per second.
- Sequential, Contact, and Bump fire modes
- Paper-collated framing
- Tool-free firing
- No rafter hook
A framing nailer needs plenty of power to do the job, and most battery models fall short. However, the Metabo doesn’t because of the brushless motor and the 3 Ah battery. Therefore, it can drive in 2- to 3.5-inch nails flush at a rate of about two nails per second. Since it can put in 400 nails in a charge, it’s extremely powerful and ready for action. However, it is heavier at 10 pounds.
- No tools needed to adjust the depth.
- Flip a switch to change between contact and sequential nailing.
- It’s suitable for framing and flooring, window build-up, truss build-up, roof decking, and much more.
This is an efficient and handy tool because it uses clipped nails and offset ones. Plus, the body is durable, and the magazine is made of anodized aluminum. There’s a hose fitting, so you don’t have to buy anything separately.
The Milwaukee brand is always a top choice for various tool needs. It’s safe to say the Milwaukee M18 sets the standard for other framing nailers
- Shoot three nails a second
- No gas cartridges required
- Sinks nails into dense lumber
- Tool-free depth adjustments
- On-board storage for hex keys
- Heavy and large
- Can misfire
The Milwaukee brand is always a top choice for various tool needs. It’s safe to say the Milwaukee M18 sets the standard for other framing nailers. It uses a nitrogen-spring mechanism, as well as a brushless motor. You also get the REDLINK technology that is patented by Milwaukee. With all that going for it, this pneumatic nailer gives you the convenience you need in your cordless power tool.
With the Milwaukee M18, you can sink your nails into dense lumber and tackle the most demanding of jobs. You’re going to appreciate that with the Milwaukee M18, you can fire 2 to 3 nails a second without any ramp-up time. Therefore, the nail is fired once the trigger is pulled.
- Dry fire prevention
- Bump fire mode included
- No gas cartridges required because of the sealed compressed nitrogen and the REDLITHIUM batteries used
- Pneumatic performance without a hose and compressor or gas cartridge
Those who want the performance that pneumatic tools provide are sure to appreciate the Milwaukee M18. It includes an on/off button and has multiple firing modes. You’re never going to fire empty air, and it must be depressed to the material before it fires anything for safety.
Hitachi brand has everything you could want. In fact, Hitachi power tools were renamed to be Metabo HPT.
- Cylinder valve drive system used
- Holds up to 70 nails
- Rafter hooks included for more convenience
- Ergonomic handle design
- NegativeRafter hook leaves something to be desired
When you want the best, the Hitachi brand has everything you could want. In fact, Hitachi power tools were renamed to be Metabo HPT. It’s just a new name for the same great tool! We like that the Hitachi features a cylinder valve drive system that gives you more durability and a rapid response. You also get a loading capacity of up to 70 nails.
The selective actuation on the trigger allows you to do contact or sequential nailing. With the Hitachi brand, you have the ability to choose the right option based on the process you’re working on. In fact, it could be great for roofing, thanks to the adjustments you can make.
- Open nose design
- Works on a variety of woods
- Better flexibility and control
Hitachi is well-known for power tools, and you’re sure to appreciate all that it can do. However, we recommend that you get a standard sky hook instead of using the Hitachi rafter hook. It doesn’t seem to do everything it claims and can even get in the way.
The Senco brand is well-known as being a budget-friendly option that has everything you need. We like that the Senco 701XP is designed for tough work environments.
- Easy to handle
- Nearly maintenance-free
- Can't put in many nails at once
The Senco brand is well-known as being a budget-friendly option that has everything you need. We like that the Senco 701XP is designed for tough work environments. However, it’s still durable and well-balanced, so it’s suitable for many applications.
This cordless nailer from Senco is ideal for framing, sub-flooring, sheathing, and assembling trusses, pallets, and crates. It has a straight-light magazine stick for a better line of sight. With it, you get two-step loading, and it’s small enough to fit between joists and struts.
- Aggressive toe safety
- Two-step loading
- 34-degree magazine
- Suitable for many applications
We recommend using the Senco 701XP with 34-degree fasteners. They can be smooth shank collated or non-collated nails in a range of 2 to 3.5 inches.
Makita makes great products, and you’re sure to appreciate the security features of its nailer.
- Front magazine cover
- Reversible hooks
- Rubber bumpers around tool
- Heat-treated steel driver blade
- Can have issues with jamming
With so much information floating around, it’s hard to tell which brand is best. Makita makes great products, and you’re sure to appreciate the security features of its nailer. The AN924 offers maximum performance because it drives the nails faster. Plus, with the Makita AN924, you have a bigger air chamber, which gives you more power.
In fact, the Makita brand can drive 21-degree framing nails up to 3.5 inches in length, and they can be quite large. If it’s a big job, you aren’t going to worry about arm fatigue or pain because it’s lightweight in design at only 8.3 pounds.
- Lightweight design
- Faster speeds for driving nails
- Large capacity air chamber
- Top-loading magazine
Those who prefer the Makita brand are sure to appreciate this product. However, it can be difficult to get the right depth adjustment. You’ve got to take your time and make sure it’s done right. While on the job, you want things to be fast, but you need to care about what you do, and this product makes sure that happens.
Those who prefer stick magazines are sure to like the Bostitch F28WW framing naile
- Suitable for many tasks
- Manufactured in the US
- 28-degree wire-collated nails can be used
Those who prefer stick magazines are sure to like the Bostitch F28WW framing nailer. You can use it with clipped-head nails, and it’s quite easy to use. We like that it’s made in the US. The magazine capacity is 100 nails, so it’s going to keep up with all the work you’ve got to do.
Plus, it’s compatible with 28-degree framing nails that are clipped or offset round. You also get a push-button drive depth, making it a tool-free operation. We like that you can use it for various jobs. These include exterior decks, fencing, wood, masonry, bridging, siding, sheathing, and more. You’re going to appreciate the notched layout indicator on the magazine because it’s easier to get the right distance between the studs without putting down the tool.
- Significant driving power
- Manufactured in the US
- 28-degree wire-collated nails can be used
With this type of framing nailer, you’ve got to make sure you oil them after or before each use (whichever is your preference.) It’s also a good idea to store them in a case so that they don’t get damaged.
The 3Plus is a smaller nailer, but it still has the advanced features you want. Plus, it’s budget-friendly and can get the job done.
- Single fire
- Tool-less depth adjustment
- Doesn't mar work surface
- Motor quality can be hit or miss
The 3Plus is a smaller nailer, but it still has the advanced features you want. Plus, it’s budget-friendly and can get the job done. You’re going to like the dry-fire lockout feature, which means you can’t fire the product when there are no nails inside. It also drives 2-inch nails and goes up to 3.5 inches, so you’re covered, regardless of what you’re doing. If that weren’t enough, there’s a tool-free depth adjustment, and you can choose between single fire and bump fire modes.
- Multi-directional exhaust
- Hardened claw clip
- Supports 2- and 3-inch nails
The tool-free design of this device means that it’s a great tool to have. Plus, it’s low-cost and works well for hobbyists and those who do occasional remodeling projects. However, it is heavy, so you can’t use it all day.
A framing nailer is considered a handheld tool, and it nails together wood and other materials. Sometimes, it’s referred to as a framing nail gun or a nailer. There are many different models out there, and some of them are powered with an air compressor. Others are cordless and use a fuel cell (propane or butane) or a lithium-ion battery. Sometimes, a combination is used. Regardless, it’s important to understand how to buy a framing nail gun. It’s going to make it a lot easier to figure out which of the seven products listed earlier are right for you. Most tool reviews don’t offer this section, but we felt it was necessary.
Framing nailers are primarily designed to frame a structure – often a house. This is a construction task that most people aren’t going to do. However, the nailers are required to drive larger nails into 2x4s. The nail length can be up to 3.5 inches, so it’s important to have the right tool. That framing method replaces the regular hammer, which saves a lot of time and reduces arm fatigue.
Power Source and Run Time
Generally, framing nailers either use a battery, fuel, or an electric air compressor to get the power they need. Fuel-powered nailers usually incorporate a rechargeable battery and can fire around 1,000 to 1,300 shots before they need a new fuel cell. Battery-powered nailers often fire 900 shots before having to recharge the battery. However, a pneumatic nailer that uses an air compressor has a constant power source, so it’s only limited to how many nails are in the magazine.
Brushed vs. Brushless Motor
With a battery-powered nailer, it uses an electric motor for firing the nails. Therefore, it can have either a brushless or brushed motor. Brushless motors tend to be more efficient because they create less friction, so the tools lose less energy. Plus, they’re about 90 percent more efficient, whereas brushed motors are only 80 percent efficient. Therefore, a brushless motor has more firing power and can last longer before needing to be recharged.
The framing angle just refers to the position of the magazine. This is the long metal piece and is attached to the head of the tools that hold the nails. Most framing nailers have angled magazines that move away from the head, so it’s easier to maneuver. The most common angles can include 15, 28, 21, 34, and 30 degrees. They are fixed angles and aren’t adjustable, so keep in mind you’ve got to buy nails that match the nailer’s angle. For example, a 28-degree nail isn’t going to work with your 21-degree nailer.
Typically, the larger the angle, the more maneuverable the nailer is. This lets you fit the tools into tight corners. The angle type you choose often comes to personal preference and the project type. For DIY framing projects that must go in tight spaces (corners and between studs), you may want a 30 or 34-degree nailer because it’s going to give more maneuverability.
Different angle types also shoot various nails. Nailers with 21- or 15-degree angled magazines are going to use a full round head, which is more secure tan clipped nails. However, a 28-degree nailer can use round nail heads or clipped ones, but 30- and 34-degree nailers only utilize clipped nails.
Stick-style vs. Coil-style Nail Storage
There are two types of magazines for framing nailers. They include:
- Stick Magazine – The Stick framing nailer has long strips of nails. They have a lower capacity than the coil framing nailer, but they are better at weight distribution, so the tools are easier to handle.
- Coil Magazine – Sometimes, the nails are connected with longer strips that circle the magazine. They’ve got a better nail capacity than the stick-style. Plus, the shape ensures that you can fit the nailer into tight spaces.
If the project requires you to shoot hundreds of nails, then the coil nailer is the right choice. However, if you’re only shooting 24 to 36 nails, a stick magazine might be best.
A framing nailer works with round-head or clipped nails. Roundhead nails often have a rounded head, but the clipped nail looks like part of it has been removed. This shape ensures that the nails sit flush with each other while in the magazine. Carpenters usually consider round-head nails to be more secure because they’re not going to pull through the framing like a clipped nail might. In fact, because of their holding power, building codes may specify that round-head nails be used. The tradeoff here is that the magazine is going to hold fewer nails.
Size and Weight
Weight and size are both important factors when choosing the best framing nailer. When you’re framing, you might be on a ladder, crouching, or reaching above your head. If you’re holding a cumbersome and heavy tool, it becomes more challenging. Since framing nailers can drive in 3.5-inch nails, they’re considered highly dangerous. One misfire can cause a severe injury, such as the nail going through a hand or foot. To prevent accidents, you’ve got to be able to handle the gun comfortably.
Framing nailers must be light enough to hold safely and comfortably. Pneumatic nailers are often the lightest, with fuel-powered tools being next and battery-powered products weighing the most.
Typically, framing nailers include many safety features. They should have depth-adjustment knobs to control how deeply the nail goes into the wood. Different settings are necessary based on the thickness and hardness of the wood. The best framing nailer is one with an easy to use depth adjustment, so you only have to turn a knob.
Most framing nailers offer protective guards to shield you from nails and debris. Another option to watch out for is LED lights to show you when the battery or nails are running low. They also give you more light in the work area. Also, some pneumatic products help you adjust the exhaust so that air doesn’t get in your face while you’re working.
Most tool reviews don’t include an FAQ section because they’ve covered a lot of the material already. However, you may have a specific question that wasn’t answered earlier. Now is the time to see if it has been asked.
Since many tool reviews don’t offer this, you’re going to get more information!
What’s Better – A 21- or 30-degree Framing Nailer?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Both the 21- and 30-degree framing nailer are suitable for most tasks. However, if you want a power tool that can be used in tight spaces and almost anywhere, you want the larger angle. Therefore, a 30-degree nailer might be better.
What Kind of Nail Gun Do You Use for Framing?
The framing nailer is used for all framing projects, whether it’s for a house, fence, sub-flooring, deck-building, and more.
Is a Framing Nailer Worth It?
It depends. If you’re building a house or adding more rooms to your current home, then yes, you need the best framing nailer possible. It’s also essential for other building projects, such as a deck or fencing.
What Is the Most Common Framing Nailer?
The most common nailer is one that’s 30 to 34 degrees. They give you more advantage in tight spaces and are frequently found on construction sites. Typically, they hold two nail strips, each with about 80 nails.
What Size Air Compressor Is Needed for a Framing Nail Gun?
You only need an air compressor for a pneumatic framing nailer. It doesn’t need a continuous air supply, so the air compressor only has to use short bursts of air to get the nails into the wood. Typically, this means you can use a portable compressor, but it needs to have a 2 CFM rating and a tank capacity of between 2 and 6 gallons.
What Nail Gun Should be Used for a 2×4?
The best framing nailer for a 2×4 is probably a pneumatic one. It’s going to be fast when joining the lumber. However, user convenience should be taken into account, and sometimes, it’s hard to get all the extra pieces of equipment to use a pneumatic power tool.
What Is a Framing Gun Used For?
Primarily, a framing gun is used at construction sites to build houses and add on to current homes. However, some people want to DIY, which means they’ve got to have the right tools for the job. If you’re planning to build onto your home or build it from scratch, you should consider a framing gun. It is ideal for connecting planks, attaching beams, and attaching boards. Some of them can also be used for cabinetry and furniture creation.
Do You Need a Nail Gun for Framing?
Yes, you require a framing gun to drive nails into the frames of buildings and other projects. However, a traditional nail gun is not strong enough to drive in such long nails. Therefore, it’s best to choose a framing nailer because it is going to do everything for you and ensures the nails are flush with the material you’re using.
What Size Nails Do Framing Nail Guns Use?
The size of the nails you need depends on the project and the framing gun’s degree angle. In general, the ‘size’ of nails is based on the degree of the framing gun. However, nail clips can vary in gauge and length. Also, you’ve got to remember that if you’ve got a 21-degree nailer, you’ve got to use 21-degree clips.
Furthermore, coiled guns can only use coil clips. The length of the nail can vary, but most people agree that 3.5-inch nails are the best choice for framing. When you go to the hardware store to buy framing nail magazines, make sure that you know which gun you’ve got (degree angle). You shouldn’t have any problems. Alternatively, you can ask an employee which option is right for you if you’re unsure.
Can a Siding Nailer be used for Framing?
While the framing gun can be used to attach siding by using shorter 2-inch nails, you can’t use side nailers for framing. Framing guns use 3.5-inch nails because they penetrate deeper into the wood and create a more secure connection between the boards. Siding nailers only use nails that are 2.5 inches long or shorter, so they just can’t work for framing needs.
There are so many tool reviews out there, and they likely all pick a different nailer as the winner. Therefore, it’s hard for you to determine which is the best framing nailer for your needs. However, this review has explained so much, and you now have a better idea of what you require.
It’s important to focus on all the aspects of the DIY project at hand. Since you’re here, you know you need a good framing gun, and you’re ready to buy the perfect one.