The Quest to Find the Best Nail Gun in 2021 – A Guide

When you only need to put in a few nails, a hammer might be the easiest and quickest way to do the job. However, you have a multitude of nails to put in when reroofing the house, erecting a fence, and building a deck. Therefore, a nailer might be the best way to get things done quickly. Plus, they are less tiring for the arms, shoulders, and hands.

With so many options on the market, such as cordless nailers and roofing nailers, it’s often hard to figure out what the best nail gun is for your needs. There are so many types, and the most popular option for DIY lovers is the brad nailer. This can handle almost any project around the house.

Pricing is a huge concern, too. The nail guns run on air compressors that are highly powerful. With that, your roofing nailer is separate. Most do-it-yourselfers like a cordless electric gun. However, the right model for you depends on the type of project and its size.

It’s important to look at this list of the best nail guns to find the right products for you. We did all the work, so you can get the gun that meets all of your needs. Check out the best models:

8 Best Nail Guns for 2021

10
Dewalt 18-Gauge Brad Nailer Kit

Dewalt 18-Gauge Brad Nailer Kit Best Overall

The best nail gun is easy to use, lasts a long time, and drives the nail in cleanly and quickly with no issues.
9.5
Porter-Cable Cordless Brad Nailer

Porter-Cable Cordless Brad Nailer Best Battery-Powered

If you require more movement while working, then the Porter-Cable is the nail gun for you.
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10
WEN 61721 Pneumatic Brad Nailer

WEN 61721 Pneumatic Brad Nailer Best Values

When you have your choice of home improvement nailers, you probably want the cheapest ones.
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10
NuMax S2-118G2 Pneumatic 2-in-1 Brad Nailer

NuMax S2-118G2 Pneumatic 2-in-1 Brad Nailer Best Two-in-One

With so many products on the market, it’s hard to pick the right choice. However, the NuMax Brad Nailer has what it takes and is a budget-friendly option.
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10
Stanley TRE550Z Electric Stapler and Brad Nailer -Best for Lightweight Use

Stanley TRE550Z Electric Stapler and Brad Nailer – Best for Lightweight Use Best for Lightweight Use

This electric nail gun has a cord, so the power is steady, and the battery never runs out before finishing the job.
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10
BOSTITCH F21PL Pneumatic Framing Nailer

BOSTITCH F21PL Pneumatic Framing Nailer Best Framing Nailer

Its operation and flexibility can handle larger requirements, but it does come at a higher price point.
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10
Freeman P4FRFNCB Pneumatic Nail Gun Combo Kit - Best Kit

Freeman P4FRFNCB Pneumatic Nail Gun Combo Kit – Best Kit Best Kit

Freeman Air Gun Combo Kit has four nail gun options that are all designed for functionality and quality.
10
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BOSTITCH BTFP3KIT 3-tool Compressor/Combo Kit Best Compressor Combo Kit

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Dewalt 18-Gauge Brad Nailer Kit

Best Overall
The Dewalt 18-Gauge Brad Nailer is the right choice because it checks all the boxes.
10Expert Score
Maintenance-free motor

Its sturdy construction means the tool lasts a while, and the rubber grip absorbs shocks to keep your hands comfortable during longer sessions.

Easy nail removal
9
Adjustable
8.5
Pros
  • Has a carrying case
  • Decent price
  • Reliable performance
  • Easy to adjust the depth
Pros
  • Somewhat expensive
  • Could jam
  • Doesn't offer bump firing
Dewalt 18-Gauge Brad Nailer Kit

The best nail gun is easy to use, lasts a long time, and drives the nail in cleanly and quickly with no issues. To do that, you need the nail gun to have a tough build with various options to customize while working.

Therefore, the Dewalt 18-Gauge Brad Nailer is the right choice because it checks all the boxes. Its sturdy construction means the tool lasts a while, and the rubber grip absorbs shocks to keep your hands comfortable during longer sessions.

In fact, this Dewalt tool is quite similar to the Metabo HPT. The reasonably lightweight nail gun offers a sequential-style trigger and has a rear exhaust vent to keep small particles and dust away from you.

This tool uses a separate air compressor and hose and requires 18-gauge nails that can go from 5/8 to 2 inches long. The 100-nail working capacity of the Dewalt means you can customize the tool the way you need it. Plus, you can control nail depth with the tool-free adjustment. Whenever you aren’t using it, you can hang it from the adjustable belt hook.

Features:

  • Power Source – Air Compressor
  • Nail Capacity – 100
  • Type – Brad
  • Firing Mechanism – Sequential
  • Depth Adjustment – Yes

Porter-Cable Cordless Brad Nailer

Best Battery-Powered
Just charge up the battery, put it in the power tool, and you’re ready to tackle the DIY jobs around the yard or home.
9.5Expert Score
Multiple Tool-Free settings

This nail gun focuses on portability. With the cordless design of the tool, most of the weight is centered around the handle.

Dual LED lights
10
Lightweight
10
Pros
  • Easy to adjust the depth
  • Two different built-in LED lights
Cons
  • No carrying case
Porter-Cable Cordless Brad Nailer

If you require more movement while working, then the Porter-Cable is the nail gun for you. It cuts the cord and runs on a 20-volt lithium-ion battery. Usually, battery-powered nail guns don’t have as much punch as those featuring a hose and air compressor. However, for DIY projects that use shallow depths and softer materials, a battery-powered nail gun is the best option.

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Just charge up the battery, put it in the power tool, and you’re ready to tackle the DIY jobs around the yard or home.

This nail gun focuses on portability. With the cordless design of the tool, most of the weight is centered around the handle. That reduces hand fatigue while working for long periods. With that, the common adjustments, such as the jam lever, are tool-free. You can use 18-gauge framing nails in the magazine. Plus, you get a belt hook to carry it everywhere, while you work at the site.

Features:

  • Depth Adjustment – Yes
  • Power Source – Battery
  • Nail Capacity – 100
  • Firing Mechanism – Sequential
  • Type – Brad

WEN 61721 Pneumatic Brad Nailer

Best Budget
Most budget nail guns do skimp on quality, but the WEN Pneumatic Brad Nailer handles common DIY tasks effortlessly.
9.5Expert Score
Hassle-free nose latch

It’s designed to fire 18-gauge nails that are 3/8 to 2 inches long, so this nail gun is a great secondary gun or starter one for those who want to expand their tool collection.

Impact
9.5
Easy to carry
9
Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Weighs under 3 pounds
Cons
  • No carrying case

When you have your choice of home improvement nailers, you probably want the cheapest ones. They still have excellent styles and the features you need. With some models, the workmanship isn’t the best, but the WEN model takes care of all that.

WEN 61721 Pneumatic Brad Nailer

Most budget nail guns do skimp on quality, but the WEN Pneumatic Brad Nailer handles common DIY tasks effortlessly. In fact, you may think that it’s similar to the Metabo HPT version, though it doesn’t contain a rafter hook.

It’s designed to fire 18-gauge nails that are 3/8 to 2 inches long, so this nail gun is a great secondary gun or starter one for those who want to expand their tool collection.

Plus, the gun works with your current air compressor and handles 60 to 115 PSI, so you’ve got the power needed to drive your nail down into any materials.

For more comfort, this nail gun offers a rubber grip on the handle. That rubber absorbs shocks that come up with each shot, so your hands feel less pressure and pain. Give it a test run today!

Features:

  • Depth Adjustment – Yes
  • Power Source – Air Compressor
  • Nail Capacity – 106
  • Type – Brad
  • Firing Mechanism – Sequential

NuMax S2-118G2 Pneumatic 2-in-1 Brad Nailer

Best Two-in-One
You may use 2-inch 18-gauge nails or 1 5/8-inch staple, so it works well for any situation. You can go on any job site with this one because it has the features of more expensive tools
9.3Expert Score
Anti-vibration comfort grip

It holds nail strips of 100, allowing you to install window casings, baseboards, decorative trim, crown molding, and chair rails.

Adjustable depth
9.5
Ultimate Versatility
9
Pros
  • Reasonable price
  • Weighs 3 pounds
  • Can be used with staples and brads
Cons
  • No carrying case
NuMax S2-118G2 Pneumatic 2-in-1 Brad Nailer1

With so many products on the market, it’s hard to pick the right choice. However, the NuMax Brad Nailer has what it takes and is a budget-friendly option. You can go on any job site with this one because it has the features of more expensive tools. One common feature that most luxury nail guns provide is the ability to use many types of brads and nails. For less cost, this gun offers the same flexibility.

You may use 2-inch 18-gauge nails or 1 5/8-inch staple, so it works well for any situation. Plus, it holds nail strips of 100, allowing you to install window casings, baseboards, decorative trim, crown molding, and chair rails.

Many nailers include a no-mar tip, and so does this one. When you’re working with delicate surfaces, the tip ensures that the gun doesn’t dig in and do damage. You need one of these tools for every worksite!

Features:

  • Depth Adjustment – Yes
  • Power Source – Air Compressor
  • Nail Capacity – 100
  • Type – Staples or Brads
  • Firing Mechanism – Sequential

Stanley TRE550Z Electric Stapler and Brad Nailer – Best for Lightweight Use

Best for Lightweight Use
You can shoot small brads and heavy-duty staples because it allows you to use different fasteners.
9.3Expert Score
Unique dual power lever

This nailer is great for tacking carpet, doing furniture repairs, and so much more.

Heavy-duty
9.5
Outstanding driving power
9
Pros
  • Dual-power settings
  • Shoots staples or brads
Cons
  • No carrying case

Sometimes, you just don’t want battery-powered products. They make it harder if you’re not good at keeping things charged up. Well, this electric nail gun has a cord, so the power is steady, and the battery never runs out before finishing the job.

Stanley TRE550Z Electric Stapler and Brad Nailer - Best for Lightweight Use

However, the versatility of the Stanley nail gun doesn’t end there. You can shoot small brads and heavy-duty staples because it allows you to use different fasteners. This nailer is great for tacking carpet, doing furniture repairs, and so much more.

Just choose the length of the fastener and type you like depending on the job requirements.

With that, this power tool features an 8-foot cord. These nailers have a dual power setting level, which means you can switch high to low and work on soft or hard materials. Plus, the blunt-nosed design of these models ensures that you can get into tight spaces.

Features:

  • Depth Adjustment – Yes
  • Power Source – Corded Electric
  • Nail Capacity – Unknown
  • Type – Staples or Brads
  • Firing Mechanism – Sequential

BOSTITCH F21PL Pneumatic Framing Nailer

Best Framing Nailer
BOSTITCH has a ton of nailers, and the Pneumatic framing nailer shoots 1 1/2-inch to 3 1/2-inch nails through any type of wood or metal because of the quick-change nosepieces.
9.3Expert Score
Lightweight magnesium design for durability

This pneumatic nail gun offers bump fire action, but you can change the framing nailer to do sequential shots, too.

Impact
9.5
Performance
9
Pros
  • Easy to adjust the depth
  • Shoots metal and wood connectors
  • Suited for heavy-duty use
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Cons
  • No carrying case
  • Expensive

When you want top-notch products, the professional-grade framing nail gun is the best. Its operation and flexibility can handle larger requirements, but it does come at a higher price point.

BOSTITCH F21PL Pneumatic Framing Nailer

BOSTITCH has a ton of nailers, and the Pneumatic framing nailer shoots 1 1/2-inch to 3 1/2-inch nails through any type of wood or metal because of the quick-change nosepieces.

Ultimately, this pneumatic nail gun offers bump fire action, but you can change the framing nailer to do sequential shots, too.

You also get a push-button depth guide on the nailer to get your preferred depth while you’re moving around.

On top of it all, you can connect it to any air compressor with air hoses, and the gun has a range of between 80 to 120 PSI. At its max, the gun delivers about 1,050-inch-pounds of force. Though it could be more powerful than necessary for the work ahead, it does well for large requirements, such as a deck or home addition.

Features:

  • Depth Adjustment – Yes
  • Power Source – Air Compressor
  • Nail Capacity – 60
  • Type – Framing
  • Firing Mechanism – Bump Mode or Sequential

Freeman P4FRFNCB Pneumatic Nail Gun Combo Kit – Best Kit

Best Kit
There’s a full head for home construction, angle finishing for tight corners, a general nail gun for various projects, and a crown stapler for more delicate tasks.
9.3Expert Score
Powerful Combo

The set also features a canvas bag to hold all the nailers, so you can grab and go as needed.

Fine Detail
9.5
Heavy Duty
9
Pros
  • Easy to adjust the depth
  • Includes carrying bag
  • Four nail guns in one
Cons
  • Expensive
Freeman P4FRFNCB Pneumatic Nail Gun Combo Kit - Best Kit

No one ever said you had to use one nailer to get the job done. Sometimes, it’s better to have various tools on your site, especially for carpentry work and framing. Instead of buying multiple nailers, the Freeman Air Gun Combo Kit has four nail gun options that are all designed for functionality and quality.

Each nail gun has a different purpose. There’s a full head for home construction, angle finishing for tight corners, a general nail gun for various projects, and a crown stapler for more delicate tasks.

With a range of DIY projects available, you just need the compressor and air hoses to use the crown stapler or any of the others.

The set also features a canvas bag to hold all the nailers, so you can grab and go as needed. You’re sure to reach for it often, whether you’re handling furniture building or something else. Plus, a battery isn’t required, so you can plug it in and work effortlessly.

DIYers are sure to enjoy each feature of this product!

Features:

  • Depth Adjustment – Yes
  • Power Source – Air Compressor
  • Nail Capacity – Unknown
  • Type – Stapler, Finishing, Brad, Framing
  • Firing Mechanism – Bump Fire or Sequential

BOSTITCH BTFP3KIT 3-tool Compressor/Combo Kit

Best Compressor Combo Kit
The compressor and tank are included, so you don’t have to put off tasks until you get the best nail guns. Everything’s already there!
9.3Expert Score
Air compressor combo kit

In fact, you have three nail guns available, including a finish nail gun, brad nailer, and crown stapler. Use all of them on various DIY projects, such as when you finish carpentry or install molding.

Convenient impact
9.5
Fast and easy
9
Pros
  • Three nail guns in one
  • Includes the air compressor
Cons
  • Compressor could leak
  • High price

Many pneumatic nailers work with any compressor, but it can be helpful and cheaper if everything comes in the same package. When you get a combo kit like BOSTITCH, you have everything necessary to deal with your fastening work.

In fact, you have three nail guns available, including a finish nail gun, brad nailer, and crown stapler. Use all of them on various DIY projects, such as when you finish carpentry or install molding.

With that, the compressor and tank are included, so you don’t have to put off tasks until you get the best nail guns. Everything’s already there!

The air supply offers a 150-max PSI with a 6-gallon tank. Though you have to use the right nails for the product, you get tons of variety here. Carpenters everywhere want to get their hands on these tools, and the finish nailer and all the rest have what you need.

Features:

  • Depth Adjustment – Yes
  • Power Source – Air Compressor
  • Nail Capacity – 100
  • Type – Stapler, Finishing, Brad
  • Firing Mechanism – Sequential

Buyer’s Guide for a Nail Gun

The picks listed here are some of the best nailers out there. When you need to use a nail gun, it’s important to purchase the right option. With so many nail gun manufacturers, you don’t want to make errors.

DIYers often use these nailers for roof work, wood, and a variety of other requirements. For example, carpentry projects, craft projects, and everything else can be handled and made easier with these items. Let’s learn the method for choosing the right framing gun:

Type

There are various types of nail guns out there, and they’re usually differentiated by what size nail they shoot.

Framing nail guns are the larger ones of the group. Such tools use framing nails, which are sometimes called 16 penny nails. They’re usually 3.5 inches long and used for tough fastening jobs. You want a framing nailer if you’re adding rooms to your home, building a fence, or framing a deck.

With that, a framing nailer is a bigger gun, so it can take a lot of effort to use.

Finish nailers are helpful for many carpentry tasks, such as installing crown molding or baseboards. Ultimately, finish nailers shoot 15- to 16-gauge finish nails of up to 2.5-inches long.

A brad nail gun is the nail gun most DIYers use. It shoots 18-gauge brad nails of up to 2 inches long, but the most common is 1 1/2-inch nails. Ultimately, these are versatile tools and can be used for many applications.

You also have a pin nailer, which is mostly used to finish furniture. With that, the pin nailer shoots smaller nails called 23-gauge nails. Usually, they are 2 inches long for the pin nailer.

Roofing nail guns are specialty tools used to nail down shingles. Typically, you can use a roofing nailer for only one purpose. However, some people choose roofing nailers in place of flooring guns. Generally, you don’t need this option unless you’re a roofer.

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Power Source

There are two primary types of nailers – those powered by electricity and air.

Pneumatic/air-powered nail guns are highly powerful. You are tethered to the air hose while you use the tool, so the air hose’s length determines the freedom of movement here. Still, when you have to drive large nails for your projects, these are the best options.

Electric nail guns could be cordless or corded. Most people prefer a cordless tool because it has the power to handle mid-sized nails for most projects. However, battery life is crucial so that you don’t run out of power in your nail gun.

A corded tool eliminates that problem, but you are tethered to an electrical outlet.

Firing Mechanism

Nailers have either sequential or contact firing mechanisms. The contact or bump firing means that, if you’re pulling the trigger on the nail gun and touch the nose of that tool to the surface, it shoots out a nail.

Ultimately, you can move more quickly to each spot without having to press/release the trigger multiple times. Therefore, you gain speed with that choice but lose out on safety a bit.

Sequential firing means that you must pull and release your trigger between every nail. This can slow you down a bit, but it’s often safer because you reduce the risk of accidentally firing the nail before you’re ready.

Regardless, both firing modes come with some or all of the models mentioned in this review.

Prices

When you’re searching for the perfect nail gun tool, the prices are probably a deciding factor for you. While it’s easy to focus on firing modes and all the rest, you want to get a fair deal. Some of the products listed in this review are budget-friendly, and some are on the high end.

Regardless, make sure that you don’t focus solely on price. Otherwise, you run the risk of not getting the right tool for the job.

FAQs

Does Every Nail Gun Require a Compressor?

The powerful nailers are powered by air and require a compressor to operate. However, you can find electric nail guns that do well on everything but the biggest nails and hardest materials.

Those who go to a different job site frequently may find that an electric version is better for the many projects they have.

With that, though, there are a few corded guns, but most DIYers want cordless guns that use rechargeable batteries and can power through mid-sized nails with ease.

How Does a Battery-powered Nail Gun Work?

Battery-powered nail guns can be effective tools, but they’re simple in the design. Inside the tool, you see a rotating motor that tightly compresses the spring. As you pull the trigger on these battery-powered nailers, the spring releases abruptly, and the energy drives the nail from the tool into the material you’re holding the gun against.

Ultimately, you don’t get as much power from such tools as you do pneumatic ones, but they are still useful models. Just be aware that you probably don’t have multiple firing modes available with these options.

Are Nail Guns Generally Safe?

Yes, nail guns are considered safe to use when handled properly, but they are still responsible for many injuries each year. These are mostly to the fingers and hands.

Here is a safety tip or two to help you use this tool effectively:

  • Familiarize yourself with the use of nailers before using them. Know how to load your tool, the safety features available, and how to drive in nails properly.
  • Wear protective gear, such as gloves, safety goggles, and closed-toe shoes when using nailers. They are also loud, so consider earplugs or muffs if you’re working with large battery-powered nailers.
  • Turn the nail gun off, removing the battery, before you load it with nails, or remove one that is stuck.
  • Turn off your gun and remove its battery when you’re finished.
  • Don’t carry the tools against the body.
  • If possible, use it in sequential mode instead of bump mode. Sequential mode uses a two-step process for firing nails, so it adds a bit of safety. Alternatively, bump mode is faster, but if you’re not a professional construction worker, you probably don’t require speed for your woodworking projects.
  • Don’t aim the gun at anyone or shoot it if someone’s behind the material. The nail could go through soft or thin materials, striking someone and doing significant harm to them.
  • Use clamps instead of your hands to hold wood pieces together before fastening them with the nail gun. Make sure that your hands are away from the front before pulling the trigger.
  • Don’t shoot nail guns near combustible or flammable materials.
  • Move carefully and slowly while you work. Consider work lights to illuminate the job and focus on the design of the machine. With that, ensure that you have plenty of air pressure before shooting anything.

Conclusion

On your quest to find the best nail guns, you learned a bit about framing and what you require. There are so many tools out there, making it hard to select the right one. However, the Dewalt wins as the best nail gun today. Why?

It’s durable and tough, and this tool is very lightweight. Plus, the Dewalt nail gun pounds in every nail without making you sweat, allowing you to tackle any projects around the house and yard.

Any of the nailers on the list are a great option, though. Pick the tool that seems right for you, and there should be no problems!

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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