When you have a large amount of nailing to do, a nail gun can help you complete your work quickly and efficiently—and with significantly less manual effort. With so many options on the market, choosing the appropriate style of nail gun for your project can feel a bit overwhelming, but after reviewing the information below, you’ll be well-prepared to make your selection.
Are you looking for the best types of nail guns for your specific needs? We have an extensive guide to the best nail guns that provides you with far more information than you realized is even possible about nail guns, what they do, how they work, how to choose the best one, and our selections for the best nail guns. We highlight five specific models which each have their own extensive review as well:
- NuMax SFR2190 Nail Gun Review
- Bostitch Nail Gun Review
- Hitachi Nail Gun Review
- WEN 61720 Nail Gun Review
- Porter Cable Nail Gun Review
The 7 Types of Nail Guns
These heavy-duty tools are designed to handle tough jobs like constructing wood framing for residential or commercial construction. They can drive nails as large as 3.5 inches, which are ideal for fastening two-by-fours on projects like decks, fencing, wood siding, home remodeling and construction and wood sheathing.
Framing nailers come in round-head and clipped-head styles, with clipped-head styles offering greater capacity for high-volume tasks. Round-head nailers tend to be better-suited to meeting local building codes.
Like framing nailers, roofing nailers are primarily used for demanding tasks, typically by professional contractors. They are designed to quickly, firmly secure wood, shingles and other roofing materials. Roofing nailer styles include spring-loaded nailers; pneumatic nailers, which use an air compressor to drive the nail; and solenoid nailers, which rely on electromagnetic polarization for their power.
Flooring nailers are built for a very specific task: laying floorboards. They are one of the most specialized types of nail guns. As a result, their appearance is noticeably different from other types of nailers. To drive the nail, the user holds the gun at the edge of the board to be nailed, and a small mallet is deployed to strike a plunger. This design allows nails to be driven at uniform angles and depths every time. Flooring nailers may be manual or pneumatic, with the latter requiring less effort from the user.
Siding nailers are quite similar to framing nailers in both purpose and design. They are generally used to install wood or vinyl siding and use nails with wide heads in lengths ranging from 1.25 to 2.5 inches. If you’ll be installing aluminum siding, look for a model that will accept aluminum nails.
These petite tools fit in the palm of the user’s hand and are held in place with a strap, making them comfortable to use for long stretches. They may use pneumatic, electric or battery power, and they are an excellent choice for small projects, driving nails in tight areas and hanging joists. In contrast to other types of nail guns, palm nailers use single nails instead of coils or strips.
Pin nailers are ideal for finishing work, such as fastening crown molding, veneers, trim and some cabinetry. The tiny nails driven by this tool should not be used alone, but in conjunction with glue or other adhesive, and are often used to hold pieces in place until the adhesive dries. This is one of the most specialized and lightest types of nail guns.
Nails driven by brad nailers have slightly more robust holding power than those placed by pin nailers. They are frequently used for finishing, but can also accept larger 15-, 16- and 18-gauge nails. Brad nailers are good choices for trim, crown molding and baseboard work.