Power Tool Buying Guide for Nail Guns

A nailer is not only a fun power tool but also a handy power tool.  A good nail gun can sink thousands of nails a day without even breaking a sweat.

Nail Gun Power Types

Pneumatic – A pneumatic nail requires air to power the nailer, which means you also have to have a compressor.  Pneumatic nailers are extremely powerful which means you won’t have to trace your work and try and reset nails.  The downside is you have to deal with an air hose and a loud compressor

Battery + Fuel – These are considered cordless tools since you don’t need air to power them.  The tool uses a very small battery and also a fuel cartridge.  These tools aren’t as powerful as the pneumatic, but more powerful than battery along.  The chamber fills up with the gas from the cartridge and then the battery helps produce a small spark and light the gas, which gives it a huge push on the piston to drive the nail.

Battery – These nailers work off battery only which means the batteries have to be bigger than the battery fuel type of tools.  These are great because there is no extra cost with the fuel, they tend to be a little less reliable than the two types of nailers mention above.


Nail Gun Types

  • Stick – A stick nail gun uses nails that come in a single flat row. They are held together by a thin layer of glue, so they are easy to put into the gun.
  • Coil – A coil nailer uses a long flexible string of nails and a inserted into the round holder of the nail gun.  A coil allows  as many as 350 nails.

Nail Gun Applications

  • Brad Nailer – Uses smaller nails that are used for precision work
  • Finish Nailer – Long skinny nails used for trim and molding.
  • Roofing Nailer – Used for attaching shingles on a roof.
  • Framing Nailer – The granddaddy of them all.  Uses large nails and is designed for high speed and high power work.  Attaching large pieces of material together.

Nail Gun Features

  • Exhaust – Allows the user to direct where the exhaust air is expelled.
  • Jam Feature – These tend to jam, make sure there is easy access, which most have, to clear jams.
  • Depth Adjustment – Allows the user to adjust the depth or how far the nail goes into the material.
  • Trigger – Look for a large trigger, since you will have gloves on and will be using it a long time.
  • Case – Get one with a nice case that will hold a lot of nails, it’s easier to carry one thing instead of three.
  • Connector – Most models come with a swivel connector on the end.  Make sure you get this.  My first gun didn’t have one and it was awful.
  • Nail Adjustment – Make sure you can easily change the size of the nail the gun accepts.