Investing in a nail gun can help your jobs go faster and provide more power behind your nails, but did you know there are several different types of nail guns? They aren’t all created for the same purpose (aside from nailing nails), and each one is suitable for different jobs.
Before you panic, this nail gun buying guide will allow you to find the right tool for the job. Use our information to help ensure you have the nail gun you need.
Types of Nail Guns
You’ll need to look at the types of projects you’re deciding to do and choose the nail gun accordingly. Here are the major types.
These heavy-duty nailers are used for big jobs like framing up construction or working on decking. They’re compatible with nails up to three and a half inches, a larger nail that can handle two by fours and other large pieces.
To learn more about framing nailers read this article: Best Framing Nailer For Your Projects
Flooring Nail Gun
Flooring nail guns are designed to ensure that every flooring nail is driven into the tongue and groove sections of flooring at the same depth and angle. They don’t work for anything other than laying flooring and don’t have the versatility of other nail guns.
Palm Nail Gun
These mini nail guns provide the versatility to work in tight and confined spaces with a variety of nail sizes. These may get tiring after a while because of their palm placement. However, they can give you some variety in price and offer efficient cordless versions.
To learn more about palm nailers read this article: Best Palm Nailer For Your Project
Roofing nail guns work with only one type of job: laying shingles for roofing. They’re heavy-duty and will help finish a job quickly, but you won’t have the versatility of other tasks. They’re usually only for professional contractors or crews.
Siding Nail Guns
Instead of using metal nails, siding nailers use synthetic materials or wood to join pieces together. They’re best with larger pieces of wood and other materials, but you won’t have the option to work with smaller projects. These are usually available to professionals.
Pin Nail Guns
If you work in intricate carpentry or things with fine details, a pin nailer can provide the type of detail work you need to finish furniture work or other similar projects. This is perfect if larger nails would split the wood piece you’re working with. Use these if you work exclusively with tiny nails.
Brad nailers are very similar to pin nailers, but they can accommodate a much larger nail if necessary. These are good options for hobbyist or DIYers who don’t always work on the same types of projects. They’re also common during the last stages of contracting work.
Finishing Nail Guns
Contractors also use a finishing nail gun for similar projects as a brad nailer. They accommodate still slightly larger nails and allow you to work with things like crown molding. Finish nails will be able to hold longer and better than other smaller nails.
There are two basic types of triggers. Consider if you’re prioritizing speed or accuracy with the different types.
- Bounce type triggers — These allow you to depress the trigger once and deploy a nail each time you touch or bounce the gun. These are great for speed when nailing a large number of nails at once.
- Sequential firing triggers — These deploy only one nail per trigger. They’re slower, but allow you to line up your nail at the precise location and angle you need.
Working outdoors with decking or framing will go a lot more easily with bounce triggers. Precise work will do better with sequential triggers, so you have time for accuracy.
There are three types of drive types. Nails need some sort of power to leave the nail gun and secure themselves into the material you need to fasten.
- Pneumatic nail guns — Pneumatic nail gun uses compressed air to drive nails into the material. These are powerful but will require an air compressor and compatible hosing to operate.
- Gas-powered nail guns — These use a traditional fuel cell to power the nail, but they’re heavier and costlier. However, you won’t need all the extra parts to operate the gun. They use small amounts of fuel to power the forward trajectory of the nail.
- Cordless nail guns — This type of cordless portable nailer use a small battery to help drive nails. You won’t be able to nail all day long, but it is easier to use in a pinch when you don’t want to drag out a compressor and a hose. The motor is the driving force behind the nail gun.
Selecting The Right Nail Gun
Working out what type of nailer you need is a matter of asking yourself a series of questions.
Do I Need Speed or Accuracy?
When speed is critical, a more substantial, bounce trigger will be your best bet. These will provide you with the speed and power you need to safely secure your nails while preventing you from working for hours upon end just to nail things in a row.
Accuracy matters whether it requires roofing nailers, brad nailers, framing nailers, finish nailers or other nailers, smaller nail guns with sequential triggers provide the lightweight and accurate nail pattern you need. You’ll feel less fatigue even if you’re working for longer, and you’ll be able to control your nail location, angle, and depth.
What Types of Nails Do I Need?
When you’re building a deck, you need large nails that will keep your boards safely joined. Larger nails will split your expensive crown molding, however. The types of jobs you usually complete will help you determine your most likely nail gun.
Look at your nail stash. Which ones are always needing replenishing after you work on a project? That will tell you if you need a super small nail gun that can get into tight spaces or something hefty like a pneumatic framing gun that will ensure strength and security.
What Features Do I Need?
Nail guns also feature a plethora of other convenient features designed to make the entire process much more comfortable.
- Belt hooks — For small, portable options, a belt hook allows you to carry your nail gun safely on your belt to keep your hands free. Pull it out when you need to finish something off.
- Storage space — Onboard storage allows you to store extra fasteners and other small bits. It offers a convenient space and even more hands-free operations.
- Adjustable depth — Wheels and slides will help ensure that each nail goes precisely to the depth you require for a more uniform look without as much work on your part.
- Swivel hoses — If you decide to use a pneumatic nail gun, a swivel hose ensures that you’re able to position the hose the way you need for convenience.
- Safety features — Do your research on any nail gun you’re thinking about buying to ensure that you know exactly how to operate the nail gun safely. Different safety features to prevent accidental firing and other hazards will help keep you safe.
What Is My Budget?
You do have a good range of prices for your nail gun, so once you’ve decided on the type, do some research on the best nail gun that’s in your price range.
You can find a good, all-purpose nail gun for DIY for an affordable price point that will give you the safety features you need and help ensure that you’re able to produce quality results.
Balance the features you need to get the job done right without prioritizing money over everything else or spending too much.
How Often Will I Use It?
Using a nail gun regularly may have you leaning towards cordless options and lighter weight versions. Before you decide that, you may also consider how long your actual projects go.
A more substantial bounce nailer, for example, may actually facilitate quicker jobs than a lightweight succession nailer will, thus causing less fatigue. Depending on how and how often you work, you may want to decide on specific models over others.
It is helpful to have tools that make your chosen nail gun more convenient. Belt hooks or a swivel hose could make even heavy, or compressor connected nail guns more convenient overall.
Your Nail Gun Dreams Realized
When you decide on a nail gun, it will be easier to complete your projects with greater accuracy or greater speed and less fatigue. These are a staple of DIY toolkits and allow you to expand what you can do beyond just a hammer and nails.
Whether you’re framing and doing large scale projects or handling intricate woodwork, these nail gun types will allow you just the power and precision you crave. They’re easy to work on and can help you beyond measure.
Each of these options is good for different things, but DIY gurus will do well with a basic Brad nailer. This can accomplish a wide variety of projects and help out where needed. Plus, you’ll have the power behind your projects. Now, you can upgrade and finish every project on your list in record time.