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A nail gun is a great tool to have in your DIY toolkit. With its ability to drive nails with excellent accuracy, a nail gun works much faster than a hammer. These power tools are designed to perform the same task, which is driving nails into various materials. However, there are different types of nail guns available. More importantly, each type of nail gun has its unique use since it’s designed to perform a specific task. For that reason, it’s important to choose the right type of nail gun depending on the project you intend to do.
To help you with that, I’ve analyzed the different types of nail guns in the market. Hopefully, this will help you determine the right nail gun type to use for your upcoming DIY project. So, let’s dive right into it!
Types of nails guns
1. Finishing Nail gun
Although they’re frequently used interchangeably with brad guns, finishing nail guns feature a stronger holding power. For that, they’re ideal for projects like furniture-making, cabinetry and other tasks that need high accuracy and precision.
For instance, you can also use them for other projects like molding and baseboard installation. However, they’re more likely to split thinner woods. As such, finishing guns may not be the best option for tasks such as trim installation.
That aside, finish nail guns have shorter & lighter gauge nails and are relatively short in length. Specifically, they can accommodate 14 – 16 gauge nails that are about 1 to 2.5” long. More notably, they usually feature an angular design, allowing them to reach tight spaces.
Note, 14- 16 gauge nails are stronger and thicker compared to the 18-gauge brad nails.
2. Brad Nail Gun
Considered the smallest type of nailer, brad nail guns are commonly used for specialized jobs such as carpet, light furniture and cabinets. More importantly, they’re the go-to nail gun when you’re finishing up work. For instance, they’re ideal for trim work on window casing and doors. Moreover, you can use them when installing crown molding and baseboards.
Another notable thing worth mentioning about this interior nail is that it uses 18 gauge nails. These types of nails are very small and practically invisible when you drive them into wood.
On the downside, brad nailers are not suitable for use on heavy trim and crown moldings since they lack the strength needed for such tasks. Instead, they’re ideal for installing lighter moldings and small trim.
3. Staple Nail Gun
Although staple nailers are different from other types of nail guns, they can be used to drive staples into various materials. Specifically, they’re commonly used in projects with upholstery or thinner wood sheets. In upholstery, these nailers are used to attach a piece of fabric to the chair/ sofa frame. While in home repair and carpentry, they’re used to fasten panels and boards. Also, you can use them to fix carpeting to floors or walls for soundproofing.
Similarly, you can use these nailers when building bird houses and other projects that an actual nail would cause potential splitting or be too abrasive.
4. Flooring Nail Gun
As the name suggests, this type of nail gun is intended for use in flooring. Also, it’s quite different from other nailers in terms of appearance. More notably, it’s designed to increase the speed of laying tongue-&-groove floorboards as it stands on the floor at right angle while firing nails.
For this nailer to work, you have to hold it at the edge of your floorboard where the nylon mullet hits the plunger. This approach ensures that the nails are driven at the right angle and same depth every time to deliver extreme accuracy.
The only limitation of this nailer is that it’s not very versatile since it can only be used to lay floorboards. Other than that, it’s ideal for firing nails on denser wood varieties.
5. Framing Nail gun
Framing nailers are the most popular and heaviest duty nail gun. As such, they work with various kinds of materials including some metals. This makes them ideal for several heavy-duty construction projects as well as industrial applications. In that regard, you can use them for household framing tasks, decks, fences, wood sheathing and other heavy-duty tasks.
Most finish nailer models feature tool-free depth-drive adjustment and interchangeable sequential & contact grip. Moreover, they can be further classified into 2 categories, namely; clipped head and round head. Clipped head framing nail guns can handle more nails than their round head counterparts, making them suitable for high-volume projects.
All in all, both options use 8 – 12.5” gauge nails with a length of about 2 to 3.5”. This compatibility with different nail sizes ensures proper flexibility for professional projects.
6. Siding Nail gun
A siding nail gun is a power nailer that is used to join a synthetic material or thinner wood pieces to a wooden mount. Like framing nailers, they’re suitable for projects that involve joining larger pieces of wood.
Regarding the compatible nail size, these nailers use shorter nails with wider heads between 1.25 and 2.5”. Better still, some models can be used with aluminum nails, making them ideal for fixing aluminum siding.
7. Roofing Nail gun
Roofing nailer is another type of heavy-duty nail gun that’s designed to handle various roofing materials including fiberglass, shingle and asphalt. In most cases, this nailer is used by professional contractors and serious DIYers.
One thing that sets this type of nailer from other nail guns is that it uses coil type pins that are different from regular fasteners. This design allows its magazine to hold more nails at a time. Better still, it improves the gun’s ergonomics by keeping the weight at the center of the magazine.
There are various types of roofing nail guns. They include; spring-loaded, solenoid and pneumatic nailers. As the name implies, spring loaded nailers use springs to fire the nails out the magazine chamber. On the contrary, pneumatic nail guns are powered by an air compressor, while solenoid nail guns are powered by electromagnetic polarization.
8. Palm Nailer
Palm nail guns are mini nailers that can comfortably fit in the palm of your hand. Most carpenters use this nailer to access tight spots like corners and narrow wood slabs. In addition, the nail gun provides precision you may not get with larger nailers. At the same time, it has excellent weight distribution, helping to reduce hand fatigue associated with larger guns. As such, you can use them for longer periods, thanks to their lightweight and compact nature.
Better still, these guns are relatively affordable and often come for free with larger nailers. Most palm nail guns can drive nails that are 1.5” – 3.5” long. However, you can also find heavy-duty models that drive nails that are about 2 – 6” long.
9. Pin Nailer
Pin nailers are small nail guns that are loaded with incredible fine & delicate 22- 23 gauge 1”headless nails. They don’t have much holding power and are commonly used as a reinforcement for glue. In general, they’re used for finishing in carpentry projects. But you can also use them for other projects like installing delicate trim pieces, crown molding, small furniture trim and thin veneers.
Now that you’ve a basic understanding of the different types of nail guns available, it will be much easier to choose the right one for your projects. In most cases, the name of the nail gun indicates the type of task it’s designed to handle. However, that’s not always the case, hence the need to understand the unique features of each type of nailer.