The right tool brings you great confidence when tackling a tough DIY job. Some may feel intimidated by nail guns which could seem a little too difficult (and dangerous) to use unless you’re a professional. While this line of thinking could easily apply to your average person, a die-hard DIY enthusiast won’t be afraid to put this kind of tool to good use in any home improvement project.
If you’re reading this article, you’re probably already decided and wish to buy a nail gun. Here you’ll find the best products, but you need to be aware that not all nail guns accomplish the same purpose. Some of the most common types you’ll find are brad and finish nailers. The first uses extremely small nails and represents an essential tool for lots of intricate woodworking tasks. Finish nailers take advantage of high-gauge nails and can work nicely for larger furniture projects.
Making the right choice for a nail gun depends on many factors, but to take some of the guesswork out, this article will present you with only the best products available right now on the market. This selection was made with careful consideration for aspects such as budget, power source, nailer type, durability, and many more.
1. WEN 61720
Considered by many the most intuitive nail gun to use on the market, the WEN 61720 represents a great investment for any DIY enthusiast who’s into home improvement. While in its price category there are lots of low-quality options available, this unit stands out over the rest as it’s reliable and easy to operate.
As long as you have a compressor which provides up to 120 PSI, this brad nailer can become a valuable tool to have in your home. The cast-aluminum body combined with the rubberized handle looks fairly standard. The important part is that it’s a practical tool which doesn’t take very long to start putting it to good use. Pneumatic tools are prone to jamming more frequently so you can expect some issues to appear with this model as well. Thankfully, the nailer has a clever mechanism for clearing jams as quickly as possible.
The tool works in a straightforward manner and accomplishes most basic tasks without requiring you to spend too much. Considering the price, the WEN 61720 is worth every cent for what it can do. The fact that you don’t have to worry about a complex maintenance process is another plus.
2. Hitachi NT50AE2
If you’re searching for a high-quality brad nailer, look no further than the Hitachi NT50AE2. It packs quite a punch for its relatively low cost as it’s capable of professional-level results. One of the first features you’ll notice is the ergonomic design and low weight which makes maneuvering it a breeze. The grip and trigger are well designed to ensure the best comfort during use.
Performance-wise, this brad nailer doesn’t disappoint. It can handle all sorts of jobs, even the more delicate ones. Misfires and jams seem to be a rarity with this tool which is great news. You can use this unit with various nail types from 5/8- to 2-inches. The tool requires a bit of maintenance, but don’t worry, nothing too complicated needs to be done. It should remain in great shape if you simply oil it regularly.
The air inlet on this pneumatic nailer is fixed which could be considered a slight drawback for some. You’re going to be less flexible as there’s no swivel mount. Fortunately, you can swivel the exhaust port at least to keep it away from you during finish work. All in all, Hitachi managed to create a performant tool in a compact and durable aluminum design. Great value for the cost.
3. Ryobi P320 Airstrike
Those who are thinking about making the switch to a cordless nail gun will probably love a tool like the Ryobi P320 Airstrike. The term ‘Airstrike’ in its name stands for the patented technology used by the nailer. Basically, it draws its power from an 18-volt battery delivering built-in noiseless air compression. Lots of other interesting goodies are available here.
With the help of a selectable drive shift, you can toggle between different operation modes. The nailer can fire an impressive 60 nails in a single minute at its maximum speed. This is when engaging the contact actuated mode. That’s great for certain jobs, but sometimes you need precision placement. For this purpose, you can switch to the single sequential mode.
To achieve the best results, this brad nailer features an adjustment dial for the air pressure as well as a depth-of-drive setting. There’s a lot of quality packed in such a compact nailer and considering its portability and cost, getting this model is a no-brainer. The Ryobi P320 Airstrike is highly recommended for those who need to work in more difficult spaces where an air compressor just gets in the way.
4. Hitachi NT65MA4
Getting a reliable finish nailer can make a huge difference for a wide range of carpentry projects. One model that seems very appreciated on this crowded market is the Hitachi NT65MA4 which boasts a fully tool-less design. This is a pneumatic unit that’s capable of firing 15-gauge angled fasteners and can accommodate any nail length as long as it’s within 1-1/4 to 2-1/2 inches.
Like we’ve come to expect from Hitachi nail guns, this model too features a very ergonomic design built for extra comfort during long-term use. The magazines are 34-degree angled and its rubber grip allows the user to be in full control when working. Both contact and sequential nailing options are available for this model, as well as convenient nail depth adjustment.
Jams can happen sometimes with pneumatic nailers, but this tool has been designed to be quick and easy to clear in the event of a stuck nail. Whether you plan on installing door casings or base moldings, doing some exterior trim or some cabinet project, this tool is fit for the job. Lightweight and efficient, the Hitachi NT65MA4 is one of the best nail guns in its class.
5. DEWALT DC608K
If you’re serious about trimming work and more advanced furniture projects, getting a powerful cordless brad nailer is the way to go. One solid example is the DEWALT DC608K which is strong enough to drive nails even through hard woods. Dragging an air compressor everywhere can be less than ideal in many situations, so this electric tool might be exactly what you need.
When you’re making the switch from a pneumatic unit to a cordless nail gun it will probably feel strange until you get used to it. You can work in a much more flexible manner and considering the universal compatibility with 18-volt battery packs from DeWalt, you can easily keep working by using spare batteries. Operating this nail gun is a breeze as its straight box style magazine permits quick loading of the nails.
Overall, the tool performs as expected. There are no flaws that pose problems, so that’s why the DEWALT DC608K is a recommended pick for a brad nailer. The added weight compared to a similar pneumatic unit isn’t really an issue as some people prefer the extra stability that comes with it. It’s definitely worth it for the versatility alone, even though it manages to keep up with the performance of air nailers.
6. NuMax SFN64
One of the most convenient and efficient 16-gauge finish nailers on the market is the NuMax SFN64. It manages to strike a solid balance between performance and reliability to face any demanding trimming job head-on. The price tag of this tool is leaning heavily towards pocket-friendliness, so this model has some great potential.
Thanks to its aluminum build which isn’t very common in this price bracket, this finish nailer earns some solid points when it comes to durability. The tool makes use of 1 to 1 1/2 inch gauge nails suitable for most trim tasks. One aspect that makes it very convenient to work with regarding this model is the depth adjustment that requires no extra tools. You’ll never have to worry about nail heads going deeper than needed. Make the right corrections and you’ll get consistently accurate results every time.
There’s no such thing as a jam-free nail gun, but this unit seems to handle this problem well. Its efficient jam release system allows you to get back to work almost immediately by quickly clearing the jam without having to dismantle the whole nailer. That being said, this tool seems to suffer from a slightly higher frequency of jams compared to similar models. All in all, the NuMax SFN64 still represents a great finish nailer when you weigh the pros against the cons.
7. DEWALT DWFP12231
Another DeWalt nail gun we’ll cover in this list is the DWFP12231, a pneumatic nailer designed for hassle-free maintenance and decent all-around performance. No matter the project, this unit seems durable enough to handle it. There are some nice improvements to its design to ensure a comfortable operating experience such as the anti-grip slip and ergonomic trigger.
Like other pneumatic nailers, this model has been designed to blend well a lightweight design with some decent performance. It’s built to be as user-friendly as possible allowing you to start operating it without spending too much time reading manuals. Getting to finishing your DIY project quickly seems to be the main purpose of this tool as it offers a smooth trigger, non-marring nose tip, and easy depth adjustment.
Anyone in the market for a reliable nail gun should take into account the DEWALT DWFP12231 brad nailer. Even if you only work on basic tasks, this model makes you look like a professional and the final results will be much more satisfying. A decent all-around option, this tool provides durability, user-friendliness, and comfort at a fair price.
8. SENCO FinishPro 18MG
Senco is a popular manufacturer of nail guns and one of their models that received a lot of praise in the DIY community is the FinishPro 18MG. It’s built to be sturdy in your hand thanks to the addition of magnesium without sacrificing maneuverability. Another important highlight is the oil-free motor which stays productive for longer. Let’s see what else this brad nailer can do for its reasonable cost.
As this is an 18-gauge unit, there shouldn’t be any issues as long as you use the correct nail lengths. Switching between sequential and bump shooting modes is done by giving a small push to the red button placed right on the trigger. This is a pneumatic finish nailer which lacks an inlet plug in the package so you will need to get one separately.
The performance on this one is more than satisfactory and the small size of the tool definitely helps in certain situations. It can tackle pretty much any basic or medium trimming task. Should a jam occur, the unit has a clever mechanism for resuming work as soon as possible. As it’s truly a pleasure to use and considering the overall value for the cost, the SENCO FinishPro 18MG deserves a mention in this article of best nail guns on the market.