Nail guns are a very useful tool for carpentry work. Professionals, carpenters, builders are switching from the hammer to nail guns since it was invented.
Using a nail gun comes with a question and that is “What kind of nail gun do I need?”
Today, I’m going to give you some instructions on choosing the perfect nail gun for yourself.
Types of Nail Gun You Need
Before starting any wood-related project, you have to ensure what kind of nail gun you need based on the type of your work. Each type of nail gun has its very own uses.
First, you must know about the main types of nail gun –
- Framing nail gun
- Palm nail gun
- Finishing nail gun
- Roofing nail gun
- Siding nail gun
- Pin nail gun
- Brad nail gun
- Staple gun
- Flooring nail gun
These 9 nail guns are the main kind of nail guns. Next, I’ll tell you more about the nail guns and where to use them properly. Follow my instructions and this will help you to decide the kind of nail gun you need.
Nail Gun for Fencing & Framing
If you are working with fence pickets or wood fence, framing nail guns are the best choice for you.
Framing nail guns are the heaviest nailers. Framing nail guns are used on wood framing in heavy construction sites. These nailers are two types –
- Round head
- Clipped head
Clipped head nailers are used for heavy projects because they can hold more nails than round head nailers. Now, if you are working on heavy wood framing projects, you need to use clipped head nailers.
Round head nail guns are used for smaller projects like fencing or fence pockets nailing. Basically, round head nailers are used for small interior works in our properties.
Framing nailers are generally –
- Pneumatic framing nail gun
This is the most common framing nail gun. A pneumatic nail gun is run by an air compressor connected to the gun by a hose. Its lightweight and can be used in limited length because of the air hose.
- Cordless framing nail gun
Cordless framing nail guns are comparably new in the edition running fully by battery. A 20-volt lithium-ion battery can create enough punch for it and you need to keep some spare batteries for further uses.
- Gas framing nail gun
A gas cartridge is needed to provide power to this nail gun. Gas cartridge is ignited by an electric jolt that drives the nail into deep lumber. This tool was popular when it was released, although pneumatic and cordless are becoming more reliable.
Before working with a framing nail gun, you need to know about what size nails for framing nail gun you need.
Framing nail guns are designed with depth-drive adjustment feature that allow you to set the driving depth of your nail based on your project.
Framing nail guns can work with nails up to 3 ½” and these nails are used to join 2×4’s which is suitable for joining fence pickets. Nail gun magazine holds these nails in a framing nail gun.
Degree of a framing nail gun is also an important factor. To get the best result in nailing, you need to know what degree nail gun is best for framing.
Framing nail guns come in various angles –
21-degree framing nail guns are capable of driving full round head nails and best for working in tight spaces. These nail guns eject plastics while nailing, so always wear safety glasses when you are working with one.
21-degree framing nail gun generally holds smaller clips of nails. You can expect more frequent reloading when working with this type of nail gun. Lightweight feature of a 21-degree nail gun is very user-friendly and makes it efficient.
28-degree framing nail guns are also low angled framing guns but capable of holding twice as many nails than 21-degree framing nail guns. This type of gun is capable of driving three styles of nails –
- Offset head
- Clipped head
- Full round head
30-degree and 34-degree framing nail guns are the best option for you. Generally, they can hold up to 80 nails each in two nail strips and commonly seen in the construction site.
If you are looking for an overall performance in nailing for framing, I would recommend you go for a 30-degree framing nail gun because of their versatile characteristics. They are also a good choice for fencing.
15-degree framing nail guns are the heaviest and they use a massive coil of nearly 300 nails. Only if you are determined to work on something really big, then go for a 15-degree framing nail gun.
Freeman PFR2190 is the one of the best framing nailers available on the market now.
Nail Gun for Baseboards & Trim
Trim or baseboard trim in wood-related projects are mainly used for the finishing part. Finishing type nail guns are the best choice for trim work including Hardie trim, baseboard/MDF baseboard trim.
Brad nailers are the best option for finishing work in carpentry and they are compatible with larger nails like – 18-gauge. Pneumatic brad nailer is mostly used by professionals.
Before using a brad nailer, you need to know some basics about it. There are several differences between a finishing nailer and a brad nailer. Brad nailers are slightly smaller than the finishing tools on the market. The magazines in brad nailers aren’t angled like framing or finishing nailers and don’t have a nail head.
The gauge of a brad nail gun is a measure of its diameter. The higher the number of gauge, the thinner the nail and vice versa. Brad nailers are mainly two types –
- Pneumatic( smaller in size, uses very less air for the nails, recharge times are short)
- Cordless( battery-powered, needs frequent battery changing)
If you are working on interior carpentry, suppose, installing baseboards then 15 or 16-gauge brad nailer would be the best option for you. 15 or 16-gauge brad nailer can fire up to 2-1/2 inches nails, which is the most suitable size for trim or baseboard/MDF baseboard trim.
One advantage of the 15-gauge brad nail gun is that the nails are collated at an angle, which allows the nose of the nailer to reach into tighter spaces.
16-gauge brad nail gun is the nail gun for exterior trim. Sometimes, you need to join trims outside of your house and 16-gauge nails are perfect for this. If you are looking for a nail gun for skirting then you also can go with brad nail guns.
Finishing nailers are also used for –
- Crown molding
- Thin veneers
- Small furniture trim
Bostitch, DeWalt, Numax, Hitachi brand’s finishing nailers are the best nail gun for trim/baseboard trim. BOSTITCH 15-Gauge 1-1/4-Inch to 2-1/2-Inch Angled Finish Nailer is the top-rated one in the market now.
Nail Gun for Siding
Installing siding, joining thinner pieces of wood or a synthetic material to a wooden mount is done by siding nail guns. Siding nail guns are powerful like framing nail guns. Siding nail guns are used to join larger pieces of wood.
It is seen that sometimes people use framing nail guns for siding, but I would not recommend you going for that. Because framing nail guns are too big for installing any kind of wood siding. Siding nail guns are normally 5 LBS in weight where framing nail guns go around 8-9 LBS.
There are significant differences between a framing nail gun and a siding nail gun. The major difference is the nail size of both guns.
You’ll notice that framing needs much larger nail that can penetrate deep and offer great holding strength, siding does not require that much support. Siding nail ranges from 1-1/4″ up to 2-1/2″ in length where framing nails can go up to 3-1/2″.
Siding nail guns are popular for fiber cement siding (Hardie board) and wood siding applications and if you are into any of these, go for the siding nail gun. For these applications, Bostitch N66C-1 Coil Siding Nailer is the best on the market available now.
On the other hand, vinyl siding is typically hanged not nailed as it needs to expand and contact.
If you are working on cedar siding or cladding then go for 15 or 16 gauge brad nail guns. It’s a good choice for installing cedar siding in your interior projects and makes the job easy for you.
Nail Gun for Flooring
Flooring nail guns are uniquely designed than the other nail guns and they are used for wood-flooring projects. Laying tongue-and-groove floorboards is a significant feature of flooring nail guns.
To use a flooring nail gun, you have to hold it at the edge of the board to ensure the driven angle and depth every time.
There are mainly three types of flooring nail gun –
Air-powered nail guns or pneumatic nail guns are best for creating consistent power which helps you to complete the job quickly. If you have the floor set in place, then pneumatic flooring nail gun would be the best option.
Cordless flooring nail guns provide more range than pneumatic nail gun. It needs a gas cartridge to run – the battery delivers an electric charge that ignites the gun. If you have spare gas cartridges ready using a cordless flooring nail gun would be more flexible.
Manual flooring nail guns are controlled by the person using it. So, if you are using a manual flooring nail gun you can control the depth or the way of nailing. These nail guns are comparably cheaper and give you a satisfying crunch when pressing the nails.
If you confused about what type of nail gun for hardwood flooring/wood flooring you need, then go for flooring nail guns and choose the best controlling type i.e. pneumatic/cordless you prefer.
Nail Gun for Concrete
There are some nail guns designed for concrete specifically and they are officially known as power-actuated nail guns. Concrete nail guns goes under different names such as gun nailer, twenty-two (.22) nailer, power nailer, or by the trademarked brand name Ramset.
A concrete nail gun consists of a barrel and a firing pin. The nail is driven by actual gunpowder from a modified .22 shell. When the trigger is pulled, a firing pin strikes back of the shell and gas from the explosion escapes through the barrel.
Concrete nail guns are used for –
- Basement finishing
- Attaching electric boxes(metal) to a concrete wall
- Attaching bookshelves or any kind of shelves to the brick wall
A concrete nail gun is riskier than other nail guns to use. So, you have to maintain some safety issues to handle this gun and you should follow these tips –
- Always load the nail gun first and it can prevent you from severe accidents.
- Keep the concrete nail gun barrel away from your body. The explosion gas escapes through the barrel and it creates pressure in it that might cause harm to your body and surroundings.
- Provide adequate pressure to handle the nail gun, otherwise, it won’t work properly.
- Keep the nail gun perpendicular to the work surface.
- A concrete nail gun creates a loud bang, so you need to ensure hearing protection.
Dewalt and Ramset are the two most popular brands for producing nail gun for concrete.
Follow these instructions carefully. I’ve described which nail gun you need and which sizes of nails are preferred for the project, this will help you to choose your nail according to your job.
FAQ Related What Kind of Nail Gun Do You Need
Can I Use Nail Gun For Dry Wall?
First of all, drywall isn’t really for nailing. If you use nail guns for drywall, it won’t last much longer because it can’t provide that much strength. Drywall are put up with screws and for that, you’ll have to decide between thread type and length.
Using nails rather than screws for drywalls is way cheaper and quicker. If you want to use nail guns for dry walls, roofing nail guns would be the best choice.
Although I would not recommend nails over screws for drywall. It is always better to use screws to install drywall.
Where Can I Find Nail Gun For Hire/Sale?
On the internet, you will find thousands of nail gun for sale.
Amazon, eBay, DeWalt, nail gun depot and many more websites/companies are selling nail guns every day. You can buy your preferred nail guns from them.
If you want to hire a nail gun, then contact a local shop that works with wood-related projects.
Will a Nail Gun Go Through Brick/Concrete?
Yes, a nail gun will go through brick or concrete. You need to use nail guns that are designed for concrete nailing. Although these nail guns are not that much used in our households, you can use it for your own purpose.
My Final Words for You
Choosing a nail gun for your wood projects might seem confusing. If you follow the instructions I’ve said, you will not face any problems regarding what kind of nail gun do I need. Still, if you have any query, feel free to post a comment on the comment box below.