Nail Gun

8 Best Nail Guns (2021 Review)

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Nail guns are the ultimate solution to swinging a hammer (and occasionally missing)! They should be easy to use and extremely accurate. When choosing a nail gun its power should be your first consideration. Some are portable and battery-powered, some are electric and some are pneumatic. If you choose a battery powered nail gun you will need to factor in the cost of the battery and charger (unless you are going for a cordless Ryobi nail gun and already have other One+ power tools).

You should also consider how you are going to use the nail gun – do you want a heavy duty 16 gauge brad nailer or a light weight 18 gauge nailer that also incorporates a stapler function? The nail or staple length will vary between nail guns so you may well want to compare this feature. All nail guns feature sequential mode firing, but the best nail guns also feature bump or contact mode for rapid fastening.

The best nail guns should also include such features as jam release, lock-off to prevent accidental firing, and non-marring pads to protect surrounding surfaces. You’ll also want to consider the weight of the nail gun (including the battery if cordless) particularly if you are planning jobs that take some time.

Whatever nail gun you’re searching for, I’ve done the hard work for you. These are a collection of the best nail guns available right now. Let’s explore them further…

What is the Best Nail Gun For You?

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Comparing the Best Nail Guns

Use the dropdown to sort the table by the feature that's most important to you.

  • Best For
  • Type
  • Fixings
  • Power
  • Brad Nail Gauge
  • Brad Nail Length
  • Staple Length
  • Mode
  • Weight
  • Cost
  • Our score
  •  

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In-Depth Reviews of Our Recommended Nail Guns

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Ryobi One+ 18G AirStrike Cordless NailerRyobi One+ 18G AirStrike Cordless Nailer

Best cordless nail gun for 2nd fix

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.25
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Ryobi One+ 18G AirStrike Cordless Nailer Review

Specifications

  • Type: Cordless
  • Fixings: Brad Nails
  • Power: 18V Bare
  • Brad Nail Gauge: 18ga
  • Brad Nail Length: 15-50mm
  • Staple Length : n/a
  • Mode: Sequential & Bump
  • Weight: 2.5kg

The Ryobi ONE+ Airstrike 18G is probably the best battery powered nail gun for 2nd fix you can get hold of. It’s incredibly easy to use, takes a decent range of nail lengths, and can be set to continuous fire mode.

Japanese tool experts Ryobi are well favoured for their excellent range of DIY and garden tools that make use of the ONE+ battery system. It means you can power anything from a lawn mower to a hammer drill with the same battery. This brad nailer comes as a “bare” tool, so you’ll have to use the 18V battery from your Ryobi drill or purchase one separately.

The first thing that caught my attention when testing out this nail gun is how simple it is to use. I like how quickly you can dial in the pressure using the rear selector and then fine tune the firing with the adjuster wheel. Ryobi have made it as easy as placing the nails where you want them and choosing exactly how deep they’ll be fired in.

Clearing stuck brad nails is simple as well. The nose portion can be unclipped without using either tools or much effort. The magazine can be loaded up with a range of nail lengths and it’ll even tell you when you’re nearly out. Overall, it’s light enough at just 2.5 kg and feels good in the hand. I love it.

Pros

  • The lack of noticeable recoil is brilliant. You can fire this brad nailer all day without hurting your arm.
  • The non-marring nose pads do the trick. You can work on the lightest colour timber without making a mark.
  • Having a low-nail indicator is useful. It’ll save you a few trips up and down a ladder!
  • The depth selector and fine adjustment wheel are simple to use and work well.

Cons

  • If you use this brad nailer with a high Ah battery it starts to get heavy. 2.5 kg without the battery or nails is quite a lot to carry around.
  • Some users have found that the Airstrike 18G doesn’t like the cold. Keep it in the house and it will work fine.
  • The firing direction is parallel with the top of the nail gun. You can’t put nails into the tightest corners easily.
  • Some users have questioned the Airstrike 18G’s reliability.
BUY HERE →

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Makita AF506 18G Brad NailerMakita AF506 18G Brad Nailer

Best pneumatic nail gun for 2nd fix

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.5
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Makita AF506 18G Brad Nailer Review

Specifications

  • Type: Air / Pneumatic
  • Fixings: Brad Nails
  • Power: 70-120psi / 4.8-8.2bar
  • Brad Nail Gauge: 18ga
  • Brad Nail Length: 15-50mm
  • Staple Length : n/a
  • Mode: Sequential & Bump
  • Weight: 1.3kg

Japanese tool giants Makita are well respected by tradespeople and DIYers across the world. They haven’t let their fans down with the AF506 nail gun, it’s one of the best pneumatic nail guns for 2nd fix you can get for the money.

Equipped with sequential fire mode as well as single shot, you’ll be blasting the best 18 gauge nail gun at high speed before you know it.

It’s a slim and light weight brad nail gun that operates up to a massive 120 psi. It carries up to 100 18 gauge brad nails at a time, with a handy viewing window in the magazine to see when they’re running out. It’s what you’d expect from a premium Makita product- one of the best brad nailers available right now.

Pros

  • The expected Makita build quality is clear. The body is all metal and the trigger assembly is solid and professional feeling.
  • The tool-free adjustment dial is accurate. You can dial in the depth by just a fraction of a millimetre when you need to.
  • The reversible belt hook is essential if you plan on climbing a ladder with this pneumatic nail gun.
  • The air blast feature is great. You can clear sawdust away from the workpiece with the press of a button.
  • Removing the nail guide assembly to clear jams is easy.

Cons

  • You need to invest in an air compressor setup to get this pneumatic nail gun working. It’s not ideal for beginners.
  • You’re limited to firing brad nails only. This isn’t a versatile nailer and stapler in one.
  • You won’t get an LED work light on a pneumatic nailer. You’ll have to illuminate the workpiece some other way.
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Tacwise 1564 Hobby Cordless Nail GunTacwise 1564 Hobby Cordless Nail Gun

Best cordless staple gun

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.25
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Tacwise 1564 Hobby Cordless Nail Gun Review

Specifications

  • Type: Cordless
  • Fixings: Staples & Brad Nails
  • Power: 4V + USB Charger
  • Brad Nail Gauge: 18ga
  • Brad Nail Length: 10mm
  • Staple Length : 6-12mm
  • Mode: Sequential & Bump
  • Weight: 1.6kg

One of the most respected specialist fastening brands out there, Tacwise have been making some of the best nail and staple guns for more than 50 years. The 53-13EL cordless nail and staple gun is a lightweight tool for small brad nails and staples. It’s more like a traditional stapler than a heavy duty nail gun.

This handy little cordless staple and nail gun is great for hobbies. It weighs just over 1 kg. It can still put staples or brad nails into wood without much effort at all. It’s probably the simplest little nail gun I’ve had a chance to use as well. There are no dials to fiddle with, it’s simply a case of load it up and get firing.

The internal 4V battery is strong enough for lighter stapling and nailing jobs. It’s an ideal tool for an upholsterer or if you need to put up lots of posters. It’s not designed to replace a carpenter’s nail gun and can’t take 50 mm long nails, but it certainly beats a traditional manual stapler.

Charging up the non-removable battery with a micro-USB makes this a particularly handy tool to have around. However, if it runs out of juice, you’ll have to wait around before you can start working again. It’s my only gripe against what is otherwise the best electric staple gun I’ve tried out.

Pros

  • Simplicity itself. Load it up with nails or staples and get to work. No dials or levers to worry about.
  • Compared to a manual stapler, the effort required is virtually nil. It’s ideal for anyone that can’t handle a heavy manual stapling mechanism.
  • The LED work light makes it easy to see where you’re putting in staples or nails.
  • USB charging is great. You probably have a drawer full of chargers for this stapler already!
  • The storage pouch is a nice touch. Everything fits inside and makes it easy to store.

Cons

  • Don’t try and load this up with 50 mm brad nails. The maximum nail length is just 10 mm.
  • Having an integrated Li-Ion battery means that when it eventually dies, you need to replace the entire unit.
  • Not being able to use the stapler when plugged in is quite annoying.
BUY HERE →

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Stanley TRE550 Electric Nail / Staple GunStanley TRE550 Electric Nail / Staple Gun

Best staple gun for the money

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.5
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Stanley TRE550 Electric Nail / Staple Gun Review

Specifications

  • Type: Electric
  • Fixings: Staples & Brad Nails
  • Power: Electric
  • Brad Nail Gauge: 18ga
  • Brad Nail Length: 12-15mm
  • Staple Length : 6-14mm
  • Mode: n/a
  • Weight: 0.4kg

Easily one of the biggest and most recognisable names in DIY is Stanley, and they’ve come up with what I think is one of the best corded electric staple and nail guns for the money.

If you’ve ever used a manual staple gun before, you’ll probably be familiar with how the TRE550 electric staple gun works. You pull back the bottom slide to load a line of staples or nails into the foot of the stapler, and off you go. Pull the trigger and effortlessly fix whatever you want.

It’s comfortable to hold and easy to use, but the feature I was surprised to see on a stapler in this price bracket was the power adjuster wheel. It gives you six levels of stapling power- a useful feature that you might only see on the best nail or staple gun.

It’s a shame that Stanley haven’t supplied even a small box of staples of brads to get you started though. But, for the money it’s hard to complain about this little workhorse of a staple gun.

Pros

  • This easy to use stapler takes all the effort out of stapling or even nailing. You don’t need arms like Popeye to drive hundreds of fixings in a session.
  • It doesn’t cost much more than a decent manual stapler. It’s even a bargain compared to the Tacwise 53-13EL.
  • Weighing just 400 g, this is the lightest stapler I’ve tested out so far. You won’t have problems using it above your head or for long periods of time.
  • The 2.4 m cord is more than I expected. If you’re going to use corded power tools, longer is always better!
  • The staples or nails fire flush with the end of the tool. This means you can get tight into corners or other narrow spots.

Cons

  • It’s great that this stapler is so light, but it’s also a bit flimsy. I’m not sure how long it would last after a few knocks and drops.
  • Some users have complained about the firing mechanism getting jammed easily.
  • There’s no sequential, or “bump” fire mode. You need to pull the trigger each time you fire a staple or nail.
  • Compared to the Tacwise 53-13EL, you can’t pick it up and take it with you. A cordless stapler is easier to use up a ladder!
BUY HERE →

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Dewalt DCN660N Brushless Framing NailerDewalt DCN660N Brushless Framing Nailer

Best framing nailer

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.25
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Dewalt DCN660N Brushless Framing Nailer Review

Specifications

  • Type: Cordless, Brushless
  • Fixings: Brad Nails
  • Power: 18V Bare
  • Brad Nail Gauge: 16ga
  • Brad Nail Length: 32-63mm
  • Staple Length : n/a
  • Mode: Sequential & Bump
  • Weight: 2.6kg

The Dewalt DCN660N Brushless Framing Nailer is simply the best framing nail gun for first fix. It’s mechanical, fires up to four 16 gauge nails per second, and these nails can be up to 63 mm long.

This is a first fix framing nailer that takes nails of between 32 to 63mm. It has a magazine capacity of 110 nails and an angle of 20 degrees. The framing nailer can be used either in “bump” or sequential modes. Depth adjustment is simple due to the easy to read gauge. The nail gun also features LED lights with error notification. You can easily troubleshoot any problems and fix them with the tool free jam clearing mechanism.

This DeWalt nail gun is mechanically powered which means you don’t need to use gas. This also allows the nailer to be used at a wider range of temperatures than gas powered products. It’ll also save you money on running costs. The brushless motor is maintenance free and long lasting. The nailer is powered by an Li-Ion battery. This is a bare tool so the battery is not included, but this high quality nail gun still makes extremely good value.

The framing nailer is ergonomically designed and is light and comfortable to use. Overall, the simplicity and versatility of this DeWalt nail gun makes it the best framing nail gun on the market in this price range.

Pros

  • The fact that this electric nail gun is gas-free is great. You don’t need to worry about gas cartridges or temperature, just a fully charged battery.
  • The brushless motor gives you an incredible amount of nailing action in just one charge. You can fire hundreds of 16 gauge brad nails with a 2.0 Ah battery. It’s great.
  • The 20° firing angle makes this one of the best framing nail guns for getting into tight corners. It also allows you to nail almost flush with a wall or skirting board.
  • The handle is supremely comfortable. Paired up with the lightweight (for a 16 gauge nailer) body, it makes it easy to hold and deadly accurate.

Cons

  • Unless you’re really serious about DIY, this is a professional only tool. Compared to the Ryobi AirStrike, it’s very expensive.
  • You can only use bigger 16 gauge nails in this tool. For more delicate 18 gauge work, you should try another nail gun on my list.
  • For the price, it’s a shame that you don’t get a few strips of nails to get started.
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Lumberjack NS 18G Heavy Duty Electric Nail Gun Stapler TackerLumberjack NS 18G Heavy Duty Electric Nail Gun Stapler Tacker

Best nail gun and stapler for home use

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4
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Lumberjack NS 18G Heavy Duty Electric Nail Gun Stapler Tacker Review

Specifications

  • Type: Electric
  • Fixings: Staples & Brad Nails
  • Power: Electric
  • Brad Nail Gauge: 18ga
  • Brad Nail Length: 15-32mm
  • Staple Length : 15-25mm
  • Mode: Sequential & Bump
  • Weight: 2.5kg

British tool brand Lumberjack make a wide range of woodworking tools. I think their NS18G corded nail gun is the best nailer and stapler gun for home use, and it won’t cost you the earth.

For the price, I expected the NS18G to be a flimsy bit of kit, but it’s surprisingly well put together and robust. The rubberised overmoulded grip is one of the best I’ve held. It certainly feels like it will last well if you don’t treat it too badly.

The operation is easy as well. There’s a simple power adjustment wheel, loading the magazine doesn’t take long to figure out and pulling the trigger fires one pin or staple. There isn’t much there to go wrong. It’s not the most powerful nail gun out there, but for the price it’s one of the best budget nail guns on the market.

Pros

  • The NS18G can fire up to 25 mm long staples as well as 18G brad nails. That’s impressive compared to the premium Ryobi AirStrike that doesn’t fire them at all!
  • It’s one of my favourite nail guns for beginners. It’s simple to use, powerful enough for DIY jobs and isn’t expensive.
  • Lumberjack have included a generous 300 staples and 100 nails to get you started.
  • It’s got a good grip shape that feels ergonomically designed.

Cons

  • It’s a heavy nail gun. 2.5 kg is quite a lot, considering that’s without 100 brad nails loaded up.
  • This isn’t the most powerful brad nailer on the market. It struggles with harder materials.
  • The nose tip isn’t in line with the top of the nailer. This means you can’t nail flush with walls or skirting boards.
  • Some users have complained that it jams easily and can be a pain to get going again.
BUY HERE →

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NuMax SFN64 Straight Finish Nailer 16 GaugeNuMax SFN64 Straight Finish Nailer 16 Gauge

Best nail gun on a budget (16ga)

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4
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NuMax SFN64 Straight Finish Nailer 16 Gauge Review

Specifications

  • Type: Air / Pneumatic
  • Fixings: Brad Nails
  • Power: 70-110psi / 4.8-7.5bar
  • Brad Nail Gauge: 16ga
  • Brad Nail Length: 25-63mm
  • Staple Length : n/a
  • Mode: Sequential
  • Weight: 2.0kg

The NuMax SFN64 air finish nail gun comes from a product line of quality, professional level nail guns, air compressors and spray guns. This rugged and lightweight tool is one of the best budget finishing nailers I’ve come across in 16 gauge. It’s also at a price that’s very affordable.

You can adjust the depth easily, and although it doesn’t feature a “bump” fire mode, the sequential firing mechanism is well suited to precision second fix nailing jobs. The barrel-style grip is easy on the hand and reduces vibrations, but my favourite feature is the 360° adjustable exhaust. There’s no more blowback in your face.

Pros

  • This nailer fires 16 gauge nails only. They’re larger than 18 gauge and not as suitable for delicate fixing jobs.
  • The aluminium body and cylinder are rugged and built for work. No plastic parts to snap off or shatter!
  • It’s only a small thing but having a dust cap to cover the air line fitting is a nice touch. It should stop any dust ingress and increase the working life of the nailer.
  • The no-mar safety tip contact stops accidental firing and protects even delicate surfaces.

Cons

  • It’s a shame that there’s no sequential fire mode. Pneumatic nailers are usually more powerful compared to electric nail guns like the Ryobi AirStrike.
  • The shape of the cylinder means you’ll have trouble trying to fire nails flush with walls or skirting boards.
  • 2 kg is on the heavy side for an air brad nailer. A professional version would probably be lighter.
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Silverline 868544 Air Brad NailerSilverline 868544 Air Brad Nailer

Best nail gun on a budget (18ga)

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
3.25
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Silverline 868544 Air Brad Nailer Review

Specifications

  • Type: Air / Pneumatic
  • Fixings: Brad Nails
  • Power: 60-100psi / 4.0-7.0bar
  • Brad Nail Gauge: 18ga
  • Brad Nail Length: 10-50mm
  • Staple Length : n/a
  • Mode: Sequential
  • Weight: 1.5kg

Almost anyone who’s attempted a DIY job at home has come across British budget tool brand Silverline. With an enormous range of wallet-friendly products, they make an air brad nailer that costs a fraction of the best brad nail gun. For the price it still offers some excellent features.

Weighing in at just 1.2 kg, it’s nicely light in the weight department. The build quality is reasonably good, and I think it’s the best budget finishing nailer in the 18 gauge category. It fires nails confidently and leaves a tiny hole that is barely noticeable on the surface.

The Silverline 868544 includes a safety trigger and standard ¼” quick connector to your air compressor. You shouldn’t have any trouble using this air brad nailer on your next project. Lightweight and very portable, this is the best brad nail gun if you’re just starting out. If you don’t want to spend too much money, but want an honest nailer, this is the one.

Pros

  • A solid and dependable budget finish nail gun. It’s surprisingly well made and has a comfortable grip shape.
  • For a budget nail gun, the safety trigger is a well-though-out feature. Compared to some more expensive nail guns, it’s a welcome addition.
  • You can fire 18 gauge brad nails up to 500 mm long. It’s ideal for most 2nd fix jobs.

Cons

  • This pneumatic nailer uses the Euro quick connect fitting system. It’s not a problem, but it’s also not the standard fitting type on most UK air compressors.
  • If the firing pin breaks or becomes damaged, it can be difficult to find a replacement part.
  • The nose doesn’t have a protective no-mar tip. You need to be careful to avoid marking delicate surfaces.
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Things to Know Before Buying a Nail Gun

If you’ve never had the chance to use a nail gun, you won’t know how you got by before without one. Nailing anything by hand takes effort, technique, and experience before you can sink a nail with one shot. And not hit your thumb in the process! Nail guns are powerful, safe, and quick ways to attach almost any two things together.

Battery Powered Nail Guns for Ease of Use

If you ask me, the most important development in power tool technology has been the Lithium-Ion battery. Power tools that would otherwise need long power cables are now as portable as a pencil and a hundred times more useful. Most battery powered nail guns make use of 18V batteries that deliver plenty of power without adding too much weight to the tool. Just be prepared to pay for the privilege.

Shots per Charge

If you are looking for a battery-powered framing nailer then check how many shots per charge you will get from your battery. This will give you an idea of how long you can keep working before you are required to stop and charge your nail gun. In addition, if your nail gun uses a gas cartridge it is worth checking how many nails it will fire per cartridge. This will give you an idea of how long each gas cartridge or canister will last and what the costs will be for your project.

Charge Time

The battery charge time will affect how much work you can do. Luckily, most nail gun batteries charge in between 30 – 60 minutes. This reduces downtime and gets you back to work more quickly. Some framing nailers come with two batteries so you can have one on charge while you use the other. This is handy if you have a larger project planned as you can get on with the job and are not held up waiting around for your framing nailer to charge.

Corded Nail Guns

As much as cordless power tools have changed the face of DIY and what you can get done “off grid”, there’s nothing worse than waiting for your batteries to charge up. If you don’t need a battery operated nail gun, then save yourself some money and go for a corded nail gun. You get all the power you need and there’s no waiting around when your last battery has gone past the red.

Firing Modes

The best nail guns have selectable firing modes- sequential and continuous. Sequential fire means that one pull of the trigger, once you’ve pushed the nose up to the workpiece, results in one nail being fired. Continuous or “bump” fire, on the other hand, means that you can hold down the trigger and use the nose action to fire nails or staples rapidly.

Construction Material

Light weight and robust construction are the two most important factors to consider when buying nail guns. Aluminium bodies are common, but you can find brad nailers with magnesium or plastic bodies too.

Ergonomic and comfortable moulded handles are vital if you want to use a brad nail gun, so expect to see thermoset plastics and rubbers on the best brad nailers.

Usage

Nail guns are used to quickly and accurately fire nails into a range of materials. You’ll find the best electric nail guns used for fence building, light timber framing and interior finish work like installing crown moulding and skirting boards. Electric staplers are much more at home when used for upholstery and crafting jobs.

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Nail Gun FAQs

How do I use an electric nail gun?

Before you start using your nail gun, you should carefully read the manual supplied with your new tool. Even though the best nail guns come with a range of safety features, it’s important that you familiarise yourself with all moving parts.

One of the most useful features on a modern nail gun is the safety catch- found in the nose of the nail gun, it stops the gun from operating unless it is pressed firmly into the workpiece. This avoids accidental firing when the nail gun is in the air. Even the continuous fire mode found on the best electric nail gun requires the safety catch to be released before firing.

How do I select the correct nail depth?

You should always practise on scrap materials before attempting any finish work. It can take a few goes with a nail gun to get the right nail depth dialled in, so grab some scrap and test out the power settings, if there are any, on your nail gun. Brad nails and staples aren’t the easiest thing to remove if they’ve gone under the surface and tapping in the heads of nails with a hammer is a pain as well.

Are nail guns safe?

Yes, they’re as safe as any other power tool if you follow all safety guidance. The best nail guns are packed with safety features to stop them firing unless they’re pressed up against a solid surface. You can also clear any jams safely without needing special tools.

My advice is to never try to release a jammed nail or stapler with the tool plugged in or with the battery in place. You need to always wear the correct personal protective equipment too- nail guns are loud, so make sure you’re wearing ear defenders as well as safety glasses.

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