The 6 Best Finish Nailers in 2020 [Reviews]

A good finish nailer can make difficult projects like attaching heavy baseboards or affixing crown molding a breeze.

When looking for the best finish nailer, it comes down to finding the one that best fits your needs. Finish nail guns are available in straight and angled designs built to work in hard to reach places. Additionally, both pneumatic and cordless finish nailers are available, and we’ll be outlining our picks for the best of both.

If you aren’t sure what finish nailer would fit you best, then be sure to check out our buyer’s guide located at the bottom of the page.

Our Top Picks

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Metabo HPT Finish Nailer, 15 Gauge, Pneumatic, Angled, Finish Nails 1-1/4-Inch up to 2-1/2-Inch, Integrated Air Duster, Selective Actuation Switch, 5-Year Warranty (NT65MA4)Metabo HPT NT65MA4 (HITACHI NT65MA4)Pneumatic 15-Gauge Angled NailerView on Amazon
DEWALT DCN660B 20V 16 Gauge 20° Finish NailerDEWALT DCN660B 20V 16 Gauge 20° Finish NailerCordless 16-Gauge Angled NailerView on Amazon
Porter-Cable 20V MAX* 16 Ga. Straight Finish NailerCordless 16 Gauge Straight NailerView on Amazon
NuMax SFN64 Pneumatic 16-Gauge 2-1/2" Straight Finish Nailer Ergonomic and Lightweight Nail Gun with Tool-Free Depth Adjust and No Mar TipNuMax SFN64 Pneumatic 16-GaugePneumatic 16-Gauge Straight NailerView on Amazon
Senco 4G0001N FinishPro 42XP 15-Gauge 1-1/4-Inch to 2-1/2-Inch Finish Nailer with CaseSenco FinishPro 42XP Pneumatic 15-Gauge Finish NailerPneumatic 15-Gauge Angled NailerView on Amazon
DEWALT Finish Nailer, 16GA, 1-Inch to 2-1/2-Inch (D51257K)DEWALT D51257K Finish Nailer, 16GA, 1-Inch to 2-1/2-InchPneumatic 16-Gauge Straight NailerView on Amazon

Best Finish Nailer Reviews

1. Metabo HPT NT65MA4 (HITACHI NT65MA4)

Metabo HPT Finish Nailer, 15 Gauge, Pneumatic, Angled, Finish Nails 1-1/4-Inch up to 2-1/2-Inch, Integrated Air Duster, Selective Actuation Switch, 5-Year Warranty (NT65MA4)

Specifications

  • Nail Diameter: 15-Gauge
  • Operating Pressure: 70 – 120 psi
  • Magazine Angle: 34 degrees
  • Magazine capacity: 100 nails

The Metabo HPT NT65MA4 is one of our top picks for pneumonic finishing nailers. An air-powered finishing nailer, it has a 34° magazine angle and accepts 15-gauge nails with lengths from 1-1/4″ to 2-1/2″ long. An incredibly easy to use and highly versatile tool, we’re sure you’ll love it as much as we did.

When using the NT65MA4, you’ll notice that it has a comfortable, secure grip, and at just over 4 lbs. is notably lighter than most competing models. The upward direction of the air fitting keeps the hose out of your way and coupled with the adjustable direction of the exhaust; this provides a freedom a movement you don’t often get with these kinds of air tools. The angled magazine brings this even further, and we found that it made working in tight spaces and corners a breeze.

One feature we loved on the NT65MA4 is its selective actuation switch. The switch makes it simple to switch between contact and sequential nailing modes without needing other tools or parts. It also features tool-free jam clearing with an easy to clear nose in the event of nail jams, which are few and far between. Additionally, the depth of drive is also entirely tool-free with a knob used to make the adjustments. Another exciting feature that Hitachi included with this model is an integrated air duster. This unique touch is handy for clearing dust or debris without needing to switch attachments.

With its ease of use, high maneuverability, and a suite of useful features, we highly recommend the NT65MA4 for anyone looking for an air-powered finishing gun.

Key Features

  • A removable no-mar tip to protect your work surface from damage.
  • Solid construction durable enough to survive a drop.
  • Lightweight and highly maneuverable with a secure, comfortable grip.
  • Has a selective actuation switch to easily switch firing modes.
  • 360° Adjustable Exhaust keeps air exhaust from blowing on the user or work surface

2. DEWALT DCN660B 20V 16 Gauge 20° Finish Nailer

DEWALT DCN660B 20V 16 Gauge 20° Finish Nailer

Specifications

  • Nail Diameter: 16-Gauge
  • Battery: DeWalt 20V Max
  • Magazine Angle: 20 degrees
  • Magazine capacity: 110 nails

The DeWalt DCN660B is an excellent example of why DeWalt is such a well-regarded power tool manufacturer. This cordless finish nailer is packed with features that will help you work quickly and efficiently, delivering the kind of performance pros need on the job.

When using this nailer, you quickly come to appreciate the freedom of maneuverability it offers. Not requiring an air hose, your movements are uninhibited when climbing ladders or moving from one room to another. It’s also surprisingly lightweight given its high capacity and long battery life. This maneuverability is further accentuated by the angled magazine that makes it easy to work in tight spaces. We also appreciated the built-in led light on the nailer, which is a welcome feature when working in dim lighting conditions.

The DCN660B features a tool-free trigger to change between contact and sequential actuation modes, which is a massive plus for us. It also boasts tool-free depth adjustment, which is useful for increasing your precision when countersinking nails. Another feature of the DCN660B is a tool-less jam release that makes clearing nail jams quick and easy.

What this adds up to is a nailer that gives you the ability to work quickly and with consistently high quality. Professionals and amateurs alike will be impressed with the speed at which this tool operates. Overall the DeWalt DN660B is an incredibly maneuverable and powerful tool, especially for a cordless nailer.

Key Features

  • Uses the same battery as other 20V DeWalt tools
  • Solid construction durable enough to survive a drop.
  • Lightweight and highly maneuverable with a secure, comfortable grip.

3. Porter-Cable 20V MAX* 16 Ga. Straight Finish Nailer

PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Finish Nailer, Straight, 16GA (PCC792LA)

Specifications

  • Nail Diameter: 16-Gauge
  • Battery: 20V PCC680L Battery
  • Magazine Angle: Straight
  • Magazine capacity: 100 nails

This Porter-Cable tool is another excellent choice for a cordless finish nailer at a lower price point then the DeWalt. It has a straight magazine and fires 16-gauge nails.

While slightly heavier than the DeWalt, it is still lightweight for a cordless finish nail gun at 5.7 lbs. As a straight nailer, it has the advantage of using cheaper nails then angled models. The magazine is also quick and easy to load.

This nailer has great battery life and uses the same batteries as other Porter-Cable hand tools in their 20V line. It has an easy to use tool-free depth guide that provides a consistent countersink. It also includes a no-mar pad to prevent inadvertently damaging your work surface. Our only major gripe with this nailer is that it only supports sequential firing. Lacking this feature might be a deal-breaker for some people because it does not allow for rapid nailing.

The Porter-Cable Straight Finish Nailer is an excellent choice for a cheaper cordless finish nailer. The fact that it does not have a continuous actuation mode to support rapid nailing, however, does mean it isn’t for everyone.

Key Features

  • Long battery life
  • A no-mar pad to protect your work surface from damage.
  • Tool-free selectable trigger for sequential or contact actuation modes

4. NuMax SFN64 Pneumatic 16-Gauge

NuMax SFN64 Pneumatic 16-Gauge 2-1/2" straight finish nailer ergonomic and lightweight nail gun with tool-free depth adjust no mar tip

Specifications

  • Nail Diameter: 16-Gauge
  • Operating Pressure: 70-110 PSI
  • Magazine Angle: Straight
  • Magazine capacity: 100 nails

The NuMax SFN64 is the best option we could find for a budget pneumatic finish nailer. It is a straight magazine finisher that fires 16-gauge nails. For its price, it offers some excellent utility for an occasional at-home user.

This budget-friendly nailer features a lightweight aluminum body and an ergonomically designed handle. A fully rotatable exhaust port meanwhile keeps air output out of your way and off your workplace.

The NuMax SFN64 has a no-mar tip, which prevents accidental damage to your work surface. It also has a tool-less depth adjustment to make sure you can set the perfect countersink for any project.

Unfortunately, we found that the driving power on the SFN64 can be weak at times, and it can struggle to drive deep nails into hardwoods. Another problem we found was that while it does have a quick-release, the SFN64 lacks a tool-free jam clearing feature. This makes clearing a nail jam a more time consuming and frustrating experience as it requires you to use a screwdriver or pliers to remove the jammed nail.

If you are determined to buy a cheap pneumatic finish nailer, then the SFN64 is for you. While it can’t compare with more professional models, it’s an excellent buy for its price range.

Key Features

  • Great value for the price
  • It has a comfortable ergonomic design.

5. Senco FinishPro 42XP Pneumatic 15-Gauge Finish Nailer

Senco 4G0001N FinishPro 42XP 15-Gauge 1-1/4-Inch to 2-1/2-Inch Finish Nailer with Case

Specifications

  • Nail Diameter: 15-Gauge
  • Operating Pressure: 70 – 120 psi
  • Magazine Angle: 34 degrees
  • Magazine capacity: 104 nails

The FinishPro 42XP is a 15-gauge pneumonic finish nailer built by Senco to stand up to the demands of professional use. With an ergonomic design and a suite of valuable features, it’s a solid option for any project.

The 42XP is a powerful tool with a maximum suggested operating power of 120 PSI. With considerable driving power, this nailer can drive 1-1/4″ to 2-1/2″ nails into even the hardest woods with ease. It also sports an easy to use tool-free depth gauge and depth of drive to guarantee simple, precise nailing. This comes together to create a nailer that provides accurate and powerful nailing capabilities suited for even the most challenging jobs.

A useful feature of the 42XP is Senco’s “NeverLube,” a proprietary feature that Senco claims removes the need entirely for routine oiling. Also, the nailer has sturdy design able to prevent most damage or wear. This makes for a sturdy and low maintenance tool able to stand up to most conditions.

Despite the durability of the design, it’s still highly ergonomic and is an excellent choice for long periods of use. The grip is comfortable and secure, and the nailer feels incredibly well balanced and is surprisingly lightweight. It’s 34-degree magazine angle also makes for easy work in corners and tight spaces, and an adjustable port keeps exhaust off you and your work surface.

The 42XP features an anti-dryfiring mechanism to resist misfiring or double nailing. Additionally, a tool-free jam clearing latch makes dealing with any nail jams easy. Also included is an anti-mar pad to prevent damage to your work surface and materials. The Finish Pro 42XP does not feature a selectable actuation mode, it’s restricted to sequential firing. So if you need the ability to bump fire, then this nailer will not be able to meet your requirements.

The Senco Finish Pro 42XP is a perfect choice for anyone who is looking for a pneumonic air nailer and doesn’t require the ability to bump fire. It has some of the most comprehensive productivity and safety features of any finish nailer on the market. Additionally, its durability and extensive warranty coverage offered through Senco can prevent future frustration.

Key Features

  • Durable construction
  • Lightweight and highly maneuverable with a secure, comfortable grip.
  • It has many useful productivity and safety features.
  • Has a dry-fire prevention mechanism to prevent misfires and double nailing

6. DEWALT D51257K Finish Nailer, 16GA, 1-Inch to 2-1/2-Inch

DEWALT Finish Nailer, 16GA, 1-Inch to 2-1/2-Inch (D51257K)

Specifications

  • Nail Diameter: 16-Gauge
  • Operating Pressure: 70 – 120 psi
  • Magazine Angle: Straight
  • Magazine capacity: 100 nails

A lightweight offer from DeWalt, this finish nailer lives up to the company’s reputation for quality. It’s an accurate and dependable finish nailer and an ideal choice for most tasks regardless of your skill level.

This nailer has a robust set of productivity features, including tool-free nail depth adjustment and jam clearing. It also features a fully rotatable exhaust port for keeping air exhaust out of your face and off your workplace.

The D51257K is incredibly light; in fact, it’s the lightest item on this list at just under 4lbs. This contributes to the overall ergonomics of the nailer, which features a secure handle with a comfort grip. If you are going to be routinely working for several hours at a time, then this nail gun will help to keep you from becoming fatigued. It also features has a discrete anti-mar tip pad that prevents damaging your work surface.

If you are looking for a high quality pneumatic 16-gauge finish nailer and don’t need bump firing, then this offering by DeWalt is a fantastic choice. We especially recommend doing so if you manage to catch this item while it is on sale.

Key Features

  • Lightweight, ergonomic design
  • Low profile anti-mar tip
  • Adjustable toolbelt fastener

Buyer’s guide

Common Questions

What is a Finish Nailer?

A finish nailer is a nail gun used to put finishing touches on a carpentry job. They are most often compared to brad nailers, which are used for similar work. What sets them apart is that because they use a larger nail, a finishing nailer can handle working with larger, bulkier pieces of wood. They are available in cordless and pneumatic models, the better of which depends on your situation. Finish nailers are also available in both straight and angled designs with angled models fitting comfortably into tight spaces.

What is a Finish Nailer used for?

A finish nailer is a nail gun that is well suited for DIY woodworking and used primarily by professionals for framing jobs. They use 15- to 16- gauge nails that offer a secure hold and are favored for applying crown moldings and baseboards, and to attach cabinetry to walls. They are also commonly used to attach components in DIY wood furniture building.

What Angle Finish Nailer Should I Get?

This depends mainly on what kind of work you are going to be doing with your nailer. An angled nailer offers more easy access when working with difficult to reach areas. A straight nailer, on the other hand, provides no performance advantage, an angled nailer is capable of everything a straight one is. However, angled finishers are more costly than straight ones, and this often goes for the nails they use as well.

So, if you are confident you will not need to be working at challenging angles, a straight nailer is likely the smarter choice. If you will be working at an angle or in a difficult to reach spot, then an angled finisher is worth the investment. If you’re uncertain, we’d suggest opting for an angled model to cover your basses better.

What Kind of Nails Does a Finish Nailer Use?

Finishing nailers are built to work with 15- and 16-gauge nails. Nail gauge is a measurement of the thickness of a nail with lower values denoting a thicker nail. For comparison, a brad nailer uses 18-gauge nails, and a framing nailer uses 11- to 8-gauge nails.

Can a Finish Nailer be used for framing?

No, while a finishing nailer is designed to create a strong permeant hold, it is not meant for heavy-duty projects like framing nailers are. Using a finish nailer for framing would be unsafe and irresponsible. Instead, stick to using more powerful framing nailers built to perform these kinds of jobs. A finishing nailer is better suited for applying moldings, trims, and other similar finishing steps.

Cordless vs. Pneumatic Finish Nailers

If you already own an air compressor, then a pneumatic nailer would be a good option for you. Pneumatic nail guns are more powerful than their electric counterparts while also being more lightweight. The downside of a pneumatic nailer is that they can be more cumbersome, for example, when a job requires working on a ladder.

Cordless finish nailers offer more freedom of movement than pneumatic models. Not requiring an air compressor also makes them a more budget-friendly choice for those who do not already own one. While slightly heavier and the less powerful of the two options, a high-quality cordless tool should still be able to handle any job you throw at it.

When to Use a Finish Nailer

A finishing nailer is a versatile tool well suited for many kinds of jobs. The nails they use provide reliable holding power while still being small enough to be easily obscured. Some situations that finish nailers are ideal for include:

  • Attaching large thick pieces of trim including crown moldings, door and window casings, and baseboards.
  • To attach cabinetry to walls.
  • DIY furniture building projects for tasks like attaching chair railings.
  • Other small woodworking projects.

When Not to Use a Finish Nailer

While being a very versatile tool, there are some tasks that a finish nailer is not well suited for performing. When working with delicate materials like thin pieces of trim, there is a risk of splitting the material. When working with these kinds of materials, you should instead consider using a brad nailer.

Features to Look for in a Finishing Nailer

When shopping for a finishing nailer, you should look for these features to ensure that you purchase a quality product.

Tool-free jam clearing: A nail jam is always annoying, but it’s far more so when you can’t quickly clear that jam. Some high-quality nailers offer a tool-free jam clearing feature, which is highly useful for saving you time and frustration.

Selective actuation: With most finish nailers, you are required to pull the trigger for each nail. Some, however, also have the option to use a continuous or bump actuation mode.

In this mode, you can hold down the trigger and bump the contact tip of your nailer against a surface to push a nail. This can be a nice feature to have when you need to use multiple nails in the same relative area.

An anti-dry fire mechanism: A mechanism that prevents the nailer from firing when it is not loaded. This prevents damaging the surface you are working on by leaving a driver mark from a shot without a nail.

A no-mar tip: A quality nailer should have a no-mar tip to prevent marking or otherwise causing damage to the surface that you are working on.

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