The 5 Best Flooring Nailers for Hardwood Floors

Putting in new flooring for your home can be an arduous task, but flooring nailers make quick work of it. Whether you’re working on a fixer-upper or renovating your already happy home, the flooring is probably one of the more dreaded pieces to work on. But with the right nailer, you can get straight to it without fear.

We’ve collected the five best flooring nailers for you to consider when buying yourself a flooring nailer this 2021. We also included some great tips on how to choose one! Let’s dive in.

Top Pick: BOSTITCH Flooring Nailer, 2-in-1 (BTFP12569)

Best budget option: WEN 61741 4-in-1 18-Gauge Pneumatic Flooring Nailer and Stapler with Case

Last update on 2021-09-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Buyer’s Guide to Floor Nailers

The 5 Best Flooring Nailers for hardwood floors

Whether you’re working on a fixer-upper or renovating your already happy home, the flooring is probably one of the most dreaded pieces to work on. But with the correct power tool, you can get straight to it without much fear.

What do Flooring Nailers do?

There are different types of nailers across the market. But these are each specialized to other things: frames, pin nails, and flooring. Flooring nails are a unique nailer designed to install hardwood flooring. The best flooring nailers are strong enough to make the tedious work of driving in these nails easy.

Although flooring nails can’t do much else other than flooring, they are the best tool for that job. These tools are a must have for contractors and construction workers who install flooring. They quickly pay themselves off with the labor they save on flooring jobs.

If you’re only going to be flooring your own home, you could hire someone else or rent a nailer. But, if you’re more the do-it-yourself kind of person, then buying a flooring nailer for yourself is no problem at all.

Why Flooring Nailers are better than Hand Nailing

Hand nailing your flooring is a long and challenging chore. Unless you have years of experience, you will likely end up with some uneven angles and splintering. But flooring nailers are built to expertly drive nails right into your floor at the right angle and power. They reduce splintering and marks by a lot.

Flooring Nailer Features

Like any power tool, the best flooring nailers have different features to consider when buying one. When deciding on a purchase, think about how these features will fit your work style.

Power Source

There are three different power sources to consider for flooring nailers: manual, pneumatic, and electric. Manual nailers come with a mallet that you have to swing to release the nail into the wood. On the other hand, Pneumatic nailers are powered by an air hose that charges air pressure from a tank. It is the most powerful and therefore the most popular for big jobs. But it’s not portable if that’s what you’re looking for.

Electric nailers best achieve portability. These are powered by lithium-ion batteries that are rechargeable. However, electric flooring nailers are often not as powerful as pneumatic ones and only run for as long as the battery is charged.

Fastener Type

You might hear flooring nails being referred to as fasteners, cleats, or staples. That’s because staples and cleats are the two different types of flooring nails called fasteners. Make sure to remember these types of fasteners since you will be loading them into the magazine of your flooring nailer.

Cleats come in two types: The L-style and the T-style. These are named after the shapes of their heads. Cleats are better for delicate or decorative flooring since they are the weaker type of fastener.

Staples are used for incredibly sturdy flooring. They are designed with two large prongs to fasten nearly any wooden material. But due to their size and durability, these are more prone to splitting wood, so be sure to use them on wood that won’t split easily.

Top 5 Best Flooring Nailers for 2021

BOSTITCH Flooring Nailer, 2-in-1 (BTFP12569)

BOSTITCH Flooring Nailer, 2-in-1 (BTFP12569)
  • Drive 15.5 GA flooring staples or 16 GA L-Cleats from 1-1/2-inch to 2-inch length with this pneumatic nailer
  • Mallet-actuated pneumatic driving action
  • Non-marring, interchangeable base plates for 1/2-inch (12.7 mm) through 3/4-inch (19.1 mm) flooring

Last update on 2021-09-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Bostitch has a well-earned reputation for the reliability of their range of durable power tools. The Bostitch 2in1 flooring nailer is a great example of why they’ve earned that reputation. It’s a durable and easy to use tool that makes installing hardwood flooring a breeze.

The Bostitch 2in1 can drive both 15.5-gauge staples and 16-gauge L-Cleats into hardwood flooring.  It drives nails from 1-1/2 in. – 2 in. length and has interchangeable base plates (1/2 in., 5/8 in., 3/4 in.) to support a variety of flooring thicknesses. For frequent flooring installation the added flexibility this provides can end up being a game changing time saver.

One of the best features of this nailer is the long handle and comfortable rubber grip which makes it a perfect choice for reducing strain from all-day use. A lightweight but durable tool, Bostitch also covers this nailer with an amazing 7-year warranty. This is much longer than any other company is willing to cover a flooring nailer that we have seen.

Pros

  • Strong enough to handle large staples and cleats
  • The long handle and ergonomic grip make this nailer comfortable to use for extended periods.
  • Highly durable and reliable
  • Excellent warranty coverage
  • Great value for money

Cons

  • May over set staples, if you encounter this then just turn down the PSI and it should be fine.
  • A bit on the heavy side compared to other options

WEN 61741 4-in-1 18-Gauge Pneumatic Flooring Nailer

WEN 61741 4-in-1 18-Gauge Pneumatic Flooring Nailer and Stapler with Case
  • Drive 18-gauge brad nails anywhere from 5/8 to 2 inches in length
  • Shoot 1/4-inch narrow crown staples anywhere from 1/2 to 1-5/8 inches in length
  • Removable spring loaded flooring shoe angles fasteners at 45 degrees

Last update on 2021-09-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The WEN 18-gauge pneumatic flooring nailer is a robust power tool that can nail 18-gauge fasteners into hardwood flooring. It is also versatile enough for most woodworking projects. Combined with the jam-releasing mechanism, this all adds up to a convenient and efficient power tool for woodworking.

One especially useful feature of this nailer is that it can also be used as an 18-gauge brad nailer. This makes it especially attractive for anyone looking to cut down on the number of tools they have around the house.

The WEN Pneumatic flooring nailer has a solid yet light body made from die-cast aluminum. However, keep in mind that it is much less portable because it is pneumatic than any electric or manual flooring nailer. Note also that the spring load is angled at 45 degrees, but this makes fastener nailing much easier.

Pros

  • Can accommodate brad nails as well as flooring fasteners and crown staples
  • Loads fasteners at 45 degrees making for a strong flush
  • Magazine can carry 100 nails
  • Air exhaust is adjustable for better ventilation
  • Comes with a non-mar tip, hex keys, carrying case, and oil

Cons

  • May be too light compared to other nailers
  • Still prone to misfires despite being pneumatic-powered

Freeman PFL618BR Pneumatic 3-in-1 Flooring Nailer and Stapler

Freeman PFL618BR Pneumatic 3-in-1 15.5-Gauge and 16-Gauge 2" Flooring Nailer and Stapler with Case...
  • Nailed It: This versatile 3-in-1 flooring nailer drives 3 types of fasteners without having to change the magazine: T-cleats, L-cleats, and staples....
  • Pro Design: This nailer features a durable and lightweight aluminum body, long reach handle with padded grip, and one piece heat-treated drive blade...
  • The Right Tool for the Job: We're committed to providing outstanding value, top tier customer service and long lasting, high quality products. We make...

Last update on 2021-09-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Freeman Pneumatic Flooring Nailer is very versatile with the fasteners it can accommodate. Staples and cleats of both types will have no problem being shot from this nailer. But, it is highly recommended that you pair this flooring nailer with the nails and fasteners that Freeman manufactures.

We also find the design of this pneumatic nailer to be wonderfully ergonomic and durable as well. Its body is of lightweight aluminum and steel is comfortable to use and strong enough to withstand the shock and pressure of nailing. The rubber padded handle also makes for comfortable usage.

Pros

  • Comes with accessories including a no-mar rubber mallet, air tool oil, safety goggles, storage case, and adjustment tools
  • Versatile with T-cleats, L-cleats, staples, and 18-gauge nails
  • Lightweight and designed for comfortable ergonomic usage
  • Suitable for beginners on most hardwood flooring jobs

Cons

  • Staple holder has awkward placement
  • Not well suited for operating in tight spaces

NuMax SFL618 Pneumatic 3-in-1 Flooring Nailer

NuMax SFL618 Pneumatic 3-in-1 15.5-Gauge and 16-Gauge 2" Flooring Nailer and Stapler with White...
  • Nailed It: This pneumatic flooring nailer and stapler features a lightweight aluminum body, ergonomic comfort grip handle, replaceable base plate and...
  • Ergonomic Design: This flooring nailer has an extended handle to prevent achy backs and a light strike bumper for low impact fastener driving. It...
  • The Right Tool for the Job: We're committed to providing outstanding value, top tier customer service and long lasting, high quality products. We make...

Last update on 2021-09-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This NuMax SFL618 pneumatic nailer is designed to improve ergonomic usability. It specifically uses a long, padded handle for more leverage and less backache. The accompanying rubber mallet also works well for moving flooring.

The body of the NuMax nailer is lightweight, built with aluminum. The base plate is designed to switch between different fastener types. Doing flooring jobs that require working on different materials is much easier thanks to this baseplate switching feature. You can even use 16-gauge 2” nails with this flooring nailer, suitable for framing, repairs, and even upholstery.

Pros

  • Can work with staples, T-cleats, and L-cleats and can be easily switched between them
  • Designed with a long handle and rubber mallet for better user experience
  • Manufacturer also makes nails, staples, and cleats
  • It can be used for framing, repairs, and upholstery alongside flooring

Cons

  • The base plate has a large footprint and can be challenging for small spaces
  • The lightweight body requires more force and accuracy when placing nails
  • Sensitive to any extra air pressure

402A, 16-Gauge Manual Hardwood Flooring Nailer

402A, 16-Gauge Manual Hardwood Flooring Nailer
  • Uses 2 in., and 1-1/2 in. T Headed 16 Ga nails
  • Binds 5/8 in., 3/4 in. and 33/32 in. domestic solid wood flooring
  • Accessory shoes, sold separately, allow you to face nail and nail 3/8 in. - 9/16 in. solid wood, 5/8 in. bamboo and 18mm flooring

Last update on 2021-09-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The 402A hardwood flooring nailer is a very reliable nailer. Its a great choice for nailing different types and sizes of fasteners into hardwood flooring.

Although its a a hardwood nailer, its shoe can be switched out to better suit other types of flooring, such as bamboo. Overall, thanks to the well-angled nose and long handle, this ergonomically designed power tool inserts fasteners with strength and accuracy.

Typically, this flooring nailer is easy to load nails into and clear jams out of. To avoid jams, you have to keep the nailer loaded with enough nails. With only a few nails left in the magazine, this nailer is more prone to consistent jamming.

Pros

  • Can work with staples, T-cleats, and L-cleats and can be easily switched between them
  • Designed with a long handle and rubber mallet for better user experience
  • Manufacturer also makes nails, staples, and cleats
  • It can be used for framing, repairs, and upholstery alongside flooring

Cons

  • The base plate has a large footprint and can be challenging for small spaces
  • The lightweight body requires more force and accuracy when placing nails
  • Sensitive to any extra air pressure

How to Choose the Best Flooring Nailer

With how many flooring nailers and flooring nailer features are available, it can be hard to figure out precisely what you want. Although we could go over and over about fasteners and power sources, the most important thing to consider is the material of the flooring you will be using the nailer on.

Most individuals looking to buy the best flooring nailer are doing so to DIY their homes. Professional contractors will have their own standards for equipment. But, for amateurs and beginners, focus instead on your goal.

Do you plan on installing hardwood flooring? How thick? Or how about bamboo flooring? Will you be installing decorative flooring? The biggest thing to pay attention to is the hardness, thickness, and type of wood. Naturally, thicker woods need stronger nailers, while softer woods need more delicate ones.

You may also be preparing to work with different types of wooden flooring. If that’s the case, you’re better off getting a nailer that isn’t specialized to any one thickness. A nailer that can handle the regular medium kind of hardwood. You can accomplish most flooring jobs with these but may struggle with very thick and tough wood.

For flexibility, a pneumatic nailer will be a good fit to install your home flooring. Especially since you will mostly be stuck with home installation, you won’t have to move around too much. But, if you expect flooring work in many different places, going for a battery-powered nailer may be better.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are flooring nailers used for?

Flooring nailers make the tedious job of nailing hardwood floors fast and simple. Instead of struggling with angles and swings, flooring nailers will do most of the work for you. They insert nails with much less effort needed from the operator.

Are flooring nailers only useful for flooring?

Most flooring nailers are designed to accommodate fasteners specific to flooring. The cleats and staples they fire are only useful for flooring. However, some flooring nailers are light enough and made with a magazine to accommodate different gauges of nails. These nailers are usable for more general-purpose nailing tasks.

Are flooring nailers safe?

Flooring nailers usually come with a shoe or base plate that lies flat on the flooring it is meant to install. Because of this, flooring nailers are safer than other power nailers which can fire nails at any angle without a baseplate.

Conclusion

For those who wish to take on home repairs and renovations themselves, buying a flooring nailer is a fantastic idea. With a flooring nailer you bypass the struggle of angling fasteners and reduce the potential for accidents. Still, even with many options available, it can be difficult to choose one that will suit your needs best.

We hope the shortlist and buying guide we have put together helped you find options to get the right flooring nailer for your next project. Although learning about flooring nailers can take a bit of effort to learn, we still think it’s well worth it. After all the reward is to end up with a smooth and solid hardwood floor that you can be proud of

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