If you’re a professional contractor or an aspiring DIY expert, there’s one tool your toolkit should not be without. And that’s a palm nailer.
Palm nailers are an excellent substitute for old-school hammers. That’s especially true when working in tight corners and other awkward spaces. Not only are you less prone to getting injured or damaging materials, but palm nailers are faster, easier, and more accurate.
Short on time? Here’s the highlights of our list:.
- Overall Best: Senco PC0781 Pneumatic Palm Nailer
- Best Cordless Palm Nailer: Milwaukee 2458-20 M12 12-Volt Palm Nailer
- Best Palm Nailer for Joist Hangers: Hitachi NH90AB Palm Nailer
- Best Compact Palm Nailer: Bostitch PN50 Mini Impact Nailer
Continue to our palm nailer reviews and buyer’s guide to discover more about what makes the best palm nailers in 2021 the best.
Palm Nailer Reviews
The PC0781 from Senco is our choice for the overall best palm nailer. It’s a no-frills palm nailer. It is lightweight, and the materials used in its construction give it a high-quality feel.
Overall, it’s easy to use, and the hand grip and strap mean there is less fatigue involved in a big job. The magnetic nail guide ensures nails get driven fast and easily.
This Senco model takes driving nails of 5d to 70d in bulk in its stride. It’s well suited for a range of tasks, including metal straps, joist hangers, and pole barn assembly.
As it’s pressure activated, the PC0781 is fast, precise, and leaves much less dimpling, which you often get with a hand hammer.
- Leather handgrip
- Magnetic nail guide
Though fairly basic, Senco has built this palm nailer mini to last and work well. It won’t disappoint.
The prize for the best cordless goes to the accomplished and versatile Milwaukee M12.
Being cordless, there’s no trailing line to get tangled up. The battery pack is a very practical 12-volt lithium-ion affair pushing out 1.5 Ah, plenty muscle to secure framing nails of between 6-16d with 2.2 feet lbs. of energy.
You will like the solid feel of the metal housing and the comfortable ergonomic design. And you will love the built-in LED light to throw some illumination on your work.
- Cordless and ergonomic
- Powerful battery
- All-metal housing
- LED light
Worth it for the LED alone. Cordless freedom comes with a hand strap and a carrying case.
The PN100K Bostitch comes as a kit with pretty much everything you want, including accessories and three different noses. It is no slouch and can deliver between 70 – 100 psi, enough to drive nails up to five inches long.
Its ergonomic lightweight design makes this model comfortable to grip and use in the tightest of locations. It is a durable piece of kit with a hardened steel magnetic nose, ensuring nails remain in place.
- Three interchangeable noses including a standard, finish nail, and large bore nose.
- A nose and hex wrenches are included
A high-quality model that comes complete with extras, making it a great choice.
The PN50 Mini from Bostitch is another well-built impact nailer from this brand and is one of the lightest and most compact models available. It’s our mini impact nailer of choice for working in inaccessible locations.
The grip handle offers superior comfort and control while at the same time reducing vibration, which enhances precision. At less than a pound, you will be able to use this palm nailer for long periods.
You will also appreciate the 360-degree swiveling air line, which provides maximum flexibility without worrying about the hose getting tangled. The front-facing exhausts channel air away from your hand to reduce distractions and improve comfort.
It may be small and lightweight, but this mini impact nailer delivers enough punch to drive most framing, timber, and finishing nails.
- Lightweight and compact
- Drives Most Common Bulk Finish, Framing & Timber Nails
- Powerful, delivering 70 to 120 psi
A superb lightweight impact nailer. Its 360-swivel air connector makes it an excellent choice for awkward locations. But, this nailer does not come with any accessories.
Another palm nailer for tight spots is the Power Palm Pneumatic from Powernail.
This model is particularly adept at installing hardwood flooring. It can get in close to the wall and drive L and T flooring cleats of 16 or 18-gauge and from 1.5 to two inches long. The 300-degree swivel further assists accessibility and accuracy in even the most out-of-reach places.
A magnetic holder keeps the cleats in order. All the user needs to do is activate the trigger, and the palm nailer does the rest, seamlessly driving cleats home.
Blind nailing is no longer a hassle, as are top nailing, transitions, doors, and corners.
Key features include:
- Pressure activation
- Swivel tip
- Precision placement of floor cleats
Excellent tight spot palm nailer. Does not include any accessories.
The PN650 palm nailer comes as a kit with four nose tips and some useful accessories.
It’s light, compact, and easy to handle in those hard-to-reach spots.
The PN650 from Porter-Cable is sold in kit form and includes four different nose tips capable of handling nails from 3d up to 70d. The included nose tips are:
- Magnetic – For driving regular nails of 3-16d
- Standard – For standard nails of 70d and below
- Finish – Best for 3d finishing nails
- Hammer – For trickier tasks like moldings, dowels, and auto-body work
Porter-Cable has given the PN650 a very used 50-120 psi range as well as multi-blow. This latter feature at 100 psi can deliver up to 2300 bpm.
Another great feature we like is the depth control that ensures every nail is driven precisely.
- Compact and ergonomically designed
- Hand strap
- Carrying case and accessories, including a glove, wrench, and lubrication.
A great choice of palm nailer, with a useful psi range and multi-blow firing.
Freeman’s PMPN palm nailer is one of the smallest compact nailers around at just 2.75 inches x 5 x 4.3. Unsurprisingly, it is also one of the lightest, weighing in at around the same as a bag of sugar.
Most people will find the PMPH a good fit and grip. The handle is rubber-coated for extra comfort too.
But do not be fooled by its petite dimensions. The PMPN mini palm can handle nails up to 3.5 inches long, from 6d to 16d. It also feels like a sturdy piece of hardware that’s durable, highly effective, and reliable.
- Small, ergonomic design
- Very practical in even the tightest of areas
Good things come in small packages, and the PMPN mini fits the bill.
Hitachi is a premium brand and predictably doesn’t cut corners with their HN90AN palm nailer model.
It ticks all the essential boxes in size and weight terms, plus you get a 360-degree swivel fitting for even greater ease of use. The Hitachi HN90AN is as well-featured as you would expect and delivers on the nail front too.
You can drive nails from 2.5 to 3.5 inches long in bulk. The HN90AN is therefore well set up for a wide range of jobs. Notably metal connections and joist hangers.
- 360 swivel fitting
- Front-facing exhaust
- Brilliant handgrip
Hitachi lives up to its rep with the HN90AN. Though there are no accessories, but this palm nailer is one of the few that comes with safety glasses
If you are hunting for a basic, no-nonsense mini palm nailer, be sure to check out 3Plus’ MBPN50SP.
It does everything you need; it drives home nails accurately, is simple to use, and durable. Constructed from die-cast aluminum, this 3Plus palm nailer is lightweight and compact. A design that offers maximum usability.
The magnetic nose holds nails up to 4 inches long in place to ensure accuracy. The BMPN50SP Mini Palm Nailer is agile and flexible, a great choice for a vast range of jobs such as joist hangings.
- Lightweight design
- Accurate placement of bulk nails
The 3Plus BMPN50SP is a mini palm nailer worthy of any toolbox. Though not as heavily featured as others, it is well focused. It does not include any accessories.
Grip-Rite’s Roofing Mini Palm Nailer is a third of the size of a regular palm nailer. Despite this, it pounds in heavy roofing nails with ease.
Specialized for roofing it takes roofing nails from 7/8ths upward to three inches in length. The magnetic nose makes for easy handling and accuracy, which is further enhanced by multi-blow firing. The air pressure range is a very practical 60-100 psi, so the Grip-Rite Roofing Mini Palm Nailer is exceptionally flexible and usable.
It may be small, but it punches far above its weight, which is measured in ounces believe it or not. At under a pound it’s without a doubt the most comfortable way to handle the difficult job of roofing.
The kit includes oil and a hex wrench.
- Magnetic nose for accuracy and safety
- Ultra-lightweight design
The mighty atom of mini palm nailers. However, this Grip-Rite model is exclusively for roofing. It’s a lightweight and easy-to-use nailer, well thought out for getting jobs done quickly.
Best battery-powered palm nailer
Palm nailer FAQ
What’s a palm nailer?
Essentially, it is a mini nail gun. Like its full-size sibling, a palm nailer is usually powered by compressed air. However, it is much smaller and only needs one hand to operate, hence the name.
Though small and compact, palm nailers – even the superminis – are powerful beasts. They can get into all sorts of tight spaces and drive an assortment of nails quickly, safely, and with a high amount of accuracy. Plus, they need a lot less effort than a traditional hammer.
Once powered up and loaded with nails, palm nailers can get to work simply by the user squeezing a trigger. The nail is then delivered with admirable force into whatever material you are working on with virtually no recoil.
In many ways, palm nailers are more accurate than regular nail guns and can quickly drive nails of 1.5-3.5 inches with no fuss. The more robust palm nailers will even fire nails from two inches up to six inches in length.
That said, there are noticeable differences between a palm nailer and a full-size nail gun. These are a palm nailer is:
- Much smaller and is one-hand operated
- Much lighter
- And works with standard nails, not coils or strips like standard nail guns
What can I use a palm nailer for?
The main advantage of a palm nailer is its petite dimensions and go-anywhere capability. Though small by comparison, a palm nailer can pretty much do everything a traditional full-scale nail gun can do.
As a palm nailer can be operated with just one hand, it is super easy for hard-to-reach spaces that would be impossible to work in with a regular size nail gun. You will find the palm-sized nailers ideal for tricky edges and corners and equally suited for hanging joists. They are perfect, too, for those jobs that require precision placement.
In short, you can get into places with a palm nailer that would defy a nail gun or a traditional hammer.
How do palm nailers work?
Unless you decide to go cordless, a palm nail will be compressed air-powered like any standard nail gun. Being pneumatically-driven, palm nailers require an air compressor connection to use airflow to drive the nails into a surface.
Though pneumatic like a traditional nail gun, there are some significant differences with a palm nailer you should know about.
The main difference is you don’t need both hands with a palm nailer. It fits in one hand and is secured in place by a hand strap. The strap provides extra stability.
Once you have the palm nailer comfortably positioned, insert your desired nail into the unit’s collar. This collar is fitted with a magnetic strip to keep the nail in position until you squeeze the trigger.
When the trigger is activated, the air compressor’s power strikes a hammer mechanism within the palm nailer to drive the nail into whatever surface you are working on at the time. The nailer is fast and efficient and will dispatch a 3.5-inch long nail in less than a second.
You only need the application of light pressure on the work surface when using a palm model. This is because the palm nailer is doing all the heavy lifting for you. Furthermore, they are highly accurate. There’s almost no chance of getting a bent nail even with the dodgiest of aims.
A palm nailer is an excellent addition to any toolkit. It can handle a variety of tasks and do so quickly, efficiently, and with significantly more accuracy.
The palm nailers we have showcased here are well-built, long-lasting, and with sufficient power to effectively drive nails. Their lightweight and compact design ensure that they will easily fit into the tightest of spots.
You can be sure that we have highlighted only the best palm nailers on the market. They are all easy to use, powerful, and can be used for a vast variety of jobs, from flooring to roofing, joist hangings, and more.