The 9 Types of Nail Guns and When to Use Them

The 9 Types of Nail Guns and When to Use Them

Nail guns are the high-tech super-fast replacement for the traditional hammer. They are straightforward power tools for driving nails into wood and a host of other materials.

But buying one can be daunting as there are nine different types of nail guns, each for a specific purpose. In this guide we make it simple to understand what the types of nail guns and their purposes are.

1. Framing nailer

These are heavy-duty nail guns designed for wood framing.

Framing nailers can handle nails of up to three-and-a-half inches and are often used when building:

  • Houses
  • Decks
  • Fences
  • Sidings
  • Wood sheathing

Many of the most popular models have sequential and contact firing modes as well as tool-free depth adjustment. One feature you should always look for before purchasing a framing nailer is dry-fire protection. Framing nailers are divided into round heads and clipped heads.

The former holds fewer nails and is restricted by some building codes. Clipped head nails, meanwhile, hold more nails and are great for high-volume work.

Related Article: The Best Cordless Framing Nailers for Your Framing Projects

Current Best Selling Frame Nailer on Amazon:

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2. Palm nailers

As their name suggests, palm nailers are the most compact variety of nail guns. They are custom-designed for working in tight, awkward spots, joint hangers, and smaller projects.

These nailers literally fit in your palm, with a hand strap ensuring it stays in place. Apart from its smaller dimensions, a palm nailer works similarly to its full-scale counterpart.

Palm nailers are available as electric, cordless, and pneumatic models. The battery-powered cordless, by definition, offers the greatest flexibility.

There are many advantages to a palm nailer, but one of the biggest is they’re less tiring. Palm nailers are small and lightweight, so they are much easier to use for extended periods.

They are also highly accurate and use regular nails.

Even though small, palm nailers pack a punch. They can handle nails of 1.5 inches and up to 3.5 inches. But heavier-duty models can drive nails between two and six inches long.

Because they are typically inexpensive, palm nailers are often bundled in for free with full-size nail guns.

Related Article: The 10 Best Palm Nailers for the Price

Current Best Selling Palm Nailer on Amazon:

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3. Flooring nailer

These nailers look substantially different from regular nail guns as they are purpose-built for laying tongue-and-groove flooring.

Flooring nailers are placed at the floorboard’s edge, with a strike from a nylon mallet activating the plunger. This method ensures the cleats are driven home at the correct depth and angle.

Again, you have a choice – pneumatic or manual. Pneumatics use air pressure rather than human power.

Due to their design, flooring nailers are only suitable for laying floorboards.

Related Article: The 5 Best Flooring Nailers for Hardwood Floors

Current Best Selling Flooring Nailer on Amazon:

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4. Roofing nailers

Like flooring nailers, the roofing nailer is a one-trick pony. However, it does so exceptionally well. Typically, roofing nailers are the preserve of professional roofing contractors as they are configured for driving nails into wood and roofing materials at super-fast speed.

There are three types of roofing nailers:

Spring-loaded – Simple and easy-to-use nailer that fires nails courtesy of springs.

Pneumatic – The most popular in the category. These nailers use compressed air.

SolenoidUses electromagnetism for power.

Current Best Selling Roofing Nailer on Amazon:

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5. Brad nailer

If you prefer to finish with brads, there’s a nailer gun for you too.

Brad nailers are slightly more flexible as they will handle larger 18-gauge nails.

While still relatively small, an 18-gauge brad has more holding power than a pin nail.

Brad nailers can be used in conjunction with 15 or 16-gauge nails, making them great for:

  • Crown moldings
  • Baseboards
  • Trim work
  • Door and window casings

Related Article: The 5 Best Cordless Brad Nailers

Current Best Selling Brad Nailer on Amazon:

Last update on 2021-10-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

6. Pin nailer

The pin nailer is the most delicate nailer available. They take 23-gauge nails without heads and are typically used for finishing carpentry projects.

As pin nails have no actual holding ability, pin nailers will generally be used alongside adhesives. Or the pin nails will be used to merely hold things together until the adhesive sets.

Typical pin nailer jobs include:

  • Carpentry finishing
  • Cabinets (occasionally)
  • Moldings
  • Fine trim pieces
  • Small furniture trimming
  • Thin veneers

Related Article: The Top 5 Best Pin Nailers

Current Best Selling Pin Nailer on Amazon:

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7. Finish nailer

Yet another finishing option is the appropriately-named finish nailer. These are designed to use 15 and 16-gauge finish nails, which are slightly larger and have more holding power than brads.

Usually, finish nailers are used for finishing carpentry work, including:

  • Baseboards
  • Crown moldings
  • Bulkier projects unsuitable for either pins or brads

Related Article: The Top 6 Best Finish Nailers

Current Best Selling Finish Nailer on Amazon:

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8. Siding nailer

Another job-specific nailer that’s designed for use in the construction of sidings.

Siding nailers are ideal for fixing thinner or larger sheets of wood or synthetics to wooden mounts.

Because of its design, a siding nailer uses shorter 1.25 to 2.5 nails with broader heads. Some siding models can take aluminum nails which makes them ideal for fitting aluminum-based sidings.

Current Best Selling Siding Nailer on Amazon:

Last update on 2021-10-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

9. Staple gun

These are purpose-built for driving staples rather than nails into a range of different materials.

Staple guns can be used in a wide variety of applications and are very versatile. Usually, you will see them used in:

  • Upholstery for attaching fabric to chair or sofa frames
  • Carpeting for fix carpets to floors or in soundproofing walls
  • Carpentry and DIY repairs involving wood and fabric
  • Construction for small projects like kennels and birdhouses

Current Best Selling Staple Nailer on Amazon:

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Conclusion

There are nine different types of nail guns and each nailer has a specific job in mind. Knowing the different types of nailers means always knowing the correct nailer for a job. Thankfull, the name is generally a big clue to the tools purpose.

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