As seen in:
DEWALT
18-Volt Cordless
WEN
3/4-Inch to 2-Inch, 18-Gauge
BOSTITCH
15-Gauge, Angled Finish
Freeman
Framing/Finishing Combo Kit
Bosch
18-Volt Lithium-Ion, 16-Gauge
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Good

Exceptional reputation for quality and ergonomics. Outstanding service contract.

Lightweight and easy to hold. Affordable price.

Oil-free, unlike the WEN. Lightweight.

Owners get four tools in one. Accommodates a wide variety of nails and staples.

Suitable for hard and soft surfaces. Many convenient features, including a safety lock.

Bad

On the heavier side at 8.5 pounds. Requires a battery. Recharge time: one hour.

Requires an air compressor to operate.

Occasional reports of piston rod breakage. Only compatible with Bostitch nails.

Because of the low price, some customers worry about durability. These worries rarely come to fruition.

On the heavier side (eight pounds). Requires a battery (but no compressor). 30-minute recharge.

Bottom Line

A deluxe, dependable tool with incomparable features and a two-year service contract. The best on the market.

A low-priced nail gun. The quality of this product surprises and delights budget-focused consumers.

An affordable nail gun that amateurs love. Some professionals report a few quality issues.

A comprehensive package of versatile tools that many owners appreciate. The best budget-priced nail gun on the market.

More expensive than some other models on our shortlist. Heavy, efficient, and battery operated.

How we decide
BestReviews is committed to providing comprehensive and trusted reviews for products that matter to consumers. We do the research to help you save time and money.
0
Products received from manufacturers
92
Models Considered
45
Hours Spent
2
Experts Interviewed
154
Consumers Consulted

Best Nail Guns

To say that this is a crowded marketplace is a bit of an understatement. a nail gun exists for every possible nail-driving situation: light-duty staplers, brad and finish nailers, specialist tools for roofing, specialist tools for siding, even professional-grade flooring nailers that don't actually look like a gun at all.

We've narrowed hundreds of different nail guns down to a final five. In so doing, we've discarded small staplers because, while they can be good at what they do, they have a limited scope. For the same reason, we've also excluded nailers that target a particular job. Good as they are, we want to feature top tools that deliver great value for the majority of people. Our final five are:

Products we Considered

DEWALT
18-Volt Cordless
WEN
3/4-Inch to 2-Inch, 18-Gauge
BOSTITCH
15-Gauge, Angled Finish
Freeman
Framing/Finishing Combo Kit
Bosch
18-Volt Lithium-Ion, 16-Gauge

Considerations

Weight & Power Supply

If you're going to use a nail gun for any length of time, its weight and feel are important. These factors need to be balanced against practicality, and that's where power supply comes in. Pneumatic nail guns are light but require a compressor. Portable battery nailers might be more convenient, but there's often a weight penalty.

Capacity & Performance

The variety of nail sizes each gun can accommodate will have a bearing on your choice, as will performance. Does it have the power to punch two-inch brads into seasoned hardwood? Can it handle a decent number of nails before the battery needs recharging?

Useful Features

Some nail guns have clear windows so you can see how many nails are left. Others sport belt hooks and tool-free jam clearing properties. Our top five offer a variety of features intended to make life a little easier, but which features are gimmicks and which would you find useful? We discuss real-world practicality here.

Price

The most expensive tool on our shortlist is about 10 times the price of our cheapest nail gun. Why the big difference? Should you pay a premium for a top name or seek a lower-priced package? In this part of the review, we look at just what you get for your investment.

Considerations

Weight & Power Supply

WEN 61720 3/4-Inch to 2-Inch 18-Gauge

The WEN 61720 18-Gauge Brad Nailer weighs just three pounds. The ease of use that comes with its lack of bulk is enhanced by its easy-grip, rubberized handle. The WEN is an air-powered nail gun, so you'll need a compressor that accepts 1/4-inch NPT fittings and has an output of between 60 and 100 psi. If you don't already own an air compressor, they are versatile tools to have around -- and there are several affordable ones that we recommend.

BOSTITCH N62FNK

Given that the Bostitch N62FNK-2 15-Gauge Angled Finish Nailer is, at least in theory, a heavier duty tool than the WEN, you might expect it to weigh a lot more. It is heavier, but it's still only 3.8 pounds. The manufacturer claims that this weight makes it the lightest of its type on the market. Like the WEN, the Bostitch sports a rubberized handle and is powered by air. Operating range is between 70 and 120 psi, and it has standard 1/4-inch NPT fittings. One advantage the Bostitch has over the WEN is that it's oil-free, so there's no risk of excess fluids marking or staining the materials you're nailing.

Freeman P4FRFNCB Framing/Finishing Combo Kit

With the Freeman P4FRFNCB Framing/Finishing Combo, you get four separate tools: stapler, brad nailer, finish nailer, and framing nailer. Weights vary depending on the gun, from around 2.5 pounds for the stapler to just under 9 pounds for the framing nail gun. All four tools in this package are air-powered; pressure requirements vary with each tool. Working ranges are 60 to 110 psi, and the Freeman boasts standard NPT fittings. This package of tools could theoretically be driven by the same type of low-cost compressor that works with the WEN and Bostitch.

Bosch FNH180K-16 18-Volt Lithium-Ion 16-Gauge Finish Nailer Kit

Bosch claims that their FNH180K-16 16-Gauge Finish Nailer is "compact" and up to fifteen percent narrower than a "leading competitor." That may be, but it still weighs almost eight pounds -- considerably heavier than similar air-powered nail guns. This is a battery-powered tool (18 volts), which can be a bit inconvenient, and that's the penalty you pay for being freed from compressor pipes. In its defense, Bosch does put a lot of work into making this a well-balanced tool, reducing hand and arm fatigue as much as possible.

DEWALT DC618K XRP 18-Volt Cordless

At first glance, the DeWalt DC618K XRP 16 Gauge Angled Finish Nailer looks much bulkier than the Bosch. It's certainly wider, but at 8.5 pounds, it's not much heavier. Once again, the difference between the DeWalt and comparable air-powered nail guns is its battery pack, which provides 18 volts. DeWalt's reputation is exceptional, and the ergonomics of this model are as about as good as it gets. However, we caution all potential buyers to take this tool's weight into consideration before making a purchase.

The four-pack of Freeman tools includes a stapler, brad nailer, finish nailer, and framing nailer.
Considerations

Capacity & Performance

WEN 61720 3/4-Inch to 2-Inch 18-Gauge

It may be an entry-level nail gun, but the WEN 61720 Brad Nailer will comfortably fire 18-gauge brads (ranging from 3/4 - 2 inches long) from a magazine with a 100-brad capacity. Manufacturer performance figures are fine, but they don't really tell you what it's like in "real world" conditions. For that, we like to research the impressions of actual owners, most of whom were surprised by just how well the low-cost WEN nail gun performed. There were a few complaints about jams, but this is common with nail guns and as likely to be a fault with the brad or nail as with the gun itself. It's also important with air-powered nailers to make sure that they, and the compressor, are properly maintained, as performance can drop off quickly if they are not.

The Bostitch N62FNK-2 Finish Nailer fires 15-gauge nails (the smaller the number, the thicker the nail) from 1.5 to 2.5 inches in length in an easy-to-load magazine that takes 130 pieces at a time. When it comes to performance, it's not just basic air pressure that counts, but how the nail gun regulates that pressure. In the case of the Bostitch (a company that's highly regarded in this market), input pressure is increased to as much as 400 psi. In use, owner opinions vary. The majority of amateurs love it and find it powerful and easy to use. Professionals (who tend to be more particular) have complained of problems with the piston rod breaking. Given the infrequency of this complaint, however, it's possible that the breakages relate to a particular faulty batch.

Freeman P4FRFNCB Framing/Finishing Combo Kit

With four guns to choose from, we'd be here all day if we addressed every possible specification of the Freeman P4FRFNCB Brad/Framing/Finishing Kit! Suffice it to say that you can use anything from a 3/8-inch narrow crown staple to a 3.5-inch, 0.131-gauge (similar to a 10-gauge) round head nail. Capacities among the four tools vary, but for comparison purposes, the finish nailer has a 100-piece magazine. Getting such a variety of nail guns in one affordable kit would make most people question quality and productivity, but owners in general are delighted with this product. The Freeman, owners say, is fast, accurate, and hard working. "Better than expected!" was a common response we encountered in our research.

The Bosch FNH180K-16 Finish Nailer will take 105 16-gauge nails from 1.25 - 2.5 inches long. According to owners, it's very efficient at hammering into just about anything from relatively soft moldings to hard oak. What can let the performance down is the fact that it's battery powered. Most compressors will go on all day, but the Bosch will eventually run out of charge. It's impossible to say how long the battery will carry on between charging sessions, as stamina can change dramatically depending on nail size, the material being nailed, and how fast you work! However, according to Bosch, the rapid charger will have you back up again in half an hour. If you don't want the break, you could always buy an additional battery.

If you're looking for a reason to choose one of our two "cordless" nail guns over the other -- the Bosch and the DeWalt DC618K XRP Finish Nailer -- then nail size and capacity figures won't be of much help. The DeWalt takes exactly the same sizes, and although magazine capacity is slightly greater at 120, that tiny increase won't make much of a difference to most users. This is another 18-volt nail gun, so power delivery and run time will be similar to the Bosch. However, the charging time for the DeWalt is a full hour (as opposed to the Bosch, which purportedly charges in only half an hour). To be fair, every owner who expressed an opinion was happy to put up with battery shortcomings in exchange for the convenience of not needing a compressor.

The Freeman Framing/Finishing Combo Kit allows you to use anything from a 3/8-inch narrow crown staple to a 3.5-inch, 0.131-gauge round head nail.
Richard
Expert Consultant
Richard
Hardware Store Owner, Do-It-Yourself Guru

Richard is a seasoned small business owner in the hardware industry. He also owns a pool maintenance business and serves as an advisor on groundskeeping committees for a number of prominent organizations. He’s a regionally renowned safe cracker/locksmith expert, and in his spare time, he renovates and repairs vaults, safes, appliances, and a number of other products.

Considerations

Useful Features

WEN 61720 3/4-Inch to 2-Inch 18-Gauge

All nail guns jam from time to time, as we've said. The quicker you can un-jam them, the better. The WEN 61720 Brad Nailer accomplishes this by way of a quick-release magazine that gives rapid access to the head, which is where most jams occur. The WEN, like the vast majority of nail guns, also has depth adjustment and a soft nose so you don't mar your work piece -- although owners did say that care was needed. A useful carrying case is supplied by the manufacturer, as is oil and a couple of wrenches for periodic maintenance and adjustment. The WEN nail gun is covered by a one-year warranty.

BOSTITCH N62FNK

Like the WEN, the Bostitch N62FNK-2 Finish Nailer features depth adjustment and tool-free jam clearing thanks its quick-release magazine. (Bostitch calls this a "bypass nail pusher," and it is purported to speed loading time.) This model has four non-marring tips, each for nailing at different angles. There's also a carrying case and a sample selection of different fixings. Bostitch backs its reputation for build quality with a seven-year warranty.

Freeman P4FRFNCB Framing/Finishing Combo Kit

While each tool in the Freeman P4FRFNCB Brad/Framing/Finishing Kit has its particular benefits, all share tips or pads that are designed to reduce marring. Each tool also offers a simple but effective depth adjustment and a rapid way of clearing jams. Freeman nail gun pistons are fitted with Teflon o-rings which help extend the life of the tool part that works hardest. The kit includes a tough canvas bag with all the necessary manuals and wrenches, oil, and a pair of safety goggles. Like the Bostitch, these tools carry a seven-year warranty.

Bosch FNH180K-16 18-Volt Lithium-Ion 16-Gauge Finish Nailer Kit

In addition to the usual depth setting, soft tip, and jam release features, the Bosch FNH180K-16 Finish Nailer offers a couple of very useful extras. First is a "blank fire lock-out" function that detects when the magazine is empty and prevents firing (which could damage the work piece). Second is a safety lock that you can engage to disable the nail gun when not in use, thereby preventing someone (like a child) from accidentally firing it. A belt hook is another neat touch, and although Bosch calls this a "bare tool," the product comes with a carrying case, charger, and safety goggles. Considering the manufacturer's good reputation, we're surprised that the warranty lasts just one year.

DEWALT DC618K XRP 18-Volt Cordless

The DeWalt DC618K XRP Finish Nailer features a safety trigger lock, a tip to prevent marking, accelerated "un-jamming," and fine depth control. An interesting extra with this nail gun is its two-mode operation: "sequential" nailing for maximum accuracy and "bump" nailing for maximum speed (as fast as five nails per second, according to DeWalt). LED "headlights" allow you to see in dark corners. As is common, the box contains a manual, charger, and safety goggles, but the warranty is something altogether different. In addition to the "materials and workmanship" guarantee that all manufacturers supply in one form or another (this one is for three years), the DeWalt DC618K XRP also comes with a two-year service contract. During this time, DeWalt will maintain your nail gun free of charge, including the replacement of any parts that wear out through "normal" use.

The DeWalt offers an efficient, two-mode operation: "sequential" nailing for maximum accuracy and "bump" nailing for maximum speed.
Considerations

Price

WEN 61720 3/4-Inch to 2-Inch 18-Gauge

The WEN 61720 Brad Nailer's current offer price is a remarkable $25, which makes it one of the cheapest nail guns you'll find. For such a small amount of money, you might expect it to be fragile or of poor quality, but the vast majority of owners are perfectly happy with their WEN and delighted with the value. A couple of people did express doubts over long-term durability, but as one owner pointed out, you could buy 10 of these for the price of just one professional-grade nail gun.

BOSTITCH N62FNK

At the moment, you can buy the Bostitch N62FNK-2 Finish Nailer for $155. It's a lightweight tool, but that shouldn't suggest it's made from sub-standard components. Indeed, in the world of nailing and fixing, Bostitch has a good reputation. Plenty of owners are satisfied, and most would recommend it to a friend. Our research did turn up one consistent complaint -- the lack of compatible nails other than Bostitch's own -- but otherwise, it's highly rated by almost everyone who uses it.

Freeman P4FRFNCB Framing/Finishing Combo Kit

A set of four quality staplers/nail guns for $183 seems almost unbelievable. Of course, for that small price, you'd have to question performance and durability. However, the owners we surveyed could hardly find fault with them at all! On top of that, Freeman provides a seven-year warranty. Few manufacturers will match that.

Bosch FNH180K-16 18-Volt Lithium-Ion 16-Gauge Finish Nailer Kit

Battery-powered nail guns aren't cheap, and even on offer, the Bosch FNH180K-16 Finish Nailer costs $285. Of course, you don't have to factor in the cost of a compressor or the inconvenience of carting one around. This is one of the main reasons why people opt for a battery-operated nail gun! Bosch is known for producing thoughtful, well-built tools, and this nail gun is no exception. A few owners reported that it lacks the power to drive nails properly, but that seems at odds with the majority opinion: that this is an excellent and reliable tool.

DEWALT DC618K XRP 18-Volt Cordless

The DeWalt DC618K XRP Finish Nailer can be yours right now for $329. That puts it in close competition with the Bosch, and there are indeed many similarities. Both have the advantage (or disadvantage, depending on how you look at it) of battery power. Both are known for quality. Little things set the DeWalt apart, such as its two operating modes. It's not something that would make a lot of difference to many, but it is a small touch that makes this a proper "pro" tool rather than a just a very good DIY tool. This product's quality is underlined by DeWalt's free service contract and is further validated by owners. Nobody complains about the price they paid. In fact, despite high sales volumes, complaints are virtually non-existent.

Icing on the cake: you don't just get a three-year warranty with the DeWalt DC618K. You also get a two-year service contract that costs you nothing.

Best of the Best

All of the nail guns on our shortlist are fantastic tools, but the best nail gun, by a notable margin, is the DeWalt DC618K XRP.

Consumers are increasingly drawn to the convenience of battery-powered nail guns. This type of gun is a little heavier, but DeWalt deftly balances weight with the in-hand comfort of its product. Not having to carry around a compressor (or look after one) is another major advantage.

Cheap nail guns have their limitations, but the DeWalt Finish Nailer can handle 16-gauge nails from 1.5 - 2.5 inches. Thanks to two modes of operation, it will drive said nails accurately and rapidly. It delivers all of the features you would expect of a high-quality nail gun: no-mar tip, quick-release magazine for those occasional jams, and multiple depth settings so you can bury your fixings exactly how you like. It even has little headlights so you can see in dark corners.

At Best Reviews, we strongly value owner opinions because they show us how well products work in the real world. Almost without exception, owners praise the DeWalt. They love its performance. They have no problems with its battery life (it charges in an hour), and the majority tell us they would recommend it to a friend.

Icing on the cake: you don't just get a three-year warranty with this product. You also get a two-year service contract that costs you nothing. DeWalt officials don't expect the product to break, but if it does (with normal use), they'll repair it for free. That tells you how confident the manufacturer feels about this product. Without doubt, the "Best of the Best" nail gun is the DeWalt DC628K XRP.
Best of the Best
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Despite high sales volumes, customer complaints about the DeWalt DC618K XRP are virtually non-existant.

Best Bang for your Buck

The Best Bang for Your Buck nail gun isn't one gun, it's four: the Freeman P4FRFNCB Framing/Finishing Combo Kit.

For around the same price as one decent brad or finish nailer, you actually get a stapler, a brad nailer, a finish nailer, and a framing nailer. Each is lightweight and constructed well. Each offers the features you would expect of it, such as depth control, rapid jam release mechanisms, and tips that won't mar your work piece. The package includes a durable canvas bag with instruction manuals, the wrenches you need for general maintenance, and a pair of safety goggles.

For just $183, some potential buyers wonder if the Freeman package is of sub-standard quality or poor capacity. It's not. In terms of both size range and magazine capacity, each nail gun is right in line with industry norms. As for build, the Freeman's aluminum cylinders reduce wear. Teflon o-rings extend piston life. Add to that the seven-year warranty, and you have a product that any manufacturer would be proud of.

You do need a compressor to operate this nail gun, but budget compressors that produce the necessary 60 to 110 psi can be found for well under $100. What's more, according to owners, their performance is as good as their value. One or two expressed concerns about long term durability, but actual problems are extremely few and far between. The majority agree that this is a highly valuable package of nail guns.
Best Bang for your Buck
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The majority of owners agree that the Freeman Framing/Finishing Combo Kit is a highly valuable package of nail guns.
The team that worked on this review
  • Bob
    Bob
    Writer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Editor
  • Ann
    Ann
    Operations
  • Jimi
    Jimi
    Product Analyst
  • Kriti
    Kriti
    Data Scientist