While a hammer and nails work great for small projects, when it comes to large jobs, nothing beats a nail gun for precision and speed. Nail guns neatly fire up to 10 nails per second—that’s faster than your hand could grasp a nail to position it.
Specific nail guns are designed for a variety of jobs, but if you’re looking for one versatile tool that can handle both finish work and larger fastening, the ones listed here are a good choice.
Nail guns use one of three potential sources of power:
Even with its limitations, the most powerful and consistent choice is a pneumatic nail gun.
Nails advance automatically in the firing position in one of two ways:
Depending on the job, there are different types of nail guns to choose from:
Comfort is especially important for heavier nail guns. Framing nailers can weigh almost 15 pounds, so you’ll want one that has a comfortable grip and feels balanced.
This important safety feature means that the nail gun will not fire unless the head is depressed and the trigger is pulled. This protects against accidental firing and injury.
Brad and finish nailers are more compact. These can be stored safely in a carrying case that often has room for nails, too.
The price of nail guns varies depending on the type of nailer and the power source. Expect to spend $170 to $400, with more value when you bundle multiple nailers or buy battery-powered nailers without the battery.
A. Even with safety features, nail guns are power tools that require careful use.
A. No. Each type of nail gun is designed to accept specific nails. If nails are too large, they will jam. Nails that are too small won’t drive in properly. You’re looking for the Goldilocks “just right” size. To find that, consult your owner’s manual.
What you need to know: This is a good all-around nail gun for projects both large and small.
What you’ll love: The rechargeable battery has a long run time that drives 18 gauge nails. Adjust the depth and accuracy without tools. LED lights illuminate where nails are being driven.
What you should consider: This nail gun is fairly heavy and challenging to operate overhead.
What you need to know: This is an affordable starter kit that comes with four nail guns.
What you’ll love: This kit includes a framing nailer, a finish nailer, a straight brad nailer and a narrow crown stapler. All nailers are stored conveniently in a canvas carrying bag and also come with wrenches and oil. The quick jam release clears any stuck nails quickly.
What you should consider: While most users found this kit to work well, some noted that the framing nailer did not have enough power to drive nails into heavier wood.
What you need to know: This nailer consistently drives nails to a set depth to reduce your workload.
What you’ll love: This drives 60 nails per minute and has a low nail indicator. It comes with a belt clip and nails to get you started. Adjust the air pressure and depth of drive without any additional tools, and it can drive up to 1700 nails per charge.
What you should consider: This is the tool only. You’ll need to buy the battery separately.
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Suzannah Kolbeck writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.