Updated May 2022
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Buying guide for Best staple guns

Whether you'd like to secure the carpet on your steps or reupholster that unsightly chair to bring it into this century, you need a staple gun to get the job done. A staple gun is a fastening tool that can quickly join two materials together with a remarkably durable bond.

The average user will likely want a manual staple gun, but for heavy-duty applications, there are powered models as well. The staple gun you purchase must have a trigger lock for safety. Additionally, you want a model that is easy to load and features a simple way to adjust the tension of the spring so the tool can be used for a wider variety of tasks.

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Most staple guns differ from office staplers in that they don’t bend the staple; they just drive it straight in.

Key considerations

When most people think about purchasing a staple gun, they likely picture a manual staple gun, one where all the power is provided by squeezing. In most instances, that’s all the average homeowner needs. However, there are a few other types available, and to be sure you’re getting the one that’s best for you, you need to know your options.


A manual staple gun requires no power source other than you. It’s easy to transport and operate. When you squeeze the handle, you compress a spring that eventually releases to forcefully eject a staple. About the only downside to this type of staple gun is that your hand will fatigue rather quickly, so it can be difficult to do large jobs in one session.


An electric staple gun can be plugged in or run off a battery. This type of staple gun does the work for you, so it’s ideal for tasks that require a great deal of stapling. It’s also good for when you’re stapling in areas where you can't apply much force manually, such as stapling upward. Also, it’s important to note that electric staple guns tend to be a little more accurate than manual staple guns.


Pneumatic staple guns are driven by compressed air. These are extremely powerful, heavy-duty units that are often seen on construction sites. Because these staple guns need to be attached to an air compressor, they have the greatest limitations when it comes to mobility.

Hammer tackers

This type of staple gun is also manually operated. The user swings it somewhat like a hammer, only instead of sinking nails, when the unit comes in contact with a surface it embeds a staple. These types of staple guns are best for shingles and flooring, though smaller models may come in handy when upholstering.

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A good rule of thumb when choosing staples is to use a leg length that is three times longer than the thickness of the material you want to fasten.

Staple gun features

Besides deciding on the type of staple gun that you need, there are a few other elements to consider before settling on the ideal model for you.


Tension: The best staple guns feature a knob or some other device that allows you to quickly change the tension on the spring in case the staples are not going in all the way. Alternatively, you can use this control to lessen the tension in case the staples are being driven too hard and tearing through the fabric or other material that you’re attempting to attach.


Trigger lock: You want a staple gun with a trigger lock to prevent accidental firing. Different models lock in different ways. Many of the manual staple guns require firing a staple before locking because the handle locks in the down position.

Bump trigger: A bump trigger is a special mode that allows you to fire staples rapidly just by pressing the staple gun down on a surface while holding the trigger. This feature is not available on manual models, but if it’s something you would benefit from, seek an electric or pneumatic staple gun that has this advanced feature.


Ease of use: From loading to adjusting the tension to stapling, you want a staple gun that is easy to operate. It’s a very simple tool, so there is no need to purchase one that overly complicates any aspect of its operation.

Grip: You will want a staple gun with a comfortable, ergonomic grip, especially if you’re purchasing a manual model. Ideally, some padding or at least a nonslip handle is also a good idea.


Since so many companies manufacture staple guns, some try to be more appealing to the homeowner by offering bundles. Typically, these kits include the staple gun, staples, a case, and a staple remover, so you'll have everything you need to get working.


When purchasing a staple gun, there are a few additional items that you’ll need as well as others you may want to have on hand.


You need to purchase staples in order for your staple gun to work. There are three main types of staples that you can use in staple guns: D-type, U-type, and T-type. Not all staple guns accept all types. Before deciding on a model, make sure it will accept the type of staples you’ll be using. Alternatively, some staple guns are designed to accept all types of staples. If you will be using two or three types of staples, look for a model that can accept all three types.

Eye protection

Staples fired from a staple gun are designed to embed deeply and stay embedded. You need impact-resistant eye protection to keep the staples from accidentally harming your eyes.


Gloves are not necessary, but they can help protect your hands whenever you’re working with tools.


If you’re working in an area that has low light, a headlamp will allow you to better see what you’re doing.


In the event that you purchase a staple gun that needs to be adjusted using a screwdriver, you’ll need the proper type of screwdriver on hand to make adjustments.

Staple remover

If you make a mistake and need to take out a staple, a staple remover is the tool you need to get the job done.

"Staple guns fire quickly. Line your shot up before you even think about squeezing the trigger. "

Staple gun prices


It’s possible to purchase a staple gun for as low as $8 or $10. However, if  you can manage just a few dollars more, for $15 to $20, you can upgrade to one with a padded handle, included staples, staple remover, and case. Also, the models in this price range are a little more durable.


When you move beyond $20, you can find multipurpose staple guns and electric models. If you want a decent pneumatic staple gun, you'll have to look at $30 and above.


Professional devices can put you in the $100 and over range, but for most home applications, you should be good with a staple gun that costs between $15 and $30.

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To ensure the most accurate manual stapling, tip the back end of your staple gun up slightly so you can apply a little pressure to the nose to help combat kickback.

Safety tips

A staple gun is a gun. It shoots with enough force to embed metal deep in wood. Because of this, care must be taken whenever handling the tool to lessen the chance of injury. Following are a few safety tips to keep in mind whenever you’re using a staple gun.

  • Turn it off. Keep the staple gun powered down with the trigger locked when it’s not in use. If the staple gun jams, be sure to power it down before attempting to clear the jam.
  • Wear eye protection. Impact-resistant eyewear is a must when using a staple gun.
  • Keep hands and fingers away from the firing area.
  • Keep kids away from the staple gun. Do not allow children to use a staple gun. Do not store your staple gun in an area where children have access. Keep your staple gun unloaded when it’s not in use.
  • Never point a staple gun at a person or animal.
  • Be careful what you staple. Never staple into a surface or object that the staples can’t penetrate, including another staple or a nail. Be extremely careful around electricity: do not staple into any live wires.
  • Always inspect your staple gun before using it.
  • Never use a staple gun as a makeshift hammer.
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Staple guns aren't just for construction, upholstering, and crafts. They can also be used to decorate. If you'd like to add a festive look to your yard for a party, stapling balloons to a tree is a quick and easy option.


Q. What do I need a staple gun for?

A. A staple gun is a fastening tool. As such, it's as versatile as glue. You can use it for anything from crafts to construction. Depending on the type you get and the staples you load, you can use a staple gun to reupholster furniture or secure carpet.

Q. How do I load the staples into a staple gun?

A. Although the process may vary slightly from model to model, it’s simple. In all staple guns, whether they’re manual, electric, or pneumatic, there is a compartment (magazine) that holds the staples. After making sure the staple gun is off and the trigger is locked, open the magazine, insert the staples in the proper direction and close the compartment.

Q. Does it matter which type of staples I use?

A. Yes. The success of the job that you’re doing depends on the type of staples you use. There are only two elements that differentiate staples: the type of staple and the length of the legs. For instance, a fine-wire staple with low-profile legs is designed for light-duty fastening jobs. For heavier-duty fastening tasks, you need a sturdier staple with possibly longer legs (depending on the thickness of the materials you’re using.

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