Various nail guns are useful for various situations and the best nail gun for you is the one that fits the best the job you’re doing. If a pin nailer is great when you need to go into tighter spots, a brad nailer is the better option for a larger craft project.
The most popular choice, no matter how big or small is your project, is the pneumatic nail gun. For those of you who don’t know, the hammering force comes from compressed air, generated in most cases by a separate gas-powered air compressor.
We’re not getting too technical, but it’s good to know that the pneumatic nail gun uses the same type of hammer as a solenoid nail gun. A sliding piston drives a long blade and the piston is pushed to go downward when the air pressure above the piston head is greater than below it. The flow of compressed air is channeled with the use of a trigger mechanism.
Some important details
No matter how great your pneumatic nail gun sounds on the shelf, there is still a chance (and quite a big one if you’re new to this) that you don’t use it right at times.
The nail tip orientation is very important and a nail may track wrong through the wood. The nail in the pneumatic nail gun is two sided and it may try to follow the grain on the wood. In order to get the best results, you may turn the nail 90degree to the curve of the annular rings. This way the “keel effect” is lowered and the nail doesn’t follow them anymore and gets right through them.
Keep in mind that is always easier to cut a rut at a right angle. You need to move the nailer tip closer to the side of the blowout and tip it away afterwards. It’s more likely that you get the right angle by doing so.
When you take a look at the nails, you get to see that most of them are oval or rectangular, and not round or square. There are smaller gauge nails- very easy to bend them side-to-side.
When you take a look at the nails, you get to see that most of them are oval or rectangular, and not round or square. There are smaller gauge nails- very easy to bend them side-to-side. You can also get larger nails- and you have to decide on your own if you’re going to bend more the cross-section or the direction of the wedge.
Even if you get the best pneumatic nail gun (even though, truth be told, there is no such thing), you still need to know how to get the best out of it. It’s better to hold it perpendicular to the plywood’s edge if it’s a small nail gun and go parallel to the plywood’s edge in the case of a big gun.
Don’t leave out the wood grain direction when using your pneumatic nail gun, if you want the best results.
As for the nail strength, it’s common sense to observe that a smaller nail may bend easier than a bigger one. Therefore, you do need to know a bit about what nails can or cannot do, while using them.
One final observation
The air pressure is also an important factor to consider when using your pneumatic nail gun. If the air pressure is high, the chances for the nail to split a piece of wood are lower. In addition, the chances for the nail to bend are also minimal if it’s moving faster.
Try to set the best speed according to the wood you’re working, if you want your project to be a real success.
Don’t get over your head after your first success and play it safe until you do your first “double kiss” (if this tells you nothing, it means you’re not ready for it).
Top 5 pneumatic nail gun reviews
Spending all that money on wood and all the other materials, left you almost broke, but you can still get a great tool to actually finish what you started with the Bostitch PN100k Impact Nailer Kit.
The palm nailer kit includes many various types of nail noses, but also some wrenches, lubricant and spare O-rings. They all are useful in different situations, which gives great versatility to the pneumatic nail gun.
The palm nail gun is rather lightweight so it’s comfortable to use. It has an ergonomic design and fits very cozy in your hand, for easier and strain-free use.
The magnetic nose has a recessed nail slot so the nails remain tight for higher precision on the job. You may find its best use in the tight spaces and when nailing off joist hangers and metal connectors.
The hardened steel nose gives a long life span to the nail gun, as does the leather glove.
The PN100 nailer is quite strong and may drive nails up to 5-inches long. The steel nose build ensures easy job in many situations.
The nail gun has no buttons nor switches so it’s easy to use. It’s lightweight and feels so nice in the hand. It has a solid construction and gives no random discharge of nails.
And, for easier storage and better organization, the nail gun comes in a solid hard case that keeps it all together.
Let’s make a short list of the main features:
- The kit includes several types of nail nose, some wrenches, spare O-rings and lubricant
- The nail gun is great for the tight spaces and all types of jobs
- The nail gun is easy to use and comfortable to hold
- It’s reliable, versatile and highly portable
Let’s not forget the not-so-good features:
- The nail gun is a bit loud
- You need an air compressor for it
- It has no depth control
The cons are minor and the kit not only covers so many types of jobs, but also comes at a very good price.
If you are on the hunt for a reliable tool for your DIY projects or you simply frame a lot, the Porter-Cable FR350b 3-1/2-Inch Full Round Framing Nailer is definitely a tool to try.
The pneumatic nail gun is lightweight and drive nails up to 3-1/2 inch by 0.131-inch into lumber that has already been engineered.
The depth of drive is easy to adjust, no tools required so you can get the right setting of nail heads.
The nail gun features also a trigger lockout that lets you use the contact actuation or the restrictive mode, depending on your needs.
There are many useful features on the nail gun and we can’t oversee the low nail lockout that shows you when you need to reload.
As for the ease of use, the nail gun gives you an over-molded grip that lets you use, comfortably and strain free for long time. The ergonomic design ensures an easy and cozy use every time. A reversible rafter hook helps you hang tool off the left or right side, completing the functional features of the nail gun.
The nail gun uses a full round head and plastic collated nails. You need to use 22-degree plastic collated nails as the magazine is set at 22 degree to the drive axis.
The bounce mechanism works great and the nail gun has a good build. It’s very well made and leaves a nice feel to the hand.
Let’s make a very short list of pros:
- The nail gun is well made and has an ergonomic design
- The nail gun is great for framing and DIY projects
- The tool is easy and comfortable to use
- The nail gun is lightweight and has many functional features for safe and easy use
We do need to mention the parts we like less:
- The safety is a bit sensitive
- It uses plastic in nail clips
The issues aren’t major issues for us and we take the nail gun exactly for what it is: a reliable, easy to use tool for framing and DIY projects.
Well designed and very well made just as well, the Makita AN611 1-1/4-Inch to 2-1/2-Inch Coil Siding Nailer is a tool to get when you decide the step up a bit when it comes to budget.
The pneumatic nail gun features a selector switch so you can decide which mode fits the best a working job (contact/sequential/lock). There are also no less than 9 setting for the depth adjustment that needs no tool and is easy to do.
When it comes to useful features, we need to mention the canister that is easy to load as it features nail size adjustment for more versatility of the tool. The multi-directional exhaust port keeps the air away from you when working. A built-in air filter keeps at distance any dirt or debris from the tool also.
The nail gun is safe and easy to use and several features protect the tool and yourself while working. The rubber bumpers protect the tool, as it does the soft nose tip that minimizes the risk for scratching.
The rubber grip of the handle makes the use easy and strain-free for long. A silent sheet makes sure the noise is minimal when disconnecting coupler and this is a nice detail that counts so much.
The nail gun has a well thought design and the attention for details make it stand out from the crowd, so to speak. The setup is easy and the tool is easy to load and use. It’s very tough, yet it’s rather lightweight. It jams rarely and is a great choice for installing fiber cement, wood shingle siding and angled nailing just as well.
Here are the most important pros:
- The nail gun has a well thought design and is very well made
- The nail gun is lightweight, yet tough and reliable
- It’s easy to adjust and is great for many jobs
- The nail gun rarely jams and has many useful features
As for the cons, the list is short:
- It comes with no nose adaptor
- The nail gun is not exactly low-priced
The cons are minimal and the tool is a great, reliable investment of your money.
If you think you are ready for the professional level, you can take all the tough jobs as the Hitachi NV50A1 1-1/4-Inch to 2-Inch Wire Collated Utility Framing Nailer is quite ready to take the heavy-duty jobs.
Despite its strength and reliability, the nail gun is lightweight and its compact shape ensures easy handling.
The tool is great for any high volume job and is able to magazine up to 400-nails. The spring clip makes it easy to load the magazine. It’s easy to reload and to see when you need to load also. As the magazine is angled, you may nail in tight spaces quite easy.
The nail gun comes with a plastic shield that fights against wire collation. The tool may drive 1-1/4 inch to 2-inch nails with .083 diameter.
The nail gun is great option for the overhead jobs just as well. You may use it for the professional-grade jobs in woodwork, concrete, drilling, metalwork, cutting and fastening.
It’s easy and comfortable to use the nail gun that rarely jams. It has a good weight and it’s quite a working horse. It’s very easy to position the nail gun, no matter the type of job.
All parts are replaceable, when in need. The tool takes the intense use, for a long time.
Here are the most important pros:
- The nail gun takes the heavy jobs, on a professional level
- It has a good weight and is easy to use
- It’s easy to load the magazine that has a 400 nail capacity
- You may access tight spaces also as the magazine is angled
As much as we like the tool, we also have some minor issues to remind:
- The air outlet is not adjustable
- The plastic links on the coils is very temperamental in the cold weather
The minor issues aren’t deal breakers for us and the nail gun is a great tool for any contractor.
when you don’t want to buy every several months a brand new nail gun, get the long lasting Max CN565S 1-3/4-Inch to 2-1/2-Inch Coil Siding Nailer that performs so well, for a quite some time.
the nail gun is well balanced and is lightweight, despite its power. You may need for fastening timber to steel plates or steel up to 2.3mm, but also for various roofing jobs, ply bracing, external well, brackets and so on.
It drives AC wire collated &FAP plastic collated bright, stainless and galvanized 15-degree coil nails. You get to use 32 mm to 64 mm nails with it. It takes both flat wire welded and plastic sheet collated nails.
The nail gun has an anti-double fire mechanism so you don’t need to worry on safety when using the tool.
The dial adjustable depth control is easy to use and you may set the depth you need on a specific job.
When it comes to extra features, we also need to remind the no-mar contact tip that protects your working surface.
The nail gun is well balanced and lightweight and very accurate. It comes in a plastic case and is pretty long lasting.
Here are the most important pros:
- The nail gun is well balanced and lightweight
- It’s reliable in many situations
- It’s easy to use and ensures comfortable use
- It’s long lasting and has an anti-double fire mechanism
As for the cons, here they are:
- Some find the maintenance of setting a bit tricky
- The price isn’t quite low
The nail gun is a reliable tool that provides high performance on many jobs, for a long time and has only few downsides attached to it.
Best pneumatic nail gun for the money/best value
When you have mixed feeling about spending or not spending the extra buck for a good pneumatic nail gun, place yourself in the middle and get a fair priced nail gun that gives nice performances, despite its low price. A good example on that is the Hitachi NT65MA4 1-1/4 Inch to 2-1/2 Inch 15-Gauge Angled Finish Nailer with Air Duster.
The nail gun presents many features that increase its overall quality and make it a good option in many situations.
It’s a tool-less that comes with an easy to clear nose so that the nail extraction is fast and easy. A selective actuation switch lets you select sequential or contact nailing with just a flip of the switch; you don’t need tools or other parts when doing it.
You may also adjust the depth of drive dial with no tools so you get easily in many types of materials, with better control and more accuracy just as well.
The 360-degree fully adjustable exhaust portal keeps dust, dirt or other elements away from your working piece at all times.
The tool per say is lightweight and has a rubberized grip that ensures a sturdy, comfortable grip, with minimal fatigue for your hand. The design gives you also plenty of freedom when in use thanks to the 34-degree magazine angle. You get easy in the tight spaces or the difficult to reach corners when using the nail gun.
The nail gun has a 100-nail magazine capacity so you don’t have to reload it very often. The adjustable firing options (contact or sequential), the depth adjustment and the air duster create a reliable, versatile tool.
Very well build and balanced, the nail gun is a strong tool that comes in a practical carrying case.
Let’s sum it all up and list the pros:
- The nail gun has a great build and is well balanced
- It’s lightweight and easy to use
- It has a 100-nail magazine capacity and many functional features
- It’s versatile and gets in the tight spaces or the difficult to reach corners
We also think that some things could use some improvement:
- The nail gun jams more often than you’d want
- It’s a bit on the loud side
Despite the cons, for the money you pay, you get a reliable kit that comes with a strong, reliable and easy to use pneumatic nail gun.
Best cheap/budget pneumatic nail gun
If you want a reliable and versatile pneumatic nail gun, but your budget isn’t the largest out there, give it a go with the Dewalt DWFP12231 Pneumatic 18-Gauge 2-Inch Brad Nailer Kit.
The low-priced air-powered nail gun has a sequential-style and comes in a nice kit with several useful items.
The gun has a magnesium body that gives a lightweight gun, easy to use and to carry around. It has a 100-nail capacity and has a non-slip grip. The gun is not only safe to use, but also comfortable and takes the intense use.
There are many good things related to the pneumatic nail: the easy nail removal, the jam-release mechanism, the rear exhaust that keeps at distance dirt or other contaminants. The tool-free depth of drive adjustment and the non-marring nose tip ensure also an easy use. As for the motor, as it’s free-maintenance, you get another worry away from your mind.
The gun drives 18 gauge nails from 5/8” to 2” length and is a reliable tool for many situations.
The adjustable belt hook gives the gun high portability and its carrying case makes the storage easier.
The gun is easy to load, easy to fix when jamming, easy to carry and low-priced. Which seals the deal for a limited budget.
Here are the most important pros:
- The gun is lightweight and easy to use, with a non-slip grip
- It’s easy to load the gun
- The gun has many efficient and functional features: jam-release mechanism, tool-free depth of drive adjustment
- The gun is easy to carry and has maintenance-free motor
We do need to list the cons also:
- You need an air compressor to use the gun
- The trigger safety needs repositioning from time to time
All in all, for the money you pay, you get a reliable, easy to use and carry pneumatic nail gun with only few minor flaws.
Best overall pneumatic nail gun
When you are on the hunt for a nail gun that is versatile, more than anything else, give it a try with the Hitachi NP35A 1-3/8″ 23-Gauge Pin Nailer.
The nail gun has a large fastener capacity so you don’t waste much time when loading. You don’t need to load very often either.
When it comes to great features, we can’t skip the part of the magazine that automatically adjusts to 5/8”, 3/4”, 1”, 1-3/16” and 1-3/8” fastener lengths. The tool becomes versatile and reliable in so many jobs and projects. You may set the depth for flush drives into many types of surfaces. As for loading the nail gun, the reload indicator helps you see the low nail quantity so the risk for the dry firing is minimal.
The safety of the tool is well-covered thanks to the dual trigger that provides safe and precise placement of fasteners.
You also get to work nice and clean with the tool and the rear exhaust directs oil or debris far from the work piece.
Going through the functional features, we also have to mention the removable nose plate that ensures easy jam clearing. The large housing shield provides a great protection for the working surface. The soft nose makes sure the tool leaves no marks on the wood either.
The nail gun has a compact design and is lightweight, so it’s easy to use, store and carry around altogether.
You may use the nail gun when picture framing, crafting, glazing bead, paneling- so it’s a highly versatile tool.
The tool is quiet and comfortable to use and comes in a nice molded plastic case.
Here are our most important qualities:
- The nail gun is versatile and may be used in so many situations
- The nail gun has a compact shape and is lightweight
- The nailer is easy to use, store and carry around
- The nail gun is quiet, comfortable and leaves no marks in the wood
As for the cons, here are ours:
- It’s not the most powerful nail gun out there
- It’s better for the smaller jobs
The minor issues don’t minimize the value of the nail gun that manages to be a popular choice, with far more qualities than downsides.
Best pneumatic framing nail gun
Powerful and ready to take the heavy use, the Makita AN923 3-1/2″ Framing Nailer, 21° Full Round Head doesn’t surprise with its reliable and high performance abilities in many situations.
The nail gun features a mode selector switch, so you get the use just the right mode in a specific situation: contact/sequential or lock. This gives you great control for the nailing situations. The depth adjustment needs no tools and you get flush that is more accurate and countersink nailing also.
The air chamber has a large capacity and the power is pretty big. The nail gun handles well nails with lengths ranging from 2” to 3-1/2”. It has also a long lasting rear loading aluminum magazine with quite some big nail holding capacity.
When it comes to safe use, the nail gun comes with some great features. Tre retractable hook keeps the tool as ease, but never in the way, whereas the tool stops on its own when have three nails remained in the magazine, preventing the dry firing.
The nail gun is also comfortable to use and the sharp, texturized grip wood gives you more control, no matter the angle. Some rubber bumpers protect the nail gun from casual damage and this is also an important feature.
As for the clean working space, the tool is also great as it comes with a built-in air filter that keeps dust or debris away from the tool. The multi-directional exhaust port keeps air away from operator and you get to work easier.
The nail gun has a rugged build and the easy-to-use features recommend it for the framing applications. It’s actually a great choice for roofers, carpenters and framers.
The strong build gives you a long lasting nail gun with many functional features for fast re-load and ease of use.
Let’s list the most important pros:
- The nail gun has a rugged build and is great choice for framing
- It comes with built-in air filter and multi-directional exhaust port
- It’s easy and pretty comfortable to use
- It has 3-mode selector switch and nine settings to drive nails
Some things wouldn’t hurt more attention though:
- The nail gun doesn’t come with a carrying case per say
- The replacement parts are not that easy to find when in need
- The tool is on the heavy side
We try to see the bigger picture and we get a pneumatic nail gun that is strong, reliable and with many features for framers, carpenters and roofers.
Best pneumatic nail gun kit
The market has developed so much that you can now find great products, without spending the last buck from your wallet. It’s the case of the Bostitch BTFP2KIT 2-Tool and Compressor Combo Kit that manages to be a reliable combo kit, despite its rather low price.
The kit consists of a TFP02012, 6-gallon pancake compressor, a SB-1850BN 18GA Brad nail gun and a SB-1664FN 16 GA straight finish nail gun.
The pancake compressor features a highly efficient motor, whereas the Brad nail gun drives 18GA brad nails from 5/8” to 2”, practical in so many job situations. The 16GA straight finish nail gun drives 1-1/4 to 2-1/2”, 16-gauge finish nails and ensures more versatility to the entire kit.
The pancake compressor fits any hose with ¼”X25’ PVC air hose. The brad nail gun has tool-free depth adjustment, which makes it more versatile, but also a tool-free jam clearing feature for easier use.
The brad nail gun features tool-free 360-degree exhaust so your piece is always clean. The trigger lock-off ensures safe use and the over molded no-mar pad completes the features.
The Straight finish nail gun is lightweight and comes with tool-free jam clearing feature and tool-free adjustment. The swept-back contact trip and the 360-degree exhaust create an easy to use and clean tool.
As for the pancake compressor, we need to mention the powerful motor that runs easy and fast even in cold weather and features a maintenance free pump for comfortable use. The compressor is rather quiet and features an impact-resistant composite shroud that protects controls and gauges from damages. It’s also easy to remove for repairing the controls. The compressor is lightweight, easy to carry around thanks to its handle grip.
The compressor includes 25’ PVC air hose with fittings and brads. It has a good build and holds air pressure rather good. It recharges fast and has a compact shape.
The kit is a great option for the entry-level contractor, but it’s also an amazing option for travel or the heavy-duty projects.
Let’s pinpoint the most important pros:
- The kit contains a pancake compressor, a Brad nail gun and a straight finish nail gun
- The compressor is compact and easy to carry around
- The nail guns give many options and don’t jam
- The kit is easy to use and to carry around altogether
Let’s list the cons also:
- The kit is not the best choice for the professional use
- The nail guns aren’t the best out there
Despite the cons, when in need for a kit that is portable and reliable in many job situations, give it a go with the kit.