Best Nail Gun for DIY (Types of Nail Guns & Which is Best)

Best Nail Gun for DIY (Types of Nail Guns & Which is Best)

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Last Updated on November 23, 2023 by bluefuze

If you’re in the market for a nail gun to help with those DIY projects you’ve got around the house, you’ve come to the right place. We’re here to help you sort through the assortment of nail guns out there, so you’re sure to bring home exactly what you need to get your DIY project done.

The selection of nail guns for DIY projects can be overwhelming at times. Not every DIY project requires the same type of gun. This article will explain the differences between the various nail guns; then, we’ll explain the best nail guns for trim, decking, and woodworking. We’ll close with the best overall cordless and corded brad nailers.

You’re sure to find one to meet all of your DIY needs. Let’s get started!

Brad Nailer vs Finishing Nailer

Many people don’t know the difference between the brad nailer and the finishing nailer. Upon first glance, the guns look identical. Gauge is the key to understanding the difference between these types of guns.

Gauge nailers come in three sizes: 15, 16, and 18. The brad nailer uses 18-gauge nails; the finishing nailer uses 15-gauge or 16-gauge nails. In layman’s terms, the higher the gauge, the thinner the nail used.

18 Gauge Brad Nail vs. 16 Gauge Finish Nailer

Deciding which nailer to use is essential to complete a project successfully. So, let’s look at what jobs are best for an 18 gauge brad nailer and which ones are more suited for the 16 gauge finish nailer.

The 18 gauge Brad Nailer

The 18-gauge brad nailer is suitable for delicate projects where wood splitting or harming wood or other material is a concern. Because the nail is smaller, the braid nailer leaves a smaller nail hole.

This nailer is less potent than the 16-gauge finish nailer and has less holding power. However, this is precisely what you’ll need when working with fragile items.

The brad nailer works well with the following types of projects:

  • Paneling
  • Trimwork
  • Decorative molding
  • Casing
  • Baseboard

16 Gauge Finish Nailer

The 16-gauge finish nailer uses thick nails that are well-suited for heavy-duty projects. Finish nailers create a much firmer hold than brad nailers. You can use this nailer to fasten a large piece of wood.

Here are a few examples of projects where you’d want to use a 16 gauge finish nailer:

  • Cabinets
  • Staircases
  • Crown and base moldings
  • Flooring
  • Exterior trim
  • Windows
  • Door casings
  • Chair rails
  • Hard and softwood flooring

Best Nail Gun for DIY Project

Now that we’ve got a firm understanding of gauge and the differences between the brad nailer and the finish nailer let’s take a look at the best guns for your current projects. What you’ll consider the best nail gun for DIY has a lot to do with what you’re working on.

Best Nail Gun for Trim: Bostitch BCN662D1 20V Max 16

When deciding on the best nail gun for DIY trim, it’s essential to consider whether you’ll be working on an interior or exterior job. If you plan to use this gun for future projects, you’ll want to choose one that is versatile with various capabilities, such as holding nails of varying lengths.

If you’re looking for a nail gun for trim, the Bostitch BCN662D1 20V Max 16 finish nailer deserves a place high on your list. This gun has set the standard for years in the nail gun industry.

This gun is easy to handle; you won’t have to worry about nail jams and is high capacity. It holds up to 130 nails in its straight load magazine. This angled nailer can shoot 100 nails in 30 seconds.

Best Nail Gun for Woodworking: NuMax SFN64 Pneumatic

A 15-gauge or 16-gauge finish nailer is your best bet for woodworking projects. For general woodworking, a 16-gauge will be more than enough to meet your needs. If you’re planning to do some carpentry, it may be worth investing in the larger 15-gauge finish nailer.

In a crowded field, the NuMax SFN64 Pneumatic 16-Gauge 2-1/2″ straight finish nailer stands out as the best nail gun for DIY and all of your woodworking jobs. This budget-priced finish nailer features an ergonomic handle, it’s durable, and its lightweight aluminum body guarantees you’ll get years of use out of this gun.

Best Cordless Brad Nailer Overall: Porter-Cable 20V MAX

The Porter-Cable 20V MAX is the best overall cordless brad nailer on the market right now. What makes this brad nailer so unique is that being battery powered means you don’t need a hose, compressor, or costly gas cartridges. Its long-lasting lithium-ion battery will allow you to work for hours non-stop without recharging.

You’ll get a lot of bang for the buck with this nailer, and it comes with a three-year limited warranty.

Best Corded Brad Nailer Overall: WEN 61720 18-Gauge

If you want to use your brad nailer for more heavy-duty decorative work, you’ll want to go with an electric powered corded brad nailer.

Our choice for the best overall corded brad nailer is the WEN 61720 18-Gauge electric brad nailer. This affordable gun is designed to withstand heavy use. The rubber grip will allow you to work comfortably for hours. You can use both 2-inch and 4-inch nails in the nailer. The magazine holds 100 nails, so you won’t have to refill it often.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, a rundown of the best nail guns for DIY to meet all your woodworking needs. The woodworking projects you plan to undertake now and in the future will ultimately determine which nail gun will best meet your needs.

If you’re working on heavy duty projects such as cabinets, staircases, or flooring, a finish nailer will help you get the job done. If you’ve got a delicate DIY project, a brad nailer will be your best bet.

Choosing one of the best nail guns for DIY listed above will help make your dream DIY project a reality.

Be sure to also check out my other posts on power tools: