The 7 Best Nail Guns for Every DIY Job

By Corrie Pelc


Woodworking projects usually require nails to keep pieces together. While an old-school hammer is a great option for banging nails into place, a nail gun can be a great option for large projects that require lots of nails. With just a simple pull of a trigger, a nail gun shoots a nail exactly where you need it, saving you time and making the process a bit quicker.


Whether you’re a beginner DIYer working on some simple house projects or you’re a more advanced woodworker looking for the latest tool to add to your arsenal, choosing the right nail gun for your needs can be daunting. Luckily, we’ve rounded up the best nail guns on the market right now to make your search a little bit easier. Keep reading to find the best nail guns to buy in 2022.

best nail guns, person using nail gun on wood photo via Laura Kennedy
person using nail gun on wood / photo via Laura Kennedy

Top Picks

How to Buy a Nail Gun

If you’ve never purchased a nail gun before or it’s been a few years since you have, here are some things to think about before buying one:


Nail Gun Type

Types of nail guns are characterized by the nail size they use. The nail size is defined by both the length of the nail and its gauge, or thickness. The lower the gauge number, the thicker and stronger a nail is.

  • Brad nail guns use 18- to 20-gauge nails up to 2 inches in length. Brad nailers are a great option for light carpentry and construction work.
  • Finish nail guns use nails up to 2.5 inches in length and between 15 to 16 gauge. A finish nail gun, or finishing nailer, is a great all-around carpentry nailer, perfect for installing cabinets and trim.
  • Framing nail guns use the largest nails with a 16 gauge and about 3.5-inch length. A framing nail gun, or framing nailer, can handle the toughest jobs you throw at it, such as building a large fence or an addition to your home.


Power

Today's nail guns are powered in one of two ways — pneumatic or cordless.


Pneumatic nail guns utilize pressurized air from an air compressor to work.


Cordless nail guns are battery-operated and don’t require a compressor to work, but may have a bit less power than pneumatic nail guns.


Firing Type

Nail guns offer two types of firing mechanisms.


Contact firing — also called bump firing — means that as long as you hold the trigger down, the nail gun will keep shooting nails. This type of firing is ideal if you’re nailing along a flat, horizontal surface like flooring, decking, or roofing.


Sequential firing means the nail gun fires one nail per every pull of the trigger. This type of firing is best for nail gun beginners and simpler projects, because it’s easier to control the device and where you’re putting the nails.

Test Factors We Considered When Picking the Best Nail Guns

Let’s take a look at the test factors we used in determining our list of the best-rated nail guns:

  • Nail Gun Type: We looked at each type of nail gun, which can help the user determine what they need for their project. Is this a framing, finish, or brad nail gun?
  • Power: We looked at what type of power the nail gun uses: pneumatic or cordless?
  • Nail Length: We looked at nail length, which might be an important factor for the user and their project. What length of nails does this nail gun use?
  • Nail Gauge: What gauge nails does this nail gun shoot? As we mentioned earlier, the smaller the gauge number, the thicker and stronger the nail.
  • Nail Capacity: How many nails can this nail gun hold at one time? The larger the nail capacity, the less often the user has to fill the gun back up with nails.
  • Firing Mechanism: Does this nail gun use contact or sequential firing? Contact firing is best reserved for pros and sequential firing for at-home DIYers.
  • Warranty: Does the manufacturer stand behind their product?


Here’s a look at our list of the best home nail guns available on the market today.

Best Pneumatic Nail Gun: NuMax SFN64 Pneumatic Straight Finish Nailer

Nail Gun Type: Finish Power: Pneumatic Nail Length: 1 to 2.5 inches Nail Gauge: 16 gauge Nail Capacity: 100 nails Firing Mechanism: Sequential Warranty: 1-year limited warranty; 30-day wearable parts warranty

With almost 2,200 ratings and 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon, there's no guessing why the NuMax SFN64 Pneumatic Straight Finish Nailer is our pick for the best pneumatic nail gun. This best-rated finish nail gun uses 16-gauge nails between 1 to 2.5 inches in length. The gun features a body made of aluminum, making it durable and lightweight for easy handling. It has an ergonomic grip handle for extra comfort when using, and features a quick release in case a nail gets jammed inside. The NuMax SFN64 Pneumatic Straight Finish Nailer uses sequential firing, allows you to customize the depth you need to shoot a nail, and has a safety contact that prevents firing unless the gun is in contact with your work surface.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly at about $50
  • Is lightweight and durable
  • Sequential firing with safety contact

Cons

  • Nail size may not be suitable for all projects

Best Cordless Nail Gun: RYOBI ONE+ 18V Cordless AirStrike Brad Nailer

Nail Gun Type: Brad Power: Cordless Nail Length: 5/8 to 2 inches Nail Gauge: 18 gauge Nail Capacity: 105 nails Firing Mechanism: Contact and sequential Warranty: 3-year warranty

A top-selling product at The Home Depot with over 7,000 ratings and 93-percent customer satisfaction, the RYOBI ONE+ 18V Cordless AirStrike Brad Nailer packs a punch with 18-gauge nails between 5/8 to 2 inches in length. This cordless nail gun uses special AirStrike Technology, eliminating the need for a compressor, and allows you to choose which firing mechanism you want to use — sequential or contact. In contact mode, it can shoot up to 60 nails per minute and the nail gun can drive up to 1,700 nails per charge of its battery. The RYOBI ONE+ 18V Cordless AirStrike Brad Nailer has a low nail indicator when it needs a refill, a tool-less jam release for easy clearing of jammed nails, and is backed by a three-year warranty.

Pros

  • Cordless nail gun requires no compressor to work
  • Can switch between sequential or contact firing, depending on what you need
  • 3-year warranty

Cons

  • Battery sold separately

Best Budget Nail Gun: WEN 61721 Pneumatic Brad Nailer

Nail Gun Type: Brad Power: Pneumatic Nail Length: 3/8 to 2 inches Nail Gauge: 18 gauge Nail Capacity: 106 nails Firing Mechanism: Contact Warranty: 2-year warranty

For homeowners on a budget or those who only need a nail gun for a project or two, the WEN 61721 Pneumatic Brad Nailer is a great option at only $35. But don't let the small price tag fool you — this pneumatic brad nail gun handles 18-gauge nails between 3/8 to 2 inches in length with no problems. And with almost 6,400 ratings and 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon, you know this nail gun is a good bargain that users love. This nail gun features a depth adjustment wheel so you can quickly adjust the firing depth of your nails. The WEN 61721 Pneumatic Brad Nailer also has a spring-loaded magazine for holding up to 106 nails at a time, a rubber grip handle, and a transparent window nail gauge so you know when it's time to reload.

Pros

  • Only $35
  • Shoots 18-gauge nails between 3/8 to 2 inches in length
  • Depth adjustment wheels allow you to quickly change nail firing depth

Cons

  • Requires an air compressor to work

Best Nail Gun Kit: Bostitch BTFP3KIT Air Compressor Combo Kit

Nail Gun Type: Brad, finish, and stapler Power: Pneumatic Nail Length: 5/8 to 2.5 inches Nail Gauge: 16 and 18 gauge Nail Capacity: 100 nails Warranty: 1-year limited warranty

Not sure exactly which type of nail gun you need? Then why not get a whole set of nail guns with the Bostitch BTFP3KIT Air Compressor Combo Kit? This kit includes an SB-1850BN brad nail gun that shoots 18-gauge nails between 5/8 to 2 inches in length, as well as an SB-1664FN finish nail gun that dispenses 16-gauge nails between 1.25 and 2.5 inches in length. And if that wasn't enough, the set also comes with a BTFP71875 heavy-duty stapler that shoots 3/8-inch crown staples. All three pneumatic tools work with the included 6-gallon oil-free pancake air compressor with a low noise level and high-flow regulator to ensure your tools are working at max performance. And the Bostitch BTFP3KIT Air Compressor Combo Kit is backed by a one-year limited warranty.

Pros

  • Set comes with an air compressor, two nail guns, and a heavy-duty stapler
  • Both brad and finish nail guns use sequential firing and hold up to 100 nails each
  • Included pancake air compressor is low noise and high-flow for max performance

Cons

  • Not everyone may need a whole set like this

Best Brad Nail Gun: PORTER-CABLE PCC790LA 20V MAX Cordless Brad Nailer Kit

Nail Gun Type: Brad Power: Cordless Nail Length: 5/8 to 2 inches Nail Gauge: 18 gauge Nail Capacity: 100 nails Warranty: 3-year limited warranty

The PORTER-CABLE PCC790LA 20V MAX Cordless Brad Nailer Kit is your best bet if you're looking for a brad nail gun to handle light home projects such as making your own window boxes or adding molding to your dining room. This cordless nail gun comes with its own 20V rechargeable battery and is capable of shooting up to 1,300 nails on a full charge. Because it is cordless, this sequential-firing nail gun does not require a compressor to work. This brad nail gun accommodates 18-gauge nails between the sizes of 5/8 and 2 inches in length. It also features multi-functional dual LED lights that help illuminate your workspace, as well as a variety of tool-free settings to ensure you get the results you need. The PORTER-CABLE PCC790LA 20V MAX Cordless Brad Nailer Kit is backed by a three-year limited warranty.

Pros

  • Cordless brad nail gun comes with its own 20V rechargeable battery
  • Shoots up to 1,300 nails per battery charge
  • Dual LED lights help illuminate your workspace

Cons

  • Expensive

Best Finish Nail Gun: DEWALT DWFP12231 Finish Nailer Kit

Nail Gun Type: Finishing Power: Pneumatic Nail Length: 5/8 to 2 inches Nail Gauge: 18 gauge Nail Capacity: 100 nails Warranty: 3-year limited warranty

When things get too tough for a brad nailer, you’ll want to opt for a finish nail gun. Finish nailers are most popular with wood workers and are great for medium-scale projects like assembling furniture or cabinets. With almost 3,000 ratings and 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon, the DEWALT DWFP12231 Finish Nailer Kit is one of the best finish nail guns you can buy on the market today. This pneumatic finish nail gun directs 5/8 to 2-inch nails with an 18 gauge through a sequential firing mechanism. Its body is made from durable magnesium, allowing it to be lightweight for easy use. It also has a rubber grip for extra comfort when used. The finish nail gun features a tool-free jam release whenever nails get jammed, as well as a tool-free adjustment for drive depth. The DEWALT DWFP12231 Finish Nailer Kit comes with a carrying case and adjustable belt hook for easy carrying and is backed by a three-year limited warranty.

Pros

  • Top-rated pneumatic finish nail gun for under $100
  • Tool-free jam release and drive depth adjustment
  • 3-year limited warranty

Cons

  • Requires air compressor to work

Best Framing Nail Gun: BOSTITCH Framing Nailer

Nail Gun Type: Framing Power: Pneumatic Nail Length: 1.5 to 3.5 inches Nail Gauge: 21 gauge Nail Capacity: 60 nails Firing Mechanism: Sequential with a contact trigger Warranty: 7-year warranty

For big woodworking jobs like building a deck or assembling fencing, we suggest the BOSTITCH Framing Nailer. This pneumatic framing nail gun shoots 1.5 to 3.5-inch nails with a 21 gauge, allowing it to be used for the most heavy-duty jobs you have. It's also two nailers in one — thanks to its quick-change nosepiece, you can easily convert this nail gun from using plastic-collated framing nails to metal connector nails, depending on your project's needs. The nail gun uses sequential firing but does have a contact trigger included. Made from magnesium, this gun has a strong yet lightweight body and allows you to control the depth of your nails with the push of a button. The BOSTITCH Framing Nailer is backed by a seven-year warranty from the manufacturer.

Pros

  • Shoots 1.5 to 3.5-inch nails with a 21 gauge
  • 2-in-1 nailer for either framing nails or metal connector nails
  • 7-year warranty

Cons

  • Expensive

Do you have a nail gun that is a vital part of a DIY tool chest? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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