Pin Nailer vs Brad Nailer – The Main Difference & Uses

For every woodworking project, finishing is the utmost requirement. To make your projects reach new heights, it’s important that you focus on even the most little aspect of it. Especially when it comes to the finishing of your project. Finishing is the thing that adds more perfection to your work.

But to do that you need an efficient and accurate finishing nailer. Between Pin Nailer vs Brad Nailer, Pin Nailers are most commonly used. Most of the workers get bewildered by the pin nailer vs. brad nailer debate on which one to buy. To resolve that issue, we’re here to help you out with your buying decision.

pin nailer vs brad nailer

Pin Nailer

A question might arise in your head: what is a pin nailer used for? Especially when you have other options of finishing nail guns available in the market. So here’s the answer.

Pin nailer is a power nail gun that is used to drive very tiny nails into woods and other materials. It uses very tiny headless pin nails that create unnoticeable holes precisely. The pins are 23-gauge and up to 2 inches in length. These add more to the sleekness and flawlessness of the finished objects.

Unlike other finishing nail guns, pin nailer’s accuracy and job perfection are incomparable to its counterparts. Once you use it, it will be hard for you to switch to some other device. It is more ideal for small to mid-level projects.

Pin nailer works on the pneumatic mechanism which means you need to connect it to the air compressor for application. The pin nails offer no holding power and they’re mostly used with wood glue or any other adhesive.

Types of pin nailers:

There are two types of pin nailers. You can go through these both in order to better understand what a pin nailer is used for.

 Pneumatic Pin nailer:

It is a bit cheaper type of nail gun that runs on a pneumatic mechanism. It is powered by an air compressor that pushes the nails through the air and drives them to the material. These nailers have wide use in light-duty jobs like DIY projects, trimming jobs, and craft.

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Electric Pin nailer:

The electric pin nailers are powered by a battery. These are highly portable. If you want to be saved from the hassle of maintaining pneumatic nailers, it is then best suited for you. But these are a bit more costly than the pneumatic nail guns.

Pros of Pin Nailers

No wood splitting:

 Pin nailer is best suited for small planks, tiny furniture, and super thin veneers. As it is used to drive very thin and headless nails, the work is done without splitting your wood pieces. 

You can easily get the work done without causing any harm to the delicacy and tidiness of your wood pieces.

Invisible nail holes:

Pin nailer creates tiny to invisible holes in the materials. The pins have little heads that almost vanish when driving into the surface. This is the main advantage of pin nailers that gives it dominance over other finish nailers. 

You don’t need to worry about the coverage of the hole with some special covering material.

The holes it creates can be easily filled with paint. There is no need of using extra coverage materials to keep the aesthetic appeal of the project intact. 

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The perfect Finishing of the pin nail gun adds a supporting point in the pin nailer’s court in the battle of pin nailer vs brad nailer.

Compatibility with Trim woods:

Pin nailer is highly compatible to work with delicate trim woods. It doesn’t affect the fragility of the wood pieces and gives smooth finishing to them. It goes smooth on trim woods without creating splits and gives them a fine finished look.

Cons of Pin Nailers

 Less holding power:

 As the pin nails are headless, so they do no more in holding the wood pieces together.  The pins are so narrow that they alone cannot provide a strong holding power to the materials. You need to use an adhesive to add that grip to its application.

Less Versatility:

The less holding power and more compatibility with delicate trims make pin nailers less versatile. It can be one of the tools in your toolkit that has a very rare use. You can not do so much with pin nailers other than finishing and that too of fragile materials.

  • No wood splitting
  • Invisible nail holes
  • Compatibile with Trim woods
  • Less Versatile

When To Use a Pin Nailer?

Pin nail guns are mostly used for projects that are not permanent. Considering the low holding power of the pin nails, they can’t be used for projects that are meant to be durable. 

This tool is most appropriate for jobs where glue is the primary source of joining pieces and nails can be used to add extra hold. 

Also, it’s ideal for finishing work and for delicate pieces. Using it on hard and wide material can break the nail pins and can cause the pins stuck into the nail gun. This can also damage and jam your nail gun. 

It is the best-suited nail gun for mini-projects or DIY improvement projects in which a stronghold of the nails isn’t required. It can be used to finish carpentry and for holding nail trims.

Brad Nailer

Brad nailer is also a finishing nail gun but unlike pin nailer, it’s quite versatile. Its versatility is the advantage that supports brad nail in pin nailer vs brad nailer debate. 

 It has strong holding power and is the perfect tool to put up trims precisely. They are designed specially to shoot brad nails that are 18-gauge or usually 0.047-inches in diameter. 

If you’re working with hardwood d and heavy-duty projects, this is the tool you need the most. It provides awesome finishing with the flat head nails used in it. You don’t need to put extra effort into the coverage of holes made by it.

Pin Nailer vs Brad Nailer

Types of Brad Nailer

There are two types of brad nailers based on the working mechanism and price.

 Pneumatic Brad Nailer:

A pneumatic brad nail gun is powered by an air compressor. It is less costly than a pin nailer. It is more suitable for mid-level finishing projects. It comes with a shooting cartridge and gun for smooth nail shooting.

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Electric Brad Nail Gun:

Electric brad nailers are more costly as compared to pneumatic nailers. They are powered by a battery and are more durable and reliable. The fact that they are powered by a battery makes them best suited for heavy-duty projects.

Pros of Brad Nailer


Brad nail gun is highly versatile in its applications. You’ll need a brad nailer in almost every woodworking project. Its use is in almost every woodworking project be it home renovation, crown molding, or cabinets building.

Strong Holding Power:

The nails used in brad nailers are flat-headed which provides a strong grip to the material where they’re screwed. It can even be used to join baseboards and that’s pretty much strong evidence to prove the strength of hold of brad nails.

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Good for base boarding:

It is a powerful tool used for base-boarding. Most carpenters prefer it to use for base-board projects because of the strength of hold it provides.

Cons of Brad Nailer

Visible Holes:

The 15-16 gauge nails used in the nail gun create visibly bigger holes than the holes created with the pin nailer. You cannot hide them just by applying the paint over. They need proper filling in order for the finishing of the wood kept intact. 

Risk of Splitting the wood:

Brad nail is designed for heavy-duty projects, so using it on delicate materials may split the material. You can only use it for stubborn and hard materials. The 18-gauge nails used in the nail gun are not so ideal to be used in light and fragile projects.

When to use a brad Nailer?

Brad nailer is used to joining two trim pieces of wood or cabinetry. Through brad nailer works better than pin nailer when driving nails to hards materials, but it doesn’t work smoothly on wide pieces of wood i.e. plywood or MDF.

It works as a tool to provide temporary holding to wood pieces. Brad nailer is also used to join baseboards, do panneling and to build birdhouses, and create narrow trims on windows and doors.

  • Highly versatile
  • Strong Holding Power
  • Good for base boarding 
  • Good for base boarding
  • Risk of Splitting the wood

Difference Between Pin Nailer vs Brad Nailer

The main difference between Pin Nailer vs Brad Nailer is Range of gauge and Type of nail. Although both pin nailer and brad nailer is designed and perfect for the finishing of projects. But there are some major differences in the usability and application of both tools that make it easier for the woodworkers to pick the right one as per their requirements.

Range of Gauge:

The range of nails used in pin nailers is 23-gauge and the length ranging from 2 inches to 3/8. Brad nailers use 18 gauge nails and the sizes can vary from 5/8 inches to 3 inches in different models of brad nail guns.

Type Of nail:

Pin nailers use headless pins that almost vanish when driving into the material. These nails are most suited for delicate materials. Whereas, brad nail guns use flat-headed nails that also provide nice finishing.


Brad nailers offer more versatility than pin nailers. Pin nailers are specific to their use as they’re more suited to be used for soft and delicate wood materials. Whereas, the brad nailers are more suitable for the finishing of hard and heavy-duty projects.

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Holding Power:

The holding power of nails is different in both nail guns. Pin nailer doesn’t provide that stronghold and is mostly used with wood glue or adhesive. The headless pins of the pin nailer make the hold less in strength.

Brad nailer offers a great hold in the woodwork joining. The reason for the hold is the flat-headed nails used in it. There is no need to use any extra adhesive or glue to make the holding power stringer in it.

Closing Remarks – Pin Nailer Vs Brad Nailer:

After diving deep into this article, we hope you now have a clear idea in the head about both the nail guns. You can now choose the one from the pin nailer vs brad nailer debate as to the best tool as per your requirement. Both nailers have their specific usage and applications. You can go for the one that best suits your project nature. 

Your budget for this specific purchase also matters a lot while making the decision. Keeping the budget in mind, select from any of these both finishing nail guns and bring your dream projects into reality!

FAQ’s-Pin Nailer vs Brad Nailer

1.What is a 23 gauge pin nailer used for?

It is used for flawless finishing in woodworking projects. It is ideal to be used for delicate materials such as thin veneers, small planks, and tiny woods. Most carpenters prefer this tool for small to mid-level projects in which heavy-duty nail driving isn’t the requirement.

2. What is the difference between a brad nailer and a pin nailer?

Pin and brad nailer both are the type of nail guns for finishing projects in carpentry. But they can be differentiated easily based on their performance. Pin nailer is more accurate to use for thin and delicate materials while brad nailer is more suitable for heavy-duty woodworking projects such as baseboards, hardwood, etc.

3. What is the difference between a brad nailer and a finish nailer?

Both nail guns are used for finishing. Brad nailer can be used for medium to heavy-duty projects and finish nailer can be used for heavy-duty jobs. Finish nailers can easily penetrate hardwood but can split the surface when used for delicate wood.

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