9 Different Types of Nail Guns – Their Uses and Sizes

A nail gun or nailer is a powerful tool that is used to drive nails into the wood or other materials. You can use it to add more precision and accuracy to your work. Unlike hammers or other nail driving tools, it is faster and saves your time and effort. You can get the work done efficiently and effectively with its use. You can create different crafts and interesting projects using the nail gun.

Most people are not aware of the types of nail guns and their usage. If you are one of those who don’t know what a nail gun is or how it is used, then we have got you covered. You’ll learn its types and use in the subsequent article. After that, can you will have a better understanding of the tool which will help you in choosing the right one for yourself.

Types of nail guns
Types of nail guns

Types of Nail Guns

1. Palm Nailer

A palm nailer is a small tool that works the same way as other types of nail guns. Its application is minimal as compared to its counterparts. It works on the mechanism of the air compressor. It is lightweight and extremely comfortable to grab and use. It can strike a single nail at a time and is perfect to use on the smaller surfaces where other nailers struggle to reach.

Palm nailer can be used holding in the hands. It is very comfortable to work with. It is ideal to drive nails of 1.5 to 3 inches in size. And in heavy-duty projects, you can work on up to 6 inches nails too.

This type of nailer comes in three variations i.e. electric, pneumatic, and cordless.  The ones with cordless variations run on the battery and are more portable and preferred. Its best use is for tiny spaces, joist hangers, and mini-projects.

2. Brad Nailer

Brad nailer is carpenters’ topmost choice when it comes to finishing projects. 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. And in the metric system, it’s approximately Ø1.2mm.

It adds accuracy and diligence to the work as it digs unnoticeable tiny holes. You can get the work done without affecting the tidiness of your project.

It is designed especially for small woodworking projects like crown moldings, birds cage, baseboards and trim tasks, etc. If you are looking for a nail gun for finishing work, then brad nailer is the top pick for you from the rest of the types of nailers. 

3. Framing Nailer

This type of nailer is best used for heavy-duty projects. It’s ideal use is for heavy construction and building projects. 

It is available in two variations i.e. round head and a clipped head nailer. A clipped head nailer is used mostly for high-capacity projects because it can hold larger numbers of nails. Whereas a round head nailer can work with fewer nails. 

If you want a nailer to build projects like:

  • Home framing.
  • Desks.
  • Fences.
  • Wood sheathing.
  • Rooms.

Then framing nailer is a perfect pick for you.

4. Flooring Nailer

Flooring nailer is very specific when it comes to its use. It is designed differently to fix floorboards wholly thus making it dissimilar from other nail gun sizes and applications. 

It is a better alternative to toe nailing and makes the work done effectively and efficiently.

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It comes in two types of machines: pneumatic and manual. Pneumatic nailer is easier to use as compared to the manual one. The air pressure used by a pneumatic nailer to drive nails into the floorboard saves human efforts and time. 

5. Roofing Nailer

Roofing Nailer is a heavy-duty nailer most commonly used by contractors and professional roofers. It is very specific in their application and is mostly used for nailing down roof shingles. 

It makes the job done easier and very quicklyer at the lightning speed. But the user has to be cautious when it comes to power adjustment. If the depth-drive adjustment is not done, it can overpower the machine. 

Roofing Nailer has the following different types:

Pneumatic Nailer

Pneumatic nailer is most widely used as they work on air compressors which make the labor easier.

Solenoid Nailer

This type of nailer works on the mechanism of electromagnetic polarization. 

Spring Loaded Nailer:

Spring Loaded Nailer uses spring to help nail exert out of the chamber to be driven into the wood.

Nail Gun Types

6. Pin Nailer

Pin nailer or pinner is the finest nail gun type. It is widely used for delicate trim jobs. This type of nail gun works with 23-gauge headless nails. Pin nails offer almost zero holding power and are used with any sort of adhesive or sticky material. 

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 is used to finish carpentry and for holding nail trims. 

The most prominent advantage of pin nailer is that it requires no special hole fillings. It can be of great use for super thin veneers where there is a chance of splitting ends by the larger-gauge nailers.  

7. Finish Nailer

Finish nail gun in another type of nailers and is compatible with specifically sized nails. It is the most appropriate tool to use for projects that require firm holding power. Its precision and accuracy are most suited for projects like molding, furniture building, and nail trimming. 

It can accommodate the nails between 14-16 gauge with 1 to 1.25 inches in length. A finish nailer is more ideal for the attachment of large baseboards, cabinetry, and wide molding.

This type of nailer provides fine finishing leaving relatively bigger holes than brad nailers. But the spaces can be filed easily. The nails in the finish nailer can be driven up to 2.5 inches. Its angular design has the ability to reach even in tighter spaces. 

8. Siding Nailer

The siding nail gun is most commonly used to fix sidings. It can be used to join thin wood pieces and help other materials to be turned into wooden mounts. 

Some of the siding nails are well suited with aluminum nails. You can place aluminum sidings using it. This type of nail gun works well with shorter nails of  length 1-1/4″ – 2-1/2″ having wider heads. 

It offers soft tips with the right power level that allows you to install both soft and hard sidings. Similar to framing nailer, its better use is to join larger woods. 

9. Staple Gun

A staple gun is different from all the other types of nail guns. Unlike other nail guns, it uses staples rather than nails. It is a versatile tool that is used to attach the fabric to woods, fixing carpet to floors and walls, and joining woods. 

The staple gun is of great use when it comes to performing home repair tasks. Though it’s not capable of performing a heavy-duty function as other nailers do. But it can be widely used in a lot of smaller projects and DIYs.  

Conclusion On Nail Gun Types

As a beginner, you might get confused about the types of applications of nail guns. But regardless of the level of your professionalism, you should be aware of the tools required to get your job done. It not only makes your work hustle-free but saves your time and efforts as well. 

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We hope our elaboration about the tools and their types creates a better understanding that can help you in your purchase. There are different types of nail guns available in the market. Nail gun sizes also vary as per the complexity of the tasks they perform. You can get your hands on any type of nailer as per the requirement of the project. 

FAQ’s For Types of Nailers

1. How to use a nail gun?

There is no hard and fast rule for using a nail gun but there are some basics that you need to consider if you plan to use it.

  1. Make sure to load the magazine with nail strips. Close the magazine carefully after sliding the nail strip into it.
  2. Don’t forget to press down the tip of the nail gun. It’s installed for safety purposes, It locks down the gun and stops the gun to be fired on unnecessary presses of triggers.
  3. Practice using the nail gun before start working on your project. The purpose of this practice for you is to get the feel of the gun that may increase the flow of shots.
  4. Avoid inserting pressure on the gun pushing it against your chest or arms. This may result in serious injury. Always hold it in your hand and exert pressure against the surface you want to use it on.

2. What kind of nail gun do I need?

Purchasing a nail gun entirely depends on the type of work you want to perform. If you want it to perform small jobs like carpentry or woodworking, then smaller-sized nailers would be perfect for you. Staplers would be more ideal for you if you want to install some wood molding or carpeting a chair. 

If you want to perform a high-profile task, then you need a heavy-duty tool for it. The large-sized nailers like framing or roofing nailers would be of great help. These types of nailers are perfectly suited for more technical projects like framing the house of install shingles.

But remember, the size of the tool increases the cost as well. Larger-sized nail guns would cost more than smaller ones. The rule of thumb here is to identify the type and size of nail you want to use for your project. Then go for the type of tool accordingly. 

For an absolute beginner, who plans to buy a nail gun for mini home tasks and DIY projects, we recommend getting your hands on a 15-gauge finish nail gun or rather an 18-gauge brad nail gun. 

Picking up the right nail gun will ultimately save your energy and you will get the job done smoothly and quickly.

3. How does a nail gun work?

Most of the nail guns work on the basic three mechanisms.

Pneumatic nail gun: In which the nail is driven to the material surface using compressed air. The air is blown to the barrel using a compressor and hose attached to the gun.

Combustion Powered Nail gun: This type of nail gun depends on internal combustion to provide enough pressure to push the nail. The combustion chamber is powered by a battery. For the combustion to take place, an electric spark is created.

Electric powered nail gun: An electric motor is installed in it which holds back a strong spring. When the trigger of the gun is pulled, the muzzle is pressed and it exerts pressure on the spring releasing kinetic energy. The spring thus released forward making the hammer drive the nail forcefully. 

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