A pneumatic nailer or nail gun can save you a great deal of time and sore thumbs as you work on your home improvement or construction project. Not just any nailer will do though. At Best Nailer Review our goal is to bring you information on the best nailer for your project.
How Will You Be Using the Nailer?
It is always best to use the right tool for the job. Just as there are different hammers for different types of construction jobs, there are different nailers. They shoot different sized nails. You can’t use a framing nailer to nail finish nails in trim. And, you certainly can’t use a finish nailer to construct walls. They won’t be very sturdy. So, first things first, what project are you working on? What types of nails will be required? From roofing to flooring, there’s a tool for that. We have you covered.
Nail guns have two primary forms of mechanisms for feeding nails to the gun. There is a strip magazine that holds the nails in a long straight magazine. Since the nails are spread over a long straight line it does help distribute the weight of the nails more evenly making the nailer a little more balanced for the user. The balance comes at a price of small spaces though. Since it sticks out if you need to fit in a tight space you won’t be able to use a nailer with a strip style magazine.
The next type of magazine is the coil. With a coil magazine the nails are on long, flexible wires that allow them to be wound into a coil magazine. This provides a magazine that is more compact and it holds more nails. You won’t need to reload as often, but the wait is also concentrated in one area. The more compact magazine will allow you to get your nail gun into tighter spaces.
Probably the most common power source for a nailer is air. These are called pneumatic nailers and they use compressed air to drive the nails into the material. The hose that delivers the air from the compressor can be a little unwieldy, but the benefit is you never have to worry about running out of juice in the middle of your project. It’s also a rather cost effective power source as the compressors aren’t all that expensive.
Next up there are battery powered nailers. They are very mobile as there is no air hose to drag around. However, they do not have as much power as a pneumatic nailer and when the battery drains you must charge it. Battery nailers are better suited to small jobs that don’t need as much driving power.
Much less common are fuel driven nailers. They use a gas cartridge that provides combustion to provide the driving force for the nail. It’s similar to a gun shooting a bullet. They have the power to handle large jobs and the mobility of being cordless. If you are going to use a nailer often on large jobs it may be worth looking into these.
Different types of nail guns have different trigger mechanisms. One thing they have in common is some form of trigger and a safety mechanism. The safety will generally need to be pressed against the work surface before the gun will fire even when the trigger is depressed.
Contact firing sometimes called bump firing will allow you to hold the trigger and then every time the safety tip is pressed against the work surface. This allows the user to quickly drive many nails. It does have the drawback of having a high risk of unintentionally firing nails.
Single Sequential firing: requires that you press the safety tip against the work surface and then press the trigger. This prevents unintentionally bump firing the nailer. It may slow things down just a little, but the user can simply release the trigger and press it again and another nail will fire just as long as the safety tip is still against the work surface.
Single action nail guns need both the trigger and the safety tip engaged, but it can happen in any order. You can pull the trigger and bump fire the nail, or you can put the nail gun against the surface and pull the trigger.
Full sequential nailers require that you depress the safety tip agains the work surface and then pull the trigger in this order for each nail. After the nail is fired, you must release the trigger and disengage the safety tip. After that you repeat the sequence to fire the next nail. This type of firing mechanism is the safest.
Types of Nail Guns
Brad Nailers: these guns use very small nails that are well suited for finish work. Brads leave very little evidence that they are in the wood. That being said don’t use them to hold anything heavy.
Finish Nailers: lighter than framing nailers and use smaller nails. They can be used for assembling furniture, installing trim, and mold. They are versatile and light.
Flooring Nailers: are very specific to installing hardwood floor. Their unique design enable them to drive nails at an exact angle just above the tongue in flooring.
Framing Nailers: should be used for large projects like building stud walls, decks, or any project that requires larger nails like 16 penny nails. This is the workhorse of the bunch.
Palm Nailers: these little guys fit in the palm of your hand. They are useful in tight spaces where you couldn’t swing a hammer but need to drive a nail.
Pin Nailers: if you need something smaller than brads this is your nailer. This is the smallest of small nails. If you are building a dollhouse or affixing very small finishing work this is a good choice.
Roofing Nailers: specifically designed to shoot those short, large headed nails into shingles. It makes roofing jobs much faster to tackle. Often they use a coil magazine to hold more nails.
Siding Nailers: as the name suggests this is where you will look for a nail gun that is specialized for siding. It’s a pretty versatile nailer utilizing larger nails that will be used to hold siding in place.