Before discussing the best brad nailer it is important that we understand when to use a brad nail. Brad nails are very small. Usually headless or having a narrow head that allows it to be embedded deep in the wood leaving a small hole to fill. Often the hole left behind is so small it doesn’t really require putty to fill it.
Brads are often referred to as finishing nails because they are so similar, but there are some definite differences. The most obvious is size. Brads range in size from 3/4 inch to 2 inches long. They are an 18 gauge nail. In general the higher the gauge the smaller the head of the nail. Brad nails are .046-.048 inches, or 3/32 of an inch. It is a small nail made for small jobs. Below is a great video that compares brad nails to finishing nails.
Brad nailers work well for finishing work where one doesn’t want to use screws or predrill the wood. They are also useful for holding joints together while glue dries. It leaves a very small hole behind that can easily be filled.
Brad nails are also useful for affixing in a blind spot. Good for a lightweight piece of finishing. Anything larger though and the brad nails may not hold. If you have a heavier piece of crown molding to hang, a finish nail will be better for it. A brad will likely not be up to holding the weight of the molding.
Since brads are so small there is a variety of nailers available to shoot them into the wood. Larger nails often require a pneumatic or gas powered nail gun because batteries would be drained so quickly. Brad nailers on the other hand have a more options. If you will be using the nailer over long periods of time it is hard to beat a pneumatic or air powered nail gun. This holds true for brad nailers. For regular applications we find the best brad nailer to be battery powered. This makes it lightweight, mobile, and an ideal choice.
Below is a chart of the best brad nailers in our opinion. Click on each for a more in depth review.