Nail guns, often referred to as nailers, revolutionized construction and woodworking industries by speeding up tasks that would otherwise consume a significant amount of time and effort. A nail gun is a power tool that drives nails into wood or other materials by using pressure or a mechanism of firing without the need for human force. The type of nail gun used varies depending on the project. This article will discuss different types of nail guns, their specifications, and their ideal uses.
7 Common Types of Nail Guns:
1. Framing Nailers
Framing nailers, also known as framing guns or nail guns, are typically the heaviest of the nail gun family. They are designed for large and demanding projects like framing houses, building decks, and installing fences and wood siding. Framing nailers can drive in larger, more robust nails (up to 3 ½ inches) and are available in two types: clipped head and round head. A critical difference between the two is that round head nailers can hold more nails.
2. Roofing Nailers
As the name suggests, roofing nailers are used primarily for roofing tasks. They are designed to drive nails that are suitable for installing roofing shingles. Roofing nailers have a coil that holds a large number of nails (up to 120 nails) allowing for less frequent reloading, which is important when working at heights.
3. Finish Nailers
Finish nailers, or finishing nail guns, are used for more delicate projects where the appearance of the nail heads matters. They utilize smaller and lighter gauge nails, usually 14-16 gauge. Finish nailers are suitable for tasks such as installing baseboards, chair rails, crown molding, door and window casings, and cabinetry.
4. Brad Nailers
Brad nailers are even smaller and more precise than finish nailers. The nails they use, brad nails, are 18-gauge, smaller in diameter and less likely to split thin pieces of wood. Brad nailers are an excellent choice for attaching lightweight trim and for woodworking projects where the hole left by the nail needs to be easily concealed.
5. Pin Nailers
Pin nailers are the smallest, most delicate type of nail gun and use 23-gauge headless or slight-head pins. Because of their size and the tiny pin they shoot, pin nailers are ideal for small pieces of decorative trim that would split if larger nails were used. They are also well-suited for tasks where the nail hole will be visible and needs to be easily filled and hidden.
6. Palm Nailers
Palm nailers are unique in design and operation. They are small, handheld tools that fit in the palm of your hand. Instead of a magazine of nails, a palm nailer drives one nail at a time and is used in tight spaces where a full-size nailer would not fit. Though not as fast as other nail guns, they can handle nails of various lengths and sizes, making them versatile.
7. Staple Guns
While not technically a "nail" gun, staple guns are worth mentioning. They drive heavy metal staples into wood, plastic, or masonry. Staple guns are used for a variety of home-related tasks, such as installing carpeting, upholstery work, or fastening thin wires.
Coil Vs. Stick Nailers
Beyond the type of nails they drive, nail guns can also be categorized by the way they store and collate their nails: coil and stick. Coil nailers use strings of nails arranged in a round coil that allows for storing a large volume of nails (up to 300). These nailers are typically used for jobs where high capacity is needed, like roofing and siding. Stick nailers, on the other hand, use nails arranged in a straight stick. They have less capacity (20-40 nails) but are lighter, easier to handle, and fit into tighter spaces.
Pneumatic Vs. Cordless Nailers
Finally, nail guns can be classified based on their power source. Pneumatic nail guns use air pressure from an air compressor to drive the nail. They are powerful and can drive large nails quickly but require an air hose connected to an air compressor, limiting mobility. Cordless nailers, powered by a rechargeable battery or fuel cell, offer more mobility as they don't require a power cord or air hose. However, they may not be as powerful as their pneumatic counterparts and may need more frequent recharging or fuel cell replacement.
Choosing the right nail gun requires understanding the task at hand and the materials you'll be working with. The size and type of nail needed, the volume of nailing to be done, and the working environment (tight spaces, mobility requirements, etc.) all factor into the decision. By understanding the strengths and limitations of each type of nail gun, you can choose the tool that will offer the best balance of efficiency and quality for your specific project.