Over the years, finish nails have proven to be an indispensable tool for professional carpenters and DIY enthusiasts alike. Used for attaching small trim and molding, finish nails are designed to leave a barely noticeable hole, providing a clean, finished look. This article will evaluate the best finish nails of 2023 based on their durability, ease of use, and overall quality.
Types of Finish Nails
- Brad Nails: Brad nails are a type of finish nail with a very small head and are typically 18 gauge. They're ideal for attaching lightweight trim.
- Pin Nails: Pin nails are the smallest type of finish nail, often 23 gauge, and leave a very tiny hole. They're used for delicate trim work and for holding work in place while glue dries.
- Finish Nails: These are the standard type of finish nails, typically ranging from 15 to 16 gauge. They're used for heavier trim and can hold more weight than brad or pin nails.
Factors to Consider When Buying Finish Nails
Finish nails come in different materials including stainless steel, galvanized steel, and aluminum. Your choice of material should depend on the project and the conditions it will be exposed to.
- Stainless Steel: These nails are corrosion-resistant, making them ideal for outdoor projects or areas with high humidity. They are also a good choice for hardwoods as they prevent staining that can occur from reaction with the tannins in the wood.
- Galvanized Steel: Galvanized nails have a zinc coating for extra corrosion resistance, although they're typically less resistant than stainless steel. They're suitable for outdoor projects but not recommended for hardwoods due to potential staining.
- Aluminum: Aluminum nails are softer and more flexible, but they're prone to corrosion. They're best for indoor trim work, especially on aluminum trim.
Finish nails are sized by a unit called a "d" or penny. The length increases as the penny size increases. For instance, a 2d nail is 1 inch long, while a 16d nail is 3.5 inches long. For most trim and finish work, you'll likely use nails ranging from 4d to 8d.
The gauge of a nail refers to its diameter. Finish nails typically range from 15 to 23 gauge. The larger the gauge number, the smaller the nail diameter. Smaller gauge nails leave a smaller hole and are less likely to split wood, making them ideal for delicate trim work.
Finish nails usually have a small, barrel-shaped head that allows the nail to sit below the wood surface. However, some have a cupped head that can hold wood filler to fully conceal the nail.
Compatibility with Nail Gun
If you're using a nail gun, you'll need to choose nails compatible with your tool. Different nail guns accept different lengths and gauges of nails, so always check your tool's specifications.
Top 5 Best Finish Nails of 2023：
1. B&C Eagle A314X131 Framing Nails
B&C Eagle's finish nails are renowned for their superior quality and durability. These nails have a round head and a 22-degree angle, allowing for smooth entry and a clean finish. The bright, smooth shank enhances its holding strength, ensuring your trim and molding stay in place.
B&C Eagle's nails are made with plastic collated material, which reduces the chances of rust and corrosion. The nails come in a pack of 500, ensuring you have enough to complete your project without frequent repurchasing.
It's important to note that these nails are designed for use with specific types of nailers, so ensure compatibility before purchase. Overall, B&C Eagle's finish nails offer a mix of durability, strength, and value for money that's hard to beat.
2. Hitachi 24102T Headless Pins
Hitachi, a household name in the tool industry, offers the 24102T finish nails, which are 1-inch long and 23-gauge. These electro-galvanized nails provide a blend of sturdiness and finesse, making them ideal for delicate woodworking projects.
The headless design leaves an almost invisible hole, maintaining the aesthetic appeal of your project. The electro-galvanization process gives the nails a protective coating, resisting rust and improving their lifespan.
The only downside is that these nails might not offer the same holding power for heavier jobs due to their thin size. However, they are perfect for detailed trim work and delicate woodworking tasks.
3. Grip-Rite GRF18114 Finish Nail
Grip-Rite's GRF18114 finish nails are known for their reliability and durability. These 1-1/4-inch nails are galvanized, providing robust protection against rust and wear. Their thicker gauge provides strong holding power, making them suitable for heavier trim and molding.
The GRF18114 nails come in a convenient, reusable plastic box, making storage easy. Some users have noted that these nails can occasionally jam in certain nail guns, but overall, they offer reliable performance and great value.
4. DEWALT DBN18125 Brad Nail
DEWALT's DBN18125 finish nails are made for heavy-duty projects. With an 18-gauge thickness and 1-1/4-inch length, these nails provide a strong hold for heavier pieces of trim and molding.
The nails feature a chisel point to reduce wood splitting and a coated finish for improved holding power. They are compatible with most 18-gauge nail guns, making them a versatile choice.
DEWALT's reputation for quality tools extends to their finish nails, which are reliable, durable, and offer excellent holding power. Some users have found them a bit pricier than other brands, but their performance and quality justify the cost.
5. Makita F-31902 23 Gauge 1-Inch Pin Nails
Makita's F-31902 finish nails are designed for precision work. These 23-gauge, 1-inch nails leave a minimal hole, making them perfect for detailed trim and delicate woodworking projects.
The F-31902 nails feature a headless design for minimal surface disruption and are made from high-quality steel for durability. They come in a box of 1000, providing excellent value for the price.
These nails are compatible with most 23-gauge pin nailers, making them a versatile choice for various projects. Some users have found them a bit too delicate for heavier trim, but they excel in precision woodworking tasks.
Choosing the right finish nails can significantly influence the final look and durability of your woodworking projects. The B&C Eagle, Hitachi, Grip-Rite, DEWALT, and Makita finish nails are all excellent choices, each with their unique strengths and potential limitations.
Consider the nature of your project, the type of wood you're working with, and the nail gun you're using when selecting your finish nails. By doing so, you'll ensure a smooth, clean finish that enhances the overall quality and longevity of your work.