Nail Gun Overview: A Magic Tool You Will Never Regret Using One

Are you a carpenter or woodworker? Or, are you someone who loves to do woodworking on your own to decorate your home? If you are one of these groups of people, then you must need Nail Gun or Nailers to serve your purpose.

Ever been so concentrated in doing some household chores and then realized that it could be much better if you got assisted by something? Well, Nailer or, simply known as Nail Gun is one of the machines that can make everyday nail punching work an easy one!

Nailers are the modern addition in the Woodworking section. They have outdated the use of hammers by performing the work at least 10 times faster than doing the same work using a hammer in woodworking and added more reliability, flexibility and efficiency. A proper Nail Gun can work so accurately and drive nails even into many hardwood surfaces.

So, to improve the quality of work and save time, using a Nail Gun is a really smart choice!

Types of Nail Guns: Choose The Best One for Your Purpose

There are many types of nail guns or nailers on the market. If you don’t the idea of all types of nailers, you may get confused. This can result in a very bad way and that can demotivate you to do your job next time.

Nail Gun is a tool that shoots the nails into required places. Based on its structure and types of work, there are many classifications of it.

Based on its working procedures, it can be classified into Power-Actuated, Air-Powered,  Combustion Powered, Electric and Solenoid Powered Nail Guns.

Learn about Hand tools vs Power Tools.

But Based on its power source nail guns can be classified into two major types Electrical and Pneumatic.

Again, according to its duty and application, it can be classified into Framing, Finishing, Brad, Stapler, Tackers, Roofing, Siding, Flooring, Palm nail guns and some others.

Let’s discuss some of the important and useful types of nail gun with their USP i.e. their best use.

1. Framing Nailers

If you are thinking or doing a large project, this type of nailers can be at your help. They have the capability of shooting nails with the diameter of 2.8mm and length up to 3.5 inches. That’s why they are mainly used in heavy nailing projects where one needs maximum holding power.

bostitch framing nailer

The framing nailers are of two types: clipped head nailers and round head nailers. Clipped head nailers can hold the maximum number of clips than others. This reduces reloading frequency. But the use of this type is not allowed by most of jurisdictions.

There are two types of framing nailers according to their nails holding capacity.

These are stick and coil framing nailers. Coil can hold lot more nails than stick nailgun.

The round head nailers are legal and accepted by all. They have unbelievable power of holding things. That’s why they are in the list of best nailers.

Application of Framing Nailers: Heavy construction, Fencing, Framing House, Building decks, Wooden siding.

2. Roofing Nailers

These nailers are used for nailing particular roofing nails such as asphalt shingles, underlayments of houses. They are very lightweight and easy to handle. They own coil magazine to hold more nails.

bostitch roofing nailer

These nailers have a configurable system to decide the depth of shoot the nail. This depth drive adjustment is needed as because the shingles are soft. Too much force can damage the shingle. This is another reason for which roofing nailers have the flat large head.

Application of Roofing Nailers: Siding, installing underlayment, roofing shingles.

3. Brad Nailer

Brad nailer is a multipurpose tool for DIYer work. They have 18 to 23-gauge nail which is 0.5 to 2 inch in length. They mostly use in small woodworking projects for the household.

Read : 16 vs 18 Gauge Nailer: Which one to get?

DeWALT Brad Nailer Sample

The magazine is not angled here. But it throws gauge nails. They are very small but they provide great support. This type of nailers also offers switchable contact, deep drive adjustment, cordless arrangement and quality air hookups.

Application of Brad Nailers: baseboard installation, cabinet construction, paneling walls, furniture repair, interior moulding.

Check this : Crown Stapler vs Brad Nailer.

4. Finish Nailer

Finish nailers are one of those nailers which are used for various tasks. They are consists of smaller nails than framing nailers.

Check Finish Nailer vs Framing Nailer.

They typically use 15 and 16 gauge nails like as brad nailers. The interesting thing of finish nailer is they have tremendous holding power with no sign of big holes.

DEWALT finish nailer

Yes! You got it right, this is because of those large nails.

Nowadays, finish nailers with lithium-ion has great demand. Many of them are cordless also.

They are commonly in divided in two types Angled and Straight Finish Nailer based on their structure and use.

They are the best option for beginner or people who tend to do woodworking a very little period of time. That’s why small household works are done by using this tool.

Application of Brad Nailers: installing cabinets, assembling furniture, trim, moulding, cabinetry.

5. Siding Nailer

You can guess the application of this type of nailer by the name. Siding nailers are specially made for attaching siding. It is must tool if you do siding projects very frequently.

bostitch siding nailer

These nailers have 1.4 to 2.5-inch nails in length. Sometimes these nails are made of aluminium which is used for aluminium siding.

But they work best when they are attached with wooden surfaces.

Though siding can be done by using framing nailers, I recommend siding nailers for best output.

Check the differences between roofing and siding nailer.

Application of Siding Nailers: combining thin and siding material with wooden exteriors.

6. Pin Nailer

Woodworkers especially crafts makers love this type of nailers. Because pin nailers of reputed brands have made their task very easy and smooth. They are very small in size and power is also very low. But they come in handy in particular situations.

DEWALT pin nailer

The nailers come with a head but use 22-23 gauge nails. These nails are appropriate for making small houses for pets, crates, panels etc.

If you have any delicate trimming or moulding work, 23 gauge pin nailer is the best solution for you.

Application of Pin Nailers: Combining subtle trim pieces, holding pieces, crafting

7. Flooring Nailers

Flooring nailers are designed in such a way that one can easily install anything on the floor by using it. It also gives the opportunity to nail without keeping knee down.

You can stand upright and pull the trigger. The nailer will do the rest.

bostitch flooring nailer

Floor nailers emit specialized cleat nails for flooring.

These nails differ in their shape like T shaped, L shaped etc.

Both of them provide smooth and faster outputs which are the first demand of a customer.

Application of Flooring Nailers: installing wooden materials on a floor.

Learn the differences between flooring nailer and roofing nailer.

8. Palm Nailer

The name itself is expressing its definition.  You can hold this type of nailer with ease and do whatever you want. They are sized like a small nail gun that uses the air compressor to do nailing with lightning speed.

ridgid palm nailer

The nails are naturally 1.5 to 3.5-inch long. These nailers have the ability to reach those tiny little positions where others can enter.

They are specially used on such occasions where normal nailers or hammer can’t serve the purpose.

That’s why if you want a nailer with a smaller size, easy hold and best output from your project, I suggest you should go for a quality palm nailer but of course from reputed brands.

Application of Palm Nailers: fencing, framing, remodeling, crafting etc.

9. Hammer Tacker

A hammer tacker is a very user friendly and practically workable tool as it contains a grip to hold the tacker tight and push the stapler on the desired surface. Mostly it is used in the roof side works and on carpets layers. It generally weighs 1.8 to 2.2 pounds and a length of about 8” to 14”.

It differs from the staple gun based on the orientation of the layers. Normally a hammer tacker works after a strong vertical stroke. Such a stroke pushes its head towards the surface where staplers need to be placed. Staplers get placed on the desired position loaded in the head before.

Application: Hammers tackers are best for installing insulation, roofing, housewrap and flooring.

10. Staple Gun or Trigger Gun

Alike hammer tacker it works in vertical surfaces better. It’s not as long as hammer tacker but quite handy and works over all kind of possible surfaces. It pushes staplers on the surfaces and makes a rigid placement. Like hammer tacker it has a tool to pull wrongly placed staplers off the surface.

Application: Staple gun has its use on Carpeting, Upholstery, fastening fabric, ceiling tiles, weather stripping, carpets, foam and padding, wire and screening etc.

Hammer tracker is applicable for horizontal surfaces whether staple guns are suitable for vertical surfaces.  

hammer tacker vs staple gun
Stapler gun protective gloves on wood board construction concept

Learn more about hammer tacker vs staple gun here.

When was the Nail Gun Invented?

Let’s recall the invention of the nail gun like how and when it was invented and most importantly who did this revolutionary task.

According to the Los Angeles Times, it was Morris S. Pynoos, an astronautical engineer who designed the nail gun. In the early 1940s, when the world war 2 was in the air, he was covenanted with Howard Hughes to build the largest wooden airplane named The Spruce Goose. To manufacture this massive aircraft, Pynoos invented the nail gun specifically to nail together the wooden fuselage.

Rita & Morris S. Pynoos
Rita Pynoos & Morris S. Pynoos                   Image Source:

After that, the story of inventing the nail gun is very become much fizzy in the mid-1950s. There is a fun story of three guys who manufactured nail guns after world war 2 which was published as “Original nail gun idea started in Winsted” by Ryan Gueningsman.

The creation began with the statement of Marvin Hirsch, who returned from the service in World War 2, said that they need to invent an automatic nailer that can work like a machine gun as Miller said. After that along with Olling, they started their journey to make their dream come true of making a nailer which is more like a gun. As they had the experience of operating a gun ion the Warfield, their plan was successful and they started to visit different countries to find as much as investors who can invest in their nail gun.

The procedure of the first nail gun was to utilize air pressure to assist the building of housing floor surfaces.  Their partnership was granted 3 patents. Firstly, they designed a nail clip, then they went for a tool named as power nail driving tool episodically and lastly they made another model of the same tool. As they cannot find any suitable investors none of these products was ever manufactured or sold, and as the article mentions, they lost the patents due to bankruptcy.  The procedure of the first nail gun was to utilize air pressure to assist the building of housing floor surfaces.

On the other hand, in the 1960s, the two companies made the nail guns available for the homebuilders. Here is another argument that who invented it first. As some say it was SENCO, some say it was Paslode, others believe they worked as a group to do this revolutionary change in the field of the mechanism.

Check this : Senco vs paslode framing nailer

The history of nail gun is basically influenced by the aftermath of the second industrial revolution in America and World War 2. Though the history of making this tool was not enough to reach the sight of the people the companies make it easier and more affordable lately so that the homebuilders can easily and speedily do their work within a short time.

Best Brands

Some of the best manufacturers of nail guns are reviewed by Toolzfinder along with their top products. Those are-

How Does A Nail Gun Work?

Nail Gun basically follows the punching mechanism. Placing it on the right point, it needs to be punched or, fired and thus the nail gets attached to that point.

Some of them can continue firing for a long time whereas some of them need to be refilled before every punch.

Nail Gun Safety

Though accidents can occur while using Nail Guns, there are so many pros that prove that using it is a smart idea to make the work more efficient. And again, we can actually prevent accidents occurred from using it by following some precautions. As a part of safety steps, high impact safety glasses should always be worn while working with it.

Learn more about nail gun safety.

Nail Gun Safety Checklist

Before using a nail gun please follow this checklist for the safety you need in fact.

  • Read the manuals provided by the manufacturer step by step.
  • Find out what recommendations they provided carefully.
  • Inspect your nail gun before using for any purpose.
  • The most important thing, please make sure all types of adjustments and lubrication are done.
  • After use, put your gun at a smooth place.
  • Be careful about your personal protection.


A nailer can be a time and money-saving tool if you use the right one on the right purpose like for fencing, Fencing nailers; Roofing, Roofing nailers and so on.

That’s why you must have an idea about different types of nailers and their applications. Using the wrong one can ruin your work.

After reading the above information, I hope you are clear enough to decide which type is perfect for your task.

Remind that, there is always a perfect type of nailers for your job. So, read the article carefully and enjoy your work.