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The Difference Between Siding vs. Framing Nail Guns

Today, let's take a look at one of our frequently asked questions, "what's the difference between a siding nailer and framing nailer?" When it comes to applications, such as siding or roofing, customers often don't understand why framing guns aren't the best tool for the job. Don't get us wrong, framing nailers are extremely versatile in purpose, and can definitely pull their weight for more than framing [framing nail guns are also great for decking, sheathing, subflooring and more]. And, in appearance, a coil framing nailer and a siding nailer look nearly identical. But, when it comes to siding installation, investing in a siding nailer may be worth the expense - and here's why.

Construction Framing

The primary difference between a coil framing nailer and a siding nailer is nail size. Where framing requires much larger nails that penetrate deep and offer greater holding strength, siding does not require nearly as much support. Think of it this way, connecting 2x4 boards to frame a building requires much more holding power versus simply attaching thin planks to a wood base. Typically, you'll see siding nails range anywhere from 1-1/4" up to 2-1/2" in length, whereas framing nails can go 3-1/2" or more.

PRO TIP: If installing siding for the first time, be sure to research installation tips based on the type of siding you're using. Siding nailers are popular for use with fiber cement and wood siding applications. On the other hand, vinyl siding is typically hung rather than nailed, as it needs to expand and contract.

Residential Siding Installation

With some overlap in nail size, you may wonder whether framing nailers can be used for siding? The answer is, yes.

Framing nail guns can be used for siding installation, if the nail being used is long enough to attach the siding firmly to your exterior wood sheathing. While it's recommended to always use a siding nail gun for siding installation, in a pinch, you may be able to use a framing nailer instead. However, the same cannot be said inversely. Since most applications in framing require longer nails that are specifically intended to join lumber together, more often than not, siding nails will not be enough.

siding installation

You may also find that siding nailers are a few pounds lighter than framing guns. The average siding nailer weighs right around 5 LBS., while coil framing nailers typically run 8-9 LBS. minimum. For those installing siding, this makes the siding gun that much more desirable, as it should be less fatiguing to operate.

As far as cost goes, you're looking at roughly the same price range on either tool. On Nail Gun Depot, you'll find an average range of $250 to $350 for either type of coil nailer. As with anything, build quality, brand preference and product features will all influence each tool's price.


~ The Nail Gun Depot Team

Leave a Reply


  • Michael Sullivan February 16, 2018 at 2:50 AM

    Great info only of rookies would do what you mentioned thx

  • jk November 19, 2019 at 4:31 AM

    Thank you for a great summary.

    My question for you - does anyone make a quality siding nailer that runs off electricity rather than compressed air?

    If not, what's the smallest air compressor I could buy that will give suitable results for siding nailer and/or other nailer tools?


    • Nail Gun Depot November 19, 2019 at 5:17 AM

      Unfortunately, a cordless siding nailer has yet to come available, but with Dewalt's 20V MAX line continuously expanding, we expect to see one in the next couple years.

      For your air-powered siding nailer, we'd say the RolAir JC10PLUS is the best small compressor for the job - assuming you're only running one tool at a time.

  • charlie davis February 16, 2020 at 6:09 AM

    Per LP (Lousiana Pacific) to meet specs and stay within warranty for the Smartside bold double 5 siding you must use a hot dipped galvanized nail with shank size of .113 and head size of .270. Have read specs on almost all guns and "siding" nailers nail specs top out at nail size 2 1/2 however nail shank size max out at .099 and head size not mentioned.

    Appears if you try to follow LP Warranty you will have to migrate to a framing nailer which in turn provides no marring protection against scarring up the siding.

    What might be the solution?

    Catch 22

  • charlie davis February 16, 2020 at 6:28 AM

    Forgot to mention....Regarding Warranty Specs for LP Smartside Bold Double 5 siding LP requires nails must be "Hot Dipped / Galvanized" as well.

    Thank you
    Charlie Davis

    • Nail Gun Depot February 17, 2020 at 6:23 AM


      Take a look at the new Metabo HPT NV75A5. This tool gives you the versatility of a siding gun with the range required to warranty LP siding. The fasteners listed below the gun are all compatible for use with this nailer.

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