How To Choose A Nail Gun For Your Project

You've decided to use a nail gun on your next project, but what type of nailer do you need? Nail guns come in a variety of shapes and sizes depending on the project you need it to complete. To learn what makes each type of nail gun unique, let's look at some of the main ones homeowners use:

  • Framing nail gun - This type of nail gun is used for larger projects such as fencing, deck building, sub-flooring and (of course) framing. These nailers are also excellent for projects involving plaster, as hammering can crack and loosen plaster.
  • Finish nail gun - This nail gun drives either 15 or 16 gauge nails - depending on the finish nailer - and is used for crown molding, baseboards, cabinets, chair rails, wood furniture, decorative trim, millwork, caskets, hardwood flooring, furniture and paneling. Finish nails are sturdy enough to hold these larger pieces, but small enough that they can be puttied over for the finished product.


  • Brad nail gun - A brad nailer drives even smaller, 18 gauge brad nails, versus a finish nailer. Brad nailers are used for smaller trim, as larger nails can split the wood. Using a hammer to drive brad nails can be frustrating due to their ultra-thin pins that can bend easily.

Hitachi NT50AE2

Now you need to decide how to power your nail gun:

  • Gas-powered - This nail gun uses a fuel cell with a rechargeable battery. This nailer does not require an air compressor, hose or cord - which makes it convenient. However, this is a more costly way to power your nailer.
  • Air powered or pneumatic - This is the most popular choice for power fastening tools, as it is a cheap, powerful and convenient way to power your nail gun. This nail gun uses compressed air to drive nails. If you choose pneumatic, make sure that the air requirement for the nail gun and the compressor match - ensuring your nail gun will work properly.
Bostitch Pneumatic Finish Nailer

Don't forget to consider the brand when making your decision, trusted brands such as Stanley Bostitch, Hitachi, Senco or Paslode will usually lead to less jams and repairs. Nail guns can speed up a job, allow you to drive nails into hard to reach areas, and drive smaller nails without the frustration of bending or breaking. offers a wide selection of nailers, so check us out - and good luck on your next project!

Nail Your Next Project,
The Team At Nail Gun Depot
Leave a Reply


  • Frederick Farol July 28, 2016 at 7:29 PM

    Does the Bostutch 16 gauge finish nailer fire nails longer than one inch?How do you load nails longer than one inch? My friend has a Porter Cable finish nailer and he can't figure out how to feed the longer nails into the slot. I am considering buying a Bostitch nailer if I get a good response from you. Thanks.

    • Nail Gun Depot July 29, 2016 at 5:08 AM

      Frederick, we do offer several Bostitch 16 gauge finish nailers that run larger than 1". In fact, most of them do. They should load the same way as normal. Here is a link to all of our Bostitch finish, brad and pin nailers:

      We don't carry Porter Cable so I'm not certain how their product is set up, or what the exact fastener range would be for your friend's tool.

      Please feel free to contact a customer service technician for more detail, at

  • pam December 27, 2017 at 2:38 PM

    Wanting to replace a bunch of baseboards and trims. Currently own a Porter Cable 18 gauge brad nailer but it makes a dimple in the wood with each nail.

    Looked at a DeWalt 16 gauge finish nailer but the nails it accommodates are 1.25 to 2.5" long which seems long for baseboards in this old house. Also 16 gauge is sort of fat.

    Thinking a shorter nail or brad would work better but do not want to have to fill in around a ton of dimples. Is there a manufacturer you would recommend instead of the one we have?

    • Nail Gun Depot December 28, 2017 at 6:35 AM


      It really depends on the thickness and density of your baseboards, but typically a brad nailer would be ideal for the projects you've listed.

      We don't stock Porter Cable, but a common issue we see that may cause dimples is when the operator is applying too much pressure on the gun while firing. Due to slight recoil during firing, when too much pressure is applied, the gun may "bounce" on the surface - which causes marring (dimples).

      A brad nailer that features a no-mar tip would also help to prevent surface damage.

      A couple popular options that we offer would include the Bostitch Smart Point line (air-powered), as well as Dewalt Li-Ion cordless models (battery-only).

  • Richard February 6, 2018 at 1:28 AM

    I would like to get a brad nailer for some furniture building projects I am contemplating. The nailers I have looked at all seem too large or too long. Can you recommend a nailer that fires thin diameter fasteners that are an inch at most?

    • Nail Gun Depot February 6, 2018 at 6:03 AM

      Depending on the size of furniture you're assembling, it sounds like an 18 gauge brad nailer is exactly where you want to start. Keep in mind, you can order brads that are one inch or less - even if the tool is rated to run longer sizes. Here's a list of 18 gauge brad nailers we offer:

      For large furniture, you may even want to consider a 16 gauge finish nailer, as the nails will offer better holding strength - but come with a wider diameter (leaving a more noticeable mark on the surface).

      We carry a variety of finish and furniture tools. Good brands to consider include Paslode, Senco, Bostitch and Hitachi. We also carry a value brand, called Freeman, which is not quite as durable for everyday use, but is great for occasional woodworking projects around the home.

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