Shopping for a new finish nailer can be a daunting task if you haven't done your homework first. While many models look and feel very similar, there are certain features that set one finish nailer apart from the other. Depending on your needs, this can play a major role in making an informed decision - leading to a purchase. Let's take a look at the differences between certain types of finishing nail guns.
Let's start with 15 gauge finish nailers. These tools are ideal for projects such as cabinet and furniture building, picture frame assembly, trim and molding installation, and upholstery trim applications. Look for an angled nail magazine on most 15 gauge finish nailers. While there aren't many cordless 15 gauge models available, the 15-gauge Senco F-15 Fusion fills the void - quite well - eliminating the need for an air compressor with its 18V Lithium Ion Battery. Furthermore, the Senco Fusion (also available in 16-gauge straight and 18 gauge variations) recently took top honors in a comparison test conducted by Popular Mechanics Magazine.
Similarly, 16-gauge finish nailers are ideal for many of the same applications as their 15 gauge counterpart. This includes projects such as installing door and window trim, baseboards, paneling, crown modeling, door jambs and more. The biggest difference between the two tools, 16 gauge finish nailers are generally smaller and lighter. Because 16-gauge nails have a slightly smaller diameter, many believe that the 15-gauge nail provides more holding power - depending on the type project you are looking to complete. You can find a wide variety of both angled and straight magazine 16 gauge finish nailers. Another cordless tool that ranks highly with contractors, the Paslode IM250A-Li drives 16-gauge angled finish nails and comes with a five-year warranty from Paslode.
Arguably, the most popular among finish nailer buyers who are purchasing a tool for DIY or occasional-use, 18 gauge brad nailers are built to handle trim, paneling, furniture repair and so much more. Brad nailers act as the catch-all tool for finish and trim applications. Keep in mind, brad nailers that can handle a 2" or larger fastener lend the most versatility. One of our favorites, Bostitch recently launched its Smart Point line of finsh and brad nailers. These tools are pneumatic, which means you'll need an air compressor, but offer some of the most precise nail placement available. The advantage to Smart Point, a narrow nose allows the user to access hard to reach areas with ease - while also reducing surface damage caused during firing. Similar to the Fusion family, Bostitch offers Smart Point nailers in 15 gauge (BTFP72155 DA and BTFP72156 FN), 16 gauge, and 18 gauge variations.
Last in the finish fastening family, pin nailers offer the least holding power, but are perfect for projects that require a small nail, such as those used in birdhouse building, small trim, picture frame work, and light wood assembly. Commonly available in either a 21 gauge or more popular 23 gauge variation, pin nailers are ideal for any application that requires a narrow fastener. Pin nails are also available in both headless and headed variations, just be sure that the tool you are using is compatible with the fastener you are intending to use. When it comes to pin nailers, Grex maintains a commanding share of the market - offering six different models of 23 gauge pin nailer. Affordable and reliable, Grex pin nailers are a safe choice for any first-time buyer.
Now that you know the difference between finish, brad and pin nailers - which one best suits you?
~ The Nail Gun Depot Team