Interested in finding the perfect framing electric nail gun for your workshop? Or maybe you just want to find the best framing nail guns for a one-off project like a shed or man cave? Whatever the case, today I review some excellent nail guns and talk about the mechanics behind these tools! I take a look at the power of battery framing nailers, their mobility, their weight, and any extra features they have that makes them work for me. This post essentially serves as the best framing nailer buying guide for both experts and DIYers!
I also focus explicitly on the best framing nailers, since you don’t want staple guns or brad guns to do the job (don’t worry, I’ll talk more on those later). Electric nailers cut down on costs at the expense of time (to charge its battery if you only have one), but they offer perfect portability. Pneumatic air guns are smaller, which makes them more dexterous…but the cord makes them less portable. Everything has its own strengths and weaknesses that we go over today! Let’s take a good look at the best electric nail guns on the planet and decide which is the best framing gun for you!
My 5 Favorite Framing Nailers of 2019:
Buy on Amazon
Top & Budget Pick
Top Cordless Pick
Top Weight Pick
Top Professional Pick
5 Best Framing Nailers – My Reviews:
NuMax SFR2190 Framing Nailer
For smaller, non-residential structures, 21 degree framing nails and nailers are highly favored. If you need more specifics on what size nail for framing with nail gun, then check out the directions of your excellent electric nail gun and stick with those guidelines. Pretty much all of them accommodate 21 degree nails! Every now and then, you see them list 34 degree finish nails as a compatible nail as well. If you can’t find one around that works well, then I recommend using the NuMax pneumatic 21-degree full head strip framing nailer for professional use.
Another good thing about this Amazon listing is that it allows you to purchase in bulk. If you need to fund your workshop or contracting company, this is the fastest way to do it! When it runs low on nails, it activates an anti-dry fire mechanism that prevents injuries and jams. The no-mar tip keeps surfaces safe, if that’s important for your particular project. With included hex wrenches and interchangeable triggers, you can easily customize your tool based on your personal building style. The exhaust has 360* maneuverability, so you can stay comfortable as you work. It fires nails between 2 to 3 ½ inches long, with a 0.113”-0.131” diameter. Any brand of nail works with it, so go wild!
- Lightweight Magnesium Body
- Depth Adjustment
- No-mar Tip
- Excellent Brand
- Many uses
- Highly Versatile
- A bit heavy
DeWalt DCN692B 20V Max XR Brushless Dual Speed Nailer
You may have heard of DeWalt cordless framing nailers before, and it comes as no surprise considering the reputation of DeWalt cordless tools. The DeWalt battery powered nail gun represents the best of the best out of all types of battery nailers. A DeWalt battery nailer’s durability, performance, and price are all on point. This DeWalt framing nailer is particularly great. Even though the DeWalt framing nail gun is compact, it has all the power needed to drive 3 ½” nails into whatever material you need. The DeWalt battery nail guns are optimized for different nail lengths, so feel free to use them for smaller jobs! It works fine for sizes as low as 2”, but remember that a DeWalt framing nail gun is primarily used as a DeWalt 16D nailgun, so keep 16D nails around!
This DeWalt 20 volt framing nailer weighs about eight pounds, putting it in the average weight range for electric nail guns. If you have a newer 60V Max battery, you can go ahead and use it for your old DeWalt battery framing nailer—the battery will detect that this is a DeWalt 20V nail gun and automatically adjust. DeWalt battery nail guns work well as a primary nailers or a secondary nailers, for when you don’t feel like dealing with a pneumatic nail gun and its air compressor. It serves as both a DeWalt rapid fire nail gun or a sequential one.
If you do prefer pneumatic guns and want to stick with the brand, there are also a few DeWalt air nail guns available on Amazon. In particular, the DeWalt dcn692m1 is a great model. The DeWalt air nailer works just as well as the electric one, although it requires extra equipment. In general, DeWalt cordless tools are high quality, and this applies especially to DeWalt nail guns! Speaking of, let’s learn about how to use both the DeWalt air gun and pneumatic tools in general to your advantage! A DeWalt electric nail gun always does the job, but the air guns could save you a bit of cash in the short term.
- Brushless Motor
- Sequential or Bump modes
- 33* Magazine
- Up to 55 paper collated nails
- 18-20 Volts
- No Extra Equipment Needed
- Batteries get stuck sometimes
Paslode 902600 CF325Li Cordless Framing Nailer
The Paslode 902600 CF325Li Lithium Ion cordless framing nailer represents the best-of-the best in utility, performance, and durability. It’s technically a sort of Paslode gas framing nailer, since this Paslode gun uses a fuel cell to make things happen. I’ll talk about the Paslode cordless roofing nailer at a later time, but for now, let’s look at how their framing nailer changes things. A Paslode framer nail gun drives up to 6,000 nails per charge (which only takes 1 hour to charge, and even a minute of charging will get you through 200 nails or so) and you can take it anywhere on the work yard. On this list, the Paslode framing nail gun ranks as one of the lightest, weighing a mere 7.5 lbs.—ideal for people with wrist issues.
So, what’s with the price point of the Passlode framing gun? The full kit includes the Paslode impulse framing nailer, carrying case, instruction manual, battery, and charger. A Paslode nail gun is specifically built to withstand the abuse of a workplace and all kinds of weather conditions, so if you build frequently or as a job, you’ll want to stick to this one. I’ve seen them take quite a beating without showing as much as a scratch, which makes them highly desirable in my eyes. The Paslode framing nails and gas cartridges are also sold as a package, so you always have enough of each, and it keeps the Paslode compact framing nailer…well, compact!
I prefer these Paslode nailers over the Paslode air framing nailer/Paslode pneumatic framing nailer, if only because I can carry it around without pulling a cord behind me. In general, Paslode 30 degree cordless framing nailers are a delight to have around on the worksite, since they can squeeze into tight spaces and follow you everywhere you go. The only disadvantage of the Paslode cordless nail guns is that they require Paslode nails. With most other nail guns, you can use whatever nails you want! However, safety comes first, and these guns were designed with that in mind. Simply account the nail prices into your total project budget.
- Uses a Fuel Cell
- Up to 6,000 Nails per Charge
- Charges quickly
- Only Compatible with Paslode Nails
BOSTITCH F21PL Framing Nailer
I review this one towards the end because it’s quite different than the others. To be specific, it’s one of the best pneumatic nailers. As with all of the best air nailers, you’re going to need some extra equipment to get this working. You’ll need an air compressor and a hose in perfect condition, but the Stanley Bostitch framing nailer is otherwise portable and compact. It makes a good representative of general Bostitch power tools, so if this one looks great but not quite excellent, check out the other Bostitch framing nail guns to see if one suits your fancy.
The Bostitch framing gun delivers a whopping 1,050 lbs of driving power plus two types of firing methods (sequential and bump trigger), bringing this into the realm of the best pneumatic nail guns on the market. It can handle between 1 ½ to 3 ½ “ nails, making this one of the most versatile air compressor nailers on the list. The Bostitch frame nailer also comes with two highly durable nose pieces for working with framing or metal connecting.
Like the DeWalt framing nailer, this weighs in at 8.1 lbs. It’s an incredibly powerful pneumatic nail gun that is worth investing in, should electric nailers not appeal to you! Remember—if something is being advertised as a Bostitch cordless framing nailer while also being air-powered, you will need to buy the cord and compressor separately! They work well for many other Bostitch power tools, anyways. It’s certainly worth your time to try out Stanley nail guns.
- 1 1/2″ – 3 1/2″ Framing Nailer
- 1,050 inch-pound driving power
- Two firing modes
- Quick change nosepieces
- Pneumatic Power
- Good grip
- Requires Compressor
Hitachi NR90AES1 Framing Nailer
Continuing on with more of the best nail guns for framing available, this one (sometimes spelled as “hatachi nailer” instead) is also air-powered and incredibly compact. It allows for quick disassembly in the case of a jam. Compared to other pneumatic guns, this one is heavy, weighing in at about 10lbs. It makes up for it with its dexterity and sheer power. It shoots between 2” and 3.5” nails with a diameter of between .113-.148.
Interestingly, and also thankfully, this includes some safety goggles. The company cares about your health, so you know they also put some dedication into making the tool durable over the years! It’s a perfect nailer for the typical DIY man…but it also works for dedicated construction workers and extreme builders! The only downside is that it doesn’t come with a hanging hook.
The Hitachi NR90AE S and Hitachi NR90GR 2 both serve similar purposes—they get the job well, and better than any other nailer out there. Hitachi guns are known for their cutting-edge technologies, and these Hitachi nailers are no exception. The Hitachi framing gun is built with disassembly in mind, allowing you to easily maintain it. Hitachi framing nailers are incredibly lightweight, change quickly between modes, and adjust depth without the use of any extra tools.
As with any other pneumatic power tool, the Hitachi air nailer costs much less than its electric counterparts. Unlike them, the Hitachi frame nailer manages to keep all of its innovative design choices and outperforms all the other pneumatic tools that I’ve seen. Although it’s advertised as a ‘Hitachi cordless nailer,’ that just means it doesn’t include a cord. You need to purchase the air compressor and tube separately. Unfortunately, this Hitachi framing gun can’t compress air all on its own.
If you’ve never encountered Hitachi nail guns before, then this is the time for you to fix that. Choose Hitachi framing nail guns if you want something professional and ahead of its time without shelling out over two hundred dollars.
- Selective Actuation
- Two piece anodized aluminum magazine
- Unique head guard design
- 2″-3 1/2″ Nail Capacity
- Changing between fire modes is fast and easy
- Tool-less depth adjustment
- Fast Loading
- Good Grip
- Requires Compressor
What do you Need a Nail Gun For?
If you already work in construction or build as a hobby, then you already know what you need an affordable or cheap nail gun for. Skip on down to my reviews of the best electric nail guns. If you are looking to stock up your workshop for the first time, then let’s talk about why a nail gun is an essential tool in your shed.
Also called a nailer, the nail gun uses a small burst of energy to force a nail into any surface. It speeds up all kinds of construction projects and is essential for building large sheds or homes. You can even use a nail gun for fence pickets! You go from hammering a handful of nails per minute to 60 or more. The reliability of a nail gun also ensures the structural integrity of whatever you’re building. In particular, you want a nail gun for framing if you plan on building frequently. Naturally, this is what I cover in this article, since I expect everyone who frequents my site has a penchant for building rooms, walls, sheds, and buildings.
If you want your frame to stick together, then you want your nails in the optimal position. It adds to the durability of the building itself. There’s no reason not to grab a nail gun for the workshop. Even if you don’t build very often, you never know when you’ll need one!
If you deal with construction on a frequent basis, then learn which types of nailers work best for you. These nail guns can technically be used for different purposes, but buying what you specifically need makes your job easier (and safer) down the line.
- Brad Nailers (Also: Staplers, tackers) – A lightweight nailer for intricate work.
- Finishing Nailer – Lightweight nailers that deliver strong punches for small structures (such as furniture).
- Flooring Nailers – Used for installing hardwood floors.
- Framing Nailer – The most useful type, this helps with large projects and structures like homes and sheds.
- Roofing Nailers – They help apply roof shingles precisely to avoid wind and water damage.
You will be using a finish electric nail gun and a framing nailer more than any other on this list, and you can honestly use the two of them to accomplish anything you need. If you want to make things convenient for yourself and deal with construction frequently, that’s when you’ll want to grab one of each type.
Nailer Firing Method
Depending on your project and your personal preferences, you might gravitate towards certain firing methods. Some of them make it easier to fire nails at the expense of added danger (or added safety procedures, if you’re smart about it). Others do everything they can to make sure you mean to pull the trigger.
- Contact trigger – By bumping your nailer onto a surface as you hold the trigger, you can quickly fire off nails with a single pull of the trigger. You only need to deactivate the safety once (although you can choose to activate it in-between as well). This is the fastest type of nail gun.
- Full sequential trigger – This takes safety a little bit further and makes you reactivate the safety tip and trigger for every nail.
- Single actuation trigger – You have to operate the safety tip and trigger fire a nail, although you can bump fire the first nail.
- Single sequential trigger – This forces you to use the safety tip and trigger in sequence to fire your first nail. However, as long as you keep the safety tip on the same work surface, you only need to activate the safety tip and trigger in order that one time.
Best Features to Look for in a Nail Gun
As you shop around, keep these features at the top of your mind. Some of these might not matter to you—a directional exhaust system, for example, isn’t quite as necessary when you work outside with your electric nail gun. On the other hand, you definitely want it for inside work. See which ones you need and make sure your nailer has those features!
- Carrying Case – Helps you tote it around without damaging the nailer.
- Cordless Framing Nailer – Cordless guns have a clear portability advantage. Just make sure the gun is battery powered, or you’ll end up with a powerless pneumatic gun.
- Correct Nailer Angle – A 34 degree framing nailer works better than a 28 degree framing nailer, which works better than a 21 degree framing nailer, and so on. The greater the angle is, the better it fits into tight spaces.
- Depth Adjustment – Adjusts how deep your nail goes into your work surface. You can drive them deep into the wood or even leave them hanging out for later adjustments.
- Directional Exhaust – Keeps sawdust and (in the case of gas powered nail guns) tool fumes out of your face.
- Jam Clearing – Helps you maintain your nailer without taking some time aside each time the nails get caught up on each other.
- Large Triggers – If you’re working with gloves (which you should be), you don’t want the glove to take up most of the trigger space. You should be able to easily manipulate your fingers around the trigger!
- Nail Size Adjustment – Exactly what it says on the tin.
- Replaceable Protective Guards – These catch chunks of wood and the stray nail and save you from a couple scratches by taking the hit for you.
Types of Cordless Nail Guns
There are a few differences between the cordless nail guns you encounter. The main difference is the use of gas or electricity as a power source. Among the two, I usually opt for battery-powered nail guns, simply because I can keep track of a battery charger better than I can keep track of how much gasoline I have in the garage laying around. Plus, the battery can be used for other compatible (emphasis on compatible) power tools.
Gasoline-powered guns go through about 1,200 nails with each of the nail gun cartridges you use, while fully charged battery-powered guns will shoot out 12,000 nails before the battery dies. Yep, that’s a huge difference. The other major type of framing guns are air framing nailers, which are cheaper for the gun itself, but more expensive when you take all of the equipment needed into account.
Pneumatic Framing Nailers
Each pneumatic framing nailer is way cheaper than the other types of brands. The price of framing air nailers does come with a catch, though—you need to run around with it attached to a cord and air compressor. Air compressors tend to be bulky as well, so they’re not nearly as portable as the other two types of nailers. Don’t let this discourage you, though! They are cheaper if you just need something to use for one big project. If you plan on using it for years, then an electric nailer will cost less in maintenance and upkeep.
Keep in mind that anything you see advertised as a ‘cordless air gun’ is actually a gun sold without the cord, rather than one that needs no air compressor to power itself. The air compressor is sort of what makes them air guns, and unless you have that giant thing attached to the gun and carry it around like that, you’ll need a cord. It’s the main weakness of every air framing nailer. You can read more about choosing the best compressor for framing nailers in my F.A.Q. section.
Gas Framing Nailers
Are you looking for more of an airless nail gun so that you don’t have to lug around a giant compressor? The gas nailgun was one of the first types of nail guns and remains used to this day…although there’s not a huge advantage to using them. They offer portability over their pneumatic counterparts, but gas nailer guns also require gasoline to run…which means multiple trips to the store over the years for more than just nails. On top of that, they are much less efficient than electric guns. If you asked me, they’re mostly a relic from the past that older companies are attached to.
Electric Framing Nailers
A battery operated nailer relies on a (normally patented) battery to drive the nails. Because of the bulk of the battery, they are larger than the other two types of framing nailers. However, they are far more portable than either, and you don’t have to go to the store or use a giant air compressor to power it when the batteries die. You can just swap them out for a pre-charged one or wait a little bit for the battery to charge. Of course, there are also corded electric framing nailers, so you never have to worry about setting up your nailer again! Most people like their nail gun cordless, though.
Nail Gun Load Style
There’s one more giant difference between cordless nail guns. As you look at types of nail guns and focus in on the battery operated nail guns that you desire, you’ll want to look at what type of load style they built into the nailer. A coil-style nailer uses a round magazine that attaches to the machine and dispenses the nails as needed. A strip-style nailer uses nails attached to long strips that slide into a magazine. The distribution of nail weight makes the strip-style nailer more precise, but the compactness of the coil style allows it to hold more nails and squeeze into tight spaces.
Corded Electric Nail Guns vs, Pneumatic Nails Guns vs. Cordless Nailers
Corded electric nail guns have the obvious con of being tied to a wall outlet. It’s good for inside work, but you’ll want to look at electric guns that have batteries if you want to do some outside work without a spider web of extension cords running through your backyard. To their credit, corded electric nail guns offer some serious power, so you may still want them for constructing shed frames. Electric nail guns as a whole operate slower than pneumatic guns.
Pneumatic guns are used by more people thanks to their size, speed, and price. Their drawback is that you need to purchase an air compressor along with them, which sometimes negates any price savings. They can handle large nails and squeeze into tight spaces that an electric nailer cannot. Its main downside is maintenance—if your hose has even the slightest scratch, there’s no fixing it. You need to replace it. Even duct tape can’t help you here. Good air compressors are also huge, so portability is also something to consider.
Both of them have their pros and cons, but today I want to focus on electric nail guns. They don’t require air compressors and you can start working with them right out of the box. Gas-powered nailers are a thing, but both pneumatic and electric nailers are more efficient and cheaper. I’m just going to save you time and skip the gas nail guns for now!
Cordless Nail Guns, Framing Nail Guns, and Battery Powered Nail Guns
Now that you know all about how an electric framing nailer works, let’s take a peek at some of the best electric nail guns on the market. If the Lowes nail guns for sale in your area just won’t cut it or look too pricy, check out the brands in these framing nail gun reviews instead. Whether you’re seeking general framing nailer reviews or looking for a specific type of cordless framing nail gun, my set of reviews has you covered. I chose to post these reviews based on the price, quality, reputation, and performance that each has. I’ve used plenty of nailers throughout the years, but these ones are the most notable and well worth your investment. Let’s take a look!
Note that some of these do not include batteries, despite being battery-powered framing nailers. This is because many people already have a compatible battery that’s required to run them and other battery-powered framing nail guns. Sometimes the batteries are even compatible with tools other than electric framing nail guns! Double check to see if one is provided with your battery-powered nailers, if you will need to purchase one, or if you already own a compatible battery for a cordless framing gun. In any case, this section contains all the truly cordless framing nailer reviews and helps you get a feel for typical nail gun prices.
Framing Nailer F.A.Q.
For anyone still left with questions about electric nailers, pneumatic nail guns, or gas nail guns, use this section to answer them. If you don’t find you question here, simply leave a comment and I will get back to you right away! I also added in frequently asked questions that are relevant to nail guns, but not about the tools themselves.
Should I choose Hitachi or DeWalt?
By reading the reviews above, you should know whether DeWalt guns or Hitachi guns work best for you. If you’re in a rush and just need a quick decision, then base it on the following points: Hitachi tends to have a bulkier design than DeWalt. Hitachi contains very high-quality materials and is known as the cream of the crop. Both companies are industry standards, although DeWalt is used more frequently. If you need anything more specific, then you’ll have to sit through a review.
What Size Nails for Framing Use?
Wondering what nails to use for framing? The industry standard for framing nails is a 16-d framing nails (or 16-penny framing nails). These are 3 ½ inches long, which prevents a very long nail from splintering the wood, and a very short nail from causing structural integrity. Of course, all of the framing guns I covered here today are 16 penny nail guns (16d nail guns). An 8d nail gun simply wouldn’t cut it.
The international residential code actually requires that you use 3.5” x 0.135” nails in order to pass building inspection. The nail size is just as important as fire blocking, insulation, and wind protection to inspectors! Perhaps even more so, since constructing a whole building out of the wrong nail size means you’d have to tear it down entirely to fix things. While the entire world doesn’t adhere to this standard, many states have adopted it. Check your local regulations to make sure you build everything correctly. Or, you know, just stick with 16-penny framing nails!
What is a brushless nail gun?
A brushless motor uses circuitry to manage electricity in their motor. The result is a highly efficient, powerful, and steady source of electricity. Unfortunately, it does come at a cost—literally. Circuit boards aren’t cheap. If you’re looking for a state-of-the-art tool or something that will last you a dozen years, brushless nail guns are the way to go.
What size air compressor do I need for a framing nailer?
In general, an air compressor for framing nailer only needs to be small. Tools like air guns, pneumatic wrenches, and sanders all need large air compressors to ensure a steady supply, but nail compressors hardly need as much energy for their short bursts. You’ll notice terms like CFM and psi labeled with the DeWalt battery air compressor and any other brand you encounter. They all mean the same thing. The CFM of an air compressor tells you how many cubic feet per minute it supplies air to your tool. Make sure your consumption is less than the CPM or you will have to take breaks and wait for your framing air compressor to recover.
The best air compressor for framing should be at 2CFM or above and supply 90psi minimum to operate a pneumatic air gun properly. 120psi and above is preferred for optimum use. The DeWalt battery powered air compressor manages to get this done and is quite portable. As long as it meets these standards, it doesn’t matter how big or little the compressor is. The difference in price between similar traits is most likely due to the noise of the compressors. Quiet is better, especially since the larger air compressors can be heard down the street! Check reviews to make sure you’re not getting the equivalent of a jackhammer.
Can I trust used framing nailers?
A used framing nailer for sale normally indicates that it failed the owner in some way. If you know how to tinker with nailers (air guns are particularly easy to fix), then you can risk your purchase. Large bulk sales where multiple tools are up for offer indicate that a person is actually clearing out their workshop, and the tools are probably in good condition. If it’s just a used tool all on its own and for a price comparable to new, steer away from it.
What are the best nails for framing?
Hitachi nails, DeWalt nails, and Bostitch framing nails all have a pretty good reputation…but also cost more than your plain old generics. Is it worth shelling out extra cash for higher quality nails? In my opinion, whether you use Hitachi framing nails or some random brand makes no difference in your building’s quality. If it’s in the wood in a proper place, then it’s going to stick together.
However, if you use nailers that were built with a specific brand in mind, then you’ll seriously want to stick with their brand. Use DeWalt nails for DeWalt guns, Hitachi framing nails for Hitachi guns, and so on. Sure, your building quality doesn’t get better…but there’s also quality of life to consider. If you get matching nails, then you’ll experience fewer jams, if any. If you want to save some cash, just check out the recommended lengths and widths for the tool!
Where do I find my nail gun battery?
You can find them from the official company stores, local Home Improvement stores, electronic stores, or good old Amazon. Always purchase new, since there are quite a few knockoffs that are mislabeled for the job. Your battery should have the correct voltage and (if applicable) the correct brand for your nailer. You can normally see people post reviews for whether or not their nailer worked with the batteries. Always take advantage of the wisdom of others!
Who owns Freeman Tools?
The tool company is owned by Prime Global Products, Inc.. They also sell the NuMax tools on this list. All of their products cater to the ‘professional and Do-It-Yourselfer,’ which I imagine is everyone reading this sentence. It’s quite common for large companies to sell different brands. In example, Bosch sells Dremel and Diablo tools. Stanley Black & Decker splits their products between Stanley, Black+Decker, DeWalt, Bostitch, and so on. If you are concerned about the parent company of your tool, then make sure to look it up, as the brand name isn’t always telling! In any case, if you go with one of my reviewed frame nailers, you can trust every brand I wrote about.
Troubleshooting Your Framing Gun
Whether you are trying to fix your Paslode gas air gun or figuring out your DeWalt framing nailer problems, the same rule applies: immediately remove the power source of your framing nail gun. It would be problematic if you shot yourself during your Paslode framing nailer troubleshooting, especially since it’s prone to happening when fixing a jam! Once you power off your gun, the first thing you should check is the firing mechanism. Use a wrench while the gun is directed away from your body to remove any blocked nails. Determine whether the blockage was caused by poor maintenance, poor power, incorrect nail size, or if you encountered a bad brand. Anything is possible.
If your gun looks like it has no problems, check your power source. Switch your battery out with another tool and see if that tool works with the old battery. If not, you’ve got a power problem for sure. Thankfully charging solves electric power problems most of the time. If you have a pneumatic gun, check your air hose first—any kind of cracking, slits, holes, or damage will leak away power from your gun. If it doesn’t get enough power, it doesn’t fire the nails properly…which results in repetitive jams. Plus, operating with an old hose is a safety issue. Replace it outright if you see damage.
Other than this, check the manufacturer’s recommendations, directions, and guidance. Each tool has its own set of potential problems that can be avoided by following the included directions!
Nail Gun Regulations
If you’re using this in the work place or just want to keep your projects safe, then here are some tips straight from OSHA. First of all, make sure that the material you are nailing will not allow a nail to pass through it and become a projectile. A simple and temporary backing prevents this. On the flipside, don’t use it on materials that should not be nailed, such as hardened steel, glass, cast iron, and so on. Always operate within the ranges specified by the manufacturer. Here is the full list of nail gun regulations.
Of course, it doesn’t quite end there. No matter where you are in the world, the International Code Council (ICC) has very particular recommendations about nail sizes and materials for residential areas. Not all states use them, but you should follow the guidelines anyway. They’re made for a reason. The most important part to get out of it is the length of 3 ½ “ for framing nails. Anything shorter risks popping out the nails or having the structure slowly pull apart. Anything longer risks cracking the wood or jamming your gun. Most guns are made for dispensing 3 ½ “ nails for this very reason—including all of the ones I reviewed! Here are more details on the matter.
Nail Gun Safety
With the workplace regulations out of the way, here are some safety practices that you should be using in any environment. Some of it is common sense, but I go over it anyways, because nail gun injuries are the most common around. Two out of five hobbyist builders will hurt themselves with a nail gun over a four-year period, according to OSHA. Even more people get injured while on the job—going all the way up to half of workers! So don’t take these safety tips lightly. You are the one responsible for your health, and the last thing you want during your project is to put everything down and run to the hospital!
Do Not Bypass Safety Features
This one’s a no-brainer. Don’t deactivate or disable the safety trigger. Don’t mod your gun so it can handle larger nails. There’s a reason the nailer wasn’t built like that in the first place! If this means using sequential trigger nail guns instead of modding them to bump fire, so be it. Also check which kind of surfaces your nailer can handle. You do not want to fire a nail into hard steel only to have it bounce and fly back at your face!
This is pretty all-encompassing, silly as it sounds. First, line up each nail with the surface you want to nail. Never point your electric nail gun at a surface, person, or thing that you don’t want nailed. Incorrect surfaces will cause the nail to ricochet or cause damage to your power tool. Furthermore, check out the material that you’re nailing—stuff with lead paint, chemically treated lumber, as well as certain types of bricks will all give off toxic fumes that a simple handkerchief or something similar can solve.
Mind Your Hands
Always use the gun with your proper hand (right for right-handers, left for south-paws). Trigger discipline is a term used by cops and military to describe keeping your finger straight over the trigger, rather than curled in it and ready to shoot at any second. You should also practice trigger discipline and only put your finger near it when you are about to fire a nail. Lastly, remember how much your gloves increase the size of your fingers—that means your nail gun might fire even if you don’t bend your whole finger to pull the trigger.
Be Mindful of Others
Keep the gun out of reach of children and away from people without training that would want to use it. Never point it at others or encourage people without training or knowledge to use a nail gun.
Never Tinker with a Live Gun
Need to reload or clear a jam? Turn it off and ideally unplug it before you adjust the nail gun. It only takes a small malfunction to get a nail through your hand, after all. Always power it off when you need to tinker with the gun.
When working with nail guns, safety goggles and heavy gloves are mandatory. They protect your most precious sense (vision) from destruction during work and keep your hands safe from general injuries. Although normally discouraged in a workshop environment, if you only plan to be using a nail gun, long sleeves are okay. You want to roll them up any time you work with saws or rotating equipment, though. As an aside, keep some first aid stuff nearby. Band-Aids, wraps, disinfectants—that sort of thing. For extra credit, use a hardhat and hearing protection.
For a comprehensive list of nail gun safety procedures, check this out. Once again, nailer injuries are some of the most common, so letting your guard down for even a moment could cost you an arm and a leg in hospital fees. Or, at least, the palm of your hand.
Nail Gun Safety Disclaimer
In the end, you are the only one responsible for your own safety. If you disregard safety protocols of your power tools and become injured, you’re on your own. If you’re working alone (which is dangerous in and of itself for large projects), then no one can help you tend to your wounds or drive you to the hospital. Sure, this might sound dramatic, but most of the people I work with have shot a nail into their hand on at least one occasion.
I can’t take responsibility if you disregard common sense or safety procedures, so, look out for yourself! The majority of electric nail gun injuries are minor and involve shooting your own hand, but these do have the potential to be deadly if pointed at others. You might also shoot a nerve, tendon, or bone crucial to your work and end up in therapy or worse. Moral of the story? Take care of yourself and practice any and all safety measures that you can!
The Absolute Best Nail Guns
So, what’s the best nail gun for you? If you’re building a small project or need to fit the nail gun in some awkward spaces, coil-loading nail guns are the right pick for you. If you’re looking to save money or execute some precision in your work, the strip-nail styles work best. DeWalt is considered the best brand, but don’t disregard the other nail guns I reviewed. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses that could make them perfect for you.
Whatever the case, I hope you found what you were looking for. Your construction project is only as good as the effort you put in—and the tools you use. Make sure you put in as much time, dedication, and precision as you can into your projects. With the use of the perfect electric nail gun or similar power tools, you can seriously extend the lifetime of your project…and reap even more benefits from your blood, sweat, and tears! Now get out there and build the shed, furniture, floor, or stairs of your dreams. The sky is the limit!