The 10 Best Finish Nailers

Updated October 26, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

10 Best Finish Nailers
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. There are many ways to put the finishing touches on a construction project, but when you need greater holding strength than a brad nailer can deliver, you'll want to step up to one of these finish nailers. Perfect for both professional construction crews and DIY enthusiasts, this selection offers something for every level of experience and at every price point. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best finish nailer on Amazon.

10. NuMax SFR2190

Considering how well it works, the NuMax SFR2190 is a great bargain. It has all the hardiness and features of the more expensive brands, comes with a non-marring tip, and is depth-adjustable for controlling penetration in a variety of materials, all for under $100.
  • works with most 21-degree nails
  • easily switches between firing modes
  • has a bit of a strong kickback
Brand NuMax
Model SFR2190
Weight 10.6 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

9. Freeman PFN1564

The Freeman PFN1564 has a balanced design that fits well in the hand, and comes with a durable plastic carrying case for easy transport and safe storage. It's built with an open nose that makes it easy to see what you're working on and make adjustments.
  • angled magazine for tight corner use
  • 7-year limited warranty
  • has trouble with denser materials
Brand Freeman
Model PFN1564
Weight 9.7 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

8. PowRyte 100191

For an extremely low-cost option that works with straight nails, look no further than the PowRyte 100191. It's a fairly basic model, but it does have some handy features, like zero lockout, which prevents it from firing when the magazine is empty.
  • easily visible reload indicator
  • operable between 60 and 100 psi
  • won't stand up to heavy use
Brand PowRyte
Model 1001910
Weight 4 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

7. Porter-Cable PIN138

The Porter-Cable PIN138 is a good choice for most DIY enthusiasts or for light industrial use. It has the power and versatility to handle most jobs at an affordable price point, and automatically adjusts to accommodate nails of varying lengths.
  • maintenance free motor
  • easily penetrates wood
  • tends to jam frequently
Brand PORTER-CABLE
Model PIN138
Weight 5 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. Bostitch N62FNK-2

You'll love the removable, angled magazine of the Bostitch N62FNK-2, which never gets in the way of your work and can be easily cleared in the unlikely event of a jam or defective nail. It's a smooth operator with a design that never needs to be oiled.
  • bypass nail pusher for quick reloads
  • four interchangeable tips
  • firing pin wears out over time
Brand BOSTITCH
Model N62FNK-2
Weight 9.4 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

5. Paslode 902400

For those without an air compressor, the Paslode 902400 is powered by disposable fuel canisters and has a comfortable, ergonomic handle, great for hours of daily use. It weighs just 4.5 pounds and its trigger is smooth, for steady, continuous work.
  • heavy-duty integrated rafter hook
  • cordless design for flexibility
  • performs poorly at high altitudes
Brand Paslode
Model 902400
Weight 10.6 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

4. Apach DA-64E

The Apach DA-64E has an adjustable exhaust port, so you can direct the blowing air away from your face in any position and keep debris out of your work path. It comes with two Allen wrenches for making adjustments and a vial of oil that keeps things running smoothly.
  • non-marring bright red safety tip
  • inline magazine design
  • a bit pricier than comparable models
Brand Apach
Model DA-64E
Weight 6.3 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

3. Hitachi NT65MA4

The Hitachi NT65MA4 has an integrated air duster to blow away any debris that may accumulate as you go, so you can see exactly where you are going and keep your work precise. Its non-marring tip keeps your material's surface looking clean and smooth.
  • rotating exhaust port
  • lightweight to minimize fatigue
  • tool-free depth adjustment dial
Brand Hitachi
Model NT65MA4
Weight 8.7 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

2. Senco 4G0001N FinishPro

The Senco 4G0001N FinishPro looks like a hefty tool, but in fact it has a housing that's both durable and lightweight, thanks to its magnesium construction. Its tip won't harm delicate surfaces, making it a professional's go-to choice.
  • latch for quick jam clearing
  • never requires lubrication
  • ample 104-nail capacity
Brand Senco
Model 4G0001N
Weight 10.8 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

1. DeWalt D51257K

The DeWalt D51257K has a number of handy tool-free features, like jam clearing and nail depth adjustment. It also includes a 360-degree rotating exhaust port and an adjustable belt hook, making it a professional-grade option worthy of serious carpenters.
  • lockable sequential-action trigger
  • includes a carrying case
  • comes with 1000 2-inch starter nails
Brand DEWALT
Model D51257K
Weight 9.3 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

A Brief History Of Nail Guns

An idea borrowed from the bloody trenches of WWII. A famous newsman potentially being held-up on a crowded train. And a perfectly-timed assist from the president of Skippy brand peanut butter.

Sound like the start of a paperback thriller? Actually, it's all part of the story of how the nail gun came into existence.

In the mid-1950s, a group of friends in Winsted, Minnesota, were drinking beer and ruminating on how they could be drinking more beer if they only had more money. One of the men, a carpenter named Reuben Miller, brought up the idea of an automatic nailer that would work like the machine guns the men had encountered in WWII.

Soon, Miller and two pals had developed and patented six workable models of their new nail gun. Now all they needed was money.

Fate would soon lend them a hand in that department. One day, the group met a man in a bar, and he grew interested when they discussed their nail gun prototype. They demonstrated their new invention, and the stranger — Jack Keuhn, president of Skippy Peanut Butter — was impressed enough to invest $5,000 on the spot.

Later, while on a train ride to meet with a potential backer, the men — who had a knack for being in the right place at the right time, apparently — recognized famous newsman Douglas Edwards. Striking up a conversation, the men ended up showing the broadcaster their prized contraption, as well.

Unfortunately, railroad security mistook the prototype for a real gun. When the group demonstrated the gadget's true purpose, however, railroad officials recognized their mistake — and helped them secure a meeting with the Independent Nail Company.

After the meeting was over, the group turned down a $25,000 offer from the company, choosing instead to form their own corporation. It was at this point that their luck ran out, however, as they soon realized that their skill as inventors was far superior to their abilities as businessmen.

The company soon failed, and the bank foreclosed on all their assets — including their patents. These were sold at auction, where they were quickly snapped up by Bostitch, a Boston-based toolmaker. By 1965, Bostitch had released their own version of the pneumatic nailer, and today they are one of the giants in the industry.

While the wild ride may not have ended the way that Miller and friends would have liked, it certainly makes for a great story — and a reminder that, when faced with a golden opportunity, you really have to nail it.

Choosing Fhe Right Finish Nailer

Finish nailers are extremely useful tools, but they're not cheap, so it's important to do your homework before making a purchase.

First off, determine what size nails you'll need for your jobs. If you're a professional carpenter, you'll likely need a variety of nailers in different gauge sizes. On the other hand, if you're a weekend warrior, you'll likely find that a 15- or 16-gauge nail is versatile enough to accomplish most of the tasks you'll encounter.

You'll also need to decide how you'll want your gun to be powered. Most are pneumatic, meaning that you'll need some form of compressed air to fire the nails. However, there are also cordless electric options, which aren't as powerful, but are much easier to use in tight spaces.

Not all nail guns have the same firing mechanism, either. Some have bounce-fire triggers, which means that it will fire a nail every time you bump the nose into the surface. This is excellent for professionals who need to install a lot of fasteners quickly, but novices are probably better off with the traditional, sequential-firing triggers.

Beyond that, most of the differences are relatively inconsequential. If you really need on-gun nail storage, belt hooks, or attachments, then you can find models that sport those features. Don't allow a neat gizmo to charm you into buying an inferior nailer, however, as the important thing is how well it does the job.

Tips For Using A Finish Nailer

A finish nailer's primary job is to install molding or other trim quickly and easily. If you've ever had to hammer down a baseboard, then you already know how much of a pain that can be — and that's the frustration that a finish nailer can save you.

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't remind you to observe proper safety protocol. Wear protective glasses at all times, and treat the nailer as you would a real gun (meaning, look before you shoot). Over 37,000 people visit the ER every year because of nail guns, so don't let yourself become a statistic.

Now that that's out of the way, I feel compelled to encourage you to use your nail gun as often as possible. You'll be amazed at all the uses you'll find for it, as it can make almost any woodworking job easier.

If you need to screw pieces of wood together, zipping a nail in there to hold them together makes the job much easier (and makes you less likely to stab yourself with a drill). Also, a discreet nail or two can hold pieces together while you're waiting for glue to dry.

They're also fantastic for nailing down hard-to-reach places, especially if you have a bump trigger. They can extend your reach by a foot or so, allowing you to fasten things down without constantly having to move your ladder or reposition your board.

Once you've got a finish nailer in your toolbox, you'll find yourself looking for reasons to use it — and more often than not, finding them. It's a great piece of equipment, and a must-have for any woodworker.



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Last updated on October 26, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.


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