The 10 Best Nail Guns

Updated October 26, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

10 Best Nail Guns
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 39 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Whether you have a DIY project coming up at your home, or you are a seasoned construction professional looking to update your tool selection, our comprehensive breakdown of the best nail guns, ranked here by price, durability, speed, and ease of use, will let you find the right model for your next job. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best nail gun on Amazon.

10. Hitachi NT50AE2 18-Gauge

The Hitachi NT50AE2 18-Gauge brad nailer provides professional quality delivery of finishing nails. The unit comes with the safety glasses you'll need to protect your eyes, as well as its own carrying case, which you'll certainly appreciate.
  • dual firing options
  • bottom-loading magazine
  • requires frequent oiling
Brand Hitachi
Model NT50AE2
Weight 4.7 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. DeWalt DWFP12231 Brad Nailer

The DeWalt DWFP12231 Brad Nailer offers a long life, maintenance-free motor, an easy jam release feature, and the ability to drive in nails up to two inches in length. It boasts an optional non-marring tip, for surfaces that will remain visible.
  • rear exhaust keeps contaminants away
  • simple head setting
  • very large and heavy
Model DWFP12231
Weight 4.8 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

8. NuMax SFR2190 Framing Nailer

The NuMax SFR2190 Framing Nailer is ergonomically designed for operator comfort. The tool comes with its own air filter, and it features a hardened driver blade made from high quality steel. It includes a detailed instructional manual.
  • anti-dry-fire mechanism
  • sturdy construction
  • has a tendency to jam
Brand NuMax
Model SFR2190
Weight 10.7 pounds
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

7. Hitachi 15-Gauge Finish Nailer

This Hitachi 15-Gauge Finish Nailer has an integrated air duster and a 360-degree adjustable exhaust port. It is very easy to use, even in the hands of a relative amateur. It works well for both contact or sequential nailing.
  • good value at the price
  • intuitive debris prevention design
  • tends to be louder than other models
Brand Hitachi
Model NT65MA4
Weight 8.7 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. Hitachi NR90AE Plastic Collated

The Hitachi NR90AE Plastic Collated full-head framing nailer is a lightweight, highly accurate option with a nonslip grip trigger and a convenient depth adjustment dial, which makes its compression settings easy to control.
  • hardened claw tip reduces wear
  • jams are simple to clear
  • not designed for heavy production
Brand Hitachi
Model NR90AES1
Weight 10.2 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

5. Hitachi NR83A3

This Hitachi NR83A3 is durable, reliable, and has excellent driving speed with an improved response time, so it can operate every bit as fast as you can. It can handle a wide variety of jobs, from finishing work to framing.
  • 2-piece steel magazine
  • bump-fire triggering
  • balanced for easy maneuverability
Brand Hitachi
Model NR83A3(S)
Weight 11.5 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

4. Bostitch Round Head Nailer

The Bostitch Round Head Nailer comes with a pair of quick-change nose pieces, and can rapidly convert to framing or metal connector applications. For most DIY-types or hobbyists this is one of the only purchases you'll ever need to make.
  • lightweight magnesium housing
  • easily adjustable depth
  • 1050 inch-pounds of driving power
Model F21PL
Weight 11.2 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

3. Freeman P4FRFNCB Nailer Kit

The Freeman P4FRFNCB Nailer Kit is designed for heavy-duty, professional applications. Each tool in the kit has an anodized aluminum cylinder for surface durability, meaning less damage each time the piston fires and a drastically improved lifespan.
  • finger depth adjustment
  • can hold up to 55 nails
  • teflon o-rings help to prevent wear
Brand Freeman
Weight 27.2 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

2. Bostitch Combo Kit

This Bostitch Combo Kit comes with a brad and straight finish nailer, a crown stapler, and a compressor for a wide variety of functional applications. The price tag is actually quite low when you consider the base cost of any single element.
  • electric compression
  • tool-less jam clearing
  • an oil-free pump
Weight 45.1 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. DeWalt DC608K Nailer

The DeWalt DC608K Nailer has a top quality engine designed for fast and consistent penetration into soft or hard joints. This battery-powered option can go anywhere and everywhere, and is a terrific choice for professionals.
  • accepts nails up to 2 inches long
  • trigger can be disabled
  • superior precision and speed
Model DC608K
Weight 14.7 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

The Source of All Your Power

The type of nail gun that you're going to want depends a lot on what you plan to do with it, and even the nail guns we've evaluated can be tough to compare since they fall into different categories. But let's be honest; in time, you are going to want to get your hands on an entire system.

Whether you buy that system all at once or one piece at a time is up to you, but if you're assembling your kit from scratch, you're going to want a consistent power source for all your tools.

There are three primary types of power delivery for these kinds of tools.

If you've used smaller electric tools in the past, you'll probably be familiar with battery operation and the high points and low points it presents. You get greater maneuverability and portability with battery power, but you sacrifice some driving power, and the batteries often need to be replaced part way through a job. This can cause bouts of uninterrupted crying, and you don't want to cry on your tools without a little NeverWet handy.

The more common choice among professionals is pneumatic driving, which uses air from a hose line attached to a dedicated compressor. This might serve you as a better long term investment since the compressor itself can often be used for more than just your nail guns. A good compressor can become the centerpiece of your work station. The only problem here is that the hoses can significantly reduce your mobility.

Finally, the least common system among consumers and many professionals today is the fuel driven system, which is almost like having a little combustion engine in your hands that drives pressure to your nail in much the same way your car uses its engine to deliver power to its wheels.

Whatever power system you choose, try to keep it consistent as you expand your tool kit, and you'll be better off for it.

On the Virtues of Starting Small

I know you're excited. I know you want to go out there and nail everything in sight. I don't blame you. A good nail gun puts a lot of power in your hands.

Before we go all OK Coral on the neighborhood, though, we should talk a little bit about taking this thing more slowly.

If you fall in love with the biggest baddest framing nail gun on the market, drop a pretty penny on it, and then try to hang a small shelf in your bathroom with it, all you're going to end up with is a grumpy spouse and a new peephole from the other room into your toilet.

To get a good idea of what these tools are meant to accomplish, it would behoove you to get your hands on one of the more versatile nail guns for smaller applications, since there are likely to be more of the lighter jobs to tackle around your home. This will prevent misuse, under-use, and any dangerous situations that could arise from lack of familiarity with the tools.

With a Finish Nail Gun or a Brad Nailer you can put put around the house looking for a million little jobs, from shelving to molding, that will give you the experience and confidence you really ought to have before getting into anything too intense. These guns should even accommodate you as you expand into more challenging areas.

When you find yourself up against a job that requires the longer, thicker nails and the increased power and performance that come with framing nail guns, you can revisit this page, refresh yourself on your research, and get yourself a shiny new toy.

Of course, if you already have all that experience, then it's OK Coral time!!!

Nailing Down a Date

While it's more or less accepted that the first nail gun to use air pressure the way we understand and use it today was introduced to the market in 1950, the road that lead to that innovation is pocked with mysterious holes, as though the history's nails–once driven–had been removed.

There were gravity fed nail machines dating back a while before the pneumatic nail guns of the 50s, and patent stamps on this manual nail gun by Pearson date its creation to the late 19th century.

In the 75 years since their commercial introduction, nail guns have only gotten lighter, more portable, and more powerful. Of course, with that increased power comes increased responsibility, as the CDC reports some 37,000 nail gun related emergency room visits each year in the United States alone.

There are more safety features than ever, as most nail guns won't even fire without the depression of the firing head against a surface, but proper technique will always be the best safety feature available.

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Last updated on October 26, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.

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