The 7 Best Siding Nailers
This wiki has been updated 18 times since it was first published in October of 2016. Built for contractors or keen DIY-ers, and differing from roofing nailers mainly in the ammunition they use, these siding nailers are specially designed to help you ensure your construction work meets inspection requirements, particularly if you live in a region with high, or even hurricane-force, winds. Our selections include models that are capable of lasting through years of heavy use. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best siding nailer on Amazon.
December 23, 2019:
Our rankings for this category held up pretty well during this round of updates. The only substantive changes we deemed necessary were updating the DeWalt DW66C to the DeWalt DW66C-1, and the Hitachi NV75AN and Hitachi NV65AH2 to the Metabo HPT NV75AN and the Metabo HPT NV65AH2. Note that the latter changes are a result of the company’s recent rebrand, and represent no material changes to the tools past their nameplate.
A note on trigger styles:
This is an important consideration for this category. So if you don’t already have the basics down on this, pay close attention. There are four basic types of nail gun triggers.
Contact Firing: Commonly referred to as a bump trigger, this style of component is considered to be the most efficient but least safe option among the four. To fire a nail with a contact trigger, users need to squeeze the tool’s trigger and depress its safety tip at the same time, and it doesn’t matter which order they do it in. So, if you’re looking to fire a fistful of nails in a hurry, just keep the trigger squeezed, repeatedly ‘bump’ the tool’s safety tip against the material in question, and you’ll discharge a nail every time the tool touches down.
Single-Actuation Firing: This option essentially operates as a semi-automatic bump trigger in that it operates basically the same, but you will need to release and re-squeeze the trigger between each bump.
Full-Sequential Firing: Sequential triggers are considered to be the safest, but slowest, style of trigger described here. With this trigger, users must first put pressure on the tools safety tip, then squeeze the trigger, then (after a single nail is discharged) release the trigger, remove pressure from the safety tip, and repeat.
Single-Sequential Firing: This option essentially operates the same as a full-sequential trigger, only it allows users the option of dragging the tool once its safety tip has been depressed, and firing several nails with as many squeezes of the trigger, before removing pressure from the safety tip.
The Right Tools For The Job
What allows siding nailers to perform more quickly and efficiently than comparable nail guns has to do with the size of the opening through which a siding nail fires.
To understand that, however, it helps to understand what a good siding job can do for your house.
Walking down the aisle of a hardware store’s power tools department can be a confusing experience. There’s a wide range of almost any kind of tool, from drills to wrenches, with an even broader selection of brands and price points. It’s hard to know which among all these options you really need.
For serious craftsmen and women, a garage or basement will eventually contain pretty much every kind of tool. That’s not because these people get greedy or don’t know how to make use of one tool for a variety of jobs. It’s mainly because, to do a job right, you have to use the appropriate tool.
With that in mind, it would seem like a pretty bad idea to approach a siding project with a finishing nailer, much for the same reasons that it would be a bad idea to add American cheese to a pasta dish.
It’s important, then, to understand what separates a siding nailer from similar nail guns that could, in theory, provide a similar service. To understand that, however, it helps to understand what a good siding job can do for your house.
Siding on a house protects the lumber out of which the home’s frame is built. Anything from heavy rains to gale force winds can wreak havoc on a home, with the former posing particular threats in the form of rot and black mold. Good siding is like a firm layer of skin there to protect your house from the elements.
When applying siding, as with almost any other nailing job, the fewer nails you need to perform a task, the better. Piercing any material is liable to weaken it, so littering a piece of siding with too many holes can put the infrastructure of a home at risk. Fewer nails also means time saved in the siding process. If you’re a professional, that can save you money in man hours (some of which savings you can pass on to your customers, which, by word of mouth, should result in repeat business). If you’re doing your own siding, then you’ll have more time to spend doing anything else, while also appearing far more capable around the house.
What allows siding nailers to perform more quickly and efficiently than comparable nail guns has to do with the size of the opening through which a siding nail fires. In order to anchor your siding firmly against wind and rain without increasing the number of nails required to install it, siding nails come with much wider heads than those used in other nail guns. As a result, you need fewer nails to secure more surface area of the siding material, both speeding up your process and ensuring greater durability in the work.
What To Look For In A Siding Nailer
Fortunately for anyone in the market for a siding nailer, there are fewer variables among them than many other nail guns. While a large number of nail guns on the market offer different magazine styles, siding nailers universally utilize barrel magazines that make the units resemble the Tommy guns of the 1920s. If your child is hard-pressed for a Halloween costume, you can spray paint an old siding nailer, draw a line down his or her cheek and send them out trick-or-treating as Scarface.
That means it will need to be lightweight and capable of accepting a large-capacity magazine of nails.
Siding nailers also relieve you of the decision among pneumatic, corded, and battery-powered options, as the pressure needed to successfully drive a siding nail necessitates the use of a compressor. That does limit your maneuverability somewhat, but most siding jobs don’t put your gun at strange angles. When it’s time to reach the upper portions of a building, however, make sure you have a strong ladder or scaffolding at your disposal.
What you do need to consider when purchasing a siding nailer has mostly to do with the size of your average job. If you routinely work on large structures, siding them in their entirety, you’re going to want a gun that can accommodate you. That means it will need to be lightweight and capable of accepting a large-capacity magazine of nails. As far as weight goes, a nailer under five pounds would be ideal to reduce user fatigue.
Features like a light weight and a large magazine that isn’t prone to jams don’t come cheaply however. If you’re less likely to finish a whole siding job, and you need a gun more for the maintenance of your own home (which shouldn’t’ require more than the occasional siding replacement in the event of damage), you can get away with a heavier unit that can’t quite hold as many nails.
A Brief History Of The Nail Gun
Great men and women throughout history have had visions for the future of technology, the execution of which has brought about incredible inventions along the way. Often, when an idea is grand enough, an entire industry has to adapt to realize it. Such is the case with the nail gun.
To solve this, Hughes’ engineer Morris Pynoos invented what we now know as the nail gun.
Howard Hughes, noted filmmaker and aviator, envisioned a gigantic airplane made entirely out of wood. He called it the Hercules (though most know it as the Spruce Goose), and it was incredibly challenging to engineer and build.
One of the biggest challenges in the design was the weight of the rivets, which threw off the balance and lift capabilities of the plane. To solve this, Hughes’ engineer Morris Pynoos invented what we now know as the nail gun. The device operated by pneumatic force, just like the guns on our list. With it Hughes' engineering team nailed the body of the plane together while glue between the wooden elements set. Afterward, they removed the nails, and the plane was light enough to fly, though it was never deployed as intended. Iterations of the nail gun entered the market soon after, and countless thumbs were henceforth spared the agony of a poorly aimed hammer.
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