Getting a brad nailer online should be a quick and easy task. However, all the manufacturers vying for your attention have led to confusing and misleading online product descriptions, which in turn makes it hard to figure out which models are great, and which ones only appear that way.
If you want to get a brad nailer that you’ll love using, and that you’ll get a great deal on, you’ve come to the right place. Our reviews are designed to show you the good and the bad on each model so that you can go through the buying process with confidence that you know exactly what you’re getting.
We’ve also included a buyer’s guide, which is packed full of great general information about brad nailers, so it’s a good resource to use if you’ve never had one of these great tools before.
|Hitachi NT50AE2 |
(Best for the Money)
|PORTER-CABLE PCC790B ||6 lbs||4.5/5|
|WEN 61720||5 lbs||4.3/5|
|Campbell Hausfeld CHN10499AV||7 lbs||4.0/5|
The DEWALT DC608K Brad Nailer Kit is the best overall choice for anyone who needs heavy-duty brad-nailing power. Since this model uses batteries, it not only has the power you need to get the job done but is also very portable. You’ll never have to worry about trailing a pneumatic hose or electric cable, which comes in handy in places where you may not have access to power. This model comes with both a trigger-fired precision mode and a bump-mode, for when you value speed over precise placement. It also allows for tool-free jam clears, which limits the amount of time you spend off the job.
This model accepts brads as short as 5/8” and possesses the power to consistently drive brads up to 2” long. That gives you a wide range of useable brads and allows you to tackle many different kinds of projects with just this one tool. This model is a little pricey, and if a second battery were to be included, we’d like this model and its price better. However, it’s still the best available brad nail gun on the market, and one whose performance will make most people happy with their purchase.
The Hitachi NT50AE2 Pneumatic Brad Nailer is easily the best pneumatic brad nailer on the market. If you have easy access to compressed air and need a powerful pneumatic brad nailer, then you can’t go wrong with this model. It comes with both precision and bump modes, so you can maximize your speed in bump mode, or go to one nail per trigger pull for accurate placement. It also includes tool-free jam clears, and while jams aren’t common on this model, it’s nice to be able to easily clear them when they occur.
This model weighs just 2.2 pounds, making it one of the lightest models on our list, and a good choice for people who want a tool that won’t bog them down. Also included is excellent depth adjustment that allows you to get the right depth on each brad, no matter the brad’s length or the hardness of the material. The only problem with this model is that it dry-fires when empty, which is not good for the model’s longevity, and means you don’t have a clear indicator that you need to reload. Still, this is the best pneumatic brad nailer for the money on the market today.
The PORTER-CABLE PCC790B 20V MAX Lithium is a decent battery-powered brad nailer. It comes with LED lights, which do a good job of illuminating the area you’re nailing, so you can keep working even if lighting conditions are poor. It also features tool-free jam clears. That means you won’t have to stop working for very long when a jam occurs and won’t have to search for a specialized tool to fix it. It also comes with easy depth adjustment, so you can always get the proper brad placement, no matter what material you’re working with.
However, there’s no battery included with this model. Expect to spend far more to get a useable model if you don’t already own a PORTER-CABLE battery. The for the bare tool isn’t bad, but the batteries for this model tend to run on the expensive side. This model lacks a bump fire mode. If you value precision over speed, that won’t bother you, but it’s a feature most expect on brad nailers at this price point. These downsides don’t mean that this model isn’t a good deal, but it does mean that you can get superior value by choosing a model higher on our list.
The WEN 61720 is a true bargain. You can get this model for less than a third of what you’d spend for the top three models on our list, and while you would expect a huge drop in quality with that price drop, this model performed admirably well for the price. It accepts brads from 3/4″ to 2”, giving it more versatility than some of the models on this list. It also comes with a large magazine which can hold up to 100 brads at once. A case is included, which is surprising at this price point but makes for good overall value.
The majority of units that ship work just fine, though many users have reservations about how long they’ll last if subjected to regular or hard work. For someone who needs a tool for occasional use, then this model would be a good choice. Some units have quality control problems which can be a frustrating problem. The tip also mars, so if you need a pristine surface after nailing, you’ll need a different brad nailer. Still, if you’re looking for a cheap brad nailer for infrequent use, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more suitable model.
The Campbell Hausfeld 2-in-1 CHN10499AV has some potential as a dual staple and brad nail driver. However, it has some significant shortcomings that make it far less useful as a pure brad nailer. It does come with a case, which gives it a leg up on some of the other models on our list. It also comes with a quick-clear nose, which makes clearing jams as easy as they come on any model. Since you can fire staples in addition to brads with this model, you can do many projects you couldn’t do with the other models on our list.
However, like with many models that drive both brads and staples, you run a constant risk of overdriving. There’s a good chance that you’ll leave a mark in the shape of a staple behind when driving a brad, which can be a big pain to deal with. This model also suffers from quality control problems, which makes it a model you shouldn’t count on to last years. While this model may tempt you if you need to drive both brads and staples, there’s a good chance that you’d be more satisfied with two specialized models than this one combination model.
Hopefully, our reviews have already led to you understanding more about these fantastic tools and the features that increase or decrease their value. If you’re looking to learn even more about these tools, or you haven’t owned one before, and you want to make sure that you consider everything you should consider before making a purchase, this is the guide for you. We’ve filled it with great general information about brad nailers, as well as some tips on getting the best value for your money, so if you want to get a deal, read on.
There are two primary fire modes that you can find on a brad nailer. Precision mode is found on all brad nailers. It’s the more straightforward of the two modes. Just place the tip of the nailer where you want the nail to go, then squeeze the trigger to drive a brad nail into the wood. One nail comes out per trigger squeeze, making this the best mode to use when you need precise brad placement.
The other mode is bump mode. In this mode, you hold down the trigger. Each time you press the tip up against a surface, the action of the nose being compressed, or a secondary force on the trigger will cause the brad nailer to fire an additional brad. This way, you’ll get as many brads nailed into the surface as you want without having to let go of the trigger. This method is far faster, but it also requires you to be precise with your nailer placement on the first try.
Some models don’t come with both modes, with bump mode being the one that is left out. Other models feature a switch that can be toggled to switch between the two modes. A few models come with two triggers that you can change out to switch between the two modes.
Unfortunately, there’s no known model of brad nailer that never jams. This is for two reasons. The first is that manufacturing standards on brads aren’t the highest, and those irregularities can lead to brads being mispositioned when it’s time for them to be driven. The second is that brad nailers aren’t always precision machines themselves, and small deformities in the driving head can lead to occasional or frequent jamming.
So, if you want to get a good experience out of your brad nailer, it’s a good idea to focus on two things. Try to find models that jam infrequently. A good way to assess their performance is to read a lot of online reviews before buying. If they mention jamming, it’s probably a common problem.
Second, get a model that makes clearing jams easy. Different companies address this problem differently. Some make it easy to remove the clip and release pressure so that the jammed brad can fall out. Others allow you to open up the nose to manually remove the stuck brad, which is arguably the superior solution since you can see the problem-causing brad. If you invest in a model with one of these two solutions, jams could become very difficult to clear.
There are a few small features that won’t dramatically improve your brad nailing experience but could add value to your purchase just the same.
A large clip means that you can work for long periods without stopping to reload. You probably shouldn’t invest in a model that can’t hold more than 60 brads at once if you’re going to be working in any kind of an industrial or construction capacity. If you need a high capacity, look for models that hold at least 100 brads.
A case is also a nice bonus item that doesn’t come with all brad nailers. Cases protect your tools during transit and give you a convenient place to store those tools when they’re not in use. If you’re using a pneumatic model, you’ll get good use out of an included case as a place to store extra tools and oil that come with the model.
Electric brad nailers require very little maintenance, while pneumatic models can be far more demanding. Towards that end, expect to get several tools for maintenance with the purchase of your pneumatic brad nailer, as well as a small bottle of oil. If those aren’t included, you’ll still need them, so you’d end up paying more to purchase them separately.
Many people try to get the best value by buying the most expensive or the least costly model they can find. As you may have guessed, that’s not a winning strategy, and can lead to frustration or waste. If a model is too cheap, you may not get the features you need to have a satisfying experience. If it’s too expensive, there’s a chance that you get features you will never use and end up wasting money.
The best way to maximize your value is to focus on the features that you need. Then, make a list of all brad nailers that have those features. Any of those models would be ones that would give you a good experience.
Then, choose the cheapest model from that list. It will give you a good experience, but it comes at the lowest price. That means it’s unlikely to have too many features that you don’t need and makes it overall, the best value for your money.
The DEWALT DC608K Brad Nailer Kit is the best overall brad nailer on the market today due to its precision and bump modes, portability, and the fact that it can use short and long brads. The Hitachi NT50AE2 comes with precision and bump modes, is lightweight, and comes with tool-free jam clears, though its lack dry-fires drop it to second place on our list. The PORTER-CABLE PCC790B 20V MAX is battery-powered, comes with useful LED lights, and has good depth adjustment. It costs a fraction of what you’ll spend on the top models on our list, making it the best model for the money on our list. In fourth is the WEN 61720, which accepts large and small brads, and comes with a case, but suffers from quality control issues and a tip that mars. The Campbell Hausfeld 2-in-1 CHN10499AV fires staples and brads and comes with a case, but it mars surfaces and comes with noticeable quality control issues, which drop it to the last place.
We hope that our reviews and buyer’s guide have given you insight into the world of brad nailers. With this advice and tips, you should be ready to start looking for a model that will suit your needs the best.
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Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!