The right finish nailer can redefine the way you work. Not many tools require the same level of power and precision, which can make it hard to find a product that checks all the necessary boxes. In pursuit of that perfect item, we’ve spent the last several months experimenting with a plethora of finish nailers.
We evaluate our products to ensure that they satisfy one critical criterion: pleasing the user. All the products found in these finish nailer reviews have made their way on the list by outperforming the competition. Consequently, you’ll find what you’re looking for, be it a bargain tool that is worth its weight in gold, or a high-end product that you will cherish for years.
Whatever your mission, read on to find the perfect finish nailer!
|Metabo HPT Pneumatic |
|Valu-Air Gauge |
|DEWALT Gauge 20|
|Makita Straight ||3 Years||4.25/5|
|DEWALT ||3 Years||4.15/5|
Our top choice is a high-end pneumatic finish nailer. It is versatile enough to work with nails ranging in size from 1-2½ inches and comes complete with all the fixings. The tip is protected with a rubberized no-mar guard that protects your workpiece from scratches.
It is also protected by a handy carrying case that will make it easy to take from job to job. The dust control system and a tool-free adjustment framework makes the Metabo very easy to maintain. Last but certainly not least, it also features a rubber-coated ergonomic grip that will make it cozy to use for hours at a time.
The only issue is the price. This is one of the most expensive tools on our list, which will element it as an option for many people.
Next, we have our best finish nailer for the money. It features an ergonomic design concept and a nail range that varies from 7/8ths-2 ½ inches in length. The unit is of aluminum construction, which keeps the nailer lightweight.
Finally, it also comes with a carrying case that will make it very easy to transport. At a glance, it has all the appearances of a higher-end tool, for a price that most buyers will be able to manage.
Unfortunately, there is a bit of a durability problem. If you drop this tool, it will probably be enough to destroy the nailer altogether.
The DeWalt is specifically made to work with ultra-fine nails. As a sixteen gauge nailer, it will be well equipped for working with cabinets or even a refined trim.
It features an onboard LED light that will make it easy to use the nailer even in low-light environments, and a heavy-duty build that should have no trouble withstanding frequent job site wear and tear.
Safety is also a priority. Nails will only discharge from the nailer when the nose of the barrel is physically touching the workpiece. This makes it much less likely that you will experience an injury.
These features don’t come for nothing though. It is one of the most expensive options on our list. It is also fairly heavy, which may make it exhausting to use for long periods.
The Makita is a powerful tool that works with nails ranging in length from 1-2½ inches. It includes an anti-dry fire mechanism which ensures that the gun will only activate when there is a nail in the chamber. This helps to improve the life expectancy of the nailer by only putting strain on the motor when it is absolutely necessary. It also comes with a reversible belt clip component that makes it user-friendly for both left and right-handed people.
Finally, it also comes with a durable build that will help ensure it can be used safely for long periods.
Buyers should note that it is on the heavy side. If you plan on regularly tackling larger projects, you will probably favor something a little bit lighter.
The DeWalt 16GA is a lightweight nailer that will be optimal for amateur buyers that still value quality. The moderate price couples with a slew of user-friendly features to make it a great tool for homeowners that want to get a lot of bang for their buck. For example, the motor self oils itself to keep it in good working order with minimal effort on your part.
It can work with nails ranging in size from between 1-2½ inches and it comes with a no-mar tip that is designed to guarantee you won’t damage your workpiece.
You will want to understand that this is not a very powerful nailer. If you use it on softer materials (such as most molding), you won’t run into much trouble. However, there might be some quality concerns when you start approaching harder materials.
The 3Plus is a true budget buy. It may very well be the most affordable product on our list today and will be well suited for the buyer that is trying to build out their tool collection without spending a ton of money.
That said, it comes with a few good features that you don’t always find on lower-end units. Most notable of this is the jam-resistant framework. The nailer is specifically designed to jam less than competing options. However, when jams do occur, you will be able to fix them quickly, thanks to the easy-to-use interface. Users are given ample access to the loading chamber that will allow you to unclog jams in a matter of seconds.
Unfortunately, though, it does come with an array of cons that are common to lower-tier units. For one thing, it is on the heavier side, which will make it difficult to use for long periods. It also isn’t extremely powerful. It will be fine for light-duty use but shouldn’t be considered a viable option by people that use their nailers often.
Everything about the Bostitch is user-friendly. The tool essentially maintains itself with self-oiling features guaranteeing that the motor will last for a good amount of time. It is also resistant to jams and it features a bailout slot that makes it easy to remove nails in the event that they do get stuck.
Precision is put at a priority as well. Depth can be adjusted effortlessly to an exact number, thanks to a precision dial. This feature will make it easy to perform consistently at a high level.
Granted, it is fairly pricey, especially relative to the other selections we’ve highlighted today. It’s also fairly heavy.
The Craftsman is a fully cordless unit that is specifically designed to work in almost any climate or weather situation. It is also easy to operate. The nailer can be effortlessly adjusted without the use of tools, making it a good product for amateur users that want a low maintenance tool.
Finally, the Craftsman also features a balanced center of gravity that will make it easy to wield accurately. Like most cordless units, though, it does feature a chunky bodyweight. This is thanks to the onboard power source that makes it difficult to wield.
It is also on the pricier side, so be mindful of that as your budget.
The Senco features a heavy-duty build that is sure to last for a long time. The solid construction accounts for a tool that won’t break down against wear and tear. It also has an ergonomic grip for a steady hold, and a sizable 104 nail capacity that will help improve the efficiency of the gun.
It’s not without its hiccups though. For one thing, the nailer tends to jam quite a bit which will be inconvenient for prolonged periods of use.
It is also really heavy. It seems that some of the fortification efforts led to an unsustainable bodyweight. It will be very difficult to use for long periods.
The Freeman is an ergonomic, pneumatic tool that is applicable with 15-gauge nails. With a moderate price and a light body weight, it will be a comfortable, user-friendly option for buyers that want a reliable piece of equipment at a good price.
However, people that anticipate the need to frequently use their nailer will want to look for something else. It jams frequently, it isn’t very powerful, and the quality of its results is a little bit questionable.
It will be good for the occasional touch-up work but not much else.
You’ve seen what is out there but chances are you still don’t quite no what product is right for you. Read on for a cheat sheet that will tell you everything you need to know about finish nailers.
Before we dive too far into these considerations, it may be pertinent to remember exactly what finish nailers are used for in the first place.
Finish nailers are specifically designed for “pretty work.” If you are finishing up a trim, you will use a finish nailer. The results are low profile and won’t distract from the quality appearance of the molding itself.
Consequently, it is also used for installing cabinets, countertops, and any number of other renovation style jobs. The average tool owner will not need a finish nailer but if you are a dedicated do-it-yourselfer, or a professional contractor it is a tool you will find yourself reaching for frequently.
A finish nailer is, of course, its own category of product. However, there are also subcategories that further distinguish one product from another. Here are the different types of nailers you can expect to encounter.
The pneumatic nailer draws its power from an air compressor. They tend to have a lot of force, making them good for working with harder materials. Air compressors also have the distinct benefit of being able to power multiple guns at once.
From one power source, you may be able to power three nailers. For that reason, the pneumatic approach is favored by contractors.
Air compressors can also rejuice rapidly. The tank typically refuels in a matter of minutes (or even seconds for smaller units), maximizing the efficiency factor.
That said, there are drawbacks. Pneumatic systems tend to be pricier, which is especially true when you factor for the cost of the compressor itself.
Compressors can also be difficult to move around with. Depending on the size of the unit, you may need the better part of a truck bed just to get the compressor onsite.
For these reasons, professionals will probably be the most likely to acquire a pneumatic finish nailer.
There are two types of electric nailers, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Corded electric units can run forever, so long as you have access to a power outlet. However, on a job site, that might be easier said than done.
They also end to be a little bit less convenient to use for the fact of their cord. Corded units tend to tangle very easily, and inhibit your access to the workpiece.
Battery-powered units eliminate many of these concerns but replace them with new ones. For one thing, they tend to be a little bit heavier. The battery pack itself can add an additional pound or two to the overall weight of the tool, making them harder to wield for long periods.
They also tend to die very quickly. Most batteries will advertise themselves on the basis of how many shots they can deliver per charge. No matter the number, though, it will be significantly smaller than that of a corded or pneumatic unit.
They also take a long time to recharge. Once the battery does die, it may be several hours before you are able to work again.
Gas-powered units are very powerful and they do not feature a cord. This makes it easier to move around your workpiece. Gas-powered units are very noisy and they tend to be on the expensive side. In some states, they may not even be legal.
For example, California has extremely high emission standards. They don’t allow a wide variety of gas-powered tools into the state. If you are worried about your local emission laws you can always contact the manufacturer directly. They will usually be fully aware of how their tools comply with local ordinances.
The weight of your finish nailer will have a big impact on the ultimate experience it provides. Since nailers are handheld tools they can result in a good deal of fatigue. For that reason, you will want to invest in a lightweight product.
The options on our list today ranged quite significantly in weight from between 4-8 pounds.
There are two main magazine types that you are likely to come across: the stick and coil. Stick magazines protrude directly out of the nailer. They tend to hold several dozen nails at a time, after which point they will need to be reloaded.
Some are also able to accommodate a wide range of different sizes thus improving the tools overall versatility. Most amateur users gravitate towards this type of magazine for the fact that they are easy to use and affordable.
Coil magazines, on the other hand, are able to hold hundreds of nails at a time. They protrude from the nailer via a ropey thread. They are great for high volume jobs which is why they are the preferred accessory of the professional. However, they are also pricey, and they will ultimately be overkill for most amateurs.
It wouldn’t be practical to list out all of the gauges for the fact that there are so many of them. Nailer gauges range from 15-23. The lower numbers house thicker nails while the reverse is true fo the higher numbers.
15-gauge nailers may very well be the preferred tool of most amateurs but every job will call for something different.
Most people will need to input nails at a wide range of different depths. Ideally, you will be able to find a nailer that can accommodate the plurality of tasks for which a traditional nail and hammer would typically be capable.
This includes setting a unique nail depth for the task at hand. The more versatility you have with this feature, the better the tool will ultimately be.
A dirty little secret? The best nailer in the world jams. It probably jams a lot, as a matter of fact. That’s just the way that nailers work.
However, there are features that can make unjamming a nailer significantly easier. For example, some units are able to provide easy access to the anil input system. With features like this, you will be able to unjam your nailer in a matter of seconds.
It’s pretty much exactly what the name of the feature suggests it would be. A no-mar tip simply ensures that you won’t scratch up your workpiece when you place the barrel of the gun against it.
Fortunately, this is a pretty standard feature but if you want to be sure that the nailer you buy has it before you finalize a purchase.
Nailers are naturally put under a good deal of stress. Every time the nailer activates it is putting a strain on the motor as well as all of the internal hardware. Eventually, all that wear and tear catches up and the nailer goes to tool heaven.
Occasionally though, this will happen prematurely. When that does occur you will want a good warranty, and of course the longer the better. An average warranty is between 2-5 years, though if you can get longer than by all means do so.
More buying guides:
There is no going wrong with any of the products featured on our finish nailer reviews. In fact, the nailers are so good that it can make it very difficult to decide between them all. While we would never tell you what to buy, you may be well served to recall a couple of standout options on our list.
For example, buyers that don’t mind paying more for high-quality products are likely to gravitate towards our top choice, the Metabo HPT NT65M2S Pneumatic Finish Nailer.
There is also much to be said about buying for value. If you need to save a little bit of money on this purchase, you can still enjoy great results from a product like the Valu-Air T64C 16 Gauge Finish Nailer.
Featured image credit: Metabo HPT Finish Nailer NT65M2S, Amazon
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!