10 Best Finish Nailers for the Money 2020 – Top Picks & Reviews
When you’re working around the house, it’s important to put the finishing touches on all of your handiwork. And that’s why finish nailers are so important. The right nailers can help your doors, windows, cabinets, and more to look their best. The wrong nailers, however, can set your work back and generally sabotage your progress.
How can you select the right nailers from the wrong ones, especially with so many choices out there? It can be very difficult to make the best decision, especially when you don’t have a lot of free time. But with our handy reviews, you’ll discover the benefits and drawbacks of each choice.
Most importantly of all, you’ll be able to select the perfect finish nailer for any of your current and future projects.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||Metabo NT65M2S HPT Finish Nailer||
|Best Value||Valu-Air T64C Finish Nailer||
|Premium Choice||DEWALT DCN660B Finish Nailer||
|Senco 4G0001N FinishPro Finish Nailer||
|PORTER-CABLE PCC792LA Finish Nailer||
The 10 Best Finish Nailers – Reviews 2020
1. Metabo NT65M2S HPT Finish Nailer – Best Overall
What’s the best possible finish nailer you can buy? That would be the Metabo NT65M2S HPT Finish Nailer.
We love the versatility, especially how this nailer can take 16-gauge fasteners that range from 1 inch all the way to 2½ inches. And the convenient exhaust port adjusts in 360 degrees, allowing you to keep the exhaust well away from you while you focus on your work. This feature pairs well with the nailer’s dust control amenities.
This device has plenty of luxury features, including a handy ergonomic rubber grip. Just keep in mind that you’re paying for the privileges, as this Metabo model is also one of the pricier nailers on our list.
2. Valu-Air T64C Finish Nailer – Best Value
Maybe you don’t want to break the bank with a really pricey model. In that case, you’re want to learn about the best finish nailers for the money. And our main pic in this category is the air-powered Valu-Air T64C Finish Nailer.
Despite the budget price, this nailer can handle nails that range from ⅞-inch to 2½ inches. And the aluminum construction helps this nailer achieve the balance between lightweight and (mostly) sturdy design.
It even has some of the features we love in the premium models, including exhaust control. Unfortunately, there are limits to how sturdy this nailer really is. As great as the price is, this nailer is not going to stand the test of time like some of its more expensive cousins will.
3. DEWALT DCN660B Finish Nailer – Premium Choice
Budget finish nailers may not be what you’re looking for. If you’re more interested in a serious investment, then you want the best nailer for your money. And our premium choice is most definitely the cordless DEWALT DCN660B Finish Nailer.
You’ll notice the premium touches right away, including integrated LED lighting that helps you use the nailer in any environment. Furthermore, the bump operating mode helps ensure a safe environment for you and your family when you start working.
With its bulk and sturdy design, you don’t have to worry about breaking this nailer. But the bulk may be a downside if you were hoping for a more lightweight piece of equipment.
4. Senco FinishPro Finish Nailer
Sometimes, what your budget demands is a simple finish nailer that gets the job done. And the Senco 4G0001N FinishPro Finish Nailer is one of the best nailers to help you get down to business.
Thanks to its anti-lube design, you don’t have to worry about maintenance to keep this air-powered nailer in good condition. And the exterior will keep looking good thanks to the magnesium coating that helps the nailer ward off scratches. The gauge is also versatile, running from 1¼ to 2½ inches.
We love the durability of the engine and the ability to paint custom colors over the smooth finish. But the sheer weight of this nailer can be very frustrating, as can its annoying tendency to jam up.
5. PORTER-CABLE PCC792LA Finish Nailer
Relatively speaking, the PORTER-CABLE PCC792LA Finish Nailer is one of the more expensive nailers on our list. Fortunately, it offers many nice “bells and whistles” for the price.
Because it is completely battery-powered, you don’t have to worry about compressors, hoses, or gas cartridges. And the capacity of 100 nails means you can work for a good, long time.
The main hallmark of this nailer, though, is versatility. It features multiple tool-free settings to help you tackle a variety of projects along with a powerful motor that is ready for adverse conditions. And it can handle nails between 1 and 2½ inches which is great for a variety of handyman projects.
However, for the price, this nailer isn’t as sturdy as we’d like. And it’s prone to unwanted jamming, especially when you shift from one nail size to another.
6. Makita LXT Straight Finish Nailer
Want a finish nailer that provides accuracy and versatility and that you won’t have to replace for a good, long time? In that case, you need to check out the Makita XNB02Z LXT Straight Finish Nailer.
It can handle nails ranging from 1 to 2½ inches, which helps you to tackle many different projects. And we love the small touches such as the reversible clip that makes this perfect for both left-handed and right-handed people.
Beyond that, the best feature of this finish nailer is its sheer durability. The hefty build helps protect the outside of the nailer while the anti-dry fire mechanism only activates the motor when a nail is in the chamber. Over time, this protects the motor from any unnecessary strain.
Like some other models, that sturdiness comes at the cost of weight. The sheer weight of this nailer makes it more suitable to smaller projects rather than larger ones. What we really didn’t like, which is a problem with many Makita battery-powered tools, is the 5.0Ah 18V LXT battery is not included in the purchase price.
7. BOSTITCH BTFP72156 Finish Nailer
Bostitch is one of the most recognizable names in user-friendly design. And their design for the air-powered BOSTITCH BTFP72156 Finish Nailer is no exception.
The smart point technology helps even the most inexperienced handyman place each nail, and the magazine handily holds 129 nails. The jam-release feature helps you avoid annoying jams, and the self-oiling features help protect the motor while minimizing the need for extensive maintenance.
Perhaps our favorite feature is the precision dial that helps control depth. This helps you customize each nail to your specific needs while maintaining a consistent level of excellence. And the gauge allows for use of nails between 1¼ and 2½ inches.
At this point, you may be wondering what the downside is. In a word: price. Due to its high cost, you must ultimately decide whether these great features are worth the premium you will pay.
8. 3PLUS HT64SP Straight Finish Nailer
Are you looking for one of the most affordable finish nailers available? In that case, the 3PLUS HT64SP Straight Finish Nailer is one of the cheapest items on our list.
There are some notable features here, including the convenient jam-resistant framework. In short, this nailer won’t jam that much, and you can clear jams out easily by quickly accessing the loading chamber. And the range of the gauge (from ¾-inch to 2½ inches) is impressive.
Unfortunately, this is also a case where you get what you pay for. The extreme weight makes it hard to use for long periods, which means you must rule out larger projects. And the relative lack of power will hinder your ability to complete certain projects. Finally, despite the weight, this nailer is not as durable as we would have liked.
9. CRAFTSMAN Cordless Finish Nailer
The CRAFTSMAN CMCN616C1 Cordless Finish Nailer is a surprisingly expensive bit of equipment. However, it brings with it some nice versatility.
For example, being fully cordless allows you to take this nailer wherever it needs to go. And it’s very user-friendly, allowing you to adjust nails with no tools. In other words, this may be a good choice for an amateur handyman, especially with features like the balanced center of gravity.
More experienced handyman will definitely pass on this model, though. Despite being cordless, it is chunky enough to make holding and using this nailer a real pain (which is a shame, because it can fire 375 nails on a single battery charge). And there is no way to free up weight by removing the onboard power source, which adds to the inconvenience.
Overall, this model is a bit too expensive. If you’re willing to spend this much, there are better options out there.
10. Freeman PFN1564 Pneumatic Finish Nailer
Do you want a user-friendly nailer and you don’t plan on using it too much? In that case, the Freeman PFN1564 Pneumatic Finish Nailer (with its 34 degrees of reach) may be a good choice.
Because it is both pneumatic and ergonomic, this particular nailer is easy to use and easier to hold. This pairs well with its lightweight design (6 pounds), making it easy for amateurs to use this nailer on small projects.
What if you’re a more experienced handyman, though, or you simply need to tackle larger projects? In that case, you’ll want another model. This nailer jams more often than we’d like, and it doesn’t really pack much power. The final nail in the coffin is that it produces lower-quality work, and that’s the last thing any healthy handyman wants from a finish nailer!
Now you know about our favorite (and least-favorite) finish nailers out there. But you may still need additional information before you finalize your decision.
With this handy buyer’s guide, you can learn what to look for in a good nailer long before you take out your wallet!
Do You Actually Need a Nailer?
Sometimes, it’s important to ask some very basic questions before you make a purchase. In this case, one of those questions is whether you actually need a finish nailer or not.
To understand that, you must understand what finish nailers do. As the “finish” name implies, these nailers are here to help make certain projects look nice and pretty by the time you’re done.
The truth is that most amateur handymen don’t need finish nailers to complete cabinets, countertops, and other renovations. But if you want those finished projects to look their best, a finish nailer is a must.
Certain finish nailers are pneumatic. This means they are powered by an air compressor.
The compressor provides a lot of power, making pneumatic nailers great for difficult projects. And a single compressor can power up to three nailers, which is great if you aren’t working alone.
Keep in mind that pneumatic nailers tend to cost more, and they aren’t as easy to move around. So this may not be the best choice for amateur handymen or those on a budget.
Electric nailers are powered, of course, by electricity. There are two variants of these nailers: corded units and battery-powered units.
Corded units are lighter in weight, and they never run out of power so long as they are plugged in. But it’s not always easy to find a plug when you are working throughout the house.
Meanwhile, you can use battery-powered nailers absolutely anywhere. But the batteries themselves make the nailers heavier, and batteries tend to die quickly and take a long time to recharge.
Although our list doesn’t include gas-powered nailers, we must mention the alternative to pneumatic and electrical nailers. As the name implies, these nailers use gasoline to power the equipment.
Gas-powered nailers are easily portable and can provide a lot of power. At the same time, they are noisy and expensive. And depending on the emissions laws of your state, they may be downright illegal.
Keep in mind that gas-powered nailers necessitate the need to move, store, and maintain gasoline on the premises. This can pose its own health risks, but you can mitigate those risks by taking proper precautions.
Finish nailers can vary quite a bit in weight. For example, the nailers in our reviews typically weighed between 4 and 8 pounds.
That may not sound like a big difference, but you’ll definitely want lighter-weight nailers for larger projects. Otherwise, you will quickly tire yourself out and have to take frequent breaks, and this will add unwanted delays to your overall schedule.
A finish nailer must hold nails in order to do its job. And we refer to the container for these nails as the magazine. Nailer magazines come in two varieties: stick and coil.
Stick magazines can typically store a few dozen nails and stick directly out from the nailer. Meanwhile, coil magazines can hold hundreds of nails and stick out from the nailer like a long rope.
Ultimately, coil magazines are more convenient than stick, especially for larger projects. Because of this, though, coil magazines tend to be more expensive.
Depending on your project, you may need to check the gauge of the finish nailer. Nailer gauges range from 15-23, with lower numbers being better for thicker nails and higher numbers being better for thinner nails.
For amateur handymen, a 15 gauge is usually all you need. But some tasks may require a higher gauge, so be sure to do your project research before you make a purchase.
As you might imagine, different products may call for different lengths of nails. And the more lengths a nailer can accommodate, the larger variety of products you can take on.
If you only need a nailer for a specific short-term project, you can afford a more limited nailer. But if you’re looking at this nailer as a long-term investment, you’ll want to make sure it can handle several different lengths.
In a perfect world, nailers would never jam up. In reality, even the best and most expensive nailers are going to jam from time to time.
Because you can’t avoid jam entirely, you can do the next best thing by choosing nailers that can deal with jams in a variety of ways. For example, the more easily you can access the nail input system in certain nailers and clean up most jams in no time flat.
What does a no-mar tip do? Simply put, it helps prevent the barrel of the gun from damaging whatever you are working on. Hence, the name: “no-mar.”
Fortunately, most modern finish nailers come with a no-mar tip as a standard feature. But if you are really worried about the final appearance of your work, be sure to check out the “fine print.”
When it comes to handyman equipment, the average finish nailer has a rough life. Simply using it to fire nails places strain on both the motor and the internal components, eventually causing your nailer to die out entirely.
However, you don’t want this to happen too soon. That’s why it’s important to check out any manufacturer warranties before buying a nailer. Such warranties usually range from 2-5 years, and longer warranties naturally provide additional peace of mind about your purchase.
More buying guides like this:
- Top 5 Framing Nailers
- Top 5 Oscillating Tools
- See our top cordless brad nailer picks here!
- Framing Nailers vs. Finish Nailers: What are the Differences?
Now that you have read our reviews and our buyer’s guide, only one question remains: which finish nailer models emerged as the clear winners?
If you have the money, the Metabo NT65M2S HPT Finish Nailer is our pick for best overall nailer. It combines the features we want with the stability and durability you want out of any reliable equipment.
For those on a tighter budget, though, the Valu-Air T64C Finish Nailer is definitely our best value pick. While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the Metabo, this little nailer can tackle most jobs without making you wonder what happened to your bank account.
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 10 Best Finish Nailers – Reviews 2020
- 1. Metabo NT65M2S HPT Finish Nailer – Best Overall
- 2. Valu-Air T64C Finish Nailer – Best Value
- 3. DEWALT DCN660B Finish Nailer – Premium Choice
- 4. Senco FinishPro Finish Nailer
- 5. PORTER-CABLE PCC792LA Finish Nailer
- 6. Makita LXT Straight Finish Nailer
- 7. BOSTITCH BTFP72156 Finish Nailer
- 8. 3PLUS HT64SP Straight Finish Nailer
- 9. CRAFTSMAN Cordless Finish Nailer
- 10. Freeman PFN1564 Pneumatic Finish Nailer
- Buyer’s Guide