We took a look at siding nailers and wrote reviews of some of the best. Hanging siding is something you won’t do all that often, but it’s a job that has big implications. Do it well and no one really notices. Do it poorly and your house looks terrible and its value declines. If you do it yourself, doing the job right starts with arming yourself with good information on the best tools for the job.
We recognize that you will probably want to keep doing research after reading our reviews. Since we’re talking about the appearance and value of your home, we can’t emphasize enough that it’s a big deal to get it right. We put together a buyers’ guide using our basic criteria to help you make a better-informed choice. We hope you find value in both, and we wish you the best of luck in your efforts.
|Hitachi NV65AH2||6 lbs||4.7/5|
(Best for the Money)
|Dewalt DW66C-1R||10 lbs||4.4/5|
|Ouya CN55R||5 lbs||4.1/5|
Precise, reliable, lightweight and a great value. The only way the Bostitch N66C-1 could be better is if it eliminated the potential for user error by sprouting legs and doing the work itself. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But was it really?
This one can flat-out pound nails. It has few mishaps and can handle most sizes pretty well. It’s light enough to let you work for protracted periods of time without fatigue, and it’s not a bank buster. In fact, we think that while it’s at the higher end of the price spectrum that it’s a great value based on what you get.
The only thing we didn’t like was that when you want to switch from bumpfire to single-fire mode that you have to swap out parts in the gun. That won’t actually happen all that frequently during a job, but if you need single-fire getting there will be a bit onerous.
We’ll take that little criticism, though. The N66C-1 is a great siding nailer. So great, in fact, that we gave it our top pick ranking.
The Hitachi NV65AH2 is a worthy runner-up choice as best siding nailer. It is reliable, rarely misfires and is pretty capable of driving in nails to the depth they’re needed at. It’s got power, consistency and as long as you can account for operator error, will hang some very lovely looking siding.
We also liked the convenience of switching fire modes via a thumb switch as opposed to swapping out parts. That’s an important piece of convenience.
It could have contended for our top rank, except for one thing. While it delivers similar performance as the Bostitch, it’s more expensive. It’s more expensive enough that even accounting for day-to-day price fluctuations it’s still a more expensive tool.
If money is no object to you, then give this Hitachi strong consideration. It’s a great siding nailer. But if you need to keep a budget in mind, then you’ll understand why we couldn’t rank this one any higher than runner-up.
If you’re on a tight budget, the Freeman PCN65 is our best for the money siding nailer. It comes with a lot of fun options, but most importantly it does a good job driving nails. It’s also ideal for people new to siding.
It’s pretty comfortable to hold, which is important towards the end of a long day doing siding work. It also works with a wide range of nails and has a transparent nail bucket so you’ll know when it’s starting to run low.
It’s also prone to double firing, and it needs consistent air pressure to work reliably. We also found the 360-degree exhaust port a nuisance to turn. Some people might also find the finger-switch nail depth selector to be irritating, although we were mostly fine with it.
Much of those shortcomings can be attributed to the fact that the PCN65 is built for budget. If you have bigger needs, you’ll need to spend extra. If you’re looking for for-dollar value or are a beginner looking to learn siding nailers, it’s a great option.
In a world of people looking for prom queens, DeWalt’s DW6C-1R is a plain Jane. It’s a basic siding nailer that isn’t going to wow you, is comfortable to hold but will take some abuse. It just doesn’t have a lot of wow factor to it, and for the price that makes it a really mediocre value.
We liked how it felt. It comfortable to hold, and if you don’t have a lot of hand strength it’s built for you. This is going to be important the longer you work, since an uncomfortable tool is going to cause your hand to fatigue.
That fatigue will prompt more misfires, and the DW66C-1R is prone to jamming. When it comes to jamming, this one attended the Chicago School of Politics: jam early and often. That’s just not a good look for a nailer expected to pound a lot of fasteners expeditiously.
It’s not going to send a charge up your spine, but its tendency to jam will elevate your blood pressure. If you’re looking for a siding nailer, we’d suggest you give this one a pass.
We really wanted to like the Ouya CN55R as a classic underdog story. The brand isn’t very familiar to the tool-buying public, and it’s a really inexpensive siding nailer. We’d hoped that we could point to that rare black oyster to be unearthed from a scorned and overlooked bed of oysters.
Alas, its construction is as cheap as the price. It drives nails well right out of the box, is well balanced and you don’t need a tool to set its nail depth.
We just can’t get past how flimsy it feels. It feels like it’s not just a matter of whether it will break but when, which means that its performance will start to degrade pretty quickly. That might be something you could overlook a little if you used it just once every few months. Siding jobs are pretty infrequent, but when you have them they are pretty intense experiences and can go hard on tools. This is a model we wouldn’t want to start a job with because we’d be nervous that it’s a model that we wouldn’t finish the job with.
Unless you’re a contractor, hanging siding is something that at most you’re only going to do maybe once or twice a decade. But because a poor job doing it will make your house look awful and might even drop your home value, it’s a job that is critical to get right. That starts with getting the right tool for the job. That also means getting the right tool for the job for you. So, we can understand if you’re a lot more interested in knowing how to shop for a siding nailer than in what model we would recommend.
So, we’ve assembled the guidelines we used in reviewing these siding nailers and put them into a buyers’ guide so that rather than going out and buying a tool that you’re told to buy that you can find the right siding nailer for you.
In mounting something really thin to something thick, siding nailers have a tricky job. Too much power, and it puts the nail right through what you’re trying to hang. Too little, and you have to follow up with a hammer to finish the job. For years, this was a serious problem with which contractors had to contend.
Siding nailers in general have come a long way since then, but the basic problem still exists. When you start shopping for a siding nailer, your first criteria is whether it can consistently hit that power sweet spot. Keep in mind that it’s not just a matter of fastening vinyl siding flush to the frame. Do that, and when it gets hot it’ll start to buckle. You want precision, consistent precision in depth control.
Also, look at whether a nail has a single-fire mode or just a traditional bumpfire. For most of your work, the traditional bumpfire is what you’ll use. Single fire is handy, however, if you have a piece of siding that requires only a single nail. Find out how you switch from one mode to the other, whether by an external adjustment from a lever or how you apply pressure.
Siding work requires a lot of fasteners to prevent sagging, reduce weather-related wear, and promote longevity. In finding the right siding nailer for you, you’ll want to consider the size of your job. A big job is going to eat nails, and taking the time to reload your nailer could overall mean adding a lot of time to your work.
Look at a candidate tool’s nail capacity. Sometimes, less is more. Sometimes a tool trades reliability for capacity and the extra weight is a drag on performance. Not in this case. Generally speaking, siding nailers can hold between 200-300 nails, depending on nail size. Look at models that skew to the top end of that range.
We’d also suggest that you look to wire coils as opposed to plastic ones, especially as a DIYer with less experience using these tools. The wire coils hold their shape better and plastic ones tend towards more frequent jams following a drop. That’s because nails in plastic coils are held in a groove and are easily jarred out of it.
Ultimately, you’re going to want a siding nailer that can accommodate both for a very simple reason. You’re going to use a lot of nails to hang siding, especially on large jobs. That might mean frequent trips to the store to buy new ones. If your siding nailer is limited to either wire or plastic, and those aren’t in stock your job is on hold until you can get more nails.
As we said from the get-go, consistency is critical to a success siding job. You want a tool that can deliver it, and deliver it across mediums — wood, vinyl, what have you. You will also want features that keeps the tool user consistent. That makes features to reduce wear and tear on the user pretty important.
The first of these is weight. Nothing will tire you out faster than a heavy tool that you use constantly over hours. Your hand gets tired, your wrist gets tired, and your back gets tired. Your siding nailer can be the most wonderful tool in your inventory in terms of basic performance, but if you’re tuckered out after a long day of siding work, the quality is apt to show a decline over the course of the day.
You’re also going to want one designed for comfortable use. Those pounds will feel a lot worse if the tool feels awkward in your hands. Part of this is tool design. Part of this is also the individual. We would highly recommend that before you purchase a siding nailer that you visit a local hardware store and pick them up to check out how individual models feel in your hands. You might find that a tool that looks great on paper in reality just feels weird, while the one you rejected over how it sounds on the Internet might be the best fit for you.
Because they have to apply a precise amount of pressure to fasten something thin to a thick mount, the amount of pressure a siding nailer needs is much less than something used to join two thick pieces of wood. So, while in general not as dangerous as a much more powerful nail gun, they are something that uses compressed air to press a nail into place. That makes them inherently dangerous. You’ll want to consider safety in choosing the right tool for your job.
Part of that is how comfortable the tool is. It can’t be stated often enough, a fatigued tool user is an unsafe tool user. Obviously, you can mitigate this by taking proper breaks and wearing safety equipment, but you’ll want to buy a tool that is comfortable for you to use in terms of weight and design.
More than that, look for siding nailers with debris shields. When a siding nailer is activated, it shears off a little piece of the coil. A debris shield will block that from flying back and hitting the user. As noted, you should already be wearing eye protection, but that shield is a first line of safety that you’re going to want. A few models also come with trigger locks. A locked trigger is a trigger that won’t accidentally fire.
Because they are specialty tools, siding nailers can feel pricey relative to what they do. Keep in mind that these aren’t crude, raw power tools but ones that have to deliver consistent, precise performance to make for a uniform experience in your siding. Don’t look at the pricetag and wonder why it costs that. The truth is that you’re also investing in your home’s value.
But that doesn’t mean you need to go out and buy the most expensive model. You should really compile a profile of the best siding nailer for what you need it to do, and then start comparing prices. If you don’t need to spend the money, don’t spend it.
The Bostitch N66C-1 was our top pick because it did everything well, although it requires a swap out of parts to change firing mode. We would have given stronger to our runner-up, the Hitachi NV65AH2, except that it’s just simply a lot more expensive. If budget is your primary concern, the Freeman PCN65 is a great siding nailer to look at. We were put off by the DeWalt’s DW6C-1R tendency to jam, and found the Ouya CN55R to be so flimsily constructed that we couldn’t use it in confidence that it wouldn’t break at any minute.
We hope you found our reviews helpful. We enjoyed writing them up, and at the very least hope that you took something of value from our buyers’ guide.
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