Cordless tools are largely replacing traditional hand tools, like hammers, saws and wrenches on the worksite and at home. They provide the portability of hand tools but with greater speed, efficiency, and more importantly, power. They’re only a tad heavier than your average hand tool, so you’ll barely notice the weight difference. This means you can get the job done quickly and without too much hassle or stress.
Different types of hammers are being replaced by pneumatic or cordless nail guns. Cordless nail guns are the more common of the two types and are a frequent spectacle on large construction sites. They can also come in handy for performing small house repairs. Nail guns might be a bit more expensive than an old hammer, but you’ll definitely want one.
18v nail gun can be used for rough construction work like flooring, or in delicate projects, like touching up broken furniture. In each case, there are different nail guns you can use. Large nails fit framing or fixing nail guns. Smaller nails or brads will go in a finishing nail gun. These are the two main types of nail guns, the main difference being the size of the nails used, or in tradie speak, the gauge size. To drive different sized nails, nail guns will also differ in their power output, and the number of nails they can fire in a minute. Cordless framing guns have the added benefit of being electricity or gas-powered.
You’ll also hear of nail guns for specific jobs, like flooring guns, roofing guns and siding guns, in addition to palm nailers and secret nail guns, though they’re essentially variants of framing and finishing nail guns.
Framing Nail Guns
Framing guns are larger nail guns used for regular heavy-duty construction and carpentry tasks. They take nails of larger sizes, ranging from 50 to 82mm in length, can shoot roughly 200 nails a minute, and have a battery that should last your typical workday. Though they can also use gas to fire nails, they’re portable, meaning you don’t need additional hoses or compressors. Framing nail guns will have more than adequate power to drive nails flush into most materials and the adjustability to get the nail depth you need. They are ideal for numerous jobs, like flooring, framing, decking, wooden cladding and constructing joists and trusses.
You’ll find lightweight models with comfortable rubber grips to make nailing easier. Some models are sold as standalone units, or come bundled with additional power strips, transformers, rechargeable batteries and charging docks, all housed in tough carry cases. Manuals come with every model sold.
Finishing Nail Guns
Finishing nail guns are smaller, lighter guns used in work that requires accurate nail placement, hence the name. Use a finishing gun to nail doorway linings, window casings, attaching baseboard mouldings, in-wall panelling, and light cabinetry. Finishing guns take smaller nails, from 15 to 50mm in length, and in 16 or 18 gauge, or 1.6-mm and 1.2-mm thickness. They are able to drive up to 1000 nails per hour and have a rechargeable battery that can last a couple of days of intensive work. They too have adjustable nail depth and angle placement. Variants of finishing nail guns are brad guns, which use smaller, thinner nails called brads to avoid wood from splitting. Brad nailers are used in delicate woodworking, like wood trims.
Which Nail Gun is Right for You?
It all depends on the type of woodworking you do. If you’re a professional doing the work from start to finish, you’ll need both. A framing gun will drive longer, thicker nails in larger pieces of wood like base and vertical frames, thick wooden decks and roofs. And being gas driven, they’re more powerful to give the required nail depth, meaning a tougher all-around finish. For general carpentry, where smaller nails will do, a finishing nailer might be all you need, especially for quick fixes around the house. Think of delicate wood trimmings in windows, doors and floor moulding that would split under the heavier impact of a framing nailer and the larger nails.
For other types of work, you’ll need other guns. If you need to repair damage to carpets, upholstery, or thin plastic or wooden strips, a simple staple gun can be up to the task. And when installing floorboards, you might need to go with an air-powered secret nail gun and mallet to drive larger nails under a 45-degree angle.
Buying Nail Guns
You’ll find nail guns from all major brands of powered tools, like Paslode, DeWalt, Bosch, Bostitch, Makita and others. Some may be marketed as guns for specific uses, like flooring or roofing guns, but they can be framing guns that you can use for other purposes as well. You’ll also see variants that do framing and finishing in the same model. Some models are sold in fixed nail gauges only, so consult with staff at tool shops, or with a tradie to get the right nail gun for your intended use. Most cordless nail guns are sold as boxed packages that include rechargeable batteries. You’ll also need nails or brads in the appropriate size, and protective gear like gloves and goggles. Compare prices online, or go to your nearest hardware store selling power and cordless tools.