Published on July 23, 2014
A Nailer Buying Guide : A Nailer Buying Guide You’ve finally decided to treat yourself to that nail gun that will make even your most mundane projects a breeze. You picture yourself as the lone gun slinger , ready to take on the big boys; any job, any time. When it actually comes down to selecting that mighty nailer and bringing it home to meet your other tools, you’re faced with a bit of a dilemma. Which one do you want? Which one is calling to you? Who knew there were so many nail guns to choose from and such a variation in prices? Where, oh where, to begin? Let’s start with the function. What are you actually going to do with this nail gun? What kind of project do you have in mind? Will you be building a dollhouse, putting up doorframes, or installing floors? Will you be using small nails or will you need larger nails for strength? Let’s go over the different roles of specific nailers so you can begin to whittle that list down to a more manageable size. Brad Nailer If you will be using your nailer for woodworking or small projects around the house, a brad nailer may be what you need. A brad is a very fine nail with a tiny head that can be sunk into a piece of wood so it is hidden from view. A brad is not very strong, but it looks nice and if you will be working on the type of projects that require a little finesse, the brad nailer may be for you. Finish Nailer If your project requires a longer nail and a little more strength, such as for window and door frames, or furniture building, you will want to look at a finish nailer . Finish nails are bigger than brads but still have a very small head and so can provide a nice finished look, ergo the name. They too, can be sunk down into the wood and covered with paint or wood putty so that they are hidden from view while providing a much stronger hold than brads. Framing Nailer Your best framing nailer is definitely required if you are planning on using your new tool for building a deck, or a new garage, or let’s really get crazy, a new house. These are the big boys and they can deliver. The first thing you want to do is find out the requirements of your nailer . Air compressors have two separate specifications; CFM and PSI. CFM (cubic feet per minute) is a measurement of air consumption, that is, how much air is required to run your tools. PSI (pounds per square inch) measures the air pressure, the force of the air required to run your tools. You should be able to find this information in the manual or on a label affixed to the nailer . Make sure the compressor you choose has enough capacity to handle these requirements or you will be disappointed in the performance of your nailer . Check to see if you need to purchase an air hose, as this is often sold separately. Also, if you choose a compressor that runs on gasoline make sure you have some on hand. Nails - Don’t forget to get your nails. We already went over the types of nails and what factors may influence your choice. Make sure you check to see if your nailer requires certain brands or sizes and stick to those constraints. Don’t take the chance of jamming up your new nail gun by not following the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure you have enough nails on hand to complete the project. Power – Remember that if your nailer is cordless, you need to provide some sort of power for it; either gasoline or a battery. Make sure you use only what the manufacturer recommends. Cutting corners may damage your new nailer and cost you in the long run. If your nail gun runs on a battery it might be a good idea to purchase an extra one and keep one charging while you’re using the other. This way you won’t have to stop in the middle of a job and wait for the battery to charge back up.