Last Updated on October 5, 2022 by Barry Gray
Do you remember the days when erecting a fence from scratch involved you spending a crazy amount of time hammering nails into every single piece to get it to hold together? Not only was it time-consuming, but the number of times you would bang your thumb out of frustration did lead to a fair amount of pain.
I know all about that because I’ve been there and done all that in my time. It’s both exhausting and infuriating at the same time. It even made the prospect of building a fence one you didn’t want to entertain.
But that completely changes if you have one tool: a nail gun.
Using a nail gun will speed up the entire process since it takes a fraction of a second for a single nail to be fired into that post or fence panel. Building a fence takes little time if someone is holding the slats in place. That’s the sort of project I like to participate in.
But I know this raises a rather important question, how do you buy a good nail gun? Well, if you take a quick look at the market, you see that a number of nail guns do exist. That in itself makes life more complicated. A nail gun can prove quite costly, so I want to help you avoid making a mistake.
What you will find below is my list of the six best nail guns on the market that are perfect for those fencing jobs. Also, I will provide you with a series of tips to help you in your decision. I want to make your life as easy as possible when making this purchase.
- Best Ease of Use Nail Gun for Fencing – Porter Cable 20V MAX Cordless Brad Nailer
- Best Nail Gun On a Budget – WEN 61721 18-Gauge Pneumatic Nailer
- Best Pneumatic Nail Gun – NuMax Pneumatic 21 Degree 3.5” Round Head Nailer
- Best Cordless Nail Gun – Kimo 18-Gauge Cordless Brad Nailer
- Best Nail Gun for Lightweight Projects – Workpro 18-Gauge Pneumatic Brad Nailer
- Best Premium Nail Gun – Bostitch F21PL 21 Degree Plastic Collated Nailer
How I Made My List
So, if you are wondering how I selected these six nail guns, let me explain the process.
I personally have over 20 years of experience dealing with power tools, and that experience in creating various projects helps me out. But also, I had specific criteria that the nail guns had to meet to then be worthy of making it onto my list.
First, I wanted ease of use. I tried to include only nail guns that were quick to load and allowed you to get on with the job. Also, it had to avoid being too heavy. You will be using a nail gun repeatedly, so I didn’t want to recommend models that would lead to fatigue.
There was also the issue of them being robust. Let’s face it, you will find yourself outdoors potentially in all conditions, so you need the nail gun to have the ability to cope with those conditions.
Lastly, there was the issue of how others have experienced the different models. So, I took their thoughts and experiences into consideration as well.
After all that, I was able to compile this list of six nail guns that I know will be perfect for all those fencing jobs.
Best Ease of Use Nail Gun for Fencing – Porter Cable 20V MAX Cordless Brad Nailer
- Power: 20V
- Weight: 5.1lbs
- Nail Sizes: 18GA, 0.625 to 2”
This Porter-Cable nail gun is almost universally viewed as one of the best nail guns on the market, and for a good reason. Not only does it weigh relatively little at just over 5lbs, but it also comes packed with 20V of power.
That power is important as it easily drives the nail into the wood. This model can cope with any softwood or picket fence with ease. Also, it’s perfect for any indoor nail jobs you need to carry out on other projects.
I also love the fact it’s cordless. It just makes handling the nail gun significantly easier, and you also avoid buying gas cartridges. This just removes another hurdle associated with other types of nail guns, meaning this model is straightforward to use.
I find this model to be straightforward to load, and Porter-Cable does state it can fire up to 1,300 brads just from a single charge. That’s impressive, and it does mean you can stop worrying about running out of power.
Overall, it’s the ease with which you can get started with this nail gun that makes me want to add it to my list.
- It’s straightforward to load
- It fires 1,300 brads in just one charge
- It’s light enough for regular use
- It’s highly efficient at what it does
- The tool is robust
- You need to buy the battery on its own
Best Nail Gun On a Budget – WEN 61721 18-Gauge Pneumatic Nailer
- Weight: 2.7lbs
- Power: Pneumatic Pressure
- Nail Size: 18GA, 0.375 to 2”
I know some people don’t want to spend a fortune on a nail gun, and if you want something that works well without breaking the bank, then I suggest this model by WEN. You should know that WEN, as a brand, is well-known for producing quality tools without costing the earth, and this nail gun is another perfect example of that.
It uses pneumatic pressure to fire those nails out, and it has a cfm of just 0.028 with each nail at a psi of 88. That means you can get a low-cost compressor, and this nail gun will still perform admirably.
Aside from easy loading, it comes with a few other features that really appeal to me. For example, the nose latch on this model can allow for jam clearing without the need for any tools. Also, if you intend to adjust the depth, this is achieved via a straightforward wheel.
Basically, WEN has made sure this nail gun is easy to use. However, it’s not all plain sailing.
It does come with an air hose, and you need to ensure it doesn’t get in your way. Also, the power behind the nail gun does mean this model is better suited to more lightweight jobs. While that’s not always a problem, it’s worth keeping in mind it does come with certain limitations.
Overall, I just think this is a great budget nail gun if you want to spend little in the way of money.
- It’s very light at less than 3lbs
- It’s straightforward to use
- It clears jams without the need for tools
- You can use a low-cost compressor and still get good results
- Loading is not difficult
- It lacks some power for more heavy-duty tasks
Best Pneumatic Nail Gun – NuMax Pneumatic 21 Degree 3.5” Round Head Nailer
- Power: Pneumatic
- Nail Size: Full Round – 2” to 3.5”
- Weight: 8.6lbs
If you want to own the best pneumatic nail gun, then I think that this model by NuMax is one you should pay close attention to. This gun is helped by the fact it can be used even on those more challenging fencing jobs, and it’s all thanks to the absolute power behind the nailer.
You can quickly drill home 3.5” long nails with this gun, and it does it in a fraction of a second. But here’s the cool thing. It can achieve this even when using a standard compressor since it only requires some 90psi to get those fantastic results.
But that’s not the only reason why I love this model. It also has a rapid-fire option, so you can blast through building that fence in less time than you thought possible. Also, it comes with a no mar tip, and this will give you a better grip on the surface before you fire, so there’s little chance of slippage.
In addition, the depth changes and jam clearing are toolless, which is great from a safety perspective. Regarding safety, I also appreciate how this model has a locking device that stops a dry fire. It just won’t work when you run out of nails, which prevents the mechanism from becoming damaged.
Overall, this pneumatic nail gun is very impressive, and if this is the power source you prefer, then it’s one of the best options on the market.
- It packs a serious punch
- It can drive home 3.5” nails with ease
- It won’t allow you to dry fire, preserving the mechanism
- Adjusting depth is easy
- It has a simple approach to clearing any jams
- It is slightly heavier than most nail guns on the market
Best Cordless Nail Gun – Kimo 18-Gauge Cordless Brad Nailer
- Power: 20V
- Nail Size: 18GA 0.75 – 2”
- Weight: 6.2lbs
If you prefer a cordless version, check out Kimo’s nail gun. It fires not only nails, but staples as well, so you effectively receive two models for the price of one.
It comes with a 20V battery, and you do need that to effectively drive those nails home. Also, Kimo states this model can hammer home some 700 nails on a single charge, and I think that’s perfectly adequate.
But I also love that it comes with both bump firing and sequential firing options. If you do use the bump firing, it means it will fire off some 90 nails in 60 seconds.
It does also come with tool-free depth gauge changes and jam clearing. However, I see both of those things as standard, so I expect to see them there anyway.
Overall, I think this cordless nail gun works well and does a decent job, even on a single charge.
- It has a strong enough battery for the adequate performance
- It fires 700 nails on a single charge
- It can fire both staples and brads
- You at least get the battery and bag in the kit, unlike other brands
- It’s straightforward to use
- People comment the support you get from Kimo is poor
Best Nail Gun for Lightweight Projects – Workpro 18-Gauge Pneumatic Brad Nailer
- Power: Pneumatic
- Nail Sizes: 18GA, 0.375 to 2”
- Weight: 4.14lbs
If you know that you will most likely use a nail gun with more lightweight projects, this model by Workpro could be your answer. It does lack a bit of power for heavy-duty fencing jobs, but it’s perfect for lighter fencing and other basic DIY projects.
It comes with a working pressure of 70psi, so any basic compressor should be more than enough for this model. However, that’s where the point about it only proving suitable for lightweight projects comes into its own. It just doesn’t have the pressure behind it for heavy-duty nails.
I also appreciate that this model comes with an exhaust that can turn 360 degrees. It does mean it’s easy to keep that excess air away from you.
But what I also love about this model is it does have your safety in mind. It may be a budget nail gun, but it even comes with a safety lock on the trigger. This is actually quite rare when at the lower end of the market, and it’s something I appreciate.
Jam clearing is toolless, which is always important, but the depth gauge does not offer as much variability as other models. In saying that, you do have three levels, so it’s not too bad and should prove sufficient.
Overall, I think this nail gun is a fantastic example, and I have no doubt it will prove highly effective for lightweight fencing jobs and other projects around the home.
- It’s light at just over 4lbs
- It has several safety features included
- It works with any small compressor
- It really is budget-friendly
- Loading is easy
- You must be aware of its limitations with the power aspect
Best Premium Nail Gun – Bostitch F21PL 21 Degree Plastic Collated Nailer
- Power: Pneumatic
- Nail Sizes: Full Round, 2” to 3.5”
- Weight: 8.1lbs
If it’s a premium nail gun you would prefer to purchase, then the Bostitch F21PL may be of interest. It does come with a premium price attached to it, but what you get in return is one of the most powerful pneumatic nail guns on the market.
The company itself claims their framer nailer is right up there as one of the most powerful you can purchase. They state it fires nails at a pressure of 1,050psi, which means it can work on any material easily.
Also, that power does open up other ways in which you can use this nail gun. For example, Bostitch mentions how you can change the nose-piece from working with wood nails to options best used for heavy-duty construction and even metal connectors.
For firing modes, you have both bump and sequential modes, and both work at an impressive speed. I also like their approach to setting the depth gauge. It comes with a simple push-button and is a very workable idea.
Overall, this model will be highly effective if you want more of a professional nail gun.
- It has a vast amount of power
- It’s perfect for heavy-duty projects
- The firing speeds are impressive
- Setting the depth gauge is easy
- It can fire both wood or metal connectors
- It does need a powerful compressor to really work
How to Choose the Right Nail Gun for Framing
So the six nail guns listed above are all fantastic. However, I get that some people may feel somewhat confused as to how to even go about selecting the right nail gun. So, allow me to make life easier.
Nail Gun Type
First, you have four different nail guns to choose from. The brad nailer is the most common and easiest to use, but it’s not your only option. Also, the brad nailer tends to be more for lightweight fencing projects thanks to the size of nails it can drive home.
A finish nailer can drive home nails up to 3.5” in size, so you move more into the realm of larger fencing projects. However, if you plan on constructing heavy-duty fencing, I suggest looking at the framing nailer.
A framing nailer works with more heavy-duty nails and comes with a lot of extra power designed for those more demanding projects. Lastly, you have coil nailers, which are the type often used by professionals. Coil nailers hold magazines of nails allowing for faster usage.
For power options, you will choose between either cordless or pneumatic. If you prefer cordless, then ensure the model you own is 18V or 20V. Honestly, I would prefer 20V for that little extra boost to the power and torque ratio.
For pneumatic, you will notice I mention the psi. That stands for pounds per square inch and relates to the pneumatic power. The higher the psi, the more power it has, but it also means you need a larger compressor for the nail gun to work.
A pneumatic nail gun should generally be your best choice if you plan on carrying out large projects.
A basic brad nailer fires a nail when you press the trigger. It’s that simple. However, other nail guns do provide you with other firing mechanisms.
If a nail gun mentions a bump fire, it fires as soon as the tip of the nail gun bumps into the material. You have no need to press the trigger, so it can fire off more nails in less time.
While bump firing saves time, I must stress that accuracy and control are more difficult. You should only use the bump fire mechanism when you have experience using nail guns in general.
Along with the nail gun type, you also need to pay attention to the nail length that the gun can fire. This determines the projects you can complete with the nail gun. The shorter the nail, the more lightweight the project.
Other features to consider when choosing a nail gun includes tool-free jam clearing. Every nail gun will jam from time to time, but how you remove the jam is important. It should be a case that the nail gun helps you out, or it could prove dangerous.
If you purchase a pneumatic nail gun, the exhaust should be easy to move. This stops the excess air from hitting you, so the ability to change the angle of the pipe is vital.
Finally, consider how you can adjust the depth of the nail gun. This determines the material it can work with, and some guns only offer set adjustment levels. Think about how this would influence your project and what you could work on.
That’s my list of the six best nail guns for fencing, and I feel confident that you will find the perfect nail gun. However, if you still feel somewhat unsure which model to choose, check out my tips to make life easier. In the end, I think those tips may help clarify some of your problems or concerns.
A nail gun allows you to make significant progress with your fencing jobs. It’s a highly effective tool that will help you build that fence in a shorter time than you ever thought possible.
I think buying a nail gun was honestly one of the best purchases I ever made. At the end of the day, I use it in more ways than just building fences, and I’m sure you will also discover new ways or reasons to get that nail gun out of your workshop.