The 9 Types Of Nail Guns (A Complete Guide)

My experience completing furniture projects as part of a carpentry crew has taught me that nail guns are an excellent item to have in your toolbox since they can speed up a project, drive nails into difficult-to-reach spots, and drive tiny nails without bending or breaking them. Saying that what are different types of nail guns?

Different types of nail guns include a framing nail gun, finish nail gun, brad nail gun, flooring nail gun, roofing nail gun, palm nail gun, staple nail gun, siding nail gun, and pin nail gun. They each serve a unique purpose and significantly accelerate its time to complete a woodworking task.

What factors do you consider while selecting a nail gun for your project? Choosing the right one can save you time and even money, so let’s take a look at nine different nail guns to assist you in making your decision!

Nail Gun Types

1. Framing Nail Gun

A framing nail gun is an essential piece of equipment for every building job. A good framing nailer can quickly drive many nails into a framework in less time than a professional carpenter can hammer one framing nail.

As a result, the process of framing a wall (or, for that matter, a home) is significantly accelerated.

Framing nailers take the lowest gauge of nails, between 11 to 8, which are very large. They are meant for heavy-duty projects, such as fastening the framing of a house or putting together a deck. 

When you’re putting up wood framing and need a quick way to fasten it, a framing nailer provides the force and accuracy you need to keep everything in place for decades. 

Fencing, deck construction, roof sheathing, sub-flooring, and framing all need the use of a framing nailer. Furthermore, frame nail guns are ideal for plasterwork, as hand hammering can crack and loosen plaster.

2. Finish Nail Gun 

Finish Nail Gun

The finishing nailer is the ideal all-around nailer for indoor trim and related projects. Shorter, lighter gauge nails, often 14 to 16 gauge, are used.

Finishing nails are used for moldings around windows and doors, baseboards, chair rails, other similar applications, and cabinet construction. 

Finished nailers are acceptable for work on lightweight construction, such as faux beams for a living room. The finish nailer may also be used for carpentry work because it is designed to deal with specially shaped nails. 

Crown moldings and baseboards are frequently nailed with finish nailers. They’re also available in both air compression and cordless versions.

A suitable project for finished nailers may involve creating a box that won’t see heavy-duty use, such as beam boxes or mantels.

Essentially, any project that requires you to fill nail holes is best done with a finished nailer because the nails are stronger and bigger than, say, a brad nailer. 

3. Brad Nail Gun  

Brad Nail

Brad nailers generally use 18-gauge nails, which are the smaller, skinnier type of nails; they’re typically used for trim work and finishing work.

Due to their width, they are not strong enough for joining materials together in construction. As a result, they are best suited for lightweight projects.  

Brad nailers are used for minor trim where bigger nails might fracture the board. Due to its ultra-thin pins that flex quickly, driving brad nails with a hammer may be troublesome. When working on a long-term project, a nail gun comes in handy.

A great place to use a brad nailer would be to replace the thin MDF backing on a dresser, particularly the very short brad nails. It also works well for installing quarter-round on the edge of the flooring.

Brad nailers are the go-to choice for trim work because the nail holes are so small on stained trim that you don’t need to fill them. 

4. Flooring Nail Gun  

A flooring nailer is a must-have item if you wish to install hardwood flooring in your home. It makes short work of the time-consuming and exhausting operation of nailing down hardwood flooring while also ensuring that the nail cleat is inserted at a proper 45-degree angle. 

A flooring nailer is not a nail gun that fires automatically or with a trigger; rather, you set the nail, then you need to hit it with a rubber mallet. Floor planks are secured to the sub-floor with these nails.

They serve the same basic purpose as a flooring stapler but are preferred because driven nails are more durable and long-lasting than staples.

5. Roofing Nail Gun 

Installing New Roof With Roofing Nail Gun

Expert roofers and contractors only use roofing nailers to accelerate their roofing tasks and ensure high-quality work.  They usually have shorter nails with broader heads, and they may be used for siding and other comparable materials.

Roofing nailers are created to attach shingles and other roofing materials to a roof, and they employ coil nails instead of nail strips. These spherical coils can hold more nails at a time, reducing the need for refills.

Many roofing nailers have non-skid pads on the gun’s body to keep it from accidentally slipping off the roof.

In its simplest form, a roofing nailer is a machine that quickly drives nails into wood or other roofing materials. Roofing nailers come in a variety of designs:

  • A spring-loaded nailer
  • A pneumatic nailer
  • A solenoid nailer

Spring roofing nailers are your typical roofing nailers that propel the nail out of the gun using a spring.  Pneumatic roofing nailers are the most common form of a nailer in this category, like an air compressor powers them. Solenoid roofing nailers are unique in that they use electromagnetic energy to release their nails. 

6. Palm Nail Gun 

Palm nailers are similar to little nail guns. These palm-sized nail guns function similarly to their full-sized counterparts but on a much smaller scale.

These nailers are held in the palm, as the name implies. There’s also a strap that wraps over the hand to keep it in place while you’re using it.

There are pneumatic, electric, and cordless nail guns available. Cordless versions, which run on batteries, offer greater flexibility and portability.

Palm nailers are useful for the following tasks:

  • There are a few tight or smaller areas
  • Hangers for joists
  • Smaller, more manageable projects

Palm nailers are ideal for toenailing (fastening two pieces of wood together by driving a nail at a 45-degree angle). When you use a hammer, you apply a lot more force to the nail, which causes the workpiece to move.

You can hold the workpiece freehand with a palm nailer, and it hits with less power but a lot more strikes per second. 

7. Staple Nail Gun 

Staple guns aren’t like the other nailers, but they can nevertheless drive staples into various materials. 

They are typically used on furniture or light carpets and used to suppress fasteners or staples, not nails. Since staple guns are the tiniest of nail guns, they don’t utilize real nails.

Staple guns are extremely versatile equipment that may be used for a variety of tasks, including:

  • Upholstery
  • Carpets 
  • Wood and fabric repairs
  • domestic projects  

Staple guns are frequently used to secure a piece of fabric to a couch or chair’s frame, and they can be used to soundproof carpeting on floors and even walls. Furthermore, they work well for attaching boards and panels and easily handle carpentry and home repair. 

Lastly, staple guns have also been employed to construct small projects like birdhouses and dog houses. 

8. Siding Nail Gun 

Siding nailers protect your home’s structure, offer an extra layer of insulation that can help you save money on your energy bill, and add curb appeal to increase its value. When installing or repairing siding, you can use a regular hammer, but a siding nailer is unquestionably faster. 

A siding nailer is designed to attach siding to the side of a home and is ideal for jobs involving the joining of a thin strip of non-wooden material to a wooden mount.

It uses a single blow to drive each nail to the same depth, ensuring that the siding is firmly attached. While these devices are referred to as flooring nailers, they do not employ nails in the usual sense. The nails used in a flooring nailer are commonly referred to as cleats. 

They are sold as cartridges with many cleats rather than as single cleats. The user puts one of these cartridges into the nailer while loading it. It functions similarly to a staple gun in this regard.

Purchase cleats that are compatible with your nailer, as different nailers require different types of cleats. 

Siding is installed with a siding nailer using thinner pieces of wood or synthetic material nailed to a hardwood mount with strong nailers. The siding nailer is similar to the framing nailer but is better suited for applications that need the joining of bigger pieces of wood.

9. Pin Nail Gun 

Pin nailers use 23-gauge nails with no heads. The pins themselves don’t require putty or sandings like bigger brad or finishing nails since they only make small little holes in wood. 

A pinhole is usually completely unnoticeable once a coat of paint has been applied to it. For this reason, pin nailers are typically used to hold glued pieces of wood in place while they dry because they don’t have much gripping ability.

They’re also suitable for delicate crafts such as birdhouses and jewelry boxes.

A pin nailer is best suited to the following kinds of projects: 

  • Specific elements that require delicate trimming
  • Very thin veneers 
  • Carpentry projects that are nearing their completion
  • Trimming for little pieces of furniture
  • Cabinetry projects with crown molding

Therefore, pin nailers are an excellent choice for any project where using larger gauge nails will run the risk of splitting the wood

Four Variations Of Nail Gun Types

There are four variations of nail guns types, and each one has a different power source:

  • Batteries power cordless nail guns
  • Gas power nail guns
  • Pneumatic nail guns
  • Electric power nail guns

Cordless, Battery Power Nail Guns

Battery-powered solutions allow you to be more mobile, but their high price and short duration may be prohibitive for certain people. They are typically much larger and thus heavier than battery-powered framing nails. 

However, its mobility cannot be understated; it is as simple as grabbing it, putting in a battery, and starting to work. Battery-powered nailers are especially great for smaller projects, such as trimming out a single window, installing a door, doing a small bit of framing, or building small animal cages. 

Gas Power Nail Guns

While gas-powered versions with a gas fuel cell are handier while working, you’ll need to maintain a supply of cells on hand, and these models are also rather pricey.

Pneumatic, Air Power Nail Guns

Pneumatic Air Power Nail Gun

Although pneumatic nailers have virtually infinite runtime, dragging a compressor and air hose around might inconvenience some people.

In addition, you will be limited by the cord that leads from the air canister to the wall socket and the length of the cord leading to the pneumatic framing nailer. 

It can be especially cumbersome when you need to do roof work, and you’re forced to take it through rafters or around corners. 

Pneumatic nailers are the most common choice for power fastening equipment since they are inexpensive, powerful, and handy. Compressed air is used to drive nails in this sort of nailer. 

If you go for a pneumatic tool, check the air requirements for the nail gun and the compressor are compatible; it will ensure that your nail gun works effectively.

Electric Power Nail Guns

These steady weapons are quite strong. They provide both power and fastening, and they can function all day with little power interruptions. The electric staple gun’s major disadvantage is that it is more costly than a manual staple gun.


Numerous types of nail guns are available, each uniquely suited to excel at a particular task, whether that be roofing, house framework, or more delicate jobs like birdhouses. Pick the one best suited to your needs, and remember to have fun with it! 

Also Read: 6 Best Woods to Use for a Birdhouse

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Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.

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