A Guide to the Different Types of Nails and Staple Guns


A Guide to the Different Types of Nails and Staple Guns

Nail guns and staple guns, or nailers and staplers, are essential tools people use to fasten materials together. Nails and staples load into strips and coils before going into the magazine of staplers or nailers. Nail guns and staplers use either compressed air, springs, or electricity to fire the staples or nails. Both staplers and nail guns are beneficial and versatile, as they optimize construction productivity with minimal strain.

You should read the following guide to the different types of nails and staple guns to learn the functions of these tools and how to effectively shop for them.

The Main Function

Nail guns and staple guns use gas, springs, electromagnetism, or pressurized air to fire nails and staples. The fasteners that they fire must be in coils and strips to allow for the fastening of materials at high speeds. Before learning about the specific types of nail and staple guns, you should understand the trigger mechanisms that operate these tools.

The Trigger Mechanisms

The two primary mechanisms for staplers and nailers include the contact trip and sequential trip. The contact trip mechanism, or continuous firing trigger mechanism, drives nails and staplers through materials when the user presses the nose of the tool against the surface and holds the trigger at the same time. The act of continuous firing, also known as bump nailing, benefits production work like roofing or installing shingles because it’s fast.

The sequential trip mechanism, or intermittent firing mechanism, requires the user to press the nose of the gun into the substrate before pulling the trigger. The only way to fasten multiple nails through a sequential trip includes lifting the tool, releasing the trigger, and repeating the above sequence. The sequential trip is slower but offers a safer method between the two techniques.

Various nail guns feature both trigger mechanisms. The versatility in the function of nail guns explains their popularity among DIY enthusiasts who use these tools for projects. Additionally, staple guns operate in a similar fashion. Specialized tools, such as upholstery staplers, function like handheld staplers. The user can pull the trigger to fire the staples.

Overview of Different Models

If you’re in the market for a new stapler or nailer, you must learn an overview of the different models and how they vary in their features. Explore the following outline of common nail gun and staple gun models to help you make an informed decision.


A stapler is a two-pronged fastener that binds materials using staples. The horizontal part of a stapler, known as the crown, prevents the staple from sinking into the material. Staplers suit hobbies and crafts that require assembling wood pieces or upholstery projects that call for hidden staples.

Palm Nailer

A palm nailer fits in the palm of your hand and works solely from an air compressor. Palm nailers don’t require a magazine or trigger mechanism, and the tool contains a magnetic nose that holds nails in place for accurate positioning. The palm nailer suits hard-to-reach places or confined areas where using a larger nailer or hammer isn’t feasible.

Finish Nailer

A finish nailer uses strip refills and can feature an angled magazine that lets it operate in confined spaces and drive nails diagonally. Finish nailers come in various sizes and capacities for driving nails. They suit trim installation processes, such as fastening baseboards or moldings. Finish nailers also work well for building furniture, conducting home repairs, or doing any project that requires headless nails.

Siding Nailer

A siding nailer has a specific design for fastening outdoor siding with siding nails. The siding nailer features lightweight materials and is easy to maneuver. The siding nailer is appropriate for specific jobs pertaining to installing siding but does not suit other projects. It’s popular to use pre-painted nails to match the color of the siding you’re installing.


A stapler/nailer can fasten finishing nails and staples depending on the model. Stapler/nailers use strip refills and staple thin pieces of wood together effectively, such as baseboards, moldings, and trim. We recommend you use both the stapler and nailer feature in this hybrid tool to prevent an imbalance in the driving mechanism.

Roofing Nailer

Roofing nailers fit projects that require a high level of durability and precision. The design of roofing nailers is specifically for attaching shingles and tiles. As such, they’re best for roofing jobs and house and deck framing projects. Roofing nailers contain a narrow head that makes them easy to use in confined spaces between joists and studs.

Framing Nailer

The framing nailer is a high-power tool that contains a fitted angled tip loader or coil loader. A framing nailer uses a serrated nose tip that provides a durable grip on the nailing surface. Framing nailers suit house and deck framing projects. The tool contains a narrow head that’s easy to use in confined spaces and between joists or studs. Coil nailers hold more nails than strip nailers, which makes them suitable for constructing pallets or assembling the parts of a larger foundation.

Micro-Pin Nailer

A micro-pin nailer fires headless pin nails that don’t leave holes and don’t require an additional masking step on a project. The micro-pin nailer uses strip refills, and these strips can contain over a hundred pin nails. A micro-pin nailer suits small craft projects or finishing work, such as keeping the molding in place on a narrow substrate to allow the glue to dry. It’s common to use a micro-pin nailer in tandem with gluing materials.

Flooring Stapler

A flooring stapler has a design suited for fastening wood flooring. The tool is great for precise staple placement when held directly against floorboards. The fasteners drive into the flooring at the same angle and depth for straight and secure board placement.

A flooring stapler contains a release mechanism that powers the driver head with a hammer or mallet. The power tool contains a side or rear load magazine and drives L-shaped cleats or staples. The advanced features of a flooring stapler include a base that prevents the tool from scratching wood and an inclined air intake that makes it easy to operate.

Use our guide to the different types of nails and staple guns to familiarize yourself with the extent of power tools that can suit the needs of various projects. Staple Headquarters is proud to serve as your hub for industrial tools that meet the needs of all your business and DIY applications. Contact our expert team at Staple Headquarters for further information about our tools and project resources today.

A Guide to the Different Types of Nails and Staple Guns