Staple guns help you complete projects more quickly and with results that are more consistent. There are a variety of types of staple guns, including manual and electric versions. When it comes to manual vs. electric staple guns, which is better? The answer will depend on your project, your skill, your grip strength, and how often you expect to use a staple gun.
Manual Staple Guns
Manual staple guns are less expensive and in most cases, easier to control than electric staple guns. Manual staple guns fire when you squeeze a trigger, and you control the time between firing one staple and the next. They don’t have cords or batteries and are smaller and easier to maneuver than electric staple guns.
Squeezing the trigger on a manual staple gun repeatedly can be hard on the hands. Similar to manual hog ring pliers, which can be used in conjunction with manual staplers in miscellaneous crafts and light commercial applications, manual staple guns require good grip strength and endurance. You may experience fatigue and even cramping in your hands with these tools when you need to use them repeatedly on a large job. Results with a manual stapler may be inconsistent, depending on the force you apply to the surface as you apply the staple. Manual staple guns may also jam more frequently than electric staple guns.
Manual staple guns are good for occasional projects around the house and for craft projects. Jobs that require you to precisely position materials or adjust them frequently call for a lightweight, manual staple gun you can put down, pick up and use, and put down again while you adjust your materials and prepare for the next staple.
Electric Staple Guns
Any job that requires a lot of repetitive stapling will be easier with an electric staple gun. These use batteries or cords to supply electric power. With an electric stapler, your hands get a break because the power to drive the staple comes from a source other than your hands.
Electric staple guns are more expensive than manual versions and tend to cause more accidents because of their more automatic operation. Fortunately, electric staple guns typically come with safety settings or locks that keep the gun from firing if used incorrectly. Some versions of these automatic, electric-powered staple guns are versatile and can fire staples, brad nails, or tacks. If you think you’ll be using a staple gun often for DIY projects, an electric stapler may be the way to go. Electric staplers are good for flooring, carpet, insulation, installing screens, and upholstery. They may not fit into tight spaces as well as manual staple guns, but they will drive staples at awkward angles where squeezing the trigger of a manual staple gun would be difficult or even impossible.
Which Staple Gun Is Better for Your Job?
Determining which type of staple gun is best for your job depends on several variable factors. If you expect to use a staple gun regularly for larger projects like carpeting, installing roofing felt, large upholstery repair, or installing insulation, an electric stapler might be best. Think about portability—electric staplers tend to be heavier and more difficult to carry around than lightweight, manual staple guns. On the other hand, if you need help applying the force necessary to drive staples into wood or through carpet padding and flooring, an electric stapler takes on the power aspect of the job.
Versatility is also a consideration. The type of staple you’ll need to use will vary depending on what you are fastening. Staples come in flat- or round-crown versions, with different crown widths. The leg length is also a factor. The rounded type are better for securing molding or securing wires and cabling, while flat-crown versions are better if the staple should be tight and flush against the materials being fastened together.
For crafts and other occasional do-it-yourself tasks like quick repairs, a manual staple gun should work just fine. But large projects like replacing carpet, installing insulation, repairing multiple window screens, or installing wood trim and baseboards call for an electric stapler.
Whenever you are working with a staple gun, safety is a top consideration. Read instructions and manuals and familiarize yourself with your tool’s safety features before you use the staple gun. Make sure the staples you use are compatible with your tool; the wrong kind of staples can cause jamming.
Always wear eye protection and gloves when using a staple gun. Double-check how you position the stapler before you squeeze the trigger. Some models have a big arrow on them to remind you which end the staple comes out, to help you avoid firing a staple into your hand, chest, or into someone standing nearby. Treat a staple gun with the same caution and regard for safety as you would a weapon, because in many ways, staple guns are very like real guns. In the wrong hands, or when used carelessly or improperly, they can cause a lot of damage, up to and including severe and permanent injuries.
Keep distractions, including other people not assisting you with your task, out of your work area when you are using a staple gun. A work site is no place for children anyway, but that goes double when power tools and staple guns are in use.
Beware of placement when driving staples or nails. If you accidentally try to drive a staple or nail on top of one that is already embedded in the material you’re firing into, you can create a ricochet effect; a nail or staple will go flying off in a direction you didn’t expect, possibly causing injury.
Never, ever point a staple gun at another person. Roughhousing or horsing around when there is a staple gun in the vicinity is dangerous, careless, and yes, flat-out stupid. Don’t do it. When you are not using your staple gun, make sure you store it in a secured, locked case or cabinet where children, including teenagers, can’t get at it. Youngsters should be informed that staple guns, like any tools, aren’t toys. They’ll certainly get the point if you get distracted and drive a staple into the palm of your hand, but it shouldn’t take injury and the accompanying expostulations to make it clear that staple guns are not for playing.
Contact Staple Headquarters for help selecting the right tool and the right staples, brads, or tacks for your project. We can help determine whether a manual or electric staple gun is better for you.