A Complete Guide to the 9 Main Types of Nail Guns


The Main Types of Nail Guns

While most of us know that we can use a staple gun for a variety of projects, we may not be quite as aware of all of the different options. In total, there are nine different types of nail guns, all of them with different uses. Which one you should use depends entirely on the project you’re attempting. We’ll explain in today’s article the different types of nail guns and what they’re oftentimes used for.

Staple Nail Guns

staple nail gun is most often used in projects that feature upholstery or thinner sheets of wood. Oftentimes, they’re ideal for projects in which an actual nail would be too abrasive and cause potential splitting. You can get these in a variety of sizes, and many can accommodate several different sizes of staples. Projects that staple nail guns are oftentimes used for include the following:

  • Upholstery on couches or chairs
  • Carpet installation
  • Bird houses
  • Frame making
  • Wood paneling

Palm Nailers

Though we include this in our list, a palm nailer doesn’t actual sport the traditional structure of your average nail gun. As the name suggests, these tools fit in the palm of your hand, same as a small ball may. Many carpenters use this tool, as it allows them to access tight spots such as corners or narrow slabs of wood. It also allows the precision that larger nail guns may not allow. The weight distribution is also ideal, as the head of larger guns can rapidly cause fatigue to your wrists. If you do any type of detailed woodworking project, we highly recommend having one of these alongside your other nail guns.

Roofing Nail Guns

These tools are built to handle almost any type of material the you may encounter when installing roofing, such as asphalt and fiberglass. Alongside staple guns, these are one of the best tools you can use for installing shingles. It’s essential for any roofing professional to purchase a high-quality gun, as it is sure to endure frequent use.

Pin Nail Guns

These small guns are loaded with nails that are incredibly fine and delicate. They feature headless nails that are usually an inch long. These nails are usually used on a soft wood and don’t feature much holding power. Usually, they’re useful as a reinforcement for glue. The nails are ideal for anyone who doesn’t want visible nail holes, and they are extremely unlikely to cause wood to split. Pin nails guns are excellent options for anyone who works with trim.

Brad Nail Guns

Brad nail guns are similar to pin guns, but they do have their differences. Though the nails can used in similar projects to pin nails, they provide a much stronger holding power. In fact, the security they provide is comparable to some of its larger counterparts. These generally create a larger hole, than pin guns, though it is still smaller than the ones caused by many other types of nail guns. Brad guns are oftentimes used on baseboard, though they can be versatile when used correctly.

Flooring Nail Guns

There is a debate about whether it’s better to use a flooring gun or a staple gun for the installation of floors. Many will opt for the staple gun, as it requires less force than the former, and can be used for more projects than just flooring. Anyone who works on floors professionally, however, is likely to benefit from both. The reason for this is that a staple gun may not always be effective on a thicker variety of hardwood. Though it takes more manpower, a flooring nail gun is essential for these applications.

Siding Nail Guns

For a while, many used roofing nails to install siding. It was eventually discovered, however, that a more specially design option may be ideal. Roofing nail guns are designed to install nails that are easily removed, as shingles may be replaced more often than siding. Their nails are also targeted towards a larger variety of materials, while siding nails guns are meant for wood and vinyl alone. Siding nail guns tend to be a lighter model and offer nails with strong holding power.

Framing Nail Guns

Framing nail guns are another option designed to work with different types of materials and they are oftentimes heavy enough to even penetrate some metals. This makes it a heavier tool, though it’s worth having one in your arsenal. These are ideal for a variety of heavy-duty projects, and are a must have for carpentry and industrial work. The different uses for framing guns include:

  • Decks and patios
  • Fences
  • Framing houses
  • Wood sheathing
  • Chair rails
  • Hardwood flooring

Finishing Nails Guns

It’s only appropriate that we complete our list with the finishing nail gun. These can be interchangeable with a brad gun, though finishing nail guns boast a stronger hold. As such, this is a good option for projects such as cabinetry and furniture-making. Though you can use it for projects such as baseboards and molding, finishing guns are more likely to cause thinner wood to split. As such, it may not be your best choice for installing trim.

How Many Nail Guns Should I Have?

With such a large variety of different options, even knowing the differences between them can make it difficult to choose the proper gun for your needs. If you work exclusively on projects such as siding or roof installation, the choice may be obvious. However, many of these different types of guns can seem interchangeable, but the slight differences make a large impact for anyone who cares about the fine details in their projects. But is it necessary to have them all?

Quality counts when it comes to nails guns, meaning that a thoughtful purchase is necessary. As such, the cost of the guns and nails in conjunction with them can become pricy. So, which should you choose? The line of work you do is important when making this consideration. If you are in a position in which you frequently use these guns, they will have an impact on your quality of work. As such, you should arm yourself with a few trusty options. We believe that having a few different varieties to start can suffice, and these are our top three picks for your starter kit:

  • A staple gun: The versatility this allows, as well as the varying strengths of staples you can choose, makes a pneumatic staple gun an ideal starter tool.
  • A framing gun: We believe that a heavy-duty option is essential, and this is likely your best bet. Any difficult projects need the strength and hold of this tool.
  • A brad gun: As far as lighter projects go, the brad gun lies somewhere between the pin gun and a finishing gun. As such, we think it’s optimal for when you need a smaller nail with a good hold.

Choosing the right gun for your needs doesn’t have to be difficult, so long as you’re aware of your different options. We hope our guide will help you make the perfect choice for all of your future projects. If you need more information, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Staple Headquarters today.

The Main Types of Nail Guns infographic