Best Flooring Nailers 2020 – Buyer’s Guide

The 8 Best Flooring Nailers in 2020 - Buyer's Guide

Whether you casually do flooring jobs at your home or you are a professional who performs many flooring tasks, you need a good flooring nailer. 

Flooring nailers come at different prices, different selling features, and different brands, so in order to purchase the right one for you, you must know your needs and frequency of usage. 

In the following, you will find some flooring nailers with different prices, brands, and features, so the chances of finding the best flooring nailer will get higher by reading our review.  

Our Top Picks:

Flooring NailerWeight DimensionsMagazine Capacity Cleats/StaplesPower source PSI
Freeman PF18GLCN 9.68 lbs 5 x 18 x 22 inches120 L-cleatsAir Powered70-115
Freeman PFL618BR11.46 lbs16.8 x 3.5 x 22.8 inches120L-cleats/ T-Cleats / StaplesAir Powered70-115
DEWALT DWFP1256914.72 lbs20.6 x 3.9 x 23.4 inches100 L-cleats/ StaplesCorded-Electric70-100
Freeman PDX50C13 lbs16.8 x 3.5 x 20.8 inches120L-cleats/ T-Cleats / StaplesAir Powered70-115
BOSTITCH MIIIFN13.98 lbs22 x 16 x 4.5 inches110 L-cleatsAir Powered70- 120
BOSTITCH BTFP1256914.72 lbs20.6 x 3.9 x 23.4 inches100 L-cleats/ staplesPneumatic70-100
Freeman PFBC9404 lbs12 x 4 x 11 inches100 Staples/NailsAir Powered70- 115
NuMax SFL61815.7 lbs3.5 x 16.7 x 22.8 inches120 L-cleats/ T-Cleats / StaplesAir Powered70- 115

The 8 Best Flooring Nailers 2020

1. Freeman PF18GLCN – Best Overall

Freeman PF18GLCN

Freeman PF18GLCN is an 18-gauge pneumatic flooring nailer. It has a wide capacity magazine that accepts up to 120 fasteners, so you will not need to frequently stop to reload the nailer. 

This flooring nailer is great with dense flooring, bamboo, brazilian teak, cherry, and most exotic hardwoods since it uses L-cleats. Moreover, it accepts cleats from 1 ¼ – 1 ¾ inch long so that it can be used on various materials. 

Besides, it features an extended reach handle that helps you keep your back as straight as possible. It also has a no-mar foot so as not to damage the wood, and a no-mar mallet to help place the wood without damaging it. 

As for maintenance, there is an anti-dust cap that keeps the insides of the tool maintained and clean. 

The tool kit comes with the nailer, fiberglass flooring mallet, three base plates, air tool oil, and hex wrenches for adjustment.

Its downside is that it is difficult to find fasteners that are compatible with it, so you will have to use the ones made by the brand. 

Pros:

  • Lightweight 
  • 7-year limited warranty 
  • Extended reach handle
  • No-mar foot
  • No-mar mallet 
  • Interchangeable base plates to match the material you’re using

Cons:

  • Does not work on all bamboo (for example, strand bamboo)
  • Compatible with Freeman brand cleats only 

Bottom Line

Freeman PF18GLCN is a durable and lightweight flooring nailer. It is a great nailer to use if you want to handle hardwood.

2. Freeman PFL618BR – Runner Up

Freeman PFL618BR

Freeman PFL618BR is a suitable tool for professionals, and hobbyists for it is durable and easy to use. It is excellent for hardwood flooring. 

It is also great for its 3-in-1 usage as it accepts 16 gauge T-cleats and L-cleats and 15.5 gauge staples with nail lengths varying between 1½ inches to 2 inches. Moreover, its magazine can take up to 120 fasteners, which helps maximize your productivity because you will not stop every now and then to reload. 

It comes with a durable case that’s ideal for storage and traveling, a white rubber mallet, oil, goggles, wrenches, and interchangeable faceplates.

Pros:

  • Easy to maintain 
  • Used on hardwood 
  • Compatible with staples and both kinds of cleats 
  • Comes with a durable carrying case
  • Extended handle for your comfort 

Cons:

  • Bottom plate may scratch finished flooring 
  • Prone to jamming 
  • Has a larger misfire rate than some other staplers

Bottom Line

Professionals can use this, but it is better suited for homeowners. Its versatility, comfort, and accessories helped it come as a runner up on our list. 

3. DEWALT DWFP12569 – Versatile 

DEWALT DWFP12569

This corded-electric flooring nailer is a pricey one; however, it is worth your money. It accepts both L-cleats and staples. You can use 16 gauge cleats or 15.5 gauge staples from 1 ½ to 2 inches. 

Its magazine holds up to 100 fasteners, which is usually great, but if you are going to use it for a long time, there is a chance that you might need to reload mid-task. Also, it is fitted with the standard 1/4-inch air fitting so that you can use it with almost any kind of air compressor. 

Moreover, thanks to its tall handle that has a comfortable rubber grip, it does not hurt your hands or back. 

You can adjust it to any flooring size and thickness because it uses interchangeable and non-marring base plates that are easily adjustable. 

Pros:

  • Versatile 
  • Lightweight 
  • Maneuverable 
  • Ergonomically designed rubber grip and extended handle

Cons:

  • No dry fire lockout
  • Expensive 
  • Jams occasionally 

Bottom Line

This flooring nailer is indeed pricey, but it offers some great features and properties in return. It is designed for professional use, so you will not regret it if you buy it to work on big projects. 

Note, though, that its magazine capacity takes 100 fasteners only, so if you hate reloading mid-work, steer away from this one. Otherwise, it is impressive. 

4. Freeman PDX50C – Best For Its Compatibility with T-cleats, L-cleats, and staples

Freeman PDX50C

This a 3-in-1 pneumatic flooring nailer. It uses 16-gauge T-cleats and L-cleats and 15.5 gauge staples, which facilitates the process of switching between types and thickness of the flooring. 

What is more significant about this nailer is its 7-year warranty, which is very comforting, especially if you are going to use it daily. Also, its no-mar foot keeps it from scratching the flooring, and its interchangeable base plates help with making it more versatile. 

The lightweight and durable Freeman PDX50C would be a great choice if you will work with different woods or jobs. 

Although it does not jam a lot, if it ever does, clearing it will not be an easy job. 

Pros:

  • 7-year limited warranty 
  • Compatible with T-cleats, L-cleats, and staples
  • Interchangeable base plates
  • Does not usually jam 

Cons:

  • Hard to store due to its large size
  • Not easy to clear jams
  • Does not come with a case

Bottom Line

Freeman PDX50C will help you if you work on different types or different thickness of the flooring. It is also versatile due to its 3-in-1 feature and its interchangeable base plates. 

5. BOSTITCH MIIIFN – Best For Beginners 

BOSTITCH MIIIFN

BOSTITCH MIIIFN is a great tool for professionals and homeowners alike. It is especially great for beginners because it is comfortable and easy to use. It also has a long comfortable handle that does not hurt your hand or back, and it is made of die-cast aluminum, so it is durable, lightweight, and easy to maneuver. 

Sadly, it is only compatible with 16 gauge L-cleat, so it is needless to say that if you need to use T-cleats or staples, do not buy it. Its magazine can hold up to 110 fasteners, which is not bad at all. 

The 7-year warranty that this is backed with makes professionals use it comfortably. Also, its extra-wide base plate helps give the user more balance and control. 

Rest assured that you will end up with professional results quickly because you can get consistent angles every time.

The kit comes with the nailer itself, a graphite mallet, ½ inch and ¾ inch base plates, and prefinished flooring adapter foot. 

Sadly, like Freeman PDX50C, if it ever jams, it will be hard to clear. 

Pros:

  • Consistent 
  • Easy to use 
  • Comfortable 
  • 7-year warranty

Cons:

  • Compatible with L-cleats only 
  • Can only be used with ¾ inch flooring
  • No easy depth control on the nailer

Bottom Line

This will be a great deal of purchase if you are a beginner who wants to invest in a pneumatic flooring nailer. Its ease of use, comfort, and other appealing features will not let you down. 

However, if you need a versatile flooring nailer, this is not the one. 

6. BOSTITCH BTFP12569 – Suitable For Hardwoods 

BOSTITCH BTFP12569

This lightweight flooring nailer is easy to maneuver and hold thanks to its long handle and comfort rubber grip. It is also a 2-in-1 because it is compatible with 15.5 gauge flooring staples or 16 gauge L-cleats that range from 1½ inches to 2 inches in length. However, it does not accept T-cleats.  

It is suitable for engineered flooring due to the presence of interchangeable and non-marring base plates, which prevents scratches on the material and allow it to work on floors with various thicknesses. 

On the other side, it is a lousy magazine that may leave you firing an empty nail gun. 

Pros:

  • Accepts L-cleats and staples
  • Interchangeable and non-marring base plates
  • Comfortable to use
  • Suitable for hardwoods
  • 7-year limited warranty 

Cons:

  • Does not accept T-cleats 
  • Relatively expensive 

Bottom Line

Aside from its potential to dry fire, BOSTITCH BTFP12569 is one of the best flooring nailers on the market. Its comfortable handle, 2-in-1 feature, and interchangeable and non-marring base plates are some of its great features. 

7. Freeman PFBC940 – Lightweight

Freeman PFBC940

Freeman PFBC940 is two tools in one because you can easily convert it into a brad nailer to help you with finishing woodworking projects. It is also very versatile because it shoots staples and nails. 

Besides, it is very comfy to use thanks to its lightweight, which makes the process of clearing jams really easy and its tool-free depth adjustment. 

It also will not dry fire because there is a reload indicator that lets you know when you must reload. 

It is noteworthy for its very affordable price. 

Pros:

  • Lightweight 
  • Quick-release nose
  • Tool-free depth adjustment 
  • Two tools in one 

Cons:

  • Not very useful for large flooring projects

Bottom Line

At a very affordable price, you won’t only get one but two tools. Moreover, say goodbye to dry firing thanks to its useful reload indicator. 

8. NuMax SFL618 – Anti-Dust Cap

NuMax SFL618

This pneumatic flooring nailer is a 3-in-1 kind of tool because it accepts L-cleats, T-cleats, and staples. This variety allows it to perform on different types of wood; it could even be used for roofing or siding as well as flooring. 

It operates at between 70 and 115 PSI, so it is equally great for installing thin and dense wood floors. Moreover, its magazine can take up to 120 fasteners, so you won’t stop mid-work to reload it. This, of course, saves you a lot of time, and hence increases your productivity. 

It is durable and lightweight thanks to its die-cast aluminum body, so that it is easy to maneuver and balance. 

It features a long handle and a comfortable grip to add comfort to your working hours. It also has an anti-dust cap that helps keep it clean, and a non-mar rubber mallet, so that the wood is not damaged when placed. 

You can use most air compressors thanks to its 1/4-inch NPT fitting. 

As amazing as this nailer is, it cannot be used for large scale projects or industrial work. It is better suited for home tasks. 

Pros:

  • Uses three different fasteners 
  • Lightweight
  • Durable 
  • High capacity magazine 
  • Anti-dust cap
  • Relatively cheap 

Cons:

  • Not suitable for industrial work 
  • No case for storage 
  • Not as high quality as more expensive models
  • Hard to tell when it is out of nails 

Bottom Line

Indeed, this model comes with many great features, but do not get it if you are a professional. It would be great if you need it for around-the-home work, though. Also, it will not hurt your pocket.

How to Pick a Flooring Nailer

Before buying a flooring nailer, you have to know the things that you need to look for. If you do not know what these features are, do not worry because I have listed them for you. 

Professional vs. Home Use

Professional flooring nailers are more expensive than those that are designed for amateurs, yet, if you are an amateur who has the money and willing to invest in a professional finish nailer, then why not? 

However, if you are a professional, you must buy a professional one. I assume that it would be horrible if you find out that the finish nailer you have is unreliable, especially if you use it frequently. 

Durability 

You, of course, do not want to go through the hassle of buying a new finish nailer every now and then, so you better buy a durable one. The build quality of the tool is a vital factor to consider. Aluminum is the best body material of any flooring nailer for its durability and lightweight. 

Weight

Buying a lightweight flooring nailer is a smart move because it ensures that you can easily maneuver it and carry it around. It also helps you balance it better. 

Ergonomics 

You must buy a flooring nailer that is comfortable to hold. Indeed, most flooring nailers have rubber handles to prevent your hands from hurting you along working, but you must try holding it before you actually buy it to make sure that it is suitable for your hands. 

Moreover, for your back’s safety and health, buy one that has a long handle so as not to have to stoop down a lot. 

Power Source 

There are two ways by which a flooring nailer can be powered; namely, manual and pneumatic. 

The manual flooring nailer is affordable but really difficult to operate. They mainly rely on muscle power. They require two hits on the bumper; the first hit is to position the cleat, and the second one is for actuation. 

 Also, I should tell you that if you are going to work on large flooring projects, then you must stay away from manual flooring nailers. 

On the other hand, pneumatic flooring nailers are very suitable for large projects; however, they are more expensive than manual ones. The added cost is due to the fact that they need an air compressor to operate. They, unlike their manual counterparts, require one hit on the bumper to shoot the nails into the material. 

Flooring Nailer vs. Flooring Stapler

People use the terms “flooring nailer” and flooring stapler” interchangeably out of ignorance. Indeed, these two power tools have a lot of similarities, but they are very different. 

A flooring nailer is better suited for working on hard and brittle wood. It is also better to use in places with many temperature changes. On the other hand, use a flooring stapler if you are working on a not-very-brittle material. Also, it is a more affordable flooring tool with more initial affixing power.

Let’s make things a bit clearer.

Flooring Nailer

The flooring nailer that is also known as the flooring cleat nailer uses cleat nails for fastening. You can have it as a manual model or a pneumatic one -like those discussed above. 

Whichever model you decide to get, you will still have to hit the driver head when inserting the nail. The pressure required depends on the density of the flooring wood. 

They usually use 18 or 16-gauge cleat nails, but for engineering flooring, there are 20-gauge cleats available on the market. 

The cleat nails are very suitable to be used in places that suffer from changes in the temperature because they allow the wood to expand or contract freely. You would also love to use them on hard and thick wood because they apply more pressure to keep the wood in place. 

Flooring Stapler 

Flooring staples are cheaper than flooring nailers. They come in manual, pneumatic, and electric models. It is no secret that they use staples to fasten wood on the floor. The staples have two prongs that anchor the flooring wood into the subfloor.

Most flooring staplers have a 15.5 gauge, which is larger than the nail cleat used by flooring nailers. Although the initial affixing power of the larger staples is stronger than cleats, they do not do as great a job as their counterparts in holding hardwood to the subfloor in the long run.

They should not be used if you are working with planks that are less than 3/4-inch thick because the shape of the staples and their penetration force splits the tongue of the flooring.

Having said this, it would not be a good idea to use them on brittle wood. 

Cleats vs. Staples

One of the decisions that you will need to make is whether to use a cleat or a staple. It is always a great plus if the flooring nailer you buy supports both of them. 

Cleats 

Cleats can handle almost any type of wood. They are suitable to be used for hardwood flooring. They have two types: L-shaped and T-shaped cleats.

They are most probably made from steel, and they have a ribbed edge, which allows them to attach to the flooring and subflooring firmly. These ribs give the cleats a better hold of the flooring than the staples. 

If you are living or working in a place that has temperature changes, they are going to come in handy because they are flexible with the contraction and expansion of the wood. 

Their cost is their only downside because they cost twice the price of staples. 

Staples

Staples are designed with two long and smooth prongs that will go through the flooring and into the subflooring with ease.

Initially, they hold better than the cleats thanks to their bigger size; however, as a result of the expansion and contraction of wood, their grip loosens. 

Do not let the price decide your choice; instead, consider their pros and cons, and see what better fits your needs.

Safety Measures: 

  • Read the manufacturer’s manual 
  • Keep the area around you clean
  • Never work in dim lights 
  • Try to work in an area that is not crowded, and that is free of distractions
  • Keep the switch off as long as you are not using the nailer
  • Once the nailer is linked to the air hose, do not try to load fasteners to avoid unintentional firing 
  • Make sure the accessories are not lose
  • Wear heavy-duty gloves, non-skid shoes, and a dust mask

Final Thoughts

I assume that now you have a deeper insight regarding how to choose the best flooring nailer. 

I would say that Freeman PF18GLCN has some of the best features; yet, take care that it accepts L-cleats only

On the other hand, if you need a versatile cordless flooring nailer, you can go for 

Freeman PFL618BR. It will allow you to work on more projects with ease. 

The rest of the flooring nailers in this review are all great, but their level of greatness will vary depending on your needs. So, you better decide the best one for you. 

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