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The 9 Main Types of Nail Guns

Nail guns are extremely useful tools. Every handyman, whether experienced or beginner, uses them at some point. However, there are many different types of nail guns.

In this article, we will talk about the different types of nail guns to get to know them better and become more familiar with their uses.

Three Main Categories:

Before we talk about the different types, we must first understand that almost all nail guns come in 3 different categories that you must first choose from before choosing your type. These three categories are:

  • Pneumatic nail gun
  • Combustion nail gun
  • Battery or cordless nail gun

1. Pneumatic Nail Guns

Pneumatic nail guns run on pressurized air. In order for them to run, you must purchase an air compressor that passes the air through the air hose into the gun. They have advantages and drawbacks; their advantage is that they are relatively stronger than the two other types. 

However they cost more as you have to purchase an air compressor, also they are not very portable due to the fact that you always have to stay connected to the air compressor.

2. Combustion Nail Guns

They are similar to pneumatic nail guns; instead, they do not operate on pressurized air. They run on gas, where a spark is created that provides the required pressure that fires the nail and drives it into the wall. 

3. Cordless Nail Guns

They run on batteries, combustion nail guns, and cordless or battery operated nail guns are more portable and easy to move around than pneumatic nail guns. Because the long hose that connects the air compressor to the nail gun is eliminated. This makes them more portable; however, their expenses are relatively the same as you still have to pay for batteries and gas.

Now that we have talked about the three main categories. We will start talking about the main types of nail guns.

The 9 Types of Nail Guns

1. Staple Gun

Staple guns are different from all other types of nail guns. As their name states, they fire staples and not nails; however, they are very useful and have many uses. They can be used to holster and attach pieces of fabric to each other, fix carpets to the floor, they can be used to repair wood and many fabrics, and finally, they are used in small projects like building dog houses or even birdhouses.

2. Finish Nailers

Finish nailers are nail guns that specialize in using larger nails, especially 15 and 16. They are perfect for use in larger and bulkier projects. They are perfect for use in baseboards and crown moldings.

Read more: best finish nailers list.

3. Brad Nailers

Brad nailers are very similar to finish nailers; however, they utilize smaller and more delicate nails from 18 all the way to 23. They are small nail guns that are used in more delicate projects that require delicate handling, especially if you do not want your nail to leave a hole or a mark in your working piece.

Read more: best electric brad nailers list.

4. Pin Nailers

Pin nailers are the smallest and most delicate type of nail guns available. They are optimized to work perfectly with 23 gauge headless nails. This type of nails is the smallest size of nails out there; they are so small that they look like pins and not nails.

They are not capable of holding anything up, and they must be used in conjunction with any other type of adhesive. They are best used in trimming small pieces of wood and in crown moldings.

5. Roofing Nailers

True to their name, roofing nailers are used for roofing jobs only. They drive nails into roofs with astonishing speeds. They are heavy duty nails that are only used by professional contractors only. However, there are three types of roofing nailers:

  • Pneumatic
  • Solenoid
  • Spring Loaded

Pneumatic roofing nailers are powered by air compressors and are the most popular type. While a solenoid roofing nailer is powered by electromagnetic polarization and finally, spring-loaded roofing nailers are the simplest and easiest type to use as they are powered by springs that shoot the nails out.

Read more: best roofing nailers list.

6. Siding Nailers

Also true to their name, siding nailers are only used in installing sidings. They are powerful nail guns that utilize special nails that have wide heads such as the 1-¼ or the 2-½. They are also compatible with aluminum nails, which makes them very versatile.

7. Flooring Nailers

These are specially designed nailers; they have a different shape from your everyday nailer. This is due to the fact that they are made to lay tongue and groove floorboards, thus their name flooring boards. These nailers are not as versatile as other nailers as they are only used in floors. There are two types of flooring nailers, they are:

  • Pneumatic
  • Manual

They are both very similar in their mechanics; however, a pneumatic nail gun is easier to use as the presence of an air compressor removes any need for human effort.

Read more: best flooring nailers list.

8. Palm Nailers

They are similar to miniguns, as they fire nails out very rapidly. They are also small-sized, and there is a strap that wraps around your hand; therefore, it is one of the most comfortable nail guns to use.

It is suitable for usage in tight spots, small projects, and joist hangers. They utilize regular nails that are used by hammers; they are also extremely accurate due to their small size.

9. Framing Nailers

The most commonly used type of nailers, they are extremely strong and mostly used by contractors as they are suitable for heavy-duty work. There are two types of framing nailer, they are: 

  • Roundhead
  • Clipped head

Roundhead framing nailers hold fewer nails and are not restricted by some building codes and laws, while clipped head framing nailers are perfect for large scale projects as they can hold a higher number of nails.

Final Thoughts

Finally, we can say that having a nail gun is a must as it will save you a lot of time and money. However, there are multiple factors that you need to decide before buying one. The most important of them being which type you want and whether it will be pneumatic, combustion, or cordless.

John Graham

John Graham

I am a 35-year old avid DIY-er. Ever since I was young, my father used to prompt me to help fix things around the house or even building my own cupboards and shelves.
That’s why I developed the habit of doing everything on my own. And since this is the only way to reach the unique results I really want, I don’t like depending on any services.

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