10 Best

Cordless Nailers

of December 2023

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Cordless Nailers--For Fast & Efficient Carpentry!

Yehudah Posnick

A nail gun is an answer to an old-fashioned hammer and nail. Instead of risking banging your fingers instead of the head of the nail, a nailer will help you get the job done more quickly and painlessly. There are powerful pneumatic nailers that use compressed air to propel nails into wood. The tool itself is lightweight and fast. But, there are also cordless nailers, that are somewhat bulkier, but they use a rechargeable battery, which makes them fully portable.

The problem is that there isn’t one nail gun that can do everything. There are powerful nailers that are intended for attaching frames and heavy carpentry work. And on the other end of the scale, there are also nailers that are intended for delicate trim work. So, whether you’re a professional carpenter or a hobbyist, you might need more than one nail gun, depending on your needs. We’ve composed this buyer’s guide to help you make the right decision when selecting a cordless nailer. It'll help you:

  • Choose the right type of cordless nailer for your preferences,

  • See useful tips about that particular type of cordless nailer,

  • Read reviews of some different cordless nailers, and what customers are saying,

  • Select the right brand of a cordless nailer, and

  • Compare prices and find the best deals.

Types of Cordless Nailers

Nail guns can be distinguished by their purpose:

  • Nailers for professional construction: This includes framing nailers, for heavy construction work, like attaching plasterboard to a home’s wooden frame. A framing nailer would be used for constructing the wooden frame of an entire home, or of an additional room if so desired. But you can use it to put together a deck or fence as well. Professional builders will also have specialized nail guns for floorboards and for roofing.

  • Finish nailers: This is primarily for carpentry with heavier and thicker pieces of plywood or medium-density fibreboard, baseboards, and molding. They’ll use 15- or 16-gauge nails, and a hole size of a maximum of 1.83 mm. Since the hole is bigger, you may need to smooth out the hole with putty. They’re good for nails ranging from 1’ to 2.5” in length.

  • Brad nailers: “Brads” are thin nails, with a gauge of 18 (that’s for a hole size of around 1.21 mm. They are ideal for delicate, thin pieces of wood, such as trim and molding. Using a very thin nail will avoid cracking the wooden trim. They’re also suitable for attaching a carpet to a wooden floor.

  • Trim nailers: These are special for attaching trim--delicate, ornamental pieces of wood. They also will be employed in attaching door or window frames.

  • Pin nailers: This is for shooting very thin (0.64 mm diameter) headless pin nails. They are used in constructing furniture or cabinets, where you don’t want the nail to be visible.

What reviewers say

  • Magazine capacity and battery life: The magazine capacity tells you how many nails the nailgun can hold at once. Other device specs will concern the battery life of the nailer. For example, the Makita XNB02Z Straight Finish Nailer can drive up to 1000 nails on a single charge!

  • Use the right size nails: Experts warn that using smaller nails than what the nail gun is suited for (like using brad nails in a finish nail gun) will risk either shooting two nails at a time, or jamming or even breaking the nail gun. And using larger nails than what your nailer is designed for will almost definitely get the nailer jammed.

  • Illumination: Another nice feature on many nailers, such as the Avid Power Brad Nailer, is dual LED lights, that illuminate the surface that you’re working on. This allows for greater accuracy.

Important Features

  • Gauge of a nail: There are a number of standards regarding the diameters of nails, indicated by their gauge. The higher the gauge number, the thinner the nail will be. You’ll typically encounter nailers that take 15, 16, 18, or 23 gauge nails.

  • Adjusting the air pressure: There are nailers that allow you to adjust the air pressure of the tool. A higher pressure drives the nail more deeply into the wood.

  • Low nail indicator: Many nailers will have an indicator that will tell you when you’re running low and you have to reload the device’s cartridge. That prevents you from driving blanks that might damage the nailer or the surface of the wood that you’re working on.

  • Safety factors: A nailer can shoot a 3” nail deeply into a block of wood--but they also have a safety feature, which only lets you discharge a nail if the tool is pressed against a surface. In any event, it’s good to wear safety glasses when using a nailer--and many brands include safety glasses when you make a purchase.

Top-Rated Brands

Ryobi, a Japanese manufacturer of power tools and lawn care products, was founded in 1943. They employ brushless motors in their equipment, which gives more power and longevity. Their AirStrike series includes both nailers and staplers.

Craftsman is a maker of hand and power tools, gardening tools, and automotive tools. It was founded in 1927. Their cordless nailers include framing nailers, brad nailers, and finish nailers.

DeWalt was founded in 1922 by Raymond DeWalt, as a maker of woodworking tools. They have a line of compact power tools that use a lithium-ion battery, including drills, impact drivers, nailers, saws, and much more.

Porter Cable started as a machine and tool shop in 1906 and is currently headquartered in Jackson, Tennessee. They were purchased in 2004 by Black & Decker. They make power tools, as well as tools for woodworking and metalworking. They make finish & trim nailers, roofing nailers, and framing nailers.

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