We Know: How to Buy a Nail Gun

Things to Consider About Nail Guns

Most nail guns require an air compressor to power them, and some are sold with the compressor as a set. Some nail guns are battery powered, cordless models. Both the battery powered and compressor models can be sold separately, or with other types of nailers, which is handy when you are just starting out and need more than one size nailer.


Nail guns have the potential to be dangerous if not used correctly. Do not override the safety features for the sake of convenience, and do not let children play with them under any circumstance.

Types of Nail Guns

As with most tools, nail guns are specialized for different uses. When considering the length of the nails you will be using, keep in mind the gauge, or thickness. You want the nails to be the right length, but they also must be strong enough to do the job. These are the main types of nail guns:

  • Framing nailer. These are heavy duty nailers, and typically accept 2" to 3-1/2" size nails. These nail guns are generally used to frame houses, when thicker pieces of wood are joined together.
  • Roofing nailer. Specially designed for installing roof shingles, most of these nailers will load 7/8" to 1-1/4" roofing nails.
  • Brad nailer. Most will accept 5/8" to 1-1/4" brad nails. Brad nailers are good for small jobs, like tacking down tarpaper, or thin wallboard.
  • Finishing nailer. An average finishing nailer will accept 3/4" to 2-1/2" finishing nails. Finishing nailers are good general purpose nailers for when you do not need something heavy duty.

Who manufactures nail guns?

Many companies make nail guns. Here are several popular manufacturers:

  1. Hitachi.
  2. Porter-Cable.
  3. Ryobi.
  4. DeWalt.
  5. Senco.


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