Different Types of Brad Nailers

September 18, 2022

Electric and Pneumatic brad nailers

Not long ago, I was thinking of buying a brad nailer to complement my 16-gauge nail gun. One of my concerns then was how I could zero in on the best brad nailer for my woodworking projects. Given the myriads of brad nailers in the market today, each claiming it is the best brad nailer, it will indeed become challenging for beginner in woodworking to figure out the ideal one for their use.

The brad nailer, of course, is a nail gun that drives the smallest nails or brads. You can use it for cabinetry, installation of carpets, and making light furniture. It is a specialty gun that drives the thin brads onto a material. Using a hammer, you will find it almost impossible to shoot the brad nails through a material with enough force. Yet, with a brad nailer, this process becomes quick and easy.

In-depth Discussion of the Different Types of Brad Nailers

One thing I’ve learned when I was shopping around for a brad nailer was that brad nailers come in a wide array of brands and models. Moreover, the different types of brad nailers can make the selection process challenging for newbies in woodworking. For this reason, it will help if you know the types of brad nailers to ensure that you would purchase the ideal one for your needs. Here is a rundown of the different types of brad nailers in the market today:

1) Pneumatic Brad Nailers

The primary type of brad nailers you will find in the market today is the pneumatic brad nailer. Pneumatic, of course, means something operated by air or gas pressure. So, pneumatic brad nailers derive their power from an air compressor that you got to buy along with the nailer. 

The pneumatic brad nailers require less recharge time, and the pressure provided by the air compressor is relatively reliable and consistent. Pneumatic nailers come in various types, including finish nailers, roofing nailers, pin nailers, brad nailers.

Advantages of Using Pneumatic Brad Nailer

Pneumatic nailers have sufficient power to drive thick and long nails through hard and heavy materials. Hence, they are perfect for heavy tasks like flooring installation, roof installations, and framing. Besides, they are very versatile and come in various designs for different applications. 

However, the pneumatic brad nailers get designed for detailed and delicate finishing jobs. Besides, they require not much maintenance, and you can easily clean them. They are also easy to use, and their parameters are easy to adjust. Moreover, they are pretty durable and can withstand heavy usage. 

Disadvantages of Using Pneumatic Brad Nailer

Pneumatic nailers exhibit tremendous power. Thus, they can be very dangerous if you misuse them. Besides, you may hurt yourself if you mishandle them. So, when using them, it will be best to exercise extreme caution. 

Another downside of their use is the limitation posed by the air compressor and the hose. You need to tag along with you the compressor and the hose to where you would work. Plus, the compressor might take enough space in your workstation if you have limited space, eventually cramming your workstation.

2) Electric Brad Nailers (Cordless and Corded)

Another evolution in the technology of the brad nailers is the corded and cordless electric brad nailers. These brad nailers do away with the air compressor, making them more convenient to use anywhere. The electric brad nailers, of course, utilize electricity, whether this electric current is AC or DC. 

The corded brad nailers have a cord that you can plug into the nearest electrical outlet. On the other hand, the cordless ones come with a battery that you can recharge. The corded ones can work continuously without you worrying about losing power as long as you got it connected to an electrical outlet. However, the cordless brad nailer get powered by the battery and have a specific runtime. 

Once the battery runs out, you need to stop your work and recharge or replace the battery with an extra battery. Nevertheless, the cordless ones are more convenient to use, freeing you from the hassles concomitant with the cords that could trip or make your maneuvering through your workspace more complicated.

Advantages of using Electric Brad Nailer

Electric nailers are easy to maintain and use. They are also more maneuverable than the pneumatic ones. The corded ones come with a consistent supply of power. So, you need not worry about running out of battery. Nevertheless, battery technology has also improved over time, and now, they are more reliable. 

Thus, the cordless ones are quickly becoming a more popular option for a brad nailer. Although cordless brad nailers are heavier with their extra battery weight, they are still easy to carry around sans the cords. They are also convenient to use in tight and challenging workspaces. 

Disadvantages of Using Electric Brad Nailer

Corded nailers get limited by the cord’s length and the availability of electrical outlets. On the other hand, the cordless ones get limited by their batteries. Besides, electric nailers aren’t as powerful as pneumatic nailers. More often, their use is only limited to light works. You can’t use them effectively in heavy tasks like roofing and framing.

Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Brad Nailer

After knowing the brad nailer types, you will also benefit from knowing the essential factors to consider when buying a brad nailer. These factors can serve as your basis in choosing the ideal brad nailer for your needs:

Depth of Drive

The materials you will deal with using the brad nailer differ from each other. Hence, you need to assess how much force you would use to shoot a brad nailer into a material effectively. If you are dealing with soft and thin material, you need to lessen the driving force of your brad nailer; otherwise, the nail will only shoot past the thin material. 

Hence, your brad nailer should have a depth of drive adjustment feature. With a depth adjustment dial, you can set the brad nailer at the correct drive depth.

Tool-free Jam Release

One problem you might encounter when using a brad nailer is nail jamming. Nail guns occasionally jam due to various reasons. It might be that you fed the nailer with the wrong-sized nails. Besides, the pressure might not be sufficient enough. Hence, you made a double click on the trigger. 

It will be best to look for a brad nailer model with a tool-free jam release feature when selecting a brad nailer. These nailers come with textured or knurled knobs that let you dismantle the tool with ease to clear the jam. Such a feature will lessen downtime in your work.

Nailing Modes Control

You can set your brad nailers either in two ways: automatic and single-shot modes. So, when choosing a nailer, you should look for something that comes with nailing modes control. For example, if you would nail large pieces, you can set the nailer at the automatic mode to get the nailing process done quickly. 

In such a mode, you hold the trigger down and hit the surface with the nailer’s nose to enable it to shoot brad nails. But when dealing with more detailed and intricate jobs like installing small trim, you might as well shift to the single-shot mode.

Dry Lockout

This feature lets you know if the brad nailer is running out of fasteners. With such a feature, the nailer’s nose won’t even depress, making it impossible for you to pull its trigger. Running out of fasteners when you’re too engaged in driving brad nails can always happen, especially if you’re working on top of the cabinet or along a tight spot where you would find it difficult to tell if you’re running out of fasteners. 

If you fire an empty nailer against your workpiece, the nailer might leave a mark that you need to refill afterward. So, with the dry lockout feature, this issue gets prevented.

Exhaust Air Control and Adjustment

Nailers come with an air exhaust usually situated at the rear. The adjustment of this air exhaust can prove crucial to the convenience and ease of use of your brad nailer, mainly if you’re engaged in large projects. If the air exhaust is fixed, the exhaust can blow the exhaust air onto your face. 

So, when choosing a nailer, you should look for something with exhaust air control. Such a feature can keep your workspace safer and cleaner. Moreover, you can protect your eyes, face, and ears from such exhaust air.

Convenience and Ease of Use

Nailers almost work in the same way. Yet, some nailers are lighter and more maneuverable. Some are easy to use and come with an ergonomic design like a soft grip. So, if you would select a nailer, it will help to look for something that affords convenience and ease of use. 

Look for something that allows for the effortless loading of nails. It should also be easy to operate even if it is your first time using it.


Brad nailer has an uncanny name that is quite different from the other nailers. Most nailers, for example, are named according to their gauge, like the 15-gauge and the 16-gauge nailer. Yet, the brad nailer, although it makes use of 18-gauge nails, is called a brad nailer. The brad nailer, of course, should be one of the nailers you should have at hand. It is a versatile nailer that drives brads. 

Brads are not real nails. They are wires fashioned into pins. So, they are thinner than the 15-gauge and 16-gauge nails. When using a brad nailer, it will be best to always be on the safe side. Ensure that you follow the safety protocols in using it, for such a tool can cause injury with a single inattentiveness or miscue.

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