What Degree of Nail Gun is Best for Framing?

September 18, 2022

Carpenter punching nails into the wood frame in angled position.

Nailers come in different types like framing, finishing, brad, roofing, and flooring nail guns which can be a bit confusing to a tyro in the use of nail guns. They are also classified depending on their power sources like pneumatic, cordless, electric, and many other power source types. 

Besides, nail guns could be classified based on the angular design of their magazines, which might further confound the selection process for a newbie. So, in this article, I will discuss the significance of nail gun angles and help you figure out the degree nail gun appropriate for your framing tasks. 

Nail gun degrees refer to the cross line of the nailer’s head and the magazine. It refers to the angle at which the nailer’s head intersects with the magazine. Hence, it is also referred to as the magazine angle or framing nailer’s degree. The degree of framing nailers ranges from 0° to 34°, and the most commonly used degrees are 0, 15, 21, 28, 30, and 34. So, you will mostly find nail guns with angles ranging from 15° to 34°.

What is the Significance of Framing Nailer Angles?

If the various types of framing nailers are already confusing to a newbie, their angles might be more confounding. Yet, as explained above, the degrees refer to the intersection between the magazine and the nailer’s head. There is a more profound significance in this definition. It means that the angles would also refer to how the nails got collated. 

Since the magazine got angled in such a way relative to the nailer’s head, its nails are also angled relative to the magazine’s angle. Therefore, the angle refers to how the nails get slanted inside the magazine. So, to clear any confusion, this angle got nothing to do with how the nail gun fires the nails onto the material’s surface. 

The thing is, all nail guns fire their nails at a perpendicular angle. So, this nail gun’s degree got nothing to do with it. The nail gun angles include the following angles: 15-degree, 21-degree, 28-degree, and 30-34-degrees. So, to accommodate the various degrees, nail guns usually come with different features.

A good example is the 15-degree nail gun. This nail gun utilizes coil-collated nails. Moreover, these nails got connected with wire trips. On the other hand, the 21-degree framing nails got connected using a plastic strip. Meanwhile, the 30-34-degree framing nails got arranged together using paper. 

Moreover, varying angled framing nailers also come with different pins. The 15-degree nail gun, for example, uses coil collated nails, while the 21-degree framing nail guns don’t utilize coil collated nails. Their magazines also differ in length and the nails they can accommodate.

Degrees of Nail Guns for Framing

As mentioned above, framing nailers come with magazines with different angles or degrees. Below is a detailed discussion of each of the various degrees of framing nailers:

21-degree Framing Nailers

These nailers get referred to as 21-degree framing nailers. Yet, if you measure the degree of inclination of their magazines, you might find their magazines slanted at 20 to 22 degrees, depending on their manufacturers. 

The nails, they use, feature a full-rounded head. So, they are somewhat similar to the nails of the 15-degree nailers. Their primary difference lies in the way the nails get collated. In the case of the 21-degree nailers, their nails get collated using a plastic strip. Moreover, they are not wire coil nails. 

The magazines of these nailers can also accommodate up to 70 nails, which are lesser than the carrying capacity of the 15-degree nailers. Nevertheless, these nailers can work well in tight spaces with smaller magazines. One disadvantage of using these nailers is that you need to clean up the container strips once you replace the nails.

30 to 34-degree Framing Nailers

These framing nailers use full-round, offset, and clipped or offset-head nails. They also get held together using paper strips. Moreover, each clip has around 80 nails. You can use these framing nailers for framing, decking, siding, fencing, and driving larger nails onto various types of materials, including engineered materials. 

You can gain easy access to tight corners using these nailers. The reason is that these framing nails got the steepest angles, and thus, they can drive nails even at close angles. The magazine of these nailers can handle two full strips of pins up to eighty nails. 

Their nails are collated using sturdy paper tape. Thus, they do not leave more residue. These framing nailers, however, are heavier because of their unique collation. Yet, they got compact bodies.

28-degree Framing Nailers

The 28-degree Framing nailers use full-round, clipped, and offset head nails. Their nails get held together using a wire strip. Moreover, these nailers can handle up to 100 nails per clip. You can use these nailers for various applications. Yet, most building codes do not allow the use of offset nails and clipped head nails. 

So, before you use these nails, you better consult with the local building code. The nails got held so tightly that their heads more often overlap. Thus, the magazines of these nailers are more compact, allowing you to use them in tight corners.

15-degree Framing Nailers

These framing nailers come with full-round head nails, and these nails got collated using wire collation. Each clip can handle up to 300 nails. You can use these framing nailers for wall studs, floor joists, and tight corners. Their magazines come in circular shapes, and the nails, as mentioned above, are coil collated. 

The only nails compatible with these framing nailers are the fully round-headed nails. Nevertheless, the full-round head nails can provide you with the maximum holding capacity when fastening two truss pieces together. These nailers are more challenging to use because of their heavier weight. 

This heavyweight poses a challenge for users in many situations more often. Besides, you might find it challenging to handle when working overhead. For this reason, many professionals and workers do not want to use these nailers.

Which Framing Nailer Should You Buy?

When selecting a framing nailer, you should base your choice on succinct reasons. First, you must check with the local building code to check which nailers they permit in your areas. The reason is different communities have varying building codes. So, at the onset, it will be best to follow the local building codes of your place. If you have a nail gun that can only carry full-round head nails, and your local authorities prohibit the use of these nails, then you got no choice but to use another nailer. 

Of course, you can choose from among the different angled framing nailers discussed above. Each of these nailers come with their pros and cons. So, it will help if you weigh these pros and cons to end up with an intelligent buying decision. 

It is not easy to tell whether one angled framing nailer is better than the other for framing. The 21-degree framing nailers, for example, might be the most commonly used, but when you need to drive nails into tight corners, you might switch to 28° or 30° nailers. 

You can use the 15-degree nailers for roofing purposes. Nevertheless, if you want something for lightweight works like fastening moldings and making furniture, you might as well go for 28° to 34° nailers. Regarding regions, Canadians prefer the 28 degrees, while many framers in the U.S. prefer mostly 21-degree framing nailers.


If you are a newbie in framing nailers, you might choose framing nailers based on their power sources. Yet, you might overlook the factor about the degree of the framing nailers. As mentioned above, framing nailers come in various degrees. So, if you want to make an excellent choice, you might as well consider the pros and cons of each degree of framing nailers. In this way, you can reasonably assess which will work best for your projects. 

The abovementioned clarifications about what the degree reference means can help you understand the significance of the degree of framing nailers. Likewise, it will be good to note that this degree reference has nothing to do with how the nails get driven into the materials. But instead, this degree reference refers to how the magazine is angled relative to the nailer’s head. When choosing nailers based on this degree reference, the most important factors are the project location you will engage in and the works you will deal with.

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