9 Different Types of Nailers & Nail Guns

September 18, 2022

Different types of nail gun for various wood projects.

Have you ever wondered how long it would take you to install hardwood floorboards using only a hammer? I bet you haven’t figured that out, for you’ve been so much accustomed to using your nail guns to drive nails. Yet, if you ever try to use your hammer for such installation, you’ll get too exhausted afterward, and it will take you eons to get the job done. Besides, you will think it’s preposterous to be hammering those nails, given the availability of nail guns. 

Well, the nail gun got invented only in 1950. So, for thousands of years before that, woodworkers had been sweating it out with the hammer. However, as a woodworker, nowadays, it will be best to utilize nail guns to speed up and facilitate the completion of most of your woodworking & furniture nailing projects that require driving many nails. At present, there are different types of nailers, and if you’re thinking of buying one, it will be best to know the different nailer types. 

Different Types of Nailers

If you would like to jumpstart your woodworking career, it will be best to include the nail gun in your list of tools to buy. Likewise, it will be good to know the different types of nail guns to ensure that you purchase suitable nail guns for your needs. Below is a rundown of the different kinds of nail guns you can find in the market today:

1) Framing Nail Guns

Worker building up the house structure with framing nail gun.

One nail gun type you can specifically use for wood framing is the framing nailer. Framing nailers come with a design for driving long framing nails up to 3.5″ long. They are the most powerful and extensive nail guns you can buy. These nailers are also handy in other woodworking projects that necessitate the use of 2x6s and 2x4s. 

You will find different types of framing nailers, and they usually get categorized according to the power source. You will find air-powered or pneumatic, battery-powered, and fuel-powered nailers.

This type of framing nail gun is the must-have nailer for building fence, deck, and construction wood framings.

2) Brad Nailers

Brad nailer to install the door trim and boards.

Brad nailer is another type of nailer that you can use for cabinet making and trim installation. It is an interior nailer that drives 18-gauge nails or brads. These brads are tiny and almost unnoticeable when you push them onto the wood. The tiny size of the brad nails makes them easy to hide. In fact, in most cases, you don’t need to exert any effort to conceal them.

You will find it challenging to drive brads manually with a hammer. For this reason, brad nailers are crucial to any home renovation project when installing baseboards, trims and moldings because the installations of these trims and moldings require driving dozens of tiny nails into them. 

The brads are so small that you can bend them if you use a hammer or damage them when you pound on them. These brads, however, are not meant for installing crown moldings because they don’t have the necessary holding strength. Nevertheless, you can simplify many of your jobs if you have the brad nailer. Overall nail size is the major advantages of brad nailer for most furniture projects.

3) Finish Nailers

Powerful finish nailer for crown molding and baseboards.

Aside from the brad nailers, you will also find finish nailers. The finish nailers drive nails that hold heavier trim and moldings, which the brad nails can’t support well. These finish nailers drive 15-gauge and 16-gauge nails to provide better holding capacity. These nailers are more powerful than the brad nailers because they drive larger finish nails. However, these finish nails leave noticeable holes when entirely driven onto the materials. Hence, you will need to exert extra effort to hide their holes for aesthetic purposes.

4) Staple Nail Gun

Use staple nail gun for upholstery projects.

The staple gun varies much from the ordinary nail guns because they drive staples. You can use this nail gun for various applications, including attaching fabric onto a frame, as in the case of upholstery. You can also use it to fix carpet to walls or floors and in your carpentry works. You can also utilize it for repair works. 

The staple nail gun can come in handy in many other jobs. Its use, of course, comes with pros and cons. But as a woodworker, you will find this tool handy in many of your works.

5) Roofing Nail Guns

Nailing the roofings with a roofing nail gun.

You will find the roofing nail guns helpful when driving roofing nails. Well, driving roofing nails is an exhausting job, especially if the sun is at its zenith, exposing you to the onslaught of UV rays. So, it will not take you the whole day to drive those nails if you got these roofing nail guns. These nail guns are specific for driving roofing nails. 

Contractors and professional roofers more often utilize them. They can drive dozens of nails at tremendous speed, making the cumbersome roof installations quick and easy. You can also use this nail gun in nailing down asphalt shingles.

It will help if you exercise extra control not to overpower it. Hence, the depth adjustment feature is pretty much necessary for these nailers. Additionally, you will find three types of roofing nailers: spring-loaded, solenoid, and pneumatic.

6) Pin Nailers

Pin nailer is the most suitable nailer tool for small woodcraft projects.

Another type of nailer is the pin nailer, perfect for upholstery and small projects. You can use it for tiny trims, small crates, and birdhouses.

The gauge of the nails that the pin nailer drives up to 23 gauge. These nails may be without or with heads. Besides, the pin nails are too small that you won’t see their heads at all.

7) Palm Nailer

Palm nailer is very useful to nail in the tight space.

Palm Nailer is something that you can hold in your palm, and for this reason, it gets referred to as palm nail guns. A compressor powers this nailer, driving nails at a breakneck speed.

You can use this nailer for corners, ceilings, and edges, and it is perfect for the precise positioning of materials. The range of its nails it drives is from 1.5″ to 3.5.”

8) Siding Nailers

More powerful and heavy-duty nailer for installing siding.

You will often find the roofing nails used for installing siding. Yet, if you want something that is specially designed for siding installation, you can use the siding nailers. Since the roofing nail guns are for installing nails that you can easily remove, it may not be appropriate for installing siding that you will not replace more often.

It will be best to use siding nails meant for vinyl and wood alone. Siding nail guns are also lighter and provide more substantial holding power.

9) Hardwood Flooring Nailer

Special-designed flooring nailer for hardwood flooring installation.

You may think you can get away with hardwood flooring installation using a staple gun. In fact, a lot of debate about which flooring gun is better for hardwood floors has been going on. Yet, using a staple gun to install hardwood floors comes with its pros and cons.

For example, staplers do not allow for wood expansion, which might eventually cause the wood to split. If you want something specifically designed for hardwood floor installation, you can check out the hardwood flooring nailer.

Power Source Types for Various Nailers

As mentioned above, you can classify nail guns according to their power source. They could be air-powered or pneumatic, corded, fuel-powered, or cordless electric. You can power nailers using air, and these nailers get referred to as pneumatic nailers. You need to buy a compressor, hose, and fittings for connecting your nail guns to the compressor. 

The pneumatic nail guns are lighter than electric or cordless models. Moreover, they are more powerful and can be used continuously, unlike the battery-powered ones, which rely heavily on batteries. 

The downside of using pneumatic ones lies in the cumbersome air compressor you need to drag with you anywhere you need the pneumatic nail guns. Furthermore, you will need to choose the correct size of air compressor to match with your nail gun for sufficient nail punching power.

On the other hand, the fuel-powered nailer uses a combo of battery and fuel cells. This fuel-powered nailer is like a mini-engine. Combustions happen in the fuel cell to produce the force to drive the nails. 

Fuel-powered nail guns are not as popular as battery-powered ones. Yet, many craftsmen appreciate these nail guns for their lightness. You would need to occasionally replace the cells, which could pad up using fuel-powered cells. 

Meanwhile, battery-powered nail guns or cordless nail guns rely on their batteries for power. The battery spins the motor inside the nail gun, producing the necessary force to shoot the nails. Cordless nail guns, of course, are handy and portable. They are also convenient to use anywhere you need to drive nails. 

How Many Nail Guns Should You Own?

Judging from the many types of nail guns in the market today, you might be asking about how many nail guns you should own. Well, if money isn’t an issue to you, having each type of nail gun would be best. In this way, you can quickly select the perfect nail gun for a specific job. If you need to install roofing, you need a roofing nail gun. If you need to install siding, you can use the siding nailer. 

Yet, you may think that having all the types of nailers is already an overkill. Moreover, some nailer types have interchangeable applications. With a little adjustment, you can use one for another application. Besides, you can only work according to your means. But if you want to raise the quality of your woodworking activities, you should have the following most often used nail guns types:

Framing gun

This heavy-duty nail gun is an essential tool to have. So, if ever you got a chance to buy a single nail gun, you should opt first for the framing nail gun. You can do many projects with this nail gun and provide those projects with strength and durability.

Staple Gun

This nail gun is a versatile one that you would also find handy in many woodworking tasks. So, this one is also a perfect nail gun to start with. 

Brad Nail Gun

The brad nail gun comes in handy in delicate works that require smooth and damage-free nailing. With this nail gun, you can avoid splitting the board you want to nail.


My favorite professor in college often told me that knowledge is power. And I would readily agree with him, for the more you know your options, the better you can choose. Similarly, if you would choose among various types of nail guns, you need to know your options. Besides, you should know the pros and cons of each option.

You should also figure out each type of nailer or nail gun’s holding capacity, power source, and applications. It will also help to figure out which is best for your needs. Plus, you need to select the best brand and model of nail guns for your needs. Only then can you make an intelligent purchase without regretting your buying decision.

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