Are you a carpenter? Do you have a brad nailer in your tool collection? Carpenters rely on trusty tools to help them finish projects. Without the right tool, you can end up ruining the job, causing you to start from scratch.
Nailing is a carpentry task requiring skill, a steady hand, and the right tool for the job. If you try to finish your nailing tasks using the wrong machine, it will result in disaster. A brad nailer is an effective tool for smaller nailing jobs, like putting up backboards.
Our Top Picks
- 1 Our Top Picks
- 2 Brad Nailer Reviews
- 3 Other Best Selling Options
- 4 Brad Nailer Buyer’s Guide
- 5 Brad Nailer FAQs
- 6 Brad Nailers – The Verdict
We scoured the top listing online to find the best brad nailers available. From our list, we selected these three models as our top picks in this review. We have something to suit the needs of the professional or hobbyist carpenter and any budget.
- The Best Pick: DEWALT Brad Nailer Kit
DEWALT is a leading brand in home power tools. This brad nailer wins our award for the best overall model in this review. You get an ergonomic handle and trigger, with fast rest and efficient operation. This pneumatic model is the best choice for heavy-duty use, providing long service life and a maintenance-free motor. You get operating pressures between 70 to 120-psi, and this tool drives 18-gauge nails home at lengths of up to 2-inches. This model comes with a user-friendly design and efficient operation. You get a toll-free jam release and an adjustable belt hook for easy carry.
- The Premium Pick: Makita AF506 2″ Brad Nailer
Professional carp[enters looking for the best tool money can buy, can settle on this Makita model. This brad nailer features a powerful, maintenance-free motor for effective operation. This model drives home 18-gauge brad nails to a 2-inch depth. This model includes an aluminum body for reduced weight and a narrow nose design for easy access to tight spots. The tool-less adjustment dial allows you to set your preferred nailing depth, and the high-quality components used in the design and manufacture of this brad nailer ensure long service life.
- The Budget Pick: Metabo HPT Brad Nailer
Carpenters looking for the best budget tool in this review will love this Metabo model. This brad nailer comes with adjustable 2-inch nailing depth and capacity for 18-gauge brad nails. The aluminum body provides a lightweight design for contractors to carry around the job site. This pneumatic model is the ideal choice for the professional or hobbyist workshop, and it comes with a 5-year warranty. This model has numerous awards for the best brad nailer in its category. The 360-degree adjustable dust port keeps your workshop clean, while the no-mar tip prevents unintended impressions on your work.
Brad Nailer Reviews
Now that you have an idea of the best brad nailers in this review let’s unpack them in detail. We’ll look at the features of our top models and a few others that qualify for the title of the best brad nailer.
After you finish the reviews, check out our buyers’ guide section. We’ll give you advice on selecting the best brad nailer for your workshop.
DEWALT Brad Nailer Kit
This brad nailer wins our award for the best overall model. DEWALT is a top name in power tools, with a solid reputation for excellent build-quality and fantastic performance in the workshop. This brad nailer features a pneumatic design, and the high-quality components make it suitable for professional and hobbyist use.
With this model, you get an adjustable 2-inch nailing depth, as well as compatibility with 18-gauge brad nails. This model includes an ergonomic grip and trigger, reducing operator fatigue during extended use of the nailer.
You get an adjustable belt hook, making it a great choice for contractors that need their hands free while working on projects. This model includes a lightweight and strong magnesium body that’s durable and suitable for professional workshops.
The DEWALT comes with a rear exhaust port to keep debris away from the working area and a sequential-style trigger with fast rest.
The tool-free operation of the nailing depth, and jam release mechanism, offer user-friendly operation.
- Leading power tool brand
- Suitable for hobbyists and professionals
- Works with 18-gauge nails
- Pneumatic function
- 2-inch depth
- Non-marring nose tip
- Adjustable belt hook
Makita AF506 2″ Brad Nailer
If you’re a professional carpenter looking for the best premium brad nailer, we recommend going with this Makita model. Makita has an established reputation as a leading brand in the power tools industry. Like all other Makita tools, you get the same high-quality build components for extended service life and precision operation.
This pneumatic brad nailer features compatibility with 18-gauge brad nails. You get a strong, aluminum frame for lightweight operation, reducing fatigue during use. The narrow, non-marring nose is ideal for getting into tight spots, and it won’t damage your materials.
This model features a built-in air-duster, with 360-degree directional adjustment to keep it out of your face. Makita included tool-less depth adjustment and jam release for easy operation. You get an operating range from 70 to 120-psi and an adjustable 2-inch nailing depth.
This model is the ideal choice for professional contractors. It’s expensive, but you get what you pay for in precision performance and extended service life.
- Professional-grade tool
- Lightweight aluminum design
- Top-quality design components
- Built-in air duster
- Tool-less depth adjustment
- Works with 18-gauge brad nails
- Narrow non-marring nose for tight spaces
Metabo HPT Brad Nailer
Metabo is the brand formerly known as Hitachi power tools. Metabo offers some of the best hobbyist power tools available. They provide an excellent balance of affordability and quality with this brad nailer. This model is compatible with 18-inch brad nails, featuring a visual reload indicator on the magazine’s side.
This pneumatic model comes with selective actuation, allowing you to select bump-fire or trigger-fired operation. You get full tool-less use of this brad nailer, with easy jam release and depth adjustment in seconds.
The Metabo brad nailer features a 360-degree adjustable exhaust port, allowing you to keep the air away from the working area. This model comes with lightweight construction to reduce operator fatigue and a non-marring tip with a slender design to help you get into those tight spaces.
- Excellent design quality
- Non-marring tip
- Works with 18-gauge brad nails
- A 360-degree adjustable exhaust port
- 2-inch drive depth
- 5-year warranty
PORTER-CABLE Cordless Brad Nailer Kit
If you’re looking for a portable model you can use anywhere in the home without dragging around a compressor, we recommend the PORTER-CABLE brad nailer kit. This model comes with everything you need to complete minor nailing tasks. The brushless motor requires no maintenance, and you get a long service life from this powerful tool.
However, it’s important to note that you won’t get the same consistent operation or service life as you would with a pneumatic model. However, an electric brad nailer is a good choice for light finishing work. If you’re a professional carpenter, you might need a pneumatic model instead.
However, with this PORTER-CABLE brad nailer, you get a 1.5-Ah 20-Volt MAX Lithium-ion battery, providing you with long runtime. This model comes with a battery charger and battery included, and there’s a handy belt clip included with your purchase.
The PORTER-CABLE brad nailer features a bulky, heavier design than pneumatic models. However, with the battery pack fitted to the tool, you get a good balance in your hands that reduces operator fatigue. This model includes a three-year limited warranty on all defects.
- Electric design
- Balanced feel in the hands
- Consistent drive depth
- Works with 18-gauge brad nails
- 3-year warranty
CRAFTSMAN Cordless Brad Nailer Kit
The Craftsman brad nailer is another excellent option for an electric model. If you’re a hobbyist carpenter, chances are you haven’t gotten around to investing in a compressor yet. That’s okay.
Compressors are only required if you have multiple pneumatic power tools. While they offer more efficient operation, pneumatics isn’t the only option for the hobbyist carpenter.
This Craftsman brad nailer features everything you need in a power tool. The cordless design makes it easy to carry around the workshop or job site, and you get tool-free operation of the jam release and depth adjustment. This model works with 18-gauge brad nails, and you get an excellent balance in your hands for a user-friendly operation that relieves fatigue.
This model features a 20-volt brushless motor for extended service life, and the charger and battery pack come included with your purchase.
- Portable cordless design
- Works with 18-inch brad nails
- Tool-free depth adjustment
- Tool-free jam release
- Offers a good balance in the hands
BOSTITCH Brad Nailer
This Bostitch model is a great choice for an affordable and functional brad nailer. This model includes compatibility with 18-gauge brad nails and a non-marring tip to protect your work. You get an adjustable nailing depth up to 2-inches, with tool-free jam release.
The Bostitch brad nailer features a non-marring tip, with a side-load magazine and operating pressures between 70-psi to 120-psi. You get a belt hook included and an adjustable exhaust port to keep the air away from your workspace.
This model includes a smart point nose for bump-fire or trigger release. You get a carry case and extra no-mar tips included with your purchase, and there’s a 3-year warranty on the machine. The handle of the brad nailer is ergonomic, with a comfortable trigger and fast reset.
- Pneumatic design
- Works with 18-gauge brad nails
- Smart point technology
- Tool-free jam release
- Adjustable depth control
- Non-marring tips included
Neu Master Electric Brad Nailer
This cordless electric model is another excellent choice for the hobbyist carpenter. This brad nailer works with 18-gauge brad nails, offering you adjustable nailing depths up to 2-inches, with tool-free adjustment. This model also includes a tool-free jam release for convenient use around the job site.
The Neu Master brad nailer includes a 2-in-1 brad nailer and staple-gun action for versatile use. This model comes with a non-marring rubber nose that won’t damage your materials, and you get adjustable power functions for lighter use on sensitive materials.
This model includes high-safety performance, with contact safety to prevent accidental firing of the nailer. This model also includes bump-fire action and easy reloading of the nail magazine.
- Electric cordless operation for portability
- Lightweight design
- Compatible with 18-gauge brad mails
- Adjustable 2-inch drive depth
- Non-marring rubber nose
- Ergonomic handle and trigger
Pneumatic Brad Nailer
This pneumatic brad nailer from NEU Master is a great choice for a functional and affordable brad nailer. With this NEU Master model, you get an ergonomic handle and trigger, with bump-fire or trigger operation. This brad nailer features a viewing window on the nail magazine for easy spot checks on your nails.
You get an adjustable nailing depth compatible with 2-inch brad nails and 2-in-1 multi-functional use with brad nails and crown staples. This model includes design and construction with a heat-treated aluminum body for extra durability. The NEU Master brad nailer has a safety trigger device to prevent accidental firing and a tool-free jam release.
The NEU Master brad nailer is an excellent choice for the hobbyist carpenter and a great value buy in this review. You get an accessory kit included with your purchase, featuring CE safety glasses, two hex wrenches, and a hard-shell carry case.
- Pneumatic design
- Nail reload window
- Safety trigger design
- Movable cover
- A 360-degree air exhaust port
- Lightweight aluminum body
WEN Pneumatic Brad Nailer
WEN makes some fantastic and affordable power tools. The brand has a solid reputation with carpenters, and they offer a good balance between price and performance. This WEN brad nailer is an excellent addition to the WEN range and a top choice for hobbyist carpenters.
With this WEN model, you get pneumatic operation, featuring compatibility with 18-gauge brad nails and crown staples. You get an adjustable nailing depth between 5/8-inch to 2-inches with the tool-less process. The 360-degree air exhaust port allows for easy adjustment to the right or left-handed use of the machine.
The handle of the nail gun features an ergonomic design with an easy trigger and fast reset. This model includes a full accessory kit, including two sets of WEN safety glasses, adjustable hex wrenches, and a hard-shell carry case for your tool.
- Affordable quality
- Works with 18-gauge brad nails
- Nose-latch for hassle-free jam release
- Depth adjustment wheel
- Rotary exhaust port
- Ergonomic handle and trigger
Other Best Selling Options
- Shoot 18-gauge brads ranging from 3/8 to 2 inches in length
- Operate at 60 to 115 PSI with the 1/4-inch NPT air inlet fitting
- Features a depth adjustment wheel, a nail gauge, a rotatable exhaust, and a quick release 106-nail capacity magazine
- Hassle-free nose latch makes clearing jammed nails quick and easy
- NOTE: nails and case not included. Pneumatic nailer, need air compressor to drive
- 【Pneumatic 2 In 1 Nail/Staple Gun】 NEU MASTER pneumatic 2 inch 2 in 1 nail gun /staple gun, that drives 18 Gauge Brad Nails 5/8 inch up to 2 inch in length, and drives 1/4” crown staples 5/8 inch up to 1-5/8 inch.Multiple tool-free settings make this nail gun easy to use.
- 【2 IN 1 Nail Gun with Carrying Case】 1000 pcs 18GA free brad nails and staples, includes 400 pcs 2” + 400 pcs 1-1/4” nails, 200 pcs 1/4” narrow crown, 1-1/4" staples. Come with carrying BMC case, safety glasses, lubricating oil bottle, 2 Allen wrenches.
- 【User Friendly Design】Proper setting of nails/staples. 360° rotatable exhaust keep contaminants away from work. Tool-free jam clears jammed nails quickly. A Quick release 100-nails/staples capacity magazine.Sequential style trigger. A nail/staple view window avoid dry fire dent mark left on working surface. A rubber grip handle for comfortbale use experience. Lightweight & durability, easy to carry and have long life.
- 【Easy Adapter】Pneumatic brad gun work with pressure range 60 to 120 psi. Air inlet：1/4 inch NPT. NOTE: An Air Compressor Needed ,But Air Compressor Is Not Sold With The Nail Gun.
- 【Wide Applications】A great ideal for wood working, upholstery Installation, flooring, molding, roofing, picture framing, door and window installation. Perfect for DIY projects ,building pet houses.
- Powerful motor drives a range of 18 gauge brad nails from 5/8" to 2" into hard or soft wood applications
- Aluminum body, magazine and cylinder for strength and durability; weighs only 2. 9 lbs.
- Narrow nose design allows easy nailing access in confined areas
- Built-in air duster provides convenient air flow to clear work surface
- Easy to use "tool-less" depth adjustment dial for a wide variety of finish applications
Brad Nailer Buyer’s Guide
The brad nailer offers fast and efficient nailing operation, with cordless or pneumatic operation. You get an effective and long-lasting tool specifically designed for precision nailing jobs. The brad nailer is lightweight, reducing operator fatigue, allowing for extended use around the workshop.
However, choosing a brad nailer is challenging. Many people confuse them with finishing nailers – but they aren’t the same machine. With so many options, how do you know which model is the right choice for your workshop?
There are various types of brad nailers and plenty of models from leading brands. In this post, we’ll look at the leading brad nailers. We’ll also make our recommendations for the best tool for your project. We’ll unpack the differences between models from the top brands, allowing you to settle on the right choice for your workshop.
Are you a carpenter looking for a nail gun for fine work? A finishing nail gun might seem like a good choice, but it’s not the best choice for delicate jobs on thinner materials. For that, you’ll need a brad nailer. This nail gun shoots 18-gauge nails suitable for the use of delicate finishing jobs like trim.
One of the advantages of using a brad nailer is that it leaves unnoticeable marks on your material, providing an elegant finish to your project. The tiny entry hole is easy to paint over or seal without leaving a noticeable dent in the material.
However, a brad nailer is only suitable for fine work. If you try and use it for heavy-duty finishing jobs, it doesn’t have the strength to secure larger trim and board pieces.
In this section, we’ll unpack everything you need to know about brad nailers.
What are the Design Components of a Brad Nailer?
- Trigger – Brad nailers feature a trigger designed to release an 18-gauge nail into the material. Some models feature a bump-fire operation where you only have to touch the top of the nail head to the material to release a nail, reducing operator fatigue and “trigger finger.”
- Ergonomic handle – Brad nailers are excellent tools for finishing work. That means that carpenters need a tool where they have total control over the outcome. An ergonomic handle gives you a secure, comfortable grip and complete control over the device.
- Magazine – The magazine houses 18-gauge brad nails for your projects. Most magazines hold up to 200-nails. Look for models featuring side view panels displaying the remaining nails in the magazine. This feature helps with easy spot checks on your current nail stock.
- Contact Tip/Nose – The contact tip or nose of the brad nailer often features the bump-fire feature we discussed earlier. Look for models offering a non-marring tip. These tips feature design and construction with soft rubber to prevent damage to your materials when using the brad nailer. The last thing you need on your project is a big dent to fill. Some models come with multiple tips as spares.
- Latch – This mechanism helps with clearing any brad nail jams. Most manufacturers refer to this feature as a tool-less jam release mechanism. It’s an essential part of the tool and vital for clearing blockages without removing the tool’s magazine.
- Exhaust valve – If you’re using a pneumatic model, the air-overflow has to go somewhere. Look for models offering a 360-degree rotating air exhaust port. This feature allows you to adjust the airflow to either the right or left side to suit your preference when working.
- Belt hook – If you’re a contractor, a belt loop is a handy feature on a brad nailer. If you have to climb a ladder, holding onto a nail gun is a safety risk. Avoid accidents in the workplace by buying a model with a belt hook for hands-free carrying on-site.
- Adjustable Depth Gauge – Brad nailers work with brad nails up to 2-inches in length. Most models offer adjustable nailing depths to accommodate different sizes of brad nails.
- Battery Pack and Charger – Electric brad nailers come with lithium-ion battery packs and chargers. Make sure you pick up an extra battery pack if you’re planning on using the nailer frequently on job sites.
- Safety Features – Most brad nailers come with a safety tip. Therefore, you can’t fire the nail gun accidentally when it’s not in use. A brad nailer can cause severe injuries and possible death if you use it against manufacturers’ guidelines.
What are the Types of Brad Nailers?
There are two types of brad nailers available to suit your carpentry requirements.
Pneumatic Brad Nailers
These brad nailers work off air-power. It links to your compressor for operation, offering you consistent nailing without lag as the compressor fills. They’re the ideal choice for contractors that use a brad nailer often in their work. Pneumatic models require a compressor for operation. Therefore, you have a limited range when using the machine.
Electric models are the ideal choice for homeowners and hobbyist carpenters. They are more affordable than pneumatic models, and they offer more flexibility moving between areas of your home without lugging a compressor along.
Electrical Brad Nailers
The brad nailers run on lithium-ion battery packs. They are heavier than pneumatic models, but they are compact and easy to use. These models are useful for contractors that find themselves walking between multiple job sites with their nail gun. The rechargeable battery pack limits the tools’ run time, but you can always get a spare battery for extended service life on your job site.
Pneumatic models tend to be the better choice for contractors. They are lightweight tools, offering consistent operation. They have reliable components, allowing for longer service life and fewer motor burn-outs.
How Do I Use A Brad Nailer?
A brad nailer is a simple tool to use. However, it also presents a hazard in the workplace when used by an inexperienced carpenter. These devices shoot out nails at high velocity. If you don’t take care of your workplace and the people around you while using a brad nailer, it can result in a trip to the emergency room.
Before you use your new brad nailer for the first time:
- Take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the manufacturers operating instructions.
- Note any warning labels on the tool, and make sure you’re using the correct air pressure when running a pneumatic model.
- Never use your brad nailer outside of the manufacturer’s recommended air pressure settings.
- If you use too much pressure, the nails may penetrate the material, damaging it beyond repair. Before you attach the air hose or switch on the power, make sure you check and load the magazine. Make sure you load the brad nails in the correct direction recommended by the manufacturer.
- The magazine has special grooves designed to seat the nail heads. Make sure the nail heads are resting in these groves when loading the magazine. When you close the magazine, make sure it locks in place.
- Those carpenters using a pneumatic brad nailer need to hook up the air hoses and turn on the compressor before using the nail gun. It might take your compressor several minutes to reach capacity. However, when it has a full charge, you should get a seamless, consistent nailing operation from your brad nailer.
- If you’re using an electric model, make sure the battery has a full charge. After finishing your work, make sure you leave the battery to reach maximum capacity before your next project.
- When using your brad nailer, makes sure you operate it at a 90-degree angle, perpendicular to the work surface. If you’re nailing through hardwood, you might have to adjust the brad nailer’s tip slightly to accommodate the shape and sizer of the growth rings in the wood.
- If you over-angle the brad nailer against the material, it results in the nail blowing out of the back of the wood. Always remember to keep your hands away from the area you’re nailing. A brad nailer shoots thin nails at high velocity, and you don’t want them going into your fingers or hands.
Check Online for Helpful Instructional Videos
YouTube is a fantastic resource for instructional videos on how to use a brad nailer. You’ll find plenty of model-specific videos and advice on how to use a brad nailer on a range of materials and project applications.
Brad Nailer FAQs
What safety gear do I need when using a brad nailer?
When using your brad nailer, make sure you wear gloves to protect your hands and eyewear to protect your eyes from debris. Never use a brad nailer without wearing PPE, and always make sure the power or air is off when loading or unloading the nailer.
Do I need a brad nailer or a finish nailer?
Finishing nailers are more heavy-duty than brad nailers. While you can use a brad nailer for certain finishing jobs, it’s not suitable for use with heavier 15 or 16-gauge nails. We recommend using finishing nailers on larger tasks like crown moldings or baseboards.
When do I need an 18-gauge nailer?
Brad nailers can accommodate 18-gauge nails up to 2-inches in length. These nails are ideal for fixing thinner pieces of wood without splitting. 18-gauge nails are the thinnest gauge you can find, and they’re suitable for finishing jobs like baseboard shoe moldings or cove moldings.
Where can I purchase the best Brad Nailer?
We recommend Amazon for your purchase. Amazon is the world’s largest online retailer with the best choice at the best prices. Amazon offers Prime members free shipping, and you get buyer protection on your order, with hassle-free returns.
Brad Nailers – The Verdict
By now, you should have a good idea of the best brad nailer to suit your carpentry needs. Whether you want an electric or pneumatic model, there’s a brad nailer in this review to suit your needs.
However, we understand that it’s challenging to settle on a final purchase decision. With so much choice, even in this limited list, selecting the right model for your workshop can leave you scratching your head.
If you’re stuck on the fence with your purchase decision, why not go with one of our top picks?
- The DEWALT Brad Nailer Kit wins our top award for the best model in this review. You get a powerful pneumatic operation with an ergonomic handle and trigger assembly. There is a tool-free jam release for easy changes and a belt clip to reduce operator fatigue. This model is a great choice for hobbyists and professional carpenters.
- This Makita AF506 2″ Brad Nailer wins our award as the best premium model in this review. It may come with a heavy price tag, but you get what you pay for with this model. The Makita features design and construction with top-quality components. The nose of the nail gun leaves no marks on your wood., and it’s suitable for use with 18-gauge brad nails.
- The Metabo HPT Brad Nailer is our top choice for the best budget model in this review. You get a professional-level machine at an affordable price. This model comes with an adjustable nailing depth up to 2-inches, and it’s compatible with 18-gauge brad nails.