Woodworking projects can often include trim, cabinetry, and moldings, which require detailed applications. And if you tend to work on such projects mostly, then having a brad nailer is quite essential for you.
This specialized nailer is designed to shoot brads, which are basically thin-gauged nails that are suitable for small and delicate wood pieces.
But to get exceptional performances along with amazing results, you will need the best brad nailer. However, getting one is not as simple as it sounds, and we are aware of that.
That is why we have provided all the necessary information for you in this comprehensive article. Along with our top eight picks, we have included a buying guide too.
Go through this article properly, and you are sure to get your desired tool.
8 Best Brad Nailer Reviews
If you are looking for a brad nailer then you will surely find multiple suitable options out there. But it can be challenging to know as to which one is the best for your work requirements. That is why we tried to make the task easier for you.
1. PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Cordless Brad Nailer Kit, 18GA (PCC790LA)
Working with brad nailers can get dangerous if they don’t come with adequate safety features and if they are difficult to use. However, this product takes care of both aspects to make your operations safe and hassle-free for you.
Don’t you hate it when your work gets interrupted because your tools have run out of battery? Well, you won’t have to face that with this product because it comes with 1.5 Ah and 20V lithium-ion battery, which provides a better runtime.
On the other hand, using this tool is so effortless that you will feel yourself getting more productive. It comes with a depth adjustment wheel along with a jam release and tool-free release lever. Hence, applications will become much more convenient for you.
More importantly, the depth adjustment wheel will allow you to countersink 18 gauge nails consistently and properly. This aspect of the tool makes it the best brad nailer 18 gauge, so you will be able to rely on it like no other.
What makes the machine even better is that you will not need a compressor for it, neither will you need costly gas cartridges. This tool is cordless and battery-powered, which also makes it convenient for you to move from place to place while using it.
You may face some inconvenience while using it — such as the tool might jam or get locked after two-three brads. On the other hand, you will have to keep the battery charged at all times, as it does not work otherwise.
- Reliable safety features
- Runs on a 1.5Ah and 20V lithium-ion battery
- Includes a jam release and tool-free release lever
- Depth adjustment wheel will let you countersink nails properly
- Cordless tool is powered by a battery
- Might get jammed or locked after two-three brads
- Battery should be fully charged for it to work
2. BOSTITCH Nail Gun, Brad Nailer, Smart Point, 18GA (BTFP12233)
While doing some heavy woodworking, you’d surely want your tools to have an ergonomic design to make the task more comfortable for you. Fortunately, here’s a tool that does adhere to that requirement, and you will get to know more about it in this review.
Not only is the tool comfortable, but it is also very convenient to work with. That is because, with its tool-free jam release mechanism and trigger system, you will be able to remove nails pretty effortlessly even with no prior experience in this field.
For further convenience, the tool comes with a 0.25-inch air fitting, back air exhaust along with a belt hook, and a pencil sharpener. These aspects of the machine will provide better control to the users when fastening into various materials.
On the other hand, the nailer comes with smart point technology. This feature of the product will allow you to place the nail easily due to a smaller nose. Hence, you won’t have to compress the contact trip for actuating the machine.
For accurate countersinking of nails, the product comes with a dial-a-depth control feature. Therefore, you can get your work accurately without putting in much effort, as the machine takes care of most the hassle for you.
However, the depth control feature may not work from time to time, which can be inconvenient for the users. On the other hand, the actuation mode switch and lockout trigger may come apart after a few uses.
- Ergonomic design provides comfort to the users
- Allows effortless removal of nails
- Provides better control to the users when fastening into various materials
- You can place the nail easily due to a smaller nose
- Comes with a dial-a-depth feature for more accuracy
- Depth control feature may not work at times
- Actuation mode switch and lockout trigger may come apart
3. DEWALT Brad Nailer Kit, 18GA, 5/8-Inch to 2-Inch (DWFP12231)
To make your woodworking sessions as safe and hassle-free as possible, you need a brad nailer that comes with reliable safety features and a lightweight built. Fortunately, this product contains both a lot more, which you will find out about.
When it comes to strength and durability, this product really is unbeatable. It comes with a sturdy motor, which does not require maintenance and will not stain the work surface. More longevity is added due to its magnesium body.
To make the task of nail removal more effortless for you, the machine comes with a tool-free jam release mechanism. Moreover, its sequential style trigger only makes nailing more convenient for you, so you won’t be facing any hassle at all.
You can always keep the tool with you, thanks to its adjustable belt hook. This aspect makes it safe to be kept near the users. Furthermore, it comes with a non-marring nose tip, which is removable and is on tool storage for more convenience.
On the other hand, you can properly set the nail heads without much trouble. That is because, the machine comes with tool-free adjustment with detents, which is depth-of-drive and hence makes the task much easier for you.
However, the trigger may fail to reset after a few strips of brads, which can be quite disappointing for the users. On the other hand, a lot of air escapes from the front part of the nailer when shooting a brad, which can be quite inconvenient.
- Includes reliable safety features and a lightweight built
- Sturdy, maintenance-free motor and a durable magnesium body
- Comes with a tool-free jam release mechanism
- Contains an adjustable belt hook and a non-marring nose tip
- Effortless and proper setting of nail heads
- Trigger may fail to reset at times
- Tons of air escape from the front part of the nailer
4. CRAFTSMAN V20 Cordless Brad Nailer Kit, 18GA (CMCN618C1)
If you dislike getting interrupted in the middle of work, then you need a tool that can promise a long battery life. And here’s a machine that will adhere to that requirement quite well. However, it does contain other great features that you will love.
First of all, the machine comes with a fully cordless design, which will eliminate the requirement for hoses, gas cartridges, or compressors. As a result, you won’t have to take any extra hassle or purchase any tools separately to operate it.
On the other hand, this 20V nailer drives brad nails that are adhesive collated. Along with that, it provides consistent and smooth firing power in a variety of climate conditions and different types of materials, without any trouble at all.
For further convenience, the product comes with tool-free depth settings along with jam and stall settings. These settings will enable fast set-ups and consistent results. In fact, it will also improve the efficiency of your work, ensuring better performance.
This tool prioritizes your comfort as well, and you will get the proof of it just after one use. The lightweight body has an optimal center of gravity, which will ensure maximum balance and comfort while using it so that you won’t get tired even after hours of woodworking.
One of the major drawbacks of this tool is that it gets jammed pretty easily, which can be frustrating for the users. On the other hand, the machine is not durable and may stop working after a few uses, so you should be careful.
- Long battery life for better runtime
- Cordless design eliminates the need for other tools
- Provides smooth and consistent firing power
- Comes with tool-free depth, jam and stall settings
- The lightweight body has an optimal center of gravity
- Tool gets jammed pretty easily
- May stop working after a few uses
5. WEN 61720 3/4-Inch to 2-Inch 18-Gauge Brad Nailer
If you have multiple workplaces, then you’d surely need a nailer that offers top-notch maneuverability. Fortunately, here’s a tool that does provide that feature along with a lot more, which makes it the best brad nailer for woodworking.
When it comes to comfort, this tool is unmatchable in the market. It comes with a three-pound aluminum body along with a rubber-grip handle, which will provide you with all the coziness that you will need during woodworking. Hence, you can go on for hours.
This tool isn’t one to disappoint in terms of versatility. You will be able to shoot nails and staples that are 0.75 to 2 inches long. The benefit of this wide range is that you will be able to use a variety of nails with the tool without worrying about them being incompatible.
On the other hand, you will be getting a high power-rating on this pneumatic brad nailer. The tool can operate within 60-100 PSI with a 0.25-inch NPT air inlet fitting. Hence, it will provide smooth operations on a variety of materials.
What makes the tool even better is that its magazine is spacious enough to carry 100 brads at once, and the quick-release design makes jam clearing much easier. Furthermore, you will be getting oil, a custom carrying case, and adjustment wrenches with this product.
However, you will have to be very careful with the trigger, as some brads may get nailed randomly. On the other hand, you will have to cautious with the entire tool as well since it may break down if too much pressure is applied to it.
- Three-pound aluminum body and the rubber-grip handle provide comfort
- Can accommodate nails/staples that are 0.75-2 inches long
- Able to operate within 60-100 PSI with a 0.25-inch NPT air inlet fitting
- Comes with a quick-release design and 100 brads carrying magazine
- Oil, a custom carrying case and adjustment wrenches included
- Brads get nailed randomly at times
- Tool may break down under pressure
6. DEWALT 20V MAX Cordless Brad Nailer Kit, 18GA (DCN680D1)
If you want the best cordless brad nailer, then you should look for one that provides optimal safety features and is easy to use. Well, here’s a product that offers both the facilities along with a lot more, which you will get to know about in this review.
What sets this tool apart from the rest of its counterparts is that it comes with a low nail lockout feature. The benefit of this facility is that it prohibits dry firing and also makes sure there are no unwanted marks on your workpiece.
Using this tool will be absolutely convenient for you, thanks to its tool-free selectable trigger. This feature enables contact actuation or sequential modes, which will allow you to relax while the tool takes care of everything for you.
If you are worried about messing up your project while having low lights on, then stop fretting right away. This tool comes with multi-functional LED lights, which will not only illuminate your workspace but will also enable you to view the tool diagnostics clearly.
For further convenience, this cordless nailer makes sure you don’t need any gas, hose, or compressors. Even if you run out of battery, there is nothing to fret about, because it is easily replaceable by other batteries of the same brand. So, you can operate this product without any worries.
One of the major disadvantages of this product is that the tool may get jammed, and you will have a difficult time un-jamming it. Moreover, the safety mechanism may fail to reset at times, so you should be careful when operating this machine.
- Is easy to use and provides optimal safety features
- Prevents dry firing and leaves no unwanted marks
- Enables contact actuation or sequential modes with a trigger
- Includes multi-functional LED lights for illumination of the workspace
- Comes with a replaceable battery and doesn’t require compressors or hose
- Might get jammed easily
- Safety mechanism may fail to reset
7. Makita AF505N Brad Nailer, 2-Inch
Narrow spaces are often difficult to nail, for which you need a brad nailer that is good with confined areas. Thanks to the narrow nose design of this product, you will get access to tight spaces with the utmost ease. Find out more about its features in this review.
Don’t you dislike it when the nails get jammed in the tool? Well, that is not something you will have to face with this product, because it comes with a tool-less quick-release cam lock. This facility opens the nail guide assembly, which quickly clears jammed nails.
On the other hand, the versatility offered by this product will only amaze you. It comes with a tool-less depth adjustment dial, which offers a wide number of finish applications. Hence, you can try out different finishes on different projects.
To make sure your workpiece does not get damaged, the tool comes with a cast nose piece, which ensures precise contact. The nose is made of non-marring rubber, which, along with the bumpers, protects the board’s surface from getting damaged.
For further convenience, you can rotate the tool hook by 180 degrees. This aspect will keep the tool close by, but it will also ensure it does not remain in the way of your work. Hence, you will never lose sight of the tool while you are focusing on work.
However, the safety trigger is quite flimsy or may misfire, so you will need to be cautious when nailing with this tool. On the other hand, the product may stop working while you in the middle of a project, which can be pretty disappointing.
- Narrow nose design gets it into tight spaces
- Quick clearing of jammed nails by tool-less quick release cam lock
- Tool-less adjustment dial offers a wide number of finish applications
- Non-marring rubber nose and bumpers prevent damage
- You can rotate the tool hook by 180 degrees
- Safety trigger is flimsy and may misfire
- Tool may stop working in the middle of a project
8. Metabo HPT Brad Nailer, (NT50AE2)
If you need to woodwork for long hours, then you should choose tools that will provide comfort along with ease of operation. Well, here’s a product that comes with a lightweight body and some easy to use features. Find out more about its facilities in this review.
One of the major advantages of this tool is that it comes with a 360-degree adjustable exhaust port. Now, what this port does is it keeps all the debris, dust, and oil off the complete project, which produces outstanding results at all times.
To make sure your workpiece looks perfect and does not incur any damage, the tool comes with a no-mar tip. As a result, you won’t have to worry about even unintentionally marking your workpiece, because this tool will prevent that from happening at all times.
For further convenience, the tool will let you easily adjust the drive depth with its depth-of-drive dial. This aspect will allow you to provide your workpiece with a professional finish, even if you are just a beginner — that’s just how effortless it is to work with.
When it comes to versatility, this tool will live up to your expectations. It accepts nails and staples that are about 0.625-2 inches long. Therefore, you can use a variety of nails without any worries whatsoever.
The drawback of this tool is that it may break down after a few months, even if you use it lightly, which can be quite unpleasant. On the other hand, the nails may stuck out from time to time, which can be disappointing for the users.
- Provides comfort along with ease of operation
- Keeps debris, dust and oil off the complete project
- Makes sure the workpiece remains protected from markings
- You can provide a professional finish with its depth-of-drive dial
- Accepts nails and staples of about 0.625-2 inches long
- Might break down even after light use
- Nails may stick out from time to time
How to Find Your Favourite Brad Nailer? — the Ultimate Buying Guide
There is no doubt about the proficiency of brad nails, which gives them a good reputation and popularity in the field of woodworking. However, to get the best out of this tool, you need to find a suitable one for your work requirements.
There are also some essential features and factors that you should not overlook when searching for a brad nailer. These aspects should be present in the tool and hence should be focused on indiscriminately.
But if you are not sure about what you should be looking for exactly, then fret not. We are here to help you out. For that, we will be providing details regarding all the key factors that you should adhere to before purchasing a brad nailer.
A Tool Should Last Long
If you are passionate about woodworking or are serious about your projects, then you should surely invest in a brad nailer that is durable. You wouldn’t want the tool to stop working in the middle of a project or not produce efficient results.
Even more so, in this case, because this tool is used for driving nails into hard surfaces, and that can cause it to wear down quite quickly. Hence, you should focus on the material and construction of the tool when buying it.
You should also keep an eye on the warranty, as that says a lot about the longevity of a product. Try to purchase a brad nailer that offers at least 5-7 years of warranty, and don’t go for the ones that provide the span of 1-2 years at most.
How Does the Nailer Run?
When looking for brad nailers, you will find that they come with a variety of power input options. This aspect of the tool makes it really handy, as you can choose the power input type convenient for you.
You can go for pneumatic brad nailers, which come with a high power-rating and are very reliable. So if you are a professional woodworker who has one fixed workplace, then this type is suitable for you.
On the other hand, you will find battery-powered brad nailers. Now, these ones do not offer a power rating as high as their pneumatic versions, but at least you won’t need a power cord for them. So you can conveniently carry these around.
What Gauge of Nails Can It Handle?
If you are familiar with woodworking tools, then you are already aware of the fact that the gauge rating tells you about the thickness of the given material — which in this case, is the thickness of the nails that the tool can accommodate.
Simply put, the higher the gauge rating, the thinner the nails and vice versa. And you will find that most brad nailers can accommodate 18 gauge nails, which is pretty thin, considering the purpose and uses of the tool.
However, the gauge rating can vary. In some rare cases, you may find brad nailers with lower gauge ratings and vice versa.
The Length of Nails Is Quite Important
Nails and staples are available at a variety of lengths, which can often confuse the users about which ones they should be purchasing. And if you get ones that aren’t compatible with your brad nailer, then that would be a waste.
Hence, go for brad nailers that can accommodate nails and staples within a wide range of lengths. For instance, you can choose the ones that are compatible with nails that are 0.5-2 inches long.
However, if you find a tool that offers a wider range, then do go for that, as it would provide you with more versatility and flexibility.
Comfort Is Essential
When looking for woodworking tools, people often indulge in its practical features, which makes them neglect the facilities that provide comfort. But that should not be the case, because without the comfort you won’t be able to work for too long with any tool.
That is why it is necessary for you to check as to whether or not your preferred brad nailer comes with a comfortable design. For instance, it should have an ergonomic handle and cozy shape overall. Hence, even if you work for hours with it, your hands will not start cramping, and you will not get exhausted.
Don’t Forget the Power Rating
The power rating of a machine is always the first thing that people tend to notice. And when it comes to brad nailers, the power rating is usually denoted by the unit PSI, so you should be keeping an eye on that.
Generally, the higher the power rating, the better performance you will be getting from the tool itself. That is why people tend to prefer pneumatic brad nailers, as those offer power ratings of 70-120 PSI.
In the case of battery-powered brad nailers, you will find that the power is given in volts, and most of them will be rated within 18-20 volts. The value can vary depending on the brand and the product.
Your Budget Is Up to You
Woodworking tools can be expensive in general, so you may feel the need to splurge a lot on a brad nailer, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.
In fact, you can find a great brad nailer within the price range of 50-100 dollars. However, if you feel like spending more and getting a high-end one, then you can do that as well, and that will cost you about 150-300 dollars.
Ultimately, you can find a great tool if you search properly enough, no matter what your budget is.
Brad Nailer vs. Framing Nailer
When it comes to the design and mechanism, brad and framing nailers are quite similar, which is what often confuses the users out there. However, despite having similarities, they have their fair share of differences as well.
In this section of the article, we will be focusing on those differences while discussing them elaborately. As a result, you will be able to get a clearer idea regarding which nailer you should be getting for your work.
Construction and Design
Brad nailers are one of the air-power tools that are available in almost all wood shops. This tool has been designed in such a way that it can shoot very narrow and light gauge into all types of woods (although they should not be used on every type of wood).
The specialty of this machine is that it does not leave a large hole in the board, and so are used for light/thin woods. Most bards are 0.5-2 inches long and have little to no head. Their construction enables them to penetrate the board below the surface after being shot.
On the other hand, framing nailers are quite similar to claw hammers, both the tools can be used interchangeably. This heavy-duty tool is capable of generating more than one thousand pounds of hammering power, which allows them to drive the heavy nails used in homes or building frames.
This tool has been designed in such a way that it shoots the nails instead of hammering them. As a result, the overall productivity of the workers increases, they can get more work done in a shorter time, and with less effort. This aspect makes a lot of people choose this machine over others.
Uses of Both the Nailers
Brad nailers are commonly used during the initial stages of woodworking projects. This tool can add stability and sturdiness to the glue joints, as the impact of the fastener serves as a clamp, which further tightens the glue joints while the glue sets.
However, when using this tool, you wouldn’t necessarily need glue. And you can use this for trim components, which do not contribute to the structural integrity of the project. Hence, you can use them when framing stud walls, as they don’t have enough power for other tasks.
When using a framing nailer, you will have to put a lot of pressure because they require more force in general. That is because, the nails used in this case can be quite large, as these are mostly used on woods that are used in construction. Hence, their uses are constrained.
You cannot use this tool as a finish nailer, and their applications are limited.
How to Use a Brad Nailer for Small Projects?
If you have never used a brad nailer before then, you are surely not very confident about using one. And even if you are confident, chances are you may ruin the project by not knowing how to use one properly.
That is why it is necessary to have clear-cut instructions regarding the usage in your hand first. Once you know all the directions, you will be able to begin your task without any doubts. That is why we have provided all the details for you right here.
Make Sure the Wood Is Suitable for a Brad Nailer First
Even though brad nailers are versatile tools, not all types of wood would be suitable for them. That is why, when woodworking, you should make sure the wood isn’t too heavy or thick for the machine.
This tool is suitable for woods that are too light to finish nailers. So, make sure not to use them on hardwoods such as MDF and plywood.
Don’t Press the Tool Too Hard
When using a brad nailer, make sure to ease the grip of the trigger. If you use too much pressure, then there’s a high possibility that the nose of the brad will hit the workpiece again.
This action may cause the piece to have a dimple, which might ruin your project to some extent.
Always Make Sure the Nail Clip Is Loaded
Getting carried away during work is quite normal; despite that, you should always make sure the nail clip is loaded. That is because the nailer will still fire even if it is not loaded, which in turn will chip the workpiece and might as well damage the brad.
Never Use a Hammer
In case your brad has not been placed properly, just remove it. Do not use a hammer to pound it in, because that might cause the brad to bend further, and you wouldn’t want that.
After removing the brad entirely, try using the nailer again, and this time you might as well be successful.
Don’t Place the Brads Too Close to the Rim
Brad nailers make sure the board does not split, but the opposite may happen if you place the brad too close to the rim.
Placing the brad too close would cause the wooded board to split, and that might cause irreparable damage. Hence, this action is something you should avoid at all costs.
If you keep all these tips in mind, then you can use a brad nailer for small projects without any hassle.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is better, a brad nailer or finish nailer?
In some cases, a brad nailer would be better, whereas in other cases a finish nailer would be more suitable. For instance, when it comes to strength, the latter would be a more convenient option, but if you are looking for comfort and ease of use, then the brad version is the one for you. It all depends on what you are looking for.
Can I use a brad nailer for baseboards?
Yes, you can, but there are certain things that you need to keep in mind while you are at it. If you are going to install baseboards with 1.5-inch nails, then you can use a brad nailer for the task. However, if the nails are larger than 2 inches, then it’s a bad idea.
Is a brad nailer worth it?
Brad nailers are great tools that will prove to be very useful in the field of woodworking. For instance, they provide comfort to the users and prevent surfaces from splitting, which essentially makes them safe to work with. However, this machine is just not made for larger projects.
Do I need a finish nailer or brad nailer?
This aspect depends on your work requirements. If you are going for smaller projects such as dollhouses, picture frames, and jewelry boxes, then a latter is certainly more suitable. However, for larger projects, you will need a finish nailer as that is more heavy-duty.
Is a finish nailer the same as a brad nailer?
The most significant difference between a finish nailer and a brad nailer is that the former uses 16-gauge or 15-gauge nails, whereas the latter shoots 18-gauge nails. This delicate 18-gauge nails will let you attach delicate trims while preventing it from splitting.
The best brad nailer will include features such as durability, great power, comfort, ease of use, proper setting of nails, etc. While it is difficult to find a brad nailer that includes all of these aspects, the DEWALT Brad Nailer Kit, 18GA, 5/8-Inch to 2-Inch (DWFP12231) is a rare case.
This tool comes with all the features that make the perfect brad nailer, which is what gives it an excellent reputation among woodworkers.
However, the most suitable one for you would be the tool that adheres to your work requirements. And you should prioritize that while looking for a brad nailer.