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Nailer buying guide

Guide written by:
Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter

Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter

177 guides

From wood-working to nailing pallets, the nailer is the essential tool of any carpenter! The nailer can be operated by battery, gas cartridge or compressed air and it drives nails up to 100 mm - both smooth or twisted tips! Pressure, nozzles, burst fire: here's some advice to select your nailer!

Important features

  • Electric
  • Battery powered
  • Gas
  • Compressed Air
  • Nail Caliber

What are the different types of nailers?

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Although wired electric nailers are limited in terms of use and should be considered as belonging more to the stapler/nailer family, there are four broad categories of nailers .

Cordless electric nailer

The wired electric nailer can be used to drive nails up to 35 mm in length. It is used mainly in cabinetmaking or for nailing fabric.

Batter-powered nailer  

Battery-powered nailers are considered high-end models and allow the insertion of 50 mm nails; making it very useful on a construction site.




Gas-powered Nailer

Gas-powered nailers are capable of driving nails up to 90 mm long, smooth or twisted, making them extremely popular for carpentry.


Compressed Air Nailer

Compressed air nailers can drive nails up to 100 mm and allow for sustained and intensive work. Indispensable in carpentry or wood-working.

How to choose a battery-powered nailer?

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Battery operated nailers are maneuverable and autonomus due to their technology but also have a limited performance. One should consider the following factors:
 
  • The size of the nails accepted;
  • The battery, the voltage (V) and the amperage hour (Ah) of the battery impact its autonomy - the higher these values, the longer the battery will last (two batteries are always better than one);
  • The amount of pulses available per charge - quantifies the charge of a battery;
  • The magazine capacity, or clip;
  • Weight and ergonomics.

Why choose a gas-powered nailer?

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In terms of performance, the gas-powered nailer is better the battery nailer and below-par compared to the compressed air nailer.

The gas-powered nailer, compared to it's  compressed air cousin, is more maneuvrable because of its autonomy, due to the energy provided by gas refills .

Also available with a battery, the gas nailer allows the insertion of nails up to 90 mm and its magazine can take about 60 - recharging the nails in a clip.

Indispensable in carpentry and wood-working, the gas nailer is complementary to the compressed air nailer.

Its impulse technology - limited in the need to press the nozzle against the intended material before squeezing the trigger - means that the gas nailer does not allow continuous heavy work like the compressed air nailer does.

Why choose a pneumatic nailer?


The pneumatic nailer is a tool conceived for carpentry projects and functions thanks to a compressor - great for roof tiles, rafters, small trusses - and wood-work such as bracing. It can also be use for heavy carpentry such as the installation of cladding or hardwood floors.

The pneumatic nailer operates at low pressure but a higher pressure is used for most high-end models.

The pneumatic nailer allows for the insertion of nails up to 100 mm long.

What are the main characteristics of a pneumatic nailer?

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Needing only a low pressure- up to 8 B (sometimes more), the pressure is supplied by a 50 l compressor, and the pneumatic nailers themselves have different characteristics on which to base yourself in order to make the right choice:

  • The gauge of the nails accepted - up to 100 mm for the most powerful models, either flat-head or brad-head depending on the job;
  • The depth of insertion with power adjustment - to manipulate in relation to the nail gauge and density of building material;
  • An moveable air exhaust hose so as not to be impeded by blast during use;
  • The type of magazine on the machine, often a recharging clip of less than 100 units - or a roll - with a capacity ranging from 200 to 300 nails;
  • A trigger lock to prevent any accient in the event of non-use;
  • A double trigger for controlled use and to reduce any accidents due to misuse;
  • The nailing mode which may be sequential or continuous - also known as burst firing - for maintaining your comfort during sustained work;
  • A long, thin, adjustable nozzle for nailing all possible angles goes hand in hand with the flexibility of the magazine.
 
Some pneumatic nailers are known as high pressure and operate with pressure of up to 22 B. These nailers are specifically designed for heavy work with higher density materials and share the same characteristics as the low pressure models.

What are the different nailing modes on the pneumatic nailer?




Nailing mode


If ever there was a useful option that intensive users should all know, it's the nailing mode! Depending on the model of nailer, nailing can be done:

  • Sequentially ;
  • Continuously, also known as burst firing .


Pulse Process

The difference lies in the internal process that emits the pulse and allows nailing:

  • For what's known as sequential nailing, the user must first push the nozzle into the material and then squeeze the trigger to action the pulse. This process is slower and is the standard feature for all nailers;

  • For what's known as continuous use, the user maintains the trigger pressed with his index finger and actions the pulse by pushing the nozzle into the intended building material. This process is considerably faster and allows the execution of rapid succession of nailing.

What other factors are important in choosing a pneumatic nailer?

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For optimal use and maximum comfort, take a closer look at:

  • The weight of the pneumatic nailer;
  • The ergonomics of the handle - for a better grip;
  • The sound pressure, referring to the number of decibels emitted (dB) - equip yourself with an anti-noise helmet ;
  • The shape of the nose, also known as a nozzle, makes it possible to nail into difficult-to-access spaces;
  • The magazine opening and the ease of reloading;
  • The type of nails available - smooth or twisted;
  • The level of vibration.
 
And be careful never to nail the compressor hose !

Advice on finding the perfect nailer




If you are an expert carpenter or you inspire to be one, it is better to be equipped with both a battery or gas-powered nailer, for their autonomy and convenience, and a pneumatic nailer for its enhanced performance .

Be sure to have gas refills ready before starting any work and when choosing to use a battery-power nailer, select a model that comes with two batteries to establish a charging rotation.

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Guide written by:

Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter 177 guides écrits

Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter

Redo a roof with wooden beams? Check.
Advise Mister everybody in the DIY shop? Check.
Redo the bathroom plumbing? Check.
Fit together, build the walls, paint a partition, throw my hammer in a rage thinking that it will fix the problem? Check.

The DIY motto ? Learning is better than delegating… well, it's also a question about your wallet! The satisfaction? The beer at the end of the job!
What do the best have in common? The influence of Gyro Gearloose, Mac Gyver and Carol Smiley depending on your generation, a good dose of curiosity, a average hand-eye coordination and a taste for risks… and if it doesn't work, try again! Advise you? I'll do my best!

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