Nail Gun Comparison
| Operating Pressure
|Maximum Fastener Size||5/8″||3-1/2″||5/8″||3/4″||3-1/2″||3/4″||5/8″||5/8″||2-1/2″||0.5″|
|Minimum Fastener Size||2″||2″||2″||2″||2″||0.5″||2″||2″||1″||0.15″|
|Magazine Angle||Straight||21o||Straight||Straight||150 / 180 / 210||Straight||Straight||Straight||Straight||Straight|
|Magazine Loading||Box Style||Strip||Side||Strip||Strip||Strip||Side||
|Warranty||3 Years||1 Year||3 Years||1 Year||7 Years||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year|
Nail Gun Buying Guide
What is a Nail Gun
When it comes to driving a nail, nothing beats a traditional hammer. You can correct any mishaps with the claw on the opposite end. However, when you need to drive many nails in a short amount of time, you definitely need a power nailer. A high quality power nailer can land thousands of nails a day in a consistent and accurate fashion, with a minimal amount of maintenance required. This buyer’s guide is intended to help you find the right nail gun for you.
Nail Gun Types
There are really only two types of nail guns, and they’re different due to their magazine style and the nails that they use.
- Stick-style Nail Guns: A stick-style nail gun uses nails that are collated, or held together by strips of paper, plastic, or thin wire. What these nails do is form a long, slender stick that slides into an oblong-shaped magazine. These sticks will vary in length from 20 inches to 40 inches.
- Coil-style Nail Guns: These guns use long, flexible strings of nails joined with wires. These nails are stored in a round magazine on the tool. The magazine will roll the string of nails, giving you as many as 300 nails that can be loaded at one time.
Nail Gun Applications
Perfect of any type of construction application, nail gun models are designed to be used in tight spaces, while some models are more geared towards large and powerful high-volume applications.
- Framing nailers are perfect for fast, high-powered work while fastening large pieces of material.
- Finish nailers are lightweight, and perfect for furniture, cabinets, trim, and molding.
- Staplers, brad nailers, and tackers are also lightweight, and ideal for precision work.
- Roofing nailers are designed to specifically apply roof shingles.
Pneumatic Nail Guns
The most common nail gun that you’ll encounter is the pneumatic nailer. These models are powered by air pressure from the compressor, so when a nail is fired, a valve opens in the tool and air fills the cylinder. There’s a piston in the cylinder that moves rapidly downward, which drives the nail in front of it into the material at the tip of the nailer. The piston fully extends, so the air from the compressor is released from the tool through an exhaust vent. While the next nail is being loaded, the piston recoils.
Air Compressors for Pneumatic Nail Guns
A constant source of compressed air is required for a pneumatic nail gun. There’s no specific compressor that is required, but each has specific air requirements. There is a range of pressures that a nail gun will operate on, and this is measured in pounds per square inch, or psi. Nails guns also require minimum volume of air for correct operation. This volume can be rated in cubic feet per minute, or cfm. When there is a restriction in the air hose it will decrease the air pressure and volume. When you have a hose that is the wrong size, is too long, or contains a lot of moisture, it will decrease airflow and cause wear and poor performance of the tool.
Psi and cfm ratings of your air compressor should be equal to or greater than the requirements of your tool. Should the compressor not meet these requirements, the gun won’t work properly. Simply increasing the air pressure output of the compressor won’t solve performance problems when there is just not enough air volume. Should you wish to run other air tools along with your air gun, you need to make sure that your compressor can handle the load of all those tools combined.
Cordless Nail Guns
A cordless nail gun performs the same functions of a pneumatic nailer, but the power source of a cordless gun is different. It does not work using a supply of compressed air, but instead, these guns use flammable gas to drive the nails. This gas is drained from a disposal canister and then is injected into the combustion chamber above the piston. There’s an electric charge from a battery which ignites the gas, then explodes and drives the piston, which fires the nail. This is a self-contained tool and power source, so there are no cords or hoses required.
The most widely used cordless nail gun sinks nails as quickly as a pneumatic model. However, these tools need to be cleaned more often than a pneumatic unit, but require very little startup time. This kind of gun is perfect for tight and obstructed areas, because there’s no air hose required. These are also great for low volume nailing and jobs that have limited startup time.
Power Nailer Features
It’s always important to choose the features, power level, and nail capacity that you need for the desired usage. There are various nail firing types which offer a variety of ways a nailer drives the fasteners.
- Some types of nailers use a hold-down trigger that allows you to tap or bounce the tool on the material to drive a fastener. Each bounce will release a new nail. This is a great option for all production-type work.
- Some nailers are activated by putting the tool on the material and pulling the trigger. This type of nailing requires some practice as you can easily drive two fasteners before you can lift the tool.
- When it comes to precision nailing, you want to look for a simple trigger operation, where each pull of the trigger releases one fastener. The best example of this is a staple gun, which features this simple firing style.
- You can find nail guns with multiple trigger settings that allow you to choose the firing style that is most appropriate for each task.
- Directional exhaust plates allow you to control where you’re channeling the tools exhaust. This is a valuable setting when nailing in a dusty area. Some shields will require a tool for adjustments, but others can be done by hand.
- Jam clearing makes maintenance of a nailer much simpler, because fasteners occasionally jam in the nailing mechanism. Select a tool that allows for convenient clearing of fasteners.
- Adjustable depth control allows you to change the depth the fastener is driven into the nailing surface. Sometimes nailers leave nails protruding, sink them flush, or countersink them dependent upon where you set the depth.
- Large triggers make using the tool much easier when you’re wearing gloves, and they provide extra comfort to you.
- A carrying case will help to protect the nailer from any damage and wear while it’s being transported. Many nailers come with a case, but you should consider adding one if it’s not included.
- Swiveling air connectors will cut down on air host tangles, and they also make reloading much simpler, helping you to move the air hose out of the way.
- Protective guards will keep parts of the tool safe from damage and protect you from flying debris. These can wear out with use, so you want to find one that can be easily replaced.
- Fly-to-load nail magazines will make loading nails much easier. It’s always important to reload nails quickly and easily.
A quality nail gun allows you to rapidly set nails in a precise and easy fashion. There are a lot of nail guns on the market, and finding the right one for you comes down to understanding this amazing tool, and what options are out there for you. In the buyer’s guide, we highlighted the various different kinds of nail guns, and how they work. This knowledge should be enough for you to make an informed decision about which gun will perfectly suit your needs.
- Dewalt: http://www.dewalt.com/
- NuMax: http://t.homedepot.com/
- Dewalt Pneumatic: http://www.dewalt.com/