Best nail gun for woodworking?

oldalgebraMarch 5, 2005

Need some recommendations for a good nail gun. I'm at 57 year-old woman, so I'm looking for one that's not too heavy. Are the battery ones any good?

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There are at least 5 different sizes of nailers suitable for woodworking, not counting framing nailers. They range in nail sizes from pin size to 3" finish nails.

I use three different nailers for remodeling and furniture trim and assembly. A 16 ghauge nailer that uses 1" to 2&1/2" finish nails. An 18 gauge brad nailer that uses smaller diameter 1" to 2" finish brads. And a small stapler.

The smaller nailers are pin nailers in 21 and 23 gauge and use a headless pin.

A 15 gauge nailer also uses finish nails up to 2" and 3".

The best advice I can give you is to go to a HD/Lowe's/Menards/etc. and look at the nailers and the size nails they use----you should be able to make a better decision that way.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2005 at 11:26PM
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OK. HandyMac. So you're saying the brand makes little difference. They're all pretty much the same. All I need to do is determine the size nails I will most likely be using and let that drive my decision.
Nail guns are a little expensive and I was just worried that there might be a lemon out there.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2005 at 6:05AM
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I know folks who swear by Paslode or Senco nailers, as there are those like me who like PC. The main reason to buy name brand is for built in reliabitlty and service should it be necessary. There is a company called Harbor Freight which sells Chinese made knockoff tools of all kinds---very cheaply. Key word is knockoffs---no testing/repair/backup available. In fact, some of their nailers come with repair kits----that says volumes to me---bad volumes.

I use Porter Cable and Stanley Bostich. Porter Cable(PC) has several package deals---one has a compressor and two nailers, a 16 and an 18 gauge. The compressor is noisy but very reliable, mine is over five years old, gets used heavily about two to three days a week and is going strong---not one problem/repair.

I feel the battery powered nailers would be a bit heavy for extended use, plus have no idea how long the batteries/fuel cartridges would last unused.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2005 at 8:47AM
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I'm with HandyMac, nailer, pinner and a stapler, except I use a 15 gauge nailer instead of a 16. Reason is that most trim companies here will buy nails if you are Senco compatible, but if not, you have to keep receipts and chase them around to get reimbursed, and Senco has more of a market presence in 15 gauge nailers.

If you have a Lowe's nearby, ask the tool department salesmen about the Senco Christmas special. $199 for a 15 gauge nailer, but if you get a box left over from the Christmas sale, there's also an 18 gauge stapler inside for the same price.

I can't recommend Senco's micropinner combo kit, because the compressor (PC1010) that comes with it is billed as a disposable and only has a 90 day warranty. It's one handed light, and the one my boss essentially gave me still works, but I don't have confidence in it.

Generally Porter Cable and Senco's are preferred by the crews I've worked on, partly because they're reasonably well made, partly because Senco's are essentially maintained for free if your business has a nail supply contract with them.

If you're moving around a lot, a nail here and a nail there, and you can afford the extra expense of the cordless nailers, they might be worth a look. The people I work with that have them leave them home unless they know they are going to be doing punchout and don't have a compressor.

For the most part, the general consensus is that a pancake style Porter Cable compressor and regular hose connected nailers are a better way to go.

Make sure that the guns you get fire the size nails you need to use, (wider range of lengths usually equals a higher purchase price), that the nails that fit them are easily available in your area, decide whether you want to pay more for an oil-less nailer or put up with the hassle and potential mess of guns that require daily oiling, and then, price and personal taste pretty much conclude the decision making process, as long as your looking at the major brands.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2005 at 11:30AM
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I like the Stanley Bostich nailers. They are very easy to load the different size nails as the whole side slides open. Mine has been very dependable.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2005 at 12:33PM
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I have one not to get...the electric nail gun sold by Rockler. I didn't want to get a compressor...just wanted to nail up molding on a kitchen project. The nails all have to be set and leave at least a 1/4" exposed. Very disappointing. In shopping at Lowe's, HD & Sears, didn't see any good non-compressor nailers that looked any better. Anyone know of any?

    Bookmark   March 7, 2005 at 11:53PM
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I have a $15 brad nailer from Harbor Freight that has outlasted my far more costly Porter+Cable brad nailer.

With that said, I've a couple or three 18g nailers, a 1/4" stapler, a 16g and 15g angle nailer. They're all from HF and they certainly do do the job (after job, after job ...)

Get your self a small compressor and the correct size nailer for your needs -- 18g for "tacking 'til the glue dries" or a 16g for more general use such as trim work.

Do you belong to Sam's Club? The one by me has a whoppng deal going in for a pancake compressor with two guns ... it sounds like a hokey brand name but it's actually a DeVilleBis set -- the sister company of Porter+Cable who makes the PC-branded air tools.


    Bookmark   March 8, 2005 at 2:17AM
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Paslode butane powered units work very well if you do not want to deal woth a compressor. Both framing and finish are available. Avoidng the weight and hassle of a hose are often worth the extra up front cost.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2005 at 10:22PM
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I need an inexpensive co 2 or battery nail gun to take over seas. Guns are not allowed. Any ideas?

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 11:52PM
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