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Best Brad Nailer – 18 Gauge – Cordless & Pneumatic Options

Are you looking to buy the best brad nailer available?  There are quite a few to choose from so you may want some advice.

Over the last few months, I have been researching and testing as much as I can.  I finally figured it all out and came up with this list of the top 5 in my opinion.

Ready?  Take a look below:

What Is The Best Brad Nailer Comparison Chart

Our Top Rated Brad Nail Gun Recommendations

BOSTITCH BTFP12233 Smart Point 18GA

PORTER-CABLE PCC790LA 20V MAX Lithium

Makita AF505N

SENCO FinishPro® 18MG

DEWALT DWFP12231 Pneumatic 18-Gauge

What To Look For When Buying A Brad Nailer

As any skilled craftsman would confirm, you need the right equipment and tools to produce excellent work. Having the right tools will also make you more efficient and ensure that your project is done correctly. When it comes to cabinet making and other carpentry-related projects, one of the most critical tools that you'll need to purchase is a high-quality brad nailer. Like other types of carpentry tools, they come in a variety of forms, and choosing the best one for your project might be quite confusing. To make your work easier, here is an overview of what to look for when buying one:

Nail Size and Length you prefer to use

Brad nailers are often used to drive nails between 5/6 and 2 inches in length. However, there are some that can only handle nails between 1 and 1.25 inches. Before you settle on a choice, you need to consider the type of project that you are going to work on as well as the length of the nails that you are going to use.

Nose Size

In most cases, when using a brad nailer, you are forced to shoot very tiny nails within confined spaces. If you want to be very accurate (of course every craftsman do), you need a unit with a nose that is small enough to help you fire comfortably and be sure that the nail will end up at the intended target. Accordingly, when buying, strive to go for one with a slim and compact design to fit into tight spaces.

Power source

Commercial versions are either electric (powered by electric motors) or pneumatic (powered by compressed air supply). There are also cordless options as well. The choice that you settle for should be guided by your preferred power source. While pneumatic versions are reliable and powerful, you must have an air compressor and must be ready to deal with a hose. Cordless electric brad nailers are convenient as they don't need cables but they are quite expensive and their batteries need to be charged regularly. Furthermore, they can be heavier due to the additional weight of their batteries.

Adjustability

There are various useful features - these include but not limited to:

  • Power adjustments: some brad nailers come with power settings, which can be adjusted depending on the type of material that one is working on.
  • Adjustable Depth: Brad nailers should allow you to fine tune how far you can push the fastener into the material you are working on. There are brands that allow you to adjust the depth by hand, while others need special tools. Remember, a good depth adjustment system boosts the usefulness and makes it perform like multiple tools.
  • Jam Clearing: There are certain types with customized designs that make it seamless to clear nail jams.

Trigger Type

Most commercial versions come with two components to their triggers: the tip of the gun, which you need to push against an object before it releases the fastener, and the grip trigger, which you can press with your finger. Options that have 'contact triggers' allow the user to simply hold down the trigger with a finger and tap the tip of the nailer on the object, and immediately releasing the fastener. This can be dangerous as they can be activated very fast. On the other hand, 'sequential triggers', the tip of the gun must be pushed against an object before the user pulls the trigger. Although it can be tiring to use, it is safer.

Price

Like any other tool or equipment, the cost varies from one brand to another. For instance, progressive brad nailers tend to be pricier than their regular counterparts. If your project is more professional and demanding, you will definitely go for a progressive brad nailer from a famous brand. However, if you are buying the nailer for a small DIY project, regular types will suffice.

Warranty and repair

Different brands give varying warranty and repair facilities. Accordingly, before you settle on any option, it is critical to carefully read their warranty and repair scheme.

Conclusion

Brad nailers are very crucial carpentry tools. They are more convenient than traditional hammers. However, to end up with the best type for your project, you need understand one aspect: what to look for when buying one. The above highlighted are some of the factors that you should consider. Although the list is not exhaustive, it will go a long way in helping you purchase the best type in the market.

Frequently Asked Questions About Brad Nailers

What is a brad nailer best used for?

They are perfect for the following:

  • interior trim
  • cabinetry

Can a brad nailer use staples?

You can get some options that are kind of a brad, finish and stapler kit all in one but I would suggest using a stapler only for this.

Can you use a brad nailer baseboards, crown molding and other trim?

It can work but you will want to keep the nail length in mind when using one.  You may find that the nails are just too short - going to really depend on the thickness of the baseboards, trim, etc.

What gauge nail does one use?

18 gauge.

Can you use a brad nailer for hardwood floors?

For the most part, you should be fine.  I think I would use other other options but even still, you should be okay.  I would recommend testing it on a few pieces first and see how it works out then decide from there.

Can you use a brad nailer for framing?

No.  And the reason is quite simple - the nail size isn't correct and usually brad nailers just don't have enough power to handle a framing job.

How Do I Oil It?

I would recommend watching this excellent in-depth video explaining the entire process:

What PSI should I be set to?

You are going to find that most guns will probably work best at between 95 and 120 PSI.  It really depends on the type of wood you are driving nails into.