What Kind of a Nail Gun Do I Need?


There are important things you need to know about nail guns if you have decided to purchase one for your next project. Nail guns are a great improvement from hammers; they save time and are less stressful than the hammer. Nail guns are designed to drive nails into wood or other materials and are of different types and styles.

Each nail gun is designed for a certain type of project and to work with specific nails or fasteners; this means you cannot substitute one for the other. Nail guns can be categorized into three based on their source of power; these three types are pneumatic, electric and gas-powered. In this article, we’ll provide you with all the information you need about the different types of nail guns and their uses.

Types of Nail Guns

The primary purpose of nail guns is to drive nails or fasteners into materials. There are different types of nail guns used for different purposes, and with different types of material. Below is a list of the different types of nail guns available and what they are used for.

Framing Nail Gun

The framing nail gun is the largest and most powerful type of nail gun. It is powerful enough to handle large, heavy-duty projects. They are used for projects that require large nails to be driven into large or thick material. They work with nails up to3 ½ inches long and drive nails into 2×4’s. They are built with a tool-free depth-drive adjustment that allows the user to control the depth of each nail. They allow the user to easily change between the sequential and contact or bump firing mode. This nailer is used to build decks, fences, wood sheathing and rooms.

There are two types of framing nailers: round head and clipped head framing nailer. The clipped head nailers have a larger magazine capacity and work with clipped head nails; however, some building codes prevent the use of these nails. The round head framing nailer accommodates fewer nails and works round head nails. There is no debate on which type of framing nailer is better, but most professionals prefer to use the round head framing nailer.

Flooring Nail Gun

The flooring nail gun different from the regular nail guns. It allows the user to quickly and easily install hardwood flooring. It doesn’t operate like the automatic or trigger-powered nail gun; it takes a while to get used to the nail gun.

When using this nailer, the nails or cleats need to be driven at a 45-degree angle. To achieve this, the nailer is held at the edge of the board, and a mallet is used to hit the plunger. There are two types of flooring nailers: pneumatic and manual flooring nailer. Both types of framing nailer are quite similar. The pneumatic nailer uses air pressure to drive nails into materials, and unlike the manual framing nailer, it requires little effort from the user.

Roofing Nail Gun

The roofing nailer is also a heavy-duty nailer that works just like the framing nailer. They are used mostly by professional contractors; only a few DIYers use this nail gun. A roofing nailer is used to install roofing shingles and other roofing materials; it drives nails into these materials at a very high speed. There are different types of roofing nailers: pneumatic, spring-loaded and solenoid roofing nailer.

The spring-loaded roofing nailer is simple and easy to use; it uses springs to shoot nails out of the chamber. The pneumatic roofing nail gun works like every other pneumatic ail gun; it is powered by an air compressor and uses pressurized air to shoot nailers. It is the most popular type of roofing nailer. The solenoid roofing nailers are not so common and are powered by electromagnetic polarization.

Brad Nail Gun

The brad nail gun is a pneumatic-powered nail gun that uses pressurized air to shoot small nails or brads into the material. This nail gun is designed to shoot brad nails which are thin 18-gauge or 21-gauge nails that are about 5/8 inches to 2 inches long. There are two types of brad nailer; there’s the electric brad nailer and the pneumatic brad nailer.

The electric nailer is powered electrically by a battery or power outlet via a power cord. The pneumatic brad nailer, on the other hand, uses compressed air to shoot nails out of its chamber into the wood or material. They require gas cartridges and air compressors. The brad nailers leave small holes on the materials due to the small nail heads of the brad nails. It can be used for baseboards, installing quarter-rounds, cabinets, installation of trims and mouldings.

Also, see:

Finish Nailer VS Brad Nailer

What Do You Use a Brad Nailer For?

Finishing Nail Gun

If you are dealing with less demanding projects, the finishing nail gun is the ideal tool. It is designed to fire 14 to 16 gauge nails that are 1 – 2 ½ inches long. It is used to attach large trims and for finishing projects like panelling or installing trims and mouldings. They are quite similar to brad nail guns but are used for a different purpose. The finish nail gun can be used for many projects like crown modelling, installing door and window trims, baseboards and door jams.

Nail Gun Safety

Nail guns can cause severe injury if not used properly. For this reason, safety comes first when using the nail gun. Below are some safety procedures you can follow to reduce the risk of injury at your work station

  • Read the owner’s manual carefully before using the nail gun. Follow the instructions on the manual
  • Wear safety glasses or goggles that have a side shield
  • Make sure your finger is away from the trigger when you’re not shooting nails
  • The nail gun should be disconnected or unplugged when it is being cleaned or when clearing jams
  • There are two types of firing mode; sequential and contact or bump firing. The contact firing is safer to use because it requires the nose tip of the gun to be pressed against the material before shooting nails


Selecting the best nail gun for different projects depends on the type of project. As similar as some of these nail guns may seem, they cannot be used interchangeably. Having a bit of understanding of the different types of nail guns out there would make it easier for you to select the perfect nail gun for the job.