Electric nailers are some of the most important and most versatile power tools you can have in your tool kit. A great electric nailer will make most jobs a lot easier and will help you finish faster when you’re working on a new project. Plus they offer a relatively secure fastening type that’s suitable for a wide range of uses.
Of course, you’ll only get the full benefits of an electric nail gun if you have one that can perform well and reliably.
That’s more than just picking the right model. It’s also about making sure your nail gun is well suited to your needs. That’s why we’ve not only reviewed some of the best nail guns, we’ve also provided a buying guide at the end of this article to help you decide which model is the best option for you.
Ready? Let’s get started.
Craftsman is a fantastic power tools brand with a reputation for high quality and high-performance power tools at a reasonable price. The brand is a favorite with professionals and DIYers thanks to their solid construction, good features and comfort adaptations, and customer warranties. This manufacturer is generally a good option, and it’s even better when you have other battery-powered tools from Craftsman since their batteries are often interchangeable.
This brad nailer is an excellent choice for professionals who are looking to completely eliminate cords and need an extremely portable design. The design is relatively lightweight at 7.6 lbs. which makes it easier to use and more comfortable when you’re having to use your nailer for a long time.
Unlike many other nailer designs, this one doesn’t need either an air compressor hose or an electric cord.
The battery design is particularly efficient and works well. It provides plenty of power to drive nails and works for several hours before you’ll need a charge. The 20V battery is also interchangeable with other cordless nailers from Craftsman. Just make sure you only use the 20V battery in this tool, it’s not compatible with other battery designs.
The nail firing system offers highly consistent performance as well. It’s designed to help prevent jamming by firing nails smoothly each time. Even if the nailer does jam, which is rare, it’s usually easy to either clear the jam or release the clip so you can remove the nail.
The belt hook on this nailer is also convenient for a portable nailer. It makes it easier to carry the nailer from space to space when you’re working on construction or finishing work. It’s also a convenient way to free your hands if you need to reposition something before nailing it into place.
The over-molded handle is also designed to help prevent hand fatigue and make this nailer more comfortable to use for long periods at a time. It will help prevent cramping and also works to protect your hand and arms from repetitive stress injuries that are common on the job.
While this nailer is designed to be able to fire up to 450 2in nails on a single charge, it might be a good idea to get a second or even a third battery if you’re likely to need the nailer to work for long periods without charging breaks. It’s especially important to have additional batteries for contractors, construction professionals, and busy job sites with shared tools.
Why we like it
This design is powerful, consistent, and easily portable. It’s a great option for contractors and construction workers who never know where they’ll be working next. Its long-lasting battery and consistent performance are great for most situations, while its precision nail placement is perfect for finishing work and detailed surfaces like crown molding.
DeWalt is another incredible power tool manufacturer. They offer effective designs that are purpose-built. They know what professionals are looking for in their power tools, and have a range of options designed to meet your exact needs.
DeWalt also generally offers good warranties, not that you’ll typically need them. Quality components and design principles make these some of the longer-lasting power tools on the market right now.
This brad nailer is completely cordless thanks to its 20V battery design. Like the Craftsman 20V battery brad nailer we just reviewed, this model’s battery is compatible with other 20V battery power tools from DeWalt. Don’t mix and match battery and tool brands, even if they are the same voltage as the construction may differ and could potentially damage your tool.
This kit is designed to have several different firing methods. You can switch between bump firing and sequential firing without needing any tools to adjust. Having both firing methods available make this brad nailer suited to a variety of situations and experience levels, which is perfect for shared tools and contractors with a wide range of specialties.
The brushless motor inside this brad nailer also makes it significantly more efficient. The motor doesn’t have as much friction, which is perfect for battery-powered tools since it’s a better use of the tool’s power.
Brushless motors also typically last longer than traditional motors since there is less wear and tear on the machine overall. That means that this nailer will likely last longer than versions with traditional motors.
The battery’s smaller design is also easier to work with and helps keep the weight of the tool lower. A low weight tool is easier to work with and easier to use in different circumstances. It’s also less likely to cause shoulder, arm, and hand fatigue, which is critical for professionals. Avoiding tool stress also helps you avoid some common injuries among professional construction workers, contractors, and craftspeople.
The consistent load and firing system is effective and well designed. This nailer doesn’t have any hesitation, which can help when you’re trying to place nails for finishing work quickly and precisely.
Its protective firing tip is also designed to help prevent any damage to the surface you’re working with, making it suitable for attaching softwood veneers and other more delicate materials.
Why we like it
This brad nailer’s design is effective for professionals and DIYers alike. It’s consistent loading and smooth firing design is easy to use and incredibly precise which makes it a perfect finishing nailer for baseboards. The efficient motor and battery are both designed to help you keep working longer between charges, while a protective firing tip helps keep your project looking its best.
One of the biggest advantages of this design is its incredibly consistent firing depth. You’re able to make adjustments while you’re working, which is perfect for projects where you need a lot of control and precision. If one nail doesn’t land quite right you’ll be able to change the depth for better results on the next one.
The depth adjustment wheel is also particularly easy to change on the fly, which means you’ll need less time to make adjustments while you’re working. However, it also holds in place well, which prevents accidental adjustments while you’re working for better consistency.
This design’s lithium-ion battery is also particularly efficient. It’s longer-lasting charge and better energy efficiency make it one of the better options in battery-powered nailers. The battery also charges relatively quickly in addition to holding a charge for longer while you’re working. The combination is perfect for busy job sites since it means more time spent working and less time spent on tool maintenance.
It’s also a good option because changing out the battery for another battery is quick and easy. If you have several batteries on hand this nailer can handle almost continuous work for hours without losing precision or efficiency.
Tool-free jam release and release levers make this nailer easier to use. Plus you won’t have to worry about losing the tools you need to access the magazine and other features of this nailer.
It’s also one of the highest capacity nailers available in its size and power type. A single battery charge is good for driving more than 1,000 nails in one session. That’s perfect for big projects and busy job sites where a lot of nails need to be laid quickly and precisely.
LED lights also help keep your workspace visible and make it easier to see what you’re doing around the tools. That combined with the ergonomic grip and lightweight comfortable design make this tool one of the better options in terms of longer performance.
Why we like it
This high capacity nailer might not come from one of the better-known tools manufacturers, but it’s still a great choice for professionals and home craftsmen alike. Its solid design offers some of the highest firing capacity per charge currently available, and efficient design choices help make nailing performance more consistent even in different kinds of materials, such as shiplap, and with different kinds of nails.
If you’re familiar with Hitachi, you’re familiar with this brand. Metabo is the new name for the same tools professionals have been using for years, just under a new organization system that made them separate their name and brand identity from the larger Hitachi group in North America.
That means that even though this looks like a new brand and a newer manufacturer, you’re actually getting tried and tested tools that have been professional favorites for years. A long manufacturer history might not be important for everything about your tools, but it’s a good gauge of quality products.
This framing nailer comes with a brushless motor that’s perfect for longer-lasting tools and making the most of your battery’s charge. That’s because brushless motors produce less friction and less heat than a traditional motor, which reduces the electric load, meaning you get more motor power for less electricity.
That’s perfect for longer-lasting batteries and more firing power on a single charge.
This design also functions a little more like a powerful pneumatic nailer than most battery-powered brad nailers. It’s got 0 load time between firing, allowed for experienced professionals to rapid-fire that much more easily.
The nailer also has a slight recoil like a pneumatic nailer. That can actually be a good thing because it gives you more feedback when the nail has fired properly, preventing you from trying to nail twice in the same location and causing a jam.
The trigger is also designed to let you easily switch between sequential firing and bump firing. That’s perfect for experienced professionals that know when they need each firing technique, and which option is going to be most efficient in any given scenario.
Why we like it
Metabo has produced another high-quality electric nail gun with this design. It’s high efficiency motor and precise firing mechanism work together to help you fire more nails on a single charge. It’s durable design combined with a lifetime tool warranty both help make sure you’re getting your money’s worth out of the tool.
Finishing nailers are perfect for when you need to use more delicate materials, need a subtler attachment system, or only need to attach a relatively thin piece of material.
This nailer is a workhorse, even though it shouldn’t be considered a construction nailer since the connection isn’t as strong as larger gauge nails.
The angled design does help give your project a little more strength and durability though, making this one of the best options for a high-quality finish. Integrated LED lights make it easy to see exactly where you’re nailing, giving you the precision you need for a high quality and professional finish.
Every nail will be placed at a 20-degree angle, adding strength and making the nails themselves a little more subtle. However, that means that this might not be the best option for the sides and edges of your project where the nail might go through your materials and stick out the other end.
This nailer is also relatively delicate, which is good for more fragile materials while still offering the strength and durability you need. That combination helps prevent splitting, splintering, and other kinds of damage that can lead to more finishing work on your end.
The bump operating mode means that this nailer fires as soon as you’ve got positive pressure on the firing tip. That’s important because it gives you better precision than if your nailer didn’t have good contact with the materials you’re working with. It also helps prevent misfiring and skidding, both of which can cause serious damage when you’re finishing your project.
At just 6 lbs, this nailer is also a more lightweight and effective option for working in a wide range of spaces. It’s good for working in tight corners thanks to its small size, and it’s also good for working at a wide range of angles since it’s significantly less likely to cause shoulder and arm fatigue.
Why we like it
Finishing nailers are a fantastic choice when you’re looking to get a smooth almost untouched finish on your project, or if you’re working with delicate materials like hardie trim that can’t handle a higher-powered nail gun or a larger nail.
Makita is another reliable tools manufacturer with a reputation for producing high-quality tools that work well in a wide range of applications. They tend to be very efficient and work well for both professionals and home DIYers.
This pin nailer might not be quite as versatile as other options thanks to the very small pin nails. However, this tool is one of the best options for its specialized purpose. Its reliable firing system does a good job of placing nails accurately and smoothly.
The thinner nails of this pin nailer are also perfect for veneers and delicate materials, as well as helping to place and shape thinner materials.
Toolless depth of fire adjustment makes it easy to get the exact finish you’re looking for. It’s able to fire for a perfectly flush finish, and it’s also a good option for countersinking nails for added stability.
This tool also has a protective setting that helps prevent accidental dry firing and makes the tool both more consistent and more durable. That added durability is important to make sure you get your money’s worth from the tool.
The magazine can hold up to 120 nails, making it easy to work longer between charges and without having to reload as often.
Overall this design might not be quite as versatile as some other nailers, but its high efficiency and high precision make it a wonderful addition to any toolset.
Why we like it
Not every professional is going to need a pin nailer, but it’s hard to make due with a substitute when you really need one. This design is efficient and works well. It’s also durable and long-lasting, which is perfect for professionals who want to get the most out of their tools.
With Makita, an 18V nailer is a good option if you’re looking for a straight finish nailer with variable depth adjustment and high precision. The 16 gauge nails might be a little more noticeable than smaller designs, but that doesn’t make them any less effective.
This nailer is also significantly more versatile since it’s designed to work as a finishing nailer but it also offers higher attachment strength than your average finishing nailer.
The one real downside of this design is that it doesn’t come with the battery included, so you’ll need to order the battery separately or you’ll need to use a battery you already have for another Makita tool.
The compact center height design also gives you better visibility of your workspace. Its light is designed for greater precision, while smooth lines and edges are better for being able to see in a wide range of angles.
An included reversible belt clip makes this tool easier to use and maneuver as you’re walking between different work areas. It’s also good for moments when you need both hands for something, or need to reposition your materials before fastening them in place permanently.
Makita has also included an anti-dry firing mechanism in this nail gun, which helps prevent accidental dry firing when the clip is running low. The nailer also has an easy loading system that helps make sure the nails always load consistently and works to help prevent jamming and misfiring.
Why we like it
This straight finish nailer might not offer as much durability as angled versions, but it’s more than powerful enough to get the job done the majority of the time. It’s high capacity magazine and easy loading system are both designed to make it easier to work without interruptions, while an efficient lithium-ion battery helps the tool’s charge last longer.
One of the biggest advantages of the MAX finish nailer is that its adjustment settings are mostly tool-free and easy to use. That means it’s that much easier to remove and reload the magazine, change the depth of fire, and even to change the firing style. All of those features make this nailer easier to use and more efficient.
A depth adjustment window also makes it much easier to see what depth your nails are firing to. It also gives you better confidence that you’ve adjusted to the right setting with the depth adjustment tool so you know you’re getting the results you need.
Multifunctional LED lights also work to make the whole process easier, from illuminating your workspace to making it easier to see and clear jams in the firing mechanism.
A jam-free firing system also helps make sure nail jamming is rare. It also makes most kinds of nail jamming easier to fix, so it will take less time to remove the jam when it happens.
All of those features work together to keep you working longer and more efficiently overall.
The motor design is incredibly efficient. It works well in a wide range of climate conditions, so you won’t have to worry about changes in the weather changing how your nailer’s motor performs. It also adjusts well to differences in your materials, including transitioning from hard and softwoods to adjusting to materials that are both dry, and wet from extra humidity.
The straight firing mechanism also helps prevent splitting, keeping more of your materials intact and helping to prevent extra finishing work.
Why we like it
If you’re looking for a high-quality finishing nailer that works well without needing a bunch of extra tools and other equipment to work, this is a good option. It’s efficient battery system and jam-free firing mechanism work together to keep you working longer, while LEDs and other design choices help make sure you can see what you’re doing for the best possible results.
Electric Nailer Buyer’s Guide
We stand behind each and every one of the nailers in this guide, but it’s critical to make sure you’re getting the right nailer for your needs, not just a nailer that will work in a pinch.
After all, power tools aren’t exactly cheap. You want to make sure you’re investing in a tool that will make your work easier and will keep working for years to come. That way you’ll actually get your money’s worth from the tool.
Here’s a buying guide about the most important features in an electric nail gun. These are the features you should consider when you’re choosing a new nail gun, and keeping them in mind will help you make sure you’re choosing the right option for you.
Corded Or Battery Powered
Choosing the right power source for your electric nail gun is one of the most important features to make sure it works well for you. Of course, there are pneumatic nail guns in addition to the electric version, but if you’re looking at electric nail guns there are usually two options, corded nailers and battery-powered nailers.
Both of these options work well, but they’re better for different situations.
A corded nail gun is usually best for professionals who mainly work in their workshop, or occasionally on a job site that has reliable electricity.
These nail guns can keep going a lot longer than battery-powered nail guns, but they do have some limitations. For one thing, you can only really use the nail gun within reach of its power cord. Extension cords can come unplugged, get tangled, and add a lot of unnecessary weight to your tool which can make it more difficult to use.
When it comes to consistent performance though, they can’t be beaten. These tools also generally work best for craftsmen who create items rather than work on construction thanks to the maneuverability limitations of the cord.
However, paired with a mobile generator, these can still be excellent job site tools.
Battery Powered Nailers
Battery-powered nailers are generally more common nowadays, in fact, every nailer on this list is a battery-powered tool instead of a corded one.
These tools are excellent for compact designs, high portability, and great maneuverability. They are good for small spaces, construction work where cords won’t necessarily reach, and anywhere you don’t want to have to worry about finding an outlet.
The downside of battery power is that it’s finite. You’ll either need to buy additional batteries for your tool or get used to taking charging breaks when you run out of power.
The good news is that these batteries are getting longer-lasting and more powerful all the time. Higher efficiency designs also help batteries charge faster and fire more nails in a single charge.
Battery power is usually the most efficient option, but you’ll need to look at charging times and runtime to make sure you’re getting a good battery. It’s best if you get battery-powered tools from the same line since the batteries are often interchangeable. That can make the batteries themselves a better investment.
However, batteries tend to cost more in the long run because they lose efficiency over time. You’ll need to replace your tool batteries every few years as they stop working as well.
The nail gauge tells you the size of the nail. Higher numbers indicate smaller diameter nails, which smaller gauge numbers are larger. One way of estimating the size of the nail is that the gauge is usually about the number of nails that will fit in an inch lined up next to one another.
Smaller gauge nailers are great for finishing work and detailed work where you don’t want the nails to be visible on the finished project. But they are less durable and offer less fastening strength than larger nails.
On the other hand, nails that are too large run the risk of damaging your materials and getting a less professional finish. But they are typically more versatile since they can also be used for building and weight-bearing joints depending on the size.
Most professionals will need a range of different nail gun gauges, so think carefully about what sizes you’re most likely to need. It’s also important to pay attention to the length your nailers are compatible with since nail length also plays a role in its effectiveness and the kind of jobs it’s well suited for.
Good power tools should always come with some kind of warranty. That’s because even the best manufacturers can have product defects that don’t immediately show up during quality testing. Those manufacturers want to make sure their customers are getting a high-quality product, so warranties are designed to help protect consumers from spending money on a tool that doesn’t work.
For nailers, it’s important to have at least a 1-year warranty from the manufacturer. 3-year warranties are better and generally a little more common than 1-year warranties. That makes a 3-year warranty a good indication of tool quality.
Limited lifetime warranties are less common, but they’re usually the best offer and a sign of higher quality manufacturing and better-tested nailer designs.
Portability is one of the most important features of any nail gun. Nail guns are tools that might be needed in a wide range of situations, including construction. They are fast and effective, which makes them a preferred choice for quick repairs and other projects.
But that also means that it’s relatively likely you’ll need your nail gun somewhere other than your home workshop.
Battery-powered nail guns are usually more portable than either corded or pneumatic versions. However, they also need charging which can limit their effectiveness at times. Long pneumatic cords and extension cords can make for more reliable nailers with reasonable portability.
However, those kinds of tools need more cargo space, so they probably aren’t the best option if you’re already running out of space when you’re going from job to job.
There are two basic firing styles for nail guns, bump firing and sequential firing. Both options work well for different people, but it’s normal for people to have preferences for different kinds of jobs.
Sequential firing requires the user to pull the trigger between each nail to get them to fire properly. This gives you a little more control but can often be the slower firing style for experienced professionals.
Bump fire nail guns fire as soon as there is positive pressure on the firing tip. That means that you can fire a little faster, but also makes accidents a little more likely if you accidentally put too much pressure on the firing tip.
Size, Weight, and Design
It’s also important to think about the general design of your nail gun. The size and weight of your design can both make a significant impact on how comfortable your nail gun is to use. Not to mention that bulky nail guns can make it more difficult to see what you’re doing, so it’s harder to fire nails where you want to.
Look for nail guns that are as small and light as possible. These nail guns are more maneuverable, and generally are easier to use for longer. Nail guns that are about 6-8 lbs. are generally the best option because they put less strain on your muscles when you’re working for longer periods.
Ergonomic handles and ergonomic trigger designs are both important as well since they help prevent hand fatigue and make repetitive stress injuries less common.
Quality of Life Features
Quality of life features are things that don’t make or break your tool’s effectiveness, but they do make your tool easier to use, more efficient, or just generally a little better. Here are three of the most important quality of life features.
Good LED lighting makes your job a lot easier and can help prevent eye strain in the long run. LEDs are the most common type of lighting since they are energy efficient and don’t put off a lot of heat.
LEDs that turn on automatically are generally the best option since you don’t have to worry about accidentally draining your battery or forgetting to turn on your lights when you start working.
Look for nail guns that have lighting near the firing tip for better precision.
The firing trigger on your nail gun is a lot more important than most people think. A bad trigger design can lead to carpal tunnel and other repetitive stress injuries.
Look for descriptions that say ergonomic design, soft trigger, and other descriptions that tell you they’ve thought about trigger design.
It’s especially important to look for triggers that don’t have too much resistance, since those will likely stress the muscles in your hands that much faster.
The handle on your nail gun is just as important as the trigger. Ergonomic handles are critical for your long term comfort. They help balance the nail gun, which gives you better precision on average, while also improving your grip and decreasing the chances of the tool slipping while you’re working.
Most manufacturers will say if they’ve used an ergonomic handle design, but sometimes the best way to test for handle comfort is to try different options in your local hardware store. There are often demonstration tools available, so you can try several different brands even if you don’t buy the tools in the store.
While all of these nail guns are high-quality options that are consistent and offer a lot of fastening power, we’d recommend the CRAFTSMAN V20 18GA Cordless Brad Nailer Kit (CMCN618C1) as being the most versatile and effective of the bunch.
18 gauge nails are small, but they are good for finishing work, interior fastening, and a lot of other low-tension tasks.
It’s efficient motor and battery also help make the most of your nail gun and keep you working longer and with fewer interruptions.
Regardless of which model you choose, all of these nailers will work well for professionals and hobbyists alike.
I have an unhealthy obsession with contracting and renovation. I’ve been a contractor for over 15 years and I love tackling challenging projects to make them look amazing.