The 6 Best Nail Guns for Baseboards [Updated July 2020]
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Baseboards require a special touch. Baseboards typically involve small pieces of wood so they need to be joined together very particularly. That is why most people need the right nail gun for the job.
Nail guns for baseboards tend to be small and compact. They typically use higher-gauge nails and are really good at putting nailings in tight or awkwardly shaped spots. That being said, not all nail guns are made equal.
That is why we put together this comprehensive guide of the top 6 nail guns for baseboards. These nail guns have been chosen based on their overall quality, effectiveness, suitability for finishing jobs, and overall cost.
First on our list is the Hitachi MT65MA4 Angled Finish Nailer. This nail gun is uniquely angled so it’s well suited for finishings on baseboards at awkward angles. The Hitachi is a pneumatic air gun, so you need a compressor to operate it and it has an operating pressure between 70 and 120 psi.
The Hitachi uses 15-gauge nails and a single clip can hold 100. The entire gun is made from lightweight aluminum and is only 4 lbs, which is the perfect weight for a small finishing nailer. The Hitachi also comes with a no-mar tip, safety goggles, and a convenient carrying case.
The Hitachi also has an adjustable air exhaust so you can direct which way air is expelled. This feature is particularly useful if you are working in dusty areas. The MT65MA4 also allows you to switch between bounce-fire and sequential-fire modes so you can make precision adjustments on the fly.
Why we like it
The Hitachi is a great small nail gun for precise finishings. Its most unique features are the angled shape, high-capacity clip, and adjustable exhaust ports/trigger modes. The Hitachi is extremely light and made from a tough aluminum casing. It requires an air compressor to use but does not have a high operation psi so you don’t need something that is loud and eats power.
Next up on our list is the Porter-Cable 20V Max Cordless Brad Nailer Kit. This cordless nail gun runs on a 1.5Ah rechargeable lithium-ion battery. That means no cables, hoses, or compressors are required.
A single magazine on the Porter-Cable holds 100 18-gauge nails; perfect for smaller finishing jobs like baseboards. The fastener depth of drive can adjust from ⅝”-2” and the entire gun is just less than a foot tall. It is small and fits in the hand well, while also being easy to use in tight spaces. The tactile grip keeps things stable and prevents any kickback from firing nails.
The Porter-Cable uses a brushless engine with two flywheel mechanisms to generate power. A single charge on the battery can get off up to 450 2” brad nails and there is also the option to buy a larger 4.0ah battery that can get off about 1,300 nails per charge.
Why we like it
The Porter-Cable is a great cordless nail gun for finishing jobs and baseboards. It does not require an air compressor to run, and it has a highly adjustable depth of drive for a brad nail gun. It’s best suited for light finishes on more delicate woodworking jobs.
The Dewalt DCN680B brad nailer is a cordless nailer designed for 18-gauge nails. The DCN680B has the Dewalt trademark quality and build, and has some nice safety and indicator features that make it easy to use.
The Dewalt uses a 20V rechargeable lithium-ion battery and works at a nominal 18V. The gun features a series of LED indicators that let you know the current battery charge. The depth of drive can be adjusted between ⅝”-2 ⅛”, which makes it an ideal tool for delicate fastening jobs.
The Dewalt is not ready to go out of the box as the battery is not included. It does have an easy-reload clip and the precision-engineered nose improves line of sight placement and firing accuracy. These features make it particularly well-suited for lining up precise baseboard shots.
Why we like it
The low-wind up time, precision line of sight placement, and long battery life make the Dewalt a smart choice. It is small and light enough for delicate jobs and has a fair depth of drive adjustment range. The Dewalt has the solid build behind the Dewalt brand name and can last for years if properly maintained.
The Bostitch N62FNK2 is a finishing nailer well-suited for delicate jobs. The N62FNK2 is a 15-gauge nail gun, weighs just under 4 lbs, and has a 130-nail magazine. The Bostitch’s internal components don’t have any oil, which cuts down on maintenance requirements.
The Bostitch has an operation range of 70-120 psi, which is about a 400-lbs driving force per 15-gauge nail. The adjustable drive depth ensures that nails will have the optimal placement and the applicator tip is made from lightweight magnesium that has little kickback. Despite the size, the Bostitch feels solidly built and does a great job of minimizing vibrations and kickbacks.
The N62FNK2 also comes with an extremely generous 7-year warranty. This is helpful in the case that any components sustain damage, which is unlikely. The large magazine means you can fire off a lot of nails before having to refill and the simple magazine design makes reloading simple.
Why we like it
The Bostitch is a decent finishing nail gun that has enough force and precision for delicate jobs. It has a high-capacity nail magazine and a high operating pressure of 120 psi. The Bostitch has a solid construction and has the feel of a much heavier-duty nail gun even though it is lithe and easy to operate. It has a generous 7-year warranty, which allays any concerns about damage.
The Makita AF505N brad nailer is best designed for precise nailings in enclosed spaces. The narrow nose design makes angled placements easy and the simple adjustment dial makes setting the right depth of drive easy and intuitive.
The Makita has a rubber nose on the tip which prevents scratches on wood surfaces. It’s very light at just 3 lbs and has a selection actuator trigger that switches between sequential and bounce-fire settings. The dual-switch trigger is a useful feature when you need to slow down for awkwardly placed nails around corners and the like.
The Makita is a pneumatic gun so it requires an air compressor to run. Fortunately, it does not have high psi requirements so you don’t need a loud compressor to run it. There is also a 360-degree adjustable exhaust valve so you can direct air away from the space in which you are working. This is a great feature when working in enclosed spaces.
Why we like it
The Makita is a great small nail gun for precise nail jobs. It has an extremely user-friendly design for easy adjustment and fast reloads. The AF505N is ideal for baseboard and crown molding installations, as well as flooring and carpeting. The adjustability options make it versatile and the small size and low power requirements make it easy to run without hassle.
The Makita AF635 has an angled nozzle that is ideal for trimmings in tight corners and spaces. It has a powerful brushless motor and an adjustable depth of drive from 1 ¼”-2 ½”. It has a magnesium body that gives it low weight, and a durable aluminum magazine. These lightweight components do a great job minimizing body weight while also minimizing vibrations.
The AF635 also has a built-in air duster and a nail-lock mechanism that prevents accidental misfires. On the handle is a reversible belt hook and the trigger has a 2-mode selection mechanism that changes the firing style. The Makita is a pneumatic gun so it requires an air compressor and at least 90psi of pressure, which most compressors can put out with little trouble.
Why we like it
The Makita AF635 is a competent angle-nozzled finishing gun that works great for baseboards and corners. It is lightweight, very durable, and has some good safety and adjustment features. It is pneumatic and requires an air compressor, which elevates its performance. The 2-stage selector switch and auto-lock mechanism work together well to switch modes quickly without the worry of accidental discharges.
Baseboard Nailer Buying Guide
Nail guns come in several different models with different specifications. Here are some important features to consider when looking for a nail gun.
Cordless or Pneumatic?
Contractors debate over whether cordless or pneumatic nail guns are superior. Typically, pneumatic nail guns are the standard option. Pneumatic guns are strong, precise, and generally cost less. Pneumatic guns are also lighter and are more efficient overall as you don’t have to worry about electrical inefficiencies in hardware. The main drawback of pneumatic guns is that they require an air compressor which is an extra expense. There are also several moving parts so there is more risk that something can malfunction.
Cordless nail guns run on batteries. Cordless nailers are convenient, have very low maintenance requirements, and are easy to use right out of the box. Since cordless nailers have fewer moving parts, there is less risk of something going wrong, and you don’t have to drag a hose and air compressor around. Cordless nailers can have performance issues though, and they tend to be more expensive than pneumatic guns.
Nails guns typically come in two main firing modes: Bounce-fire and Sequential-firing. Bounce-fire triggers allow you to keep the trigger pressed down so that the gun automatically fires a nail whenever the nozzle comes into contact with a surface. Bounce-fire triggers are good when you have a lot of ground to cover and the nail work is not that intricate.
Sequential-fire models require you to pull the trigger each time you want to place a nail. Sequential triggers are a good idea if you need a bit more precision and need to line up shots before driving the nail in. Sequential triggers are also much safer as there is no risk of accidentally firing off a nail unless you consciously pull the entire trigger.
The “depth of drive” refers to how deep your gun drives nails into surfaces. Most modern nail guns let you adjust the depth of drive so you can pick how far your nail goes into the materials you are fastening. Depth of drive adjustment is useful if you want to use your gun for multiple types of projects.
It is also a good idea to look for guns with adjustable exhaust plates. This is a useful feature if you will be working in an area with a lot of dust.
Lastly, you should check out warranties. Ideally, you will never have to use one, but it’s a good idea to have a contingency plan in case something goes wrong.
Our top pick for the best nail gun for baseboards is the Hitachi MT65MA4 on account of its quality, adjustment options, overall power, and suitability for baseboard and other flooring projects. The Hitachi is consistent and not prone to jams and other malfunctions, while the angled tip is great for precise nailing.
Every craftsman needs a good nail gun in his arsenal. Whether it’s for simple delicate jobs or more sustained and heavy-duty work, a good nail gun can make putting down those finishes easier than ever.
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.