Brad nailer will be your tool of choice when you are engaged in home renovation, smaller project like crafting dollhouse for kids or furniture upholstery. Brad is a part of trim nailer family commonly referred as finish nailer and frequently used by professionals, homeowner and DIYer alike for attaching small moldings and trim to a woodwork. Brad nails are thinner than 15 or 16-gauge finish nail, often used by carpenters where typical thicker finish nail driven through work piece or trim might split. Brad and finish nailers are designed in such a way that complement each other in woodworking project rather as alternative to one another.

This guide provides details on brad nailer, brad nailer application, how to find best brad nailer for your woodworking projects and our buying recommendations for best brad nailer.

If you’re just looking for our recommendations on the best brad nailer, don’t worry we handpicked best model and listed here. Click on details to get description of the major brands and models.

Best Brad Nailer Reviews and Comparison Chart

  • Finish Nailer Model
  • Fastener Capacity
  • Fastener Length (Inch)
  • Dimension (L*W*H)
  • Weight
  • Operating PSI
  • Warranty
  • Package Contents
  • WEN 61720
  • 100
  • 3/4" to 2"
  • 12.5 X 3.125 X 11
  • 3.3 lbs.
  • 60 - 100
  • 1-Year Limited
  • - - -
  • Hitachi NT50AE2
  • 100
  • 5/8" to 2"
  • 10 X 3.125 X 9.25
  • 2.2 lbs.
  • 70 - 120
  • 5-year Limited
  • - - -
  • BOSTITCH BTFP12233
  • 100
  • 5/8" to 2 1/8"
  • 11.3 X 3.25 X 9.5
  • 3.1 lbs.
  • 70 - 120
  • 7-Year Limited
  • - - -
  • DEWALT DWFP12231
  • 100
  • 5/8" to 2"
  • 10.24 X 2.68 X 9.8
  • 2.65 lbs.
  • 70 - 120
  • 3-Year Limited
  • - - -
  • PORTER-CABLE BN200C
  • 100
  • 5/8" to 2"
  • 9.5 X 2.68 X 9.5
  • 2.375 lbs.
  • 70 - 120
  • 3-Year Limited
  • - - -

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST BRAD NAILER FOR YOU

Let’s start familiarizing with brad nailer and what make this power tool unique. A brad nailer is specifically designed to run 18-gauge, fine wire brad nails. 18-gauge fasteners is considerably thinner than 15 and 16-gauge and typically range from 5/8-inch up to 1-1/2 inches or 16 mm to 50 mm in length. Manually driving nails of these size can be very hard, besides shape of their nail head which comes in either roundhead or clip head design make them more difficult to drive with a hammer. So you need to have a brad nailer in your tool kit to sink these thin nails into work pieces. On top of that short length and narrow diameter of 18-gauge brad nails allows you to drive them below the surface of the stock, leaving a smaller nail hole almost invisible to naked eye. There is good chance you will need less hole to fill with carpenter’s putty before finishing the piece, and sometime you may not need to fill the hole at all. These unique functionality makes brad nailer number one choice of professionals when working with delicate trims, attaching thin strip, upholstery, smaller wood projects, fixing trim or moldings for great finish. However brad does not work well with hardwoods and manufactured wood products such as plywood or MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard). Also they do not have the holding strength of finish nails and not suitable for larger, heavier project like large crown molding or baseboard.

I hope these explain pretty much everything about a brad nailer. But if you are still not convinced, you may take some time to go through our Nailer Buying Guide (home page) before moving on to more technical details on brad nailer that enable you to buy best brad nailer.

3 Unique feature to consider choosing best Brad Nailer

I will be honest with you, what we already discussed is enough for anybody with no knowledge of brad nailer, go to market and buy a brad nailer. But I am sure of you getting confused as most of brad nailer specification and important things you need to know before buying is not discussed yet. We want you to have enough information on brad nailer so that you can pick one particular model let’s say from a pool of 5 or 10 different brad models. How to do that? Narrow down the pool that give best feature, usability and value for money. So here are few thing you need to consider before comparing with major feature of brad nailer.

01. Fastener Gauge and Magazine Angle

Luckily all brad nailers are designed only to fire 18-gauge brad nail and have straight magazine so you have less to think in terms of finish nailer that fire 15 or 16-gauge nail and available in straight and angled magazine.

02. Cordless Vs Corded

Moving forward you are going to make the most important decision- Cordless or Corded. Here is the thing your brad nailer will be any of this two. You can go for cordless brad comprising fuel cell or gas powered models and corded brad consist of pneumatic and electric models. This decision also define how much mobility you get when using your brad. Corded and cordless models have their benefits and downsides. We gathered some useful info on pneumatic, electric, gas and battery powered brad nailer to narrow down the list for best brad.

  • Pneumatic Brad Nailer (Corded)

Visit any homedepot store near you or browse Amazon for a brad model, there is very high chance that first model that you will see is pneumatic brad nailer. Why – They are the most popular brad nailer kit types. To run a pneumatic brad you need an air compressor which are sold separately. Air compressor is connected to brad nailer through a lightweight hose that carry compressed air into brad nailer and load the cylinder behind piston chamber with pressurized air. When you push the trigger on your brad, a valve opens up and pressurized air move into piston chamber forcing the piston to shift downward with great speed with nail loaded in front of it into work surface. For depth adjustment user regulate air pressure in the cylinder with the help of depth adjustment feature found in a brad nailer.

Pneumatic brad nailer are widespread among DIYer and professionals for its efficiency and it will cost less than an electrical and battery powered one. It can achieve professional finish without wasting your valuable time. It’s very lightweight, even the heavier model will not weight more than 3.5 lbs. Fewer moving parts inside a pneumatic brad nailer require very little maintainance. However like all pneumatic nailer you need to oil the machine after each use to keep it running smoothly. This corded brad nailer do not offer best mobility as you need to carry the air compressor in work site and connected hose will not give you much room to move freely within your project area. Another important safety issue you need to keep in mind that it’s run on pressurized air can cause a great deal of accidents. Wear protective glass and handle the instrument with care.

  • Electric Brad Nailer (Corded)

If you are looking for a simple brad nailer that just work like a power drill, connect the tool with power source, press on and just fire nail than electric brad nailer kit is there for you. They rely on internal electric motor that generate the power to shoot brad nail into woodwork. With electric brad you just need the nailer, no additional tools required to run it. They are powerful but comes at high price tag. Bulky internal motor makes it heavy but barely require maintenance. Make sure that heavy-duty line coming out of the nail gun itself is not plugged into simple household extension. It need lot juice that regular extension cannot provide, you need to use heavier gauge wire extension. Limited electrical cord may not be ideal choice for large project but can be used for small home projects. As long as you have your power running so do your electric brad.

  • Fuel Cell or Gas Powered Brad Nailer (Cordless)

Gas or fuel cell powered are the newest edition of cordless brad nailers capable of handling all jobs that pneumatic and electric brad perform but without the fuss of dragging around an air compressor and hose. Drastic fall in prices of gas powered brad and effective in dealing with hardwoods as well as soft woods have made them smart alternative to pneumatic brad.

Don’t mix-up battery powered with gas powered brad nailer. You will notice fuel cell models have a rechargeable battery installed in it. Does that mean you get to run on both power source? Not exactly, Gas powered brad has a piston chamber similar to pneumatic brad that shift downward to force the fastener into woodwork. Instead of pressurized air, gas powered brad rely on internal combustion to do the job. To have internal combustion inside the piston cylinder a small amount of fuel injected into the chamber and battery unit create the spark that ignite the fuel.

Cordless fuel brad nailer’s biggest advantage is mobility, weight and shape. Biggest name in power tool industry like Dewalt, Makita, Milwaukee, Porter Cable, Rigid, Ryobi have developed gas powered brad. Depending on brand and model you can fire 2000 to 4000 18-gauge fastener per charge and 1200 to 2000 shots per fuel cell. So with one fuel cell and full charged battery you can fire up to 2000 nail, if you are planning to fire more nail make sure you have additional gas cartridge or fuel cell. A lot of carpenters complain about awful smell produced by gas-powered cordless nailer and working in confined areas for longer time can be discomforting for many of you. However if you don’t want to invest in an air compressor or be tethered to an air hose all the time and ready to pay some extra bucks then a gas powered brad is there for you.

  • Battery Powered Brad Nailer (Cordless)

Power tool manufacturers are capitalizing on the recent development in battery technologies and improvement of brushless motors to develop more powerful cordless brad nailer. They have lined up some impressive battery-powered brad nailer in the market that giving pneumatic and gas-powered nailer some serious competition.

All big name brands now offer 18 or 20-volt Li-ion (Lithium-ion) battery powered cordless brad nailer and few model with NiCad (Nickel-cadmium). They have feature and operation similar to pneumatic and gas powered brad. However their size and shape have more resemblance to 15 or 16-gauge finish nailer that make them relatively larger and heavier than pneumatic and gas powered brad. But most of them are really well designed and well balanced to use in any angle, even when you’re driving overhead and have adequate power to drive long brad nail into thick hardwood. Also you can buy these tool without battery and charger to save money, if you own other 18 or 20 volt cordless nailer that can used for the brad also. As long as you have charged batteries, you can continue driving brad. Without any doubt battery powered cordless brad are pretty much perfect with few exception- They are most expensive brad nailer and have issue with continuous firing. If you are familiar with a pneumatic brad, you will know they fire instantly when you squeeze the trigger, but for a battery powered squeezing trigger won’t fire nail instantly. There is a delay with battery powered as their internal mechanism needs to build the energy first before driving the nail. In our opinion it will not be a problem for first time user yet pros will need to make some adjustment to get the rhythm of firing.

03. Nose Piece Design

Back to basic, Brads are precisely designed to fire tiny nail with high precision within confined spaces. Pointing your nailer with high accuracy in tight spaces surely need small enough nose piece design. Without compact and slim designed nose piece fired nail may not end up in the right place. We analyzed more than 15 different brad nailer to find one with narrow nose design to fit in tight corner. Remarkably most of the model have standard nose design but some model took nose piece design to another level. Find out more from our brad nailer review.

Thanks for making up to this point. You now have necessary guideline relating to brad nailer unique feature and specification that will help you to find best brad nailer for you. I am confident that now you can distinguish cordless and corded model, pros and cons of different power source and utility of brad nailer as a whole. Also you may had a cost benefit analysis and narrowed down your list of best brad nailer to just few model. Last thing you need is making sure your choice for best brad nailer build with major feature of best nailer.

MAJOR FEATURE TO CONSIDER CHOOSING BEST BRAD NAILER

Making a prudent choice for best brad nailer can highly depend on some major feature that enable the brad to function in right way. If you know the brad nailer well it is easier for you to define common filter and find one or more brad nailer that can pass filter test. Some of this filter aka features tell about product durability others will tell how it going to perform, is it easy to handle, what you should look for as accessories things like that. However, with so many feature found on different site, which feature to consider before buying best brad nailer might be an overwhelming task. Please consider following features next time you buy a brad. It will help you to understand which brad nailer kit is the most suitable for you and will help you to purchase the best brad nailer. Also note you are not going to find all features in one brad nailer, so don’t get lost. But make sure your brad nailer is armed with features related to performance, durability and usability.

Nail length

This is the maximum and minimum length of nail your brad nailer can accommodate in the magazine. Brad nailers typically drive nails ranging from 5/8 to 2 inches in length. Even few models only accept nails between 1 to 1-1/4 inches in length. What’s more 2 inches nails manufactured by some power tool companies are little bit longer than regular 2 inches nails. Most brad models will only able to accept up to 2 inches nails and will not support even slightly longer 2 inches nails in their magazine. When deciding best brad nailer for you, we recommend you consider this facts. If you can anticipate that most of your project will require frequent use of 2 inches brad nail, please consider buying one with a 2-18 inches length limit. Otherwise up to 2 inches will be more than adequate.

Selectable Trigger for Brad Nailer

Brad nailer trigger mechanism involve two component activated in a sequence that enable you to fire single nail. First the contact tip at the nose of the gun pressed into work surface then the trigger on the grip squeezed by your finger to release fastener into woodwork.

Please consider two things about brad nailer trigger while choosing best brad for you. Trigger is directly linked to nail gun safety. Another thing is selectable trigger, option to switch between two trigger systems.

Contact trigger is commonly used in nailer to fire fastener rapidly by simply pressing the trigger and tapping the contact tip on the surface. They are considered more dangerous and mostly used by professionals for continuous nailing.

Best brad nailer that we recommend designed with selectable trigger, contact and sequential trigger. You can switch between two trigger, usually by turning the knob or dialer found above the trigger. Sequential trigger is considered the safest as it only fire single nail when tip of the nailer is pushed against the work surface before you pull the trigger. You need repeat whole cycle to fire another nail. As suggested by CDC, application of sequential trigger can prevent approximately 65% to 69% of injuries originated from contact trigger use. Choose a brad that offer selectable trigger for contact and sequential actuation.

Adjustability of your Brad

Best brad nailer in the market gives you a degree of freedom to adjust some the settings of your nailer to achieve desired result for fine finish, make your tool more user friendly and keep you safe from hazards of working with a nail gun. Make sure to have these adjustability feature in your brad nailer because these feature will come handy when working with trim, molding and other brad nailer projects.

  • Depth Adjustment:

This is the most important adjustability function you must look for. Your brad will fire 18-gauge brad nail ranging from 5/8 to 2 inches in length. With Depth Adjustment setting you can sink, countersink or flush nailing. You have the option to drive nail deep or shallow into work piece based on the wood type. Some model require special tool for depth of the drive adjustment and other model have depth adjustment wheel or dial commonly referred as tool-less or tool-free depth adjustment, which is more user friendly.

  • Power Adjustment:

This feature mostly found on an electric powered brad nailer. With variable power setting you can adjust depth of drive. As its run on a motor and don’t have piston to push nail into work surface, it rely high and low power setting. For driving deep you need high power and vice versa.

  • Adjustable Belt Hook:

Main purpose of a belt hook is to clip your brad nailer to your belt. This user friendly feature makes your nailer handy and keep your hand free so you don’t have to hold your nailer all the time. Now few power tool brand has taken belt hook to a new level by introducing adjustable belt hook. Earlier belt hook design were not flexible but now you can change side whenever you want and move it from right to left.

  • Easy Jam Clearance:

Throughout this website you will find we have discussed about easy jam clearance for all kind of nailer. This is an unavoidable circumstances that you will face one way or another. Even simple stationery stapler we use at office or at home get jammed at some point. How you remove jammed nail form your brad can make a lot of difference in overall performance. So look for model that offer open nose design that allows you to remove jammed nail without using a tool.

Tip Style

When you are driving small diameter brad nail in a trim or for any upholstery project you do not want to have denting or damage to work surface generated from recoil and dry firing nose tip into woodwork. To prevent this kind of damage you need a brad that have non marring nose tip. It’s a small plastic on the head of the nose that prevent any marking of nose tip on wood surface.

Swivel Cord and Adjustable Exhaust

These two feature we like to discuss in place because of they are only found in a pneumatic brad nailer and related to pressurized air that give the necessary power to a pneumatic nailer. Swivel cord is great mechanical device that help you to move air hose connected pneumatic nailer within your work area that prevent air hose getting twisted while moving around project area. Giving you more flexibility and mobility with corded brad nailer.

What happen to the air that force the piston to move and fire nail? Every time you fire nail from a pneumatic nailer excess air will come out through air vent located on the back of nailer that is directed towards operator. Now best brad nailer found in the market offer 360-degree adjustable exhaust so that you can direct air and other debris to opposite direction.

Warranty Period and Repair

You will surprised to see some manufacturer offer up to seven year warranty for bare tool and dedicated service centers. Some big name brand offer separate warranty scheme with yearly subscriptions. You may not want to invest more money for warranty, in that case choose one that have at least one year product warranty with coverage for repairs and other malfunctions.

Value for Money

At the end of the day all things will come down to money that you want to invest in a brad nailer. With almost identical feature and configuration a battery powered brad nailer will cost you more money than a pneumatic brad. Also newer version will cost more than older version. Big name brand will have premium pricing whereas less known brand generally tend to offer very competitive price. Another important things to consider is included accessories that come with product packaging. They include carrying case, tool set, fasteners, oil, safety goggles, and gloves things like that. These accessories not only handy but also provide a value for money.

Only you decide what is best

Our goal is to bring all things you need to know about brad nailer to help you understand the gun itself, where it can be applied and how to find one that suits your need. After going through all the guideline and recommendation you are equipped with great deal of information on brad nailer to find best brad nailer for you.

Brad Nailer Review

WEN 61720

WEN 61720

Hitachi NT50AE2

Hitachi NT50AE2

BOSTITCH BTFP12233

BOSTITCH BTFP12233

DEWALT DWFP12231

DEWALT DWFP12231

PORTER-CABLE BN200C

PORTER-CABLE BN200C