Durable fastenings are essential for ensuring that all of your projects are safe, functional, and durable. Using a finish nailer or nail gun can be a crucial aspect of this sort of thing, and cordless options will invariably produce better results.
Using a cordless finish nailer can also facilitate better precision, thereby ensuring that your finished product looks phenomenal with no awkward elements poking out and ruining the overall aesthetic of the piece.
This is a product that many people who are new to DIY struggle to understand. They have a very different sort of functionality from what at-home tool users might be used to, so much confusion is to be expected. Listed below are ten of the best cordless nail guns that we have found from a variety of top-notch brands all of whom have a much-respected status in the industry. Picking one of the finish nailers that we have discussed below is the easy route, but if you wish to acquire a bit more information that can help you make your own decisions we have provided a useful buying guide as well along with the answers to a few common questions that people often ask about such tools.
- Milwaukee 2746-21CT
Milwaukee as a brand is not known for making claims that it can’t back up fully with its products. This brad nailer is the perfect example of why Milwaukee simply won’t rest until it gets the respect that it deserves. With a beautifully slip and comfortable grip and a design that makes it feel extremely sleek, this nail gun might feel like it is too slight for heavy duty applications. However, the 18 gauge nails sink into the hardest of woods like a hot knife into butter, and the cavities created are extremely smooth which makes taking nails out a breeze too.
You probably won’t have to deal with a lot of jams with this nail gun, but just in case a jam occurs this nail gun has a feature that allows you to open up the top portion to pull out jammed nails with ease in both softwoods and hardwoods. If you’re really looking for something to complain about, the trigger might be a little too hard to press but that’s really not a huge issue.
- Comfortable grip
- Compact design
- Creates perfect cavities
- Easy mechanism for fixing jams
- Versatile applications
- Trigger can be tough to press
- DeWalt DCN660B
Buying a DeWalt product can ensure a great experience, and this nail gun from the stalwart brand is just another example of how this is true. The battery stands out since despite its relatively small 12 volt capacity it still manages to last a really long time, and the unique design means that you should have no trouble at all with putting nails in at awkward angles. The price might seem somewhat steep, but for the quality that you are getting here it’s most definitely worth it.
Some people complain that this nail gun suffers from occasional jams which is something buyers should keep in mind. Also, the fact that there’s no dry-fire lock is a bit of a letdown considering the price as it might require you to take a few extra safety precautions.
- Long lasting battery
- Works great at angles
- Worth the price
- Good amount of power
- Has a tendency to jam
- Lacks dry-fire lock
- PORTER-CABLE Cordless Brad Nailer PCC790LA
People that are into DIY will love this product since it works without an air compressor. This means that you get truly cordless applications, although this does result in reduced efficacy to a certain extent due to a lack of power in non-compressor varieties. The low power is made up for to an extent with the consistency of the depth which is something that newbies often struggle with, and the easy jam release is another thing that makes this nail gun suitable for newcomers to DIY tasks. We also liked the built in belt hook. It’s a nice touch that can keep the nail gun close at hand.
The lack of versatility can be a bit of an issue for more experienced nail gun users, though. All you get with this nail gun is sequential firing which can be a bother since you’d have the keep pressing the trigger to fire a nail. Contact firing would be better suited for highly experienced individuals but it can be a safety risk so this might be for the best.
- Doesn’t use compressor
- Good depth consistency
- Built in jam release
- Built in belt hook
- Not very versatile
- Slow sequential firing mechanism
- Craftsman CMCN616C1
Craftsman is not generally considered to be a top contender when people are looking into nail gun brands, but the company has progressed by leaps and bounds over the years. This nail gun offers very comfortable handling thanks in part to the grip but also due to the solid design which results in a very firm center of gravity that would prevent slippage. The light weight of the nail gun is another thing that boosts handling, but it falls prey to the general issue with portability which is that durability ends up being diminished. You’d need to be careful since a bad fall can damage this nail gun irreparably.
Another thing that prevents this nail gun from climbing higher up our rankings is the fact that it fails to provide adequate nail depth consistency in certain settings. The cordless design means that you don’t need to use an air compressor, but while this is convenient it does make the nail setting a bit of an issue.
- Good center of gravity
- Lightweight design
- Molded handle and grip
- Completely cordless
- Nail setting can be uneven
- Lacks durability
- Metabo-HPT NT1865DMS
Sometimes you need a nail gun that can help you get the job done in tight spaces, and if this is what you are looking for Metabo has you covered. The portable design means that you should have no trouble fitting the nail gun into cramped work areas, and the built in LED is bright enough to illuminate the surface regardless of the lack of natural light.
Pneumatic nail gun fans will love this product thanks to the powerful air compressor, but newbies won’t appreciate how cumbersome it can make the nail gun. This product is mostly great for people who are only looking for something a bit basic, as the uneven nail depth and setting means that it can only be used with softwoods and the like. Hardwoods might be a bit too much for this gun.
- Bright build in LED
- Works great in cramped spaces
- Highly powerful thanks to air compressor
- Only suitable for softwoods
- Cumbersome pneumatic system
- WEN 61721 Pneumatic Brad Nailer
Wen is not a brand that is spoken of as often as some of the more prominent nail gun brands that are out there, but this offering from the company proves that it is a worthy contender in a highly saturated market. The grip is a thing of beauty, made out of rubber that is highly comfortable but also shock absorbent so you don’t feel the blunt force of the nail gun firing all that much. This nail gun works with all kinds of air compressors too so if you have one lying around you might save some money.
That said, we found that this nail gun tends to jam a lot. This is a pretty common issue, but it’s a sign of somewhat poor design quality. We also felt like this product is a bit heavier than it needs to be which can be a burden on people that are undertaking large scale projects. Overall this is a decent buy if you want something affordable and aren’t too picky.
- Ergonomic grip that prevents slippage
- Versatile air compressor compatibility
- Shock absorber
- Frequent jams
- A little too heavy
- Makita XNB02RJ
The slim design of this product from Makita is another great option if you want to work in tight spaces, and the damage that can come from flying debris is offset by the durable rubber coating. This coating protects all of the fragile interior components of this nail gun, and the dry fire lock helps make it really safe which is great for beginners.
One thing that we don’t like is that this product can be a little frustrating to work with. You should expect a few misfires every so often, and the way the battery is positioned means that the nail gun can be rather rear heavy. Changing the battery with a lighter model can help fix this issue, but that means that you would have a far shorter battery life to deal with. Makita generally doesn’t offer products that are of the same caliber as Milwaukee or DeWalt, but this offering does tend to provide a few advantages that make this a decent addition to our list.
- Durable thanks to rubber coating
- Slim design
- Dry fire lock
- Battery sizes offsets balance
- Frequent instances of misfiring
- Senco 6E0001N
A nail gun that can rapidly fire one nail after the other is a very valuable commodity, and this product offered by Senco can help you get this kind of a result. The design is a bit of the heavier side, but the admirable durability this provides can help make up for that quite a bit. We do think that the recoil should have been dealt with a bit more effectively. A nail gun that fires this rapidly should not have this much recoil since this can be a serious safety hazard.
This recoil problem is particularly bad when you consider that Milwaukee offers similar rapid nail firing with a much smoother performance. Also, while this nail gun does work with hardwoods relatively well, you might want to keep the hardwood thickness to about 1.5 inches or less otherwise the nails won’t go in as cleanly as you might like.
- Extremely fast firing
- Durable, solid design
- Recoil can be a hassle
- Limited applications with more than 1.5 inches of hardwood
- Hitachi NT1865DMA
With the economy being how it is, it wouldn’t be surprising if you’d want to save a few bucks here and there. Hitachi doesn’t make products anymore, with new products being offered under the Metabo brand, but this old school nail gun does offer a fair amount of power and it’s a pretty affordable option. Newbies generally want something cheap so this works perfectly if that applies to you.
Be prepared for discomfort though because the rather hard and uncomfortable grip might make your hand hurt before too long. The cheap asking price will result in a dip in quality after all, and the grip is usually the first thing that gets downgraded. If it was just the grip that we didn’t like we might have given bumped this product up a rank or two, but the excessively bulky design is pretty much unacceptable if you ask us. Still, this can be a reasonable option considering it can help you save a bit of money.
- Admirable power
- Affordable option
- Uncomfortable grip
- Overly bulky
- Freeman P4FRFNCB
This is another great option if you are looking for something cheap, and it’s even cheaper than the Hitachi product we have discussed above. It’s rated lower though because the trigger is an absolute nightmare to deal with, and this product is not very durable either. Using it for heavy duty jobs might not let it last all that long which can defeat the purpose of buying something cheap in the first place.
It still manages to make our list though thanks to its comfortable, lightweight design. Also, its performance with light duty tasks is quite smooth so people that just need something functional for small scale jobs might want to try this nail gun out. It’s certainly better than some of the off brand nail guns we have seen, many of which are downright risky to use!
- Not too heavy
- Surprisingly smooth
- Very hard trigger
- Breaks down with heavy duty work
- Power Source
Generally speaking, you can choose between air powered or pneumatic nail guns or electric finish nailers. Both of these are admirable options, but some would say that the pneumatic variety tend to offer a lot more power. You can’t really be cordless if you go for air powered nail guns since you’d need the air hose which can be cumbersome, but the power might be worth it for some. Try to go for electric nail guns if you value portability above all else.
- Firing Method
There are a number of options that you can choose from here but most people tend to narrow it down to contact based or sequential firing mechanisms. Contact firing is great if you want to put in a lot of nails one after the other, but this can be a bit of safety hazard if you are not experienced with these kinds of tools. With sequential firing you can pull the trigger whenever you want a nail to be pushed out. This is safer but it comes at the cost of speed, so it’s all about how experienced you are and what kind of projects you’re thinking of undertaking.
- Nail Versatility
Different nail type can be used to fulfill different types of tasks, so you should ideally look for something that can work with a wide variety of nails. The best type of nail generally comes with an adhesive which heats up and lubricates the nail as it exits the nail gun and subsequently cools once the nail is embedded in the surface. This is perfect for situations where you might want some extra structural integrity. People focus so much on nail guns that they often forget to figure out which nails they should be using!
- Ideal Features
The features that you get in your nail gun can help make it easier to use. Nail jams can be a huge nuisance, so it would be best to prefer nail guns that have an automated jam clearing system. Another thing that you might want to look for is control over the depth of the nail. You wouldn’t want the same depth every time since this might damage certain surfaces that you are trying to work with. It might also be a good idea to make sure that you’re getting a carry case with your new finish nailer.
- Portability vs Durability
This is a tradeoff that needs to be addressed. The main purpose of any kind of cordless tool is portability, but there is a limit to how much portability can be offered before durability starts to be impacted. An extremely lightweight model is just not going to give you the level of durability that you would need, and nail guns that fall into this category have a tendency to break down rather easily. On the other hand, too much durability can often result in excess weight which can make your nail gun difficult to maneuver. Try to find a balance between the two.
Q. Are compressors necessary?
A. Air powered nail guns have a pretty solid reputation, mostly due to the phenomenal power with which they can eject said nails. If you are working with hardwood or some other kind of similar material, you will most definitely need an air compressor. However, for a lot of basic tasks that you might want to do around the house, electric nail guns can work perfectly fine as well. They tend to be easier to handle due to the lack of an air hose so there’s nothing wrong with DIYers preferring such models. You can’t compete with power though, so for a lot of tasks an air compressor is mandatory.
Q. How can these nail guns be used safely?
A. Nail guns are very powerful tools which makes them effective for a lot of tasks but also results in them being rather dangerous. This doesn’t mean that you should avoid using them, of course. A few common sense safety precautions can do the trick. Some safety gear should be sufficient for protection, with gloves and goggles being the most important gear that you can use in this regard. Also, bear in mind that nail guns make quite a loud noise so protecting your ears with ear muffs is quite important too lest you suffer from hearing loss or a ruptured ear drum. Prolonged exposure to this much noise can also cause tinnitus which you should be similarly wary of. Another tip we’d like to give is that you should never point the nail gun at your face. This might sound obvious to you but with so many people getting injured like this each year it doesn’t hurt to keep it in mind.
Q. Are finish nailers the same as brad nailers?
A. One thing that a lot of people don’t know about nail guns is that there are quite a few types that you can look into. For example, a finish nailer is something that you can use for 15 to 16 gauge nails, commonly called finish nails, and these tend to be about 2 inches long on average. Brad nailers, on the other hand, are suitable for 18 gauge nails which are about the same height but are a bit thicker, and since these are the nails most commonly used by DIYers brad nailers tend to be popular among such consumers as well. Some brad nailers can be used with 20 gauge nails as well which can be great if you are opting for heavy duty tasks that require a bit of extra reinforcement.