The 10 Best Brad Nailers – Reviews & Buying Guide

Best Brad Nailer

Finish carpentry requires a highly versatile nailer that will not only hold two pieces of wood together but does also not leave large and unsightly holes that require a lot of filling.

The brad nailer fits this description as it is very useful for light finishing works, and it is always great for your home improvement projects. And so it is a great idea for every woodworker, hobbyists, and DIYers to get the best brad nailers.

Brad nailers are light duty nailers that will typically fire 18-gauge nails that are in most cases between 5/8 and 2 inches long.

What sets the brad nailer apart from the finish nailer is that it comes with a straight magazine instead of an angled one, and so it carries more nails per magazine.

Also, the brad nailer leaves relatively smaller holes than many other finishing nailers, and in most instances, you will not even need to fill them because painting or staining should be enough to cover them.

Brad nailers are useful for a wide range of renovation and home improvement projects, and they are mostly used for upholstery, fixing trims and molding, and for many other precise jobs.

If you want to add one of these highly useful nailers to your toolkit, our detailed guide below will help you pick a good brad nailer to add to your tool collection.

10 Best Brad Nailers  - Reviews

Besides the obvious differences in type and brand, there are many other factors that set different brad nailers apart. Below we compare 10 top-rated brad nailers using factors like nail size, power source and weight to help you understand how to choose one.

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Product Name

Nail Size

Power Source

Rating

Current Price

Wen 61720 Brad Nailer

Wen 61720 Brad Nailer

3/4-2"

Pneumatic

4.7

Hitachi NT50AE2 Brad Nailer

Hitachi NT50AE2 Brad Nailer

5/8-2"

Pneumatic

4.5

DeWalt DWFP12231 Pneumatic Brad Nailer Kit

DeWalt DWFP12231 Pneumatic Brad Nailer Kit

5/8-2"

Pneumatic

4.4

Porter-Cable PCC790LA Cordless Brad Nailer Kit

Porter-Cable PCC790LA Cordless Brad Nailer Kit

5/8-2"

Battery-Powered

4.5

Bostitch BTFP12233 Smart Point Brad Nailer Kit

Bostitch BTFP12233 Smart Point Brad Nailer Kit

5/8-2-1/8"

Corded-electric

4.6

Porter-Cable BN200C Brad Nailer Kit

Porter-Cable BN200C Brad Nailer Kit

5/8-2"

Corded-electric

4.4

Makita AF505N Brad Nailer

Makita AF505N Brad Nailer

5/8-2"

Pneumatic

4.4

DeWalt DC608K Cordless Brad Nailer

DeWalt DC608K Cordless Brad Nailer

5/8-2"

Battery-Powered

4.5

NuMax S2-118G2 Brad Nailer

NuMax S2-118G2 Brad Nailer

3/8-2" (nails) 1/2-1-5/8" (staples)

Pneumatic

4.4

PowRyte Air Brad Nailer

PowRyte Air Brad Nailer

5/8-2"

Pneumatic

4.4

#1. Wen 61720 Brad Nailer

Editor's Rating: (4.7 / 5)

Wen 61720 Brad Nailer
  • Nail Size: 3/4-2 inches
  • Power Source: Pneumatic
  • Weight: 3 lbs

Wen 61720 is a relatively affordable brad nailer that performs incredibly well for its price tag. It is made from a lightweight aluminum body that not only makes it durable but also helps to keep the total weight of the tool down.

This brad nailer will operate at a pressure rating of between 60 and 100 PSI and it has a standard 1/4-inch NPT air inlet to ensure that you can use it with almost any air compressor and hose.

It is designed with a depth adjustable wheel that makes it possible to choose how deep you want to drive the nails and a 360-degree adjustable exhausts port that lets you control the direction of the outputted air.

Wen 61720 will shoot 18-gauge brads that are between 3/4 and 2 inches long, and it has a contact trip trigger to speed up nailing.

Other factors that help to make this one of the best air brad nailers include the larger magazine with a window to show the remaining nails, comfortable rubber-grip handle and quick-release jam clearing.

Pros:

  • Lightweight aluminum body
  • Comfortable rubber grip handle
  • Quick and easy jam release
  • Relatively affordable
  • Custom carry case included

Cons:

  • Loading instructions are not very useful for beginners

#2. Hitachi NT50AE2 Brad Nailer

Editor's Rating: (4.5 / 5)

Hitachi NT50AE2 Brad Nailer
  • Nail Size: 5/8-2 inches
  • Power Source: Pneumatic
  • Weight: 2.2 lbs

If you work on varied kinds of project that might require different nail fire mechanisms, the Hitachi NT50AE2 will be a great choice as it allows for both bump and contact fire modes.

And all you need to do is to flip a switch to shift between the two trigger modes. But, there is still more to it besides the convenient fire mechanism.

This brad nailer also comes with a depth adjustment knob that makes it possible to select how far to drive the nails for increased accuracy. And it has a comfortable elastomer grip that helps to minimize hand fatigue even when using it for extended periods.

With a total weight of just 2.2 pounds, this is also a relatively lightweight nailer when compared to others on our brad nailer reviews.

It also comes with a 360-degree adjustable exhaust vent, a no-mar nose cap and with a high-capacity magazine to help minimize downtimes.

Pros:

  • Versatile fire mechanism
  • Easy and tool-less jam clearing
  • Comfortable elastomer grip
  • Allows for easy depth adjustment
  • Lightweight and well-balanced

Cons:

  • Hard to tell when you run out of nails

#3. DeWalt DWFP12231 Pneumatic Brad Nailer Kit

Editor's Rating: (4.4 / 5)

DeWalt DWFP12231 Pneumatic Brad Nailer Kit
  • Nail Size: 5/8-2 inches
  • Power Source: Pneumatic
  • Weight: 5.15 lbs

The powerful and reliable performance of pneumatic brad nailers is what makes them highly popular. And if you get one from a reputable brand like the Dewalt DWFP12231, you can be confident of getting many years of efficient service.

This handy nailer will shoot brad nails that are between 5/8 and 2 inches long which is what many woodworkers will use for most of their projects.

It uses a highly durable and maintenance-free motor that not only provides reliable service but also will never stain your workpiece.

Adjusting the nail depth is also easy, and you will not need any tools for this. Also, clearing jams is also an easy and tool-free process that will not eat up a lot of your project time.

With the strong a lightweight magnesium body, you can be confident that this brad nailer will serve you for long, and it is rugged enough to withstand the regular job site abuse.

Pros:

  • Maintenance-free motor
  • Strong and  lightweight body
  • Easy and tool-free jam clearing
  • Removable non-marring nose tip
  • Comfortable rubber grip

Cons:

  • Not ideal for progressive nailing

#4. Porter-Cable PCC790LA Cordless Brad Nailer Kit

Editor's Rating: (4.5 / 5)

Porter-Cable PCC790LA Cordless Brad Nailer Kit
  • Nail Size: 5/8-2 inches
  • Power Source: Battery-Powered
  • Weight: 5.9 lbs

If convenience and portability are your top concerns, this battery-powered brad nailer from Porter-Cable will impress you. And it uses a 1.5 Ah 20V max lithium-ion battery to deliver relatively long run times.

But, besides the portability that comes with battery-powered brad nailers, it also ensures consistent driving depths thanks to the depth adjustment wheel.

Because you are likely to get some jam at some point just like when using any other brad nailer model, Porter-Cable makes jam-release super easy with a tool-free release lever.

This brad nailer will come with the required battery to make it ideal for immediate use, some multifunctional LED lights for indicating errors and lighting the workpiece, and the manufacturer will back it with a 3-year limited warranty.

Pros:

  • Tool-free jam release
  • Consistent depth adjustment wheel
  • Handy multifunctional LED lights
  • No cord/hose to worry about
  • Battery included

Cons:

  • Significantly heavier

#5. Bostitch BTFP12233 Smart Point Brad Nailer Kit

Editor's Rating: (4.6 / 5)

Bostitch BTFP12233 Smart Point Brad Nailer Kit
  • Nail Size: 5/8-2-1/8 inches
  • Power Source: Corded-electric
  • Weight: 3.1 lbs

Some projects will require you to place the nail very precisely otherwise you can end up ruining your workpiece. If you are dealing with one such project, the Smart Point technology makes the Bostitch BTFP12233 the best brad nailer for the money for you.

This technology entails giving the brad nailer a much smaller nose for easy nail placement and also eliminates the need to compress the tip to actuate the tool.

The oil-free operation of the brad nailer ensures that you never have to worry about staining your important workpieces. And like most other top-rated brad nailers, it also allows for tool-free jam release.

Dial-a-depth control is also another convenient feature as it will allow for precise sinking of the nails so that they only go as deep as you want them.

This brad nailer also has a selectable trigger that allows you to choose between sequential and contact nailing, and a rear exhaust vent that helps to keep contaminants away from your workpiece and face.

Pros:

  • Easy nail placement
  • Tool-free jam release
  • Convenient and precise depth control
  • Selectable trigger system
  • Rear exhaust design

Cons:

  • No dry-fire lockout mechanism

#6. Porter-Cable BN200C Brad Nailer Kit

Editor's Rating: (4.4 / 5)

Porter-Cable BN200C Brad Nailer Kit
  • Nail Size: 5/8-2 inches
  • Power Source: Corded-electric
  • Weight: 1.24 lbs

Mid-price range brad nailers like the Porter-Cable BN200C help to strike the perfect balance between cost and functionality of the nailer.

This highly lightweight nailer runs on a maintenance-free motor that eliminates the risk of staining your workpiece. And it also uses a removable non-marring nose tip that helps to prevent denting or scratching the piece you are working on.

The magnesium body is both strong and lightweight to make this a highly durable brad nailer and to ensure minimum hand fatigue when using it for extended periods.

There is also an integrated rubber grip for comfortable use, tool-free depth adjustment, and a low nail reload indicator to alert you when you need to add more nails.

This nailer also has on-tool storage and it will come with a handy carrying case.

Pros:

  • Maintenance-free motor
  • Removable non-marring nose tip
  • Strong and  lightweight body
  • Comfortable rubber grip
  • Allows for on-tool storage

Cons:

  • Depth adjustment wheel needs some improvement

#7. Makita AF505N Brad Nailer

Editor's Rating: (4.4 / 5)

Makita AF505N Brad Nailer
  • Nail Size: 5/8-2 inches
  • Power Source: Pneumatic
  • Weight: 3.0 lbs

There are many factors that define the best 18-gauge brad nailers but for the Makita AF505N, precision, convenience and accuracy are what make it stand out from the rest.

For precision and accuracy, it has a narrow nose design that makes it easy to place the nail exactly where you want it, and also allows for quick and easy nailing in confined spaces.

This brad nailer will come with a tool-less dial for adjustment of the depth which makes it ideal for various finish projects. And like most top-notch nailers, it allows for easy tool-less jam release.

The non-marring nose and bumpers on this nailer help to protect your wood workpieces from damages or scratches. And it also has a multidirectional vent to direct outputted air away from the user and workpiece.

Makita AF505N will fire nails between 5/8 and 2 inches long like most other brad nailers, and it is very useful for crown molding, baseboard, and trim work installation.

Pros:

  • Easy and tool-less jam clearing
  • Tool-depth adjustment for versatility
  • Non-marring rubber nose tip
  • Multi-directional exhaust vent
  • Soft and comfortable rubberized grip

Cons:

  • Not very good at toe nailing

#8. DeWalt DC608K Cordless Brad Nailer

Editor's Rating: (4.5 / 5)

DeWalt DC608K Cordless Brad Nailer
  • Nail Size: 5/8-2 inches
  • Power Source: Battery-powered
  • Weight: 7.4 lbs

Cordless brad nailers like the Dewalt DC608 are often more expensive than most others but they make up for this by being compact and portable which allows you to use them almost anywhere.

The Dewalt DC608 has a unique engine design to allow the users to nail at their desired speed while still ensuring consistent nail penetration in both hard and soft wood.

It also has a selectable trigger that lets you chose the sequential mode for precise nail placement or the bump mode when speed is your main concern.

This nailer uses a straight magazine that will accommodate nails that are 5/8 to 2 inches long and will allow for easy access to the nosepiece to make jam clearing quick and simple.

With a nail capacity of up to 110, the magazine on this brad nailer is relatively large because most others on our list will only accommodate 100 nails.

When you buy this nailer, you will also get an 18V XRP NiCad battery, 1-hour charger, reversible belt, a high-quality case, and a few other free accessories.

Pros:

  • Consistent nail penetration
  • Selectable trigger modes
  • Relatively larger magazine capacity
  • Compact and portable
  • Battery and fast-charger included

Cons:

  • Quite an expensive nailer

#9. NuMax S2-118G2 Brad Nailer

Editor's Rating: (4.4 / 5)

NuMax S2-118G2 Brad Nailer
  • Nail Size: 3/8-2 inches (nails) 1/2-1-5/8 inches (staples)
  • Power Source: Pneumatic
  • Weight: 3.09 lbs

You do not have to buy different nailers for brad nails and narrow crown staples because a 2-in-1 one like the NuMax S2-118G2 can shoot both which saves you a lot of cash.

The capability to fire both nails and staples makes it highly versatile. And the depth adjustment feature will ensure that it will be useful for a variety of applications.

It uses some no-mar nose tips to ensure that it never damages your work surface, and it is made from a durable die-cast aluminum body to make it strong and highly durable.

This relatively affordable brad nailer also has a 360-degree adjustable exhaust, reload indicator and a comfortable grip that will provide anti-vibration comfort.

Although there is a lot you can do with the NuMax S2-118G2, it seems to excel in decorative trim, window casing and for installing shoe and crown molding

Pros:

  • Highly versatile nailer
  • Adjustable depth
  • Does not damage work surfaces
  • Durable die-cast aluminum body
  • Relatively affordable

Cons:

  • Not ideal for heavy duty use

#10. PowRyte Air Brad Nailer

Editor's Rating: (4.4 / 5)

PowRyte Air Brad Nailer
  • Nail Size: 5/8-2 inches
  • Power Source: Pneumatic
  • Weight: 2.1 lbs

The best pneumatic brad nailers are not always the most expensive ones as this one from PowRyte proves that there are many high-performing but highly affordable out there.

At a total weight of just 2.1 pounds, this pneumatic brad nailer is also one of the lightest on our list, and it also feels well-balanced which makes it a great tool for extended use.

It also comes with a non-slip rubber grip that adds to the comfort and a plastic trigger for easy control even when doing some fast nailing.

This nailer will shoot 5/8 to 2 inches long brad nails, and it has a convenient tool-free jam release mechanism that can help to minimize downtimes and speed up your work.

Also, there is a reload indicator that makes it easy to tell when you need to reload the nails to avoid dry firing.

Pros:

  • Feels well-balanced and lightweight
  • Tool-free jam release
  • Non-slip rubber grip
  • Convenient reload indicator
  • Highly affordable

Cons:

  • Will not perform well for angled nailing

How to Buy a Brad Nailer

How to Buy a Brad Nailer

The brad nailer is one of the most popular nailer types, and most experienced woodworkers and DIYers will have one in their toolkit.

This popularity means that there are several brands and models to choose from which is always a good thing. But, all will not perform well, and so to make sure that you get something top-notch quality you should consider the following things when shopping.

#1. Pneumatic vs. Electric Nailers

The power source is always the first thing to consider when choosing most power tools as you want to be sure that whatever you buy will be powerful and convenient enough.

For brad nailers, you will often need to choose between pneumatic and electric nailers as each has both pros and cons. Also, it is important to note that there are also a few other uncommon options such as the gas-powered brad nailers.

1. Pneumatic Nailers

Pneumatic Nailers

Pneumatic nailers are the types that use compressed air to power the nail punching mechanism. They are quite popular with both armature and professional woodworkers as they are powerful and very reliable.

These types of nailers also tend to be more affordable than the electric ones, and they also allow you to work more efficiently, neatly and professionally with no time wastage.

However, these nailers also have some downsides. Key among them is the fact that you need compressed air to run them which results in additional operating costs. Also, the hose limits their use and it can also be a headache because it may get in your way or get tangled.

Pros:

  • Powerful and reliable
  • Relatively affordable
  • Lightweight and efficient

Cons:

  • Need for air compressor means additional costs
  • Annoying cord to deal with

2. Electric Nailers

Electric Nailers

The electric nailers are powered by electricity and they use an electric motor to shoot the brads into the material.

These nailers are available in both cordless or battery -powered models and corded-electric types. And they are generally easy to use and quite versatile.

The corded-electric types provide a constant and reliable power supply and do not need an air compressor or regular battery recharging. However, you can only use them where there is a power outlet nearby, and they are still not as powerful as the pneumatic types.

Battery-powered nailers on the other hand offer portability as they are not restricted by the need for a plug-in or carry an air compressor. But, they are also not as powerful as the pneumatic nailers and the battery also limits their runtime plus also makes them bulkier and cumbersome.

Pros:

  • Simple to use
  • Quite versatile
  • More portable

Cons:

  • Bulkier and cumbersome
  • Expensive

Buying Advice: When it comes to choosing between pneumatic and electric brad nailers, the right idea is always to strike a perfect balance between cost, power, and maneuverability. Since both are still very useful tools, your choice will solely depend on your needs and preferences. But, most professional woodworkers seem to prefer the pneumatic types.

#2. Nose Size

Nose size is an important factor to consider if you want to be sure that your brad nails will end up exactly where you want them and not half an inch off.

The length and diameter of the nose will help with overall accuracy. And the smaller the nose the better as it makes it easy to hit the exact spot you want.

Brad nailers with a nose that is too large will make it harder to line up the entry point of the brad nails exactly where you want it to be.

#3. Trigger Type

The trigger will affect the nailing speed and precision, and so it is also a crucial factor to watch out for when hunting for the best brad nailer.

There are two common brad nailer trigger options which are sequential and bump. Both have some advantages and disadvantages and will be useful in different situations.

When using a sequential trigger you need to compress the nose before pressing the trigger which can make nailing a little slower. However, these trigger types are more ideal for delicate projects and those that require high accuracy.

With a bump trigger, the nailer will drive the nail as soon as you “bump” it on the wood which makes nailing faster. This trigger is the best for mass production projects but it is not always very accurate.

#4. Extra Features

There are some features that you will not find in all brad nailers but they are still great to have on your nailer as they make it more efficient and convenient to use.

Some of these extra features to watch out for include depth adjustment, tool-less jam clearing, brad loading mechanism, swivel cord (mostly for pneumatic nailers) and adjustable belt hook.

Modern brad nailers will have most of these features but some will have a few or none of them. Here you should go for one with that extra feature that you feel will be useful for you.

#5. Price

Price is one of those factors that will always be on your mind when buying anything, and a brad nailer is no exception.

And like any other power tool, brad nailers will come in varying price ranges depending on the brand, type, and model.

You can get a brad nailer for as little as $20 or upwards of $250, and so your budget is the biggest determinant of how much you spend.

But, also note that in most instances the priciest brad nailers will often have more and better features than the cheap ones.

#6. Warranty

A warranty gives you the assurances that you need that your brad nailer will last for long enough. Hence, it is also a crucial factor to consider when buying one.

When it comes to the warranty, the length is the most important thing to watch out for as it determines how long you will be covered from defects.

Although the warranty will vary from one brand to the other, it is important to go for something that comes with at least a 2-year limited warranty. And, also make sure you read and understand the warranty terms to know what the company is offering.

Conclusion

Whether you are working on a home improvement project such as fixing windows and door casing or making cabinets at a professional level, the brad nailer is always a very useful tool to have.

However, it is still vital to make sure that you have the best brad nailer as this is the only way to ensure you get great and long service from it.

Finding that top-rated brad nailer requires you to consider several factors that include the power source, nose size, price and also the warranty.

And if you are not sure of the brands and models to go for, our detailed top 10 brad nailer reviews above will help with this.