5 Best Pin Nailers to Buy In 2021
A pin nailer is a power tool that looks very similar to a brad nailer used for delicate and discreet nailing. They are exclusively pneumatic power tools which require an air compressor to work. Pin nailers are even more accurate than brad nailers or other nail gun types and usually use much smaller 23-gauge headless pins to fasten material.
Pin nails (or pins) can be as short as 3/8 inch and as long as 2 inches. At 23-gauge, the pins of a pin nailer are almost invisible to the naked eye and as small as a sewing needle.
If you are currently working on a woodworking project and need discreet nailing, our pin nailer review is going to show you some of the best pin nailers available on the market today.
Table of Contents
- 5 Best Pin Nailers - Reviews
- What to Look for When Buying a Pin Nailer
- What is a Pin Nailer Used For?
5 Best Pin Nailers - Reviews
Without further ado, here is our anticipated pin nailer review. Hopefully, you will find a good model that fits your need.
1. Grex P635 23-Gauge Pin Nailer
3/8 - 1-3/8 in
2. Fasco 11297F F23C Pin Nailer
1/2 - 2 in
3. Bostitch HP118K 23-Gauge Pin Nailer
1/2 - 1-3/16 in
4. Hitachi NP35A 23-Gauge Pin Nailer
5/8 - 1-3/8 in
5. Porter-Cable PIN100 Pin Nailer
1/2 - 1 in
#1. Grex P635 23-Gauge Pin Nailer
Editor's Rating: (4.7 / 5)
The Grex P635 is our top pick pin nailer. It is a stylish looking and quite popular pin nailer used by many professionals. The only problem is that it is a little bit more expensive than other models in the pin nailer review. This model shoots 23 GA headless pins of up to 1-3/8 inches in length. It can accommodate pins that are smaller automatically and its ergonomic form factor feels great in the hand.
The automatic fasteners adjust the device automatically if you choose to use pins smaller than the default factory 1-3/8 inches pins. The soft rubber handles make it a pleasure to hold and nail without causing hand fatigue in the long run.
The narrow nose and no-mar tip give you instant accuracy and greater maneuverability while not scratching your material. It also makes it easier to pin in tight spots. We also like the lightweight of this pin nailer at only 2.1 lbs. The only caveat is the lack of an adjustable depth control. You will need to play with your air compressor to get the desired nailing force.
- High-quality build construction.
- Lightweight at 2.1 lbs.
- Extended narrow and No-Mar nose for accuracy and access to tight spots.
- Double trigger mechanism prevents misfires and safer to use.
- Automatic pin fastener adjustment.
- The Price.
- No adjustable depth control
Who should buy?
If you are looking for a dependable and versatile pin nailer that can accommodate a wide range of industry-standard pin nails length that are no more than 1-3/8 inches. The automatic fastener adjustment feature in this model makes it a breeze to work with. It is versatile and very easy to use. It also feels great in the hand. This model is literally an industry benchmark in itself. We recommend it to beginners and professionals alike.
#2. Fasco 11297F F23C 23-Gauge Pin Nailer
Editor's Rating: (4.5 / 5)
This Fasco pin nailer looks very similar to the Grex P635 but can accommodate even longer 23 Ga pins of 2 inches. It is a newer model that builds on the strength of the P635. It also automatically adjusts different fastener lengths with a dry firing prevention mechanism.
Its ability to host 2 inches pin size is quite rare in pin nailers as we are glad to see this model accepts it. It can be used for fastening thicker material and the holding strength of a 2 inches pin is much superior to a 1-3/8 inches one. Sometimes pin nailers have difficulty shooting even 1-3/8 inches. This model has no such problem even with the longer 2 inches pins. This is mostly due to the superior power of this model.
The double trigger mechanism is also very handy and prevents trigger-happy users from misfires. It is also a great safety feature and will only fire when you want it to. The muffler makes this unit work silently and the rear exhaust evacuates air away from the user.
Furthermore, the narrow nose easily reaches tight spots. It even comes with a carry case. Neat!
- Accepts up to 2 inches pins. Very powerful pin nailer.
- Noise muffler for quieter operation.
- Narrow nose for nailing in tight spots.
- Double trigger mechanism.
- Build construction not as good as the Grex P635.
- No adjustable depth control
- Quite expensive.
Who should buy?
The Fasco 11297F F23C is clearly inspired from the Grex P635. It builds on its features and accommodates even longer nails of 2 inches. If you frequently need to pin nails thick material with 2 inches pins, this is one of the best pin nailers for the money.
#3. Bostitch HP118K 23-Gauge Pin Nailer
Editor's Rating: (4.2 / 5)
The Bostitch is a low-profile pin nailer that has many attractive features. It can shoot pins up to 1-3/16 inches and sports an adjustable depth control. The aluminum hosing makes it both a lightweight and durable pin nailer that will last you for years.
The HP118K accommodates 1/2 to 1-3/16 inches pins. This makes it a versatile pin nailer as most people will use this pin size. What we like the most about this model is the low-profile form factor. It can be used in tight and small areas with great ease.
The adjustable depth control makes it seamless and versatile to work with different materials.
Bostitch provides a detailed user manual on how to use this unit. Loading and unloading pins are very easy and newbie friendly. All you have to do is depress the spring loaded lever and pull out the magazine.
The tapered nose makes it easy to view your nailing and also boosts accuracy.
Furthermore, the magazine can host an impressive 200 pins. It will take a while before reloading. The 1/4-inch NPT fitting is an industry-standard and makes it very easy to fit to your air compressor. The handle is coated with a rubber material that makes it comfortable to hold. In fact, the whole unit is quite ergonomic and can be used for hours without hand fatigue.
- Compact and ergonomic form factor.
- Double trigger mechanism.
- Adjustable depth control.
- Ergonomic and soft handles
- Industry-standard NPT fitting for air compressor
- Tapered nose for clear view
- Delivered with a carry case
Who should buy?
This is a very well-rounded pin nailer that is versatile and dependable. We recommend this model to anyone who does not need pins more than 1-3/16 inches in length.
#4. Hitachi NP35A 23-Gauge Pin Nailer
Editor's Rating: (4.6 / 5)
The Hitachi NP35A is an affordable and yet powerful pin nailer that is versatile enough for any type of tasks. It can be purchased as the vanilla model without pins, or as a pin nailer kit with headless pins. It is also delivered with safety goggles and a carry case.
The magazine in this model automatically adjusts to a wide range of industry-standard pin sizes of 5/8, 3/4, 1, 1-3/16 and 1-3/8 inches. This makes this model versatile and suited for a wide range of nailing applications.
It also sports a dual trigger mechanism that prevents misfires and delivers more accurate nailing. Additionally, the no-mar nose makes it easy to pin in tight spots without material damage. It also delivers fairly accurate results.
This model includes a depth adjustment that makes it easy to work with material of different thickness. The depth adjustment itself is easy to use and can be adjusted in a matter of seconds. Furthermore, it has a reload indicator that conveniently shows you your magazine status.
Lastly, the rear exhaust prevents debris and oil from spilling on the work area, or the user.
- Affordable pricing
- Versatile pin nail length of 5/8, 3/4, 1, 1-3/16 and 1-3/8 inches
- Narrow and no-mar tip
- Easy depth adjustment control
- Reload indicator for the magazine status
- Rear exhaust drives debris and oil away from work area
- Delivered with goggle and carry case
- Some customers complain it struggles with 1-3/8 inches pins. No such issue with smaller sizes.
Who should buy?
If you are looking for an affordable 23 gauge pin nailer that has features of more expensive premium nailers, this is a good model to get.
#5. Porter-Cable PIN100 23-Gauge Pin Nailer
Editor's Rating: (4.4 / 5)
The PIN100 by Porter-Cable is also a very affordable pin nailer that competes with more expensive pin nailers at the exact same specs. It is sold as a pin nailer kit, which means that it will come with 23 Ga. pin nails out of the box.
We like the price of this model and the useful features it has. The magazine capacity is half decent, with a capacity of 170 micro pin nails. No more frequent reloads. It also automatically adjusts to the fastener size which makes it easy and fast to work with when changing pin size.
Additionally, this model accommodates 23 Ga. pin nails from 1/2-inch to 1-inch. This is not the longest pin nail length. In fact, this model has the shortest fastener size in this 23 gauge pin nailer review. It is only ideal for trim work on relatively thin material.
For such an affordable unit, we like the presence of the low nail indicator and the soft rubber handles. It is very comfortable to hold and work with.
- Very affordable price
- Delivered with 23 Ga. pin nails
- Decent 170 pins magazine capacity
- Automatic fastener adjustment
- Dual trigger mechanism. For a safer and more accurate nailing.
- Rubber handles for comfortable handling.
- Nail indicator status.
- No depth adjustment
- Maximum of 1 inch pin length.
Who should buy?
If you do not require pins longer than 1" and planning to do only trim jobs on thin material, this is a good model that does not cost much. Other than this, this pin nailer will feel fairly limited.
What to Look for When Buying a Pin Nailer
As with any other power tool, there are some important criteria to take into account. Here are a few of the most important ones:
- Fastener length – Ideally, you want a pin nailer that can accept a wide variety of pin length. Acceptable pin sizes are a minimum of 1/2 inch and at least 1 inch. If your pin nailer can do the whole 3/8 - 2 inches pin size gamut - you’re golden.
- Magazine capacity – You do not want to reload pins every minute. Make sure that your pin nailer can hold at least 100 micro pins before a recharge. Additionally, one with a magazine status indicator is preferred.
- Rear exhaust – Pin nailers exhaust air and oil out after every firing. The air exhaust needs to be either adjustable or pointed away from the user.
- Depth control – When working with different material of different thickness and density, the depth control adjustment is vital. Alternatively, you will have to adjust the PSI on your air compressor if your unit lacks a depth adjustment function.
- Durability and warranty – Lastly, ensure that your pin nailer is made from a reputable brand with a solid build construction of aluminum. It is not a toy. A solid manufacturer warranty of at least a year is also most welcome.
What is a Pin Nailer Used For?
People often ask us about the difference between the pin nailer vs brad nailer. Understandably so, those two power tools look so much alike that they can easily be confused.
A pin nailer is mostly used for trim work where an invisible affixing is required. The needle-size pins are headless and dive deep in material, and unless you know where exactly to look at; they are almost invisible. This makes them excellent for trim jobs.
Unlike brad nailers, that despite using small 18-gauge brad nails, they still have their heads visible. Therefore, pin nailers are better suited for affixing delicate material where minimal or no finish work is required in the most discreet way possible.
That’s a wrap! As we have seen, the best 23 gauge pin nailer does not have to be the model that costs the most. It is one that simply allows you to fill your need.
We have listed 7 models that each come at different price points. If you are still uncertain about the best pin nailer for you, you cannot go wrong with our top pick model.