How To Choose A Nail Gun For Your Project

Nail gun for project

If you are planning to work on a project that requires nailing, then you will need a decent nail gun. As you may have probably seen, there are dozens of types of nail guns on the Internet. Often, it can be difficult to choose a proper nail gun that is suited for the right job.

Nail guns are specialized nailing power tools. Many times, their names will signify to you their specialty. For example, a flooring nail gun will be inappropriate for a roofing job.

In this brief and concise guide, we will show you exactly what the most common types of nail guns are and how to choose one. Hopefully, this will help you make a decision about the kind of nail gun you will need for your project.

Read more: Top 3 Best Hitachi Framing Nailers

1. Consider types of power source

The most common type of nailer you find in commerce is the air nail gun. They are also called pneumatic nail guns. These nailers are adequate for 99% of woodworking jobs. They use an air compressor that feed the power tool with pressure, and with the help of a battery, fires a nail out. You will see the pressure unit PSI mentioned in nail guns specs.

nail gun power source

A higher PSI means it will fire a nail with more penetrating force. If you are looking for a nailer for general woodworking, then we recommend you buy one that is at least 100 PSI. It will have enough power to nail almost anything, but not be overwhelmingly powerful to destroy the material it nails. The pressure is also adjustable in most models, so play a bit with it.

2. Gauge size 

An important factor when choosing a nail gun is the gauge size. A professional might want to have all gauges at their disposal. But as a homeowner, which one do you choose?

Gauge works exactly as your electrical wire. The higher the gauge, the thinner the nail. A 15ga nail gun can fire bigger nails than a 23ga nail gun. The 15ga and 16ga nail guns are the most popular and versatile nailers you will find. But the nail size, of course, depends on what you will nail. Choose one that is appropriate for the material you are working on. Remember that a nail too big will most likely shatter wood that is too thin.

3. Anti-jam mechanism

Not the kind of jam you are thinking of, a good nail gun needs to have a good mechanism to help (1) prevent jams (2) fix a jam.

Sooner or later, a nail will get stuck due to misfire, so your nailer needs to make provisions for it. Look for the terms like: “fix jams”, “prevent jams”, “anti-jam mechanism” in your nail gun features and specs sheet. It will come in handy.

Anti-Jam nail guns

4. Consider purposes of using

There are a lot of nail gun designed for specific works. Some types of nail gun as below

  • Finish Nailer: The finish nailer is a popular nailer intended for finishing jobs. They are usually light and offer a higher degree of nailing accuracy and versatility. Their skewed angle makes them able to reach hard spots. They accommodate a broad range of nail sizes in a straight stick. Finish nailers have a 15-degree angle and usually comes in a 15ga, 16ga, 18ga and 23 gauge.
  • Brad nail gun: A member of the finish nailer family. This nailer fires tiny nails (agrafes) that need little penetration. A use for brad nailer, for example, is collaging a thin plastic or cloth on plywood.
  • Floor nail gun: Used to nail hardwood to the floor, this nailer has a particular shape for mounting on the ground. It cannot be used for any other purpose, as its shape will not allow it.
  • Roofing nail gun: Used for nailing outdoor and, as you may have guessed – roofs. This nailer uses a coil instead of the conventional nail sticks of other nailers. Its design and coil-based mechanism make it particularly useful in preventing nail jams.

Read more: Finish nailer & brad nailer - What's the difference?


As you can see, there are many factors to consider when buying a nail gun. What is most important, is finding one that does the job in the most efficient manner. Since its primary use is to help you nail quicker and easier than you would with nails and a hammer.