Best Nail Gun for Trim
Assembling narrow pieces of wood, whether installing window trim and casings or building a bird feeder, typically requires 18-gauge nails, otherwise known as brad nails. Brad nailers offer adequate fastening power for delicate wood. If you’re worried that your current nail gun will damage your small wood project, it’s probably wise to get a brad nailer.
Aside from being the best nail gun for trim, this kind of nailer is useful for temporarily holding things together. I use it to hold pieces of wood during glue-ups. It’s handy when working with pieces too small for wood clamps.
Buying Guide for Brad Nailers
What do you need to consider when picking a brad nailer? Personally, I look at three things:
The power source
Size of nails
Brad nailers can be battery-powered or corded. Remember that you stand to lose/gain more than mobility when making a choice.
Cordless (battery-powered) nail guns are heavier and more expensive than pneumatic (corded) nailers, but they are not constricted by a power cord. They make pretty useful tools for projects that demand mobility, such as remodeling window decorations on a large house.
Corded brad nailers tend to be more powerful than their cordless counterparts. Furthermore, their uninterrupted power supply makes them better for working long hours and finishing large projects. However, they can’t function without an air compressor, which you’ll have to buy separately on most occasions.
You can fuss about build quality all day and still end up with a shoddy tool. When choosing a brad nailer, your focus should be on two aspects of build quality: durability and ergonomics.
You want a durable nail gun for obvious reasons. My first nailer wasn’t equipped to handle a rugged workplace environment, so it quickly picked up damage. If you can help it, steer clear of nailers made from cheap plastic.
Ergonomics pertain to how well the tool handles. A good tool is usually light enough and feels comfortable to grip. This is a sign of a tool that you can use over long stretches without suffering hand fatigue.
Size of Nails
Maybe you need something even smaller than a brad nail. Perhaps brands are far too thin to fasten the type of wood you work with. I have learned to pay attention to the size of nails as it’s a big indicator of the kind of nail gun necessary for the project I have in mind.
If you’re working with big pieces of lumber, two-by-fours, and the likes, don’t skimp on the nail gun – get the biggest one you can find. However, if your projects are more delicate than trim, go smaller with a pin nailer, which is the most suitable fastener for fragile pieces of wood.
The Best Nail Gun Brands
It’s not always easy to decide what to choose when so many options exist. Brad nailers are available in every make and model; the upside here is that you’ll never lack options.
Companies like Metabo (Hitachi), Porter-Cable, Makita, and Wen have decent nail guns in the market. I usually refine my search from here using my own parameters, which we’ve discussed in the buying guide above.
In any case, these brad nailers offer excellent value for money because they’re from reputable brands with good warranties and reliable builds.
The Best Nail Guns to Buy for Trim
Wen 61721 Pneumatic Brad Nailer
If you’re looking for a dirt cheap brad nailer that gets the job done, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything better than the Wen 61721 pneumatic nailer.
It weighs 2.7 pounds and accommodates brad nails from 3/8 to 2 inches in its magazine, which can hold up to 106 brads at a time.
Convenience is the name of the game with this pneumatic brad nailer. I love features like the nail gauge and the exhaust port. The former is designed to allow me to keep track of the nails as I work, and the latter can be adjusted in any direction, something I sincerely appreciate since I’m left-handed.
Metabo HPT NT50AE2 Brad Nailer
Like the Wen, this nailer has a 360-degree dust port, so it immediately strikes favor with left-handed and ambidextrous people. It weighs just 2.2 pounds and is compatible with brad lengths of 5/8 to 2 inches.
Whenever I have a lengthy task, I prefer to use the lightest nailer I can get my hands on – this is among the lightest I’ve ever used. It’s easy to inflict hand and shoulder fatigue when working with a heavy tool, so it’s nice to eliminate those worries when working long days.
Two more things make me love this nailer. The first is the hard carry case it comes with, which is damn-near necessary if it spends its days on a worksite. The second is the 5-year warranty. That’s right, five years! Should anything happen to this nailer within the first half-decade, it will likely be covered by the manufacturer, and that’s just super convenient for career carpenters like me.
Porter-Cable PCC790LA Cordless Brad Nailer (Kit)
Before you wrinkle your nose at the price tag, this Porter-Cable nailer never has to use an air compressor. Once you pay the initial cost, you won’t spend another dime on upgrades.
Battery-powered nail guns tend to be a touch heavier due to the battery. This one weighs 5.9 pounds, but the upside is that it can discharge up to 1,300 brads per single charge. Crucially, it includes a depth-adjustment window. Now, I know this isn’t a make-or-break feature, but what’s the harm in having the power to select how deep the brads go?
Like the Metabo, it accommodates brads from 5/8 inches to 2 inches. Despite its weight, it is easy to use because it has clear instructions and illustrations. A bunch of LEDs are always on standby to alert you of any problems.
It may not be the best choice for all-day projects due to its weight and power limitations. However, for a dependable brad nailer with some pretty advanced functionality, I think it is well worth the cost.
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