Best brad nailer. If you are a DIYer, you can utilize a brad nail to make many projects accessible to the home. Brad nailers use 18 gauge nails that will not split fine moldings.
These tools also have smaller noses to allow you to nail into the most delicate moldings. You, as a homeowner, can handle furniture projects, cabinets, and trim without worry about bruising your thumbnails or denting your workpieces with errant heavy hammer blows.
Finding the right one that is high-quality and suitable for your project can be tricky. In the article, you will find the right direction when it comes to choosing the best brad nailer for your furniture project and home trim.
What is a brad nailer?
It is similar to a nail gun. The operation and appearance are almost the same. This tool shoots brad and does not shoot nails.
Brads are a thin nail. The gauge of brad nail is 18 and is 0.0475 inches in cross-section. Brads are pretty small for a nail.
A brad nail is the smallest size of the nail family and is referred to as a wire nail. The nail has tiny heads. You can drive it by hand using a tack hammer.
Brad nails have numerous lengths, from 5/8-inch to 2 1/4-inch.
Some of you, like many other DIYers, may never use thin and small nails. It is for putting up thin finishing.
If you encounter a very thin or fragile piece of trim in a woodworking job, you use the tool. If you use a regular-sized nail, the trim can break or crack instantly.
They are very useful tools to keep around your tool shed. When you need to apply delicate trimming or molding, this tool is a must-have.
The benefits of brad nailer
The brad nail or small nail or little nail used is 18 or 20 gauge in measurement. It would be best if you used a brad nailer to finish the job.
Brad nailers are for delicate woodworking, interior trims, and moldings. It is usually lightweight.
The tool is an excellent choice for hard to reach places such as in doorway and ceiling corners. With the lightweight feature, you will not get as tired when using them.
Types of brad nailer
Electric brad nailer
An electric brad nailer is an electrically-powered tool that fires an 18 gauge brad nail (no staples). The tool loads an air compression chamber using an electrical charge.
The electric brad nailer is either cordless or corded. The power that shoots the brad nail comes from the chamber discharging.
The corded brad nailer tends to be cheaper than the cordless brad nailer.
Pneumatic brad nailer
Pneumatic brad nailers are brad nailers that utilize compressed air using an air compressor. It is the most common brad nailer.
You can not compare it to the cordless brad nailer. However, if your compressor is fully charged, you can move the compressor and brad nailer even where there is no power.
Main components of brad nailer
Air pressure dial (pneumatic brad nailer)
This component is only available to pneumatic brad nailer. You can adjust the amount of air that is going out when you engage the trigger.
If you give more air pressure, the brad will go more in-depth. On the other hand, if you give less air pressure, it is a higher brad.
This component is used to adjust a certain distance of the tool from the work material. It is recommended to use nails three times as long as the thickness of the wood material you are working on.
An 18-gauge fastener for 1/4″- to 5/8″-thick wood or stock. The lower the depth gauge, the better the holding power. Before deciding the right distance, the best thing to do is to run a test with some pieces of wood to find out what size works best.
The magazine and magazine lock
This component is where the brad strips are loaded. To load the gun, press a magazine lock.
There is also another lock at the opposite end of the magazine. This lock is used to clear the magazine of jammed brad.
Factors to consider when purchasing a brad nailer
The type of trigger
The trigger influences the precision, accuracy, and nailing speed. And so it is also a crucial factor for a brad nailer.
There are sequential and bump triggers. They have disadvantages and advantages in different situations.
The nailer will bump the nail on the wood that will make nailing faster. It, not 100% accurate, but it is best for mass production projects.
The nailing gets a little slower as a sequential trigger gets compression to the nose before pressing the trigger. For a high-accuracy and delicate project, these trigger types are suitable.
The length of the warranty is a very crucial thing to consider. The length of the warranty determines how long you will be covered from any damages or defects.
A warranty provides you the assurance that your tool will last for long. It would be best if you considered a brad nailer that has at least a two-year warranty (limited). You have to make sure that you understand and read the warranty terms to know what the manufacturer is offering.
There are pneumatic and electric 18-gauge brad nailers available in the market. The pneumatic brad nailers are easy to use.
All you have to do is to connect or hook the compressor’s hose up to the brad nailer. The pneumatic brad nailer is lightweight and cheaper than their electric models.
Unfortunately, your mobility is limited because of the air compressor. If you already have an air compressor, you are ready to buy a pneumatic brad nailer.
A corded or cordless electric brad nailer is more mobile than a pneumatic one. You can use them from remote locations during home projects to basements where the location can be harder to lug an air compressor around.
Cordless electric brad nailers are heavier than pneumatic brad nailers. You have to recharge the battery when the battery is running low. It would be wise to have an extra battery for the spare battery with you.
It is recommended to have a long extended cord when you are about to purchase a corded brad nailer.
Tool-free jam release
The tool-free jam release is a mechanism in the brad nailer for easy nail removal. A reload indicator delivers an easy visual of low nail quantities to prevent dry firing.
The narrow nose design of a brad nailer permits easy nailing access in confined areas. A 360-degree adjustable exhaust port keeps out debris, oil, and dust.
Automatic or single-shot mode
Brad nailers can work an automatic or single shot. If you work on a large workpiece such as wainscot frames over a plywood substrate, it is recommended to switch the brad nailer to automatic to go faster.
You hold the trigger down and bumps the nose against the woodwork to shoot a nail. To work on small trim or crown molding, you have to use the single-shot mode.
Place and position the tool where you want it by pressing the nose against the workpiece. Adjust it as needed and pull the trigger, and fire one nail.
Exhaust air control
You can have a comfortable and safe job by utilizing adjustable exhaust ports. You can direct the exhaust port away from a pile of compound dust above a cabinet or your face with exhaust air control settings.
Twist the plastic covers on the rear of the tool, point the burst of air away from your ear, eyes, and face. This practice keeps you safer and cleaner because of the blowing dust that will not go under your safety glasses (into your eyes).
FAQ brad nailer
How to adjust the depth?
There are the depth gauge and air pressure dial to control the depth. They sometimes work the opposite to each other so that it would be a tricky job.
Find scrap woods that are similar to your intended workpiece. They must have the same density and thickness to know the depth effects of the brad.
You can start with the air pressure dial first. Adjust it between the low and high or to a middle point. You must adjust the depth gauge to a medium point, too.
When both are done, test-fire a brad nail.
If the brad sticks out, increase the air pressure to high. Lower the air pressure if the nail sunk too far.
To adjust correctly, use the air pressure as your primary measurement. If you have found the broad range, use the depth gauge to fine-tune the depth.
How to choose a brad nail?
You can get confused if you do not know the exact brad nails you need for a specific project. There is a wide variety of brad nails needed for different projects or purposes.
Many brad nail models are alike, that there are particular peculiar features for each brand. You need to make sure of the right brad nails for an individual project.
Different building codes need different nail lengths. To help you get the right brad nail size, make sure the brad nail is at the minimum have three times the length of the wood material being nailed through.
Use a brad nail that can not penetrate through the wood material but one that goes to a minimum of 3/4. It would be best to use one brad nail that is longer than too short.
Top 10 brad nailer comparison chart
5 best brad nailer reviews
1. DEWALT Brad Nailer 20V MAX Cordless
The DEWALT Brad Nailer DCN680 18-gauge drives from 5/8-inch to 2-1/8 inch. You can use the tool for fastening shoe molding, decorative molding, kitchen crown, and casing.
A DEWALT 20 volt lithium-ion battery runs the brushless motor. With this motor, the tool can work without the hassle of using a hose, compressor, and gas.
You can use it to handle small and large projects. The brushless motor maximizes durability and runtime.
There is the micro nose that enhances accuracy and line of sight of nail placement. It is equipped with tool-free depth adjustment and tool-free jam release to easily and quickly clear nail jams.
2. Porter-cable Brad Nailer 20V MAX Cordless
You can have a portable and convenient use with this battery-powered tool. The battery is a 1.5 Ah 20 Volts max lithium-ion that can deliver long run times.
Besides the portability, the tool can make sure consistent driving depths. It is possible because of the depth adjustment wheel.
This Porter-cable product has a tool-free release lever to release some jam at some point. The Porter-Cable brad nailer comes with a three-year warranty and multifunctional LED lights for lighting and indicating errors.
3. Milwaukee Brad Nailer 2746-20 M18 FUEL 18-Gauge
The Milwaukee Brad Nailer M18 FUEL™ 18ga can provide on top of productivity at your job site with unmatched nailing performance. You do not need a hose or compressor to operate this tool.
You can sink brad nails in softwoods and hardwoods to the correct depth consistently using the nitrogen air spring mechanism while leaving clean nail holes matching the pin’s head. The combination of REDLINK PLUS™ Intelligence and POWERSTATE™ Brushless Motor provides fire rate with zero ramp-up time for efficient work.
These tools use the power of REDLITHIUM™ Batteries and sealed compressed nitrogen to drive each nail easily. The battery-powered tool removes the cost of maintenance and gas cartridges.
You can have less fatigue working day because it is lightweight and compact. This pneumatic tool by Milwaukee can provide the best performance that professional remodelers and carpenters expect with the convenience of cordless.
4. Senco 430101N SLP20XP 1-5/8-Inch 18
This brad nailer from Senco is lightweight, weighs only 2.3 pounds, which will make you easy to handle in small spaces and easy to maneuvering. The big benefit of this tool is that it can drive medium and slight-headed brads to offer you two tools in one.
According to the manufacturer, the tool can offer 40 percent more power than other models. You do not need an adjusting tool to choose brad length.
That can be done through easy side loading. Other features include E-Z Clear jam for easy removal of a jammed fastener.
The power of this tool can be used for particleboard, plastics, and hardwood. It is designed for an oil-free operation, which means it does not need lubrication to stain fine wood and easy maintenance.
This 18 gauge air-powered tool drives 5/8-inch to 1-5/8-inch Senco brad nails. The nailer tool is suitable for decorative and molding trim, furniture trim, picture frame assembly, cabinets, and drawers.
Senco product comes with a five-year manufacturer’s warranty.
5. BOSTITCH Brad Nailer 18 Gauge/Narrow Crown Stapler
This BOSTITCH Brad Nailer can drive narrow crown finish staples and brad nails for versatility. You can use this tool for exterior and interior trim and finish, furniture, cabinetwork, crafts, staircases, and paneling.
There is an adjustable depth guide to set the grad nail to your desired depths conveniently and quickly. The tool boasts 135 inches per pound driving power with 70 to 100 pounds per square inch.
It is a lightweight tool that weighs only 2.6 pounds. This 18 ga 2-in-1 finish stapler or include a nailer, 1/4-inch air fitting, a carrying case, and extra no-mar tip and oil.