A nail gun is a powerful tool that should be used only by skilled professionals and DIYers, and while wearing proper safety gear.
Although it may seem like a good idea to own a nail gun, its utility and extent of usage must be considered before purchase. A simple hammer is more than enough for driving nails meant for hanging picture frames and paintings. On the other hand, construction and building projects will necessitate the use of a powerful nail gun that can get the job done quickly and efficiently. The biggest advantage of using this power tool is its ability to rapidly shoot several nails within seconds and embed into the most resilient construction materials such as concrete, plywood, and hardwood panels. This HomeQuicks nail gun buying guide discusses how to choose a nail gun and some factors to consider.
Types of Nail Guns
Stick- and Coil-shaped Nail Guns
Nail guns are found in two shapes, the first being stick-shaped and the other being coiled. A stick nail gun has a straight and long magazine that is meant for holding a strip of nails. Stick guns may come in both angled and straight setups, whereas the angled models have a thicker gauge. On the other hand, coiled nail guns are equipped with a cylindrical magazine in which the nails are rolled up.
Brad Nail Guns
A brad nail gun comprises fine 18-gauge nails. Such a nail gun is meant for being used on baseboards, cabinets, thin trims, and moldings. These guns carry nails that are ⅝-2″ long and have small heads.
Finish Nail Guns
Finish nail guns have a heavier 14-16 gauge wire and are handy for baseboards, trim work, paneling and smaller crowns, and interior molding. This type of nail gun has the capacity to hold and shoot 2½-inch long nails and leaves a bigger hole than a brad nailer.
Framing nailer guns are meant for heavy-duty framing during construction of houses and buildings. They utilize low-gauge nails that are held together to form a stick that must be slid into the magazine of the nail gun. Such magazines have the capacity to hold hundreds of 20-40 inch stick nails.
Roofing nailers are equipped with wide-headed and shorter nails. This type of nail gun is ideal for roofing, wall sheathing, framing, and underlayment. The nails are fitted into a coil-shaped magazine. A roofing nail comes with a dual contact trigger that aids in rapid shooting and embedding of coil nails.
Factors to Consider while Buying Nail Guns
Use of Air Compressor
Pneumatic nail guns will require the use of a powerful air compressor with adequate pounds per square inch (PSI) to keep the tool running at its expected pace. Therefore, check the air requirement of the pneumatic nail gun so as to not fall short of adequate pressure while working on a project. Additionally, these power tools need optimal air volume, which is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). Thus, to maintain appropriate CFM, make sure you buy the right-sized air hose for the compressor and keep it clean, dry, and the flow of air unrestricted. Make sure that the nail gun has a PSI and CFM rating that is compatible with that of the air compressor you wish to buy or already own.
Cordless Nail Guns
Cordless nail guns do not require an air compressor to rely on. Instead, these nailers use flammable gas, which is drained into the gun's combustion chamber from a 0.6-oz. fuel cartridge. These gas nailers are powered by a battery that is rechargeable and use a linear-drive motor. Once the trigger is applied, the battery causes the gas to ignite, thereby, releasing enough energy to drive the piston and release a nail. Although not as powerful as air compressor-driven nail guns, cordless nail guns are almost as powerful and quick. However, these nailers are far easier to use in tight spaces, require less start-up time, and are more portable than pneumatic nailers.
There are different trigger mechanisms available for nail guns today. Therefore, you will need to try the tool before selecting one specific mechanism. For instance, some nail guns require that the user hold down the trigger and tap the gun on the nailing surface to release the fastener. Some nailers shoot nails at the slightest press of the trigger, which may end up releasing unwanted nails on the nailing surface. The best and the safest option is to opt for a nail gun that has multiple trigger settings, which allow the user to choose whichever is more comfortable to use and meet the firing needs of a specific project.
It is imperative that the nail gun you choose has adjustable depth features so that you may be able to control the depth at which the fastener reaches the nailing surface. This setting will help you avoid nail protrusion, deep pecker markings, and countersinking of fasteners.
The weight of the nail gun will determine how comfortable, stable, and easy it is for you to use. For a safer bet, opt for a nail gun with a magnesium and aluminum alloy body, as these materials aid in drastically reducing the overall weight of the tool. Secondly, these materials also contribute in preventing the machine from overheating.
Being an extremely dangerous tool, it is of utmost importance that you choose a nail gun that is comfortable for you to use. Opt for an ergonomic design that will help balance the weight of the tool and make it easier to grip. Opt for a nail gun that has a big trigger and safety lock so that you never accidentally press the trigger.
Nail guns may release a lot of exhaust and surface dust while being used. The exhaust plate in the gun ensures that the exhaust is diverted and does not cause discomfort to the user. You may enhance this feature by choosing a nail gun with adjustable exhaust plates that can be pointed even further away from the user.
Pneumatic nail guns need to be oiled regularly to keep the tool functioning optimally. Adding a few drops of tool oil in the nail gun's air inlet will prevent nails from jamming.
Lastly, you must buy a safety box/case to store the nail gun, so as to protect it from wear and tear and prevent accidental injuries.