No matter what your project might entail, a framing nailer is a must-have for pretty much any large project. While you can pull it off with hammers and nails in most situations, a nailer will cut a huge amount of time out of the project.
These powerful, versatile tools can be a bit confusing for novices, however, so let’s get you on the road to upping your DIY game.
Best Overall !
Overall, this is a good, cheap gun which is up to the task for most things you might need to do around the home.
|Name||Power Source||Firing Tye|
|NuMax SFR2190 21 Degree||Pneumatic||Bump or single|
|Hitachi NR90GR2||Fuel Cell||Full sequential|
|Hitachi NV75AN||Pneumatic||Bump fire, can convert|
|DeWalt DCN692B||Battery||Bump or sequential|
|Bostitch F21PL||Pneumatic||Bump or sequential|
What is a Framing Nailer?
A framing nailer, or nail gun, is a device which quickly and easily propels nails through a surface to join them. As a general rule, the framing nailer will be able to penetrate wood quite easily, and they will operate off of one of a few different power sources.
The most common are pneumatic, these use air pressure to drive the nails. They’re still the most commonly seen on job sites and provide a large amount of power, but they can be hard to maneuver and you’ll need an external compressor.
Others are battery powered, while they’re generally lighter and easier to move than their air powered counterparts they’ll tend to be a bit weak when it comes to driving power. For around the house, lighter-duty projects they’ll work fine though.
The most advanced are fuel-powered. A fuel-powered nail gun uses a fuel cell and an electric ignition system to provide a surprising amount of power while leaving you free from hoses. These guns operate rather similarly to a single cylinder internal combustion engine.
What Are the Advantages of a Framing Nailer?
The only real way to get around having to use a framing nailer is to go at things old-school. You’ll have to use a hammer and nails, which can make for a back breaking afternoon if you have to use a lot of nails.
In addition to this, even experienced carpenters will occasionally bend a nail or two while they’re working on a project. This leaves more damage in the wood, wastes a nail, and means that you’ll have to go through with even more labor during your project.
By using a framing nail you save on time and nails. You also have a huge advantage when it comes to precision, since you’ll know that the nail will go straight as long as the nailer isn’t malfunctioning.
What Types of Framing Nailer Are Available?
In addition to deciding on the best power source for a framing nailer, you’ll also want to make sure that you have the right sequencing for your project. This is a lot less complicated than it sounds.
Professionals will generally use contact, or “bump”, firing nail guns. These allow you to hold a trigger and will drive a nail with each contact that fully depresses the safety on the end of the gun. They’re quick and easy to use, but novices have a tendency to get a bit overactive with them.
Single-sequential guns don’t allow for bump firing. Instead, for each nail you’ll have to pull the trigger again. They’re this makes them intuitive to use for most people, simply press and pull the trigger. If you maintain pressure against the surface, you can pull the gun along the surface and simply pull the trigger again.
Single-actuation nail guns require the trigger and safety to be activated in any order. This allows you to bump fire the first nail, simply hold the trigger and press the nailer against the surface.
Full-sequential are the safest. While it’s overkill for many people, those who have some doubts will be well served with this option. In order to fire the gun you’ll need to press it against the surface, then pull the trigger. You’ll have to lay off the safety between each nail as well.
You’ll also need to decide which kind of clip you’ll be using with your nail gun. Coil magazines fit into tighter areas more easily, and use nails which are wrapped around each other. They also tend to hold more nails than a
Stick magazines allow for a strip of nails to be held. They tend to be cheaper and less problematic than coil magazines, but you’ll lose some dexterity while you’re using them.
What to Look for in a Framing Nailer
The first thing you’ll need to do is envision the projects that you’re planning on using the nailer for. Afterwards, you’ll want to take the following into account.
For lighter, around the house work a battery powered nailer is a great option. They’re easy to use, usually quick charging, and make a good nail gun for a novice. They’re not really up to the task for really heavy-duty work, however.
Running a pneumatic nailer is expensive but provides a lot of power. If you’re putting together a structural frame this is a good option, however, since you’ll have the power needed and plenty of room to maneuver. Remember that you need a compressor as well, but that’s not much of a drawback if you’re planning on running other pneumatic tools as well.
Fuel powered nailers lack a hose and provide a lot of power. They also require gas to run which makes them a little bit more expensive. Modern models don’t require as much maintenance as their ancestors, but you’ll still need to keep the small, one-cylinder engine clean to avoid problems.
We briefly went over the firing methods above, but here are our recommendations.
If you’re comfortable with them, contact firing methods offer the smoothest workflow. You’ll have to make sure you keep it under control, however, and remember that most nailer accidents happen with these models.
For a novice, or someone nervous about nail guns, full sequential is ideal followed by single actuation. They’re quite a bit safer, but they do work a bit slower than the other methods of firing.
Nail guns can come with a pretty wide variety of features and while they’re not all necessary they can definitely improve how quickly you can get work done.
Worklights are one of the most common modifications. These small lights allow you a better view of the work surface in order to make sure you get the most out of using your gun in dim lighting.
Depth adjustment can allow you to sink nails in a variety of different configurations. This has obvious applications, and is something to keep an eye out for if you think you might use it in the future.
Directional exhaust systems are pretty cool as well. These will let you shoot off the exhaust in a direction of your choosing, which can make working in dusty areas a whole lot easier and lets you avoid catching a blast of air to the face.
Keeping all of this in mind isn’t that hard, as one of the oldest power tools around nailers tend to be pretty sturdy if they’ve made it to the end-market. The main thing to decide upon is whether or not it does what you need it to do.