Choosing the right type of nail gun for your project is important for not only efficiency but also your safety. The three main types of nail guns are the Brad Nailer, Finish Nailer, and Framing Nailer. All three of these have their own uses and the type you need will ultimately come down to the project.

The best all-purpose nail gun is the Brad Nailer due to its standard nail size and ease of use. If you need to nail heavy pieces of wood, then the Finish Nailer is the best option due to the size of the nails it utilizes. If you find that you need specialized nail sizes that are not the standard, then the Framing Nailer can enable you to use them.

This guide will detail some of the similarities and differences between the three nail gun types and help you better determine which is appropriate for your next project. You can use the information in this guide to ensure that you are using the safest and most efficient nail gun for your project.

Brad Nailer VS Finish Nailer VS Framing Nailer Cost

The cheapest of the three types of nail guns is the Brad Nailer. It can typically be found for an average cost of $160. This makes it an affordable investment for any avid DIYer. The nail guns become more powerful and more specialized as you move to the Finish Nailer. Because of the extra power and nail size, you can expect to pay an average of $245 for a quality Finish nailer.

Finally, the most expensive of the trio is the Framing Nailer. You can expect to pay an average cost of $329 for a quality Framing Nailer. The extra expense incurred is due to the specialized nature of the Framing Nailer as well as the extra power that is made available in the nail gun.

You can save money shopping for your nail gun online. The table below contains some of the most popular retailers and their prices for nail guns. You can use this table to ensure that you are getting the best possible deal on your nail gun.

VendorBrad Nailer CostFinish Nailer CostFraming Nailer Cost
Walmart$145$234$315
Lowes$166$256$327
Home Depot$155$266$345
Amazon$157$233$330
Harbor Freight$164$245$315

Brad Nailer VS Finish Nailer VS Framing Nailer Nail Sizes

The Brad Nailer uses small, 18-gauge nails which measure 0.0475 of an inch. They can be purchased in varying lengths from half to two-and-a-half inches. This gauge of the nail is considerably shorter than standard 16-gauge nails that some other nail guns might use.

A Finish Nailer uses longer, slightly thicker 15-gauge nails.  They can be purchased in varying lengths most commonly from one to three inches. The thicker nail size makes them more appropriate for more heavy-duty nailing.

Framing nailers use nails that are completely different from those found in the Brad Nailer and Finish Nailer. The Framing Nailer uses angled nails most commonly found in the 21 and 28-degree forms. The angle nail that you need will depend on the specifications of your specific Framing Nailer.

The type of nail and its gauge are important to consider when planning a project that calls for the use of a nail gun. The size and type of nail that you need determine which nail gun you need. For a light-duty, delicate job, the Brad Nailer uses the most efficient nail for the job. If you have extremely thick, or heavy wood to nail, you will need to use a Finish Nailer due to its thicker and longer nails.

For jobs that require nailing in tight spaces with precision angles, the Framing Nailer is the best option due to the specialized nail angles and powerful machinery involved. The table below contains a comparison of the different nail sizes used by the three nail gun types. You should use this table to ensure that the nail gun you are using utilizes an appropriate nail size for your project.

Nail Gun TypeNail Size
Brad Nailer18-gauge
Finish Nailer15-gauge
Framing NailerAngled 21 or 28 degree

Brad Nailer VS Finish Nailer VS Framing Nailer Uses

If you are completing a small-scale project and need efficient and precise results, the Brad Nailer is the best choice. The Brad Nailer is best utilized for simple DIY tasks such as crown molding, cabinet work, or baseboard addition. It can also be easily used to hold in place components that have been recently glued.

Brad Nailer nails are easy to remove and do not produce a large, unsightly hole in your material. This is a great choice for many different types of simple to moderate woodworking that you might be currently undergoing.

For more expansive woodworking, such as heavy cabinet installation or thick baseboard installation, you will need to use a Finish Nailer. A Finish Nailer uses nails that are longer and thicker than Brad Nailers and are more appropriate for permanent woodworking projects that you are working on.

For the most heavy-duty woodworking and nailing projects, you will need to use a Framing Nailer. The Framing Nailer is appropriate for framing, roofing, wooden-deck installation, and wooden stairs. The Framing Nailer is the most powerful of the nail guns discussed in this guide.

Picking the right nail gun for your project can help save you money and ensure the safe installation of your wooden components. You should consider using the table below to better identify the different projects where certain nail gun types are appropriate.

Nail Gun TypeRecommended Project Usage
Brad NailerDIY projects, cabinet repair, thin baseboard installation
Finish NailerThick Wood Installation, Heavy Cabinet Installation, and Repair
Framing NailerRoofing, Deck Installation,  Wooden Stair Installation

Brad Nailer VS Finish Nailer VS Framing Nailer Pros And Cons

The list below contains some of the pros and cons of each type of nail gun. You can use this list to help you better determine which type of nail gun is appropriate for your current project. All of the nail guns listed in this guide have their strengths and weaknesses.

Brad Nailer Pros And Cons

Brad Nailers has the advantage over the other types of nail guns in this list when it comes to precise and efficient finishing work. This can help keep the wood you are nailing from splitting apart and does not create large, unsightly holes that you would otherwise need to fill.

The main drawback of the Brad Nailer is the fact that it cannot be used for extremely hard or thick wood. The nails are not long or thick enough to properly attach more heavy-duty wood components together.

Finish Nailer Pros And Cons

Finish Nailers have a strong advantage over the other types of nail guns if the structure you are using it on is a permanent wooden structure with thick, heavy wood. Because of the extra length and thickness of the nails that a Finish Nailer uses, it makes it appropriate for hard and thicker wood that is more tolerable to weight.

The main drawbacks of Finish Nailers are the inherent risk of wood splitting during the nailing process. The large size of the nails also adds large hole marks that will need to be filled.

Framing Nailer Pros And Cons

The Framing Nailer has the advantage when it comes to the variety of nail sizes that can be used. It is more effective in tight spaces and offers precision accuracy. The nails are also extremely durable and can properly hold heavy wooden components together.

The main drawback of the Framing Nailer is the different nails and specifications that are sometimes required to complete a project using angled nail positions. This can make it difficult to anticipate the different supplies that you will need for a specific project due to the large number of acceptable nails the gun accepts.

Final Thoughts

This guide has provided you with all of the information that you need to figure out which of the three main nail gun types is the best for you. The Brad Nailer, Finish Nailer, and Framing Nailer all have their own specialized uses and projects that they would be best suited for.

Using the information in this guide, you can better decide which one is the right choice for your project. You can use the comparison tables in this guide to help you see how the different nail gun types stand up to each other side-by-side.

It is important that you choose the right nail gun for your project to ensure the safety of the installation as well as the overall efficiency of the work that must be done. If you use the wrong nail gun, you risk wasting money, or worse completing a project that will not stand the test of time due to an incompatible nail type.

This guide can help you avoid this scenario and offer you a way to make an informed decision when choosing a nail gun to complete your DIY or large-scale project.