Whether you’re working at home or doing a commercial project, it’s important to have the right tools for the job. Nail guns are useful in many construction applications as they can drive the fasteners into the surface effortlessly without causing damage to the materials or finish. 

Here are the most common types of nail guns: 

  • Brad Nailers
  • Finishing Nailers
  • Roofing Nailers
  • Framing Nailers
  • Pin Nailers
  • Palm Nailers
  • Siding Nailers
  • Flooring Nailers

Nail guns range in price from $30 to well over $2,000, but most people spend between $80 and $300.

Main Types of Nail Guns

1. Brad Nailers ($30 – $500)

Brad nailers are nail guns that use a specific type of nail called a brad. Brads are very thin nails that are 18 gauge or less. Brad nailers are ideal for home users, DIY projects, and professional use for certain jobs. 

These nailers are most commonly used for interior household projects like installing baseboards, trim, or assembling cabinets. Brads are ideal for these uses because they’re so small that you can barely see them once they’re embedded into the wood.

Plus, brads are so small and thin that they’re nearly impossible to drive into the wood with a hammer making a brad nailer a must-have tool. 

However, you might not want to use brads for heavier trim pieces or overhead woodwork like crown molding. These thin nails might not be strong enough to hold up the extra weight over time. 

Specs

Voltage7v – 20v
Top Brands Ryobi, Ridgid, Makita, Dewalt
Average Price $50 – $350
Nail Gauge 16 or 18 
Power TypeElectric or Air
Motor TypeBrushed, Brushless, Air Only

2. Finishing Nailers ($30 – $300)

Finishing nailers (sometimes also called trim nail guns) are nail guns specially made for driving finishing nails. They’re primarily used for home improvement projects by DIY homeowners or professionals who do home improvement jobs. 

These nailers are used to install molding, baseboards, and flooring and they allow the user to drive small finishing nails without using a hammer. They’re especially useful for jobs working with delicate trim and softwood.

Finishing nailers also make it much easier to assemble furniture or put together cabinets. Finishing nails are typically strong enough to hold heavier crown molding and trim that brad nailers may not be suited for. 

Finishing nails are slightly thicker than brad nails and have a larger head, so they can be used to secure larger pieces of wood and trim.  

Specs

Voltage7v – 20v
Top Brands Ryobi, Ridgid, Dewalt, Milwaukee, Freeman
Average Price $30 – $300
Nail Gauge 15, 16, 18, 23
Power TypeElectric, Air, or Gas
Motor TypeBrushed, Brushless, Air Only

3. Roofing Nailers ($100 –  $2,000+)

Roofing nail guns are heavy-duty nailers designed to drive larger nails into plywood, shingles, and other roofing materials. These are typically only used by professionals but some homeowners or construction enthusiasts may own one. 

Roofing nails are typically between ¾” and 1 ¾” long, and they come in different designs based on the materials they’re intended to be used. Roofing nailers allow the user to set the nail depth and work much faster than they’d be able to do with manual tools. 

Since they’re mainly used in professional applications, roofing nail guns are typically more expensive than other types of nailers. 

They’re also made to hold up to ongoing, continuous use. Roofing nailers are must-haves for anyone who does professional roofing work. 

Specs

Voltage12v – 20v+
Top Brands Dewalt, Freeman, Grip-Rite, Husky
Average Price $150 – $800+
Nail Gauge 11, 15
Power TypeElectric, Air
Motor TypeBrushed, Air Only

4. Framing Nailers ($100 – $500+)

Like roofing nailers, framing nailers are typically used by professionals for heavy-duty jobs. These are professional-grade tools intended for use on construction projects where you need more power and speed than other nailers provide. 

Framing nailers can shoot nails into strong pieces of wood cleanly, without causing the wood to splinter or crack. They’re also ideal for more delicate jobs like hanging drywall or installing subflooring. 

Framing nail guns can accommodate various nail sizes so they’re versatile for use in many different kinds of projects, whether you’re building a fence, repairing a deck, or framing a house. Depending on the tool, you may even find a framing nailer that will allow you to drive into metals. 

Specs

Voltage7.2v – 20v
Top Brands Dewalt, Freeman, Grip-Rite, Husky
Average Price $150 – $500+
Nail Gauge 10, 12, 16, 18
Power TypeElectric, Air, Gas
Motor TypeBrushless, Brushed

5. Pin Nailers ($35 – $400)

Pin nailers are used for tiny nails that are so thin they look more like pins. They also don’t have a flat head like standard nails, making them ideal for trim, furniture, and cabinets. Their small gauge means pin nails are less likely to split the wood or cause damage than larger, thicker nails. 

Both DIY enthusiasts and professionals can find a use for pin nailers, especially for more delicate jobs. They cause only very small nail holes so you don’t have to try to cover or patch the area. Some specialized pin nailers are used in crafting and jewelry work, too. 

However, these tiny nails are not suitable for supporting heavy weight or holding together items that are intended to be sturdy or load-bearing. They’re simply not strong enough for those types of projects. 

Because pin nails are so small, pin nailers aren’t very powerful compared to some of the other types of nail guns. Still, they work very well for trim and other delicate jobs or are used to add extra support when using glue or other adhesives. 

Specs

Voltage12v – 20v
Top Brands Milwaukee, Ryobi, Dewalt, Makita, Freeman
Average Price $35 – $400+
Nail Gauge 23
Power TypeElectric, Air
Motor TypeBrushless, Brushed

6. Palm Nailers ($20 – $200)

Palm nailers have a unique shape and design compared to the other kinds of nail guns with handles. These tools are made to fit in the palm of your hand allowing you to use it in small spaces, tight corners, and along edges where you might not be able to fit traditional nail guns and hammers. 

Another difference between palm nailers and other nail guns is that they only drive one nail at a time, without the ability to load a strip or coil of multiple nails for continued use. So, it may not be as efficient as the other types. 

Palm nailers are used by both hobbyists and professionals because of the detailed precision they offer. If your hand or wrist gets tired from holding and using a standard nail gun, this is another option that may be more comfortable. 

The power for these nailers varies depending on the voltage. Higher voltage means more power, and they’re available in both electric and pneumatic designs. 

Palm nailers can be budget-friendly options for homeowners and hobbyists that don’t want to invest in a very expensive, heavy-duty nail gun. However, it’s really only suitable for small projects. 

Specs

Voltage10v – 20v
Top Brands Dewalt, Freeman, Grip-Rite, Husky, Powernail
Average Price $20 – $189
Nail Gauge Various 
Power TypeElectric, Air

6. Siding Nailers ($100 – $450+)

These specialized nail guns are designed for use on the siding (normally made of wood or vinyl). They’re lighter and easier to use than large roofing nail guns and drive nails intended for heavy-duty holding power. 

Some contractors use framing or roofing nailers for siding, but siding nailers use smaller nails than those nail guns. Nails used for siding are normally between 1 ½ and 2 ½ inches long compared to framing nails which are typically much longer.

Dealing with siding requires a lot of arms and upper-body power to drive nails for an extended period. So, siding nailers are typically designed to hold smaller magazines and are lighter than other nail guns making them ideal for their use. 

So, if you plan to hang a lot of siding, a siding nailer would likely be a wise investment and would make your job much easier. Plus, many models have bump fire capabilities meaning you don’t have to engage the trigger over and over again when driving a lot of nails in a row. 

Specs

Voltage20v
Top Brands Dewalt, Freeman, Grip-Rite, Husky, Mikita 
Average Price $100 – $450+
Nail Gauge 12
Power TypeElectric, Air, Gas

8. Flooring Nailers / Stapler ($50 – $800+)

Flooring nailers are another group of specialized tools designed for a specific purpose. These nail guns are used for securing subfloor or hardwood flooring. They have a unique shape and design compared to some of the other nail gun types. 

Flooring nailers can be either manual or pneumatic, and they’re used to drive special nails into the surface. These nails have either an L-shaped or T-shaped head. 

Also unlike other nailers, flooring nailers require the use of a manual tool to do the job. To use a flooring nailer, the nailer must be held at the board’s edge, and the operator then uses a mallet to hit the gun’s plunger. 

Pneumatic nailers require far less force and effort from the user, though both are more intensive than other nail guns. 

Flooring nailers are only good for installing flooring and they can’t be used for other projects. That’s a big drawback compared to some of the other nail guns which you can use for multiple applications. 

Still, if you install flooring professionally or you have a really big DIY job to do, it could be a good investment. 

Specs

Voltage20v
Top Brands Dewalt, Freeman, Powernail, Husky
Average Price $150 – $600+
Nail Gauge 18
Power TypeElectric, Air
Motor TypeBrushless, Air-Powered

The Bottom Line

There are many different types of nail guns designed to use across a variety of applications. The good news is that there is likely a nailer specifically made to use for your project, especially if you’re doing any kind of construction work. 

Air guns can improve your efficiency and help you get the job done faster without having to exert yourself swinging a hammer. Plus, in some cases, a nailer is necessary to prevent damage to the wood or other surface. 

Nail guns are useful air-powered tools to have in your garage as a homeowner or DIY enthusiast, though there are several types that are mainly only used by professionals.