18 Gauge Brad Nail Vs 16 Gauge Finish Nailer

18 gauge brad nail vs 16 gauge finish nailer

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Choosing from the different types and brands of nailers can be very confusing, especially with all these advanced options. So, if you’re looking for a nailer that would fit your needs, you’ll probably come across an 18-gauge nailer or 16-gauge nailer. And from the available options, your choice of nailers may be between the Hitachi NT50AE2 18Gauge Brad Nailers or the Value-Air T64C 16-Gauge finish nailers.

Even though they are used for different jobs, you will find that they have common features and structures. Therefore, neither one is better than the other. Both nailers have advanced features that will help you get your work done faster and more efficiently than any regular nailer.

So, there isn’t a good choice and a bad one, it is all based on your personal preference and the kind of workpiece you need it for. Just increase your knowledge about both nailers in order to reach your decision.

We’ll list down some features and functions that will help you draw a comparison between the two products.


Hitachi NT50AE2 vs. Valu-Air T64C

1. Used Nails

The Diameter of the Used Nail:

The 16-gauge nail is larger than the 18-gauge nail. This is because the diameter of the 16-gauge nail is 1/16 of an inch wide while the diameter of the 18-gauge nail is less than 2/64 of an inch. Moreover, the nail of the 18-gauge can be bent by adding extra force while holding it, unlike that of 16 gauge finish nailers.

Size of Used Nails:

16-gauge nailers use finish nails from 7/8″ to 2 ½” while 18-gauge  use brad nails of 5/8-2 inches with small head sizes, which can measure less than 2 mm.

2. Weight of the Nailer

The 18-gauge nailers are lightweight and weigh around 2.2 pounds. They are also well-balanced, making them a convenient portable device for an all-day job.

The 16-gauge nailers weigh 4.14 pounds, making them heavier to carry around.

The different weights are due to the size of nails in each; the 16-gauge nailers hold finish nails, which are bigger in size and thicker. The magazine holds them with higher strength. On the other hand, the 18-gauge nailers have a magazine capacity of 100 brad nails, which are smaller in size.


3. Type of Projects

An 18-gauge is an ideal tool for small carpentry projects. Due to the small nails, it exerts, as well as its high-capacity magazine, it is perfect for attachment projects. It attaches narrow and thin pieces of wood together and to larger wooden objects. Some examples of what you can use it for cabinet installation, picture-frame assembly, furniture construction, and finishing touches.

On the other hand, the 16-gauge is better for heavier projects such as trimming, molding, baseboard, paneling, dado rail, bedding, casing windows as well as installing boards and cabinets. It is highly used where the workpiece is directly attached to the wall as it gives better sticking and stability.


4. Driving Depth

Both of the nailers have a tool-free depth control feature. However, the mechanism of adjusting the depth at which the nailer drives the nail into the workpiece differs. The 18-gauge NT50AE2 nailer has a depth-of-drive adjustment knob located beside its nose. You adjust it by simply turning the dial halfway.

The mechanism of 16-gauge T64C is to rotate the depth control knob located between the aluminum housing and the spacious magazine.

Adjusting the depth of the driven nails can give you higher accuracy and efficiency in your work.

5. The Versatility

This is one of the most important considerations when choosing between the two nailers. Even though the 16-gauge nailers are much better at heavier projects, they are not as versatile as the 18-gauge nailers.

The 16-gauge nailers prove their work by evidence, you can see the nail as bright as it can be. But for the 18-gauge nailers, they are perfect at hiding traces. The 18-gauge nailers produce smaller holes that are less noticeable and easier to cover by filling them. Unlike the wide hole that the finish nailer leaves.

This point of comparison is very controversial. When it comes to decorating or construction, the fewer number holes visible, the prettier the surface is.

Another consideration is that the 18-gauge nailers have a dual firing option. It can be adjusted for continuous firing at a certain pace. On the other hand, the 16-gauge nailers have a 360-degree adjustable exhaust deflector.


6. Attachment Force

This is the final point of comparison. Both nailers are used to bring wood together whether in making furniture, redecorating, or trimming, but the force each exerts when attaching two pieces together is completely different.

16-gauge nailers are of greater attachment force, they are used for permanent nailing. So, if you want your pieces to stick around for a long time, Valu-Air T64C Nailer is for you. They are also useful in exterior trimming and they have the capability to be used in different environments.

In other cases, you can consider an 18-gauge nailer, if you are not sure of something. It has a small attachment force where it can be used for thinner pieces of wood. So, if you are using glue to hold pieces of wood together, the 18-gauge nails can hold them until the glue dries out.

16 vs 18 Gauge Nailer: Which is Better Overall?

Both types of nailers are some of the most widely used nail guns. They have advanced shapes, are powered by air, don’t need batteries, and are easy to use.

So, generally, the decision of which one is the best fit for you depends on the job you need it for. But these other factors are great determinants for your choice. You can’t consider buying a 16-gauge nailer when you can’t work with finished nails or you want the surface to be smooth with no wide holes.

You have to take into consideration that the materials don’t limit you. For most people, the 16-gauge nailer is more convenient because it has a wider scope of functions and it can run for a long time without needing to be reloaded. Others may disagree, they may find it more complex.

To sum up, you can’t let the popular usage of one nailer over the other determine your choice, each nailer has unique features that top the other in some way. May the most suitable nailer win!


Can you use 18 gauge nails in a 16 gauge nail gun?

The short answer is yes. You can use 18 gauge nails in a 16 gauge nail gun, but it might not work as efficiently. If you are using the appropriate size of the compressor (high or low pressure) and if your nailer has no other problems, then chances are it will shoot an 18 gauge nail through plywood just fine.

The difference between gauges comes into play when you need to put more than one layer on top of each other for some jobs like framing out walls with sheathing boards that go over studs – this would be too heavy for anything thinner than 20-gauge steel.

Can you use brad nails without a gun?

The short answer is yes. You can use 18 gauge nails in a 16 gauge nail gun, but it might not work as efficiently. If you are using the appropriate size of the compressor (high or low pressure) and if your nailer has no other problems, then chances are it will shoot an 18 gauge nail through plywood just fine.