Brad Nailer vs. Finish Nailer: Which is Better for Your Needs?

Brad Nailer vs Finish Nailer

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Nail guns in general are a crucial part of any toolbox. They are used frequently, and 99% of the time, you always get value for your money. However, there are around nine types of nail guns, each one designed to suit a particular job specifically.

Today we are going to discuss two nail guns. The Brad Nailer and the Finish Nailer so that you will know which one you need and why you need it.


Short Answer:

If you work as a carpenter revolves around the foundation of the building and its structure, then you should invest in a sturdy Finish Nailer.

However, if you are a craftsman who’s all about the details of the small trimmings then, a Brad Nailer would be the perfect fit for you

Brad Nailer Overview

As mentioned before, there is a multitude of varieties of nail guns. Each one of them has a specific job, and the particular job entailed to Brad nailers is detailing.

What it does is that it works with the trimmings and moldings on small pieces of wood that other nail guns are simply too hard on.

How does a Brad Nailer manage to work with delicate pieces of wood? It uses tiny and thin nails in the process. These nails manage not to crack the wood, they slip in smoothly and can hardly be seen later on.

Brad Nailers come in two varieties. They can either be pneumatic or electrical. Pneumatic means that it is powered by an air compressor, which makes this type more stable.

The Electric one is mostly cordless. Although it is found to be a little bit more expensive, users have reported that the investment does pay out in the future.



  • Trimmings and moldings
  • Small Holes
  • No cracked wood
  • Less material waste


  • Can’t deal with dense woods
  • Can only work with thin woods
  • More reload sessions needed
  • Need to invest in an air pump (If you choose a pneumatic one)

Finish Nailer Overview

As the title entails, a finish nailer is mostly used at the end of the project. It is used to finish those very last steps of your piece.

However, it uses 16-15 gauges to get the job done. So we are talking heavy plywood. It will, of course, make a bigger hole in your material.

When you pull out your finish nailer, you’re talking heavy-duty such as fixing the rails or hanging the cabinets. You are not decorating your piece; you are structuring it.


  • Heavy duty
  • Can be angled
  • Fewer reloads
  • Versatile with materials


  • Can crack thinner wood
  • Large holes left in the wood
  • Need to invest in an air pump (If you choose a pneumatic one)


Brad Nailer vs. Finish Nailer – Full Comparison

Brad NailerFinish Nailer
Gauge Used1815
UsesDecorationStructural Building
PowerMildVery Strong
Weight5 to 7 pounds5 to 7 pounds
AngleNoAngled Variations

Best Brad Nailer: DEWALT Brad Nailer


Tool-free is the trend with nail guns these days, and to be honest; it is a beneficial trend. DeWalt has excelled with this product in all its aspects; design, power, depth, and exhaust system. They have addressed every point that can add to the comfort of the user and enhanced it.


  • Magnesium lightweight body
  • Tool-free jam release
  • Rubber grip for stability
  • Rear exhaust system (quite practical)
  • Low maintenance
  • Tool-free depth adjustment
  • Sequential trigger
  • Adjustable belt hook


  • Some users have reported that it has stopped working after a few months
  • While others have reported that he does not fire nails consistently


Best Finish Nailer: DEWALT Finish Nailer


This guy right here is the very essence of versatility what the world has done is that it is giving you quite expensive options for a lot less money with this nail gun you can either choose to work with oil or to be oil-free the system is called the Sealed Lube Dual Tech.

The thing about this nail gun is that it offers you all the features of an expensive device with a very affordable price tag, so it’s practically a steal.


  • Overmold grip 
  • Oil/oil-free
  • Tool-free jam release
  • Tool-free depth adjustment
  • Adjustable exhaust system (360°)
  • Sequential trigger.
  • No-mar head
  • Trigger lock-off system
  • Adjustable rafter hook


  • Not angled
  • Expensive accessories
  • Only Sequential mode (No pump mode)

Final Thoughts

Nail guns are quite essential. Hence, when you are shopping for one, always know what the majority of your work will entail.

The insane amount of options, varieties, and models can easily distract you, and you can end up spending so much more money than you intended.

Therefore, a simple trick is to take your material to the nail-gun shop and determine which device will work with it best.

Keep in mind that if you choose to go with a pneumatic one, you’ll have to provide an air compressor. If you go for a corded one you will have to provide a practically accessible plug at all times.

Know if the job includes a lot of nooks and corners, then you will need an angled device that will help you reach these angles.