What are the Different Types of Nails Guns?

Types of Nails Guns

Disclaimer: None of our reviews are sponsored. We earn a commission when you purchase items through our links.

If you are passionate about fixing wrecked things, doing home DIY projects, or crafting, then, using a nail gun is something you would probably do frequently. Nail guns serve many purposes; inserting nails into wood, framing woods, crafting, or even doing carpentry work. However, there is no one nail gun for all these purposes. In fact, there are several types of nail guns and each one of them has its own unique features.

Usually, people get confused when buying a nail gun, they don’t know which nail gun is the best fit for their work. Generally, nail guns are differentiated by the type of work they are manufactured for, whether they are more eligible for simple DIY projects or for heavy construction jobs.

There are nine different types of nail guns, each one has certain features, a specific purpose, and a different design.


1. Framing Nailers

They are the heaviest duty-doer nailers. They use nails of length 3 and a half. They are used for large wood projects, construction work, building homes, or decks. They are very powerful nail guns, especially, if you use them for industrial projects. However, they are considered the most dangerous nail guns due to their great power.

There are two types of framing nailers; round-head nailers that hold a fewer number of nails and are ideal for simpler projects. And there are clipped-head framing nailers, which are more suitable for larger projects due to their magazine’s high capacity.
Most framing nailers are characterized by having interchangeable consecutive trips as well as tool-free-depth-drive adjustment to quicken their productivity.

2.  Roofing Nailers

They are similar to framing nailers, they are used for large construction jobs. From their name, they are used for nailing on new roofs by nailing down asphalt shingles. They have a large capacity of nails as their structure comes with a coil for collated nails rather than a straight clip of nails.

Unlike framing nailers, it has a depth-drive adjustment mechanism; it allows you to control the depth at which the gun fires the nail into the shingle. This mechanism is necessary for shingles because they are soft and if too much power is exerted, the nails will penetrate them. Therefore, it is better to be used by professionals.

There are three types of roofing nailers, they differ in their power source:

  • Solenoid nailers: are powered by electromagnetic polarization.
  • Spring-loaded nailers: they are powered by springs to fire the nails. They are the simplest type.
  • Pneumatic nailers: they are the most popular type. They are powered by an air compressor.


3. Siding Nailers

They are similar to both the framing nailers and roofing nailers and they are suitable for any work that requires large wood pieces to be joined. They are mainly used to install the siding, just like its name!

However, those large pieces of wood must be thin or of synthetic material. This is because these types of nailers use shorter nails with wider heads. In some models, you can even use aluminum nails which are a great fit for aluminum siding.

4. Flooring Nailers

Flooring nailers are less versatile than other nail guns. This is because they only have one use: laying floorboards and tongues. Their shape and structure are also different than those of the typical nail guns.

Their structure is made to ensure that the nails are fired at the right angle and depth every time as the nailer is placed at the edge of the board, and they have a nylon hammer to hit the plunger.

There are two types of flooring nailers: pneumatic flooring nailers- manual flooring nailers. They both have the same working mechanism. But the pneumatic nailers are easier to use because they don’t require much physical exertion effort. They’re powered by an air compressor.


5. Finish Nailers

Finish Nailers are designed to be used with a specific type of nails, which are small nails of size 16-gauge. These nails are smaller than those of the framing nailer. However, their size doesn’t determine their power, they actually have great holding power.

Finish Nailers have a limited number of uses. Generally, they are used for trimming, molding, cabinetry, and other light woodworks. They are the main reason cabinets exist.

They are evolutionary tools and they are improving to become more available as cordless tools, relying on either a battery or an air compressor to run. They are called “beginners’ tools”, because of their simple mechanism.

6. Pin Nailers

These are the best type of nailers for small work, DIY projects, carpentry projects, and simple woodworking crafts. Even though they are the smallest, most delicate finish nailers, they are very handy. This is because they are compatible with headless nails of size 23-gauge. Those nails look like pins and those nailers look like a more developed staple gun.

Those headless pin nails are not only great for light woodwork such as crafting a birdhouse, but they can also hold materials in place until the glue dries out.

They are the type of nailers anyone can use.


7. Brad Nailers

They are always put in comparison with the pin nailers; which is better for finishing work?

Both are used for finishing work. However, brad nailers are compatible with larger nails of size 18-gauge and have more holding power. Moreover, they can be used in any application that requires larger nails, including trim work and general household repairs.

They are considered the go-to choice for most contractors.

8. Palm Nailers

They look like mini nail guns of palm size and have the size of your palm, rest on your palm, and can be wrapped around your hand. Therefore, they are very accurate tools. They operate in the same way as the other full-size guns, but on a smaller scale. In other meaning, they are used for tight spots and smaller projects.

Palm nailers are manufactured in three variations; pneumatic (air compressor powered), electric, and cordless (battery-powered) variations. Unlike the other nail guns, palm nailers use regular nails of length between 1.5” and 3.5”. There are also heavy-duty models that work with longer nails of length 2” and 6”. They use nails similar to those used with a hammer.
The most significant advantage of these nailers is that they reduce the effort of work due to the large-sized nails they used. They do the work in a short time.

9. Staple Gun

Surprise? Staple guns are a type of nail gun, that can be used for a wide range of applications such as carpeting, fixing floors, fabric repair, constructing dog houses, and upholstery. 

While they cannot be an efficient replacement for any nail gun, they have their place between them and are considered a home tool.


Finally, all these types have several purposes. Some have similar uses and others are far behind like staple guns. However, the choice of a nail gun should depend on what you need it for.

Don’t worry if you get lost through all these types, there all several similarities between them. For example, brad and pin nailers both do finishing work but different nails size.
As a final thought, whatever nail gun you are looking for, ensure that its nails are available and are in the right size.