Best Brad Nailer: A Good All-Around, Homeowners’ Choice

Unless you are a professional builder, you probably don’t see any need to have multiple makes and models of various nails guns hanging out on your shelves. You may want, however, an option that can handle the types of jobs you want to tackle with the power of a nail gun. Brad nailers are good all around options popular with woodworkers, as they are capable of handling the more detailed finishing work of a building job, as well as the occasional heavy use of something a bit more substantial.

The best brad nailer is one that is dependable and able to handle the types of jobs you have in mind for it. Below are some of the most highly sought after, top rated choices by consumers in their reviews to provide the feedback you need to make a decision.

5 Best Brad Nailer Comparisons

IMAGE MODEL FEATURES
Hitachi 18V Cordless Brad NailerHitachi 18V Cordless Brad Nailer
  • Weight: 7.3 lbs
  • Power Type: Lithium Ion battery
  • Warranty: Lifetime
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PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Lithium 18GA Brad NailerPORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Lithium 18GA Brad Nailer
  • Weight: 5.9 lbs
  • Power Type: Lithium Ion battery
  • Warranty: 3 year
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DEWALT Pneumatic 18-Gauge Brad NailerDEWALT Pneumatic 18-Gauge Brad Nailer
  • Weight: 5.1 lbs
  • Power type: pneumatic
  • Warranty: 3 year limited
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Ryobi 18V One+ Airstrike Brad NailerRyobi 18V One+ Airstrike Brad Nailer
  • Weight: 9.2 lbs
  • Power Type: Lithium-Ion Battery
  • Warranty: 3 year
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Makita Brad NailerMakita Brad Nailer
  • Weight: 4.0 lbs
  • Power Type: pneumatic
  • Warranty: 1 year
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Nail Gun Overview

Nail guns are also known as nailers, and provide a powerful force to drive nails in a consistent, efficient manner. They are much used tools in building projects, and also highly recommended for regular work around your home. There are various makes and models available that are more specific to the type of work you need them for, with some highly specialized in their use. Nailers are powered in various ways, and have many features – such as nail depth control, and choice of firing method.

Electric

PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Lithium 18GA Brad Nailer

Electric nailers are powered via an electrical outlet and extension cord, or more commonly- with the use of a rechargeable, lithium ion battery. Even though they may not all provide the same amount of driving force as a pneumatic nailer, many are powerful in their own right to get the job done. These are often preferred by homeowners and hobby builders.

Pneumatic

Makita Brad Nailer

A pneumatic nailer is powered via an air compressor and air hose. Air pressure is the driving force behind the nail and can pack an incredibly powerful punch. These are a go to tool on a construction site pertaining to framing and roofing. They also are widely available for other types of guns due to their dependability.

What is a Brad Nail Gun?

Brad Nailer

A brad nailer is a smaller nail gun that is considered a good all around pick due to the convenience it lends to building and woodworking. These are overall thinner guns with a smaller head size in comparison to its larger counterparts. They have a powerful driving force, but feed a smaller nail, called a brad, into your surfaces that do not require a filler behind it to smooth out the surface.

The combination of the power they provide with the thinner, smaller gauge nail is what makes them so popular for most projects. The brads have a much smaller head and when driven into your project are not as noticeable, and are easy to simply paint over. They are made specifically for woodworking and construction finishing work, but can drive the occasionally nail into heavier materials for framing purposes. This makes them a decent all-purpose nailer and a staple for home improvement projects.

How to Choose a Brad Nailer

Even though a brad nailer design is fairly universal, some are made for a bit more heavy duty work, whereas others double as a heavy duty stapler combo. Because most homeowners rarely are doing much framing or roofing work that require a larger nails and more powerful driving force, the brad nailer is an excellent product to add to your powertool arsenal.

What jobs do I have in mind?

Basic woodworking jobs, finishing jobs, and the occasional small framing job can all benefit from the use of a brad nailer. Most can drive a 2 ½ inch 18 gauge nail though any surface fairly easily, with some models falling on either side of this standard pertaining to capabilities. Look for one that is specific to the jobs you have in mind.

Is portability important?

Being able to move from place to place, or pack up and go, may be an important detail you want to consider. Although both electric and pneumatic guns can be packed and taken with you, not having the restrictions of a cord or air hose can be very convenient.

Do you have long lasting jobs?

If you will be working for long periods of time you want o be assured that your nailer will last. Air compressors eventually need to be plugged in and pressurized if using as a portable tank. Batteries eventually run out of juice as well. Luckily, with a little foresight you can have an extra battery charged to swap out with, and if you have an outlet available, can have your tank refilling as you work if need be.

Top 5 Brad Nailers Reviews

The following nailers are popular with homeowners and professionals alike due to their dependability and ease of use. Consumer reviews that detail what jobs they are used for, along with personal preferences pertaining to features can be very helpful in providing the information you need to make a purchasing choice.

Hitachi 18V Cordless Brad Nailer

Hitachi 18V Cordless Brad Nailer
  • Weight: 7.3 lbs
  • Power Type: Lithium Ion battery
  • Warranty: Lifetime
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Hitachi is popular brand due to being a leader in the nail gun industry. They are highly rated in both a professional setting as well as by homeowners, and has a powerful 18 volt power supply to drive 2 to 3 nails per second. It also offers both contact and sequential firing modes for efficiency while you work. The battery is also fairly compact, making this a lightweight tool in comparison to many similar makes and models.

This nailer comes with an LED light and pivoting belt belt hook, as well as a side lock to keep from accidental misfires. The air spring drive system can handle up to 1650 nails per battery charge and feels much like a pneumatic nailer. This kit comes with the gun, charger, battery, case, and a set of safety glasses.

Pros

  • Very portable and lightweight
  • Rubber bumper on safety tip
  • Dependable

Cons

  • May have to work with depth adjustment to get it right

Pro tip

This is a powerful brad nailer that is a great all-around choice for both simple framing and finishing jobs.

PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Lithium 18GA Brad Nailer

PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Lithium 18GA Brad Nailer
  • Weight: 5.9 lbs
  • Power Type: Lithium Ion battery
  • Warranty: 3 year
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Porter-Cable is one of the most dependable manufacturers of nail guns, and are considered one of the most popular brands in both professional and home settings. The 20 Volt Max Lithium Brad Nailer applies the newest technological advances, and weighs only 5.9lbs to make it a highly portable, and lightweight, tool. It can drive to 1300 nails on one charge, and also holds 100 nails in the magazine for quick work.

This gun comes in a kit with both charger and battery pack included, plus they offer optional additional batteries and brand nailers in a package deal. With adjustable depth capabilities and a tool free release lever, this is a great choice for on the go productivity.

Pros

  • Has an LED light for working in low light conditions
  • Lightweight and well balances
  • Durable and long lasting

Cons

  • Depth adjuster may not be fully accurate
  • 4.0 Ah lithium ion battery only battery with long life (sold separately)

Pro tip

Perfect for a variety of jobs, this gun is more than capable of handling most everything you can find for it at home, including basic framing work as well as detailed finishing.

DEWALT Pneumatic 18-Gauge Brad Nailer

DEWALT Pneumatic 18-Gauge Brad Nailer
  • Weight: 5.1 lbs
  • Power type: pneumatic
  • Warranty: 3 year limited
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Dewalt is a power tool industry leader for homeowners and professionals alike. Their 18 gauge brad nailer is an incredibly popular pick and can handle nails lengths form 5/8 inch to 2 inches to complete the jobs you need done, done effectively and efficiently. The single sequential firing method is especially nice to keep you moving through the work at hand.

This gun is made for versatility and has an adjustable depth control switch for fine detail work. Plus there is an easy jam release for reloading purposes. At 5.1 lbs it is amongst the absolute lightest in its class.

Pros

  • Very precise with no marring
  • Easy to use and comfortable to grip
  • Very versatile for many types of jobs

Cons

  • Some piston sealer ring defects, covered by warranty
  • Casing not as durable as a more pro model

Pro tip

Accuracy and power define this pneumatic nailer that is lightweight to avoid work fatigue. The ability to control depth and change up nail lengths make it a versatile choice.

Ryobi 18V One+ Airstrike Brad Nailer

Ryobi 18V One+ Airstrike Brad Nailer
  • Weight: 9.2 lbs
  • Power Type: Lithium-Ion Battery
  • Warranty: 3 year
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Ryobi is the brand build for both power and value, and is marketed specifically for homeowners to provide a dependable tool for home use. Their Airstrike Brad Nailer is part of the 18 volt One+ lithium ion battery series that is interchangeable with multiple power tools. With the ability to drive a 2 inch nail, and up to 60 nails per second, this is a tool that gets it done.

With the ability to change firing methods based on the task at hand, this is a very versatile nailer for a variety of different jobs. This comes complete with a battery that can charge in as little as 30 minutes, and the fast charger.

Pros

  • Impressive power for the price
  • Easy to use and lightweight
  • Awesome for all-around use

Cons

Pro tip

Made for homeowners, this is a powerful tool often seen in a professional setting as well. It is powerful and dependable.

Makita Brad Nailer

Makita Brad Nailer
  • Weight: 4.0 lbs
  • Power Type: pneumatic
  • Warranty: 1 year
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Makita is another name that belays a dependable and durable investment. The 2-inch brad nailer is incredibly lightweight at 4 lbs and is easy to use in those hard to reach spaces. The narrow nose design and non-marring rubber tip keep marring from happening when reaching into more confined areas. With the ability to hold up to 100 nails, this gun can drive 5/8th to 2 inches, 18 gauge nails with ease.

Pneumatically powered, this is a powerful little machine and comes complete with a quick release cam-lock for easy access and maintenance. Accurate and precise, this is a handy little tool to have.

Pros

  • Solid, lightweight feel
  • Handles thicker wood trim with ease
  • Works flawlessly with very little maintenance

Cons

  • Works best on flat surfaces
  • Longer nails may not set as well

Pro tip

Power and precision in a compact design make this a great pick for making quick work of detailed finishing projects.

Conclusion

As far as brad nailers go, they are a great tool to have around for your woodworking and home improvement projects. Although they are not all made the same in reference to overall power and capabilities, their goal is the same- dependable finishing to more detailed work (with the occasional heavy job thrown in in some cases). Our top pick is the PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Lithium 18GA Brad Nailer. Not only can you not go wrong with the brand, but the dependable power and design is a staple for those who know their nail gun capabilities.

If you have any questions or comments about the products selected, or have any experience with using them, please let us know below. And, as always, please share!

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