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Best Nail Gun For Trim: It’s All in the Details

Finishing details on a Construction site it what helps bring all the hard work into focus. Sometimes it is hard to see what a space will look like when you have been framing a space- whether it be in your home, or outdoor storage. But by the time you are concerned with the finishing touches, you probably are already envisioning how to best put that area to use. These final touches require a tool that allows for a more delicate approach, especially when dealing with thinner, more lightweight construction materials such as trim. A nail gun can make setting trim a quick job, and the best trim nail gun is one that is strong enough to drive your nail, but gentle enough to keep from splitting wood, or making the nail to noticeable.

5 Best Nail Gun For Trim Comparisons

IMAGE MODEL FEATURES
byb2-table__imageBOSTITCH 15-Gauge 1 1/4-Inch to 2-1/2-Inch Angled Finish Nailer
  • Gun Type: Finisher
  • Power type: Pneumatic
  • Warranty: 7 year limited
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byb2-table__imagePORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Lithium 18GA Brad Nailer
  • Gun Type: Brad
  • Power Type: Lithium-Ion battery
  • Warranty: 3 year
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byb2-table__imageDEWALT 18-Volt Cordless 20 Degree Angled Finish Nailer
  • Gun Type: Finishing
  • Power Type: Lithium-Ion battery
  • Warranty: 3 year
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byb2-table__imageBOSTITCH 20V MAX Cordless Straight Finish Nailer
  • Gun Type: Finishing
  • Power Type: Lithium-Ion Battery
  • Warranty: 3 year
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byb2-table__imageRyobi 18V One+ Airstrike Brad Nailer
  • Gun Type: Brad Power
  • Power Type: Lithium-Ion Battery
  • Warranty: 3 year
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What is a Nail Gun?

A nail gun is exactly as it sounds- a gun that drives nails for you, rather than having to hammer in every single individual nail. This is especially helpful when you have a lot of nails to drive as it saves you on time and physical exertion. Many homeowners step in on construction projects when it comes time for the fine detail to help save on cost. Finishing up a building project is typically an easy task that simply requires a dedication to the time it takes. Trim is one such job that many people are happy to take on to stay within a budget. They can pick and choose the type of trim they want to use around the outside of the house for curb appeal, and indoors around doors and windows- or even as moldings. But the jobs do require a large amount of nails to secure the trim in place, which is where a nail gun comes in handy.

How do Nail Gun Work?

Nailers fire in various ways, but what it comes down to is that you have options surrounding both cordless and pneumatic guns. Obviously one requires a rechargeable battery, the other an air compressor to build pressure. The choices you make in relation to this are more personal than anything else, and you may end up making your choices based on your own preferences. They both have a set of pros and cons, but for trim jobs especially, both are more than powerful enough to handle what you need them for.

Cordless Electric

Cordless nailers are powered from a rechargeable, lithium-ion battery. These are popular due to the freedom of movement they provide and keep you from having to move your power source with you as you work. You may be limited by the battery charge, but nailers do come with chargers, and also optional extra batteries to keep you moving right along in your task. These are not always the most powerful guns overall but are more than capable and powerful enough for finishing work.

Pneumatic

Pneumatic nailers are connected to an air compressor via an air hose, which is plugged into a power outlet (at least until it has pressure built up). Although you may be limited by the hose length, air compressors are fairly portable overall and provide you with a very powerful source of power to work off of. Pneumatic nailers are consistent driving machines and can power your nailer for long periods of time to keep you working without pause.

Nail Guns and Trim

There are a few types of nail guns from which you can choose, but the differences you will be most concerned with, other than how the nailer is fired, is the type of gun in relation to the job you have for it. Nailers fall into various categories based on the strength they provide for the jobs they are made for. There are two types of nailers you want to concern yourself with pertaining to trim, and your decision should be based on what jobs you have in mind.

Finishing Nailers

Finishing nails are called such because they are exactly that: nail guns designed specifically for finishing work. They come both in angled and straight designs and adjust to driving various sized nails into trim, soffits, fascia, and molding both in and out of doors. These are made to hold your finishing pieces secure and tight against the face you are nailing them to.

Brad Nailer

A brad nailer is a type of nail gun that fires a smaller gauge nail, called brads. This is an excellent all-around type nail gun that is actually very powerful despite its smaller size and is often preferred by builders to secure wood to wood. The small gauge helps deter splitting wood, especially when working with thinner pieces- such as trim. Plus, the smaller nailhead often does not require any filling in behind it.

How to Choose a Nail Gun for Trim

Not all trim is the same, nor are nail guns. Depending on the job you need to get done, the type of trim you are working with, and the preferences you have, you should probably ask yourself a few questions prior to investing in this tool.
What type of trim are you using?
Are you working with indoor trim? Or exterior trim? Or both? Outdoor trim tends to be heavier and may be attached to a thicker material compared to indoor trim. Indoor trim may be thinner and more delicate. For heavier jobs, a finishing nailer may be your best choice, where a brad nailer may be what you want for the small indoor details.
What other jobs do I have in mind?
If you have other jobs in mind for our nailer you may want to consider what those are and which of your choices will be a good all-around choice. Brad nailers may be smaller, but they are a homeowner go to for a wide variety of jobs and worth considering for an all-around choice. Finishing nailers are bit more heavy duty, but may not handle smaller jobs as well.
Am I planning on using a nail gun regularly?
Regular use of a nail gun requires a brand and model that can stand up to the rigor of the jobs you have in mind for it. Trim work is not a difficult job but does require a lot of nails in succession to one another.

Top 5 Nail Guns for Trim Reviews

The nail guns showcased below are some of the most popular with both homeowners and more serious builders. These top rated choices are from reputable brands and are considered easy to use and maintain.

BOSTITCH 15-Gauge 1 1/4-Inch to 2-1/2-Inch Angled Finish Nailer

Quick Info

  • Gun Type: Finisher
  • Power type: Pneumatic
  • Warranty: 7 year limited
BOSTITCH is a well known and respected name in the nail gun industry. In fact, it is one of the oldest companies created to bind objects together, hence its name. Their 15 gauge angled finishing nailer has the ability to work in either contact or sequential firing methods, and is powered pneumatically. The magazine can hold up to 130 nails of 1 ¼ to 2 ½ inches in length. The adjustable depth control is a helpful feature as well to help avoid damage to more delicate wood, making it a good choice for both interior and exterior jobs. It also has a bypass nail pusher for less binding up and misfires. At only 3.8 lbs, it is extremely lightweight and easy to use in tight spaces.

Pros

  • Very easy to handle
  • No nail jams
  • Handles both light and medium work well

Cons

  • Overtime may need to replace the firing pin
  • Not as accurate as a 16 or 18 gauge
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Pro tip

Made specifically for heavy hardwoods, this is a great choice to hold your trims in place permanently no matter whether you are working indoors or out.

PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Lithium 18GA Brad Nailer

Quick Info

  • Gun Type: Brad
  • Power Type: Lithium-Ion battery
  • Warranty: 3 year

Porter-Cable tools are extremely popular with homeowners as an excellent value and dependable choice. This 20 Volt MAX lithium-ion, 18 gauge brad nailer is one of the lightest in its class. With the battery, it weighs under 6 lbs and is compact enough to get into small spaces. With the ability to hold up to 100 nails at a time, it can drive up to 1300 nails on one battery charge – making it very efficient indeed.

This nailer comes in a kit with everything you need to get started, including the nailer, charger, and battery pack. Optional extra batteries are also available if you know you have long work days ahead of you where your nailer is required. Porter-Cable also offers their own nails for easy match up.

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)
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Pro tip

This little nailer has the power for heavy job loads, but is gentle enough for all your finishing work needs.

DEWALT 18-Volt Cordless 20 Degree Angled Finish Nailer

Quick Info

  • Gun Type: Finishing
  • Power Type: Lithium-Ion battery
  • Warranty: 3 year

DEWALT is a brand name that is synonymous with dependable top options for many reasons, and their nailers are no different. Their 18-volt cordless finishing nailer has a 20-degree angle for easy reach along angled material, as well as for easy overhead reach. It also boasts both contact and sequential firing methods to choose from for personal preferences as well as needs while on the job. The easy to remove nose piece is perfect incase a nail jams so you aren’t having to take anything apart. It can hold up to 120 nails in a ready to load a track and has an LED light for work in any space, day or night. Like most cordless options, this nailer comes in a complete kit that includes the gun, battery, charger, and hard sided case for protection and storage.

Pros

  • Heavy duty and well balanced
  • Surprisingly powerful
  • Very precise

Cons

  • Slightly heavy
  • Bulky for tight situations and takes some maneuvering
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Pro tip

Great for both homeowners and professional builders, this is a dependable product for heavy job loads and heavy hardwoods.

BOSTITCH 20V MAX Cordless Straight Finish Nailer

Quick Info

  • Gun Type: Finishing
  • Power Type: Lithium-Ion Battery
  • Warranty: 3 year
Since they know a thing or two about specializing in nailers, BOSTITCH also keeps well on top f technological advances in the industry. This 20-volt finisher is very powerful, and has a 16 gauge nail capability form 1 ¼ to 2 ½ inch lengths. Plus it offers multiple firing methods for the jobs you need it for, as well as easy to load capabilities to keep you working quickly and efficiently. This design has a specialized clear line of sight due to a narrow tip design which is further aided by a bright LED light. These features allow you to work in tight, low light situations with increased accuracy. The gun comes in a kit complete with gun, battery, charger, and adjustable belt hook within an easy to store bag.

Pros

  • Very lightweight and balanced
  • Good battery life
  • Gets into tight spaces well

Cons

  • Safety switch takes getting used to
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Pro tip

This is a great cordless option for a durable finisher capable of handling both professional jobs, as well as those completed by a homeowner. It is accurate and is considered a good choice for quality finishing.

Ryobi 18V One+ Airstrike Brad Nailer

Quick Info

  • Gun Type: Brad Power
  • Type: Lithium-Ion Battery
  • Warranty: 3 year
RYOBI is an independent brand that has been built around affordable power tool options for homeowners. Their cordless tools are compatible with one another, with their One+ Lithium-Ion system easy to interchange and power one another with. The 18-volt One+ Airstrike brad nailer is a powerful tool capable of handling 2-inch nails for the occasional heavy duty job, and is considered a choice even professionals turn to. What makes it even more versatile is the ability to choose your firing method depending on the job you need it for. With capabilities to drive up to 60 nails a minute, you can get work done in no time. Plus, it can charge fully within a half hour to keep you on the job. The kit it comes within include a battery and charger with the gun.

Pros

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

Cons

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Pro tip

This is a great cordless option for a durable finisher capable of handling both professional jobs, as well as those completed by a homeowner. It is accurate and is considered a good choice for quality finishing.

Conclusion

As far as nail guns for trim, you have a pretty decent selection of both finishing and brad nailers. These are both excellent guns for this type of detailed work, and your choices need to surrounding what works best for you in the long run. Although each of the above guns are excellent pertaining to what they are made for, our favorite pick for trim is the BOSTITCH 20V MAX Cordless Straight Finish Nailer. This choices provide an easy to use, dependable gun made specifically for detailed work by a company known for there ‘stitching’ capabilities for over 100 years. The features it boasts, particularly the east line of sight due to a modified tip, is the type of technological design features appreciated by those using it. If you have any questions or comments about the above products, or have a favorite make and model of nailer you’d like to share with us, please do so below. And, as always, please share!

About The Author

Danielle McLeod

Danielle McLeod cuts a tragic figure in the High School English classroom teaching literature by day, and moonlighting as a writer and graphic artist by night. Published in a variety of travel magazines, and now a blog, Danielle enjoys coming up with home and garden projects to complete with her two young boys. A native of Michigan, she resides in Southeastern New Mexico with her variety of horses, poultry, and variable mix of rescue dogs (there’s a cat or two in there as well). In her free time she enjoys travel, art, photography, and a good book!

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