Best Nail Gun for Anyone in 2024

best nail gun reviews

When you ask who makes the best tools, the answers vary. It’s a long-held belief around here that the manufacturer with the best cordless drill doesn’t necessarily make the best miter saw. The same can be said for each type of nailer. We bring as many manufacturers as possible together to get you the best nail gun for framing, finish work, and more.

Best Nail Guns – Our Top Picks

Also in this Article

Best Nail Gun for Framing – Pneumatic

Metabo HPT NR90AES1 Framing Nailer

Metabo HPT NR90AES1 Framing Nailer

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Without a doubt, the best nail gun for framing has to be the Metabo HPT NR90AES1. Formerly the Hitachi NR90AES1, this is simply the lightest framing nailer we tested. We love the simple depth adjustment—which works with or without gloves. It also powers nails through the toughest materials (including LVL). You get excellent visibility at the nose, quick and sure toenailing, and very little recoil.

This nailer takes nails up to 3-1/2″ x 0.148″ and has a tool-free mode change. The only crazy thing is it lacks a dry-fire lockout and a rafter hook. I know, silly in this day and age, but true. We still love it and recommend it as our best pneumatic nail gun choice for framers. It has easy depth adjustment for various materials and outstanding power overall.

For the price (around $169) you’ll have a hard time beating this pneumatic framing nail gun.

Best Nail Gun for Framing – Battery-Powered

Milwaukee FUEL 18V Cordless Framing Nailer

Milwaukee M18 Fuel Framing Nailer

When it comes to pneumatic vs cordless nailers, pneumatic still wins for framing work. Still, you can definitely find some great tools for punch lists. Available in both 21° and 30°, the Milwaukee M18 FUEL cordless framing nailers quickly impressed us. After testing these tools, however, the data quickly and clearly showed these nailers dominate other battery-powered tools.

While a tad heavy, they offer too many great features that tip the scales in their favor. You get zero delay on firing— even in bump mode. They consistently sink nails on every single shot, including when in rapid-fire bump mode. We even love the folding rafter hook and separate tool belt clip.

You can order an extended magazine for either model which holds 2 full sticks of nails. Of course, this makes the tool even heavier—which may be why most cordless nailers hold just one. Milwaukee clearly listened to its user base and gave them the option. Finally, we found the depth adjustment easy to use, and we like the electronic switch that flips between the firing modes.

At $329 (tool only) or $479 for the kit, this is the very best nail gun that runs off battery power alone.

Best Nail Gun for Framing – Gas or Fuel Cell

Paslode CFN325XP Gas Framing Nailer

Paslode CFN325XP Gas Framing Nailer

Though battery-powered nailers like our choice above keep getting better, the Paslode CFN325XP replaces the CF325XP framing nailer and should still find favor among Pros. This especially holds true when it comes to punch list work. This tool hit the market well before any of the pure battery-powered options.

We have an article on how fuel nailers work, but this tool drives its 30° nails when a small lithium-ion battery ignites a gas from a cartridge. It functions much more quickly than DeWalt and Bostitch battery-powered nailers with their firing delays. You do get a slight delay and a gas smell to put up with. Of course, there’s also the additional cost of new gas cartridges every 1200 shots or so.

Overall, the Paslode Cordless XP framer remains a popular cordless choice among Pro users. The lack of a bump-fire mode and its limited capacity make it a tough sell as a primary tool, but it’s a capable cordless option. At $349, we still consider this the best fuel nail gun on the market.

Best Finish Nail Gun – Pneumatic

Metabo HPT NT50AE2M 18 Gauge Finish Nailer

Metabo HPT Brad Nailer

The Metabo HPT NT50AE2M 18 gauge finish nailer is a solid performer. It lacks features like a dry fire lockout and swiveling air intake. That’s the trade-off you’re making for an incredible value while getting Metabo HPT’s pro performance level. This is an excellent option for Pros as their primary finish nailer.

You can’t beat the weight of this tool—just 2.2 pounds. Having used it extensively under the Hitachi moniker, the rebranded tool doesn’t disappoint. The $49 price point also puts it squarely in the range of anyone looking for Pro-level performance. Carpenters, woodworkers, and anyone working with trim or cabinetry should love this tool.

Best Finish Nail Gun – Battery-Powered

Milwaukee M18 FUEL 18-Gauge Finish Nailer

Milwaukee M18 FUEL 2746 18-gauge Finish Brad Nailer

The second-generation Milwaukee M18 FUEL 18ga brad nailer improves both visibility and the rate of fire of the first-gen design. No small update, this finish nail gun truly feels and operates like a completely new tool. It provides fast firing with zero ramp-up delay. Similar to the way the Metabo HPT cordless framing nailer operates, the battery preps each shot before the tool fires. That eliminates any lag.

The tool also has a quick bump-fire mode, though we find ourselves using that less in finish work. Still, the quick firing speed should keep up with just about anyone’s needs. At $299 for the bare tool or $399 for the kit, it doesn’t come cheap. Then again, nothing good ever does.

Best Nail Gun for Narrow Crown Stapling – Pneumatic

Senco SLS150Mg 18ga Crown Stapler

Senco SLS150Mg 18-gauge crown stapler

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! The magnesium body of the Senco SLS150Mg 18-gauge Crown Stapler makes it weigh a scant 2.6 pounds. A thumbwheel sets the depth of drive and a simple selector switch swaps between bump fire and sequential fire modes. This finish nailer accepts 18 gauge 1/4″ crown staples that range from 1/2″ to 1-9/16″ and holds 110 fasteners. The (included!) air inlet also swivels to help avoid tangled air hoses.

Released back in 2013, you can still pick up this excellent stapler for less than $160 at most retailers. The tool also comes with Senco’s 5-year limited warranty.

Best Battery-Powered Nail Gun for Narrow Crown Stapling

Milwaukee M18 FUEL Narrow Crown Stapler

milwaukee m18 fuel 18-gauge brad nailer 2746-21ct

Pro carpenters and tradesmen will love the Milwaukee M18 FUEL narrow crown stapler. We first got our hands on it back in 2019 and it made an impression. Like the Metabo HPT cordless framing nailer, the Milwaukee M18 Fuel 18-gauge 1/4-inch narrow crown cordless stapler has zero firing delay when you pull the trigger. Even in bump-fire mode, we saw around 4-5 staples per second. It fires almost as fast as you can move to the next location. The tool simply has no noticeable lag.

This Milwaukee M18 FUEL stapler has the power to sink 1/4-inch narrow crown staples up to 1.5 inches—even into oak or cherry. The tool also has enough adjustability so you don’t just drive through thinner materials like underlayment.

This battery-powered stapler retails for $299 as a bare tool. You can also pick it up for $399 as a kit with an M18 CP 2.0 battery and charger.

Best Nail Gun for Pin Nailing – Pneumatic

DeWalt 23-gauge Pin Nailer DWFP2350K

DeWalt pin nailer loading

The DeWalt 23-gauge pin nailer really takes up the mantel from the venerable Porter-Cable PIN138 pin nailer we loved and used for years. Adding to the design, DeWalt created an exceptionally well-designed pinner that easily installs finer workpieces while eliminating the need to fill nail holes.

It’s also great for attaching small trim pieces and reducing the amount of touchup required before painting. We’ve put the finishing touches on several projects with it and found it easy to work with, lightweight, and reliable. DeWalt included a tool-free jam release—the first in a pinner as far as we’re aware. You even get a reversible belt hook and tool-free depth adjustment.

The DeWalt DWFP2350K pin nailer retails for around $169. The tool also comes with a 7-year limited warranty, a 1-year free service contract, and a 90-day money-back guarantee.

Best Battery-Powered Pin Nailer

Milwaukee M12 Pin Nailer

Milwaukee 2540-20 M12 pin nailer

We find it difficult not to like the Milwaukee M12 cordless pin nailer. It’s lighter and more compact than any other cordless model we’ve used. And when we say lighter and more compact—we mean it. Its performance has also been flawless to date. Though you can still go lighter with air nailers, the Milwaukee M12 23-Gauge Pin Nailer is a no-brainer switch to make as a full-time pneumatic replacement for carpentry and woodworking projects.

The Milwaukee 2540-21 pin nailer retails for around $229 as a bare tool or $279 for the kit. The cordless 12V pin nailer also includes a 3-year warranty.

Best-Selling Nail Guns

Checking the best-selling nail gun lists at trusted retailers is a great idea when shopping for a new tool. These often show you the best value, so less expensive models or tools on sale show up nearer the top of the list. We dropped links to what was at the top at the time we were writing, but they change often. Be sure to click the buttons to see what’s hot right now.

Best Nailers Amazon

Best Nail Guns at Acme Tools


Home Depot

More Recommendations from Brands We Trust

Best Bostitch Nail Gun

Bostitch F28WW Industrial Wire Weld Framing Nailer
A stalwart but lightweight framing nailer with a magnesium frame and innovative push-button depth guide.

Price: $239

Best Campbell Hausfeld Nail Gun

Campbell Hausfeld 2 in Brad Nailer
One of the most inexpensive brad nailers on the market for smaller DIY projects and occasional use.

Price: $83

Best Grex Nail Gun

Grex Power Tools 1850GB 2 in 18-gauge Brad Nailer
A solid performer from a professional tool manufacturer that makes every style and size of nailer.

Price: $198

Best Max USA Nail Gun

MAX USA SN883RH3 21 Degree Framing Nailer
One of the more compact head lengths that excels at nailing from within 16-inch stud cavities.

Price: $251

Best Porter-Cable Nail Gun

Porter-Cable PIN138 Pin Nailer
By far one of the most compact pneumatic pin nailers on the market and a great value.

Price: $111

Best Skil Nail Gun

Skil PWR CORE 20 Brushless 20V 18Ga Brad Nailer Kit
For those looking for a value option in cordless finish nailers, the Skil NA1800B-10 provides plenty of power and consistency.

Price: $199

Best Stinger Nailer

Stinger CN100B Cap Nailer
Stinger provides professionals with a lightweight method of installing cap nails for sheathing or roofing applications.

Price: $346.99

Nail Gun Buying Guide – What We Look For

Pneumatic or Battery Power

When we think about what to look for in a nail gun we start at the top. Do you want ultimate portability for smaller projects or are you looking for the lightest-weight tool possible for extended use? For now, pneumatic nail guns still beat battery-powered models by a long shot. If you want a lightweight tool, grab a compressor and get going.

For framers and roofers, the choice is obvious. Pneumatic tools still have a clean edge and provide the smoothest, most consistent work experience. When you get down to punch lists, however, things begin to change. Now, battery-powered tools begin to gain in both practicality and convenience. We know several roofing crews who employ the DeWalt cordless roofing nailer for repairs. It speeds up setup and teardown.

Switching Firing Modes

For framing nailers and roofing nailers, switching firing modes used to be a real hassle. Even the best nail guns at the time required you to swap out triggers to change modes. Now, most tools have some form of tool-free mode change. Some companies do it using a slide switch or button near the trigger. Several battery-powered models use electronics to control the mode.

In either case, if you often switch between bump-fir and sequential firing modes, be sure the tool you get makes it easy to go back and forth.

Other Features

Most nailers are catching on. Few miss any important features anymore. Still, make sure you’re getting what you need. In addition to the firing mode switch above, look for a dryfire lockout. That keeps you from firing “blanks” when you run out of nails. It can be frustrating at best. At worst, it can damage the material you’re working on by creating the impression of a nail—without actually firing a nail.

We also want to see adjustable rafter hooks on larger tools like framing nailers. For roofing nailers not so much. And for finish nailers, we care more about a belt hook for convenience.

On tools where you’re likely to be in various positions behind the nailer, adjustable exhaust vents help out. I remember repeatedly getting blown in the face by a non-adjustable nailer when doing some siding work several years back.

Swivel Me This

Aside from that, be sure to buy swiveling 1-4″ NPT fittings for your nail guns. These make maneuvering around a hose so much easier. We carry a pile of them and put them on every tool when it comes in. A few nailers include them by default—but only a few. It doesn’t influence our decisions or ratings on tools, but it’s a great tip to pass along.

Weight and Ergonomics

It cannot be overstated how important weight is to nail guns. The best nail guns have tons of power. They just don’t look like they have tons of power. One great example is the difference between the cordless flywheel system used by DeWalt vs the gas piston system Metabo HPT, Senco, and Milwaukee Tool employ. Line those tools up and you can quickly see that the DeWalt head looks gigantic in comparison.

Price and Value

Price matters. After all, if you don’t intend to use a tool every day, you may not need to spend as much. All things being equal—if it drives the nail, you can get the job done. With that said, quality matters and so we recommend taking everything into account when trying to understand both the price and value of a particular tool.

The value a tool offers will be different for everyone depending on what you prioritize the most: features, performance, or price. Regardless, it’s the sum of what you get compared to the price you pay that determines the value for you. That’s how we look at things and it influences our ultimate recommendations.

Why You Can Trust Pro Tool Reviews

Ever check out a “review” site and you can’t tell if they actually tested the tools or if they’re just “recommending” the Amazon top sellers? That’s not us. We won’t recommend anything unless we’d use it ourselves and we don’t care who the primary retailer is. It’s all about giving you a legitimate recommendation and our honest opinion of each product.

We’ve been in business since 2008 covering tools, writing reviews, and reporting on industry news in the construction, automotive, and lawn care industries. Our Pro reviewers work in the trades and have the skills and experience to know whether tools can perform well in the field.

Each year, we bring in and review more than 250 individual products. Our team will put our hands on hundreds of additional tools at media events and trade shows throughout the year.

We consult with innovators in the technology and design of tools to gain a broader grasp of where these products fit and how they work.

We work with more than two dozen professional contractors around the United States who review products for us on real job sites and consult with us on testing methods, categories, and weighting.

The end result is information you can trust because of the editorial, scientific, and real-world professional experience we collectively utilize every time we pick up and test a tool.

Related articles