Cordless Nailers


Cordless Nailers (or "Nail Guns") are tools that drive nails/brads. Many nailers are powered by compressors or gas cartridges, but for easy Do-It-Yourself kinds of jobs, battery-operated cordless nailers are easier to use and less expensive over time.

Nailers aren’t just for professionals anymore! Much faster than a hammer, you'll be amazed how much you can accomplish with a Cordless Nailer. Be sure to check out the introduction video and get ready to start building.

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Tips & Safety
Related Projects
Tool Diagram

When to use a stapler

Staplers are best for thinner materials, and they are very good at holding tight. They're great for fabrics projects, like re-upholstering.

When to use a brad nailer

Brad nailers are good for smaller molding jobs, and trim work. Example: Installing a chair rail, or quarter round. They're also great for common DIY projects like building picture frames or trimming windows.

When to use a finish nailer

Finish nailers are best for heavier stock, and are used for heavy crown molding and other projects that require more holding power. They're often recommended as a good choice if you can only get one kind of nailer.

When to use a framing nailer

Framing nailers are made for building structures. For instance, if you were planning on finishing your basement, a framing nailer would be a great for building the walls.

When to use a roofing nailer

When you're working on a roof.

Diagram: Cordless Nailers
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Blow Out

When a nail comes out of the material where it's not supposed to. Often happens because the nailer was held at a drastic angle, or because the material was too hard for the drive settings.

Instructions: Adjust the drive settings before you begin working to make sure they can handle the material. Don’t hold the nailer at a drastic angle that might allow the nail to come out.


A small nail. Usually 18 gauge

Brad Nailer

A nailer that fires small nails or brads.

Best for trim work, and molding. Also great for general DIY projects such as picture frames.

Contact actuation

Or "bump feed", a setting on nailers that tells the nailer to fire a nail as soon as the nose piece is depressed. Allows user to fire nails rapidly.

Great for projects that require fast nailing / constructing

Depth of Drive

How deep the nailer drives the nail. Usually adjustable.

Dry Fire

When the nailer fires, but there are no nails in the magazine. Can often damage the work surface as the driver blade may come in contact with the surface and dent it.

Dry Fire Lock out

A feature included with some nailers that prevents the nailer from firing if there are no nails in the magazine.

Finish Nailer

A nailer that fires thicker nails usually 16-15 gauge.

Great for heavier crown molding, and small furniture projects.


When a fastener's head is even with the surface of the material.

Framing Nailer

A nailer that fires heavy-duty nails, ex: 10 gauge.

Great for remodeling projects that require framing.


The measurement term that refers to the thickness of the nail. The lower the gauge, the thicker the nail.


The chamber where nails are loaded and fired.

Nail Set

A tool used with a hammer to drive the head of a nail deeper in the material.

Might be used for: Completely driving a nail that is sticking out slightly.


A small fastener, usually 23 gauge.

Best for crafts and decorative work.


A nailer that fires small pins (usually 23 gauge).

Best for crafts, and decorative projects.


How much force the nailer uses drive the nail. Usually adjustable.

Sequential Firing

A setting that requires the user to pull the trigger each time he/she wants to fire a nail. Slower, but more accurate nail placement.

Great for projects that require precise nailing/ finish work


A driven nail is a set nail.


When a fastener sits just below the surface of the material.

Are nailers / nail guns dangerous?

Any power tool can be dangerous if you don’t follow the manual. But, if you're careful to follow the manual and all safety procedures, you will be able to use a nail gun safely. Many brands of nailers include multiple safety features to help prevent accidental firing.

How do I know which nailer to use for my job?

To pick the right nailer, you need to understand what each nailer is designed for. Lower gauge nailers are designed to handle more robust, weight-bearing projects, while nailers that fire higher gauge fasteners are made for connecting pieces, but are not necessarily designed to hold a lot of weight.

Can I build furniture with a nailer / nail gun?

If you select a nailer that fires thick enough nails, then yes. You'll need at least a 16 Gauge nailer for small furniture projects, and even heavier duty gauges for larger projects. Brad nailers and Pinners are not meant to handle a whole lot of weight, so it's best not to use those for furniture projects.

How deep should a nail go?

It's best to adjust your depth of drive so that your nail head sits just below the surface of your material. You don’t want it to stick out, or to sink in way past the surface.

How do I know what size nails to pick?

It's best to adjust your depth of drive so that your nail head sits just below the surface of your material. You don’t want it to stick out, or to sink in way past the surface.

How do I know what size nails to pick?

The gauge (thickness) should match your nailer. If you have a 16 gauge nailer, you need 16 gauge nails. To select the right length, choose a nail that will go all the through the top material, and about 1/2 way through the bottom.

Do nails actually hold well?

If you use the right gauge and length for your project, nails should hold it together exceptionally well. The strips of nails that go into the magazine are held together with adhesive. This adhesive acts like a lubricant when the nail fires, and then acts like glue once the nail is set.

How do I avoid blow out?

1: Make sure you're using the right gauge/size. 2: Make sure you're firing the nail as straight into the material as possible. 3: Try to consider the angle of the grain you're firing into.

When do I need to adjust the settings on my nailer / nail gun?

Adjust your depth of drive/pressure depending on the material you are using. Softer woods need less pressure, harder woods need more. Take a few minutes to practice on scrap wood and make sure your nail sinks just barely below the surface of your material.

Do I need a different nailer / nail gun for every type of nail?

Your nailer and your nail's gauge must match. You can't fire a 16 gauge nail from anything but a 16 gauge nailer. You can use various lengths of nail as long as your gauges match.

What kind of nailer / nail gun do I need for installing molding?

A Nailer that fires at least 18 Gauge brad nails is good for molding. The advantage of using the smallest nail possible is that your nail's head will not be as visible. You can use a lower-gauge finish nailer, though- especially if you plan to cover the nail head with putty.

When do I use a stapler?

Fabrics, and thin materials (1/4" or less) are ideal for staplers. Staples have very good holding power.

When do I use a pinner?

A pinner is great for decorative, or craft work. Pins are not designed to bear much weight.

When do I use a brad nailer?

Brad nailers are best for molding and trim work. They're perfect for installing base boards, and trim around windows and such.

When do I use a finish nailer?

Finish Nailers can be used for a wide range of projects from trim work/crown molding to small pieces of furniture

When do I use a framing nailer?

Framing Nailers are typically the most heavy-duty. They can be used for construction. If you're taking on a large DIY remodeling job, a framing nailer may be useful. Otherwise, you probably only need finish nailers and/or brad nailers.

What is the difference between an angled nailer and a straight nailer?

If the gauges of the nailers are the same, they perform very similarly. Angled nailers are generally thought best for getting into tight corners.