Best Brad Nailer Reviews

If you want to get a large nailing project done quickly and accurately, there’s no substitute for the best nail gun.

Before thinking about any kind of nail gun purchase, though, you need to clear about exactly what you’ll be doing with it. With so many different types of nailer on the market, if you go in blind then you’re highly likely to end up with the wrong type of gun.

You’ll need to think about the type of wood you’ll be using and it’s overall dimensions. Consider the scope of projects you’ll be carrying out.

Here are the main varieties of nail gun at your disposal so you can see what’s what beyond a simple brad nailer:

  • Framing Nailer: We’ll look into framing nailers next week. For heavy-duty decking, fencing, and siding, you’ll want a dependable framing nailer
  • Brad Nailer: Our core focus today, brad nailers are much lighter and suitable for the most detailed finishing work. Brad nails are tiny and range from 5/8 inch through to 2 inches long. Brad nailers work well for any really diminutive projects and crafting
  • Finish Nailer: Finish nailers use pretty high-gauge nails just like brad nailers but they’re generally a bit bigger at 15-gauge or 16-gauge. Finish nailers are great for cabinetry, baseboards, paneling and molding
  • Palm Nailer: If you’re looking for a truly tiny nailer that fits in your hand a treat, go for a palm nailer. These work extremely well when you’re framing, decking, or fencing in tight spaces
  • Pin Nailer: A pin nailer is pretty rare. You use very thin nails that have no head or a head that’s scarcely noticeable. Pin nailers come into their own for cabinetry and trim work

If you’re looking for a nail gun for the finest and most involved woodworking, you need the best brad nailer and that’s what we’re here to help you achieve today.

Today, we’ll walk you through all aspects of getting the right brad nailer the easy way. These tools are not particularly complex. As long as you take the time to assess your needs, it shouldn’t be tough to get yourself an affordable, dependable brad nailer even if you’ve never used one before.

Editor's Choice

  • Fires brad nails from ¾ inch to 2 inches
  • 100 brad magazine
  • 60 PSI to 100 PSI
  • 3 x 13 x 11 inches
  • 3 pounds
  • Oil, wrenches and case included
  • Air-powered
  • 1-year limited warranty
Rated as
4/5
Budget Friendly

  • Uses Stanley Arrow or SharpShooter staples
  • Also accepts ½-inch, 9/16-inch and 5/8-inch brads
  • 6 x 3 x 3 ½ inches
  • 2 pounds
  • High and low power lever
  • Flush-nose design
  • 8-foot power cord
Rated as
4/5
Amazon's Choice

  • Takes brad nails from ¾ inch up to 2 inches
  • 100 nail magazine
  • Rear exhaust
  • Sequential trigger
  • 13 x 4 x 13 inches
  • 2 ½ pounds
  • Magnesium body
  • 500 nails and case included
Rated as
4/5

Best Brad Nailer Reviews – Comparison Table

With no shortage of choice when it comes to nail guns, we’re here to streamline your buying decision and make sure you get the best brad nailer for those intricate finishing projects.

Check out at a glance 5 of the very best brad nailers up for grabs…

Table of Contents

Main Features
  • Fires brad nails from ¾ inch to 2 inches
  • 100 brad magazine
  • 60 PSI to 100 PSI
  • 3 x 13 x 11 inches
  • 3 pounds
  • Oil, wrenches and case included
  • Air-powered
  • 1-year limited warranty
Rated as
4/5

Whether you enjoy a bit of home DIY or you’re a keen woodworker, you’re sure to encounter projects where there are simply too many nails needed to work efficiently with a hammer.

If you invest in the WEN 61720 18-gauge brad nailer, you can sidestep that headache completely and get the job done quick smart without sacrificing accuracy or quality.

First up in our brad nailer reviews, take a glimpse at the main features before we double down on what makes this nimble little nail gun well worth a place on any shortlist…

Finish nailer or framing nailers are all well and good when the going is heavy, but there’s no substitute for a brad nailer when it’s time for lighter finishing.

First thing’s first, you’ll need to hook up this brad nailer to an air compressor. It’s amazing how many people steam in, buy a tool like this and then throw their hands in the air at home when they realize there’s no compressed air to power it with. Don’t make that mistake.

It’s also smart to look at the advantages that using a separate air compressor confer…

Since the brad nailer won’t need a costly motor, the price comes down there and then saving you money before you even get started. But that’s not all… You’ll also be able to work for longer in unbroken spells without straining yourself using a lighter nailer like the WEN. And if that wasn’t enough, you’ll also get more power than a gas or electric gun would deliver so the modest investment in an air compressor pays serious dividends.

While the WEN is cheap, you’ll get plenty of flexibility. Use dinky ¾-inch brads for those intricate finishing jobs or ramp it on up to 2-inchers if you’ve got a more robust project with more substantial nailing needs.

When you need a little more firepower, just use the ¼-inch NPT inlet and hook up your favorite hose and compressor. You can ramp the pressure right up to 100 PSI which should be ample for most reasonable needs.

Always keep in mind when you’re looking for a nail gun that the intended purpose is to save you time and effort. The very last thing you need is a gun that ends up such a grind to use it ends up discarded. Not only is the WEN featherlight, you’ll be able to hold the rubberized grip for hours without blistered hands even if you’re not wearing gloves.

You can make small adjustments to the nailing depth you want to drive you nails using a neat little wheel. Since the magazine window is see-through, there’s no more guesswork to reloading and no more firing blanks.

Maintenance is stress-free. There’s some oil in the package and all you’ll really need to do is oil your gun from time to time and you’re away laughing. Keep on top of this simple task and you’ll get far more lifespan from your nailer.

Safety is uppermost with the WEN. There’s a contact trip which forces you to press your nailer against the workpiece before it fires into action. This trip also minimizes the chances of misfiring as an added bonus.

In spite of this attention to detail, a few users have still griped about issues with misfiring, double-firing and pairs of nails being fired simultaneously.

There’s one other drawback well worth pointing out and that’s the unsightly holes and dents you’ll be left with on either side of the nail. If you’re looking to carry out some cabinetry or any other projects where the finest finish is imperative, you’re better off looking elsewhere.

If, on the other hand, you want an inexpensive brad nailer from a brand you can trust with a decent warranty and customer service, the WEN makes perfect sense.

We’ll highlight the primary benefits and drawbacks at a glance before serving up our verdict on this 18-gauge brad nailer…

Why we like it

  • A very cost-effective nailing solution without stiffing you in terms of performance
  • Generous magazine holds up to 100 brads so you can power through your work efficiently without needing to constantly break off
  • Superlight aluminum body so weighs in at less than 3 pounds meaning no more fatigue on the job
  • Quick-release mechanism helps you deal quickly and easily with any nail jams
  • Operates between 60 PSI and 100 PSI and shoots brad nails anywhere from ¾ inch through to 2 inch for maximum versatility
  • Ergonomic adjustment wheel lets you fine-tune the nailing depth to suit the application
  • Very user-friendly even if you’re totally inexperienced with a nail gun
  • Nice bundle with some wrenches and oil included along with a nifty hard case so you can protect your nail gun if you take it on site
  • Transparent magazine lets you see at a glance when you need to reload

Conclusion

If you’re a DIY hobbyist or a casual woodworker with a pretty limited budget, the WEN 61720 is a wise bet.

All you need to do is a single project and you’ll recoup the modest investment with the time you’ll save. Check out the 61720 for a great entry point into the world of brad nailers.

Main Features
  • Uses Stanley Arrow or SharpShooter staples
  • Also accepts ½-inch, 9/16-inch and 5/8-inch brads
  • 6 x 3 x 3 ½ inches
  • 2 pounds
  • High and low power lever
  • Flush-nose design
  • 8-foot power cord
Rated as
4/5

Not everyone wants a brad nailer that cries out for a dedicated air compressor and if you’re after an all-in-one unit from an industry legend, this bright yellow beauty is a must.

Stanley and BLACK+DECKER merged back in 2010, and the new powerhouse continues to serve up extremely solid power tools at very reasonable prices. There’s a reason these tools are staples on job sites the world over.

In this Stanley brad nailer review, we’ll give you the honest lowdown on this nailer’s strengths and weaknesses so you can see if it deserves a place in your toolkit.

Before anything else, how about the basic features?

We should advise you straight off the bat not to be confused by the budget-friendly price tag… You certainly won’t be getting budget performance with this capable little nailer from a power tool legend.

Whether you’re just starting out or a more experienced woodworker, this agile gun is just the ticket but what does it do so well?

This is a design-driven nailer with a snub nose so you can angle your way into even the most awkward spots. The handle is comfy enough to use for extended spells without ripping your hands up. The overall feel of this nailer is far beyond what you’d expect at this price point.

Since the TRE550Z serves as both a stapler and brad nailer, you’re spoiled for choice when it’s time to reload…

For staples, you’ve got Stanley SharpShooter and Arrow. You can use ½-inch, 5/8 inch and 9/16 inch brads as well so you’re fully covered for all projects with the Stanley.

The nifty Hi/Lo mode lets you work just as easily with hard or soft work by adjusting your gun’s penetration power. Many more expensive brad nailers lack this thoughtful extra.

One clear-cut advantage of electric nailers is that you can sidestep the need for a separate air compressor saving you money right out the blocks. On the flipside, you’ll need to be near an electrical outlet at all times and you’ll also be limited in terms of movement by the length of the power cable.

The added insult with the Stanley is a cord cut woefully short at just 8 feet. There’s really no excuse for a brand like Stanley cutting corners like this. While you might instinctively assume an extension cable neutralizes that issue, sadly you’ll experience a noticeable dip in performance even if you use a heavy gauge cable. All this could have been avoided with a few feet more of cable.

Reloading your gun is super-simple. You’ll be able to keep your eye on how many nails remain through the viewing window before popping in fresh nails or staples. You shouldn’t experience too much in the way of jamming with this gun over and beyond what you’d expect from any nailer. In the unlikely event of a jam, restart the mechanism and it should be swiftly cleared.

You’ll get a lifetime warranty with this brad nailer but this is invalidated if you end up maltreating your gun. Take care of it well and, even though there’s a fair amount of plastic, you should get plenty of faithful service from the Stanley.

We’ll highlight where this nailer stands and falls now before you decide whether it’s worth spending your hard-earned cash on…

Why we like it

  • Weighing in at just 2 pounds, you’ll be able to drive hundreds of nails before fatigue sets in
  • An extremely compact gun that nevertheless delivers more than serviceable firepower
  • Ideal for smaller home woodworking projects or basic DIY, you can even press the Stanley into commission for the occasional more demanding job
  • As with all the best brad nailers, there’s a mechanism to mitigate misfiring in place
  • Trigger is comfortable and not overly sensitive
  • The absolute simplicity of this nailer renders it ideal even for complete beginners
  • Get into tight spots with ease thanks to intelligent snub-nosed design
  • Transparent viewing window so you can see when it’s time for a top-up
  • 2 penetration modes so copes with soft wood or hard planks
  • Limited warranty in place giving you peace of mind

Conclusion

If you understand up front that this nail gun is designed for less ambitious projects and you keep your expectations reasonable, you’re in for a real treat with the Stanley TRE550Z stapler and brad nailer.

As long as you’re aware of the shortcomings, if you want a rock-solid little nailer from a brand you can rely on, road test the Stanley today and start getting through your nailing projects shotgun-style.

Main Features
  • Takes brad nails from ¾ inch up to 2 inches
  • 100 nail magazine
  • Rear exhaust
  • Sequential trigger
  • 13 x 4 x 13 inches
  • 2 ½ pounds
  • Magnesium body
  • 500 nails and case included
Rated as
4/5

Whatever your trim carpentry needs, there’s no better ally than the best brad nailer. When you’re fixing pieces of wood together when you’re working with moldings, doors, or casings, a brad nailer transforms and also speeds up an otherwise tedious job.

Next up in our brad nailer reviews is a handy DeWALT 2-inch kit coming in at a very reasonable price point. We’ll look first at the core features of this nailer then we’ll see what it does well in more depth…

While this brad nailer is marketed pretty squarely at home users, you’ll be able to put it into action on the jobsite without too much concern. We’d describe it is more of a heavy-duty residential nailer rather than a straight-up commercial model but it’s surprisingly robust.

With a body made from magnesium, you’ll get a winning combination of durability and portability. Tipping the scales at a mere 2 ½ pounds, you’ll be able to keep going for hours without feeling the strain. This is ideal since the last thing you want in a labor-saving device is something that ends up as almost a handicap.

You’ll need an air compressor in place to use this brad nailer. You can easily get a 1-gallon DeWALT compressor but any one will do. There’s no need to buy this branded version if you’ve already got a compressor in the workshop. As long as the compressor you’re using can generate from 70 PSI to 120 PSI, you’re all set.

If you’re beavering away and you need to manipulate the drive depth, you can do this without fumbling around for your toolkit. Detents streamline the process of setting your nail heads. These time-saving touches add up over the course of a project and the DeWALT really does make you glad you invested.

Any type of brad nail fit into this gun so you won’t be tied in to proprietary nails that often cost a disproportionate amount. Whether it’s dinky 5/8-inch nails or 2-inch whoppers, any brads will do.

The magazine is a side-loader good for 100 brads. With 500 free nails tossed in, you can get working straight out the box without needing to hit the hardware store.

There’s a non-marring nose tip which can be removed if necessary. The exhaust is neatly tucked away at the back removing another danger to the cleanliness of your workpiece. These little extras are appreciated and allow you to save time and money without compromising the integrity of the end result.

If you do want to take this nailer out on site with you, there’s a protective hard case included.

DeWALT are famous for their excellent 3-year warranty and this gives you a nice added layer of confidence in a first-rate product.

Why we like it

  • Accommodates all brads from 5/8 inch through 2 inches so you can take care of all your nailing needs with one handy tool
  • Potent, maintenance-free motor gives you all the oomph you need without staining up your workpiece
  • Tool-free drive-depth adjustment with detents promotes precision cutting of your nail heads
  • 100 nail magazine gives you plenty of wiggle room before you need to reload
  • Exhaust at the rear so you won’t get fumes belching onto your workpiece and contaminating it
  • Standard mechanism to help clear jams in a flash
  • Keep your nailer close at hand whether at home or on the job site using the belt hook provided
  • You’ll get a hard case and 500 nails chucked in which is a nice bonus considering the price tag
  • Anti-slip, rubberized grip lets you work safely and in comfort

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a dependable and lightweight brad nailer you can use for prolonged spells without burning out yourself or the gun, this DeWALT is tailor-made.

When you consider the expected lifespan and intended purpose of this awesome tool, it’s amazing you can get it at this price so what are you waiting for?

Main Features
  • Use any brad nails from ¾ inch to 2 inches
  • 100 nail magazine
  • 10 x 9 x 2 ½ inches
  • 2 pounds
  • Adjustable drive depth
  • Intermittent or continuous firing
Rated as
4/5

As we near the end of our brad nailer reviews, we’ve got an enduringly popular 18-gauge gun from the highly reputable Hitachi.

This nailer is already priced very keenly but if you act now, you can get a very aggressive discount saving you even more money before you start saving time on your nailing projects.

We’ll highlight the main features then get straight down to business exploring where this nailer stands and falls…

You expect a whole bunch of sacrifices and corner-cutting with cheap, lightweight nail guns but Hitachi break the mold with this highly capable budget brad nailer.

Weighing a skimpy 2 pounds, this aluminum-based gun manages to come across as lightweight without feeling fragile. Look after your nailer well and you’ll get plenty of use from it.

While overall build quality is pretty impressive, it’s worth pointing out that there’s a fair bit of plastic out to play so handle your gun with care and keep your expectations of lifespan realistic.

You’ll get a choice of 3 packages:

  • Bare tool
  • Nailer with air hose and brad nails
  • Nailer with compressor

This is a nice option and allows you to buy just what you need to get going.

This gun is a nice fit in the hand and the lightweight nature combined with the fluid action means you’ll find yourself powering through even more ambitious nailing projects at a prodigious rate.

Once you’ve got your compressor ready to roll and your nailer connected, you’ll be able to flick between contact fire and bump fire by hitting a switch. The nose is designed in such a way that if a jam occurs, you can take care of this easily and tool-free.

The high-capacity 100 brad magazine is a bottom-loader and lets you pop in up to 100 brads depending on what size they are. This is more or less standard for nailers in this class.

You won’t just work quickly with the Hitachi. You can use the ergonomic dial to tweak drive depth so you’ll get a great finish in next to no time.

You can move the exhaust around so whatever your working on is nicely safeguarded from any fumes expelled.

You’ll get little by the way of extras with the Hitachi but you can’t really expect a shower of accessories at this price. You will get a hard case included along with a pair of safety glasses so your nailer will be safe at home or on site and so will your eyes.

As long as you’re not expecting a commercially-rated nailer and you’re happy with the build quality, what else does the Hitachi do to entice you in?

Why we like it

  • Aluminum body weighing a fraction over 2 pounds means you can use this nailer all day without feeling burdened
  • Exceptional price to performance ratio, especially if you buy now and capitalize on the steep discount
  • The exhaust port rotates through a full 360 degrees so you can keep those fumes away from your workpiece whatever angle you’re working at
  • You can opt for 3 variants from bare tool to the full kit including compressor so only buy what you need
  • Depth of drive dial is a cinch to use and lets you fine-tune your nailing without breaking your stride
  • Elastomer anti-slip grip lets you work accurately and safely without ripping your hands apart into the bargain
  • Rapid nail jam extractor comes in handy when things grind to a halt
  • Use any brand of brads from 5/8- inch through 2 inches
  • 2-year limited warranty is more than you can expect at this price point

Conclusion

If you want to buy into the brand heritage of Hitachi without spending a fortune, this highly affordable and incredibly versatile brad nailer hits the spot in no uncertain terms.

When you need to get lots of nailing done in a hurry, you simply can’t rely on a hammer even if you’re fit and willing to use one. At the price of the Hitachi, you’ll recoup your minimal investment the very first time you fire it up so road test one today and you’ll be nailing at full clip tomorrow.

Main Features
  • Use any brad nails up to 2 inches long
  • 18-volt lithium ion battery (not included)
  • Fires 700 nails on a single charge
  • 10 x 3 x 7 inches
  • 6 pounds
  • Twin LED lights
Rated as
4/5

Whether you’re carrying out some small home improvements, tacking some furniture together or attaching trim to cabinets, brad nailers really are in a league of their own.

Last up in our brad nailer reviews is the phenomenal P320 Airstrike from the stalwart Ryobi. If you’re looking for the cheapest brad nailer you can get, check out on of the other more pocket-friendly options we looked at. If, on the other hand, you want a hard-hitting nailer which doesn’t call for a compressor, give some serious thought to the Ryobi P320.

Maybe you’ve always fancied trying out a cordless brad nailer but you imagined they’d be lacking in power. The Ryobi will make you rethink that offering you all the grunt you need for projects in the home workshop and even the occasional foray out on site.

You should be clear front and center that the Ryobi is by no means the lightest nailer you could buy. Adding the battery bumps the weight up to nudging 7 pounds so make sure you’re OK handling this. In the interests of fairness, it’s tough to compare this to an air-powered model since they don’t need a motor. All you need to concern yourself with is whether or not you’ll be happy handling that weight for the kind of work periods you have in mind.

If you’re accustomed to using a pneumatic gun, you’ll be rewarded with near-instantaneous firing. With the Ryobi, there’s a minor lag which, while noticeable, is perfectly normal. If you find this bothersome, use contact actuation which will go at least some way toward mitigating this.

As with all the brad nailers we’ve reviewed, you can use nails from 5/8 inch up through 2 inches and you won’t be restricted to any specific brand.

You’ll be able to fire away at the rate of 50 nails a minute so you can get both speed and accuracy with the Ryobi. The manufacturer’s claim of 700 brads before you’ll need to recharge is reasonably accurate and you should expect that kind of performance which is more than enough for most trim work.

Workshops can be gloomy places and you might also be working out on site where there’s too little light for comfort. You’ll get a pair of LEDs on the Ryobi so you’ll enjoy a plain line of sight on your workpiece at all times.

The Airstrike has a no-mar tip so you won’t go scuffing up your wood in order to shave off a few minutes. Pads and bumpers further safeguard your workpiece and mean you can rattle out those brads without fearing for scratches or scuffs. Dry-fire lockout also puts paid to the incredible frustration of spoiling your project at the last minute.

Making little adjustments to the depth of drive is intuitive and straightforward.

Crowned with Ryobi’s class-leading 3-year guarantee, you can buy this nail gun without any jitters.

Why we like it

  • No need for a separate air compressor as the Ryobi runs on a lithium-ion battery combining convenience with performance
  • Weighs 6 pounds so you won’t feel fatigue setting in after 5 minutes on the job even though it’s not as light as some other nailers
  • You’ll get the power you’d expect from a gas nailer but with all the user-friendliness and maneuverability of a cordless
  • Pair of LED lights mean your workpiece will always be illuminated even if you’re working in dim conditions
  • A single burst of charge gives you enough juice to fire 700 brads so you’ve got no concerns even when you’re working on bigger projects
  • Single sequential firing gives you the confidence of precise placement every time
  • Very easy to adjust drive depth to suit the wood you’re working with
  • Accepts 18-gauge brads up to 2 inches long so a versatile gun great for a wide scope of work
  • Dry fire lockout is a nice extra sadly lacking on much of the competition
  • Keep your workpiece pristine with non-marring tip, bumpers and pad

Conclusion

For anyone who’s been considering a nail gun but doesn’t fancy investing in an air compressor, the Ryobi Airstrike makes perfect sense.

If you already use Ryobi’s One+ range of tools, you can slot in your existing battery making an expense proposition a whole lot cheaper.

For the DIY hobbyist and the serious contractor alike, the Ryobi P320 deserves a place in any collection of the best brad nailers 2018.

Best Brad Nailer: Looking for more information?

Interested to learn more in-depth details about selecting the right tool for your needs? Read our Informational Buyer Guide and Frequently Asked Questions sections on this topic for more details.

Final Words...

We very much hope you’ve enjoyed these brad nailer reviews and you’re now well placed to find the most suitable model for your finishing needs.

These are not complex products but it will repay a little time and effort thinking things through so you end up with just what you need.

Drop us a line any time if you’ve got any queries or feedback at all. We’re very responsive to messages and we’ll get back to you as promptly as we can.

We’ll round out today with a compendium of the most frequently asked questions about nail guns.

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