Top 5 Best Brad Nailers in 2020

Something that should be in the toolshed of any individual enthusiastic about DIY is a brad nailer. It is a lightweight, compact power tool that can fire tiny nails, which would be otherwise very hard to drive by hand. One such tool can introduce a lot of speed and ease into your work, which is why you should keep this convenient tool on your radar.

To aid you in your journey to find the best brad nailer, we bring you our reviews, as well as a whole lot of necessary information.

So, let’s dive right in and see what there is to know about these super useful nail guns.

5 Best Brad Nailer Reviews

While you may already understand why you need a brad nailer in your arsenal, zeroing on the right model can prove to be complicated. That is where we come in. Read our reviews of the best 18 gauge brad nailers and find out which one you should pick up.

1. Hitachi NT50AE2

Hitachi NT50AE2 18-Gauge 5/8-Inch to 2-Inch Brad Nailer

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This model uses 18 gauge nails sizing from 5/8” to 2”, and its magazine capacity is 100. It is air-powered and has a pressure ranging from 70 to 120 psi.

It is a model that is quite value-priced and reliable, being made by a famously reliable brand in the industry. At 2.2 pounds, it is incredibly lightweight. However, its weight belies its capacity, as it has proved to be a pretty heavy-duty tool.

It has an aluminum core that is responsible for keeping the weight low. Moreover, it is ergo-dynamic by design, which lends a great deal of comfort to its user.

The magazine can house 100 standard-sized nails, and you can side-load it. But a con of this tool is that it does not have a dry lockout that gives you a warning when there are only a few nails left, by not letting you fire the last ones.

Instead, there is a yellow-colored indicator window that tells you when the magazine is getting empty. Shooting this nailer with an empty magazine could end up damaging the tool, so keep a careful eye on the indicator when you are working.

The air hose port, unlike the exhaust, is not adjustable. It could create some problems when you are working as it could manipulate how the tool moves, and you will have to work against it a bit. However, it does not have much effect on the performance of the tool overall.

The pricing is pretty fair, and the nailer performs very well. So, it is a perfect choice for anyone who needs an excellent quality tool for small jobs or DIY projects.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Inclusion of an adjustable exhaust system
  • Use of standard-sized nails
  • Affordability
  • Good value

Cons

  • Lack of a dry lockout
  • Non-rotatable air hose intake nozzle

2. BOSTITCH (BTFP12233)

BOSTITCH Nail Gun, Brad Nailer, Smart Point, 18GA (BTFP12233)

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Perhaps the most distinctive feature of this tool is its nose with a smaller design and smart point technology, which allows you to see precisely where you are putting in the nail. This nose is 60% smaller than the standard ones and also will enable you to work more efficiently in tighter spots.

The feature lends a great deal of precision and professionalism to your work since you will be able to line everything up in a better way if you know exactly where the nails will be going in.

You will receive a carrying case, a belt hook, and a ¼” swivel fitting with this brad nailer. The unit comes with 1000 brads, all of them 2″, to help you get started immediately. This air-powered nailer uses 70 to 120 psi and can house 100 nails at a time. The nails have to be 18 gauge and 5/8″ to 2-1/8″ in size.

This nailer is oil-free, which rules out a lot of maintenance tasks. It also has a filter keeping out debris and dust, thereby preventing damage to the motor. The material is protected from damage as well, thanks to its bumper and over-molded handle.

The frame is lightweight because of its magnesium composition, which makes it much lighter but equally durable as an aluminum brad nailer. To sum up, this is a compact tool that will be easy for you to handle, even if you are working on long-term jobs.

Its jam release system is very easily usable and accessible because of being a tool-free mechanism. The depth drive is also accessible due to being placed beneath the trigger, allowing you to make changes easily.

With its amazing features and smart point technology, this brad nailer is a perfect option for hobbyists, homeowners, and professionals alike.

Pros

  • Precise results due to smart point technology
  • Comfort of usage
  • Smaller sized nose
  • Easily adjustable depth drive
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Inaccurate depth adjustment
  • Frequent jamming

3. DEWALT DC608K

DEWALT DC608K 18-Volt 18-Gauge 2-Inch Brad Nailer Kit

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This battery-powered brad nailer weighs 7.4 lbs and can accommodate nails in sizes of 5/8″ to 2″ in its straight magazine. Its magazine is relatively large at a nail capacity of 110, where most other brad nailers will allow up to 100 nails. The nailer also provides smooth access to the nosepiece so that you can clear the jams quickly and simply.

Cordless nailers like this are often pricier than most other models, but their compact designs and portability pretty much make up for it. This one also has a nose cap that resists impacts and makes working much more comfortable for the user.

Like several other brad nailers, it has a tool-free mechanism for both jam clearing and depth adjustment, which not only makes both of these tasks much more straightforward but also lets you get back to your work swiftly.

A unique thing about this model is its engine design that lets the users nail at the speed they wish to, all the while making sure that nail penetration is consistent regardless of how hard or soft the wood is.

Moreover, there is a selectable trigger which allows the user to pick the sequential mode for placing nails accurately, or the bump mode when the top priority is speed.

You will receive quite a few accessories with this brad nailer, including an 18V XRP NiCad battery, reversible belt, 1-hour charger, a high-quality case, etc.

Likely being the best electric brad nailer on this market, this nail gun certainly deserves your attention in spite of the hefty price tag.

Pros

  • Consistency in nail penetration for better finishing
  • Choices of trigger modes that give you the benefit of multiple nailers
  • Bigger magazine capacity, so refilling is slightly less frequent
  • Portability and compact design which increase ease of usage
  • Inclusion of fast-charger and battery

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Heavy, which results in fatigue

4. Makita AF505N

Makita AF505N Brad Nailer, 2-Inch

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The narrow design of this brad nailer helps it work even in tight spaces. A rubber nose and bumpers ensure that the material will be safe from any random scratches or other damages. To make it handier and non-obstructive, the integrated hook has been designed in a way that it can rotate 180 degrees.

It uses the standard 18 gauge nails, ranging from 5/8” to 2”, and has a magazine capacity of 100. This is an air-powered brad nailer with 60 to 115 psi of air pressure.

You can use this brad nailer on many different kinds of surfaces, which include hard and softwood, because of its tool-less depth adjusting system. You can blow the air away from your direction much more easily while you are at work because its exhaust can rotate 360 degrees.

This tool lacks a dry lockout, but it has two indicator windows that let you see when you should be reloading. There are a lot of people who like a dry lockout because you do not have to pay attention to the magazine, and when it is time to reload, you will be alerted. However, a dry lockout does not ensure efficient use of the nails.

If there is a jam in this Makita model, you will not have to use any of the tools as the cam-lock will quickly open. The clearing is also very fast and easy, which allows you to return to your work before you have wasted any time.

This brad nailer comes with safety goggles, a hard plastic case, and oil for proper storage, maintenance, and transport. While it does lack a rapid-fire mode, which will make your work a bit slower, but this model is an overall pretty reliable and good performer.

Pros

  • Allowing for clearing the jam without tools
  • Availability of hard plastic case
  • Narrow design that lets you work in the tight spots
  • Inexpensive
  • Rotatable exhaust

Cons

  • Lack of a dry lockout
  • Lack of a rapid-fire mode

5. WEN 61720

WEN 61720 3/4-Inch to 2-Inch 18-Gauge Brad Nailer

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This air-powered brad nailer works with 60 to 100 psi. Its magazine can accommodate 100 nails ranging from ¾” to 2”. The nails have to be 18 gauge.

It is a small yet powerful model that comes at a much lower price point than the more expensive models. While the design is quite basic, the performance is very good.

The cast-aluminum composition of the body is the reason being behind its incredibly lightweight, and it hardly burdens your arm even when you are using it for an extended period. There is a comfortable rubber grip on the handle for added comfort.

There is a quick-release mechanism present in this tool, which allows you to reload the magazine and clear the jams with relative ease. This is especially important since it does tend to jam.

The simple design means that this brad nailer is thoroughly easy to use. That ease extends to its maintenance, which only needs to be done once in a while, instead of after finishing every session.

This model is compatible with almost any air compressor in the market, which is important because you will need one to use it. If you are trying to find a relatively cheap and simple brad nailer to use for small-scale home projects, this is one of the finest options for you.

We would say that selecting this brad nailer will not be a mistake on your part, as it requires quite little and offers a lot. Do check this one out if your budget is tight. Chances are you will not be disappointed.

Pros

  • Very good value for the money
  • Incredible ease of use
  • Fast release mechanisms that let you easily clear jams
  • A requirement of very little maintenance
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Occasional jamming
  • Lack of a rubber tip

Things to Look for Before Buying

A brad nailer set can be quite important for many, because of being much more helpful than an ordinary hammer and introducing much more ease in your life.

But as one would not buy such a kit very frequently, it is important to make a good investment. Therefore, some important things should be taken into consideration before you make up your mind about the right choice for you.

There are many things to keep in mind before taking your pick when the product in question is a brad nailer kit. The most significant of them are the nose size, brad length, powering system (cords or battery), warranty, etc.

The following features are key to your purchase. So, make sure to compare various products in terms of these features. This will be a major help in understanding which kit is the most appropriate for you and purchasing the best brad nailer there is in the market.

Types

As there are many different types of brad nailers in the market, it is incredibly important that you understand which one is the most suitable for your intended work.

Nail Size

Almost all brads are 18 gauge, and the nailers are made in a way that they can be used with brads from 5/8″ to 2″.  Carpenters frequently rely on brad nailers to put 18 gauge nails along the edge of the casing of the doors and windows.

Such nails tend to bend, especially if they are driven into thick hardwoods. An 18 gauge nail is not particularly big in terms of diameter, which you should keep in mind while looking for your preferred model of a brad nailer.

Cordless vs. Pneumatic

Cordless brad nailers might be required for architectural trim. Trim carpenters, in particular, benefit from tools like this. They use them while installing casings for doors and windows.

Brad nailers without cords are even more useful when one is working on a small-scale project, where electrical power is hard to come by. However, the pneumatic brad nailers are more convenient if you are working in a workshop.

While you have to pay more for a cordless brad nailer than a compressor-driven one, the extra cost can be justified by the added convenience. Portability is an advantage found in both the gas-powered and the battery-powered brad nailers.

On the other hand, the traditional pneumatic models will let you move around with your tool a lot less. Your ultimate choice will likely depend on what you require from a brad nailer.

Loading

Not every kit has the same loading system. There are magnetic strips in some brad nailer kits so that you can hold brads in place while you are loading them. As the users give these better ratings and reviews, they are more popular.

You may find cartridge systems in some other brad nailer, which helps you load more simply and avoid spills.

Depth Adjustments

It is important that you thoroughly check the depth adjustment system of a kit before settling on it. A good system will increase the usefulness of your brad nailer by leaps and bounds, and also increase its versatility by letting it work like multiple tools.

Angle Adjustments

Not every project will require that you drive your brad nailer into the same angle or position. So, you should bear the nature of your project in mind and compare if the nailer can adjust its angle the way you need it towhen you are planning to select a brad nailer for yourself.

Adjustable Belt Hook

Most brad nailers have a belt hook these days so that you can adjust as needed. This feature in a brad nailer kit is incredibly practical. The hook lets the users put the brad nailer at their side while they are working on their projects. This keeps their hands free during work and makes the nailer quite handy.

You can clip the nailer to your belt with this accessory, so you can keep it by your side anytime you need it, no matter where you go. This is especially helpful if your work requires you to climb ladders.

Swivel Cord

If you buy a nailer with a hose or a cord, a swivel attachment system is a must. This will keep your hose and cords out of your way when you move around during work.

Brand

Many famous companies and brands selling power tools are coming with their brad nailers, which offer different warranty services and prices. DeWalt, Hitachi, Porter-Cable, Ryobi, Bostitch, Campbell Hausfeld, Senco, Paslode, etc. are the leading brands in the market.

Ridgid, Craftsman, Bosch, Freeman, Grex, Omer, Airco, Milwaukee, etc. are also famous for their nail guns. You can take your pick from the various models these brands release.

Warranty and Repair

Warranty and repair facilities will vary from brand to brand. Therefore, you should read the warranty schemes very carefully before buying a brad nailer.

Price

The price will also be different across the brands. Evidently, more advanced brad nailers will be much more expensive than the traditional ones. If you work in a professional capacity, a progressive brad nailer from a famous brand should be your best option.

But you should go for a regular, cost-effective model if you are only buying it for personal, small-scale, or occasional use.


Additional Features

Many brad nailers come with some additional features these days, which may not be necessary but could give a nice touch to your work quality and comfort. So, read on to find out more about these advanced features present in a brad nailer.

  • Case

It is sometimes incredibly helpful if your brad nailer comes with a storage case. Such a case is a great addition for anyone who does not use their brad nailer every day. You can store your brad nailer safely inside a storage case, causing you much less worry.

Moreover, a storage case lets you safely carry your tool around if you have to. You would usually get a storage bag with your brad nailer, but it is best to confirm by asking the manufacturer.

  • Rubber Nose

This works as a precaution. You can choose either full rubber on the nose, or only a rubber tip, but it will give protection to your materials, mostly wood, from small scrapes or scratches associated with a nail gun. So, you will not have any scratches to cover up with finishes, such as paint, or seal.

  • Ease of Clearing Jams

Jams will occur now and then regardless of how good your tool is, and some models will jam a lot more than others. So, you should be choosing a brad nailer that would let you clear its jams with relative ease.

As jams will cause you a fair bit of frustration while you are working, a good idea would be to select a brad nailer that has a specific design for the easy resolution of jams. Then you can decrease a lot of unnecessary frustration.

  • Oil-Free Motor

Many brad nailers have oil-free motors, and choosing one of them will let you escape the mess that adding oil to a brad nailer causes. This is especially useful for people who forget to check the oil level in their brad nailers.

  • LED Lights

Although this is not a common feature, many modern brad nailers do incorporate LED lights in their designs. You can see your workspace and identify errors much more easily if your nail gun has this feature.

LED lights are perfect for working in tight spaces because even then, they give you a clear view of where you are putting in the nail. Ryobi, Portable-Cable, etc. brands have some cordless brad nailers with LED lights.

  • Dry Lockout

This is a significant feature of the more advanced brad nailers. When there are few or no nails left in the magazine, this feature automatically prevents the machine from firing. As the nailer cannot shoot blanks, it does not get damaged.

On the other hand, brad nailers which do not have this feature let you view how many nails are left in the magazine, so you can find out when you should refill.


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can you build furniture with a brad nailer?

If you are an experienced enough user, you can try. However, most brad nailers use 18 gauge nails, which are incredibly thin and cannot be used in heavy construction like with screws.

So, brad nailers are not commonly used for this purpose. You should get some other kind of nailer, like a framing nailer, if you intend to build furniture.

  1. Is the nailer ready to go after I have charged the battery, hooked it up to the brad nailer, and installed the nails?

Yes, you only have to charge the battery and load the correct brads as preparation to use your brad nailer.

  1. Where do I buy my brad nailer from if I’m on a tight budget?

If you want the best bargain on a good quality nailer, you should purchase from a major site like Amazon.

  1. How do I keep my brad nailer in working condition?

That mostly depends on the brand and model. But there are a few things you can do: only using correct-sized nails, ensuring the nailer is properly connected to the compressor, and oiling it before you use it.

  1. Should I buy a sequential brad nailer or a contact firing mode brad nailer?

That depends on what you want to do with your tool. If your priority is speed, sequential firing is right for you. If you need more accuracy, go for contact firing nailers. However, there are plenty of brad nailers that have both modes.

Final Words

As you now know, all there is to know about the best brad nailers on the market, pop into you’re preferred online or physical store, and get your own. We promise that you will never look at nailing the same way again.

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