How to Choose a Nail Gun


If you work in construction, you probably do a significant amount of hammering on a regular basis. There are some construction fields that do not require the use of a hammer, but most people involved with building things use a hammer and nails. The effects of all of this hammering can take a toll on the body, particularly on the shoulder, elbow, wrist and thumb. This physical wear and tear can be eliminated, while also making the work easier, by using a pneumatic nail gun. Once you've decided to buy your first nail gun, the first question on your mind is how do you know which nail gun is the right one for you? This guide will help you choose the right nail gun for your needs.

Things You'll Need

  • Spending budget
  • Determine if you are properly equipped to operate a nail gun. The nail gun is a pneumatic device, which means it is powered by air. Operating the nail gun requires an air compressor and air hoses. If you already have these items, you can purchase the nail gun alone. If you do not, you may want to consider buying a combination package for as little as $200.

  • Consider the type of nails you normally work with. Nail guns come in a variety of designs that are intended for use with specific types of nails. Framing nail guns are great for general use with standard nails. There are also nail guns designed to work with finishing nails, and others that work with roofing tacks. Think about the type of construction you are normally involved with so that you can choose a nail gun that is appropriate for that use.

  • Decide how much weight you are comfortable working with. Aside from accommodating many nail sizes, the nail gun itself comes in a variety of sizes. Larger nail guns typically have more driving force, which can be convenient when working with large nails or when trying to penetrate hardwoods. The trade-off is that they can feel bulky and difficult to work with. Smaller, lightweight models are also available. These are great for working in tight areas, but also have less force driving the nail into the wood.

  • Think about how much money you can afford to spend. Nail guns come in a variety of prices, and sticking to your budget is part of choosing the right piece of equipment. You can purchase low-price nail guns for under $50, but prices can go up to several hundred dollars for higher quality professional models.

Tips & Warnings

  • If using an air compressor and hoses is difficult in your work environment, consider using a butane-powered nail gun. A small butane explosion provides the force behind the nail rather than compressed air.

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  • Photo Credit Alikai, Creative Commons License
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