top finish nailers

The Best Finish Nailers That You Need To Own

Whether you are on a job site or are doing some DIY work around the house, using a finish nailer is going to speed up the nailing process and make your job much easier.

Finish nailers are used to attach things like skirting boards, trims and moldings to walls. Think of a finish nailer as a scaled-down version of the more commonly known framing nailer (nail gun) that you see being used to nail together larger pieces of wood such as wooden house framing.

Finish nailers use a smaller gauge nail with a thin head, meaning there is less force exerted on the material when nailing, making it a great tool to use for attaching smaller pieces of material. Using a finishing nailer instead of a hammer is a great way to speed up any job, while at the same time improving accuracy and reducing physical exertion. Sounds like a winning combo to me.

With plenty of options of the market, I’ve written this guide to help you decide which finish nailer is best suited to you and your needs.

And as always, for those of you in a rush, here are our three quick picks for the three finish nailers we think you should check out…

Our Top Pick

DeWalt Finish Nailer

DeWalt is known for quality and this finish nailer is no exception to that rule. A powerful cordless nailer that won’t let you down. This is a very popular model with a heap of positive feedback.

Top Value Pick

Hitachi Finish Nailer

A very popular and well-made finish nailer. This pneumatic nailer comes in at a little cheaper than cordless models making it a great buy for such a quality product.

Top Budget Pick

PowRyte Finish Nailer

The best of the budget options. Another pneumatic finish nailer that has many positive reviews. A great option for those on a tighter budget.

 

What We Will Cover

 

  • Ø Best Finish Nailer Reviews
  • Ø DeWalt DC618K Cordless Angled Finish Nailer
  • Ø Hitachi NT65MA4 2-1/2” Angled Finish Nailer
  • Ø PowRyte T250A Pneumatic Angled Finish Nailer
  • Ø DeWalt D51257K 2-1/2” Finish Nailer
  • Ø Senco 4G0001N FinishPro 42XP 2-1/2” Finish Nailer
  • Ø Paslode T250A Pneumatic Angled Finish Nailer
  • Ø Paslode 902400 Cordless Angled Finish Nailer
  • Ø Freeman PFN1564 15 Gauge Angled Finish Nailer
  • Ø Makita AF601 16 Gauge 2-1/2” Straight Finish Nailer
  • Ø Bostitch N62FNK-2 15 Gauge Finish Nailer
  • Ø What To Look For In A Finish Nailer
  • Ø Final Thoughts On Finish Nailers

 

Best Finish Nailer Reviews

 

Check out the list below to discover what we consider to be the best finish nailers available on the market today:

 

DeWalt DC618K Cordless Angled Finish Nailer

Features –

  • Power: 18V battery
  • Nail length: 1 1/4 – 2 1/2 inch
  • Nail gauge: 16
  • Magazine capacity: 110 nails
  • Angle: 20°

 

The Pros

  • Sequential and bump mode
  • Large and easy to load rear loading magazine
  • Integrated LED lights
  • Battery and charger included
  • 3 year warranty

The Cons

  • More expensive
  • Only 1 battery included

Overview

In my opinion, this is the best finish nailer available on the market today. It’s easy to use, comfortable to hold and comes with a load of great features and benefits. If you want to get the job done quickly and accurately, this is the nailer for you.

The battery-powered DC618K can fire up to 5 nails per second into hard and soft joins. The top quality and manufacturing of DeWalt products means that this nailer will keep up with even the fastest pace and the easy to access nosepiece makes it quick and simple to remove a jammed nail without the need for a screwdriver or wrench.

The large capacity magazine is rear loading to allow for fast and easy access and holds up to 110 nails so you can work longer between reloads. It has both sequential and bump operating modes and comes with an inbuilt LED light to guide you while working in poorly lit areas.

Included in this kit is the nailer itself; 1x 18V battery; 1-hour charger; reversible belt hook; no-mar tip and safety glasses. Plus the high-quality DeWalt hard carry case.

And to top it all off, the DC618K comes with a 90 day money back guarantee, 3 year limited warranty and 2 years free service. It’s all this and more that makes DeWalt a top choice of trade professionals and DIY enthusiasts alike.

Click here for up-to-date Prices and Reviews

Hitachi NT65MA4 2-1/2” Angled Finish Nailer

Features –

  • Power: 70 – 120 psi compressed air
  • Nail length: 1 1/4 – 2 1/2 inch
  • Nail gauge: 15
  • Magazine capacity: 100 nails
  • Angle: 14°

The Pros

  • Great value
  • Sequential and bump modes
  • Tool-free depth adjustment
  • Air duster
  • Carry case included

The Cons

  • Recommended to only use Hitachi nails
  • Can double fire or misfire at times

Overview

The Hitachi NT65MA4 is a great option for those looking for a quality tool at a great price. This versatile and high-quality nailer switches between sequential and bump modes with the flick of a switch and the large 100 nail capacity magazine is fast loading so you can keep working to get the job done.

Another great feature is the depth-of-drive dial which allows you to change the firing force without the need of any tools. Great for getting a professional look when working with different types of wood and materials.

Included on this finish nailer is a 360 degree exhaust port that can be turned in any direction, making it possible to direct the air away from you no matter what position or space you are working in. You’ll also find an air duster button near the grip of the nailer. This air duster allows you to clean away any debris or dust from your work area both before and after use.

It’s very comfortable to use, feels great in your hand, and the elastomer grip handle helps your work to remain precise and keeps the nailer sturdily in your hands. And at 4.2 lbs, it’s about half the weight of cordless models.

It comes with a carry case, safety glasses, a no-mar tip and a huge 5 year limited warranty.

And remember to keep in mind that as with all pneumatic tools, you’ll need to run it with an air compressor. It’s important to consider this extra cost if you don’t already use pneumatic tools or have a compressor at home.

Click here for up-to-date Prices and Reviews

 

PowRyte 2” Straight Air Finish Nailer

Features –

  • Power: 70 – 110 psi compressed air
  • Nail length: 1 1/4 – 2 1/2 inch
  • Nail gauge: 16
  • Magazine capacity: 110 nails
  • Angle: none

The Pros

  • Incredibly cheap
  • Tool-free depth adjustment
  • 360 degree adjustable exhaust port

The Cons

  • Questionable quality
  • Straight magazine
  • Not for professional use
  • Mixed reviews for use on hardwood

Overview

There reason that this nailer is our top budget pick is simple. It costs less than 35 bucks! This is a great choice for DIY beginners and those just starting out. While the quality of manufacture and design won’t hold up against the standards set by brands like DeWalt, the value for money here is incredible. For a small investment, you’ll get a big return.

Included on this pneumatic finish nailer is a tool-free depth of drive adjuster to help you accurately sink nails to the desired depth and a reload indicator to let you know how many nails you’ve got left in the magazine and when you need to reload. It’s simple and fast to clear if a jam occurs and comes with an adjustable 360 degree exhaust port to help keep the exhaust air away from you when working in different spaces and positions.

Those are some impressive features for a nailer that will set you back less than $35!

But of course, a nailer this price is going to come with some drawbacks, so let’s talk about what those drawbacks are.

Firstly, the plastic and cast aluminum build isn’t going to have the strength and sturdiness of the more expensive, top of the line models, so take care not to drop or damage the plastics as they may be prone to breaking.

Another small drawback is that the magazine isn’t angled so it’s not a great option for working in tight spaces.

And again, keep in mind that this pneumatic nailer needs to be hooked up to an air compressor to work, so if you don’t have a compressor at home, you’ll face that extra cost.

Those things being said, this is an unbelievably cheap price for a finish nailer like this. This would make a great tool for those just starting out on their DIY and home-renovation adventure and is a great option if you are looking to install molding, skirting or do other small tasks around the house like fixing chair rails and small cabinet repairs.

Click here for up-to-date Prices and Reviews

DeWalt D51257K 2-1/2” Finish Nailer

Features –

  • Power: 70 – 120 psi compressed air
  • Nail length: 1 – 2 1/2 inch
  • Nail gauge: 16
  • Magazine capacity: 100 nails
  • Angle: none

The Pros

  • High-quality product
  • Comfortable grip
  • Internal piston catch provides max. Power
  • Sealed lube dual technology

The Cons

  • Expensive
  • Reported to occasionally jam
  • Can be difficult to clear jams

Overview

The more budget-friendly model in the DeWalt range, this pneumatic finish nailer is still quite expensive when compared with other similar nailers on the market but you pay for the assurance of quality DeWalt manufacturing.

This is a lightweight nailer that is easy to operate and comfortable to hold. It comes with a no-mar pad to protect your work surface from damage and the internal piston catch makes sure that you get a powerful and consistent shot each time.

Sealed lube dual technology reduces maintenance time and reduces the likelihood of damage and wear.

It comes with a rear loading magazine that is easy and fast to operate and reload but unfortunately, the magazine isn’t angled so it’s not as good for use in tight areas.

There’s no bump mode either, only sequential action, so depending on how you look at it, this could be a good or bad thing. The good thing about this is that it’s very safe to use, as the trigger must be compressed and released with every shot. The obvious downside being that you can’t fire the nails as rapidly.

You’ll also get a belt hook included so you can hang it close to you when not in use, allowing you to work with both hands.

Overall, this is a reliable and consistent finish nailer used by both trade professionals and home amateurs alike.

Click here for up-to-date Prices and Reviews

 

Senco 4G0001N FinishPro 42XP 2-1/2” Finish Nailer

Features –

  • Power: 70 – 120 psi compressed air
  • Nail length: 1 1/4 – 2 1/2 inch
  • Nail gauge: 15
  • Magazine capacity: 100 nails
  • Angle: 34°

The Pros

  • Sturdy build
  • Professional quality
  • Drive depth adjuster
  • Carry case included
  • NeverLube technology reduces maintenance
  • Built-in ruler for precision measuring

The Cons

  • Misfiring issues
  • Prone to jamming

Overview

With a housing made from magnesium, the Senco 4G0001N is the sturdiest looking nailer on this list. It looks much heavier than it actually is though, weighing in at an impressive 4.5 lbs. This is a durable and lightweight nailer that is great for both professionals and beginners.

It comes with a heap of great features like: 360 degree adjustable exhaust; long life driver; and comfortable design and ergonomics, make it enjoyable and easy to use.

It also features a simple thumbwheel operated depth adjuster that allows you to get the right depth every time, even in the hardest of woods, giving your work a very professional look and feel.

Protect your work surfaces with two no-mar pads and make sure you get the right measurements every time with the inbuilt ruler located on the magazine.

Another great feature this finishing nailer incorporates into its design is Senco’s NeverLube technology. Save time and money on maintenance and tool wear by never having to lube your nailer again.

I have read some reviews in which people have complained about frequent misfiring. If this is true it can prove to be very frustrating. But as this is an otherwise top quality product, I hope they resolve this issue shortly. Let me know in the comments if you’ve had any similar issues with this nailer.

Aside from the possible misfiring issue, this is a sturdily built, yet lightweight finish nailer, that is used by both professionals and home users. And it’s backed by a 5 year warranty.

Click here for up-to-date Prices and Reviews

 

Paslode T250A Pneumatic Angled Finish Nailer

Features –

  • Power: 80 – 120 psi compressed air
  • Nail length: 1 1/4 – 2 1/2 inch
  • Nail gauge: 16
  • Magazine capacity: 100 nails
  • Angle: 20°

The Pros

  • Sturdy design
  • Quick and simple reload
  • Directional exhaust
  • Nail lockout

The Cons

  • Expensive
  • Can misfire
  • No dial for depth adjustment

Overview

The Paslode T250A is a solid yet lightweight pneumatic finish nailer that would be suitable for both professionals and DIY enthusiasts. It’s comfortable to hold and work with and comes with a directional exhaust to keep the dust and debris out of your face.

It comes with a rear-loading nail magazine that will hold up to 100 nails and features a nail lockout that kicks in when there are ten nails left, letting you know that it’s time to reload before the magazine runs empty and you start dry firing.

It’s got a great compact 20 degree angled design that allows you to work in tight spaces and also comes with a hard plastic carry case, a spare no-mar tip and safety glasses. It also comes with a 1 year warranty on the housing and 6 months parts warranty.

The main drawback of this nailer is the lack of a depth adjustment dial, meaning that you need to adjust the air pressure instead to get the right pressure and nail depth. This can be a bit tricky for those that are fairly new to nailer use, plus it’s an inconvenience if you need to keep walking back to change the settings on your air compressor. It does, however, mean that there are fewer parts and therefore less of a likelihood of parts failure.

Click here for up-to-date Prices and Reviews

 

Paslode 902400 Cordless Angled Finish Nailer

Features –

  • Power: 7V battery
  • Nail length: 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 inch
  • Nail gauge: 16
  • Magazine capacity: 100 nails
  • Angle: 21°

The Pros

  • Cordless technology
  • Tool-free depth adjustment
  • Battery and charger included

The Cons

  • Expensive
  • Can sometimes misfire
  • Drive depth not always accurate

Overview

While this cordless Paslode finishing nailer is designed to primarily do trim work, it can be used for a range of different tasks as well.

The main advantage of this nailer is the fact that it is battery operated, so there’s no need to pull a compressor hose around behind you all the time. It’s great for working in tight spaces or doing overhead tasks.

This type of cordless nailer uses fuel cells (which have to be purchased separately) which are ignited by the battery. This makes this type of cordless tool much more powerful than those that rely on battery power alone to drive the nail.

The Paslode 902400 is comfortable to hold and easy to use and comes with a no-mar tip to protect your work surface from damage. Changing the drive depth is easy with tool-free dial built into the nailer and the reversible belt hook makes it easy to keep close at hand when you’re not using it.

Included in the kit is the nailer; lithium-ion battery; charger; safety glasses and carry case.

It’s a bit more expensive than some of the other finish nailers on this list but the cordless fuel cell technology makes this a very handy tool and well worth the price.

Click here for up-to-date Prices and Reviews

Freeman PFN1564 15 Gauge Angled Finish Nailer

Features –

  • Power: 70 – 110 psi compressed air
  • Nail length: 1 1/4 – 2 1/2 inch
  • Nail gauge: 15
  • Magazine capacity: 100 nails
  • Angle: 34°

The Pros

  • Sturdy build
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Dust cap protection
  • Huge 7 year warranty

The Cons

  • Nails hard to find
  • Drive depth not easy to master

Overview

The Freeman PFN1564 finish nailer is a comfortable and easy to use tool that comes with some great added features and benefits.

This pneumatic nailer operates on both sequential and contact mode and changing between the two is as easy as flicking a switch.

Its soft ergonomic handle helps to reduce fatigue, enabling you to get the job done faster and the anodized aluminum cylinder and nail magazine make this a light yet strong and durable piece of equipment.

Jams aren’t an issue, as the PFN1564 incorporates a tool-free quick release head that is both simple and fast to clear.

The nailer is kept clean and free of dust thanks to an anti-dust cap and your work is protected by a no-mar tip.

Because there are no clear markings on the depth adjuster, it can take some time to get the right feel for this tool and learn how to set the adjuster correctly. I suggest firing some practice shots into a bit of scrap wood until you get the hang of setting the depth correctly.

Unfortunately, correct nails for the nailer can be a bit of a challenge to find, which is a real shame, as it’s a great little tool.

And last but certainly not least, I need to mention the warranty. 7 years warranty! That’s huge. And the biggest warranty offered (equal with only one other product) on this list. It’s always good to see a company that stands behind the quality of their product.

Click here for up-to-date Prices and Reviews

 

Makita AF601 16 Gauge 2-1/2” Straight Finish Nailer

Features –

  • Power: 70 – 120 psi compressed air
  • Nail length: 1 – 2 1/2 inch
  • Nail gauge: 16
  • Magazine capacity: 100 nails
  • Angle: none

The Pros

  • Multi-directional exhaust port
  • Inbuilt air duster
  • Sturdy build
  • Reversible belt hook

The Cons

  • Zero angle on magazine
  • Can dry fire (nail lock-out sometimes fails)

Overview

In both size and build this Makita product is comparable to the pneumatic DeWalt D51257K also featured on this list. The main difference between the two is the price. The Makita AF601 is around 40 bucks less than the DeWalt option.

Both are great tools that are well built and comfortable to use.

The other advantages the Makita has is the added air duster to help clear your work area both before and after use and the nail lock-out that stops the machine from firing once the magazine is out of nails (this may fail sometimes though). It’s also got a large window on the side of the magazine so it’s easy to keep on eye on your nail level while working.

It comes with a multi-directional exhaust port to keep dust and other debris out of your eyes and away from your airways.

The kit comes complete with the nailer; pneumatic nailer oil; no-mar tip; air fitting; safety glasses and a hard plastic case.

Click here to up-to-date Prices and Reviews

 

Bostitch N62FNK-2 Angled Finish Nailer

Features –

  • Power: 70 – 120 psi compressed air
  • Nail length: 1 1/4 – 2 1/2 inch
  • Nail gauge: 15
  • Magazine capacity: 130 nails
  • Angle: 25°

The Pros

  • Oil-free operation
  • Tool-free jam clearing
  • Largest nail capacity on this list
  • 7 year warranty

The Cons

  • Reported quality control issues
  • Reports of double firing

Overview

This Bostitch finish nailer looks like a well designed and functional tool that is more suited to the amateur and DIY market. It’s lightweight and features an angled magazine to help reach tight and hard to get to areas.

Standout features include the large nail magazine with a 130 nail capacity to keep you working longer between reloads, and tool-free jam clearing and depth adjustment.

Oil-free operation keeps maintenance costs low and the magazine is easy to remove, making cleaning simple and quick.

You’ll also get four profile tips included in the kit.

All this makes the Bostitch sound like a great finish nailer and maybe even worthy of mention on our best-of list. But unfortunately, although there are a lot of really positive reviews online about this product, around 10 percent of customers reported issues with this nailer breaking parts or double firing. They do offer a massive 7 year warranty but I would advise looking into their warranty terms and conditions if you are worried about breakdowns or damage.

Click here for up-to-date Prices and Reviews

 

What To Look For In A Finish Nailer

When looking to purchase a finish nailer, you have to consider a variety of different factors and think about what kind of work you are going to be using your nailer for. The type of task you will be performing will have a big influence on the nailer that’s is best suited to you and your workload.

Factors such as nail gauge and length, how the nailer is powered, magazine angle, and added features and benefits need to be considered before handing over your hard earned cash for a new nailer.

So to help you out, I’m going to give you a quick run-down of what to look for when buying a new finish nailer.

Nail Gauge

Nail gauge size is a strong determiner of the type of nailer you should purchase. Some people get confused with gauge sizes because it is a little counter-intuitive. Basically, the bigger the gauge, the smaller the thickness of the nail.

Gauge is measured by the number of nails you can stack per inch. So if you are using 15-gauge nails and you stacked 15 of those nails on top of each other, that stack would measure 1 inch high. Likewise, stacking eighteen 18-gauge nails on top of each other would also measure 1 inch. When it comes to gauge sizing, bigger is smaller.

There are two things to think about when deciding on which gauge nails to use – hold strength and hole size. Basically, the smaller the gauge of your nails, the stronger the nail but the hole that it leaves behind will be larger.

Gauge size is more important when you are considering which type of nailer you need for the job. Brad nailers, for example, use 18 gauge nails which usually don’t require filling afterward.

Finish nailers use 15 and 16 gauge nails (larger in size than 18 gauge) and there isn’t too much difference between the two sizes. Still, if you are looking for extra holding power, I’d recommend going for a finish nailer that uses 15 gauge nails. Conversely, if you’re worried about hole size, go for the 16 gauge nails.

Straight vs Angled Nail Magazines

A straight finish nailer has a nail magazine that is perpendicular to the nailer tip. It sits at a 90 degree angle.

Angled nailers have the nail magazine angled back towards the handle of the tool, generally set at an angle between 20 and 35 degrees.

So, what’s the difference? Or which is better?

Well, the easy answer is that angled nailers are better for practical use because they can access tighter and harder to reach places than straight nailers can.

Basically, an angled nailer will do everything that a straight nailer will do and more. Whereas, a straight nailer is more limited in what it can do.

So, why would anyone buy a straight nailer? Price. Straight nailers tend to be cheaper than angled nailers when it comes to the initial purchase price. But another cost to consider is the nails. Angled nailers need angled nail strips, which are more expensive than straight nail strips.

Nail Length

This one is pretty obvious but I’m going to mention it anyway. Most nailers hold nails up to 2-1/2 inches down to 1-1/4 inches. Some however, will work with nails down to 1 inch. It might not seem like a huge difference but if you are working with and joining small material, that 1/4 of an inch might be the difference between an exposed nail or your nails hitting a backing material like steel or concrete. So just keep your nail length in mind when thinking about specific tasks.

Air Powered vs Cordless

Both of these different power sources have their own benefits so it really pays to think about which is better suited to your needs.

The main advantage of cordless technology is that you don’t need to drag an air hose around behind you when working. This is a huge plus when it comes to working in a large area, confined areas or workspaces with many different rooms and hallways.

It’s also great for working on roofs as you don’t need to worry about getting the hose tangled on beams or trusses.

And of course, there is the added advantage of not needing an air compressor, making these tools much more portable.

Battery-powered tools have their drawbacks though. They tend to be more expensive to buy than pneumatic tools and are more complicated, meaning there are more parts which could breakdown during use. You also have to make sure that you have a spare fully-charged battery ready at all times, otherwise, you’ll have to stop work to wait for your battery to recharge.

You may also see a decrease in power as the battery is running out of charge, however, this is less common these days, as a lot of modern cordless batteries will run at a consistent power level until the tool simply goes completely dead and shuts down when it can no longer reach the power level required due to lack of power in the battery. The older style cordless tools used to just wind down the power until the battery was completely drained.

Also, note that some cordless nailers use a smaller battery to ignite a fuel cell which delivers the shot to the nail. These nailers work great but just remember that you will also need to purchase the fuel cells separately, so there is an extra cost involved.

Air powered nailers tend to be cheaper to purchase, but you will need an air compressor to run them. Therefore, if you don’t already own an air compressor (and I suspect a lot of home-owners and DIY enthusiasts don’t) you will face the extra cost of purchasing one before you’ll be able to use your nailer. So make sure you weigh up the costs of both the air powered and cordless nailers before making your purchase.

The great thing about air powered nailers is that they are reliable and apply a consistent force to each shot that is fired.

The downside being that you need to drag an air hose around with you while you work. This can be not only frustrating but dangerous too, especially if you are working at heights.

Extra Features and Benefits

Firing Mode: Some nailers come with two different firing modes – sequential and bump (contact) mode. In sequential mode, the tip of the nailer must be pressed down against the work material and the trigger pulled each time you want to fire a nail.

Bump mode works by holding the trigger down while bumping the tip down onto the work material. Each time the tip comes in contact with the material, it will fire another nail, providing you are still holding down the trigger. Bump mode is very useful when you have a lot of nails that need to be fired in quick succession.

Tool-less Jam Clearing: Sometimes a nail will get stuck during firing. Choosing a nailer that lets you clear these jams without the use of any tools can be a huge time saver.

Tool-less Depth Selection: When using a finish nailer, it’s important to choose the correct depth that you want the nail to sink into the material. Choosing a nailer that uses a tool-free selector (like a switch or dial) saves a lot of time and frustration.

No-Mar Tip: This is a tip that won’t mark or scratch the surface you are working on. A huge advantage and definitely worth having on your nailer.

Anti Dry Fire: When a nailer fires a shot without a nail in the magazine, it’s called a dry fire. Dry firing can damage both your tool and the work material. Some nailers have a mechanism which won’t allow the tool to fire if there aren’t enough nails in the magazine.

Adjustable Exhaust: Keeps the expelled air (containing dust and debris) away from your face. Especially helpful in a tight workspace.

Grip and Comfort: Make sure that the tool is comfortable to use and hold. This makes it much easier to work longer and harder and get the job done neatly.

Warranty and Service: Like any tool, always check the warranty and service conditions before purchase. Some manufacturers will offer 5 or even 7 years limited warranty on their products. Look out for free tool service options as well. These tend to be limited to 1 year or 6 months after purchase but can range up to 2 years as well.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many points to consider when looking to purchase a new finish nailer. The most important thing, I think, is deciding whether you are looking for an air powered or cordless setup. Personally, I would recommend a cordless nailer over a pneumatic one, just for the ease of not having to connect the nailer to an air compressor and run a hose behind you.

Some people prefer pneumatic tools and the simple yet powerful pneumatic nailers work great and are a good option if you already use other pneumatic tools.

If however, you don’t already own an air compressor, I’d strongly recommend considering the extra costs involved with purchasing a new compressor vs the extra purchase cost of the more convenient cordless nailers.

To finish here is a useful video with some great tips when using your nailer :-

Let us know your thoughts on finish nailers in the comments below.

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