Home » 10 Best Finish Nailers in 2020
Powertools

10 Best Finish Nailers in 2020

Finish nailers are designed to help you handle much tougher construction and repair tasks, driving large and durable nails into surfaces to bind them together extremely well. They can be used for dozens of purposes and can save plenty of time, offering extremely strong results due to the way that the head of each nail is recessed below the surface of the object it’s fired into. But, just like any other power tool, there are hundreds of individual designs and models that you’ll have to sort through during your search for the best finish nailer.

Here are ten of the best finish nailers available right now, along with details on what they can offer you compared to other models.

View The Best Finish Nailer Below

1. Hitachi NT65M2S Finish Nailer

Hitachi NT65M2S Finish Nailer

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON →

The high-quality and heavily adjustable design of this nailer makes it extremely versatile, striking a balance between comfort and power to make each task slightly easier. Its frame has a carefully-placed flip actuation switch that lets you select between sequential or bump fire modes, and the nail magazine is placed right below the “barrel” to put all of the weight on the surface rather than your hand.

In the event of a jam, you can clear the nose without needing any extra tools, and the no-mar tip ensures that you won’t cause damage to the surface you’re nailing if you’re putting a lot of pressure onto it.

Pros:
+ Integrated air duster system.
+ Ergonomic elastomer grip.
+ Tool-free jam clearing.
+ Adjustable drive depth.
+ 360 degree air exhaust ports.

Why We Like It – This nailer offers a simple, straightforward and easy-to-use design that works well on nearly any work surface, even in tight spaces or places where maximum power is needed.


2. Paslode 902400 Finish Nailer

Paslode 902400 Finish Nailer

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON →

This angled finish nailer is built for precision, handling tight spaces and awkward corners extremely well. The battery power source can fire up to 12000 nails before running dry, and the low overall weight of the tool means that it’s incredibly portable even when fully loaded.

Even better, it’s completely cordless and has a small overall size for easier handling regardless of the situation. The no-mar tip prevents damage to the work surface while still making it easier to fire the nails, and the angled magazine means that it’s easier to use in tight spaces where there isn’t as much room for a larger design.

Pros:
+ Extremely lightweight.
+ Easy to use in small areas.
+ No-mar tip.
+ Very accurate and precise.
+ No air compressor needed.

Why We Like It – This finish nailer is perfect for driving finish nails into small areas where you can’t fit a larger nail gun design, all while keeping the work surface protected from damage.


3. NuMax SFN64 Finish Nailer

NuMax SFN64 Finish Nailer

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON →

This straight finish nailer uses 16 gauge finish nails to deal with a range of tough and durable surfaces, working well for almost any task from cabinet building to crown molding. The quick-release jam preventing system means that you can easily clear the nail gun without having to take it apart, and the depth adjustment options ensure that you can always choose the exact depth you need for the current work surface. The straight magazine and simple design make it a very easy-to-use finish nail gun, and it works well for any kind of standard task without being too specific to use for generic construction and repair jobs.

Pros:
+ Drives strong 16 gauge finish nails.
+ Useful depth adjustment features.
+ Easy to use jam release.
+ Simple design.
+ 100 nail magazine capacity.

Why We Like It – This finish nailer can work for a wide variety of tasks thanks to its high magazine capacity, ease of use and all-round quality as a tool.


4. PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Finish Nailer

PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Finish Nailer

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON →

This 16 gauge straight finish nailer uses a single strong battery as its power source, with no need for compressed air or gas. The design has multiple optional settings to maximize your safety while working and uses a strong motor that can provide plenty of drive power while also being surprisingly lightweight.

A magazine capacity of 100 nails lets it last a long time without needing to reload, and the nail size means that this doesn’t add much bulk to the tool as a whole. It also has a tool-free jam release, stall release, and depth adjustment system for extra convenience while working away from your other tools.

Pros:
+ Tool-free jam release.
+ Easy depth adjustment.
+ Simple straight finish nailer design.
+ Built-in LED lights.
+ 100 nail magazine capacity.

Why We Like It – This finish nailer handles most situations really well and doesn’t force you to rely on a special tool every time it jams or stalls during a job.


5. Metabo HPT Finish Nailer

Metabo HPT Finish Nailer

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON →

This 16 gauge straight finish nailer uses a standard magazine design that stays out of the way, as well as an integrated air duster that works as an adjustable exhaust at the front of the tool, keeping compressed air out of your face.

You can adjust the drive without needing an external tool, and the adjustable exhaust can move a full 360 degrees to suit the current situations. The trigger area has an elastomer grip that provides both comfort and better stability during a tricky project, as well as making it easier to use at an awkward angle without the release mechanism getting damaged.

Pros:
+ Ergonomically designed.
+ No adjustment tool needed.
+ 360 degree adjustable exhaust port.
+ Reliable grip design.
+ Handles multiple nail size options.

Why We Like It – Unlike many finish nailers, this design is as basic as possible, focusing entirely on a few key features to help you stay comfortable for longer.


6. Makita AF601 Straight Finish Nailer

Makita AF601 Straight Finish Nailer

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON →

This efficient straight finish nailer has two different settings, one for bump-firing a single nail and another for firing them sequentially. You don’t need any tool to alter the depth adjustment settings, and there’s a built-in lock-out mechanism to prevent dry-firing a nail when you don’t mean to.

The built-in air duster improves airflow regardless of the nail size, and there are large windows on the magazine to make it clear when you need to reload. A special reversible belt hook makes it easy to keep near, and the low base weight of only 3.8 pounds means that it’s still much lighter than most other finish nailers.

Pros:
+ Special reversible belt hook.
+ Adjustable exhaust port.
+ Air duster.
+ Simple selector switch.
+ Rear-loading magazine with windows.

Why We Like It – This straight finish nailer is very light and easy to carry with a belt hook, but its performance is also much better than you might expect at first glance.


7. Metabo NT65MA4 HPT Finish Nailer

Metabo NT65MA4 HPT Finish Nailer

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON →

This powerful 15 gauge angled finish nailer uses a magazine shape that keeps out of your way, as well as a two-point switch for choosing the firing mode. You don’t need any tools to use the adjustable depth features or clear it if it’s jammed, and the adjustable exhaust gives you a way to keep air out of your face while you’re working.

The entire finish nailer has low weight: 4.2 pounds in total, making it a very light option to carry around with you. Any air hoses can be installed in the base of the finish nailer and angled upwards, making them much less of a nuisance and keeping them away from the work surface.

Pros:
+ Bottom-mounted air pipe.
+ No-mar tip.
+ No un-jamming tool needed.
+ Built-in air duster.
+ Simple actuation switch.

Why We Like It – This angled finish nailer is both convenient to fire and simple to handle, meaning that it’s a great choice for tasks where you need to be careful.


8. DEWALT Finish Nailer

DEWALT Finish Nailer

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON →

 

This 16 gauge straight finish nailer uses a special 360 degree adjustable exhaust to keep your face safe and only send out air to a safe place, and uses a special low-profile no-mar tip to prevent damage to the surface you’re working on. Thanks to the tool-free design, you can use the jam release and depth adjustment features without needing an extra tool to tweak them.

The unit comes with its own carrying case and some sample nails that you can use to test the finish nailer without using up your own – not only that, but it also has a belt hook to make it easier to carry around when you’re not using it.

Pros:
+ Adjustable belt hook piece.
+ Comes with a carrying case.
+ Low profile straight finish nailer design.
+ Oil-free motor design.
+ Adjustable exhaust system.

Why We Like It – The simple straight finish nailer design of this tool hides the useful extra features it can offer, all of which make work just a little bit easier.

9. Freeman Nail Gun Set

Freeman Nail Gun Set

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON →

 

This framing nail gun set comes with multiple pneumatic finish nailers, giving you the tools you need to perform a wide range of different tasks. Each of the pneumatic finish nailers is heavy-duty and perfect for accurate, precise work on almost any work surface, whether it’s on a roof or part of an indoor cabinet.

Not only that, but the set also comes with a special carrying bag made of canvas that can store a range of different tool types, and each individual pneumatic finish nailer is made with special steel drive blades, anodized aluminum magazines, and a quick jam release system to make sure that you suffer as few setbacks as possible.

Pros:
+ Comes with multiple pneumatic finish nailers.
+ Includes a canvas carry bag.
+ Perfect for a wide range of tasks.
+ Designed to fail or jam less often.
+ Built to offer the best finish nailing possible.

Why We Like It – Each of the finish nailers in this kit is durable, flexible and easy to use, making them perfect for people who use more than one tool to get a job done.

10. BOSTITCH Finish Nailer

BOSTITCH Finish Nailer

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON →

This high-quality angled finish nailer uses an angled magazine that minimizes the size of the front of the tool, making it great for tight spaces and small areas. You can swap between four different profile tips to suit each surface or fire nails at specific sideways angles, and the magnesium housing used in the design reduces weight while also massively boosting the overall durability of the pneumatic nailer. Unlike many finish nailers, it’s also very lightweight and easy to carry at a mere 3.8 pounds, making it even easier to use than some small nailers with a weight 4 pounds or over.

Pros:
+ Very lightweight magnesium-based design.
+ Alternate tips to fire nails at angles.
+ Can hold multiple nail size types.
+ Extremely high driving power.
+ Removable and easy-to -unjam magazine.

Why We Like It – This angled finish nailer is built for versatility, letting you shoot nails at multiple angled and keep yourself comfortable while doing it.


Finish Nailer Buyer’s Guide

Like all tools, a finish nailer can come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, and it’s not always easy to decide what you need. Even a difference as small as a straight finish nailer against an angled finish nailer can make a significant difference, especially if you’re not that knowledgeable about the tools and can struggle to identify what each design is supposed to be used for.

After all, having the wrong tool is only slightly better than not having a tool at all, and it’s quite likely that the wrong type of finish nailer can produce awful results that you’ll have to spend more time and money to fix.

Pneumatic or Cordless

One of the bigger debates relating to finish nailers is whether or not a cordless design is better than one with an air cord. They both have their advantages and disadvantages, but neither is the “right choice”, and there’s never any guarantee that they’ll work in the same way. However, each nailer design is different, and some finish nailer styles are actually technically a combination of both in one way or another.

Nail Gun

Pneumatic nail guns require more setup time and can be harder to handle since they need compressed air (either from a constantly-connected hose, a standalone tank or a small disposable canister. This can add to their bulk and force you to manage the air separately: unlike a battery power source, having to compress air on your own takes more than just a cable or power source cord, and large-scale jobs might require you to have multiple tanks that you can rotate in and out to keep a constant supply of air going.

A hose-based design eliminates this problem, but also means that you have to keep a hose connected, which adds another obstacle to the space you’re working in and can easily trip somebody up or get cut with a sharp tool that slips.

Of course, you might not need an air cord at all if the entire system is electric: many battery-powered finish nailers still need air, but not all of them, depending on how they’re built and what they’re supposed to do. It’s very easy to be overwhelmed by all of the different specific designs and how they work, so don’t close yourself off to either type of nailer unless you’re sure you won’t want to use them. Some are made with gas cartridges that are meant to be disposed of afterward, and others might be made with rechargeable batteries that can be reused over and over again until they break or get lost.

Firing Modes

Just like a regular gun, a nail gun can have multiple firing modes. However, not all nailer types have them, and some are specifically designed around a particular method of firing finish nails as a specialist tool. If you’re not familiar with these firing modes already, it might not be clear how they’re supposed to work, so it’s a good idea to be familiar with what the terms and names actually mean before you try to decide on a finish nailer for yourself.

Bump firing is the equivalent of an automatic tool, firing a nail every time you press the tip of the nailer to the surface you’re working on as long as the trigger is held down (some models don’t even need you to use the trigger, and will fire regardless). This is a great time-saver and can help you quickly set up nails into objects, which can be useful if you’re trying to set up supports on a flimsy wall or repairing a hole before more damage can be done to it. However, it can also come with a chance of firing a nail, which is one of the reasons that even some professionals only use it when they absolutely have to.

Carpenter using nail gun close up

Sequential firing is more like a semi-automatic tool, firing a nail every time you pull the trigger. Many designs will also require you to place the tip on the surface, but not always. This mode is much easier to control and is often said to be safer than using bump firing, but it can take longer, and some designs are still capable of letting you accidentally fire a nail if you’re not careful with the trigger.

Finally, there’s safety: while it’s not really a firing mode as such, the option to completely stop the nailer from being able to load and fire nails can be incredibly useful if you’re not actually ready to use it. Some safety features are passive (such as needing you to press two points while also pulling the trigger to fire a nail) and others are active (a switch that can be flipped to completely stop the nail magazine mechanism), but they all have the same basic purpose.

Magazine Angle

An angled magazine and a straight magazine might just seem like aesthetic choices at first, but they’re meant to be used for very different things. A straight (or “stick”) magazine is generally parallel to the body of the finish nailer as if it was a real gun. Because of this design, the nails go out facing straight, and they often have to be slightly smaller than with angled magazines. However, they’re easier to use for light jobs and work perfectly fine at flat 90-degree angles, so they only struggle when being used for more complex tasks.

An angled magazine, by contrast, using a thicker and heavier set of nails than a straight nailer. These nails have more weight (sometimes a total weight 4 times larger than thinner options from straight nailers) and can be more expensive, but you’re also able to use the finish nailer in smaller and more awkward spaces without getting it stuck against a surface. Because of this, they can also be used at less strict angles, something that’s very useful if you’re dealing with more than just a straight finish situation.

Carpenter brad using nail gun to moldings on windows, framing trim, with the warning label that all power tools have on them shown illustrating safety concept

Some magazine designs will have special features, like a window that shows the remaining nails or the ability to store extra nails on the outside, that can help you reload faster or keep track of how many nails you have left. Some of the best sets might even come with multiple nail magazines so that you can always have at least one loaded and ready to swap out when you fire your last nail from the first magazine.

An angled finish nailer doesn’t usually need special nails, at least not in the usual sense: after all, the angled finish variety is more of a design choice, and the most that will usually change is the nail size. However, be aware that some types of nails might be specifically meant for certain nailers, so always look into the type of nail (or nails, if it accepts multiple) that it can load and fire.

Purpose and Features

Not all finish nailers are perfect for every task, and some are actually only supposed to be used in certain ways. Aside from the obvious (a nailer with a weight 4 times heavier than another is probably meant for larger jobs, for example), there’s also a huge variety of features and design choices that can alter what they’re supposed to do and how they work.

The “weight 4 times heavier” comment isn’t just an example: some finish nailer designs are meant to be lightweight and maneuverable, while others are heavier and meant to drive nails up to 2 inches into a surface for maximum durability and results.

Even an angled finish nailer and a straight finish nailer of the same size and weight can have different purposes depending purely because of their magazine designs (an angled magazine allows for less strict firing angles), and there’s also a wide variety of optional features you can find or intentionally search for.

For example, one finish nailer might be built for dealing with crown molding, while another could have a special no-mar tip that’s supposed to work well on a very niche type of surface. There are also things like the power source, the length, the size of each nail (a nail size below 2 inches might be worse for certain types of tasks, for example) and even the type of nails used. Some nails are bigger than others, and the size and shape of a nail often change what it’s supposed to be used for.

Branding and Names

Like all tools, each brand has its own features and key elements, and there will always be an individual “best finish nailer” in their product line for you. However, one best finish nailer might not compare that well to other brands’ offerings, so be sure to compare them properly.

It might sound odd, but distinguishing between different finish nailers by name is also important. For example, let’s take the Hitachi NT65MA4, angled finish nailers with a very specific design to them. Even though the Hitachi NT65MA4 looks somewhat similar to the DEWALT D51257K (despite the different magazine angle), they have completely different internal parts that change the way they work and how they operate compared to one another. If you want the specific parts and functions provided by the Hitachi NT65MA4, then you need to buy the Hitachi NT65MA4: even other, nearly-identical finish nailers might not have the exact same specs as it.

Think about differences within brands, too. The DEWALT D51257K is obviously not the same as the Hitachi NT65MA4: it clearly a different product from the DEWALT D51257K just by name alone, but it’s easy to mix them it with the DEWALT DC618K, which is completely different in terms of what the finish nailers offer you. If you’re told that the DEWALT D51257K is one of the best finish nailers for your personal needs, you’ll want to make sure you don’t buy the DEWALT DC618K. A lot of similar names can get thrown around, so finding the best finish nailers can sometimes take a lot of patience and careful searching for exact serial numbers or model names.

Which is better: a 15 or 16 gauge finish nailer?

Carpenter brad using nail gun to Crown Moulding on kitchen cabinets framing trim, with the warning label that all power tools have on them shown illustrating safety concept

15 and 16 gauge nailers might seem similar on paper, but they’re actually very different and can often have very specific specifications compared to one another. However, explaining them isn’t all that difficult, since it’s mostly based on the nail size they can handle.

15 gauge finish nailers are meant to take nails around three or four inches thick, and they’re generally used for stair treads or other soft-to-medium surfaces or simpler tasks. This isn’t always the case, but in most circumstances, they’re still going to struggle with thicker or harder materials that they can’t quite penetrate properly. 16 gauge finish nailers, on the other hand, shoot nails that are only 0.5 to 2 inches long in total. These are more used for thick trims and carpenter jobs but still comes in all kinds of designs and specifications.

Overall, you choose the nail size, gauge and overall finish nailer design that you think will work best for your current situation. There isn’t a single design that can accommodate every single situation and job, so make sure that you find something that fits instead of picking a finish nailer that won’t actually help you.

What is the difference between a Brad Nailer and a Finish Nailer?

A brand nailer can look almost exactly the same as a finish nailer, and for many people, the difference won’t actually be that noticeable. However, if you need something very specific, you’ll want to know the difference between finish nailers and brad nailers so that you know which one to choose.

The main difference between the two is the nail size: a brad nailer will use brad nails, while finish nailers use finish nails. A brad nail is very small and lightweight, meaning that it’s meant to be used for dealing with light elements and thinner surfaces rather than heavy-duty work.

However, since the nails are lighter, the nailer is too, which leaves more room for extra features like an angled finish (or just a lighter frame overall) while still being usable. On the other hand, finish nailers can be heavier and use larger nails: these are more suitable for tougher work, and can still deal with the lightweight surfaces well, but they’re still going to be a bit more clumsy.

At the end of the day, a finish nailer will cover both types, but if you want the best finish nailers possible for a thin surface or some light-duty work, then go for a brad design instead. The only downside is the fact that you’re restricted to small nail types, so you might have to buy a second finish nailer if you suddenly have to do larger tasks that need bigger nails.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this review and buyers guide has given you a bit more insight into finish nailers and how to find the best one for your current job, whether it’s an angled finish nailer, a straight design or something a bit more unconventional.

However, your journey might not stop here: if you still want to do more research into other nailers and look at related posts on review sites, go ahead! The more you know, the easier it’ll be to find the best nailers for you! Be sure to look for compatible nail types or bundles of nails too, since you’ll need nails to get your nailer working once it arrives.

Related posts

Campbell Hausfeld 3 Gal Air Compressor Review

Bill Allen

10 Best Angle Grinders in 2020

Bill Allen

10 Best Cordless Impact Wrenches in 2020

Bill Allen

8 Best Track Saws in 2020

Bill Allen

8 Best Tile Saws in 2020

Bill Allen

10 Best 4000 PSI Pressure Washers in 2020

Bill Allen