The 3 Best Air Nailer Reviews in 2021 with Buying Guide

FramingNailersGuide is reader-supported. If you buy an item through the links on this site, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more

Last Updated on March 27, 2021 by John Patterson

Best Air Nailer Reviews

Those days of old hammers to nail are gone.

If you have a big enough project to work on, the pneumatic air nailers happen to be the most suitable solution in 2021.

That being said, there are plenty of models from dozens of brands that offer ‘the best nail gun of the universe’ in their advertisements.

If you don’t have a prior sense of what’s good and what’s wrong, you may end up with a couple of hundred dollars wasted.

Hold your horses; we’re not done yet.

To provide you with a list of heavy-duty Air Nailers for 2021, we’ve gone through 34 total best nail guns models and hand-picked the best few of them.

Later on, we took expert advice to break down their features and specs.

When you’re done reading this, you’ll undoubtedly be able to distinguish between them, and chose the right one for your nailing purpose-

Best Air Nailer Reviews of 2021 (Top Picks)

Preview
Best Overall
Hitachi NT65M2S 16-Gauge 1-Inch to 2-1/2-Inch Finish Nailer
Best Value
DEWALT Finish Nailer Kit, 18GA, 5/8-Inch to 2-Inch (DWFP12231)
Best Budget
NuMax SFR2190 Pneumatic 21 Degree 3-1/2" Full Round Head Framing...
Title
Hitachi NT65M2S 16-Gauge 1-Inch to 2-1/2-Inch Finish Nailer
DEWALT Finish Nailer Kit, 18GA, 5/8-Inch to 2-Inch (DWFP12231)
NuMax SFR2190 Pneumatic 21 Degree 3-1/2" Full Round Head Framing...
Editor's Rating
5/5
5/5
5/5
Prime Status
-
Best Overall
Preview
Hitachi NT65M2S 16-Gauge 1-Inch to 2-1/2-Inch Finish Nailer
Title
Hitachi NT65M2S 16-Gauge 1-Inch to 2-1/2-Inch Finish Nailer
Editor's Rating
5/5
Prime Status
-
Full Review
Best Value
Preview
DEWALT Finish Nailer Kit, 18GA, 5/8-Inch to 2-Inch (DWFP12231)
Title
DEWALT Finish Nailer Kit, 18GA, 5/8-Inch to 2-Inch (DWFP12231)
Editor's Rating
5/5
Prime Status
Full Review
Best Budget
Preview
NuMax SFR2190 Pneumatic 21 Degree 3-1/2" Full Round Head Framing...
Title
NuMax SFR2190 Pneumatic 21 Degree 3-1/2" Full Round Head Framing...
Editor's Rating
5/5
Prime Status
Full Review

#1. Hitachi NT65M2S Finish Nailer

Hitachi NT65M2S Finish Nailer

Hitachi NT65M2S 16-Gauge 1-Inch to 2-1/2-Inch Finish Nailer
256 Reviews
Hitachi NT65M2S 16-Gauge 1-Inch to 2-1/2-Inch Finish Nailer
  • 16-gauge finish nailer with selective actuation...
  • 360-degree adjustable exhaust directs air away...
  • Tool free depth of drive; easy clear nose;...
  • Comes with safety glasses, 1/4-inch NPT male plug,...
  • Comes with a 5-year limited warranty

Hitachi knows as a global giant in tools and electronics had done their best to design the Hitachi NT65M2S Finish Nailer. For any pneumatic nail gun, it’s quite rare to have these many features and functionalities in one place.

Not only that, it had provided proper attention to the safety and comfort of the user as well.

What We Liked
    • Easy to switch between two different firing modes.
    • Tool-free depth of drive adjustment.
    • Air duster button for hassle-free air bypass.
    • Comfortable operating with the gripped handle.
    • Takes fasteners sizing from 1 inch to 2-½ inches.
    • Weighs only 3.7 pounds, pretty much lightweight.
    • Operates at a pressure of 70-120 psi.
    • The magazine can hold up to 100 fasteners at a time.
    • Quick and straightforward nail extraction.
    • 360-degree air exhaust adjustment provided.
    • It comes with a 15 gauge version as well.
    • It provides a safety glass along with the package.
    • Also, a hex bar wrench, no-mar tip, and a tool fitting provided.
    • For comfortable carrying, it comes with a carrying case.
    • Easy to use.

What We Didn't Like
  • No sequential trigger found, which was expected to be there.

We will have a more in-depth discussion of the features for this best nail gun below-

Features and Benefits

Easy Adjustment of the Drive Depth:

Measuring the depth of drive is one of the steps to get started with a finish nailing job. To make that easier, this device comes with a tool-less measurement system of the depth of the drive dial. Adjusting the drive depth won’t be an issue anymore.

Built-in Air Duster Button:

The driving force of an air nailer is, of course, compresses air. When you connect the best nail gun with the air compressor, the air duster button will come in help. It will allow the air to pass through the nailing function. Also, when it comes to expelling the air from a hole, the nail gun will help you to clean up the dust sourced from the workspace.

Safe and Comfortable Holding:

From a loosely held air nailer, it’s hard to be precise on the job. But worry not; this Hitachi NT65M2S Finish Nail Gun has got an elastomeric grip right on the handle. No matter how sweaty your hands or palms are, you won’t miss a secure holding on it.

Easy Transition with the Simple Flip Switch:

Right at the control panel, there is a simple flip actuation switch. Now, what is the role of it? Well, it will let you transit between the rapid sequential fire and the bump fire mode. Based on the nailing type you’re up to, the best nail guns frequently use both of these moods.

Quick and Simple Extraction of the Nails:

Nail jamming is one of the most irritating issues that you have to face during the process of nailing. But this tool has got something for you up there. There is a tool-free nose to extract those nails without causing up any prior jamming or stuck-up situation.

Protection of the Workpiece from Damage:

It’s not always a sturdy and robust object that you are nailing on. Sometimes, it can be your expensive work desk or any important furniture that you don’t want to be damaged. To let you be assured of that, there is a no-mar tip installed into this best nail gun. It will protect the work surface from damage when you are nailing in full swing.

Adjustable Exhaust Ports:

As the device is going to use compressed air as the power source, there will be air extractions in it. Not to irritate you with the air exhaust, there is an exhaust port directed away from the position of the user. On top of that, the exhaust port is fully adjustable to set it around at any angle.

Both 15 Gauge and 16 Gauge Version Available:

Well, sometimes it’s not essential to get a heavy-duty air nailer with 16 gauge. In case you want to do down to lower power, this best nail gun has another 15 gauge version for you. Also, there is another offer where you can purchase the 16 gauge version with finish nails provided along.

#2. DEWALT DWFP12231 Pneumatic Brad Nail Gun

DEWALT DWFP12231 Pneumatic Brad Nailer

Sale
DEWALT Finish Nailer Kit, 18GA, 5/8-Inch to 2-Inch (DWFP12231)
2,604 Reviews
DEWALT Finish Nailer Kit, 18GA, 5/8-Inch to 2-Inch (DWFP12231)
  • This electric finish nailer has long life,...
  • Tool-free depth-of-drive adjustment with detents...
  • Tool-free jam release mechanism for easy nail...
  • Rear exhaust to keep contaminates away from work
  • Drives 18 gauge nails from 5/8-inch to 2-inch...

Dewalt had earned its place as one of the top-rated power tools manufacturers in the industry. And this DEWALT DWFP12231 best nail gun that we’re about to discuss is just another excellent example of their excellence.

What We Liked
    • Extended life maintenance with no staining.
    • Jam release mechanism built-in.
    • Takes fasteners from ⅝ inches to 2 inches.
    • Non-marring nose tip.
    • Tool-free adjustment of depth drive.
    • Rear exhaust for hassle-free operation.
    • Rubber grip-induced handle design.
    • Ease of use function.

What We Didn't Like
  • No switching between the firing models.

This 18 gauge best nail gun is a safe, secure, and functioning model, which will take on overall most of your framing works. Let’s go through the detailed discussion and figure the features out-

Features and Benefits

18 Gauges Nail Gun with up to 2 inches Length:

First of all, it’s an 18 gauge nail gun, which can take in fasteners from ⅝ inches to 2 inches in length. It’s a pneumatic nail gun, and that’s what farmers call a convenient air nailer.

Requires Way less Maintenance:

When it comes to motors, framers mark it as the best disturbing part. But not anymore with the motor of DEWALT DWFP12231 pneumatic nail gun. It’s made to require less cleaning and no adjustment.

No Jam with the Tool-Free Jam Release:

Although it’s a pretty good air nailer, it’s not entirely jam-free. But to get it out of that zone, you don’t need to take up it to an expert or to open up it to the bottom.

Rear Exhaust Design:

Exhaust comes to be in different positions in different best nail guns. This DEWALT DWFP12231 has got a rear exhaust, and that’s very smart of Dewalt. Containments will not be on your way anymore.

Adjustable Belt Hook:

You won’t keep the nail gun right on your palm on time. To store it on your tool belt or tool pouch, there is an adjustable belt hook provided.

Accurate Settings on the Nail Heads:

Having the right measurement on the nail heads is one of the most critical aspects of an air nailing job. To help you with that, there is a tool-free adjustment of the depth of the drive.

Light Weight and Compact Design:

Dewalt has many reasons to be unique, and this is undoubtedly one of them. The body is made of magnesium, and it delivers a lightweight and robust design. Carrying it won’t be an issue at all.

Comfortable Grip for Safe Handing:

The ability to hold the nail gun with comfort and safety is pretty, and the best nail guns can’t negotiate with that anyway. The integrated rubber grip in this device will be a significant advantage in this regard.

#3. NuMax SFR2190 21 Degree Framing Nailer

NuMax SFR2190 21 Degree Framing Nailer

NuMax SFR2190 Pneumatic 21 Degree 3-1/2' Full Round Head Framing...
4,875 Reviews
NuMax SFR2190 Pneumatic 21 Degree 3-1/2" Full Round Head Framing...
  • Nailed It: This 21 degree pneumatic framing nailer...
  • Versatile and Powerful: The framing nailer...
  • The Right Tool for the Job: We're committed to...
  • Quality and Durability: We manufacture tools with...
  • Tough and Dependable: We make an array of durable...

The last pick of the best nail gun list is the NuMax SFR2190 21 Degree Framing Nailer, which happens to be one of the most popular models in the market. But due to a few drawbacks, we’ve to list it in the last place.

What We Liked
    • 360-degree air exhausts design.
    • Depth adjustment made easy and customizable.
    • No sleep teeth and no-mar tip for secure fitting with the workpiece.
    • Air filtration dust cap provided.
    • Soft and ergonomic handle.
    • The magnesium made the lightweight design.
    • This best nail gun has ease of use function.

What We Didn't Like
  • Not able to intake smaller nails that 2 inches.

Features and Benefits

Compatible with Different Work Surfaces:

The NuMax SFR2190 framing nailer is well known for its compatibility with different surfaces. There is a depth adjustment feature along with a no-mar tip, which makes it this capable.

Light Weight and Durable:

Carrying an air nailer sometimes becomes a pain because of its massive weight. But not anymore, as long as you own this compact model. The body is made of durable magnesium, which gives lightweight and durability at the same time.

No-slip Teeth:

To ensure a perfect fitting on the wooden surface, you’re working on; there is a no-slip tooth right under the no-mar tip. Secure fitting won’t be any issues anymore.

Soft and Ergonomic Grip:

It’s one of the best parts of this top-notch nail gun, and it’s the soft, ergonomic grip design on the handle. Even with sweaty hands, you can hold it tight.

Anti Dust Cap on the Air Filter:

To make sure that the dust and debris don’t get into the core of the device, there is a dust cap right onto the air filter.

How to Choose the Top-quality Air Nailer?

To hone up your buying decisions to even more perfection, we’ve got a complete buying guide at this point of the reviews-

Types of power

There are majorly three types of powering systems of air nailers- pneumatic, fuel-driven, and battery-driven. We’ve picked up all of our models in this list based on a pneumatic power requirement, and this happens to be most convenient for professional nailing.

The Firing Modes

There are two types of firing modes in air nail guns- sequential firing and bump firing. Each of these has its cases of applications, but a good quality air nailer should contain the ability to switch between these two firing modes.

The Fastener In taking Capacity

In terms of both number and size, there are different ranges of fastener intake capacity for different models. Most of the models can house ¾ inches to around 3 inches of fasteners.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

#1. What type of air nailer do I need?

Air nail guns or pneumatic nail guns are used for various purposes. If you are searching for a nailer that compliments your project, then you must gauge your work. Only then will you understand which air nailer would best fit your job.

These best nail guns are primarily used to construct wooden objects and wooden finishing. As a result, you need to be familiar with the standard air nail guns. Some of the usual air nail guns are- framing nailers, roofing nailers, flooring nailers, finish nailers, pin nailers, staple nailers, and brad nailers.

Framing nail guns are used on wood framing in construction jobs. Roofing nail guns are for installing roofs. Flooring nail guns are utilized to attach floorboards securely. Finishing nail guns are for indoor trims and other small jobs. Finally, a brad nailer is used for precision jobs such as small wood projects, upholstery, etc.

#2. What is an air nailer used for?

An air nailer is used for numerous wood construction and wood finishing jobs. Air nail guns or pneumatic nail guns are powerful machines that drive nails into wood. It launches nails at ultra-high speed, thus, making the process of nailing much less time-consuming.

Air nail guns are used for sub-floorings, deck building, fencing, framing, wainscoting. It can also be deployed to install roofs, floorboards, sidings, trimmings, and moldings. Moreover, you can use it to construct wooden frames, decks, fences, and any other wooden finishing and wooden construction.

#3. How does an air nailer work?

Since air nail guns are intermittent power tools that are operated by compressed air, there is a minimum requirement of air pressure for them. This versatile tool is either powered by electricity or gasoline.

There is an air compressor inside the device that compresses the air. Then that air is propelled through a hose into a holding area in the nail gun. Generally, the nail gun has a piston attached to it, known as a driver.

The driver is the main object that contacts the nail’s head and pushes it into the work surface. As the trigger is released, it propels the piston downwards and attaches the pin to the surface.

#4. What size air nailer for trim work?

The ideal size of a nailer for trim work is a combination of a 15-gauge finish nailer and an 18-gauge brad nailer. Its 15-gauge nails can quickly secure heavy trim materials such as door jambs. Additionally, it has an angled nose perfect for nooks and crannies, corners, and driving toenails fast.

However, it can be too thick for a fine nailing task; this is where an 18-gauge brad nailer saves the day.

An 18-gauge nailer is ideal for the thin section of the door or window casing. Using this nailer, you will make sure that larger nails do not protrude and destroy the doors’ beautiful frames.

Another advantage is when both the guns are connected to the compressor with different hoses, it is easier to nail the inside and the outside edge of the casings without changing the nails.

#5. How much air does a framing nailer need?

A framing nailer is used for operating heavy-duty jobs such as subflooring, deck building, etc. Framing nail guns typically work with three to three-and-a-half-inch nails when driving nails into framing studs while constructing a rough framing.

Hence, it requires a good amount of power from the air compressor. As a result, it is best to set the air compressor with 3.3 CFM (cubic feet per minute) air volume at 130 psi (pounds per square inch).

#6. How much air pressure for brad nailer?

A brad nailer is used for embedding nails into wall and door trimmings. The nails used are typically thin, flat-headed nails and are lightweight. Hence, they do not require a lot of power from the air compressor.

As a relatively light intermittent power, the ideal power demanded is 0.3 CFM (cubic feet per minute) air volume at 90 PSI (pounds per square inch).

#7. How much air pressure for the finish nailer?

Finish nail guns are deployed for precision wood finishing projects. It holds small brad nails that are two inches and customarily uses “U” shaped staples. These are used for small wood projects, such as trims, wainscoting, bolts of doors, walls, and windows.

As it is used for smaller projects, the power of the air compressor is relatively low. It uses 2.0 CFM (cubic feet per minute) air volume at 90 psi (pounds per square inch).

#8. What size air compressor for a nail gun?

The air compressor’s size primarily depends on the type of nail being used and the duration for which it is being used.

For a high-standard portable air compressor, 2 CFM (cubic feet per minute) air volume at 90 PSI (pounds per square inch) is enough for the nail gun to operate for fifteen minutes.

On the other hand, a nail gun that is medium built can produce 30 nail drives in a minute, and a compact can run 70 times in a minute. For a larger heavy-duty nail gun, you will need an air volume with a bigger CFM.

Besides, a helpful method to identify CFM requirements is to work out the highest CFM rating of your air nailer then divide it by 1.5. That is the average CFM required for your nailing job. Just by doing that, you can find out the proper CFM of the nail gun.

#9. Do all nail guns need an air compressor?

Nail guns come in different shapes and sizes. It can be pneumatic (air), cordless, and electric. It is up to the user to determine which nailer will be suitable for them.

Pneumonic nail guns have to be connected to an air compressor. This is the most powerful and reliable tool among the ones offered.

Another type is the cordless ones which are battery operated and are convenient as it is portable. Finally, the electric nail guns are targeted towards smaller-scale work. They have to be hooked to electrical outlets making them slightly less convenient than the battery-operated cordless nail guns.

#10. Should I get a 16- or 18-gauge nailer?

Whether you want to opt for a 16-gauge nail or an 18-gauge nail, it will depend on the type of project you have undertaken.

A thinner nail accompanies a higher gauge number. Hence an 18-gauge nailer uses a thinner nail than a 16-gauge nail. Thicker nails provide more stability and better upholding strength. These are significant factors for heavy-duty and structural work. On the flip side, the thinner 18-gauge nails ensure a clean finish.

Keeping the above points in mind, if you are buildings with a structure that requires stability and structural upholding, use a 16- gauge nailer, but if you want a smoother finish in work, use an 18-gauge nail.

#11. What is the difference between a 21-degree nailer and a 28-degree nailer?

The magazine angle does not affect the way a nail appears from the nailer. Its purpose is just to save space. Average best nail guns that launch brands and staples are designed with a zero-degree magazine angle; however, some framing nails are flat, which requires a more extended magazine angle.

A 28-degree nailer is more compact and has clipped heads. In contrast, the 21-degree nailer is not as smaller and has full-heads. Usually, for a heavy air nailer, a 21-degree magazine angle is ideal as nails with full heads are needed nails.

Besides, your gun does not need as much power for installing interior trim, so a 28-degree nailer would be more convenient in that case. The 28-degree nailer saves more space and is perfect for tight corners compared to a 21-degree nailer.

Final Verdict

Air nail guns are one of the best air tools, of course, an essential part of modern contracting and framing works.

With a keen eye kept on the actual values, you can be able to find out the best nailer for yourself from our top picks.
Good luck!

About the author

John Patterson

Hi there! My name is John Patterson. I’m a meticulous guy who loves to deal with the perfect tools for various needs. No matter if it’s a woodworking tool or gardening tool or anything else, I don’t compromise the quality and usability. Since 2010 I’ve been testing different tools for different DIY and professional tasks. Later in 2015, I decided to share my knowledge with the world. I started by answering people in the forums and several Q/A sites like Quora. Then I founded this blog to aid others like you with my knowledge and experience.