Pin Nailer vs Brad Nailer- The Key Differences Explained

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Last Updated on January 15, 2023 by John Patterson

Pin Nailer vs Brad Nailer

No more Pin Nailer vs. Brad Nailer debate. Let’s read the differences between these two essential nail guns from the actual users.

Carpenters may use many kinds of tools to finish their carpentry works- like base and casing, board and batten, trim, wainscoting, or beadboard of any kind – there is a vast lineage of tools that make the project so much more relaxed and finer.

Most woodworkers use a pin nailer and a brad nailer to complete their project with the best finish and appealing look.

These works need the appropriate ” heavy-duty nailer gun,” depending on the project.

But how do you know which is the best one?  Sometimes you would have to utilize a pin nailer, or sometimes you would have to use a brad nailer, so please understand these two nailers.

Pin Nailer vs. Brad Nailer: Key differences

Difference between Pin Nailer and Brad Nailer

In this research article, we discussed these tools, their types, unique features, and benefits and Cons.

What is a pin nailer?

What is a Pin Nailer?

Pin nailer is the littlest finish nailer available, applying a very thin 23-gauge pin. It has come in a market with various brands and ranges in sizes from 2″ to 3/8″.

It’s a headless pin nailer of small size that comes off in the slightest visible hole. Although it’s small in size can penetrate any hardwood with respective ease.

Though the pin doesn’t have an arch, it can hold the material with tensile strength and cohesive force. The manufacturer usually uses a pin nailer to hold lightweight substances and clothes.

The pin nailer’s headless characteristic lets it get covered with the elements and gives you a beautiful finish.

Pin nailers finish a surface and are perfectly joined together, but it doesn’t have a head. It is quietly straight and thin. When you plug this in, you may scarcely see the opening in a solid object, so you do not need to putty, but it also hardly holds anything.

Most of the pin heavy-duty nailers would only take a pin that is 1 inch long, but it is also likely to have some chit model that you may utilize with two and up to 3/8 inch long pins.

Best Pin Nailer Comparison Chart of 2023

Preview
Best Choice
Hitachi NP35A Pin Nailer 23 Gauge, Accepts 5/8 to 1-3/8 Pin Nails,...
The Runner-Up
Grex P635 23 Gauge 1-3/8-Inch Length Headless Pinner
Best Value
BOSTITCH Pin Nailer 23 Gauge, 1/2-Inch to 1-3/16-Inch (HP118K)
Other Consideration
Cadex V2/21.55 21 Gauge Pinner / Brad Pin Nailer 1/2" - 2-3/16" Kit...
Other Consideration
Senco Fastening Systems 8F0001N 1-3/8" Headless Pinner
Title
Hitachi NP35A Pin Nailer 23 Gauge, Accepts 5/8 to 1-3/8 Pin Nails,...
Grex P635 23 Gauge 1-3/8-Inch Length Headless Pinner
BOSTITCH Pin Nailer 23 Gauge, 1/2-Inch to 1-3/16-Inch (HP118K)
Cadex V2/21.55 21 Gauge Pinner / Brad Pin Nailer 1/2" - 2-3/16" Kit...
Senco Fastening Systems 8F0001N 1-3/8" Headless Pinner
Power Source
Pneumatic
Pneumatic
Pneumatic
Air-powered
Corded-electric
Magazine Capacity
100
100
100
120
100
Operating Pressure
65-100 psi
60-100 psi
70-120 psi
70-100 psi
70-120 psi
Editor's Rating:
5/5
4.7/5
4.5/5
4.4/5
4.4/5
Prime Status
-
-
-
-
Best Choice
Preview
Hitachi NP35A Pin Nailer 23 Gauge, Accepts 5/8 to 1-3/8 Pin Nails,...
Title
Hitachi NP35A Pin Nailer 23 Gauge, Accepts 5/8 to 1-3/8 Pin Nails,...
Power Source
Pneumatic
Magazine Capacity
100
Operating Pressure
65-100 psi
Editor's Rating:
5/5
Prime Status
-
The Runner-Up
Preview
Grex P635 23 Gauge 1-3/8-Inch Length Headless Pinner
Title
Grex P635 23 Gauge 1-3/8-Inch Length Headless Pinner
Power Source
Pneumatic
Magazine Capacity
100
Operating Pressure
60-100 psi
Editor's Rating:
4.7/5
Prime Status
-
Best Value
Preview
BOSTITCH Pin Nailer 23 Gauge, 1/2-Inch to 1-3/16-Inch (HP118K)
Title
BOSTITCH Pin Nailer 23 Gauge, 1/2-Inch to 1-3/16-Inch (HP118K)
Power Source
Pneumatic
Magazine Capacity
100
Operating Pressure
70-120 psi
Editor's Rating:
4.5/5
Prime Status
Other Consideration
Preview
Cadex V2/21.55 21 Gauge Pinner / Brad Pin Nailer 1/2" - 2-3/16" Kit...
Title
Cadex V2/21.55 21 Gauge Pinner / Brad Pin Nailer 1/2" - 2-3/16" Kit...
Power Source
Air-powered
Magazine Capacity
120
Operating Pressure
70-100 psi
Editor's Rating:
4.4/5
Prime Status
-
Other Consideration
Preview
Senco Fastening Systems 8F0001N 1-3/8" Headless Pinner
Title
Senco Fastening Systems 8F0001N 1-3/8" Headless Pinner
Power Source
Corded-electric
Magazine Capacity
100
Operating Pressure
70-120 psi
Editor's Rating:
4.4/5
Prime Status
-

What is a brad nailer?

What is a Brad Nailer?The brad nailer is a ubiquitous finish nailer gun and one of the standard carpentry tools. Brad nailer comes from a woodworker name who called Brad.

It’s available utilizing an 18-gauge nailer, which is tinier than a regular nailer but has superb holding power when using it in the proper applications.

There are several varieties of brands of heavy-duty brad nailers in the market and range in sizes generally between 2″ and 5/8″. With a brad nailer with an excellent flat arch on the polished product, it’s also used to hold hardwood together with an excellent gauge value and added power to give an appealing look.

Brad nailer is a versatile woodworking tool for both beginners and professionals. You can use different pins sizes 2″ to 5/8″ for beadboard, base, and casing, decorating, and finishing on the cabinet.

The woodworkers love it very much because it never leaves a big hole in the surface of the workpiece. Overall, the brad nailer is more valuable than the pin nailer, and you can use it for most cabinetry finishing, trim work, and crown molding.

Best Brad Nailer Comparison Chart of 2023

Preview
Best Budget
WEN 61720 3/4-Inch to 2-Inch 18-Gauge Brad Nailer
Best Pick Overall
Hitachi NT50AE2 18-Gauge 5/8-Inch to 2-Inch Brad Nailer
Best Value
DEWALT Brad Nailer Kit, 18GA, 2-Inch (DWFP12231)
Title
WEN 61720 3/4-Inch to 2-Inch 18-Gauge Brad Nailer
Hitachi NT50AE2 18-Gauge 5/8-Inch to 2-Inch Brad Nailer
DEWALT Brad Nailer Kit, 18GA, 2-Inch (DWFP12231)
Editor's Rating:
5/5
5/5
5/5
Prime Status
-
Best Budget
Preview
WEN 61720 3/4-Inch to 2-Inch 18-Gauge Brad Nailer
Title
WEN 61720 3/4-Inch to 2-Inch 18-Gauge Brad Nailer
Editor's Rating:
5/5
Prime Status
-
Best Pick Overall
Preview
Hitachi NT50AE2 18-Gauge 5/8-Inch to 2-Inch Brad Nailer
Title
Hitachi NT50AE2 18-Gauge 5/8-Inch to 2-Inch Brad Nailer
Editor's Rating:
5/5
Prime Status
Best Value
Preview
DEWALT Brad Nailer Kit, 18GA, 2-Inch (DWFP12231)
Title
DEWALT Brad Nailer Kit, 18GA, 2-Inch (DWFP12231)
Editor's Rating:
5/5
Prime Status

Difference between 18 gauge and 23 gauge nailers

18 gauge vs. 23 gauge, among two of these nailers, 23 gauge is called pin nailers, and 18 gauge is called brad nailers.  Both belong to the day-to-day carpentry woodworking tools. These nailers are almost look alike, but there are some silent differences in features between these nailers.

Some of those features are taken up below.

Type of nail
A 23-gauge nailer‘s pin is headless. That’s why after inserting in a wood piece, it scarcely sees an opening in a solid object and gives a smooth finish. Where 18-gauge brad nailer has a large flat head, for this reason, the risk of brittle is so less. It also provides an appealing look.

Gauge range of nailer
A 23-gauge nailer’s pin ranges from 2″ to 3/8″, but it has much more holding power. It can join the materials with more precision where brad nailers range within a size from 2″ to 5/8″ with a joint hardwood with incredible gauge value.

Strength of nail
Though a 23-gauge pin is small in size, it has the cohesive force and gauge value typical for lesser-weight materials such as cloth, softwood, hardwood, plywood, etc.

On the other hand, brad nailers are bigger than pin nailers with high cohesive power, as they don’t need any putty or adhesive to keep the substances together.

Pin Nailer’s unique features and benefits

At this point in the discussion, let’s have an insight into the sole advantages of a pin nailer-

Secure Nailer Holes
The 23-gauge is a headless nailer that uses a slim, small nailer pin which is enough to make it stable that it does not take off any noticeable nailer holes.

If we are outlining to apply stain, varnish, or paint on the workpiece, we will not use it for any putting, and so on; on the other hand, we can save time and cash.

Tiny in Size, Stronger in Bonding
The little size of the nailer pin has the merits of not pulling apart the workpiece. However, an 18 gauge brad nailer won’t break the wood down when working with the regular range size piece.

It’s not always correct if you apply it on tiny furniture trim; on the contrary, you would never be worried about outlining the workpiece with the work of a pin nailer.

Easy Opening
The 23-gauge pin nailer will be the standard tool when working with a fragile trim piece that leads to opening quickly. This tiny pin will rarely crack any workpiece. It does not matter how small and feeble; it would also be, so this type of nailer is always the better choice when working on thin veneers to set up little trim on the furniture.

Pin Nailer Drawbacks

Not a Smooth Service for a Long Time
For a long time, the headless pin can’t give a smooth service to hold anything day after day without glue or adhesive. The holding power becomes less because of the decay of the nailer pin.

Not A Great Fit for All Trim Pieces
23-gauge nailer is handy for a 7/8×3/8 trim piece, not others. Sometimes it can’t shoot the pin straight, so you have to alternate tools.

Brad Nailer’s exclusive features and benefits

A Massive Holding Power
The 18-gauge brad nailer plugs will furnish a respectable load that contains the holding power. Also, it may not be enormous to get from 15-gauge nailers and other more substantial tools.

But the number is more than a pin nailer might provide. The fact that you may also utilize a brad nailer to nail the baseboard would be sufficient to display that it significantly enhances the holding power.

Versatility in Use
A brad nailer is a powerful tool that you can use in almost any project. You may always have works that will need you to draw out the brad nailer whether you are making the house improvement like building cabinets or crown molding. Also, this is dissimilar to a pin nailer because it is only useful when handling small or thin substances.

A Smooth Carpentry
Also, best for base-boarding, The woodworkers shall get a brad nailer to reach their expected smooth carpentry. It may also be beneficial for base boarding. This is a reason it may provide about as much more holding power as you have from utilizing the 15 and 16-gauge nailers.

Brad Nailer Drawbacks

Smaller Distance Hole
Although, the holes which the brad nailer will dispense is not as big as what you have. Since we use a 15 or 16-gauge nailer, it is obvious. If you paint it or have in mind to stain the workpiece, you need to fill the hole to complete the project.

A Mild Chance of Cracks in the Wood
The 18-gauge nailers and others more significant than this can end up cracking these perilous woods.

Types of Pin Nailers

Primarily two types of Pin Nailers are available in the market. Let’s know the types.

Pneumatic Pin Nailers (Air Powered)

Pin nailers run by compressed air and delivered by an air compressor are called pneumatic pin nailers. Two following factors come along with you if you purchase one such nailer. Firstly, they require a higher amount of pressure and energy. Secondly, you need to buy an air compressor first.

Electric Pin Nailers

Electric pin nailers are more likely to be operated by batteries. Therefore, they have higher price tags and more comfort in use. Also, if you think about efficiency, they take less energy to produce long-term work output.

Top 2 Pin Nailer model

Primarily there are a couple of types of pin nailers. Here are a few models from each of the categories-

HITACHI NP35A
The Hitachi NP35A pin nailer is the best choice for the hobbyist or professional woodworker. This nailer is to embeds little pins into the molding beautifully, trim work, paneling, as well as whatever other beautiful woodwork you might have.

Porter-Cable PIN138
The Porte-Cable PIN138 is a typical pin nailer for both professionals and beginner woodworkers looking for a reliable finish nailer without paying out a lot of cash. It accommodates both slight-head pins and headless ones.

Types of Brad Nailer

Electric and pneumatic nailers are two types of brad nailers-

Pneumatic Brad Nailer

Pneumatic brad nailers use compressed air buttoned up a lightweight sock that leads the compressor and powers the nailer. The pneumatic brad nailer is the best choice among skilled, professional contractors because they grant fast and continuous work.

Pneumatic brad nailer has different operating methods and sizes, which would be considered when selecting one. This nailer consists of a gun, cartridge, air hose, and batteries.

Best Pneumatic Brad Nailer: Hitachi NT50AE2
The Hitachi NT50AE2 is an outstanding choice as a pneumatic brad nailer. It has a high-capacity magazine, a lightweight body, and multiple firing options; it’s an excellent companion for nailing wood jobs.

Electric Brad Nailer

The electric brad nailer is slightly more expensive than the pneumatic nailer due to extra battery life.

Best Electric Brad Nailer: PORTER-CABLE PCC790LA
The PORTER-CABLE PCC790LA is an outstanding, fully-featured electric tool with a battery and charger that ensures uninterruptible working.

Brad Nailer vs. Pin Nailer: Functions

Brad nailer is a little less functioning. But along with lesser gauge value, greater cohesive force, and greater consistent force, it is typical to add frames made of hardwood, not just plywood.

This type of nailer holds on to a substance with much strength as powerful glue, and the top of the nailer can be bent if needed.

Pin nailers, on the other hand, are for more delicate carpentry works such as base and casing, board and batten, beadboard or wainscoting, trim of many kinds, and so on. The 23-gauge pin nailer gun is excellent for pre-polished substances because you need to putty.

You can find an 18-gauge nailer, especially if you want anything to hold tightly against a frame or wall; the 23 is archless and doesn’t seem to have that clasp.

Pin nailer and Brad nailer overview

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

As we went through technical discussions about pin and brad nailers, it’s time to look at some of the most asked questions. These are the questions about it-

Question #1: Among Pin and Brad nailers, which one is smaller?

Answer: Pin nailers are smaller than brad nailers regarding delicacy in the finish. This is the smallest one of the entire nail gun family.

Question #2: What types of nails do brad and pin nailers shoot?

Answer: Brad nailers usually shoot 18 gauge nails, slightly larger than the ones for pin nailers. Pin nailers, on the other hand, fire 23-gauge nails.

Question #3: How much holding power do these two nailers hold?

Answer: When it comes to pinning nailers, they almost contain a holding power of zero value. And for the quality of both professional and amateur levels. Brad nails, n the other hand, have a fair bit of holding power.

Question #4: How much variety in use do I get from each of these nails?

Answer: In comparing these two, brad nailers come with better versatility. You can use it properly in even a 15 or 16-gauge gun. Pin nailers are with relatively less variation in use.

If you are a new nail gun user, read a step-by-step guide to using a brad nailer.

In Conclusion

We discussed the differences between pin and brad nailers so that each handy nailer would make the decision uncomplicated for you. For professional artistry, you have to keep both types of nailers in the bag.

Recommended reading: Brad Nailer and Finish Nailer differences.

However, if you want to keep only one with you, select the one you use most of the time and it fits right within your budget.

Do you think we have discussed all the fundamental differences between Pin Nailer and Brad Nailer? Let our research team know your valuable thoughts by commenting here.

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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.

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