10 Best Brad Nailer – Reviews & Buying Guide for 2018

Whether you’re a DIY enthusiast or a professional woodworker, a high-quality brad nailer is going to make your life a lot easier. These devices enable you to fasten a wide range of materials together to get a finished piece, which makes them both reliable and versatile.

With that in mind, we’re going to take a look at some of the best brad nailers on the market today. These models are designed for both pros and amateurs alike, so no matter what skill level you’re at, you should be able to find one that suits your needs. Let’s see what they have to offer.

10 Best Brad Nailer – Comparisons

Picture Product Name Pressure Weight Price
DEWALT DC608K 18-Volt 18-Gauge 2-Inch Brad Nailer Kit DEWALT DC608K 18-Volt 70-120 7.4 pounds Check Latest Price
PORTER-CABLE PCC790LA 20V MAX Lithium 18GA Cordless Brad Nailer Kit, Includes Battery and Charger PORTER-CABLE PCC790LA 20V 5.9 pounds Check Latest Price
BOSTITCH BTFP12233 Smart Point 18GA Brad Nailer Kit BOSTITCH BTFP12233 Smart 70-120 PSI 5.46 pounds Check Latest Price
WEN 61720 3/4-Inch to 2-Inch 18-Gauge Brad Nailer WEN 61720 3/4-Inch 60-100 PSI 5.2 pounds Check Latest Price
Hitachi NT50AE2 18-Gauge 5/8-Inch to 2-Inch Brad Nailer Hitachi NT50AE2 18-Gauge 70-120 PSI 4.6 pounds Check Latest Price
DEWALT DWFP12231 Pneumatic 18-Gauge 2-Inch Brad Nailer Kit DEWALT DWFP12231 Pneumatic 60-100 PSI 5.45 pounds Check Latest Price
PORTER-CABLE BN200C 2-Inch 18GA Brad Nailer Kit PORTER-CABLE BN200C 2-Inch 70-120 PSI 5.03 pounds Check Latest Price
SENCO FinishPro® 18MG, 2-1/8" 18-Gauge Brad Nailer (ProSeries) SENCO FinishPro® 18MG 70-120 PSI 6.1 pounds Check Latest Price
Ryobi P320 Airstrike 18 Volt One+ Lithium Ion Cordless Brad Nailer (Battery Not Included, Power Tool Only) Ryobi P320 Airstrike 18 Volt 6 pounds Check Latest Price
Makita AF505N Brad Nailer, 2-Inch Makita AF505N Brad Nailer 60-115 PSI 6.83 pounds Check Latest Price

 

10 Best Brad Nailer Reviews

1. DEWALT DC608K 18-Volt 18-Gauge Nailer

One of the most crucial elements of any brad nailer is how it’s powered. For the most part, these devices connect to an air compressor to work, but that doesn’t mean you have to have a separate machine to get a decent model.

In this case, we have a battery-operated brad nailer from DeWalt. Because this is one of the better brands out there, you don’t have to worry about sacrificing quality and reliability just because you’re running off of a battery instead of air pressure.

Because you’re driving nails into your work, you have to worry about safety precautions. Although these devices are relatively safe, they can still cause accidents, which means that you have to be careful. In this case, the nailer operates via the “bump” method, which is faster but more prone to accidental discharge if you’re not paying attention.

Bump firing is efficient because you can keep the trigger pulled and simply depress the contact to the wood to drive a nail. If you have to put a lot of nails in place, this is an excellent way to save time. Another benefit of this particular device is that it holds up to 110 nails instead of the standard 100, meaning you can work longer between reloads.

Finally, if you’re working in low-light conditions, you’ll be happy to know that this nailer comes with a built-in LED to illuminate your work surface. Also, the portability offered by the cordless design ensures that you can drive nails anywhere at any time. Overall, this is an excellent choice if you don’t already have an air compressor.

Pros

  • Cordless design
  • Nail length between ⅝ and two inches
  • Works with 18-gauge nails
  • High-speed efficiency
  • Lightweight and portable design
  • Soft grip reduces fatigue
  • Ideal for both hard and soft joints
  • Bump operating mode for faster nailing
  • Can remove jammed nails without other tools
  • Locking trigger for safety
  • Integrated LED light for visibility
  • Holds up to 110 nails

Cons

  • In rare cases, the gun may jam
  • On rare occasions, the battery may not last very long

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2. PORTER-CABLE PCC790LA 20V MAX Cordless

When picking out the best brad nailer, you want to compare brands as well as features. Porter-Cable is well-known for making quality consumer-grade tools, so if you’re a professional, you may prefer something with a little more resilience, especially if you have to drive a lot of nails at once. Nonetheless, light to moderate work will be perfect for this cordless model.

One element of brad nailers you have to pay attention to is how deep you can drive your nails. For the most part, these tools will accept 18-gauge nails between ⅝ and two inches. Because of the way that they’re designed, they’re not meant for anything longer than that, so you should look for something else if you need to drive extra-long nails.

To ensure that you get the right depth, this tool comes with a dial adjuster. This allows you to customize your work so that you always make sure you have the right nails in place. As with the DeWalt above, this unit works with bump firing so that you can work quickly and efficiently. That being said, always pay attention to what’s happening, because recoil can cause double-firing.

Not only is double-firing dangerous, but it can cause jams. Fortunately, if that does happen, you can remove the jammed nail relatively easily with this device. Best of all, you don’t have to use any other tools to get it out.

Overall, if you’re a hobbyist and you want something quick and portable, this is the brad nailer for you. It works best when you don’t have to drive a ton of nails in sequence, but rather connecting joints instead. We like the comfort and balance of the tool, and it will enable you to work without fatigue.

Pros

  • Cordless brad nailer
  • Trigger operation for smoother work
  • Elegantly balanced to reduce fatigue
  • Depth adjustment wheel
  • Tool-free release lever
  • Anti-jam technology built-in
  • Long lasting battery life
  • Locking trigger for safety
  • Multi-use LED lights
  • Holds up to 100 18-gauge nails
  • Weighs less than six pounds

Cons

  • Two-inch nails may jam the system on rare occasions
  • In rare instances, the locking mechanism may activate unexpectedly

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3. BOSTITCH BTFP12233 Smart Point 18GA

As we mentioned, most brad nailers (and nailers in general) are operated via air pressure. Thus, for most of the models on this list, you’ll need to either get an air compressor or use one that you already have.

When compared to battery-operated nailers, pneumatic models are usually more reliable and built tougher. Also, you don’t have to worry about running out of juice since the compressor can be plugged in. That being said, if you’re only driving a handful of nails at a time, cordless will be much more convenient.

What’s nice about this nailer, in particular, is that you can drive nails that are slightly longer than two inches. Thus, if you’re tackling bigger projects, you can use a broader range of nails to get the job done. Not only that, but you can fire the mechanism without having to depress the contact fully, which allows you to work faster.

With that in mind, we highly suggest that you practice with this nailer first to get a feel for how it shoots. If you’re used to bump nailing, you may have to retrain yourself with this model because it feels different than most other units.

Because you’re using air pressure, it helps to know how much you need for the job. In this case, the nailer will operate with a PSI between 70-120, depending on the size of the nails you’re using and the hardness of your material.

One unique feature of this model is that it also comes with a built-in pencil sharpener. This way you can always be ready to make marks on the wood without having to stop in the middle of your work.

Pros

  • Pneumatic brad nailer
  • Depth adjustment tool
  • Smaller head for better visibility
  • Max length of 2 ⅛-inches
  • Tool-free jam release
  • Soft grip for stability while working
  • Works without compressing the contact
  • Built-in belt hook for convenience
  • Rear exhaust for cleanliness
  • Works with 70-120 PSI
  • Oil-free mechanism
  • Holds up to 100 nails
  • Weighs just three pounds
  • Integrated pencil sharpener

Cons

  • In rare cases, the unit may jam
  • May not work well for hardwood joints

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Also Read: Best Finish Nailer Reviews – Our Top 10 Picks

4. WEN 61720 3/4-Inch to 2-Inch 18-Gauge

When it comes to power tools in general, you can either choose something that’s lubricated or not. For the most part, lubricated machines will work more reliably, but it can be a bit of a hassle to maintain them because you have to change the oil and clean up any leaks that may develop.

With that in mind, this particular nailer is oil lubricated, so plan accordingly. Also, its depth range is not as broad as other models, since the short end is only ¾ inches instead of ⅝. Nonetheless, it still comes with some bonus features, and it’s one of the most reliable nailers you can find.

One thing we like about this unit is that it comes with a loading window so that you can see when you’re getting low. Almost all nailers will enable you to dry fire, which can both be dangerous because of the vibration into your wrist and arm, as well as damaging to the machine. Thus, being able to see when you need to change magazines is more than helpful.

Another unique aspect of this nailer is that it has an adjustable exhaust port. The air you use to drive nails has to go somewhere, so no you can make sure that it won’t go into your face or onto your workspace. Also, if you’re driving nails at a different angle, you can move it accordingly.

Pros

  • Pneumatic brad nailer
  • Length range of ¾ to two inches
  • Operates between 60-100 PSI
  • Lightweight aluminum body
  • Soft rubber grip for comfort
  • Quick-release clears jams easily
  • Holds up to 100 nails
  • Oil-lubricated model
  • Loading window for convenience
  • Adjustable exhaust port
  • Depth adjustment wheel
  • Contact trip for safety

Cons

  • In rare cases, the trigger may be highly sensitive
  • On rare occasions, the connector may leak air

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5. Hitachi NT50AE2 18-Gauge 5/8-Inch to 2-Inch

Although bump firing is the preferred method for professionals, it does allow for accidental discharges to happen, which is why we suggest using a sequential method instead. It doesn’t work as efficiently, but you don’t have to worry about shooting a nail where it doesn’t belong. Also, jams are less frequent because you have to get into position before you can do anything.

Sequential firing requires you to release the trigger and depress the contact mechanism each time you drive a nail. Think of it as a semi-automatic gun. Each squeeze is one nail. If you’re driving hundreds of nails at a time, this method can be exhausting, but it’s perfect for when you’re just doing a handful at once.

What we like most about this nailer from Hitachi is that you can switch back and forth depending on your needs. When you have to drive a lot of nails, use bump firing. However, if safety is an issue or you’re just driving a couple at a time, then switch to sequential for better stability.

Another excellent feature of this nailer is that it just weighs 2.2 pounds, making it one of the lightest models on the market. Fatigue is not an issue with this machine, and you can control it much more easily as a result.

Pros

  • Pneumatic brad nailer
  • Drives nails between ⅝-2 inches
  • Two firing modes for convenience
  • Bump or contact firing
  • Extra lightweight at 2.2 pounds
  • Elastomer grip for comfort and stability
  • Quick release nail extraction
  • Depth adjustment
  • Holds up to 100 brad nails
  • Rotating exhaust vent
  • Works with 70-120 PSI

Cons

  • In rare instances, the magazine may jam frequently
  • In some cases, stuck nails can be difficult to remove

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6. DEWALT DWFP12231 Pneumatic 18-Gauge

We’ve already seen what DeWalt can do with a battery-operated brad nailer, so now we get to look at a model that runs on air power instead. Fortunately, because it’s from the same company, you know you’re getting a high-quality tool.

Overall, this model has a lot of the same features you would expect from a brad nailer, including a 100-nail capacity, a soft grip handle to reduce fatigue, and a manual depth adjustment. This unit also comes with a rear exhaust port so that the air won’t get into your face or make a mess while you’re working.

One added feature that you get with this nailer is a non-marring nose. With most other units, you have to worry about scratching or scraping your work, which can be a problem, depending on your material. In this case, however, the rubberized tip helps protect your project. Best of all, it’s also removable so that you can work faster when scuffs are not an issue.

As with other brad nailers, this model comes with a rotating belt hook so that you can keep it next to you at all times. Also, its lightweight magnesium body is both durable and lightweight so it won’t get in the way.

Pros

  • Pneumatic brad nailer
  • Maintenance-free motor
  • Tool-free adjustment system
  • Easy jam removal
  • Rear exhaust for convenience
  • Drives nails between ⅝-2 inches
  • Adjustable belt hook
  • Non-marring nose tip for less damage
  • Lightweight and durable magnesium body
  • Soft rubber handle for stability
  • Holds up to 100 nails

Cons

  • In rare cases, the trigger may get stuck
  • On rare occasions, the piston driver may not be installed properly

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7. PORTER-CABLE BN200C 2-Inch 18GA

As with DeWalt, we’re looking at both cordless and pneumatic versions of the brand’s brad nailer. This model is similar to the DeWalt in many ways, meaning that it’s both high-quality and reliable.

This unit also comes with a non-marring rubber tip so that you can prevent scuff marks while working. It’s removable so you can choose when to use it, making it even more convenient.

As far as safety is concerned, this nailer uses sequential firing, meaning that you have to release the trigger each time you want to drive a nail. Thus, you won’t want to get this model if you’re planning on shooting hundreds of nails, but hobby work will be perfect for this tool.

Finally, this model comes with a low-nail indicator on the side so that you have less of a chance of dry firing. Coupled with the sequential firing mechanism, that should never be an issue for you.

Pros

  • Pneumatic brad nailer
  • Low-maintenance motor
  • Depth adjustment
  • Tool-free jam release
  • Rear exhaust for convenience
  • Integrated belt clip
  • Non-marring nose tip
  • The sequential-style trigger for stability
  • Low nail indicator
  • Lightweight and durable magnesium construction

Cons

  • In rare cases, the trigger may get stuck
  • Not as jam-resistant as other models

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Also Read: Best Roofing Nailer Reviews – Our Top 10 Picks Compared

8. SENCO FinishPro® 18MG, 2-1/8″ 18-Gauge

Overall, if you’re looking for a simple and effective brad nailer, this model from Senco is going to be an excellent choice. It doesn’t come with a lot of extras, but it will help you get the job done, whatever it may be.

The features included with this nailer are all standard, so you can expect to get high-performance action from it. It has an oil-free motor so that you don’t have to worry about lubricating anything. It comes with a soft rubber grip to ensure that you don’t get fatigued while working.

This particular model allows you to drive nails up to 2 ⅛ inches, making it slightly better than other units, and it has a selective trigger so that you can either do sequential or bump firing, depending on your needs.

Other features include a rear exhaust to keep air out of your face, a tool-free depth adjustment dial, and a magazine that can hold up to 100 nails. This model is also made of magnesium so that it will hold up in most work environments without rusting or breaking down.

Pros

  • Pneumatic brad nailer
  • Oil-free motor
  • Rear exhaust for cleaner workspaces
  • Lightweight and compact design
  • Rubber grip for comfort
  • Adjustable depth settings
  • The Selective trigger for faster operation
  • Rugged magnesium housing
  • Drives brads up to 2 ⅛ inches
  • Holds up to 100 nails

Cons

  • In rare cases, the gun may start to leak
  • Heavier than other pneumatic models

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9. Ryobi P320 Airstrike 18 Volt Cordless Nailer

If you’re a hobbyist or a DIY enthusiast, then having a cordless nailer is usually the best option. Not only do you not have to worry about getting an air compressor, but you can work with much more versatility since you’re not tied down with a hose.

In this case, the Ryobi Airstrike is a hobbyists dream, thanks to its balanced and intuitive design, as well as the plethora of extras that come with it. Also, if you already have Ryobi cordless tools, you should be able to use the same battery, saving you, even more, time and money in the process.

The highlight of this nailer is the fact that it has an auto-locking mechanism for when the magazine is empty. As we’ve mentioned, dry firing can be harmful to both you and the gun itself, so having this built-in feature is really nice, especially for beginners.

The other reason we like this model is that it allows for sequential and bump firing, meaning that you can choose which method to use based on your current project. Also, it can drive up to 700 nails on a single charge, so this unit will last a while.

Other features we appreciate about this nailer include an adjustable exhaust, two LED lights for better visibility while working, and an integrated belt hook. Overall, if you’re looking for a high-quality cordless brad nailer, this is one of the best.

Pros

  • Cordless brad nailer
  • Long-lasting battery
  • Can drive up to 700 nails per charge
  • Integrated belt hook
  • Won’t dry fire when empty
  • Tool-free depth adjustment
  • Dual LED lights for visibility
  • Works with other Ryobi batteries
  • Custom exhaust placement
  • Dual firing modes for convenience
  • Sequential or contact actuation firing

Cons

  • In rare cases, the mechanism may lock up unexpectedly
  • On rare occasions, the depth adjustment may not work properly

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10. Makita AF505N Brad Nailer

Our final model is a winner from Makita. If you’re familiar with this brand, you know that it’s one of the top companies for power tools, so you can feel good about having this nailer in your workshop. Let’s see what it has to offer.

As far as pressure is concerned, this nailer works between 60-115 PSI. As you’ll notice, the pressure rating is not as high as other models, so it may not work as well on hardwoods and other tough materials.

One thing we like about this nailer is that it comes with a rubber non-marring tip, which is also removable if necessary so that you can work faster. The exhaust vent can rotate according to your needs, and it has a quick-release for the magazine for faster reloading. Best of all, there are two low-nail indicators so that you never go empty and dry fire by accident.

Pros

  • Pneumatic brad nailer
  • Narrow nose for more maneuverability
  • Quick release cam lock for removing nails
  • Onboard depth adjustment dial
  • Rotating belt hook
  • Non-marring rubber nose
  • Rotating exhaust vent
  • Works with 60-115 PSI
  • Holds up to 100 nails
  • Dual reload indicator for safety

Cons

  • Not designed for countersinking
  • May not work well with hardwood joints

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Final Verdict

Because we’ve looked at both cordless and pneumatic brad nailers, we want to offer our top pick for both types of tools so that you can choose according to your needs. For cordless users, we highly recommend the DeWalt DC608K. We like that it holds more nails and that it has one of the most reliable motors you can find.

For pneumatic tool users, however, the Hitachi Brad Nailer is going to be your best bet. The fact that you can switch between bump and sequential firing ensures that you’re always working with maximum efficiency and safety.

 

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Sean J. Stone
 

Sean has been a woodworking enthusiast for 8 years, and in that time has written huge resources on woodworking and tools.

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