As the name suggests, the best finish nailer can give a smooth finish to your woodworking projects. A finish nailer is heaven sent to professional carpenters, woodworkers, and hobbyists. Finish nailers used to be very expensive in the past but the good news is that their prices today have become a lot more affordable. Moreover the build quality has also become a lot better. And there are tons of finish nailers available in the market, thus you should be able to find one that suits your preferences and budget.
- 1 Why need a Finish Nailer
- 2 Types of Finish Nailers
- 3 Things To Consider Before Buying a Finish Nailer
- 4 Best Finish Nailer Brands in the Market
- 5 Our Pick For Best Finish Nailer
- 6 Check This Product Before Taking a Look At Our Best Pick
- 7 Short Review Of Each Best Finish Nailer
- 7.1 1. Hitachi NT65MA4 1-1/4 Inch to 2-1/2 Inch 15-Gauge Angled Finish Nailer with Air Duster
- 7.2 2. BOSTITCH N62FNK-2 15-Gauge 1 1/4-Inch to 2-1/2-Inch Angled Finish Nailer
- 7.3 3. DEWALT DC618K XRP 18-Volt Cordless 1-1/4 Inch – 2-1/2 Inch 16 Gauge 20 Degree Angled Finish Nailer Kit
- 7.4 4. Paslode 902400 Cordless 16g Angled Lithium Ion Finish Nailer
- 7.5 5. DEWALT DC628K XRP 1-1/4-Inch to 2-1/2-Inch 15-Gauge 34 Degree Angled Finish Nailer
- 8 Accessories for a Pneumatic Finish Nailer
- 9 More Accessory You May Also Need
- 10 Usage Tips
- 11 Maintenance Tips
- 12 Frequently Asked Questions
- 13 For Those Of You Who Are Still Unsure: My Recommendations
- 14 Final Word
Why need a Finish Nailer
The best finish nailer would come in handy for various projects like constructing and repairing furniture, installing cabinets, and home improvement. With the best finish nailer, you don’t need to use a hammer at all. The finish nailer would be enough to nail large pieces of material together. It can save you a lot of time, while helping you to finish an exquisite piece of work like cabinets, kitchen closets, and the like. Finish nailers are considered the quintessential cabinet tool, as it has superior holding and attachment power. It can bond pieces of wood together very well, and you don’t have to worry about the pieces detaching loose eventually. The best finish nailer also has substantial diameter which enables it to effectively penetrate the base. And increase the buttress of the plank in position. And while a finish nailer looks intimidating to a novice DIYer, the truth is that it is easy to use and handle.
Types of Finish Nailers
There are four types of finish nailers—pneumatic and electric. Each type has its pros and cons and this finish nailer review will identify them.
The pneumatic finish nailer is the basic type. It is inexpensive and is more suited for DIYers. It drives nails using air coming from an air compressor.
- Comfortable to use.
- Usually have quick open nose pieces that help operators to remove bent or jammed nails quickly.
- Requires an air compressor which can add up to total costs.
On the other hand, an electric finish nailer works off electricity instead of compressed air which makes it a more convenient choice.
- Requires minimal maintenance as there is no need to oil it.
- Convenient as it can be used without having to drag a hose connected to an air compressor.
- Best suited for quick jobs.
- More quiet as there is no air compressor.
- A bit heavy.
Things To Consider Before Buying a Finish Nailer
Sure, there are many finish nailer models to choose from in the market. But here are the important considerations in shopping a finish nailer:
Design: The design of the finish nailer should allow you to hold on to the unit even for an extended period. The best finish nailer should fit well in hand of the user.
Exhaust: The best finish nailer has a good exhaust mechanism. This feature keeps the dust and debris in check, especially when you are working in a dusty area. A good exhaust system should direct dust and debris away from the operator.
Dry fire lock out: This feature prevents the nailer when it is empty. It can prevent misfires or accidents. It usually kicks in when there are a few nails left in the magazine. Most finish nailers today have an open dry fire lock out system, allowing the user to see how many nails are left and replace them when necessary.
Selectable trigger: The best finish nailer has a selectable trigger, allowing the operator to switch from one sequential to contact firing mode, and vice versa. This makes the unit more reliable and easier to use.
15 Gauge or 16 Gauge: When selecting the best finish nailer, you basically have to choose between models that support 15 gauge and 16 gauge nails. The latter has a smaller diameter and thus can penetrate a thin wood piece very easily. It has been used for many years and remains a trusted nailer type.
On the other hand, 15 gauge nails are relatively new. But they’re slowly becoming the choice for many woodmakers. The 15 gauge nails have larger diameter than 16 gauge nails. Pros and hobbyists like it because there’s basically no chance that the nail will get twisted.
Straight or Angled: Angled nailers are better as these can get into tigher areas a lot better than straight nailers.
Weight and balance: The unit should be lightweight but sturdy enough to hold for long periods.
Warranty and support: The longer the warranty period, the better.
Best Finish Nailer Brands in the Market
You won’t go wrong when you choose a finish nailer from any of these brands:
Bostitch: The company has been around for many years. Its finish nailers are equipped with the patented Smart Point technology that facilitates easy nail placement as well as jam release for quick nail removal.
Dewalt: Dewalt finish nailers are known for their good build quality and accuracy. The company has both pneumatic and electric models.
Makita: The company is popular for its affordable but good quality finish nailers.
Hitachi: A trademark of its finish nailers is the integrated air duster that removes dust and debris away from the operator. It usually gives a fiveyear warranty on its products.
Paslode: The company offers powerful and portable finish nailers. It has been in the business since 1935.
Senco: Senco is also known for its powerful and accurate finish nailers.
Our Pick For Best Finish Nailer
It’s always difficult to select the best of any kind. But we made a short list of 5 best finish nailer for you. That will help you to sort out the best finish nailer that is suitable for you. Let’s take a look at our best pick.
Check This Product Before Taking a Look At Our Best Pick
There are lots of finish nailers in the market, but one unit stands out because it is a combo kit that has everything you need in a finish nailer. The Freeman P4FRFNCB Framing/Finishing Combo Kit with Canvas Bag includes several pneumatic finish nailers plus 1,000 2×15 inch nails and a nice carrying case
- Anodized aluminum magazine holds up to 100 nails for high production applications.
- Anodized aluminum cylinder provides a more durable surface when the piston is firing and retracting during use.
- Quick jam release opens nail gun assembly to easily clear jammed nails to minimize downtime.
- Teflon O-rings provide less wear and tear on cylinders and pistons ensuring longer life on internal wearable parts.
- 1-Piece drive blade reduces risk of internal failure.
- Adjustable 360 exhaust port conveniently directs exhaust away from user.
- Air filter/anti dust cap prevents debris from entering nailed to maintain peak performance.
- Has everything that you would need for framing and finishing.
- Includes a 21-degree full head framing nailer, a 34 degree 15-gauge angle finish nailer, an 18-gauge brad nailer, an 18-gauge narrow crown stapler.
- With 1,000 pieces of 2x15 inch nails, oil, and wrenches.
- Long 7 year limited warranty.
- With a canvas carrying bag for ease in transport.
- Reasonably priced for all the items included in the kit.
- The framing nailer is a bit heavy and awkward to use.
- Although a depth dial exists for easy control of the depth it is not very sensitive so getting a precision setting might be a little hard.
Summary of Customer Reviews:
Most customers are happy that they bought this kit. The consensus is that this is every carpenter’s dream purchase. The finishing nailer, in particular, gets good reviews as it has a good build quality. It uses 15 gauge nails. It has an adjustable depth to support different applications. There’s an air filter and anti-dust cap that prevents debris and dust from getting into the interior components. The kit also has a huge framing nailer that fires well, with an adjustable depth of shot function. But most reviews indicate that it is a bit heavy and thus difficult to use. Still, this nailer kit is a good steal considering the numerous components included in it.
Short Review Of Each Best Finish Nailer
Here is the short review of each best finish nailer that we selected for you. These reviews definitely help you to choice the best finish nailer that is best suited for you.
1. Hitachi NT65MA4 1-1/4 Inch to 2-1/2 Inch 15-Gauge Angled Finish Nailer with Air Duster
This unit actually supports both 15 and 16 gauge nails. Weighing barely 4 pounds, this is a lightweight finish nailer that reduces user fatigue. It is also very maneuverable. It is Light weight, good control, cool color. It’s build quality is also a point to consider. It is the best finish nailer who own a nailer for the very first time.
- Integrated air duster can be used to clear away dust and debris from the work surface in preparation for nailing or gluing.
- Tool-less easy to clear nose for quick nail extraction should a nail jam during use.
- Selective actuation switch allows for either sequential or contact nailing with a simple flip of the switch, no tools or parts required.
- Tool-less depth of drive dial adjusts for flush fastening into varying materials for improved control and a professional finish.
- 360 degree fully adjustable exhaust portal directs air exhaust away from the user or work piece.
- At only 4.2 lbs., this finish nailer minimizes user fatigue, while increasing maneuverability.
- 34 degree magazine angle allows the user to reach into corners or tight spaces with ease.
- No-mar tip protects the work surface from damage and can be removed if not needed.
- Rubber grip adds comfort and a secure hold.
- Accepts 15-Gauge nails ranging in length from 1-1/4 in. to 2-1/2 in.
- Factory installed air fitting is angled upwards to keep the compressor hose conveniently out of the way of the user and work piece.
- Has an integrated air duster that clears away dust and debris.
- Minimizes clean-up time.
- Easy-to-clear nose for easy removal of the nail in case of a nail jam.
- Selective actuation function allows users to change modes from sequential and contact nailing with a simple flip of the switch.
- Depth of drive dial that facilitates superior control.
- 5-year limited warranty.
- Shoots nails even when the nail magazine is empty.
- No lockout mechanism to prevent dry fire.
- loud but acceptable.
Summary of Customer Reviews:
Many customers have plenty of good things to say about this unit. The consensus is that this is a lightweight and easy to use finish nailer. They are also raving about the air blowing feature of the unit, saying that it can remove the dust well and minimize clean up time after a chore. Others say that the depth of drive adjustment is easy to change as there is a dial placed under the grip trigger. If there’s a chink in the armor of this Hitachi finish nailer, then it would to be the lack of a dry fire lock out function.
2. BOSTITCH N62FNK-2 15-Gauge 1 1/4-Inch to 2-1/2-Inch Angled Finish Nailer
This pneumatic finish nailer is slightly more expensive than the Hitachi nailer. It has a magnesium body that makes the unit lightweight and durable. It is also easy to load nails in the magazine, aside from the unit being easy to maintain.
- World’s first 15-Gauge tool with ultra-quiet rear exhaust to direct air away from the user.
- Integrated air blower allows user to clear debris from work surface.
- LED worklight for working in closets and dark spaces.
- Selectable trigger with safety lock-out allows the user to choose between single or multiple fastener drive mode.
- 16 on-center-Gauge flips out to measure 16 in. from end to nose for running baseboard and saves time locating wall studs when hanging wall trim.
- Oil-free operation requires no regular maintenance and eliminates the risk of oil stains.
- Dial-a-depth adjustment sets nails to desired depths quickly and conveniently.
- Tool-free jam release allows for quick jam clearing.
- Tool-free adjustable belt hook with detents allows for easy hanging on either side.
- #2 pencil sharpener for scribing on material, no need to rummage though tool box for a sharpener.
- Swivel air fitting minimizes hose interference on tool to improve tool maneuverability.
- 4 profile tips for easy tool alignment with flute, bead, tongue/groove, and offset applications.
- Lightweight and Magnesium design provides durability.
- Oil-free maintenance/operation making it easy to maintain.
- Adjustable nail-depth settings, capable of being used for various jobs.
- Tool-free magazine that can hold up to 130 nails.
- Nail magazine is easy to clean.
- Lightweight at just 3.8 pounds.
- Comes with a protective carrying case.
- Backed by a long seven-year limited warranty.
- Plastic magazine.
- Some reports of piston rod breakage.
Summary of Customer Reviews:
This product is getting good feedback as well. People who have actually used it say that the oil free engine means the unit is easy to maintain. They like that the unit is also jam free and very light. Others love that it has a long seven-year warranty. The protective carrying case can be considered the cherry on top. The plastic magazine, though, is deemed by some Amazon.com reviewers as a bit flimsy. And it doesn’t help that the unit is expensive.
3. DEWALT DC618K XRP 18-Volt Cordless 1-1/4 Inch – 2-1/2 Inch 16 Gauge 20 Degree Angled Finish Nailer Kit
Dewalt and Bostitch are known as premium brands, so it’s not really surprising that this nail finisher like the Bostitch model is also a bit expensive. Still, this cordless finish nailer has good features that justify the price tag.
- Rear-load, 20 Degree magazine with a 120-nail capacity accepts DEWALT and Paslode 20 Degree nails.
- 18-Volt battery operation delivers great performance with each charge and a high number of charges without memory effect, all while eliminating the need for messy fuel cartridges.
- Top cap is impact resistant and easy to remove for troubleshooting.
- Headlights provide increased visibility in low-light conditions.
- Sequential-operating mode allows for precision placement; bump-operating mode provides high production speed.
- 6-position dial allows the user to move between applications without having to reacquire the exact depth setting.
- Engine design allows consistent nail penetration into both soft- and hard joints.
- Drives fasteners from 1.25 in. – 2.5 in.
- Sequential operating mode for precise placement of nails.
- Contact trip lock off that disables the trigger when the unit is not in use.
- Integrated LED lights that allow operators to work even in low lighting conditions.
- Easy access to the nose piece for swift removal of jammed nails without the use of screwdrivers or tool wrenches.
- Three year warranty and two –year service contract.
- Limited nail length range.
- Loading is sometimes finicky.
Summary of Customer Reviews:
This Dewalt finish nailer is solidly built. Because it is cordless, you don’t have to drag out the air compressor. The headlights are a great feature as it lets you work in dark areas. Its electronic depth adjustment is described as being accurate, and many like its grip. Those who have used it say it feels solid in hand. The spare battery and carrying case are also great add-ons. However, others say Bostitch could have made this unit lightweight. It’s a bit heavy at 8 pounds. The price is also a bit high for some users.
4. Paslode 902400 Cordless 16g Angled Lithium Ion Finish Nailer
Paslode’s finish nailer is powered by a lithium ion battery. Surprisingly, it is lightweight for a cordless type as it only weighs 4.5 pounds. This finish nailer has better tip allows you to see exactly where the nail will drive, better battery sleeve with a spot to lock the battery in the OFF position, better fuel cell connection system.
- 7.4-Volt lithium-ion battery drives up to 6000 nails per charge.
- 1-1/2 Hr. Full Charge; 2-minute quick charge for up to 200 extra shots.
- Lightweight only 4.5 lbs. for added comfort and control.
- Battery standby position conserves battery charge.
- Secure no mar tip protects work surfaces and doesn’t fall off.
- Quick lode fuel system speeds loading for fast, reliable power.
- Depth of drive thumbwheel easily adjusts fastener depth without tools.
- Open line of sight design for precise fastening accuracy.
- Nail lockout prevents blank driving.
- Improved finger grip comfort.
- Drives into harder woods with total accuracy.
- Improved handle ergonomics for increased wrist comfort and finger grip comfort.
- In-can fuel system that makes it easy to install nails.
- Depth of drive adjustment.
- No hoses, no compressors to set up or tear down.
- Portable, with a heavy duty belt hook.
- Nails are expensive and hard to find.
- Warranty is little bit short though it is 1 year full coverage warranty.
Summary of Customer Reviews:
This finish nailer gets a lot of positive reviews for its ergonomic design. Those who have written their reviews say that they have no problems using it even for extended periods. Some even testify that they almost forget the last time they recharged it because of the long battery life. They also love that the battery lasts long, and there’s a belt hook included in the package for jobsite abuse. The design of the finish nailer is impressive as well, with features like battery standby position, depth adjustment, and loading tray. The gun is made of hard plastic and it feels solid in hand. But not all users are happy with this expensive tool. Aside from the unit expensive, replacement nails are also expensive and hard to find.
5. DEWALT DC628K XRP 1-1/4-Inch to 2-1/2-Inch 15-Gauge 34 Degree Angled Finish Nailer
This Dewalt finish nailer works with any Dewalt 18 volt battery. It can provide fast nail penetration in both hard and soft materials. It can even fire up to five nails a second for superior productivity.
- Engine design allows the tool to work as fast as the end user with consistent nail penetration into both soft and hard joints.
- Sequential operating mode allows for precision placement and the bump operating mode provides the user with production speed.
- Easy access to the nosepiece for the removal of jammed nails without the use of screwdrivers or tool wrenches.
- Contact trip lock-off allows trigger to be disabled when not in use.
- Integrated LED lights for long life and durability.
- Top cap is impact resistant and easy to remove for troubleshooting.
- Reversible belt hook provides increased portability and versatility on the job-site.
- Increased visibility and durability along with protection for work-surface from the contact-trip.
- 34 Degree angled magazine (up to 110 nails capacity) will accept DEWALT or any competitive brand 34 Degree 15-Gauge standard DA type nails.
- 6 position dial allows the user to move between applications without having to re-acquire exact depth setting.
- Rear-load magazine offers loading styles which provide versatility to accommodate the end user’s preference.
- Unique design allows for placement of up to five nails a second.
- Integrated LED lights that makes it possible to work in low lighting areas.
- Contact trip lock that disables the unit when not in use.
- Easy to access, clear nose piece for easy clearing of nail jams.
- Battery charges for an hour.
- Switches easily from sequential operating mode for precise placement of nails and to bump operating mode for speedy placement.
- Heavy at nearly 9 pounds.
- Cannot easily unlock with trigger hand because it is too high on the gun.
- The body of the gun is plastic.
Summary of Customer Reviews:
A lot of cutomers are happy with this finish nailer. They say that it works great, especially in getting to tight places. One common comment is that nail jams don’t usually happen with this tool. One reviewer mentions that he was able to install more than 2,000 nails, and the finish nailer jammed for only 2-3 times. The quick charging of the battery is another thing that makes this Dewalt unit perhaps the best finish nailer.
Accessories for a Pneumatic Finish Nailer
Now you have the best finish nailer. Let’s look at some accessories that you may need for a pneumatic finish nailer.
PORTER CABLE PCFP72671 Finish Nailer/Compressor Combo Kit
As mentioned earlier, you would need an air compressor to use a pneumatic finish nailer. The PORTER CABLE PCFP72671 Finish Nailer/Compressor Combo Kit is a good choice as it is reasonably priced and well-built also it includes 25 feet of 1/4″ air hose with a coupler and plug.
- Lightweight at 30 pounds.
- Compact, doesn’t take up a lot of space in the garage.
- 120V electric unit allows user to run compressor on standard household current.
- Six gallon tank, capable of driving many nails on a single tank charge.
- Plugs in to on standard wall outlet.
- User's manual difficult to understand.
Summary of Amazon buyer's Review:
You’ll be hard pressed to find other air compressors that are as portable and compact as this one from Porter Cable. It weighs around 30 pounds, which is certainly lighter compared to other ‘portable’ air compressors that weigh 40 pounds and more. The hose length is long at 25 feet so you can move it around the garage.
There are also accessories that make the unit user-friendly, like quick connect fitting threads which have been pre-coated for safety and easy identification.
However, the usual complaint about this unit is that it is very noisy. You should wear some type of ear protection when using this air compressor. The user manual is also very difficult to understand, said some Amazon.com reviewers.
As you would need compressed air to power the pneumatic finish nailer, you will also need to have an air hose. Although air compressors normally have an air hose included in the package, a replacement may be needed if the hose is beyond its service life, or if there are cuts that can cause the air to escape.
More Accessory You May Also Need
- The best finish nailer typically has a safety nose that should be depressed before the trigger is engaged.
- The best nail finisher usually has an anti-marring tip made of rubber to prevent the unit from damaging the wood surface.
- To use the finish nailer, place its tip on the trim board at the area where you desire the nail to be installed. Then adjust the nailer’s position and drive the nail in the appropriate direction.
- Always use appropriate safety equipment and clothing when using this power tool.
- Keep it clean all the time. A clean and well-maintained power tool is less likely to malfunction. Constant nail jams can wear out the finish nailer, so make sure that you keep it in good condition all the time.
- Before using the tool, perform a visual inspection. Look for any loose screws, and tighten it accordingly.
- Check for any damage parts. If there’s any damage, go to an authorized service center as soon as possible.
- Remove the battery after use, and store it in the tool case.
- Always use a carrying case in transporting and storing the tool. Not only can it prevent the tool from getting damaged, but also protect it against dirt and debris.
- Periodically clean and oil the nailer to ensure that it will operate properly. Refer to the user’s manual about lubricating the tool.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How much oil should I put on the finish nailer?
Answer: It depends on the manufacturer’s recommendation, although two to three drops of oil a day is often adequate.
2. What’s the difference between finish nailer and brad nailer?
Answer: A brad nailer is slightly smaller compared to a finish nailer. Aside from the size difference, a finish nailer has more holding power. It is also more versatile than a brad nailer.
3. How much air pressure should I use for a pneumatic finish nailer?
Answer: Refer to the maintenance manual for the minimum and maximum ranges of finish nailers.
4. Can I use any other oil for lubricating the finish nailer?
Answer: Use only manufacturer-recommended oil. Use of motor oil or household oil can destroy the internal parts of the nailer.
5. What’s an ideal combination of nailers for contractors?
Answer: A 15-gauge finish nailer and 18-gauge brad nailer is perhaps the best combo for remodeling contractors. The 15-gauge finish nailer is suited for securing door jambs. The 18-gauge brad nailer is for tasks that are too big for the 15-gauge finish nailer.
For Those Of You Who Are Still Unsure: My Recommendations
If you are unsure on which model to buy, then let’s make things easier for you by picking just two models.
The Hitachi NT65MA4 1-1/4 Inch to 2-1/2 Inch 15-Gauge Angled Finish Nailer with Air Duster and the DEWALT DC618K XRP 18-Volt Cordless 1-1/4 Inch – 2-1/2 Inch 16 Gauge 20 Degree Angled Finish Nailer Kit are two models that stand out from the list. The Hitachi model is cheap and appeals to the budget-conscious. The Dewalt unit, meanwhile, is more expensive. However, both power tools are sturdy, lightweight, and easy to use. You won’t regret buying any of these tools.
The best finish nailer can make things a lot easy for the serious woodworker and even for the budding DIYer. It’s something that will come in handy if you are racing to complete a home project, as you can drive nails a lot faster. Moreover, there’s little risk of splitting wood or getting your fingers hurt when you have a finish nailer in your toolbox. Refer to our list of the best finish nailer models and order one now so that you can work on your next DIY project with relative ease.