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A framing nail gun is an extremely helpful piece of equipment – if you get a good one. However, the market is awash with example after example of air nail gun tools that are substandard and do not stand up to the test of time. With repeated use around the home or on building sites, bad quality framing nailers break far too easily. It is possible to buy a good quality framing nail, however. Below we look at our top framing nailer tools available.
We list the features to look out for in a cordless nail gun tool and the benefits of using them. We also answer a number of frequently asked questions that surround this complicated yet invaluable tool. By the end of this article, you will be well placed to buy an air nail gun that is suitable for you and your specific needs that falls within your budget.
The Best Framing Nailer
Our top pick is the NuMax pneumatic nailer that is quick and easy to use around any building site and provides a quality result each and every time. One of the many reasons we love it is down to its lightweight body that is incredibly long lasting and durable too. It is, importantly, comfortable to use too thanks to the ergonomic design of the handle that NuMax obviously took time to think out carefully with the end user in mind. It is fully adjustable in terms of the depth that the nails from this framing nailer can go and can work on several different surfaces. Therefore, even if you want to install sheathing, subfloors or roof decking, you will be able to do so with ease.
Lightweight and durable body
Adjustable nail depth
Ergonomic handle for comfort during use
- Weight8.6 pounds
Next on our list of framing nailers is this fine example of a pneumatic nailer from Bostitch. Bostitch nail gun tools are highly reputable owing to how dependable they are in all situations and how well they last over the years. This framing nailer is no exception and is one of the best framing nailer tools that money can buy. It is actually two air nail gun tools in one due to the quick change nose pieces so that users can either use it as a framing nail gun or a metal connector. We also like that it is so lightweight at just over 8 pounds and yet has the capability of 1050 inch-pound of driving power. Users will also find the sequential and bump trigger invaluable to completing jobs quickly and efficiently.
Weighs just over 8 pounds
Has up to 1050 inch per pound of driving power
Comes with a sequential and bump trigger
- Weight10.6 pounds
This framing nailer gun from Freeman is useful whether you are a professional carpenter or an avid fan of DIY projects. It will be invaluable in a variety of situations as it works at 70 to 115 PSI and can hold up to 55 fasteners at a time. Nails as small as 2 inches will work within this nail gun as well as nails up to almost four inches in length. Additionally, we love the anti dry fire that stops internal damage from harming the overall use of your nail gun and therefore how long it will last within your tool kit. Plus this natty feature means that users won’t inadvertently cause their tool damage by using their nail framer when it is running low on fasteners.
Magnesium body is easy to carry yet strong
21 degree full head framing nailer
Can use nails as small as 20 degrees and goes up to 22 degrees
- Weight8.5 pounds
For carpenters and DIY enthusiasts that love the brand Dewalt, this nail gun is the best the manufacturer has to offer. It has both sequential or bump operating modes so that users will find that their Dewalt nail gun is optimized for all fastener lengths. There is also less recoil but also more shots per change. It can therefore also be used for tougher jobs yet will still be able to provide users with a high speed and accurate placement of nails each and every time the trigger is pressed.
Plus, this is a cordless nail gun as it is 100-percent battery powered, which means that users do not have the added stress of dealing with gas or a hose or compressor when trying to complete their projects. This framing nail gun can work with any 20 volt battery, which is extremely helpful if you have other Dewalt tools in your collection.
Installed with a brushless motor and engine
Has the power to driver in nails of almost 4 inches
Can be used with paper tape nails of 30 to 34 degrees
- Weight7.8 pounds
Hitachi nail gun tools are popular for good reason as this framing nail displays. It comes with a five-year warranty as standard and looks great owing to its chrome finish. We also love the clever addition of a rubber grip so that users will experience a pain free nail framing session on their building site or while at home completing DIY tasks. Carpenters and DIY enthusiasts alike will like that there is only a two-step nail loading mechanism, so reloading nails is quick and exceptionally easy so projects are finished even more quickly than ever before. Finally, the head guard design is one of the safest designs we have seen on the market, and it is great for painless disassembly and tool cleaning. Overall, this is a lightweight nail gun tool so it can be used by carpenters for a long time without hand fatigue being endured.
Anodized aluminum magazine reduces overall cost of projects
Capable of both sequential and contact nailing
Can be used on a variety of materials
- Weight7 pounds
There is nothing more annoying than not being able to fit your nail gun into a tight corner where you most definitely need to fit a nail for fastening. If that is the case, this Paslode nail gun is the answer. It is such a versatile tool as it is a cordless nail gun that is compact and small enough to fit into tight spaces. Owners of this particular Paslode framing nailer love it as it allows them to affix crown molding or even baseboard into corners for a highly professional finish that will last years and years. Plus, the benefits of being cordless are endless and give the user the ultimate maneuverability not to mention the fact that this Paslode nail gun is one of the lightest framing nail gun tools in our top framing nailer list.
One of the lightest nail gun tools at only 4.5 pounds
Handle has been designed with ultimate user comfort in mind
Small size allows for use in tight spots
- Weight4.5 pounds
This Bostitch nail gun is another fine example of a framing nailer. It can be used in a variety of places around the home so that if you have any subflooring to take care of then this nail gun can do it for you. It will also cope effortlessly as a nail gun for work on framing, siding and fencing. Users of this particular Bostitch nail gun love it for its contact trip trigger and large capacity magazine so that projects can be completed quickly with minimal reloading of the gun itself. It makes it so easy to use, which is why it has a spot on our top best framing nailer tool list.
Contact trip trigger
Large capacity magazine
Coil frame nailer so it’s perfect for framing, roof decking, any siding and fencing
- Weight8 pounds
This is a framing nailer by Porter Cable that will suit those that want a lightweight device due to continued and consistent use. It is perfect to add to a person’s toolkit if he works on a building site. It weighs just over 7 pounds yet has the power to drive in nails up to 3 ½ inches deep by 0.131 inches even into engineered lumber. Plus, it is one of the easiest pieces of equipment on our framing nailer list to adjust as it does not require any tools to be altered. It therefore makes use even simpler and far less fiddly than some other nail gun tools on the market. Additionally, it has a selectable trigger that also comes with a trigger lock out for increased security during use. This trigger lockout can activate either a restrictive or a contact actuation mode, depending on the user’s needs.
Uses full round head, plastic collated nails
The magazine is set at a 22 degree axis requiring 22 degree plastic collated nails
Does not come with a carry case
- Weight9 pounds
Senco designed this nail gun so well that it easily made it onto our best framing nailer list. Those who buy it love that it weighs just over 7 pounds, which allows them to use it without enduring any arm, wrist or hand fatigue over a long period of time. As framing nail gun tools go, this is one of the handiest to have around due to its clever design. It fits between studs and joists so it can be used in a variety of situations and locations with ease. It shoots 34 degree clipped head paper collated framing nails that range from 2 inches in length to just over 3 inches in length. Plus, it has a patented switchable trigger, making it stand apart from the majority of nail gun tools on the market. It means the operator can change quickly between firing modes so that they can choose either contact firing or sequential firing, depending on their needs.
Clever designs allows it to be used between studs and joists
Has a switchable trigger for either contact or sequential firing
Uses 15% less air than competitors
- Weight8.4 pounds
Last but not least is this example from WEN. It is a fantastic framing nailer as it is so reliable you can always be assured of completing any projects at home or at work. It can be used with paper collated fasteners that range from 2 inches to 3 ½ inches in size and anywhere between 30 degrees and 34 degrees. Those nails can also be anywhere between 0.113 in width to 0.131 inches in width, so it is a highly adaptable tool that allows up to 100 nails to be fitted in its magazine at once. The body is made from aluminium so it is very very strong yet lightweight so operators will find that their arms and hands do not suffer from any fatigue for a long period of time. This nail gun features an adjustable exhaust and it works from 70 PSI shooting up to 120 PSI when fitted with a 1.4 inch NPT air inlet fitting.
Instantly recognisable blue and yellow design
Comes in a variety of angles
Magazine holds up to 100 nails
- Weight18.1 pounds
Best Framing Nailer Buying Guide & FAQ
Features to Look for in a Good Framing Nailer
There are a number of features to keep an eye out for when choosing the right nail gun for you. All framing nailer tools vary from manufacturer to manufacturer in subtle ways so it's good to know what your needs are before you buy one. From Hitachi nail tools to Paslode framing nailer products, you need to figure out what your budget is from the outset.
Some nail gun tools can be quite cheap, but you tend to get what you pay for. Plus look at the weight of the tool itself too, there are some nail gun tools on our list that weigh only a few pounds. So if you have a weaker arm than you’d like or you know that you will be using your air nail gun over a long period of time, make sure you choose a gun that is a weight you can carry.
Finally, you need to look at ease with which the air nail gun can be adjusted to alter the depth of how far in nails go to a piece of wood. If you know that you will need to adjust the depth quite a lot, you need to find a pneumatic nailer that has a straightforward and efficient way of making that adjustment. Some of the bad examples of a framing nail gun on the market come with fiddly mechanisms making nail framing a much slower and laborious task than it needs to be. Also ask yourself how you want the nails to fire out of the cordless nail gun too. If you want a single fire mode, ensure that it has one, but many operators will also want a bump fire mode too. Additionally, some operators like to see a contact trigger for the ultimate in speed firing.
Benefits of Using a Framing Nail Gun
Without doubt, the benefits of a framing nail gun are far reaching. Perhaps the biggest difference it can make to a carpenter’s life is the speed with which he can complete jobs that would have required a good old hammer and nail in the past. The two tools simply cannot compare when it comes to how quick a framing nail gun can insert a nail into a piece of wood. Plus the strength of the join afterwards is far superior to that of one produced by a hammer and nail.
There is also a happy by product of this speed and efficiency too and that is the fact that it helps protect an operator’s body. Repetitive strain injury is rife within the building trade if carpenters do not use tools correctly. This can particularly be the case if a carpenter is using a hammer and nail all the time. A framing nail gun is an easy way to circumnavigate this.
Pneumatic Vs. Cordless Nail Gun
One of the main choices a person can make when buying a framing nail gun is between buying a pneumatic nail gun versus a cordless nail gun. Ultimately, the decision is up to the preferences of the carpenter or operator but one of the main differences people will see is the price. Pneumatic nail gun tools are far cheaper than a cordless nail gun tool.
Pneumatic nail gun tools tend to be much lighter, even when taking into account the hose that is hanging down from it. However, that hose can be incredibly cumbersome and tiresome after a while, so having a cordless nail gun at your disposable during jobs where you will be moving around a lot can be very helpful. Lastly, in terms of performance, the pneumatic nail gun is slightly quicker by a second or two.
Best Framing Nailer FAQ:
Q: What is a framing nailer?
A: A framing nailer can also be referred to sometimes as a framing gun or a nail gun. Whatever it is called, they’re a handy piece of equipment to have on a building site owing to their uses.
For starters, a framing nailer has the ability to install a large number of nails into wooden frames at a speed that even a skilled person could not achieve when simply using a hammer. The best nail framers therefore increase the pace at which building site workers can frame a wall.
The only problem with nail framers is that so many people use them incorrectly that they actually become unsafe. However, when used properly they are one of the best bits of a kit that a carpenter can have given the speeds that they can help a carpenter reach.
Q: How do I use a framing nailer?
A: Using a framing nailer is easy, but it pays to get learn how to use your nail gun before setting upon a task. This is because it will help keep you safe but also it will ultimately improve the quality of your workmanship.
A framing nailer has a large tube above the tip of the tool. The tip is where nails shoot out from. The tip helps keep users safe as a nail will only be released as it needs to be pressed down a little against a wall before the nail gun’s trigger can be pressed itself.
Then, when you are getting ready to use your pneumatic nailer, all you need to do first is ensure that that tube and the tip of your nail gun are lined up and pointed where you ultimately want a nail. Then, apply a little pressure to the gun against the wall to Deactivate the safety mechanism. Pull the trigger.
After this, the nail framer should do all the hard work for you. It should have released only one nail into the wood you are framing. You should notice that the head of the nail has been depressed into the wood’s surface a little. The amount that this depression is can be changed by you on the nail gun itself. You may want it to sink into the wall more or less than the default setting.
Q: How should I maintain my framing nailer?
A: It’s imperative to maintain your framing nailer so that it works at its optimum performance at all times. The main way to do this is to take it apart if possible every few times you use it to clean out any dust or debris in the smaller compartments so that it won’t overheat in future. However, the most vital thing to do with regards to a framing nailer is to ensure that you clear out any jams in the magazine and nail head as soon as possible. Do not keep pressing the trigger hoping the blockage will simply clear. It won’t do this by itself and will need a proper assessment by yourself to unjam the mechanism.
Our Top Pick
NuMax SFR2190 21 Degree Framing Nailer Ergonomic & Lightweight Pneumatic Nail Gun with Depth Adjust & No-Mar Tip
In our opinion the best framing nailer on the market is this NuMax pneumatic nailer that is lightweight so exceedingly comfortable to use for all, even those that may have weaker upper body strength. This is helped by the clever ergonomic design of the handle on the framing nailer that can cope with a whole host of tasks that it is set on a building site or around the home during DIY projects. This nail gun also has the ability to have its nail depth adjusted so it can be altered to suit a person’s requirements, depending on the job at hand. So whether you want to install sheathing, subfloors or roof decking, you will be able to do so with the utmost speed and efficiency making any project a complete breeze. Owners of this NuMax framing nailer are never disappointed as it is a tool well worth the investment.
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