Comparing Brad Nailer vs Finish Nailer – with Reviews and Recommendation

Within the marketplace, there are various kinds of pneumatic nail guns available for you to tackle any project you might come across. When you conduct your research, you will see there are two nail guns which look to be very similar; the Brand Nailer and the Finish Nailer. Both of these air guns use very similar types of nails and staples, and are about the same size. So, why are there two very distinct nail guns available to you? Although on the surface these two types of air nail guns seem similar, they each have their own purpose, which we will go into detail here.

After that, we’ll give you a review of four highly rated nail guns, two of which will be the Brad Nailer, and the other two the Finish Nailer. Lastly, we’ll give you our recommendation on which nail gun is best.

Quick Comparison

Picture
OUR PICK
Nail Length
3/4 to 2 in.
1" to 2 ½"
5/8 to 2-Inch
1” to 2 ½”
Nail Width
18 Gauge
16 Gauge
18 Gauge
16 Gauge
Operating PSI
60 to 100 PSI
70 - 110 PSI
70-120 PSI
70-110 PSI
Prime Status
Picture
Nail Length
3/4 to 2 in.
Nail Width
18 Gauge
Operating PSI
60 to 100 PSI
Prime Status
OUR PICK
Picture
Nail Length
1" to 2 ½"
Nail Width
16 Gauge
Operating PSI
70 - 110 PSI
Prime Status
Picture
Nail Length
5/8 to 2-Inch
Nail Width
18 Gauge
Operating PSI
70-120 PSI
Prime Status
Picture
Nail Length
1” to 2 ½”
Nail Width
16 Gauge
Operating PSI
70-110 PSI
Prime Status

Last update on 2017-08-22 at 10:19 PST - Details

Brad Nail Gun vs. Finish Nail Gun

1. Brad Nail Gun

The Brad Nail gun is typically smaller than a Finish Nail gun.

Although it can house the same size and types of nails and staples, this nail gun is actually intended to shoot our specific types of nails which are called Brad Nails, which is where the name of this nail gun is derived from.

The Brad Nail is much thinner and the head is smaller when compared to a nail.

The reason this is important is because you do not have to cover the hole which a brad nail causes, like you do when you use regular nails. This will help save you time and money, and it will not look as messy. In addition to this, there is less of a chance of you splitting a piece of wood when using a brad nail, due to it being a thinner material compared to a regular nail.

This is especially helpful when you are attaching some thin wood trim to an existing wood structure.

2. Finish Nail Gun

Because the housing on a Finish Nail Gun is typically bigger when compared to a Brad Nail Gun, even if only by a couple of inches, this allows you to store larger and more dynamic types of nails.

Although a brad nail gun can work on certain projects like crown molding or baseboards, the finish nail gun is better suited for these kinds of projects.

Due to the larger size of the nail, it will cinch the material better to the existing frame you are fastening it to.

This is especially true if you are not attaching the crown molding or baseboards to wood, but directly into the drywall; the brad nails will slip out, whereas the nails from a finish nail gun will hold the grip better and be longer lasting in this kind of application.​

When you use Finish Nails, because the head of the nail is larger compared to a brad nail, you will need to fill the hole in afterwards. This will require some kind of putty or spackling, depending upon the project you are working on.​

3. How To Choose

Reviews​

After reviewing the features and benefits of each type of nail gun, you can tell which kind of gun you need for each project. A Brad Nail gun should be used for thinner materials, and for projects where you don’t want a large hole you have to fill in. For materials which are thicker, or need to be secured as tightly as possible together, then using a Finish Nail gun is the right tool for you.With that in mind, here are four of the best Brad and Finish Pneumatic Nail guns within the marketplace today.​

1. Wen 61720 ¾” to 2” 18 Gauge Brad Nail Gun

Wen 61720 ¾” to 2” 18 Gauge Brad Nail Gun Review

One of the most affordable Brad Nail guns within the marketplace comes from Wen. This brad nail gun has the capability of housing brad nails which are in length from ¾” up to 2”. It can also hold up to 100 brad nails at once, ensuring you do not have to stop very often in the middle of a job. The grip of the nail gun is made out of rubber, and has an adjustable exhaust deflector included.

Pros

  • Can hold brad nails up to 2” in length
  • Comes standard with a case
  • Can hold up to 100 brad nails at once
  • Will operate up to 100 PSI
  • Within the package there are two adjustable wrenches and oil, so you can make adjustments to it as needed
  • Has a depth wheel, so you can ensure you have the correct depth when you fire the brad nails

Cons

  • Does not use staples
  • Although you don’t need a large air compressor, it does not come with one

2. NuMax SFN64 Straight Finish Nailer 16 Gauge

NuMax SFN64 Straight Finish Nailer 16 Gauge revirew

A finish nail gun which can help you complete projects both outside and inside the house, this nail gun can house nails up to a size 16 gauge. The length of the nails can range from 1” up to 2 ½”. There is an adjustable depth gauge along the gun, so you can ensure the finish nails are properly put into your project to the depth you desire. There is a 360 adjustable exhaust, and the operating power is between 70 and 110 psi.

Pros

  • Can house finish nails up to 2 ½” in length
  • Magazine can hold up to 100 nails at a time, so you do not have to stop working on your job very often
  • You can adjust the depth of the nail to ensure your project is safe and secure, while also having the finish look you desire
  • Has a no-mar tip on it, so your project will not get scuffed or damaged from the nail gun
  • Has a limited 1 year warranty

Cons

  • Does not come with an Air Compressor
  • No hook to carry it on your belt

3. Hitachi NT50AE2 18-Gauge 5/8” to 2” Brad Nailer

Hitachi NT50AE2 18-Gauge 5/8” to 2” Brad Nailer review

Hitachi has come out with this highly rated Brad Nail gun. This pneumatic brad nailer can house up to 18 gauge brad nails, which range in length from 5/8” up to 2”. The handle has an ergonomic design, allowing your hands to stay comfortable throughout the entire use of the tool. In addition to this, there is the option of choosing a couple of different firing modes, including sequential and select bump. You can also adjust the depth of the brad nails, so you can determine how far into the material the head of the brad nail will be.

Pros

  • Can house brad nails from 5/8” in length up to 2”
  • The ergonomic handle gives you a comfortable feel while using the tool
  • There is a 360 degree adjustable exhaust port, so you can direct where all the debris, dust and oil are sent to
  • Having a depth dial allowing you to adjust how far the nail goes into the material
  • Can hold up to 100 brad nails at one time
  • Comes with a Case

Cons

  • Cannot angle the brad nails
  • Does not come with a compressor

4. Freeman PFN64 16 Gauge Straight Finish Nail Gun

Freeman PFN64 16 Gauge Straight Finish Nail Gun Review

The Finish Nail gun from Freeman can house up to 16 gauge finish nails. The nails can range in length from 1” up to 2 ½”, and has a quick-jam release, so you can easily clear any nail jams which happen within the gun. The nail gun comes with a dial to help determine the depth of the nail into the material you are securing. There is also a no-mar tip with this finish nail gun, which helps prevent any damage from occurring to the material you are working with.

Pros

  • Can house finish nails in size from 1” up to 2 ½”
  • Comes with a quick jam release, so you are not tied up too long in fixing the gun when it does jam
  • No-Mar tip pads ensure you do not damage the material you are working with
  • Adjustable depth perception so you can ensure your nail finishes where you want it to
  • Has a fully adjustable 360 degree exhaust
  • This unit is oil-less
  • Has a 7-year limited warranty

Cons

  • Does not come with a compressor
  • Does not come with a case

Conclusion and Recommendation

Once you know the difference between a brad nail gun and a finish nail gun, you can determine which kind of gun will be right for the type of project you are working upon. Our recommendation is to go with a finish nail gun, as they can also typically fire some kind of brad nail. This gives you the versatility necessary to complete a large assortment of jobs around your house. With this in mind, we fully stand support the NuMax SFN64 Straight Finish Nailer 16 Gauge, which can house nails from 1” up to 2 ½” in length.

Thomas Roberge
 

This website was created and is supported by a person who has been in the business of working with power tools, dedicated to home improvement projects both professionally and for the do it yourself type of person.

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