Nail Gun Basics: Ideas and Tips for Choosing the Right One

Nail guns are handy power tools with many applications. They are widely known as the ultimate heavy-duty framing tools. This is one of the reasons you can easily find a framing nailer for sale online. Nail guns are used for flooring, roofing, and siding, but also in upholstery, carpentry and tight spots in general.

Types of Nail Guns

Types of nail guns

Nail guns are divided into different categories based on how nails are driven into the finished product. You can find all options online and you can buy a framing nailer for sale at bargain prices. 

Pneumatic nail guns are ubiquitous. They use air pressure to insert the nail into the material. An air compressor is required to pressurize the air, but this step produces a lot of noise. It’s one of the downsides of pneumatic nailers, however, this operation lasts a minute or so. The compressor stops working but you have enough pressurized air to finish a section of your work.

As with many other power tools, the electric versions are more popular. There are two different sub-types of electric nailers: corded and cordless. The corded variety is convenient for those tradies that do most of their work in a work gear around their workbench. They provide a virtually unlimited power supply, however, every once in a while you need to reload the nail magazine.

Cords and plugs are a safety hazard in crowded workplaces. Cordless nail guns are perfect for such environments and for operators who simply have to do on-site installation. They are powered by batteries that allow freedom of maneuverability and are more portable than the typical nailer.

The spring-loaded nail gun is the most simple variety in this category. It works similarly to your typical office or fabric stapler. The springs create tension – when you release this tension the hails fire out of the chamber.

Nail Gun vs Hammer

Close-up of hammer and nail gun

Speaking of worksite simplicity, the thought probably crossed your mind – why not use a hammer to place nails in their rightful place? Hand tools have generally inferior performance than power tools.

To put this in perspective: the speed of placing nails with a nail gun can never be reached with a hammer. When you are using the power tool, you just need to place it over the penetration point and fire. Hammering nails means that you have to grab one each time and this quickly adds up when you are working on big projects.

Professional nailers invariably have a magazine or chamber full of nails that are ready to use. The repetitive nature of nailing increases the likelihood of self-inflicted injuries. A powered nail gun is not free of risks, however, you are getting better safety. Nailing by hand takes its toll on your craftsmanship too. When you use a hammer you need at least two or three hits to properly place a nail. Automatic nailers place nails within the material by one hit – and they are all driven with the same force.

When you take all of these factors into consideration, nailers is superior to hammers in most aspects.

Safe Handling of Nail Guns

Close-up of working with nail gun

So you have a project in mind. Maybe it’s some small scale carpentry or construction work. If you happen to have a good nailer in your hands resist the temptation to use it until you have studied the owners manual. It’s not impossible to hurt yourself, however, you can easily cover the basics within minutes. Don’t take a nail gun just because you found a great framing nailer for sale before you consider this aspect.

The greatest risk in handling nailers is to actually shoot a nail when the power tool is not resting on a firm object. Nails shot in the air can end up injuring either yourself or others at the worksite. So keep your hands off the trigger unless you are ready to fire the gun.

Then there is the possibility of hitting your fingers while operating a nailer. Always use clams to secure the object you are nailing to avoid this from happening. In some instances, this will not be possible (tight spots, hard to access areas or extensive penetration points). If you find yourself in one of these situations, practice caution and don’t place your fingers in the nail’s path.

The third most common safety issue with professional nail guns is holding them at an inappropriate angle. You see, some models fire at a straight angle, however, there are models that release the nails at an angle. Double-check this before using the nailer. It’s not just a safety precaution, it’s also a consideration that will allow you to do a better job.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.