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Brad Nailer vs. Finish Nailer: What Is The Difference

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Written By John Gibbs




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When it comes to home improvement projects, there are a lot of different tools that you might need to get the job done. One tool that you might need is a nailer. But what kind of nailer should you use?

There are two main types of nailers: finishing nail gun vs. brad nail gun. Both types of nailers have their own unique benefits that can make them better suited for different types of projects. So, which type of nailer should you use? It really depends on the project you’re working on. If you are not sure, it is always best to read this guide before starting your project.

Main Differences Between Brad Nailer vs. Finish Nailer
The main difference between a finish and vs brad nail is that they are designed for different nail gauges. Finish nailer shoot 16-gauge nails or 15-gauge nails and for brad nailer shoot 18-gauge nails.


Why Use a Brad Nailer or Finish Nailer?

A brad nailer is a small, handheld tool that is used to drive brad nails into wood. Brad’s nails are small, thin nails that are used for delicate work. A finish nailer is a larger, heavier tool that is used to drive finish nails into wood. Finish nails are thicker and stronger than brad nails, so they are better suited for use in heavier projects.

What is Brad Nailer?

A brad nailer is a tool that is used to drive small nails into wood. It is similar to a hammer in that it has a handle and a head, but it is much smaller and lighter. The head of a brad nailer is usually made of steel, and the handle is usually made of plastic.

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How does a brad nailer work?

A brad nailer uses compressed air to drive a small nail into wood. The air compressor is connected to the brad nailer with a hose, and when you pull the trigger, a small amount of air is released and drives the nail into the wood.

What are the benefits of using a brad nailer?

There are several benefits to using a brad nailer:

  1. They are very versatile. You can use a brad nailer for a variety of projects, including woodworking, upholstery, and even crafts.
  2. They are perfect for small projects. Brad’s nails are very small, so they are perfect for delicate projects where you don’t want to leave a big hole.
  3. They are easy to use. Brad nailers are very easy to use, and even beginner DIYers can use them with ease.
  4. They are relatively inexpensive. Brad nailers are very affordable, and you can find them for around $50.

How to choose the best brad nailer for your needs?


When choosing a brad nailer, there are a few things you need to consider:

  1. The type of project you will be using it for. If you are only going to use it for small projects, then a cordless brad nailer will be sufficient. However, if you are going to use it for larger projects, then you will need a pneumatic brad nailer.
  2. The size of the nails. Brad’s nails come in a variety of sizes, so you need to choose the size that is appropriate for your project.
  3. Your budget. Brad nailers range in price from around $50 to $200, so you need to choose one that fits your budget.
  4. The brand. There are many different brands of brad nailers on the market, so you need to choose one that is reputable and has a good warranty.
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What is a Finish Nailer?

A finish nailer is a tool that is used to drive nails into wood. The head of the nailer contains a magazine that holds a supply of nails, and the handle is used to trigger the firing mechanism.

Finish nailers are available in a variety of sizes, and the most common are 16-gauge and 18-gauge. The size of the nailer will determine the size of the nails that it can use. Finish nailers can be powered by air, electricity, or batteries, and the type of power source will usually be determined by the size of the nailer.

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How to Use Finish Nailer?

Finish nailers are one of the most versatile tools in any woodworker’s arsenal. With the right technique, they can be used for everything from attaching the trim to building furniture.


  1. First, let’s talk about safety. Finish nailers are powerful tools, and if used improperly, they can be dangerous. Be sure to wear safety glasses and hearing protection when using a finish nailer. Also, be aware of your surroundings and keep your hands out of the path of the nail.
  2. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about choosing the right nail length. A nail that’s too long has a greater chance of misfiring, a nail that’s too short won’t properly hold. Generally, you want the length of your nail to be twice the thickness of the material you’re nailing.
  3. Next, we need to set the right depth. Even with the right-sized nail, if your nail gun’s depth is incorrect, you won’t effectively secure your material.
  4. Now it’s time to fire the nail. After you’ve practiced and properly set your nailer, hold it steady and pull the trigger. Go slow at first and inspect each nail after it’s fired, adjusting the depth if necessary. Once you get the hang of it, things will speed up!
  5. Finally, keep your magazine full. Once you get into a rhythm, you might forget to keep the magazine full. Many nail guns have an indicator on the magazine that will show you when you’re low on nails.

With these tips, you’ll be nailing like a pro in no time!

Pneumatic vs. Cordless

Both finish nailers and brad nailers come in cordless and pneumatic options. Pneumatic nailers are powered by air compressors, and they are the most powerful type of nailer. They are also the most expensive, and they require an air compressor to operate.

Cordless nailers are powered by batteries, and they are very convenient because you don’t need an air compressor. They are not as powerful as pneumatic nailers, but they are still very effective.

How Long Should Nails Be for Brad and Finish Nailers?


If you are working on a project that requires precise nails, such as a piece of furniture, you will want to use a finish nailer. These nailers have a smaller head than a brad nailer and will not split the wood as easily. Finish nailers are designed to shoot larger 16-, 15-, and even 14-gauge nails. The downside to using a finish nailer is that the nails are more expensive.

For most other projects, a brad nailer will be just fine. The nails are less expensive, and the head is larger, which makes it easier to drive the nails into the wood. Brad nailers use 18-gauge nails.

TypeSizeSize in inchesPrice from
Finish nailers14-gauge1" to 2-1/2"25$
15-gauge1-1/4” - 2-1/2”65$
16-gauge3/4” - 2-1/2”38$
Brad nailers18-gauge1/2" - 2 1/2"29$

Should I Buy a Brad Nailer or a Finish Nailer?

Brad nailers are great for light-duty projects, like attaching small trim pieces or picture frames. They shoot small nails (called brads) that are easy to hide with a little bit of putty or caulk.

Finish nailers are better for heavier-duty projects, like attaching baseboards or crown molding. They shoot larger nails (called finish nails) that hold better and are less likely to pop out over time.

So, which one should you buy? Brad nailers are less expensive than finish nailers. If you only do light-duty projects around the house, a brad nailer is probably all you need. But if you do any type of woodworking or other heavier-duty projects, a finish nailer is a better choice.



What is better, a brad nailer or a finish nailer?

Brad nailers are smaller and more maneuverable than finish nailers, making them ideal for working in tight spaces. They also have a smaller head, so they’re less likely to leave big holes in your workpiece. However, they’re not as powerful as finish nailers, so they’re not suitable for heavy-duty nailing jobs.

Can a Brad nailer be used for finishing?

A brad nailer is a versatile tool that can be used for a variety of applications. In addition to finish work, the brad nailer can also be used for attaching small pieces of trim and molding, as well as for upholstery work. The brad nailer is a great tool to have in any woodworking shop.

Do you use a brad nailer or finish nailer for a trim?

If you’re wondering whether you can use a brad nailer or finish nailer for trim, the answer is yes! Both types of nailers are designed to drive nails into wood, so they’ll work just fine for trim. The main difference between the two is that brad nailers are smaller and have narrower nails, while finish nailers are larger and have wider nails.

Can I use a brad nailer for baseboards?

Brad nailers are a versatile tool that can be used for a variety of projects, including baseboards. When using a brad nailer for baseboards, it is important to keep a few things in mind. First, always use a nail gun with a depth adjustment. Second, take care to not overdrive the nails. This can damage the baseboard and make it difficult to remove the nails later. Finally, be sure to predrill pilot holes before driving the nails. This will help prevent the baseboard from splitting.


There is no clear winner when it comes to finishing nailer vs. brad. It really depends on the project you are working on and what your specific needs are. If you need a more powerful nailer for heavier projects, then the Brad Nailer is the better option. If you need a more precise nailer for delicate projects, then the Finish Nailer is the better option. We hope that our article helped you understand the types of nailers. Good luck!


  • Nail gun – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nail_gun
  • What are the different sizes of finishing nails? – https://home.howstuffworks.com/sizes-of-finishing-nails.htm?srch_tag=w2tzr3keb55zbj2b2fbeeoigdmdub5ne
  • 9 Different Types Of Nail Guns And How To Use Them – https://www.engineeringchoice.com/types-of-nail-guns/


About John Gibbs

Hello everyone! My name is John Gibbs. I am 60 years old and have been in the family construction business all my adult life. Construction is not only my profession but also my passion. I know everything about building and repair materials, tools, advanced methods, techniques, and approaches. I will share the same knowledge with you in my articles.

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