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Brad nailers are lightweight nailers that are designed to handle more precise work.
We’ve together a list of some of the best models available to buy today.
Note: If you’re looking for models that DO NOT require an air compress & hose, then take a look at our cordless brad nailer top picks.
Here's 3 products we picked out that thought you would be interested in depending on your budget...
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The Best Brad Nailer with Reviews
Here's a list of the best brad nailers we found on the market today:
1. DEWALT DCN680D1 Cordless Brad Nailer
- Micro nose for accuracy of nail placement
- Automatic shut-off protects excessive discharge of vehicle’s battery
- Battery and charger included.
- Diagnostics with LED indicator Communicates battery charge status
- Handy belt hook
- Highly rated among users
- Recommended for the professional user.
Not so Good
- One of the more expensive models available.
- Heavier than pneumatic nailers due to being cordless.
- Bulkiness makes it hard to get into corners
- Not recommended the casual user.
The DeWalt DCN680D1 is one of the first cordless brad nailers that allows you to ditch your air compressor and still get impressive performance.
It drives nails from5/8 in. to 2-1/8 in. which makes it effective at securing trim including door/window frames, baseboard, and moldings.
The inevitable drawbacks are that it is a lot bulkier and heavier than its pneumatic counterparts. This can be annoying at first, but many users prefer this than carrying around an air compressor.
Overall it’s a solid tool which many users have rated highly.
2. Makita AF505N 2" Pneumatic Brad Nailer
- Comes with hard plastic case.
- Tool-less jam clearing.
- Narrow & designed for getting into tight spaces.
Not so Good
- No dry lockout.
- No rapid fire mode.
- Depth adjustment is not always reliable.
- Indicator windows could be more easily visible.
This brad nailer from Makita has a narrow design that helps it get into tight spaces. It’s even covered with a rubber nose and bumpers to protect the material from any damages or scratches. The integrated hook rotates 180 degrees so it’s always handy and never in the way.
The tool-less depth adjustment allows it to be used on a variety of surfaces, including both hard and soft wood. The exhaust rotates 360 degrees so you can easier blow the air away from yourself while you’re working.
This tool does not have a dry lock out. There’s a dual indicator window so you can see when you need to reload. Some people prefer a dry lock out because it lets you know when you need to reload and you don’t really even have to be paying attention. That said, it doesn’t allow you to use your nails efficiently. In the event of a jam with this Makita, the cam-lock opens quickly without needing to use any tools. Clearing the jam is quick and easy so you can get right back to work without losing much time.
You also get safety goggles, oil, and a nice hard plastic case with this brad nailer – perfect for transport or storage. This is a solid performer with little room left to complain, but one thing it’s lacking a rapid fire mode which will affect your productivity.
3. Hitachi NT50AE2 18-Gauge Pneumatic Brad Nailer
- Very lightweight.
- Adjustable exhaust.
- Uses standard sized nail.
- Excellent value and really affordable.
Not so Good
- Some users might prefer a heavier tool.
- No dry lockout.
- Air hose intake nozzle doesn’t rotate which left some users frustrated.
- Difficult to clear jams as reported by some users.
For a value priced brad nailer that’s reliable and made by one of the most reliable brands in the industry, you can’t beat the Hitachi NT50AE2. This is an exceptionally lightweight tool at only 2.2 pounds. Just because it’s lightweight doesn’t mean it’s not a heavy duty tool. It’s designed with an aluminum core, which keeps the weight down. It’s also designed to be ergo-dynamic making this an exceptionally comfortable tool to use.
The magazine is side-loading and holds 100 standard size nails. One downside is that this nailer has a yellow indicator window to let you know when your magazine is getting low instead of a dry lockout. Some tools will warn you when you only have a few nails left in the magazine by not allowing you to fire the last few. Shooting a pneumatic nailer when the magazine is empty could damage the tool so watch the indicator very carefully during your work.
While the exhaust is adjustable to keep the air from blowing in your face, the air hose port is not. This is a bit of an inconvenience when you’re working because the hose could affect the tool’s movement and you have to kind of fight against it but it doesn’t impact the overall performance of the nailer.
This tool is fairly priced and performs really well. It’s a great choice for someone looking for a quality tool for DIY projects or small jobs around the house.
4. WEN 61720 18-Gauge Pneumatic Brad Nailer
- Excellent value for money.
- Very easy to use.
- Quick release mechanism to easily clear jams.
- Minimal maintenance required.
Not so Good
- Jams occasionally as reported.
- It will not be able to handle the pace of professional jobs.
- Doesn’t perform as well with 2-inch nails as with smaller ones as mentioned by some users.
- There’s no rubber tip.
WEN has produced a small, powerful brad nailer that is just a fraction of the price of the more expensive models. The design is pretty basic but it performs very well. The body is composed of cast-aluminum which helps make it lightweight and won’t burden your arm during extended periods of use. The handle has a comfortable rubber grip to add even more comfort.
This nailer has a quick release mechanism that lets you reload the magazine and clear any jams relatively easy. While it does have a tendency to jam, at least you’ll be able to get back to work quickly. Everything about this brad nailer is easy to use thanks to the simplicity of the design. Even the maintenance is simple and you’ll only need to do it every so often instead of after every job.
You’ll need an air compressor to use this brad nailer but the good news is it’s compatible with almost any compressor on the market. If you’re looking for an inexpensive, simple nailer for small projects at home, this is one of the best.
As far as we are concerned, you won’t make a mistake if you opt for this particular model. It does offer quite a lot of things, and it doesn’t require much. If you’re on a tight budget, make sure you check this stapler out; it’s worth your time.
5. PORTER-CABLE PCC790LA Cordless Brad Nailer
- No compressor or air hose to worry about.
- A lot of tool-less features.
- Doesn’t lose power as the battery weakens.
- Lightweight for a cordless model.
Not so Good
If you’re looking for another battery powered option, this brad nailer from Porter-Cable is an excellent choice. Battery operated tools automatically have several benefits. No need to lug and air hose and compressor around, this lightweight tool makes it much easier to move around because there’s nothing holding it back.
Battery powered tools are typically a little heavier than pneumatics and, while that is true with this Porter-Cable brad nailer, at 5.1 pounds it’s one of the lightest in its class. The nailer is designed so the balance it just right, making it easier to use and more comfortable to hold.
Something that this nailed has that we haven’t seen a lot of is LED lights to light up the workspace and act as indicator lights in case something goes wrong. There are a lot of tool free functions on this brad nailer, including an easy loading process that requires the push of a button.
The depth drive adjustment is also tool-less and easy to read. Jam clearing is also tool-less but a little involved because you have to remove the battery to get to the chamber. It’s designed to be a smooth process, though, but could be a bit annoying when you have to stop your work to do it.
This brad nailer tends to have consistent performance even as the battery weakens and the brand claims you get 1300 nails per charge with the right battery.
6. BOSTITCH BTFP12233 Pneumatic Brad Nailer
- Smart Point Technology for precise results
- Comfortable to use
- Smaller nose
- Easy to adjust depth drive
Not so Good
- Depth adjustment not accurate.
- Jams somewhat frequently.
- Magazine makes it difficult to determine what kind of nails are in use.
This Bostitch brad nailer has a nose with a smaller, Smart Point technology design that lets you see exactly where the nail will be going in. The 60% smaller nose also allows the nailed to be used in tighter spaces. This will make your work more look more precise and professional because you can better line everything up once you know right where the nails are going in.
This brad nailer comes with the tool itself, a carrying case, a ¼ inch swivel fitting, and a belt hook. You also get 1000 2-inch brads to get you started so you’re ready to go right out of the box. This is an oil free nailer which eliminates some maintenance. An internal filter helps keep dust and debris from damaging the motor.
The over-molded handle and bumper protect the material from any damages. The lightweight frame is composed of magnesium, which is just as durable as aluminum but not as heavy. Overall, this is a compact nailer that will be easy to handle, even for long term jobs.
The tool-free jam release is easily accessible and usable. So is the depth drive – located under the trigger so you can easily make changes. With all of these features and the Smart Point technology, this Bostitch brad nailer is great for homeowners, hobbyists, and professionals.
How To Buy a Brad Nailer
When buying a brad nailer, it’s important to keep in mind the kind of job you’ll be using it for.
Are you a contractor who needs something really tough, easy to use, and versatile? Or are you a DIYer who is looking for something a little more basic for smaller jobs around the house?
Once you know what you’re looking for, you can start to look into various features in more depth and figure out which ones you can’t live without.
Air or Battery Powered?
All of the brad nailers in our review are either air or battery powered. Each has their own pros and cons.
With a battery powered nailer, you don’t need to worry about using a compressor or dragging an air hose around as you work. Battery powered tools, in general, are extremely portable and easy to take anywhere. They’re ideal for climbing ladders or when trying to fit your nailer into smaller spaces. They’re a little heavier than air powered tools because you have to factor in the weight of the battery itself.
One major downside to a battery powered brad nailer is that you have to rely on the life of the battery to determine how much work you can get done and, once the battery starts to go, so can the tool’s effectiveness. One way around this is to take a spare battery and charger with you. Charge your old battery while you’re using the new one and switch them out when needed. This does have some added expense and you’ll need to be sure you have access to electricity to charge the old battery.
Air powered brad nailers will require an air compressor and a hose to work. If you already have one because you use it for something else, that’s great and will save you the cost of having to buy a new one. But, if you don’t have one, including an air compressor in your budget can be prohibitive.
Air powered tools are generally really lightweight which makes them a little easier to hold than a heavier battery powered nailer, but the attached air hose can get in the way. This can be a little dangerous, especially when climbing stairs or ladders.
Depth of Drive
All of the brad nailers that we reviewed have an automatic depth of drive.
This adjusts how far the brad goes into the material and is generally dependant on how soft or hard the wood is. Basically, the nail will require more force to penetrate harder wood so you need to be able to adjust this depth in order to make sure you get the nails sunk to the right level, regardless of the material.
Different brands have different mechanisms to control this. Some will have buttons while other will have switches or dials. They should all be fairly easy to use.
There are some nice features that some of the brad nailers we reviewed have that aren’t necessary but are really nice to have:
- Storage case – Getting a storage case with any tool is a bonus, especially if it’s not something you’ll be using on a daily basis. You’ll have a way to store it safely and you can easily transport it if need be.
- Easy to clear jams – No matter how great a nail gun in, jams will happen periodically. While some will surely jam more than others, a gun that has been designed to clear jams easily is going to significantly cut down on any additional frustration.
- LED lights – Though not common on nailers in general, we have come across a few that come equipped with LED lights. This is a really great feature if you’re going to be working in tight spaces because it helps you get a really clear view of where you’re placing your nail.
- Dry Lockout – This is a feature that stops the nailer from firing when there are only a few nails left in the magazine. The idea is that it will prevent you from ever shooting blanks, which could damage the tool. For tools that don’t have this option, there will be some kind of window that indicates how many nails you have left in the magazine and when it will need to be refilled.
When it comes to choosing our favorite brad nailer, we cannot recommend the DeWalt DC608K enough. With dual modes for precision and speed plus easy access to clear any inevitable jams, this battery operated brad nailer is a great choice for a DIYer or a professional.
If you’re not sure that it’s the one for you, take a look at our other top choices and consider the information in our buyer’s guide to make sure you get the right brad nailer for you.