Nail Gun Pressure Requirements – What PSI?

Pneumatic nail guns offer great advantages over the use of the more traditional hammer and nails in woodworking, building projects, and roofing applications.

There are many types of nail guns available today, all designed with speed and accuracy in mind, and all designed for different types of work.

These various types of nail guns all have specific ranges of air pressure requirements, measured in pounds per square inch (psi), to ensure safety, efficiency, and predictability while operating the tools.

Let’s look at the requirements of four common types of pneumatic nail guns. 

Nail Gun PSI Table

Note: These ranges are typical guides are may need to be adjusted depending on the hardness of the material you are shooting in to.

Nail Gun Type Pressure Range
Framing Nailer 100 – 120 psi
Finish Nailer 70 – 120 psi
Brad Nailer 60 – 100 psi
Roofing Nailer 90 – 100 psi

Framing Nail Guns

Framing nail guns are designed for speed and versatility and come in a variety of designs related to the configuration of the nails the tool uses. ‘Coil’ type and ‘collated’ type are the most common. Both have similar psi requirements and is dependent on the size of the fasteners being used.

Framing nailers use nail sizes ranging from 2 inches to 3.5 inches. The larger the nail, the higher the pressure needed.

Most framing nailers will operate safely in a range of 70 to 120 psi. For optimal performance in framing applications, 100 – 120 psi is best.

Finish Nail Guns

Finish nail guns are excellent for use on projects where the final appearance is important.

Using 15 or 16-gauge nails that are 1 inch to 2.5 inches long and have little or no head, these nailers leave small, easily filled, holes in the finished product.

The safe working range for these guns is from 70 to 120 psi. because they are designed for use on a large variety of materials, some experimenting may be necessary to determine the optimal psi for each project.

Generally, hardwoods will require higher air pressure than softer woods.

Brad Nail Guns

Designed for small assembly projects or intricate detail work, brad nailers are ideal for projects where inconspicuous fasteners are desired.

These guns use 18 to 23-gauge fasteners that are up to 1 inch long. Because they use small nails, they operate well on lower pressures of 60 to 100 psi.

Like finish nailers, some testing may be needed to determine the best air pressure for each project.

Roofing Nail Guns

Roofing nail guns are built for rapid installation of a variety of roofing materials where many fasteners are needed.

They typically use coiled nails that are .75 inches to 2 inches long and have a psi operating range of 70 to120.

For most applications, 90-100 psi is ideal for penetrating the supporting surface of the roof without damaging the roofing material.


With the wide variety of nail guns sold by many different manufacturers, checking the psi range requirements for each tool will ensure safety and the proper functioning of your nail gun.

Because of differences in air volume, or cubic feet per minute, provided by different air compressors, air hoses, and hose fittings, some experimentation may be required for each tool, and each project, to determine the best psi for each situation.

Reader Interactions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *