Our Top Pick for 2018: Senco Fastening Systems 18GA Fusion Brad Nailer
Read our full review.
If you have ever done any woodwork, you may have very well used a nail gun. Greatly increasing productivity and efficiency, they allow you to get a lot of work done in a very short amount of time. There are a number of different nailer types, all of which are capable of doing different things. One of these types is a brad nailer. Small and easy to hold, this type is used for driving in small nails, known as brads. Brads are useful for attaching thin pieces of wood and trim discreetly as they are very narrow and difficult to spot when driven into wood. If you work on projects that require the nailing of delicate materials, you could likely benefit from a brad nailer. But, what do you look for when buying one? This guide is here tell you exactly that.
- #1 Gold Pick (1st Place Winner)
- #2 Silver Pick (2nd Place Runner-Up)
- #3 Bronze Pick (3rd Place)
- #4 Budget Pick (Best Cheap)
#1. Senco Fastening Systems 18GA Fusion Brad Nailer
Based in Cincinnati, Ohio, Senco is a company that manufactures high quality nailers and nailer accessories. From air compressors, to batteries, to nail guns, the company makes all of their products with high attention to detail and safety. One of their top brad nailers at the present time is the SENCO FASTENING SYSTEMS 6E0001N 18GA Fusion Brad Nailer. High-performing and easy to hold, it’s a great tool to have for any small woodwork project.
Weighing in at 6 pounds, it is very easy to hold up while in use. This allows to you balance it easily ensuring that it is safe and easy-to-use as possible. Making it very versatile is the fact that it does not have a cord connected to it. This allows you to bring it anywhere you want without worry. Loading nails in an 18 gauge, straight strip metal canister, it is capable of firing a great many nails in a very short amount of time, and can even fire several in a single second. Allowing you to fire 600 nails with one fully charged battery, you won’t have to worry about it dying on you in the middle of a project.
It is powered in a unique fashion, combining both battery power and gas compression. But, unlike many compressor-powered nailers, it doesn’t need to be connected to an additional compression tank. There is actually a small cylinder attached to it which is filled with nitrogen gas as it is being used. This cylinder can not be opened. It is simply connected in a way in which it works in tandem with the battery. The battery works to recycle the nitrogen gas as it is being used, meaning you don’t have to fill the tank at any time. At 18 volts, the battery supplies a great deal of power, allowing you to use the gun for long periods of time. The battery also contains an LED light that gauges how much power it has left in it. This will allow you to make a decision on whether or not you need to charge it before starting a job. It takes about 15 minutes to get up to an 80 percent charge, and 45 minutes to get to a full charge.
Online reviewers love it for how powerful and fast it is, stating that it can easily drive 1.5 inch brads fully into wood in a timely and consistent manner. Reviewers also love it for the fact that it doesn’t have to be attached to a compressor, noting that it’s easy to move around with, and that it’s a lot less of a hassle when compared to versions that do have to be attached.
Some reviewers had trouble with its durability, stating that some parts began to feel a bit loose after a couple weeks of use. This, however, didn’t seem to be much of a problem with most users. A few reviewers also said that they had trouble with their batteries dying prematurely.
Overall, the SENCO FASTENING SYSTEMS 6E0001N 18GA Fusion Brad Nailer is an excellent tool with great driving power and the ability to work quickly. Cordless, yet pneumatic, it provides you with ultimate freedom while allowing you to use it in tight spots of all kinds. If you’re a carpenter or amateur woodworker who needs something to do trim work on your pieces, the SENCO FASTENING SYSTEMS 6E0001N 18GA Fusion Brad Nailer is definitely something to take a look at. It’s available for around $320.00 on most online retail sites.
#2. DEWALT DC608K 18-Volt 18-Gauge 2-Inch Brad Nailer
DeWalt’s reputation as a manufacturer of top-notch power tools is well-known. The company creates everything from drills, to saws, to nailers, and more, with every one of their products possessing the high quality characteristic of the
DeWalt name. One of their premier brad nailers at the moment is the DEWALT DC608K 18-Volt 18-Gauge 2-Inch Brad Nailer. Compact, high-performing, and easy to handle, it’s a great product for carpenters of all skill levels.
Weighing in at 7.4 pounds, it’s rather light and easy to hold for long periods of time. A rubber-gripped handle makes it very ergonomic, providing you with great comfort and ease-of-use all throughout the project you’re using it on. Allowing for both sequential and contact nailing styles, you can choose between firing with accuracy or speed. It makes use of a straight brad magazine that accommodates 110 brads between 5/8 of an inch and 2 inches, making it very versatile, and allowing you to use it for a bevy of different projects.
It is powered by a rechargeable 18 volt battery, providing it with a great deal of power without having to be connected to a cord or hose. This allows you to move around freely, and use its narrow nose in tight spaces. A depth-control mechanism allows you to decide how deep you want to drive your brads, making it useful for many different purposes. For jam-clearing purposes, the nose can easily be swung open, allowing you to remove nails swiftly and with as much convenience as possible. For safety purposes, it contains a safety lock that will disable the trigger whenever it is turned on.
Online reviewers laud it for its supreme battery power, with one reviewer stating that he was able to fire 1,000 nails with just one battery charge. Reviewers also give it credit for the fact that it doesn’t make use of a hose, stating that it provides comparable power to an air-compressed style gun, but with more freedom.
Some reviewers complained about its sequential operating mode, stating that it was not very precise and that sometimes it would not work at all. Other reviewers complained that it did a poor job of nailing into hard wood, stating that it’s great for softer woods, but causes hard woods to split at times.
All in all, the DEWALT DC608K 18-Volt 18-Gauge 2-Inch Brad Nailer is a nice tool with a lot of versatility. Allowing you to nail both quickly and precisely, it’s great to use on projects in which you don’t feel like lugging around an air compression tank. If you’re looking for something to quickly get trim work done, you might want to consider the DEWALT DC608K 18-Volt 18-Gauge 2-Inch Brad Nailer. It’s available for around $245.00 on most online retail sites.
#3. BOSTITCH BTFP12233 Smart Point 18GA Brad Nailer
Located in Rhode Island, Bostitch is a company that specializes in all things fasteners. Manufacturing everything from staplers, to staple guns, to nailers, they manufacture products that are both excellently-constructed, and highly functional. Their top brad nailer at the present time is the BOSTITCH BTFP12233 Smart Point 18GA Brad Nailer. Easy to handle and very accurate, it’s a great power tool for carpenters of all skills levels.
It weighs just 3.1 pounds, making it extremely light and easy to hold. This will allow you to do long trim jobs without expending much effort at all. Possessing a very small and narrow nose, it provides you with very accurate nail placement. Its Dial-A-Depth control system provides you with the ability to sink nails in at different levels, making it great for various different uses. If it jams up, it can be opened easily without tools, allowing you to clear jams in a timely and convenient manner.
Providing both sequential and contact operating modes, you can choose to drive nails either very quickly, or very accurately. It is operated with the use of an external air compressor which can be used anywhere between 70 and 120 psi. This allows you to drive nails at different intensities, making it versatile, and allowing you to use it on different types of wood. Its air compressor hose fitting measures in at 1/4 of an inch. To keep it from overheating, a rear-placed exhaust allows heat and debris to eject without resistance.
Online reviewers love it for its very narrow nose, stating that it allows them to get into very tight corners with convenience and ease. Reviewers also give it credit for how easy it is to hold, noting its very comfortable handle as well as its extremely light weight.
Some reviewers complained that it seems to jam up frequently, with one reviewer stating that nails would sometimes fire out sideways and not completely submerge themselves in the wood. A few reviewers commented that it can not drive nails into hard wood such as oak regardless of how much air pressure was being used.
Overall, the BOSTITCH BTFP12233 Smart Point 18GA Brad Nailer is an excellent tool for all kinds of trim work. With its very narrow nose and lightweight construction, it allows you to spend as much time as you need to perform a task without zapping you of all your energy. If you’re a professional or amateur carpenter who’s looking for something that’s easy to hold and use, you might want to consider the BOSTITCH BTFP12233 Smart Point 18GA Brad Nailer. It’s available for around $95.00 on most online retail sites.
#4. WEN 61720 3/4-Inch to 2-Inch 18-Gauge Brad Nailer
Maybe you have a use for a brad nailer, but don’t want to spend a great deal of money one one. Perhaps you’re just getting into carpentry work and you would like to just buy something cheap in order to see if it’s the right hobby for you. If so, there are a number of great nailers that will accommodate you. One of these is the WEN 61720 3/4-Inch to 2-Inch 18-Gauge Brad Nailer.
Weighing in at 3 pounds, it is very lightweight and easy to handle, allowing you to use it comfortably for long time periods. Capable of firing 18 gauge brads between 3/4 of an inch and 2 inches, it is very versatile. In all, it can hold up to 100 brads at one time, allowing you to use it for quite a while before having to change the magazine. In case of jams, it has a quick release nose that allows for easy entry.
Like the Bostitch nailer reviewed above, this one requires an external air compressor. While this restricts some of its movement, it also provides more power, allowing you to drive nails with more intensity and consistency. Capable of operating anywhere between 60 and 100 psi, it allows you to change shot pressure based on what type of wood you’re nailing. Its air compressor hose fitting measures in at 1/4 of an inch.
Online reviewers laud it for how well it drives nails at its price, stating that it shoots them out straightly, accurately, and consistently, and even better than some of the higher end models they have used. Reviewers also give it credit for how comfortable it feels in their hands, stating that it’s lightweight and that its handle feels very smooth.
Some reviewers complained that it fires 2 nails at once every once in a while, but this doesn’t seem to be a problem for most users. It’s likely just a defect in the specific model they received. Other reviewers noted that the depth adjustment doesn’t do anything, stating that nails drive in at the same depth regardless of how the adjustment is set.
All in all, the WEN 61720 3/4-Inch to 2-Inch 18-Gauge Brad Nailer is an excellent and affordable tool for driving in brads quickly and accurately. Easy to use and very comfortable in your hands, it will allow you to spend as much time as you need on various projects. If you’re looking for a cheap, but reliable tool for trim work, you should definitely give the WEN 61720 3/4-Inch to 2-Inch 18-Gauge Brad Nailer a shot. It’s available for around $26.00 on most online retail sites.
One of the most important aspects of a brad nailer is where it gets it power from. This will directly affect where it can be used, and what it can be used on. In general, brad nailers are powered in 1 of 3 different ways. One of these ways is with an air compressor.
These types are called pneumatic nailers, and they are connected directly to air compressors that drive nails in with great pressure. If you’re choosing this type of nailer, it’s important to determine whether the compressor is capable of handling it. A pneumatic nailer will be labeled with both psi and volume. It’s important that you use a compressor that provides at least the amount of psi and volume indicated for the nailer.
Another power type is battery-powered. This type is a lot more mobile than a pneumatic type, but is also not as powerful. Giving you the both excellent power and unlimited mobility is a fuel-driven nailer. Making use of both gasoline and a battery, it drives nails very explosively, and does not require a cord or hose like with a pneumatic. It can be used for both light-duty and heavy-duty jobs. Which type of power source you choose will be based on what you intend to use the nailer for. If you’re going to be driving nails into hard materials, you should go with a pneumatic of fuel-driven type. If you’re just using it for soft and moderately hard surfaces, you will be safe with a battery-powered type.
Brad nailers come with several different nailing styles. Each style provides different benefits while also carrying with them certain drawbacks. These styles include contact, single-sequential, single-actuation, and full-sequential. Contact style allows you to fire nails rapidly, shooting out a nail every time the safety tip touches the surface. While this allows you to be very productive, it can also be quite difficult to control.
Single-sequential doesn’t allow you to fire with contact. Before every nail is shot, you must reset the trigger and pull it again. You can still be very productive with it, but not quite as productive as you would be with a contact style. Single-actuation works like single-sequential, but allows you to contact fire nails if need be. You don’t have to pull the trigger every time like with a single-sequential. Full-sequential style necessitates that you completely reset the safety trigger and trigger before firing the next nail. Because of this, it cannot be contact fired. What it does provide is added safety. Because you must completely reset the firing process before every shot, you don’t have to worry about it accidentally shooting off. The type of nailing style you choose is based on what you intend to use the nailer for. If you’re looking to get large projects done quickly, a contact style is the best. If you’re looking to do small projects safely, you should go with a full-sequential style.
Brad nailers comes with a number of different features. Each feature works to make your job both safer and easier. Directional exhaust is an important feature as it allows you to dictate the direction that dust and debris will fly, allowing you to aim it away from yourself and others. Depth adjustment is another useful feature. This feature allows you to set how far down you want the nail to be drive. So, if you want it to protrude from the wood a bit, the feature will accommodate you. It’s even capable of driving nails down into the wood so that they can’t be taken back out. Jam-clearing is a very important feature for a nailer to have as it will allow you to clear out nails when they become jammed inside of it. Jams happen every once in a while, and it’s important that you’re able to remove them quickly and conveniently when they do. Every one of these features provides you with added ease and safety, allowing you to work safer, smarter, and quicker.
A nail gun can be very dangerous if not used correctly. Most that you find will provide some sort of safety function to ensure that it does not fire when it’s not supposed to be firing. This usually comes in the form of a safety tip. This rests just above where the nail shoots out, and must be pressed up against the surface you’re nailing before the gun is capable of shooting out nails. This keeps it from accidentally firing into the air where it can hurt you and others. Many are also adorned with protective guards that keep both you and the tool safe. By preventing your hand from slipping, and keeping debris from flying backwards, it will increase you protection, and decrease the chance of injury. One more thing to consider when thinking about safety is how easy it is to hold the nailer. It’s important that you can hold it with comfort and stability as this will greatly decrease your chances of dropping it and causing errant nails to fire. Power tools can be dangerous. It’s important to take as many precautions as possible when using them.
Conclusion (Wrapping it up)
Brad nailers are one in a large collection of nail guns that will allow you to finish woodworking projects in a timely and convenient manner. Whether you need one to use on an everyday basis, of you just want one around the house in case of emergencies, it is a great purchase that will surely serve a lot of use. But, it’s important to remember a couple of things when purchasing one. Consider how fast it is able to nail, how it is powered, and how safe it is. After you have found one that is in line with your needs and purposes, you can put the money down and purchase an excellent brad nailer for you.