The Best Nail Gun

Nail Gun Reviews

Our Top Pick is the Dewalt DC618K

A nail gun is a power tool used to drive nails into wood or other types of material to hold items in place, or attach one material securely with another. Nail guns are very convenient because they speed up the job of nailing and can save the user lots of time and energy. A nail gun would easily aid in jobs such as fencing, deck building, putting up drywall, replacing or repairing sub-flooring, furniture building, crown molding, paneling, and many other applications. Any situation where you would find yourself hammering a nail, the nail gun is a potential replacement. Hammering individual nails one after the other can be a tedious and lengthy process when a job requires the use of a lot of nails. A nail gun is the perfect way to cut your work time in half as well as providing a more secure finish.

Nail guns are typically battery powered, gas powered, or air powered (pneumatic). Battery powered guns have greater portability but more weight than a pneumatic gun. Gas powered guns use a fuel cell as its power source and offer power and portability but are a lot heavier than pneumatic guns. Pneumatic nail guns are common and give you control over the power with the air compressor settings but require it to be connected to an air compressor.

We evaluated and considered the top 32 nail guns available on the market. After a thorough evaluation the Dewalt DC618K rose to the top of the competition due to its powerful and lightweight design. This battery operated nail gun offers the portability of a battery with the power found when using an air compressor, without the hoses. It has the strength and capability to complete heavy duty tasks as well as your average nailing jobs. This nail gun not only has the desired features and requirements of the most higher end nail guns, but is also priced competitively.

Who Should Buy This

Nail Guns are easy to use and are enjoyed by anyone who has jobs that require regular nailing. While hammering in the occasional nail is not a tedious task, If you have dozens of nails for a project, a nail gun will offer greater convenience and speed to complete the task. Specifically, a nail gun would benefit construction workers, those who work in roofing, furniture builders, woodworking hobbyists and professionals, those who participate in DIY projects, and those who perform home maintenance. Given the lightness and practicality of the nail gun, no prior experience is required. This tool could easily be used by beginners.

What Makes a Good Nail Gun?

There are many qualities and features that make up the best nail guns. The first consideration is the power source. Nail guns receive power from either battery, gas or air compressor. When looking at the power the nail gun will provide the motor plays a major role in how much power the gun offers. You’ll need to have high powered motor that can penetrate nails as fast as you are pulling the trigger. The ability to penetrate both hard and soft surfaces will increase the gun’s versatility. If the motor is not powered properly you will have frequent jams and your nails will not be inserted with enough force to pierce tougher materials, you may be working with. The best nail guns generally have 18 volts or higher to perform with the most efficiency.

Nail GunNailer’s also have different chambers that hold the nails. They will either be a coil or strip configuration. The coil is long and flexible string of nails that are joined by a wire. The magazine that holds the nails is round and the nails store in a coil. This creates a smaller tool that fits into tight spaces and is flexible. The strip will hold more nails but the chamber is longer. Generally, paper, plastic or wire will hold the nails in place in the chamber. This tool will have better balance.

Nail guns will shoot either single sequence meaning one nail at a time or it may have the ability to shoot on contact. When it is on contact then when you tap the gun on the material it will shoot as long as you are holding the trigger. This allows you to shoot nails faster than a single action nailer.

Other features that are useful include the ability to clear jams quickly as all guns will jam from time to time. A trigger that is easy to operate. A carrying case will help you keep the gun and nails together. Protective guards will prevent misfiring’s. Lights help you see the work area clearly. Nail size adjustment and a depth adjustment will add to the convenience and enable you to use the nail gun in most applications.

The best Nail guns will be fairly compact and lightweight. When using a nail gun,you are constantly going to be in motion, and your tool will require frequent lifting and maneuvering. Choosing a nail gun that is light weight will reduce user fatigue as well increase the user’s comfortability and control. Also consider the safety controls as misfiring a nail gun could be very dangerous.

How We Tested

We first conducted a general search of nail guns on the market. Then we reviewed blogs and home improvement sites to gather information on the features and qualities that were most valued in a nail gun. From there we narrowed our list for testing and deepen our research. Following this we did a detailed review of tool blogs, tool magazines, handyman websites, and forums to determine which products were the best quality, help up over time, and contained the best value.

From there we applied real world testing and finally consulted Amazon customers who had long term real world experience with our top picks. This process allowed us to see how each nail gun performed in real world circumstances and which tools held up against heavy duty jobs and day to day tasks.

Our Pick

Specifications

  

Weight  8.5 Pounds
Nail Gauge up to 16 gauge nails 1 ¼ to 2 ½ in length
Nail Capacity 120
Nailing Modes Sequential and Bump
Maximum Nails Per Second 5
Product Dimensions 19 x 14.8 x 7 inches
Voltage 18 Volts
Battery Cell Type NiCAD, included
Charging Time 1 Hour
Guarantee 90 Day Money back guarantee
Warranty 3 Years, 2-year free service contract on XRP batteries

The Dewalt DC618 is a battery powered nailer that has a special motor design that allows the tool to work as fast as you do with consistent nail penetration into both hard and soft joints. This gun also contains a rear loading 20 degree angled magazine with the capacity to hold up to 120 nails at a time reducing the number of times you must reload the nails. The large nail capacity will shorten your work time.

This particular nail gun allows for easy nose tip access for the removal of jammed nails without the need for a screw driver, wrench, or other tool to remove them. The nose tip also features a contact trip lock-off which allows the trigger to be disabled when the tool is not in use. This means that in the event of a jam you can safely remove nails, as well as being able to safely and confidently set your tool down when not in use without concern over misfiring.

The Dewalt DC618 also features the ability to control the speed and depth of the nails. You can select sequential operating mode to ensure precision placement of each nail, or a bump operating mode that would allow you to reach top speed. There is also a 6 position dial feature which will enable you to move between applications without the need to re-configure the exact depth setting.

This nail gun weighing in at just 8.5 pounds will fit comfortably in the hands of almost every user regardless of age or size, and its lightweightdesign will reduce user fatigue and aid strongly in comfortability and control of your tool. The Dewalt DC618 is also equipped with LED lights to provide additional visibility in places where there may be shadows or low lighting.

The tool offers extended run time batteries (XRP batteries). These special batteries can provide up to 40% more run time than standard batteries, and the XRP battery is also compatible with other 18-volt Dewalt tools. The Dewalt DC618 comes with a 3-year warranty including a 2-year service contract.

Who Else Likes It

Top Nailer Reviews wrote “The Dewalt DC618 is a good tool for cabinet makers, trim carpenters, and others involved with light woodworking, or hardwood flooring. It has a narrow nose and an angled magazine to allow it to fit into tight spaces – like the inside of cabinets. And since it has integrated LED lights it is good for doing trim in darker areas.”

Dewalt Tools Reviews Wrote “Forget the air hose and compressor,all you need is a box full of nails and a fully-charged battery for continuous nailing wherever you go.”

Amazon Customers gave the Dewalt DC618 a 4.5 out of 5 from 156 customer reviews. One 5-star reviewer writes, “I find this nail gun to be extremely useful. I frequently detail out properties going on the market. The nailer is perfect for installing baseboards, quarter round and crown moldings, without the hassle of hauling a compressor and hoses. I find it simple to operate, it is simple to load, simple to set depth…I do not see it as being any heavier than any other gun…It sinks more nails on one battery charge than I have had a need for at any job yet.”

The Step Up

If you’re looking to take your nailing job to the next level, in terms of nailing tougher materials, the step up is the Hitachi NC40G which operates with a fuel rod and battery and is designed specifically for fastening wood and steel to concrete. This gun drives 1-9/16” x .102” plastic head collated pins with ease. The gas power has convenient cartridges to replace and does not need an air compressor giving you the ability to work in remote locations. The Hitachi NC40G features a dry-fire lock-out to prevent jams and blank drives. It also features atwostep nail feeder for quick and easy rear loading. This nail gun is heavier than traditional nail guns weighing 17 pounds but comes with increased power.

Top Nail Gun Comparison

Position
Visual
Tool
Drive Nail (Inches)
Warranty (Years)
1Dewalt2.500
3
2Porter Round3.500
3
3Paslode3.250
1
4Bostitch Smart2.125
7
5Bostitch2.500
7
6Senco2.000
1
7Hitachi1.750
1
8Freeman1.625
7
9Porter3.500
3

Care Use & Maintenance

Nail guns are very convenient tools but can be dangerous if they misfire, making safety essential when in use. We have compiled a list of safety and maintenance tips to keep you safe and the tool running smoothly for as long as possible.

Safety First!

  • Always have the safety on whenever your nail gun is set down or not in use.
  • Keep the gun pointed down at all times inbetween nailing.
  • Always wear safety goggles or a face mask.
  • Only use your nail gun for the purpose it was intended for.
  • Keep your hands a fingers out of the line of fire.
  • Never assume the tool is empty.
  • Never carry your nail gun with your finger on the trigger.
  • Never try to retrieve lodged or jammed nails without the safety being on
  • Make sure the safety is working and on when not in use.
  • Always read the entire manual before beginning use.

Maintenance

  • Never leave your batteries or tool outside.
  • Always repair damages before using the nail gun.
  • Inspect your tool frequently for broken parts.
  • Lubricate as instructed in the manual.

Wrapping It Up

Nail guns can be used in many applications and save you time and energy when completing projects that require nails. Nail guns are very powerful and are strong enough to penetrate material such as soft and hard woods and metals or concrete depending on the gun’s power and design. They are compact and powerful and can be lightweight depending on the model you choose. These components when combined together can create a durable and long lasting tool you can use for years to come.

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