Having a finish nailer at your disposal is vital if you’re doing a project that involves nailing trim boards and moldings. A finish nailer can help you accomplish those tasks with extreme precision while also saving your time and trouble. If you want the best results and the cleanest-looking projects, then you’re going to need the best finish nailer to get the job done.
With that said finding the best finish nailer can be a difficult thing to do as you can’t immediately tell which one is better than the other just by looking at them. You need to know what to look for in a finish nailer as well as what your budget and needs are.
In this review, we’ll be taking a look at three of the best finish nailers on the market as well as provide a buying guide to help you find the best finishing nailer for your workplace.
Best Finishing Nailer – Our Top Picks
Here are the top rated models according to our research. I have picked the best 16 gauge finish nailer and 15 gauge nailer with pneumatic and battery operated cordless nailers for both sizes.
#1 – Hitachi NT65MA4 – Our Pick for Best 15 Gauge Nailer
Hitachi Finish Nailer Review
The NT65MA4 from Hitachi (Metabo HPT) earned the top spot in our reviews for couple of reasons.
Tool-Free Operation: First the tool-less depth setting allows you to work on different materials fast. Next the tool-free nose allows you to clear nail jams quickly. If you have used a power nailer for extended period of time, you know the nail jams are bound to happen. The ability to clear it fast makes life easier.
Weight: The tool weighs just 4.2 pounds and is easy on your wrist. This is one major advantage of the pneumatic nailers when compared to battery powered nailers. The air powered versions nearly always weigh less. Although you can’t beat the convenience of a cordless tool.
Built-in Dust Blower: The tool comes with an innovative built-in air duster that is very useful for blowing the dust away. This really speeds things up when you are doing professional work.
Another simple, yet very useful feature is the adjustable exhaust that can be rotated to any angle to keep the exhaust air blowing on to your face.
You can load up to 100 collated nails in the magazine and set it to do the sequential firing.
Hitachi vs Metabo
Confused by the brand names being used interchangeably on the web? This is because the power tools section of Hitachi is now renamed as Metabo HPT in the North American market. In Europe and Asia, they are known as Hikoki power tools.
If you are looking for the best pneumatic finish nailer, then this is the one you should get.
#2 – DEWALT DCN650D1 15Ga Angled Cordless Finish Nailer
If you’re looking for the best cordless finish nailer that can work with thicker nails, then the DEWALT DCN650D1 is the one to go with. It is capable of using the 15-gauge nails that are 1-1/4 to 2-1/2 inches long.
If you are keen on Made in USA products, you will love the fact that it’s made by Dewalt, which is one of the best-known North American power tool manufacturers. Their reliable and high-quality products have earned them a lot of praise from both customers and reviewers.
It doesn’t end there though. One of the best things about Dewalt products is that they use the same battery in most cases. This means that if you already have a Dewalt product, you can use its battery across multiple products, saving you money in the process.
It’s also worth mentioning that the DEWALT DCN650D1 features a brushless motor that is powerful and power-efficient. You can also expect it to last longer and require less maintenance.
Furthermore, this finishing nailer has two firing options which are sequential firing and contact actuation firing. The first option allows you to place one nail at a time while the second option fires multiple nails at a time.
There are also multi-functional LED lights that light up the workspace to help with shadows that might obscure your vision of the workpiece.
Additionally, the DEWALT DCN650D1 kit features an adjustable belt hook which allows you to hang the tool anywhere on your belt. There’s also an integrated tool-free stall release that you can use to reset the driver blade in case of a stall.
All in all, this might as well be the best finish nailer out there. It’s powerful, power-efficient, reliable, and comes with plenty of convenient features that earn it a spot on this list.
- Powerful finish nailer due to the use of 15-gauge pins
- Angled nail feed allows it to get in tight corners.
- 20V battery is compatible with all of Dewalt’s cordless tools
- Cordless finish nailer is expensive when compared to pneumatic versions.
#3 – Senco 4G0001N: Most Powerful 15-Gauge Pneumatic Finish Nailer
This Senco finish nailer has plenty of things going for it. This is a very durable tool that is sure to last you a long time. It also features an ergonomic grip which allows you to be more precise while also being able to use it for longer periods of time. Another great thing about this finish nailer is its huge nail capacity. It is capable of holding upwards of 104 nails, which is rather impressive.
- Model: Senco 4G0001N
- Type: 15 Gauge
- Power Source: Pneumatic
- Weight: 9 pounds
However, some of the features of this nailer are also the source of some of its most glaring issues. One of the biggest issues with this finish nailer is its heavyweight. It can be rather tiring to use for extended periods due to the heavy-duty build. While its ergonomic grip can help somewhat alleviate this issue, it still isn’t enough to make it usable for longer periods of time.
You will also need to invest in a good air compressor to use this nail gun. Another major issue with this nailer is that it tends to jam frequently. This becomes even more prevalent when you decide to use it for long.
Overall, this heavy-duty finish nailer is definitely worth considering, if not for the two flaws I just mentioned, this would have easily been the best finish nailer out there.
- Very powerful and durable nailer, thanks to heavy-duty build
- Ergonomic grip
- Huge 104 nail capacity
- Very heavy
- Jams at times
- Difficult to use to extended periods of times
#4 – Makita AF601 16-Gauge Pneumatic Finishing Nailer
Makita is a popular manufacturer when it comes to power tools. The name is synonymous with high quality. The Makita AF601 16-gauge nail gun is a worthy contender for the best finish nailer, and for good reason.
This is a versatile nailer capable of delivering enough power for almost any project that needs a finish nailer. It has plenty of great features such as being able to set the depth of the nail. You can also use multiple nail lengths in it. This is one of the more unique features of this excellent nailer. The Makita AF601 uses compressed air as a power source. You can also expect it to work with different air compressors.
There have been numerous positive reviews coming from both beginners and experts on this finish nailer which is a good indicator of its quality and user-friendliness. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, this might be the best finish nailer on the market.
- Versatile and powerful
- Ability to adjust the depth of nails
- Ability to use nails with different lengths
- Some users reported that the gun may keep shooting even after the nails are out
#5 – NuMax SFN64 : Best Finish Nailer for the Money
Usually I tend to stick with reputable power tool brands. But in this case I had to make an exception due to the excellent value that this budget friendly nail gun delivers.
I was surprised by the built quality of this tool. This inexpensive unit has a solid aluminum body and cylinder and according to the manufacturer the drive blade is made out of a single piece.
It also has most of the functions that you need including depth adjustment, easy jam clearance, and sequential firing.
Safety: The NO-MAR contact is a standard safety feature that is found in most high-end models. The anti-dust cap was nice little addition that will keep the cylinders free from dust when the tool is not in use.
- Model: NuMax SFN64
- Type: 16 gauge
- Depth: 1-inch to 2.5-inches
- Power Source: Compressed Air
- Weight: 4.5 LBS
Choosing the Best Finish Nailer – Buying Guide
Now that you’ve seen my top picks, you might be curious as to how you can measure the quality and performance of a finish nailer in order to figure out the best one for you. Here’s what you need to know in order to find the best finish nailer.
Why You Should Get a Finish Nailer
Before we go on any further, it’s important to know what finish nailers are needed for. The last thing you want is to invest in something that you don’t actually need.
As the name suggests, finish nailers are used mainly for adding finishing touches and embellishing trims. A good 18-gauge brad nailer is another excellent option for trims. You can see the difference between a finish nailer and brad nailer here.
Finishing nailers are also used for renovation style jobs such as installing countertops or cabinets. If you’re a professional contractor or a DIY enthusiast, this is a tool you’ll be using on a regular basis.
Types of Finish Nailers
When you’re looking to buy a finishing nailer, keep in mind that there are several types to choose from. Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages. Here are the various types of nailers that you’ll find:
Pneumatic nailers draw power from an air compressor. They pack a mean punch and are best used on harder materials. Another benefit that comes from using pneumatic nailers is that you can use the same air compressor to power multiple nail guns at once.
Consequently, pneumatic nailers are a common favorite among contractors. Having the ability to power three nailers from the same power source can save a lot of money and trouble.
Furthermore, an air compressor can be quickly refueled, which means that you’ll have more actual work time.
However, one of the main drawbacks of pneumatic nailers is their prices. They are usually expensive. There’s also the fact that compressors can be difficult to move around.
All in all, pneumatic finish nailers are suited mostly for professional contractors. However, if you’re a DIY enthusiast or someone who needs to use a finish nailer and have the budget to get one, then it’s worth considering.
When it comes to electric nailers, there are two sub-types. Each sub-type has its own pros and cons. There are corded electric units that can stay running as long as they’re connected to a power source.
The main advantage of using corded electric nailers is that you don’t have to worry about fuel or batteries. However, the fact that you need to power outlet nearby can be a real issue for some people. Professional contractors have it especially hard since they don’t always have access to a power outlet in the workplace.
The second sub-type is battery-powered. While these nailers eliminate the biggest flaws of their corded counterparts, they come with their own set of issues. The biggest issue would be having to worry about battery life. However, there’s also the fact that cordless nailers are usually far weaker than the other types of nailers which means that they’re only good for small, quick jobs that don’t require much power. There’s also the issue of durability. However, this can vary depending on the manufacturer.
Gas-powered nailers are among the strongest nailers among all the three major types. They are also easy to move around unlike pneumatic nailers. However, they tend to be very loud and expensive.
In fact, they are considered illegal in some states such as California which has high emission standards. However, this issue extends to a lot of different gas-powered tools, not just finish nailers.
Weight is a very important factor when it comes to choosing the best finish nailer. If you’re going to need a nail gun for complex jobs, you might want a heavy-duty finishing nailer. However, heavy models are hard to use for extended periods of time as they cause fatigue. This is why you want to find a compromise between weight and power. A powerful nailer is no good if you can’t use it.
The main two types of magazines you’ll find are stick magazines and coil magazines.
Stick magazines protrude out of the nailer and can hold several dozen nails at a time. Coil magazines protrude from the nailer via a ropey thread. They can hold hundreds of nails.
For beginners, stick magazines are better options since they’re the easier type of use. Coil magazines are geared towards professionals who tend to do jobs that require a lot of nailing.
Gauges can range anywhere between 15 and 23. Lower gauges house thicker nails. The choice of which gauge to go by depends on the job. However, 15 gauge is a common choice among amateurs.
The 15 GA nail guns usually have an angled magazine base. This is very useful when working in tight spaces. While not as powerful as a framing nailer, the 15 gauge units can be used for fencing, woodworking, etc. For delicate trims, you need either a 16 gauge nail gun or a brad nailer.
Naturally, each job will require you to insert nails at a specific depth. You need to have a versatile nailer in order to make the most out of it and save yourself both money and time.
Jams are a very common thing with nailers. Even the best finish nailer jams frequently. As a result, finish nailers come with jam mitigation mechanisms in order to circumvent the issue. There are different implementations and mechanisms for mitigating jams and there is no clear best. The most important thing is that the mechanism is simple and quick.
No-mar tips prevent your nailer’s barrel from scratching the piece you’re working on. This is a standard feature but you still need to keep an eye for it when you’re looking for a finish nailer.
It is very important to have a good warranty with your product. Even the best finish nailer is prone to malfunctions and might even break down on you down the line. This is not because of shoddy quality. It’s mostly due to the mechanisms that are in place when you’re using the nailer.
Simply put, nailers are constantly put under large amounts of stress and a lot of strain input on the motor. For reference, the average warranty can last anywhere between 2 and 5 years. However, you can always find warranties that last longer.
All in all, finish nailers are a vital tool to have for any woodworker. Whether you’re a DIY enthusiast or a professional contractor, this is one of the tools you absolutely need in your toolbox. Now that you’ve read this article, you should be more than capable of confidently choosing the best finish nailer, so what’s stopping you from doing so?
- Best Finishing Nailer – Our Top Picks
- #1 – Hitachi NT65MA4 – Our Pick for Best 15 Gauge Nailer
- Hitachi Finish Nailer Review
- #2 – DEWALT DCN650D1 15Ga Angled Cordless Finish Nailer
- #3 – Senco 4G0001N: Most Powerful 15-Gauge Pneumatic Finish Nailer
- #4 – Makita AF601 16-Gauge Pneumatic Finishing Nailer
- #5 – NuMax SFN64 : Best Finish Nailer for the Money
- Choosing the Best Finish Nailer – Buying Guide