Palm Nailer and Its Uses

There are several types of nail guns available. Each of them has its specific uses and characteristics. However, the palm nailer is rather unique and occupies its own place in terms of nail gun uses.

What is a Palm Nailer?

A palm nailer or a mini palm nailer is a small handheld power tool that is used for driving nails into wood, plywood, MDF, plastic, etc. Unlike a regular nail gun, the palm nailer works more like an impact hammer, which delivers continuous hammer blows on the nail head to drive. Other types of nail guns use a long single stroke to drive the nail in the wood.

Pneumatic Palm Nailer

The palm nailer operates on the same principle of manual hammer and nail. But with this tool, you hit the nail on the head several times per second. It is an air hammer in your palm.

The biggest advantage of a palm nailer is that you can use it in confined spaces where you cannot fit a nail gun or swing the hammer to strike the nail.

How to Use a Palm Nailer?

The basic operation procedure is similar to any other nail gun with one exception. You connect it to an air compressor, and it drives the nail into the material. The main difference between a palm nailer and a standard nail gun is that the palm nailer is designed to load and drive nails one by one.

Step-1: Connect to Compressor

To use the palm nailer, first, connect it to the compressed air or in the case of a cordless nailer, hook up the battery. Don’t forget to wear year protection and safety glasses.

Step-2: Firm Grip

Next, place the tool securely in your palm. I strongly recommend you wear one of those anti-shock gloves to protect your wrist.

Step-3: Load the Nail

Take a single nail and place the head of the nail into the anvil shaft of the nail gun. A magnetic collet inside will hold the nail onto the tool.

Step-4: Nail It

Then, place the nail along with the nailer on the location where you want to drive into the material and press the trigger. The nailer will operate the small hammer inside which then drives the nail quickly into the material. A typical palm nailer will drive the hammer at least 10 to 30 blows per second. The result is the nail you have placed will be driven in quickly and efficiently.

While a palm nailer only uses one hand, as the name implies it is held securely in the palm which presses down on the tool. The advantages of this tool are obvious, but rather limited. You must load the nails one by one manually. This is their limitation as this tool is not designed for heavy construction use where speed matters.

Because of their ergonomic design, they can be used repeatedly with far less exertion. This means that you can use a palm nailer more often during the day compared to a larger framing nail gun without tiring out.

Palm Nailer Uses

Palm Nailer
What is a palm nailer used for? Palm nailer is mainly used in tight spaces where you do not have enough room. For example, nailing between existing studs. It is a very useful tool for overhead nailing since this tool will be much easier on your hands compared to a heavy nail gun.

The uses for a palm nailer include but are not limited to the following.

  • Decking
  • Installing Joist Hangers
  • Fencing
  • Framing
  • Roofing and ceiling work.
  • Metal Connector Straps and More

In fact, so much more as this tool is quite handy, easy to use, and versatile. You can even find them being used for constructing pole barns. Any place that you need to place and drive a nail, this power tool can do it.

What Nails Does a Palm Nailer Use?

It is primarily used for driving framing nails, although it can drive most large-sized nails. Most models available in the market come with a magnetic collet that holds nails from 6D to 16D in size.

Can You Toenail with It?

You can use a palm nailer for toenailing. It works well when compared to manual hammering. With a hammer, you are exerting a lot more force on the nail which will cause the workpiece to move. With a palm nailer, you can hold the workpiece with the freehand and it strikes with less force but a lot more strikes per second.

A popular variant of this nailer is the Power Palm. This is designed to drive flooring nails, preferably L-Cleat designs for applications such as top and blind nailing, door, corners, and transition areas. The Power Palm is generally more powerful than a standard palm nailer. However, it may not be ideal for more delicate projects.


This tool does have its limitations. It is primarily designed for individual nails and not for working fast. If you want to get a project done quickly, the collated nail gun is preferable. However, if you need to drive a nail in a tight space, the collated nail gun is probably going to be too big.

Palm nailers are loud. If you have ever used an impact wrench you know what I am talking about. You should always wear ear protection when working with this power tool.

Similar to other impact tools, this nailer also imparts heavy vibration. So, if you are nailing in delicate areas, this is not the tool for you.

Can You Use a Palm Nailer for Finishing Nails?

You cannot use the small-sized finish nails with a palm nailer as the nails may bend. Hence it is not suitable for nailing delicate trims. The maximum diameter of a finish nail is 15G with 18-gauge brads and 23-gauge pinner even smaller is wire diameter.

When you use a finish nailer or brad nailer, the nail is guided inside the nose through the full strike. Hence the nails will not bend.

Can You Use this Tool to Remove Nails?

You can use a palm nailer to push the nails out of a wood board provided the sharp end of the nail is exposed. You will insert the pointed end of the nail into the tool and push it out the same way you would use a hammer.

However, you can pull out a blind nail with the palm nail gun.

Is a Palm Nailer Worth Buying?

The palm nailer is a relatively inexpensive, simple power tool that is ergonomic, well-designed, and capable of a wide range of applications when it comes to driving nails.

If you are a professional who often comes across situations where you have to drive a nail in tight spaces or work with the ceiling, then a palm nailer is a worthy investment. For occasional use, consider renting one since it is a specialized tool.