One of the best tools that a woodworker can own is a nailgun. Coming in a wide range of shapes and sizes, they can drive all sorts of nails into all sorts of materials. Large framing nails for home builders, small finish nails for woodworkers, and specialty nails for unusual materials. This guide will help you choose which nailgun you need for your particular task.
If you are a homeowner or a diy-er there is a good chance that you will want a nailgun. Many people are inclined not to buy them because of the expense. However, in comparison to the cost of most home improvement projects they are trivially expensive. Further, they boost productivity significantly. As a hobbyist your time is your most precious commodity. This is more true than for professional carpenters as they will be quite proficient with a hammer from experience.
Picking a nailgun follows certain basic rules. You first need to choose the general type or style of nailgun, then the price, powersource, and ultimately the model. The type of nailgun is dictated by what you are trying to accomplish. A framing nailgun is used for wood framing and general carpentry. Concrete nailers are used mostly in commercial construction for attaching metal or wood to concrete. Finish nailers are used by finish carpenters and woodworkers.
Even among each gun type there can be different styles. Stick and coil nail consumables are available for many nail types, but each will only work in particular nail guns. Stick nails can come in different angles and head types. The important thing to remember about nailguns is that they are only half of the tool. The other half is the consumables, the nails. Choose a nailgun that has widely available consumables. Owning a nailgun but being unable to get nails for it means you own a useless piece of scrap. This will vary depending on which part of the country you are in. Some parts like coils, others like sticks. Building code can also have an effect here. Do some due dilligence before spending the money.
How much money should you spend? It will vary depending on what you need. If you are looking for something that is more specialized, the price can be high. If, however, you are looking for something commonly used expect to find a range of prices, almost all of which will be reasonable. If you are only going to use a tool for a brief period of time, an off brand tool that has good reviews online will be a good choice. For more experienced people and people with extended needs, like say attaching roofing shingles, a name brand tool is well worth the money. For people that are professionals in a particular discipline and will be using the gun every day, get the best gun you can for the job.
For many of the more common types, there may be a choice of power source. Nailguns require some sort of energy to drive a piston to shoot the nail. The cheapest and most widely available is pneumatic, that is running of an air hose and air compressor. For the vast majority of users this is the best option by far. For people that don’t want the cord, you may have other options. There are the Paslode guns which rely on small butane canisters and batteries. These are cordless and work very well. There are also battery powered nailguns. With better battery and motor technology they are now quite good, competing quite well against the Paslode guns. For some applications, like nailing into concrete, there are also powder actuated guns. These use small amounts of gunpowder to drive nails. They are exceptionally good at what they do and are highly recommended if they fit your given task. In some countries, there are also some that are powered by high pressure air cylinders. These are rare in the states but they are very effective and are commonplace overseas.
Choosing a nailgun can seem difficult, but you will quickly find that there are only a limited array of options that will fit your needs. Good brands make good tools that reflect what the market wants. Local stores will stock the fasteners that you should likely be using, as popular choices are popular for a reason. With this knowledge you should have no problem finding a tool, or tools, that fit your needs.