When you look through your toolbox for your next DIY project, you could find that your missing item is a nailer. In the last twenty years, you would be more likely to see a nailer in the hands of a professional who comes to you to finish a project in your home. Now, people prefer to buy their own equipment to get a job done without help, and it’s for this reason that it’s key to understand which is the best framing nailer on the market before you buy it.
Most people know of framing nailers as nail guns, and these require strips of fasteners to work. There are different types of framing nailer out on the market, and once you know what your project will need, you can buy the right equipment to add to your toolbox. Framing nailers can be used for anything from roofing to pallet marking, and there are designs out there which allow for fasteners to be closer together – these have a clipped head and don’t require much reloading.
It’s often safer to use framing nailers for your DIY project over a hammer and nails, and the speed in which they work means that you can complete your project much faster than you expected. This is the most significant benefit of framing nailers, as you can cut down the time you spend nailing compared to the rest of the job.
Below, you’ll find the reviews for five of the best framing nailers on the market today, allowing you to make the best decision for your toolbox.
Short on time? Our pick for the Best Framing Nailer is the Paslode 905600.
The Paslode 905600 is a cordless framing nailer that was made as a better version of the 902600 that was previously created. You can charge this framing nailer, and after a single 90-minute charge, this nailer can push 9,000 nails. The correct nails for the Paslode 905600 are the 30 degree angled round head paper collated nails, and these are available in Brite and hot-dipped galvanized varieties of the nail. The nailer itself holds one canister which lasts for 1,200 nails.
This is a nailer that comes with the features that you expect to see, from tool-less jam cleaning and a heavy duty rafter hook to the lightweight design and compact frame. The only real downside to this nailer is that it’s pricier than others on the market, but it comes with the two-year service promise and a warranty that lasts for five years. Cordless framing nailers, such as the Paslode 905600, are more expensive than their pneumatic counterparts, so it’s important to remember your budget when you’re choosing which framing nailer you want to buy.
Paslode 905600 Pros & Cons
Before you pay out for your new framing nailer, consider the pros and cons of buying it. This is a model that is powerful, with paper collated nails and is durable and lightweight. The compact size makes storage and handling easier, and as it comes with a battery and charger, you won’t need to worry about whether you’re going to have to pay out more. The downsides are the cost of the model and the operating costs, but if you want quality, it’s always worth paying that little bit more.
- Increased Productivity - Drives nails flush in LVL and other hardwoods that remodelers encounter.
- All Season Formula - Works in temperatures down to 14°F.
- Lightweight - 7.2lbs. for better comfort and control while working overhead or in tight spaces.
- Guaranteed Durability 50% Longer Run-time with 7V Li-ion Battery for up to 9,000 nails per charge.
- Compact Design: Fits between 16" o.c. studs, joists and roof trusses.
The DeWalt DCN690 Cordless Framing Nailer uses the 20V max batteries as supplied by DeWalt. This is a model that uses the brushless motor that drives in nails from a 2 to 3.5″ length at any time. There are two operating modes that can be used: sequential mode, which allows for precision placement of the nails or bump mode, which is there for providing a speedy finish. The DeWalt DCN690 has a dual speed option which allows for the use of different nail lengths. Concerns about safety needn’t be there, because there is a lock to disable the trigger when it’s not in use. So, if you have any little kids around, they’re not going to hurt themselves should they pick it up. The nose cap is easy to access to remove any jammed nails safely and the top cap of this nailer is impact resistant. It can also be removed easily for troubleshooting any issues you come across. This is a heavy duty item, and it’s got a weight of 7.7lb, so it’s perfect for tougher jobs.
DeWalt DCN690 Pros & Cons
Before you purchase this nailer, it’s essential to understand the pros and cons of your purchase. For example, a big plus point to the DeWalt DCN690 is the fact that it’s driving a brushless motor system, which is designed to maximise the energy to the striking mechanism. The fastener magazine is also offset slightly, which makes loading fasteners easy. This has no hose or gas cartridge to consider, and the compact size makes tighter spaces much easier to get into. It has excellent recoil control and easy depth adjustment. The cons surround the weight as this is a heavier model. It’s also an expensive purchase with low magazine capacity.
- DEWALT cordless framing nailer has dual-speed motor optimized to drive a wide range of fasteners for versatility
- Framing nailer gun has tool-free selector switch for sequential or bump-fire modes
- Tool-free depth adjustment for precise nail placement
- Stall release lever to reset driver blade in the event of a jam
- Adjustable rafter hook
At first glance, the BOSTITCH F21PL looks like an expensive framing nailer that isn’t up to much, but it’s so much more than that. It has the benefit of two different handheld tools: the positive placement nailer and a framing nailer. Those who work with metal a lot would benefit from this tool, so if you’ve ever worked with metal connectors, you may be aware of how difficult it can be to match the holes on the connector to the contact tip. The positive placement tip is different from the framing nailer, as you can use it to fit into the connectors hole. On the blind corners, you can feel the tip go into the holes properly, and it makes for a much faster time getting those connectors nailed. There are so many great features about this model, from the tool-less depth adjustment to the adjustable rafter hook. You also get a stunning seven-year limited warranty as well as a full one-year warranty on this nailer. If you’re looking for a framing nailer that requires use for metal connectors, this is the one that you want to buy.
BOSTITCH F21PL Pros & Cons
Of course, there are pros and cons here, like with any other product, and the BOSTITCH F21PL has some excellent pros. There is a patented push button with adjustable depth guide that sets the nails into the desired depths you need. However, there are cons, too. There is no actuation mode selector, and at 8.1lb in weight, this is a heavier model on the market.
- Two nailers in one: includes two quick change nosepieces to convert tool to either framing or metal connector applications
- Patented push button adjustable depth guide of the framing nailer gun sets nails to desired depths
- Lightweight magnesium design for durability
- Adjustable rafter hook allows users to hang tool on rafters and joists
- Drives plastic collated 1-1/2-inch and 2-1/2-inch metal connector nails (.131-inch - .148-inch diameter)
The Hitachi NR83A5 is one of the favorite nailers for tradespeople and have been for some time now. As a reliable and relatively low-maintenance framing nailer option, the NR83 model has had a hand in most windows, sub-floors, and roofs than any other type of framing nailer. However, the A5 series has changed from the original platform, and it now has a different depth of drive adjustment. There are some fantastic features for the Hitachi NR83A5 framing nailer, and this nailer shares a lot of the internal parts of the original model. This means a there are no composite parts to this model, which is a positive. The Hitachi NR83A5 has an industrial steel magazine with a 21-degree angle, which is about mid-range and is more than sufficient for framing. The best feature here has been the actuation upgrade: the new trigger can switch between single actuation and bump fire, which means that the new design allows the trigger to change quickly and it does this by removing the Lock Pin and the change rod moving forward.
Hitachi NR83A5 Pros & Cons
Let’s talk through some of the pros and cons of this model. The Hitachi NR83A5 features a drop-sleeve cylinder valve drive system, and it’s this that is designed to fire and recharge faster. This then allows it to generate a lot of force. It’s a powerful nailer, with easy switching between modes. The cons involve the weight; it’s heavier than other models, so need to have careful handling.
- Hitachi Power Tools has renamed to Metabo HPT. Same great tools, with only a new name.
- Cylinder valve drive system for rapid response and increased durability. Loading capacity 64 70 nails
- Selective actuation on trigger allows for either sequential or contact nailing
- Rafter hook is included for convenience on the jobsite
- Tool less depth of drive adjustment for improved control and flexibility when fastening into various types of wood
With the NuMax SFR2190, you get the benefits of a tool-less depth adjustment, anti-dry fire mechanism, and adjustable air exhaust. Along with this, you get an ergonomic grip, which allows for easier handling and at a lower cost compared to the PFR2190, which is the NuMax SFR2190 twin, it’s certainly an attractive option. The NuMax SFR2190 has a one-year limited warranty this time, not a seven-year warranty, which likely accounts for the price difference. This is a nailer that can be used for anything from framing to siding installation, fencing, and wood box assembly. This model shoots 21-degree nails, and the die-cast magnesium body is low weight and durable.
NuMax SFR2190 Pros & Cons
As a low-cost option, the NuMax SFR2190 is attractive and great for those looking for easy handling and adjustable air exhaust. The cons fall under the fact that there is no rafter hook and no tool-less jam cleaning, so it’s a little fiddlier than other best framing nailer on the market.
- Construction Applications: Designed for framing, subfloors, roof decking; pallet and shipping crate assembly; and wood fencing
- Compatible Nails: 21 degree plastic collated full round head framing nails from 2" – 3-1/2" L and 0.113" – 0.131" diameter
- Built to Last: One piece hardened steel drive blade results in a durable pneumatic tool resistant to damage
- Anti-Dry-Fire Mechanism: Prevents empty fires and reduces damage to internal components
- Dual Mode Trigger: Fast and easy to switch between single sequential firing for precision or bump firing for speed
How To Use A Framing Nailer
Here is a good YouTube video demonstrating how to properly use a nailing gun:
Buying Guide: Things to Consider
When on the hunt for the best framing nailer to complete those jobs that would otherwise require a professional contractor, there are a few essential features to be aware of. Now that you have read the above framing nailer reviews, it is time to look over our buying guide before finalizing your purchase.
Framing nailers are capable of some heavy-duty work, and when you purchase a high-quality nailer, it should last you several years. Below are some main features to look out for, along with their general specifications and a short explanation about each one.
Type of Framing Nailer
There are a lot of nail guns to choose from, and each nail gun type has plenty of variations to choose from. Framing nail guns are no different; forget about finding the best cordless framing nailer or the most powerful corded electric nailer; the nailer types mainly depend on the nailer’s trigger.
The two types of triggers framing nailers are bump triggers or single fire triggers. Single fire nailers must be pressed against an object when fired, while bump-fire triggers must be ‘bumped’ to release the nail.
Roundhead framing nails are a popular nail choice; however, clipped headed nails are great too. Most framing nailers require a very specific nail. This is because framing nailers have different sized cartridges, so it is not a one-size-fits-all kind of situation.
Size and Weight
The longer and heavier the nail gun, the less amount of time you can work with it comfortably. If you are used to working with heavy equipment, size and weight will not be an issue for you, but if you only use construction equipment on the odd DIY job, take these factors into consideration.
For quick and convenient depth adjustments, opt for a framing nailer that has a tool-less depth adjustment setting. Not all nailers have this setting; take the Paslode PowerMaster Plus 5350-S; you can only adjust the depth with an Allen wrench, which is less than convenient.
Don’t get flustered if your framing nailer gets jammed every now and then. Clearing a stuck nail from the nailer is easier than you may think. Here is what to do to get a jammed nail out of the nailer:
- Ensure everything is turned off, and the air compressor is disconnected before proceeding to unjam the nailer.
- Take off all of the fasteners.
- Using appropriate tools, push the driver blade all the way down. This is usually done using a hammer and nail set.
- Next, you need to separate the magazine from the nose assembly.
- You should be able to gently remove the jammed nail.
- Tighten the Allen screws, and the nail gun should be fully functioning at this point.
Actuation mode refers to the nailer’s firing modes. Some guns have selective actuation designs, where you can interchange between single actuation to bump-fire mode. You can do this by taking the lock-pin out, pushing the change rod, and essentially exchanging the triggers. Trust us; it is easier than it sounds! The Hitachi Metabo HPT NR83A5 pneumatic framing nailer is an example of a nailer that has this feature.
Additional Accessories and Considerations
Construction workers use rafter hooks to suspend framing nailers from their belt. If you have plenty of jobs to complete, and you know you will often use the nailer, we highly recommend a rafter hook.
You may also be more comfortable working for long periods of time if the nailer has a rubber grip. Alternatively, you can wear work gloves.
Do you need a framing nailer? What does it do? How does it work? These are all rational questions to have, especially if you are not familiar with using nail guns. We have put together a frequently asked questions section with the most common questions and answers surrounding framing nailers. Enjoy!
Q: Do I need a framing nailer?
A: Framing nail guns are a necessary tool in construction. You will need to use a framing nailer if you are building a house or adding a room to your home.
Q: Who makes the best framing nail gun?
A: Freeman and DeWalt make brilliant framing nail guns.
Q: What is the best battery powered framing nailer?
A: The Freeman PFR2190 is one of the best battery powered framing nailers.
Q: What kind of nail gun do you use for framing?
A: You should use a framing nail gun for framing. If you are looking for the best framing nail gun, read the above framing nail gun reviews.
Q: What type of nailer should I use for baseboards?
A: A finish nailer is the best type to use for baseboards.
Q: Can I use a framing nail gun for siding?
A: You can use a framing nail gun for siding installation. However, the nail gun must be long in order to securely attach the siding.
Q: How much CFM (cubic feet per minute) do I need for framing nailer?
A: Framing nailers may require as much as 2.4 CFM.
Q: What kind of nail gun do I need for framing?
A: Framing nail guns shoot long nails, making it far easier to frame using this particular type of nail gun.
Q: Can you use a nail gun without an air compressor?
A: Cordless battery-powered nailers do not need hoses or air compressors, making them much easier to use.
Q: What is better, a 21 degree or a 30-degree framing nailer?
A: Many nail gun users prefer to use a 30-degree framing nailer over a 21-degree nailer.