10 Best Palm Nailers of 2023 – Reviews & Buying Guide
Palm nailers are held in the palm of your hand and are especially useful in those areas where there is no room to swing a hammer. Most palm nailers are pneumatic, although cordless versions may be battery-powered. As well as ensuring that your nailer is powerful enough, you will also need to ensure comfort and convenience. Check that the model you buy includes the required accessories, works with the size and type of nail that you will be working with, and that it has any desirable features like magnetic nail guides. Safety should be at the forefront of your mind when buying devices like this, too.
With popular models from manufacturers like Bostitch, Senco, and Milwaukee, choosing the right model can seem daunting. Which is why we’ve compiled reviews of 10 of the best palm nailers: so that you can find the right tool for your next DIY project.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites (Updated in 2023)
|Best Overall||BOSTITCH PN100K Impact Nailer Kit||
|Best Value||Metabo NH90AB HPT Palm Nailer||
|Premium Choice||PORTER-CABLE PN650 Palm Nailer Kit||
|Freeman PMPN Pneumatic Mini Palm Nailer||
|Powernail PowerPalm Floor Nailer||
The 10 Best Palm Nailers
1. BOSTITCH PN100K Impact Nailer Kit – Best Overall
The Bostitch PN100K is a pneumatic nailer, and this kit not only includes the nailer itself but has three noses, a protective leather glove, and a variety of tools to adjust and maintain the nailer.
The nosepiece of the nailer protects the workpiece by preventing marks from the nailer prongs. Different nosepieces also allow for nails to be driven to different maximum depths. What’s more, Bostitch incorporates Smart Point Technology, which means a smaller nose with less contact and impact on the workpiece, further reducing any impact marks and making it easier to keep the workpiece and nailer in position.
The kit also includes a storage case, making it convenient and safe to move around. The nailer works with a pressure between 70 and 100 PSI and it can drive nails up to 5 inches in length. This is longer than most nailers can achieve.
It is one of the heaviest models on our list, with the nailer itself weighing just less than 3 pounds, but it does fits well in the palm of the hand, which means that it can be used in even the tightest spaces.
2. Metabo NH90AB HPT Palm Nailer – Best Value
The Metabo NH90AB HPT Palm Nailer is a pneumatic nailer, which can operate at pressures between 80 and 100 PSI. It is relatively lightweight, at 1.3 pounds, and its low price means that it is one of the best palm nailers for the money. However, one of the ways that Metabo has kept price down is by offering a sparse kit. You get the nailer, but you don’t get a carry or storage case, and you receive minimal accessories. As such, the Metabo is best for people looking to replace an existing nailer. You will already have the air tool and spare noses, but you need a decent quality, low cost nailer.
Metabo is the new brand name for Hitachi, so is a well-respected manufacturer.
The HPT has a magnetic nose that holds nailer and nails in place. It will work with nails between 2.5 and 3.5 inches, which is not as wide a range as offered by some other tools. It has a front exhaust, which directs air away from your face.
The Metabo is small and light compared to other nailers. It is also limited in the size of fasteners it will work with, as well as the range of accessories that it comes with, but its diminutive size means that it will work in confined spaces, is manageable over long work periods, and it offers a cost effective solution, especially considering it’s a brand name purchase.
3. PORTER-CABLE PN650 Palm Nailer Kit – Premium Choice
The Porter-Cable PN650 Palm Nailer Kit is more expensive than most of the options on this list, but it not only includes four nailer heads, it also offers depth adjustment. The nailer works with fasteners between 1.25 inches and 6.5 inches in length, and the set includes a soft leather case with nylon strap which makes it comfortable to hold and easy to use.
The Porter-Cable is a little heavier than most other models, as well as being more expensive, but you do get a lot for your money.
Two of the included heads are magnetic, which enables you to hold the nails in place even when you’re in such a confined space that you can’t comfortably use your other hand. As well as the main nose, you also get a finishing tip, wide nail tip, and steel hammer tip. The Porter-Cable will work with air pressure between 50 and 120 PSI.
4. Freeman PMPN Pneumatic Mini Palm Nailer
The Freeman PMPN Pneumatic Mini Palm Nailer is a cheap nailer. Despite its low cost, it has some beneficial features. It has an operating pressure of 80 to 100 PSI and the nailer has a magnetic tip. A magnetic tip lets you place the nail in the tip of the gun and then move the nailer into position.
The tip holds the nail, so that you don’t have to, and this leaves you free to operate the nailer using one hand. The Freeman is lightweight, weighing 1.4 pounds, and small, which makes it easy to handle even when being used for long periods of time. It has a rubber grip, which makes it even more comfortable for long-term use.
5. Powernail PowerPalm Floor Nailer
The Powernail PowerPalm Floor Nailer is a premium palm nailer. It is one of the most expensive on our list but is a heavy duty device. It has a magnetic nose to keep the nails in place, and only weighs around 1 lb so is lightweight and easy to lug around and use with one hand.
It has a maximum pressure of 125 PSI and works with a minimum pressure of 60 PSI. The Powernail is not a general-purpose nailer, though, and is designed for use on flooring. It has a grooved head that will fit in the nail pocket on flooring. It will work with L and T cleats and will nail down final rows.
The Powernail is expensive, and it isn’t suitable for all nailing needs, but if you’re looking for an ergonomic and comfortable floor nailer, it is a good choice of tool.
6. 3PLUS HMPN50SP Mini Palm Nailer
The 3Plus HMPN50SP Mini Palm Nailer is one of the lightest nailers on this list, weighing just 1 pound. It is durable, being made from die-cast aluminum and it has a magnetic nose to keep the nails in place while you work. It is also the cheapest on the list, but it is not without its drawbacks. The 3Plus will only work with nails up to around 4 inches long.
To keep the cost down, the nailer is all you get, as you don’t receive any accessories, no leather glove, and no carry case. You don’t even receive any additional noses. However, if all you’re looking for is the nailer itself, its cost and lightweight design are appealing.
7. Carpenter CMPN90 Mini Impact Palm Nailer
The 3Plus may be light, but the Carpenter CMPN90 Mini Impact Palm Nailer is even lighter, weighing just 14 ounces. It is the lightest on the list, and it is also the cheapest. It has a comfortable rubber grip and combined with its lightweight design, means that users won’t suffer hand fatigue from carrying it.
The rubber also helps to minimize vibrations, which will help ensure accuracy when you work, as well as comfort. It has a magnetic nose, which keeps nails in place, and it has a front exhaust which ensures that the air is kept away from your face while working.
The cost of this model means that it doesn’t include any accessories or other items, and it will only work with nails up to 3.5-inch in length, which restricts its use somewhat. It is also one of the louder palm nailers, so while you might be able to hold it for long periods, it still may be unsuitable for all day use.
8. PORTER-CABLE PN350 Mini Impact Palm Nailer
The Porter Cable PN350 Mini Impact Palm Nailer is the smaller sibling of the PN650. It is lighter, weighing just 1.1 pounds and it works with an operating pressure of 50 to 120 PSI. Like the best models, it also has a front facing exhaust which is convenient and safe. It works with nails measuring up to 3.5-inch in length, which means that it isn’t suitable for bigger tasks.
Although it is cheaper than the PN650, it is still more expensive than some similarly equipped nailers, but it does have a magnetic nose with a recessed nail slot.
9. Senco PC1195 Mini Palm Nailer
The Senco PC1195 Mini Palm Nailer is a moderately priced palm nailer. It is one of the lighter models on the list, weighing just 1 pounds, and it is small and convenient for long-term use. However, it lacks the rubberized grip that other models have, and this can lead to discomfort after a few hours of use.
The magnetic nose will hold nails in place, so you don’t have to, and it works with nails up to 3.5 inches. Although Senco has a good reputation, this particular model of nailer has endured some problems with broken and worn-out pistons, which means that it may not display the longevity that you are looking for.
10. Milwaukee 2458-20 M12 Palm Nailer
The Milwaukee 2458-20 M12 Palm Nailer is a premium nailer. It is battery operated, which does mean that you don’t need a compressed air tool but it does mean that you will need to keep replacing batteries.
The Milwaukee is expensive and, as a result of being battery operated, it weighs more than most other devices on this list, topping the scales at 3.4 pounds. It is also quite large, compared to other models, and this combination means that it may not be suitable for extended use or in extremely tight spaces. It does have a magnetic tip and it includes a hand strap, although it does not include any carrier or other accessories, which you might expect from a device this expensive.
Buyer’s Guide – Finding the Best Palm Nailer
What Is a Palm Nailer?
A palm nailer is a miniature nail gun. It works with a single nail at a time, and it usually relies on pneumatic power and a compressed air supply, to fire a nail into a wooden surface. As the name implies, the palm nailer is small enough that it will fit in your hand, and it doesn’t require the use of a hammer or other striking device, which means that it is suitable for use in confined and difficult spaces. A palm nailer should not be used to do entire floors or roofs, but it can take over when a standard nail gun or nailer is too cumbersome or difficult to get into tight spaces.
Uses for a Palm Nailer
While framing nailers are used for heavy-duty construction work. Other types of nailer including flooring nailers, roofing nailers, siding nailers, and pin nailers, but none of these devices do quite the same job as the palm nailer.
The palm nailer is used in confined spaces and are mini nail guns. They sit in the palm of the hand and are fixed to your hand by a strap. They are lighter than full-size nail guns, which means that using this device can reduce fatigue, but the most common reason for using a palm nail gun rather than a full-size version is because of constricted space.
Palm Nailer Features
There is no such thing as the best palm nailer for all circumstances and situations. Choose according to your requirements and the job at hand and consider the following factors when comparing models.
Depending on what job you’re taking on, you may need to use different size of nail, strike it to a different depth, and even at different angles. Achieving these different tasks using the same tool is different, but some palm nailers have interchangeable heads. These enable you to swap, for example, from a standard head to a finishing head, or from one that is suited to decking to one for roofing.
One of the big benefits of a palm nailer is that it is lightweight and easy to carry. It will cause less fatigue, especially in the hands and wrists, and the lighter it is, the longer you should be able to hold it and use the nailer. With that said, if it is too light, it may take more effort to actually force the nail from the nailer. The lightest palm nail gun weighs less than a pound, while the heaviest weighs more than 5 pounds. For regular and long use, we suggest something around 1.5 pounds or less. For brief and short-term use, heavier is fine.
Size also matters. Another benefit of the palm nailer, other than its portability, is its ability to get into tight and confined spaces. It can be used to nail surfaces and materials where you simply wouldn’t be able to reach with a hammer and nail. The bigger the palm nailer, the more cumbersome it is, which means that it will weigh more and cause use fatigue. But the larger it is, the more difficult it will be to get your nailer into tight corners and difficult spaces.
The grip and ergonomic design of the nailer also plays a big part in determining whether it causes user fatigue or not. A rubber grip not only makes it more comfortable to hold, but it also reduces the vibrations that pass through the nailer when you’re using it. This can minimize fatigue and physical stress, making it more comfortable to undertake nailing jobs.
Nailers can be powered in one of several ways, but the two most common are pneumatic and battery operated.
Different jobs require hammering nails different depths into wood. Primarily, the length of the nail used will determine how much pressure needs to be applied, but there are instances where you want a sunken head or one that sits proud from the wood. Some nailers offer depth adjustment, allowing you to determine exactly how far into the wood, the nail is secured.
Nail sizes can range from 1-inch to 6-inch, and you will need a nailer that is able to cope with the size of fastening that you intend to use, as well as the type. Most nailers will work with fastenings up to 3.5 inches, and if you want to use longer nails, you will have to take care and ensure that you choose a model that offers this functionality.
A palm nailer does not use a cartridge or magazine. It can fire a single nail before you have to place another nail into the device. As such, you need to load the nail into the device via the nose where it fires from. Good devices include noses that have an indent, which allows for the nail to rest and ensures greater accuracy when firing. Those with magnetic noses can be used to hold the nail as you move it to the work material. Magnetic noses are commonplace in this type of device, and they will make your job considerably easier.
Prices for this kind of device can vary from $25 to $150 or more. While the nailer itself, and its quality, will determine the cost, so too does the selection of accessories that comes with the device. Consider whether you need any of the following and, if not, look for the nailer only. Possible accessories include:
- Carry Case
- Cover and Strap
The palm nailer takes over where the standard nail gun is no longer practical. It is usually preferred for its small size, light weight, and the fact that this palm-sized device can be used in corners and tight spaces where you would not be able to swing a hammer. There are several different options and models available, and getting the right kit or device is important.
As such, we have put together reviews of the best palm nailers money can buy.
The best palm nailer is the Bostitch PN100K Impact Nailer Kit, which is a well-priced pneumatic nailer that includes additional interchangeable heads, although lacks the ability to adjust depth. The Metabo is light, cheap, and has a magnetic nose, but it does not include additional heads and is severely limited in its range of accessories.
More nailer posts:
- Reviews of finish nailers (showdown)
- Framing nailer reviews
- What are the differences between framing and finish nailers?
- 6 Best Siding Nailers – Top Picks & Reviews