House Grail is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

22 Different Types of Nail Guns & Their Uses (With Pictures)



Nail guns are often designed with specific or specialized purposes in mind. This means that using the wrong nail gun type can ruin your intended job, making it important to select the right nail gun for your needs.

Here is a comprehensive list of 22 different types of nail guns, as well as their ideal uses and pictures. Read on to find out more.

divider 6

The 22 Different Types of Nail Guns & Their Uses

Framing Nailers

Framing nailers are named after their intended use, which is to build housing frames. These guns drive long nails deep into dense lumber, allowing them to create highly sturdy and durable frames. There are three types of framing nailers:

1. Pneumatic Framing Nailer

Freeman PFR2190 Pneumatic Round Head Framing Nailer

A pneumatic framing nailer is powered by an air compressor connected via a hose. This is the most common framing nail gun since it is highly powerful and lightweight. Its only downside is that movement is inhibited by the length of the cord attached.

2. Cordless Framing Nail Gun

BOSTITCH 20V BCF28WWM1 MAX Cordless Framing Nailer Kit

As the name suggests, a cordless framing nail gun uses battery power to create the pressure for the nailer. Most models use a 20 Volt lithium-ion battery with a brushless motor. This cordless design makes the nailer highly convenient and portable, but you will need to replace the batteries when needed.

3. Gas Framing Nail Gun

A gas framing nail gun drives nails into lumber whenever an electric jolt ignites the gas cartridge within. This option was highly desirable before the cordless framing nail gun was invented since it is more convenient and portable than a pneumatic framing nailer. Even now, it is a popular framing nailer option. If you select a gas framing nail gun, carry enough gas cartridges with you to accomplish your job.

divider 1

Roofing Nail Guns

Roofing nail guns are designed for roofing jobs. Although these nail guns are powerful, they are not as powerful as a framing nailer since the nails will not need to go in as deep. There are two main types of roofing nail guns.

4. Pneumatic Roofing Nail Gun

WEN 61783 3:4-Inch to 1-3:4-Inch Pneumatic Coil Roofing Nailer

Like a pneumatic framing nailer, a pneumatic roofing nail gun uses an air compressor to punch nails into the surface. This option is highly powerful, but it is less portable since it needs to be connected to an air compressor.

5. Cordless Roofing Nail Gun

DeWALT DCN45RND1 20V 15 Degrees Lithium-Ion Cordless Coil Roofing Nailer Kit

Since roofing nail guns are used off the ground, maneuverability is often a desirable feature. Cordless roofing nail guns are highly maneuverable and portable since they are powered by batteries or gas cartridges. If you select a cordless roofing nail gun, be sure to purchase extra batteries or cartridges to take with you on the job.

divider 1

Flooring Nail Guns

Flooring is a special area of carpentry that requires specific skills and specialized tools. One such specialized tool is the flooring nail gun. This nail gun provides just the right amount of pressure that holds the floor together, while still allowing it to expand and contract during changing weather. Here are the three types of flooring nail guns:

6. Pneumatic Flooring Nail Gun

Powernail 50P Flex 18 Gauge Pneumatic Hardwood Flooring Nailer

The pneumatic flooring nail gun uses air pressure to create a consistent and powerful punch, driving the nails into the material reliably and forcefully. Although you will be limited by the length of the air hose, you will not need to change batteries or gas cartridges.

7. Cordless Flooring Nail Gun

Freeman PE4118GF Cordless 20V 4-in-1 18 Gauge Engineered Hardwood Flooring Nailer

Cordless flooring nail guns work when an electrical charge ignites the gas cartridge within. This nail gun type is highly flexible, but they are not as powerful, fast, or reliable as a pneumatic flooring nail gun. You will also need to switch out the gas cartridges throughout the job.

8. Manual Flooring Nail Gun

Portanails 402A 16-Gauge Manual Hardwood Flooring Nailer

Some people opt for a manual flooring nail gun because they are more affordable and allow you more control over nail depth. They are slower and sometimes more difficult to use than the other two options, though.

divider 1

Finish Nail Guns

Finish nail guns are designed for small detail jobs, such as fastening molding, building furniture, or any other job that requires small and detailed nails. Many of the other nail guns on this list are simply too big for the purpose is that require a finish nail gun.

9. Pneumatic Finish Nail Gun

NuMax SFN64 Pneumatic 16-Gauge Straight Finish Nailer

The pneumatic finish nail gun uses an air compressor to provide consistent power. This allows you to create highly precise detailed finishes. The hose does limit your range, though, requiring you to move the air compressor at times.

10. Cordless Finish Nail Gun

hand using Milwaukee M18 Cordless Angled Finish Nailer

Cordless finish nail guns come in two options, straight and angled. A straight cordless nail gun will be used for stapling molding, while the angled cordless nail gun will be used for getting into hard-to-reach corners. The cordless design increases maneuverability, but you’ll need to replace batteries because they die quickly.

divider 1

Brad Nail Gun

A brad nail is the smallest nail that is used for cabinets, carpets, and light furniture. Since these nails are so small, they require a brad nail gun, which is a specialty gun.

11. Pneumatic Brad Nail Gun

man using Valu-Air F50Q Pneumatic Brad Nailer

A pneumatic brad nail gun uses an air compressor to create consistent and reliable pressure for the brads. The recharge time for a pneumatic brad nail gun is very short, and the hose length is less of an issue since it is used for jobs closer in proximity.

12. Cordless Brad Nail Gun

DEWALT 20V MAX Cordless Brad Nailer Kit, 18GA (DCN680D1) (2)

Cordless brad nail guns are battery-operated, allowing the tool to be highly maneuverable. The small size of the bread elongates the lifespan of the batteries, but you will eventually have to change out the old batteries for new ones.

divider 1

Staple Guns

Staple guns are used to press fasteners or staples, not nails, into surfaces like upholstered furniture or light carpets. Since staple guns do not use actual nails, they are the smallest of the nail guns. There are four different types of staple guns:

13. Hand-Actuated Staple Guns

BeautyGL Hand Operated Heavy Duty Staple Gun

Hand-actuated staple guns are easy to use and inexpensive, making it the most popular stable gun type. This staple gun is ideal if you have minimal work or work located outside. It also is suitable for many staple sizes, allowing it to be more versatile. It can be more difficult to use than some of the other staple gun types, though.

14. Hammer Staple Guns

Freeman PLDHT Light Duty Hammer Tacker with Staples

Hammer staple guns are a less useful type. You use them to hammer the staple into place. Although the hammer staple gun is suitable for some carpet padding and installation, it simply is not powerful enough for most staple needs.

15. Electric Staple Guns

KeLDE Electric Staple Gun Kit

Electric staple guns are highly powerful. They provide both power source and fastener and can operate all day long with minimal power reduction. The main downside of an electric staple gun is that it is more expensive than a hand-actuated staple gun.

16. Pneumatic Staple Gun

Metabo HPT - N5024A2M Pneumatic Stapler

Staples rarely need an air compressor power source, but a pneumatic staple gun will get the job done faster. Although buying a pneumatic staple gun is not an ideal choice, you can certainly consider using an air compressor if you already own one.

divider 1

Pin Nail Gun

A pin nail gun is used for small work, such as small woodworking and upholstery. Since it offers minimal size and power, it is great for DIY projects. Like with most of the other nail gun options, you can select a pneumatic or electric pin nail gun.

17. Pneumatic Pin Nail Gun

Metabo HPT Pin Nailer Kit

A pneumatic pin nail gun will get your small, detailed jobs done quickly, and the close proximity of the jobs will minimize the effect of the air hose. Many people find a pneumatic pin nail gun completely unnecessary, however, since these jobs are more delicate and don’t require as much power.

18. Electric Pin Nail Gun

Arrow Professional Electric Nailer ET200BN

An electric pin nail gun is great for transportability. It will allow you to work with your small crafts anywhere you would like, relieving the need for an air compressor. Although you should pack extra batteries, the lightweight size of the pins should maximize their lifespan.

divider 1

Siding Nailer

A siding nailer is used to nail siding to your wall. This makes it a specialty nail gun since it is only used for siding jobs. It is different from other nail gun types due to its softer tip.

19. Pneumatic Siding Nailer

BOSTITCH Coil Siding Nailer N66C

Nailing siding to a wall requires consistent and strong pressure, which makes the pneumatic siding nailer ideal. Although you will be constrained by the length of the air hose, the pressure created by the air compressor will be ideal for wall siding needs.

20. Electric Siding Nailer

Makita AN613 Pneumatic 15° 2-1:2 Siding Coil Nailer

Since you will use a siding nailer over a large proximity, an electric siding nailer can come in handy for maneuverability and transportability purposes. You will not be limited by the length of the air compressor hose, but you will need to replace the batteries frequently.

divider 1

Specialty Nail Guns

Most nail guns listed above are designed with a specific job in mind, but they can be used for a variety of purposes. These specialty nail guns are those that are created for highly specific purposes but are not useful outside of their intended purposes.

21. Headless Pinners

Grex P650L 23-Gauge 2-Inch Headless Pinner with Lock-Out

Pins are not nails, requiring a different device for pressing them into a surface. Headless pinners are specifically designed to press pins into small jobs, such as making picture frames or incredibly thin molding.

22. Palm Nail Guns

Ridgid Palm Nailer with Metal Housing

A palm nail gun can be held in your palm, hence its name. It is very lightweight, making it ideal for hard-to-reach places. Although they are not very strong, they are convenient and mobile.

You might also be interested in:

Featured Image Credit: Christina Richards, Shutterstock

Related posts

OUR categories

Project ideas

Hand & power tools