Finish Nailers - Seeking Recommendations

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Forum topic by BattleRidge posted 02-08-2019 03:23 AM 1230 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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150 posts in 1024 days

02-08-2019 03:23 AM

I am seeking recommendations, input and thoughts on air finish nailers.

I have an 18 gauge B&D Firestorm brad nailer (inherited) that performs well but am in need of something larger in the 15 or 16 gauge size. I am presently researching the forums but in conjunction with my research, I would appreciate anything anyone would like to share, particularly in regard to your preferences, experiences & uses, and the pros & cons of each size, as well as specific brand and model recommendations (affordability, value and quality are appreciated over top of the line higher $$$ models).

Usage would encompass a variety of tasks from furniture making to a multiple other woodworking projects, though it will not be used for general construction type projects. Tasks may also include assembly of things like a potting bench (1×4 to 2×4 fastening with glue & lap joints), other nail & glue joints and various other activities.

While my present focus is on acquiring a finish nailer, in the future I anticipate adding a 23 gauge pin nailer and possibly replacing the 18 gauge brad nailer if it should fail, so welcome recommendations there too.

Thank you in advance.

-- ~Art~

19 replies so far

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1097 posts in 719 days

#1 posted 02-08-2019 06:29 AM

I did the same as far as looking for value and not top end a couple years ago. Lowes had the Bostitch combo on sale $109. included 3 gallon air tank, 16 gauge nailer, 18 gauge nailer and a smaller 18 gauge stapler/nailer. That combo now sells for $199 at Lowes. I also got a 18 gauge nailer/stapler Hitachi. The MasterForce Micro Pin nailer 23 gauge, $65 on sale, from Menards. All have been trouble free.

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John Smith

2518 posts in 971 days

#2 posted 02-08-2019 01:09 PM

I have been very satisfied with the “vintage” pneumatic
15 and 16ga nailers for many years. I got them both at a pawn shop.
the Porter Cable 15ga takes the angled nails which is good for tight spaces.
the Paslode 16ga takes the straight nails which is good for face nailing.
I also have the SENCO 702XP framing nailer which is one heavy sonofagun.
keep them oiled and dust free and they will serve you well.
I am NOT a fan of the cordless battery powered nailers.



-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

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2262 posts in 714 days

#3 posted 02-08-2019 01:22 PM

I did the same as far as looking for value and not top end a couple years ago. Lowes had the Bostitch combo on sale $109. included 3 gallon air tank, 16 gauge nailer, 18 gauge nailer and a smaller 18 gauge stapler/nailer. That combo now sells for $199 at Lowes. I also got a 18 gauge nailer/stapler Hitachi. The MasterForce Micro Pin nailer 23 gauge, $65 on sale, from Menards. All have been trouble free.

- WoodenDreams

I can also vouch for Bostitch. I’ve had their 18g nailer for 20 years. It gets used all the time. Only had one issue where it jammed and i found the pin bent, but I was able to straighten it, been working fine a couple years since. I am more careful to check the nails before throwing them in. I can also vouch for the older Porter Cables, my 16g gets used all the time, i have the rapid fire red trigger for it and love that thing. I have always oiled it as the say. I have no experience with the newer PC stuff. I also worked in a shop that has all Senco, we used those professionally daily and those things are bulletproof, and cost accordingly. If you have a Habitat for Humanity ReStore near you, you can check there, i’ve seen some there for $20

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1705 posts in 3658 days

#4 posted 02-08-2019 01:41 PM

I bought a 16g Senco angled finish nailer when I saw one on the discount bench at HD, likely something that someone bought for a project and then returned. I had an 18g PC brad nailer and thought, “I should have a finish nailer too!” Many years later, I’m struggling to think of the projects where I have actually taken that gun out of it’s case and shot nails with it. I know it got some use when I finished out my basement, but I’m certain I’ve never used it for any furniture work because a screw has a better mechanical advantage, and they’re easily covered with a plug if in a conspicuous location, and of course there is not a better woodworking joint i.e. M&T with glue. Most of the times when I’m assembling I’ll use the brad nailer to put things together with the glue and then come back to install screws. Another consideration would be your potting bench, if assembled with finish nails you’ll need to use stainless steel nails, $60-$70 a box vs. stainless steel screws at $0.10 each.

Just my 2 pennies, to suggest you consider how strong the “need” really is. I own PC, Senco,and Hitachi, the PC brad nailer and Hitachi pin nailer are the ones which get the majority of the use with a Senco stapler coming in third. I recently had my roof replaced and that crew all had Hitachi nailers which given the volume of the company I used I think speaks well of the Hitatchi air tools for consideration.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

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685 posts in 1010 days

#5 posted 02-08-2019 01:49 PM

I”ve tried quite a few the ridgid brand and the hdx brand are absolutely terrible, if they don’t jamb in the feed they jamb at the head, broken pins, ect.

hitachi are the best for us, senco is ok, but you have to buy the good ones, not the bargain bin units, now if you only use them occassionaly well then, so be it.
Big problem is they all need lubricant, and well as we know lubricant has a tendacity to come thru on the air side and possible stain. non are perfect, but eventually one can weed thru the junk and find keeper.

Rj in az

-- Living the dream

View eflanders's profile


326 posts in 2658 days

#6 posted 02-08-2019 02:10 PM

Based on the work you describe any nailer will work. It’s when you do a lot of nailing that differences come through. Reliability is just one difference. However when doing trim work I like a hook for hanging the gun on me as I move about. Nose styles also vary. My Bosch 16 GA has a nice cushioned nose that stays put, but is rather large at being the diameter of a dime. My Bostich 16 GA nose cushion comes off all the time, but it very narrow at 1/4”. My point here is that if you plan to do a lot of nailing, buy a known brand, keep it clean and oiled, and compare all of the features as each maker has its pros and cons based on the type of work you do.

View dhazelton's profile


2839 posts in 3105 days

#7 posted 02-08-2019 02:32 PM

I have Porter Cable 16 and 18 gauge nailers and have never had a jam. For years I used their nails too but finally wised up and bought the much cheaper Grip-rite brand. I have a Bostichframing nailer, a Rigid pin nailer and I can’t remember who the stapler is from. Just buy a name brand and you’ll be fine.

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389 posts in 1317 days

#8 posted 02-08-2019 02:50 PM

I’ve been using a kit from Freeman and it has held up fine without issues. HD seems to always run specials on few of their kits with very good pricing. I think if I was to look at some now, I’d serious consider some cordless units.

-- “Facts don't care about your feelings.” ..., Ben Shapiro

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10362 posts in 1792 days

#9 posted 02-08-2019 03:25 PM

well ive had bostich nailers in use for about 25 years now and love the quality and the prices are reasonable.i currently have the 18ga.and 15ga. and a narrow crown stapler and have never had an issue with any of my nailers.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

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7672 posts in 1520 days

#10 posted 02-08-2019 03:37 PM

in the cabinet shop we used senco in my personal shop i use PC only had normal wear :<)))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

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12 posts in 1422 days

#11 posted 02-08-2019 07:31 PM

I also have the Bostitch with the 3 nailers. It’s worked quite well for my DIY projects. The compressor stays on continuously. I use it for stapling, 16/18 gauge nailing and inflating tires. I’ve also purchased a Hitachi pin nailer. You do have to reduce the pressure for that. Good luck. Forrest

-- "It ain't the arrow, it's the Indian." - Lee Trevino

View WoodenDreams's profile


1097 posts in 719 days

#12 posted 02-09-2019 04:52 AM

The 16,18 and 23gauge nailers and staplers I have are pneumatic. Just a mater of changing the air couplers to the style you use. With battery powered tools I only have with drills. As time goes by, the battery powered tools change in battery models, and battery voltage, In time the battery needed may no longer available. but pneumatic tools only need a air compressor or air tank.

View pintodeluxe's profile


6177 posts in 3621 days

#13 posted 02-09-2019 05:53 AM

I’m a fan of the PC nailers. The 18 gauge is by far the one I use most. The 23 gauge pin nailer hardly ever gets used. My 16 gauge nailer NEVER gets used. It might be better for hanging doors but that’s about it.

I liked the features of the newer Bostitch 18 gauge nailer, but mine failed prematurely. For now I’m sticking with Porter Cable.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View therealSteveN's profile


5958 posts in 1382 days

#14 posted 02-09-2019 10:35 AM

I’ve used Senco nailers for years. They are semi local in Cincinnati so I always thought I was supporting the local. Now a days they are in 2 types. If it has an embossed Senco brand into the metal casting it’s made in Cinci, if it’s a sticker, it’s Chinese, and I don’t like those models.

What I can say about the ones from Cinci is they work, don’t fail, and stay consistent. When I quit doing trades work I sold them off, wish I never did that, they still had miles of work left in them. Of course like any tool they require regular feeding, and they only eat a fine grade of machine oil. So no matter what you end up buying, feed it this I came across this several years ago when they didn’t have the following they are getting, awesome stuff. Never use that schlocky stuff they sell at HF for 10 cents a gallon, or whatever it costs.

-- Think safe, be safe

View teejk02's profile


504 posts in 1933 days

#15 posted 02-09-2019 04:34 PM

I have Porter Cable in 18, 16 & 15 and narrow crown stapler. The 15 doesn’t get used much because the larger nail sometimes splits the wood and the 16 is adequate for most things. I also have the Bostich in 18 and 16 (bought at a time when the PC was awaiting repair parts and I needed a nailer). No complaints with any of them. I do wonder whether Porter Cable has cheapened theirs like so many of their other tools as Stanley tries to promote the DeWalt brand.

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