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Best Brad Nailers – Tips For Choosing A Brad Nailer

A brad nailer is an essential gear in a carpenter’s arsenal; it is designed to fire 18-gauge brads that would be incredibly hard, if not impossible, to drive in by hand.

Due to the very small size of these nails, the tool is particularly useful for precision woodworking tasks that require you to leave little to no holes in the surface.

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Worshiped by pros and amateurs alike, this type of nail gun serves many domestic and industrial applications, such as interior construction and renovation works, carpentry, precision fixes, arts & crafts, and more.

What to Look for When Buying a Brad Nailer

Brad Nailer Type

You can essentially choose from two types of brad nailers, cordless and pneumatic.

Cordless brad nailers are handy machines that can be used in any setting due to their autonomy. The top-end models are ideal for heavy-duty tasks, handling them in a breeze, and come with a clear advantage over the pneumatic guns - they excel in terms of portability.

Cordless brad nailers can be further classified into battery-operated and fuel-driven machines.

Both types are powered by batteries, but the fuel-driven units are more efficient in terms of performance and energy management. However, these guns are usually expensive and require a lot of maintenance, two downsides that explain their lack of popularity.

Pneumatic brad nailers, on the other hand, are the oldest yet the most widely used models. Like all pneumatic tools, they use air pressure to drive the nails. Thus they only work when attached to an air compressor. Nevertheless, these tools are designed for performance.

Pneumatic brad nailers are capable of handling heavy-duty tasks, a feature that outweighs their scarce mobility.

Brad Nailer Angle

Besides the types above, brad nailers can further be divided into straight clip and angled.

  • Straight clip guns: Are the most popular models, characterized by a magazine used to load the brads into the unit. These machines place the nails on a cylinder which allows the fueling of a continuous drive. The most advanced models come with anti-jam systems that reduce the chances of malfunction, a feature that makes them an ideal choice for the novice.
  • Angled brad guns: Represent a high-end category dedicated to the professionals. These guns are harder to maneuver due to their unusual construction, but they are the real deal if you have to work in narrow or oddly shaped spaces. These tools are perfect for molding and trimming works.

Firing Mode

Brad nailers can have a bump or sequential firing. The most advanced machines allow you to use both modes, and in broad lines, the bump mode is ideal if you want to drive the nails in a rapid, smooth, and effortless succession.

This mode requires nothing more but holding down the  trigger of the tool while bumping the unit’s nose onto the working surface to release the nail.

These guns are preferred by professionals who want to finish work fast, but this operation mode is unsafe, and accidental firing poses a serious safety hazard.

Passing on to the sequential firing mode, this one adds some safety, but it reduces the firing speed. This mode will require you to actuate the safety tip first, and the trigger after or the nailer won’t fire. These guns can also be divided into single-sequential and full-sequential.

  • The single-sequential guns require to press the safety tip against the work surface and then pull the trigger, but after the first nail has been shot, it allows you to just keep the nose pressed against the surface to release and reactivate the trigger for continuous operation.
  • The full-sequential guns follow the same steps but require you to release both the safety tip and the trigger after each brad to continue operation. This design boosts up safety; however, it makes the operation dreadfully slow.

With this in mind, let’s now see which is the best brad nailer in 2019.

Top 5 Best Brad Nailers in 2019

1. Makita XNB01Z

Makita XNB01Z


  • Works with various 18-gauge brad nails
  • 110 nails magazine capacity
  • Sequential or bump operation
  • Tool-less depth adjustment
  • 18V battery


This cordless brad nailer is one of the favorite of professionals. It gives you the possibility to choose from two operation modes, either sequential or bumping, and boasts a tool-less depth adjustment for a variety of applications. Furthermore, it drives brads with a size between 5/8 and 2 inches.


Like most cordless tools, the Makita XNB01Z comes with an interchangeable battery. Its 18V 5Ah LXT offers contractor power and can tackle even the heavier duty jobs. It can drive over 1,500 nails peer charge, but keep in mind that the tool comes without it. You will have to purchase it separately for an additional cost, but the investment is well worth it.

Overall Assessment

Designed for the pros and able to satisfy even the most demanding carpenters, this tool impresses with its exciting features. It has an anti-dry drive mechanism that prevents driving blanks and damaging the work surface. A battery gauge will let you know when to recharge the battery, while the two modes will let you choose between sequential or contact operation. Expensive but performing, this is no doubt the best brad nailer you can find.

Makita XNB01Z Video Review

2. Valu-Air F50Q

Valu-Air F50Q


  • Pneumatic tool
  • Brad nails included
  • Aluminum housing
  • Quick jam release mechanism
  • Inexpensive

Price Point

If you’re looking after a brad nailer that won’t break the bank, the Valu-Air F50Q could be it. This pneumatic tool is affordable enough to appeal to beginners and professionals alike. Of course, you’ll need an air compressor to operate it; but if you already have one, this gun certainly comes at a bargain.


Besides the affordable price, you’ll also like that it comes with a host of accessories. You’ll get two strips of 18 gauge nails, oil, as well as an Allen wrench that will help you adjust the driving depth. Also, know that the nailer works with all brads between 5/8 and 2 inches.

Overall Assessment

Weighing only 2.2 pounds and working at air pressure between 70 and 110 PSI, this brad nailer is ideal for beginners. It’s inexpensive yet powerful, and works with all types of 18 gauge brads. Thanks to its durable aluminum housing, it also withstands all working environments. Furthermore, its quick jam-release mechanism brings even more value for money.

3. WEN 61720

WEN 61720


  • Lightweight body
  • Pneumatic operation
  • Rubber grip handle
  • 100 brads magazine
  • Accessories

Brad Compatibility

Ideal for all users, the WEN 61720 works with brads between ¾ and 2 inches long. It is ideal for contractors and amateurs alike, and it can even hold up to 100 brads in its magazine. We also like its quick-release jam mechanism that makes cleaning the unit a breeze.

Pneumatic Operation

Just like the Valu-Air, the WEN 61720 is a pneumatic gun that’s very easy to operate. It works at pressures between 60 and 100 PSI thanks to its ¼-inch NPT air inlet fitting. Thanks to its lightweight aluminum body, the unit is also very easy to maneuver, even in tighter spaces.

Overall Assessment

Coming with a host of accessories and easy to operate, this is another excellent brad nailer for the money. It can fire a wide range of brads and can hold up to 100 nails into its magazine. A rubber-grip handle enhances comfort, and the unit comes with oil, two adjustment wrenches, and a custom carrying case.

WEN 61720 Video Review

4. Hitachi NT50AE2

Hitachi NT50AE2


  • Selective actuation
  • Lightweight construction
  • Elastomer grip
  • Tool-less jam clearing
  • Adjustable depth of drive

Two Operation Modes

Perhaps the best pneumatic brad nailer, the Hitachi NT50AE2 boasts a Selective Actuation mode that allows you to choose between bump fire or contact operation by simply flipping a switch. The tool is ideal to use in professional and DIY environments.

Build Quality

Ideal for multiple purposes, this brad nailer boasts a solid construction and a lightweight aluminum body. It’s also perfectly balanced, allowing for a seamless use all day long. The gun also boasts elastomer grips that add comfort and prevent slippage.

Overall Assessment

Boasting a tool-less operation, easy to clean and adjustable, this brad nailer is excellent for various purposes. It comes at a great price for beginners, yet it’s performing enough to satisfy the professional.

Hitachi NT50AE2 Video Review




  • Pneumatic tool
  • Tool-free depth adjustment
  • Tool-free jam release
  • Rear exhaust
  • Maintenance-free motor

No Maintenance Required

The last on our list of the best brad nailer, the DEWALT DWFP12231 impresses with its maintenance-free motor that will prevent spoiling your surfaces with oil or other stains. All you have to do is take care of the jams now and then.


This pneumatic tool works with all types of 18-gauge brads between 5/8 and 2 inches long. A rear exhaust system keeps the contaminants away from your working surface, while the tool-free depth of drive and ham release mechanism enhance user experience.

Overall Assessment

Another tool that can satisfy all types of users, the DEWALT DWFP12231 is ideal for both amateurs and professionals. It requires virtually no maintenance while working with a wide variety of brads. It’s also easy to use thanks to its lightweight and well-balanced construction. Undoubtedly, a great tool for your arsenal.

Dewalt DWFP12231 Video Review


Whether you’re looking for a cordless or pneumatic brad nailer, we hope you now know which are some of your best options. All you have to do is pick the one that best fits your purpose and budget to fix trims and framing like a pro.


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