Brad Nailer Vs Finish Nailer

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For those who don’t have a lot of experience in carpentry, you may not be able to see the difference when looking at a brad nailer and a finish nailer. After all, both are crafted to perform precision nailing. But though they have similar jobs, they have very different uses and projects.

We are going to take a look at both tools. This way, those out there looking to choose between the two will be able to make a more informed decision. With that being said, let’s get into the brad nailer vs. finish nailer conversation!

What is a Brad Nailer?

Basically, a brad nailer is a specialized nail gun, but instead of shooting nails, it shoots brads. Brads are a type of nail that is super thin and are typically 18 gauged. These nails are the ones used in thin trim so that there is no chance of excess damage to the wooden pieces.

What is a Finish Nailer?

A finish nailer is quite similar to a brad nailer. This is one of those specialized nail guns that will be used for certain aspects of projects. When using this nailer, odds are you will be putting up trim and molding. However, different from the brad nailer, this nail gun is used on heavier trims and frames.

Pros and Cons

Everything in the world has its pluses and minuses, and by dissecting these, you can often find your way to the right decision. In order to decide which nailer you should choose, you have to understand the pros and cons of each. Read on, as we are going to break them down.

brad nailer in blue background

Brad Nailer

When it comes to the brad nailer, there are some great pros to choosing the tool. It is perfect for small, more delicate projects. On top of that, the 18 gauge nail that the brad nailer uses does less damage, especially when used for delicate trim.

Because the nail is so small, even if you do make a mistake, you will be able to fill it easily because the hole is tiny. There is a level of versatility as well as the brad nailer can be used on thinner plywood and baseboards.

When it comes to the disadvantages of a brad nailer, there are few as well. The small nails are not able to deal with large boards or easy woods. Also, most of the brad nail models are not really crafted to deal with small spaces.

Finish Nailer

The finish nailer uses heavier gauge nails and therefore is better suited for holding bigger projects together than a brad nailer. These nailers are intended to be used for woodworking or building furniture as well as attaching thicker molding.

When it comes to versatility, this nailer is more adept than the brad nailer. Where the brad nailer has problems with corners, the finish nailer can be easily used in them.

This nailer utilizes larger nails, and that means that the holes are bigger too. When a mistake happens using this nailer, more work will need to be done because those holes will have to be filled with putty. If you are looking to work on more delicate projects, the finish nailer is definitely not a good choice.

What are the Differences?

Now that we understand a little about the pros and cons let’s look at the differences. The differences can really bring to light everything you need to know to make your decision.

Nail Gauge and Holes – The brad nailer, as we said, utilizes 18 gauge nails, while the finish nailer tends to use 15 or 16 gauge nails. Because of this, the nail holes are very different.

Power – When it comes down to the power of each of these nailers, the finish nailer wins hands down. Because of this, the nailer can handle bulky work. That means if you are looking for the power, you want to invest in a finish nailer.

Projects – The brad nailer is intended for projects that are working with dedicated trims and frames. Whereas the finisher, as we have said, can handle much heavier work.

Which One is Right For Your Project

Figuring out which nailer will work with projects you like to do can actually be pretty challenging. In the end, it will ultimately come down to the thickness and type of wood you are working with. For those planning to work with heavier woods, then the finish nailer is the right choice.

However, if your projects tend to work with thinner woods, the brad nailer would be the best option. (Of course, if you are unsure and have a bit of money, you can always invest in one of each). When it all boils down, though, the finish nailer will have more versatility which is why of the two, it seems finish nailers get more use.

Hopefully, our look at the two nailers has helped to answer some of your questions. By understanding the pros and cons and the differences, we are sure you will be able to make the right choice for your woodworking needs.

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