Brad Nailer vs Finish Nailer

Brad Nailer vs Finish Nailer: Which One Is Best For Use?

A nailer is an instrument that drives nails into wood or some other object. It is typically generated by compressed air, electromagnetic systems, high inflammatory gases like butane or propane, or a small explosive charge for powder-actuated instruments.

But it can be a little bit tedious to choose between different kinds of nailers. One of the hard options you will have to take is to go with a Brad or a Finish nailer.

The general appearance of the two handy control instruments is identical, and the accessories they use are very similar. And this means that many woodworkers would find it difficult to decide whether to use it.

Table of Contents
When Should You Use a Brad or Finish Nailer?

Brad Nailer vs Finish Nailer

You may have asked, “what is the difference between a Brad nailer and a Finish nailer?”.It can be difficult to distinguish Brad nails from Finishing nails quickly. The two nail styles look identical, but Brad nails and Finish nails significantly vary in size and fit for use. 

The crucial distinction between a Brad nailer and a Finish nailer is that the Brad nail fires 18-gazing nails, while the Finish nailer is composed of 16-gazing or 15-gage nails. The thin 18-gauge Brad nail helps to repair sensitive trimmings without fracturing the trimming. 

In comparison, Finish nail weapons which drive thicker nails to provide more resistance. You may use a Brad nailer to connect thin trims and moldings without using putty. A Finishing nailer, on the other hand, is what you’ll need for the bulk of carpentry and woodworking designs, but you will need to putty the hole.

Brad Nailer  Finish Nailer
Brads nailers are 18-gauge nails that are very thin. Finish nailers are 15-gauge and 16-gauge nails.
Its size is approximately 0.0475 inches Its size is up to 0.0720 inches
It has less holding power. Ability to higher withstand payload
This is Ideal for securing thin trims without causing them to crack.

Finishes furniture, door casings, and other carpentry projects beautifully.
Lightweight boards and moldings benefit greatly from this material. Use on plywood, MDF, baseboards, and other similar surfaces

We’ll go through each one individually to ensure that you have a clear understanding of them. Let’s get this conversation going!

Brad Nailer

A Brad Nailer is essentially a Finish nailer’s smaller sibling.

It’s built to be a compact, easy-to-use nail gun that can fire Brad nails. In comparison to normal Finish nails, Brad nails are thinner and have a narrower head. 

A Brad nailer would not take as much force to fire nails as most nail guns because the Brads are smaller.

This allows you to rapidly and conveniently secure small, fragile exterior siding right where you need them without fear of being ruined. A Brad nailer fires 18-gauge Brad nails that range in length from 5/8-in. to 2-in.

Brad nailers are usually valuable items to hold the tool shed around. They are useful when you have to add trim or mold sensitively or when you have a carpentry or woodwork plan to use the finishing touches.

What’s a Brad Nail Gun Used For?

Because of the small size of 18g nails, Brad nails are better used in projects where you don’t have a very high strength to hold weight, or the hole size created by the nail when fired. They can be used for a wide variety of work and projects, but some of the most important are here:

Putting up Paneling.

When nail or screw holes are drilled into the grooves of wood paneling, the holes are harder to see when the object is removed. A water-based, colored nail putty may also be used to cover small nails or screw holes in wood paneling.

Putting up Crown Molding.

Crown molding is similar to baseboards because it is used on the ceiling. If you look at a traditional American ceiling, you’ll find that the padding between the ceiling and the wall surface has a line. Thin nails are used to make these moldings, although they aren’t visible. For certain cases, a Brad nailer may be used.

Baseboard Installation.

Brad is a man with many abilities. Since nails are so thin, they’re suitable for connecting baseboards to walls. This is because Brads are very easy to drive into wood. This helps you to conveniently join smaller pieces of wood to larger ones.

When Using Glue, Pieces Are Temporarily Held Together.

A Brad nailer can be used to briefly connect two pieces before the glue dries. It’s also used to align wood fragments that must be screwed together, as well as to connect baseboard wood.

How to Use a Brad Nailer?


The use of a Brad nailer does not need special training or qualifications, but if you first use a nail gun or search for points, check the following issue.

Length of Brad

Make sure the Brads are inside the proper length range. This tool embraces Brads ranging in scale from 5/8″ to 2″.

Anything larger than 2″, of course, be out of the question. However, if Brad is at the lower end of the scale. And if they fit in the weapon, they will not fire accurately. They’ll almost definitely end up at the back of the weapon.

Strips That Never Stop

To stop damaging the Brad strip, handle it carefully.  The strip doesn’t have to be continuous. You can piece together shorter lengths using an office stapler. However, if the strip isn’t split, the Brad feeding will go more smoothly.

Carefully close the magazine

It’s all too easy to slam the magazine shut with a forceful slap.  you’ll have to slide it up with some force to get it to lock. However, using so much force will cause the Brad strip to fall out of place.

Workpiece position

On the end of your nailer, locate the workpiece touch spot. When you click the nailer on your workpiece, this touchpoint depresses. Until the contact point is depressed, the gun will shoot for safety purposes.

Be mindful that Brad has a little fire away from the point of touching. The Brad burns roughly 1/4″ above the touch point that the trim is completely missing.

Pros: Brad Nailer

✅ Suitable for fastening delicate trimmings and moldings.

✅ Usually, the 18-point nail does not divide the trim.

✅ The resultant hole is tiny and does not need to be filled.

✅ It can also be used on smaller frame boards and plywood up to half an inch.

✅ Comes pneumatically and electrically.

✅ Ideal for thinner or thinner wood that worries about the division.

✅ Brads can be used to secure objects temporarily with glue. Only remove the glue and the nail holes are scarcely clear.

✅ The nails are ideal for small projects, such as jewelry cases, frames or furniture trims, or arcades.

Cons: Brad Nailer

❌ Large, thick pieces of wood are not allowed to be used. The weight of these Brads is insufficient to penetrate thin plywood or MDF.

❌ For nailing hard-to-reach corners and narrow spaces, this is not the best method.

❌ You’ll also need an air compressor if you have a pneumatic nailer.

❌ Brads tend to bend.

❌ Brads aren’t designed to handle heavy loads.

❌ Penetration is minimal.

❌ On to hardwood, the output is poor.

Pneumatic vs. Cordless Brad Nailer

Brad nailers come in both pneumatic and cordless versions.

A pneumatic Brad nailer is compact, lightweight, and simple to use with one hand. Since they must be connected to an air compressor, your movement is restricted by the length of the air compressor.

Since you’re not tethered to a hose, cordless Brad nailers give you more control. They’re even quieter than pneumatic nailers because they don’t need an air compressor. A cordless Brad nailer, on the other hand, is bulkier and weighs 2-3 times more than pneumatic models due to the battery and housing needed to power it.

Cordless Brad nailers are usually 2-3 times more costly than their pneumatic versions when bought as a bare instrument. You’ll still require compatible batteries, which could come at an extra cost. Pneumatic nail arms, on the other hand, necessitate the use of an air compressor. If you don’t already have one, this adds to the overall cost of ownership.

Finish Nailer

The role of a Finish nailer is very similar to that of a Brad nailer. A Finish nailer, like a Brad nailer, would not be used for the rest of a job or project. Instead, you only use it under very unique circumstances. A Finish nailer, rather than a standard nail gun, will be used to install trim or molding. A Finish nailer comes somewhere between Brad nailers and more heavy-duty nail guns like framing nailers in terms of strength. Finish nailers are more powerful than Brad nailers, but not quite as powerful as framing nail weapons. In terms of thickness, a standard Finishing nailer can handle nails ranging from 1 inch to 2.5 inches.

What’s a Finish Nailer Used For?

For most non-structural designs, a Finish nailer is the perfect all-around nail gun. They’re usually used to Finish a task, as their name suggests. Here are a few examples of projects where a Finish nailer shines:

  • Baseboard, crown molding, chair rails, and other forms of trim are installed.
  • Cabinet construction.
  • Casings for doors and windows are being installed.
  • constructing stairwells.
  • Hardwood flooring installation.
  • Making joinery for furniture and other woodworking ventures.
  • Cabinets, Staircases, and Chair Rails.
  • Hardwood and softwood flooring are available.

How to Use a Finish Nailer?

While using a Finish nailer is similar to using every other nail gun, the following instructions provide some useful hints.

With the hammer, Drive the Finishing Nail.

With the hammer alone, push the Finish nail as deep as possible into the wood without touching it. This is normally 1/4-inch to 1/8-inch away from the wood’s base. Determine that the nail is driven perpendicular to the wood’s surface and that it does not bend. If that doesn’t fit, take the nail out and start again for a different one.

Set The Nail Set to The Head of The Nail.

Place the round, point end of the nail on the top of the Finishing nail. To allow for the positioning of a nail package, most finish nails have a slight dent on the head. To stop the nail package from skating around as you strike it with the hammer, make sure it’s directly in line with the Finish nail. If you want stronger communication between the hammerhead and the nail set, you should use a hammer with a milled or checkered face.

When The Nail Is Clear, Push The Nail Set.

Tap the hammer softly on the nail set’s blunt end. Tap the nail into the wood as softly as possible, growing force only where necessary. Depending on the Finishing requirements, keep pushing the nail until the head is level with or below the surface of the wood.

The Nail Hole Must Be Filled

If you want to paint the wood, you may want to leave the nail head’s mild depression unfilled. Filling the nail hole and sanding it flat, on the other hand, adds a skilled touch.

Pros: Finish Nailer

  • Finish Nails in the 15-gauge and 16-gauge sizes are larger and have more staying power.
  • Excellent for woodworking, furniture construction, large baseboard and plywood repairs, and crown molding installation.
  • Finish nailers are more flexible and can be used for a variety of projects.
  • Finish Nails penetrate more powerfully than Brads.
  • Straight and angled designs are also available.
  • The 15-gauge nail guns collected at an angle will hit corners.
  • Will keep heavy wood thicker. The nails are larger and broader, and so they provide a lasting grip. If you push a nail with it, it won’t go anywhere.
  • Nails come in long strips but you’re not going to have that much to reload.

Cons: Finish Nailer

  • The larger nails generate larger holes that need to be filled. It means extra labor in filling the wood putty to cover the nail hole for a laborer.
  • Weak option in the installation of small boards and thin trimmings.
  • Costlier than Brad nailers.
  • If you use it near edges and corners, you can split the wood piece.
  • It’s not a smart idea to use lightweight, fragile fabrics. Since the nails are so large and a Finish nailer is so strong, thin materials are likely to be broken.
  • If you want to use pneumatic nailers, you’ll need to buy an air compressor if you don’t already have one.

When Should You Use a Brad or Finish Nailer?

Deciding whether to use a Brad or Finish nailer is a difficult task. The weight and thickness of whatever you’re nailing can play a big role in how long it takes. If you’re dealing with hardwood or heavy plywood, you’ll need to use a Finish nailer instead of a Brad nailer, because most Brad nailers won’t be able to handle it.

If you’re working with thinner wood, though, you’ll need to use a Brad nailer instead of a Finish nailer, as a Finish nailer might break the wood.

In general, most people would find a Finish nailer more useful than a Brad nailer. So, if you’re trying to decide which one to get for your tool shed, I’d prefer the Finish nailer.


Finally, when it comes to the controversy of Brad nailers vs. Finish nailers, it is fairly obvious that Brad nailers are ideal for delicate jobs and accents, whereas Finish nailers are ideal for tougher, harder materials such as crowns molding. You can’t go wrong for either one and anything in between.

If you’re considering buying a Finishing nail gun but can’t settle between a Brad nailer and a Finish nailer, remember the types of projects you’ll be working on more often. If you want to do a lot of small woodworking ventures, such as making photo frames or jewelry boxes, you can use a Brad nailer.

FAQ: Brad Nailer vs Finish Nailer

I’ll respond to some of the most often asked questions about Brad and Finishing nailers.

Will I trim with Brad nails?

Yes, really. For lightweight trims and glues, the Brad nail is a great option.

For Trimming, Which Nail Gun Should I Use?

Since “trim” may refer to a wide range of Finish moldings and materials. You’ll need a Finish nail gun for door and window trim. You should use a Brad nailer for small or decorative moldings.

Is It Possible to Use 16 Gauge Nails On an 18 Gauge Nailer?

No, it’s not valid. This will trigger a nail jam. A 16 gauge nail is larger in dimension. Normally, an 18 gauge Finish nailer with a narrow hole at the nose tip would not be able to fire these. Attempting to use a larger nail will degrade the accuracy of your Brad nail and can cause harm to the weapon.

For Crown Molding, Which Nailer is Best?

In most cases, a Brad nailer would do because molds are lightweight. On the other hand,  Broad crown moldings are typically heavy and cannot be supported by Brads. So I would prefer A 16 gauge Finish nail gun.

Which One Is the Best Nail Gun for Baseboards?

It’s best to use a Finish nail gun to mount the baseboard to walls because 15g and 16g nails are stronger and have better-staying strength than 18g Brad nails. Quarter round and shoe molding can be easily attached to baseboards using a Brad nailer.

Related Article to Read

Finish Nailer VS Framing Nailer: The fundamental difference

Siding Nailer VS Roofing Nailer

Siding nailer vs Framing nailer

Similar Posts