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Though they have many similarities, each tool has its own set of advantages that may make it more suited to a certain user. Keep reading to learn more, and to develop a full picture of the best cordless finish nailer for your needs.
Pneumatic vs. Cordless
There's some disagreement regarding whether cordless nail guns can compete with their cordless counterparts. However, the debate is different when it comes to finish nailers, as there are no corded electric ones. Instead, pneumatic finish nailers can be used as an alternative to cordless options. These are powered by compressed air from an attached air compressor.
Pneumatic nailers have many benefits, but they can also be rather rigid and limit your range of motion. They are more portable, less expensive, and longer lasting because they lack an internal engine. There are, however, significant drawbacks: The compressor is an expensive and bulky piece of equipment that needs constant access to electricity in order to function. Furthermore, compressors need routine servicing. As a final option, there is the expensive and cumbersome high-pressure hose. Therefore, it's easy to see why cordless finish nailers are gaining in popularity.
Actually, there are two distinct varieties of cordless finish nail guns. Models powered solely by a lithium-ion battery are available, although those with a smaller battery and a gas cartridge also exist (often just referred to as fuel). The nail is "fired" by a spark from the battery, which ignites a tiny amount of gas. Professionals have always preferred gas-powered nail guns like these over entirely battery-operated versions. Unfortunately, they are quite pricey, and gas cartridges need to be replenished frequently—daily in some professional settings. As more effective battery-only finish nailers have been available, typically made by the same manufacturer, their gas-powered predecessors have fallen out of favor.
Cordless finish nailers use on lithium-ion batteries that can be charged to 18 or 20 volts. In real terms there is no difference between what appear to be different sizes. Initial startup voltage is 20 volts, while operating voltage is 18 volts (frequently termed nominal voltage). While batteries of the same voltage (whether 18V or 20V) from different manufacturers are usually compatible, this is not always the case.
Though voltage is a measure of available power, batteries also have an Amp hour (Ah) rating. The longer the finish nailer will operate, the greater the Ah value should be. A 4Ah battery, for instance, will last at least twice as long as a 2Ah battery. Hobbyists may not care to wait around for the tool's battery to charge, but this is a major consideration for professionals.
The number of nails that can be driven in a single charge will vary depending on the length of the nail and the material being fastened. Therefore, one's actual experience may vary greatly.
It's common for cordless finish nailers to be sold as a "bare tool," meaning that the battery isn't included. If you have batteries of a similar size from other power tools, this could be a significant money saver. That said, it’s crucial to confirm compatibility. Even if they look like they have the same capacity and were made by the same company, certain older models may not function. By purchasing the equipment in its bare form, the customer also has the option of using generic batteries, which may be significantly less expensive. The risk of voiding the warranty increases with this approach, so tread carefully.
Gas-powered cordless finish nailers also use a rechargeable battery, but of roughly 6V to 8V because the gas cartridge (sometimes called a fuel cell or trim fuel) is supplying the main drive. Nail penetration per cell is typically indicated. It is worthwhile to investigate whether or not there are available alternatives cells. It can have a considerable effect on contractor expenses, starting at roughly $8 per 1,000 nails.
Magazine Type and Gauge
In the case of finish nailers, the magazines of cordless nail guns can be either straight (at 90 degrees to the line of fire) or tilted (some at 20 or 21 degrees, others between 30 and 35 degrees). Nail in intricate moldings and tight corners with ease using an angled magazine's many nailing orientations. They can of course still be utilized at 90 degrees if held appropriately.
Nail driving at an angle of 90 degrees is more usual, and magazines designed for this make the process go more quickly and efficiently. Nails for slanted magazines may also be more costly. Magazine capacity is typically between 100 and 110 nails, regardless of the angle.
Nail gauge is another factor that might vary (thickness). Finish nailers use either 15- or 16-gauge, the former being somewhat thicker with larger heads and hence delivering a stronger fix. You can use nails anywhere from one inch to three inches in length, but be sure your finish nailer can handle that range.
Straight or Angled Finish Nailers
There is actually very little distinction between a straight and an angled finish nailer, despite appearances to the contrary. Both do the same thing in the end. When it comes to corners, angled choices perform slightly better and are slightly easier to utilize.
Besides that minor consideration, though, it's up in the air which path you take. We suggest you look elsewhere when making your choice, and not at the nailer's angle.
Most customers will be concerned with how much the nailer costs. You probably have a limited budget. As a result, your options for available nailers will be limited. Keep in mind the worth as well. Spending more won't be worthwhile unless it results in additional functionality or enhanced efficiency.
Nail guns used to finish a project are safe to use. Still, you don't want them to be any more lethal than necessary. Numerous safeguards exist on modern nailers to stop injuries and property loss. However, before making a final decision, you should verify these specifications.
There is no need to suffer through the use of a finish nailer. Go for something easy on the body rather than something that would drain your energy.
Can a finish nailer be used for framing?
Certainly not; in fact, we strongly advise against it. Framing nails are often much longer and thicker than finish nails. Even if a cordless 15-gauge finish nailer will get the job done, a frame nailer is the way to go.
How do you use a finish nailer?
A simple press of the tool's tip on the object to be worked on and a pull of the trigger is all that's required. For advice on how to enhance your approach and outcomes, read this article.
Can a finish nailer use brad nails?
Nails for a brad nail gun are 18 gauge, which is much thinner. Nails used for finishing have a larger head and are either 15 or 16 gauge. Therefore, you can't just switch out brad nails for finish nails.
Whats the difference between a finish nailer and a brad nailer?
The 18-gauge nails used by the brad nail gun differentiate it from the 16-gauge or 15-gauge nails used by the finish nailer. Tiny 18-gauge brad nails make it possible to securely fasten fine trims without risk of splitting.
Which is better 15 or 16 gauge finish nailer?
For tougher tasks, reach for the 15 gauge finish nailer. Nail heads from a 16 gauge nailer are smaller, making them ideal for use with thin wood, fine molding, or anywhere else a smaller nail head is desired.
When working with 16-gauge nails, such as when constructing cabinets or installing baseboards, a finish nailer is an indispensable equipment. As you shop for a finish nailer, we hope this guide was helpful in sifting through the options.