Nail Guns

Confused About Nail Guns?

Well if you are, don't worry, things have moved on a long way since the good old hammer and nails. There are some amazing tools out there to help get the job done faster, easier, more effectively and generally more efficiently, but you need to know which nail gun to use for which application before you make the investment.

Lots of people ask us…..

  • Is a nail gun better than hammering?
  • Is a nail gun better than screws?
  • Do I need special nails?
  • What is the difference between a Brad nailer and a Nail gun
  • Will a nail gun go into brick?
  • Do nail guns need air?
  • What can I use a nail gun for?
  • What type of nail gun do I need?

It can also be difficult to understand the terminology, as people often refer to the various types of nail guns in many different ways (you may have heard of "First-fix nail guns" and "Second Fix nail guns" to name a few). The important thing to know is that the type of nail gun can depend upon not only the size of the nail they can fire, but also the materials they are able to fire into, and even how the nail guns themselves are powered.

Let's start with how a nail gun is powered, and essentially, you have 3 main choices:

Battery Powered Nail Guns (Fast becoming the most popular choice)

Also known as cordless nail guns, these are probably the easiest to use as they simply take their power from the battery attached to the nailer. No Gas canister, air hoses or main power cord is required.

Put the nails in and you’re ready to go!

Gas Nail Guns

This type of nailer has many names and is often referred to as a Paslode Nailer simply because Paslode is perhaps the best known of them all (A bit like what Hover is to vacuum cleaners).

Nothing complicated here, they simply need a Gas canister in addition to a battery to get their power. The gas is usually supplied with the nails, so it’s not as difficult as it might sound.

Air Nail Guns

These simply used air as their power and require a compressor to provide the air via an air hose.
As these nailers are less portable as a result, they tend to be found more in a workshop environment.

Given that they need compressed air to operate, they tend to be lightweight, easy to use and reliable.

What else is available?

Electric nail guns, Powder actuated tools (PAT) nailers or even manually operated nailers are also available, but are less common these days.

So now let’s talk about which type of Nail gun you might need.

Although this doesn’t cover every type of nailer available, most nail guns can be categorised as either First fix or second fix.

These names come from the 2 common stages of construction, so if we were building a house, “First fix” would be the part where the shell and internal walls are constructed and “Second Fix” would be the part where all of the fittings such as skirting boards, doors, sanitary wear, kitchen units etc are installed.

Put simply, for first-fix applications such as building timber frame walls, fixing exterior concrete fibre board cladding or building decking bases, you’ll need a nailer that fires bigger nails which have real holding power

For second-fix applications such as attaching skirting boards or assembling furniture, you’ll need a nailer that fires smaller nails (or brad nails as they are known).

If you would like to learn more we have an article here explaining all the types of nail guns

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