But there are certain materials — such as trims and crown moldings — that need a little finesse. A large nail gun that will destroy them simply won’t do. What you need are nailers with enough holding power to bind fragile materials without splitting them. And that is exactly what a brad nailer can do.
There are a lot of brad nailers available online. There are air-powered ones that can do the job but hampers your mobility. If you don’t want to be tethered to an air compressor, then cordless electric brad nailers are perfect for you.
Check out our list of the best electric brad nailers you can purchase. We also have a buying guide to help you choose the right nail gun for your workshop.
1. PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Cordless Brad Nailer Kit, 18GA (PCC790LA) NO COMPRESSOR NEEDED: This cordless brad nailer is battery powered, eliminating the need for a compressor, hose, or expensive gas cartridges. CONSISTENT DRIVING DEPTH: Our depth adjustment wheel allows you to properly countersink nails consistently. Nail Diameter: 18 gauge INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY: A tool free release lever, jam release, and depth adjustment wheel make your life easier. BETTER RUNTIME: Included 1.5 Ah 20Volt MAX Lithium ion battery lasts longer than NiCad, charger included. Integrated Belt Hook: Yes 3 YEAR LIMITED WARRANTY: PORTER CABLE will repair, without charge, any defects due to faulty materials or workmanship for 3 years from the date of purchase. Check Price Below Buy on Amazon 2. DEWALT DCN680B 20V Max XR 18 Gauge Brad Nailer Diagnostics with LED indicator Communicates battery charge status: charged Automatic shut-off protects excessive discharge of vehicle's battery Maximum initial battery voltage (measured without a workload) is 20 volts. Nominal voltage is 18 Check Price Below Buy on Amazon 3. Sale CRAFTSMAN V20 Cordless Brad Nailer Kit, 18GA (CMCN618C1) Part of the V20 cordless system CRAFTSMAN V20 20V max* cordless nailer drives adhesive collated 18gauge Brad nails Fully cordless design eliminates the need for compressors, hoses or costly Gas cartridges Provides consistent firing power in various climate conditions and materials Tool-free depth settings for quick set up and consistent results Check Price Below Buy on Amazon 4. Paslode 918000 Cordless Li-ion Brad Nailer Accurately place every nail with open line of sight 4.6 Lbs. - Lightest cordless brad mailer 7V Li-ion battery drives up to 12,000 mailer per charge 1-1/2 Hour Full Charge; 2 - minute quick charge for up to 200 extra shots Drives into harder woods with total accuracy Check Price Below Buy on Amazon 5. Ryobi P320 Airstrike 18 Volt One+ Lithium Ion Cordless Brad Nailer (Battery Not Included, Power Tool Only) Drives up to 1700 nails per charge No compressors, hoses or pricey gas cartridges required. Cordless design offers both convenience and superior performance. Convenient adjustment dial regulates air pressure for optimum results. Low-nail indicator to quickly and easily see when it is time to reload Includes: 18-V ONE AirStrike 18-Gauge Cordless Brad Nailer, Battery sold separately Check Price Below Buy on Amazon 6. Sale BOSTITCH 20V MAX Cordless Brad Nailer, 18GA, Tool Only (BCN680B) NO COMPRESSOR NEEDED: Save time and money by going cordless MORE POWER: Brushless motor and engine design drives 18ga Brad nails from 5/8" to 2-1/8" length. INCREASED ACCURACY: Features a narrow nose designed for clear line of sight and accuracy of nail placement BETTER VISIBILITY: Multi-functional LED lights help to provide both workspace illumination and tool diagnostics SAFER & MORE EFFICIENT: Tool-free jam release to quickly and easily clear nail jams Check Price Below Buy on Amazon 7. VonHaus 18v Cordless Nail Gun/Brad Nailer - Li-ion Battery Operated – Ergonomic – Medium Duty For Fabrics, Upholstery, Underlay, Carpeting, Roofing & Crafts Model No. 9100100 ERGONOMICALLY DESIGNED – 2 in 1 soft-grip nailer/stapler is comfortable and intuitive to use - cordless for convenience with easy magazine reload – ideal for indoor & outdoor jobs ESSENTIALS INCLUDED – 500 X 3/4” staples, 500 X 1” brad nails. Fires 18 Gauge, 5.7mm (1/4”) Narrow Crown staples in 9/16”, 5/8”, 5/7”, ¾” & 13/16” & 18 Gauge Brad nails, 2mm (1/16”) Crown in 9/16”, 13/6”, 1”,1-3/16” & 1-1 ¼” ADJUSTABLE IMPACT CONTROL – for use with varying workpiece materials ANTI-JAM MECHANISM – allows for uninterrupted nailing. Contact safety switch prevents accidental firing 20/Min FIRING SPEED – quick and easy to use this machine will work at your pace Check Price Below Buy on Amazon
1. PORTER-CABLE PCC790LA Brad Nailer Kit Pros: It has two built-in LED lights that illuminate your work surface. It has a tool-less depth adjustment wheel and depth adjustment window. The battery, charger, and no-mar tip are already included. It has a sequential trigger system to ensure a safer workplace. Its rubber overmold has a good texture that helps prevent the tool from slipping from your grasp. Cons: The tool and the battery are heavy, and they’re going to take their toll on your arms if you’re going to work all day long. Sebring Tip:
The PORTER-CABLE PCC790LA Brad Nailer Kit is a great addition to your growing collection of nail guns. It offers more value for your money compared to other brad nail guns as the package already comes with a battery and charger.
It has a tool-less depth adjustment dial located at the side. The adjustment indicator window located near the dial tells you whether you have set the right nail depth or not.
It has a high-capacity magazine that can accommodate brads ranging from 5/8″ to 2″. It doesn’t need a hex wrench to clear jams, and it already comes with two no-mar tips. This Porter-Cable brad nailer has a sequential trigger system, ensuring safer operation.
It might seem so expensive at first, but keep in mind that you will also receive a battery pack along with the unit. Not having to buy a separate battery package can save a lot of money.
2. DEWALT DCN680B Brad Nailer Pros: This DEWALT DCN680B Brad Nailer has a smaller nose than its predecessor (DC608). This allows you to see your work surface for greater accuracy. No need to use a hex key to clear jams as it has a tool-free jam release lever. Its LED lights illuminate your work area. This is great, especially for low-light jobsites. It allows you to switch from sequential to contact trigger system and vice versa. You can use it with any DEWALT 20V Max batteries. Cons: This is a rather bulky gun. You might have some trouble wriggling it into tight spaces and corners. Sebring Tip:
The DEWALT DCN680B Brad Nailer can make any contractor’s job easier. This is an 18-gauge nail gun with a powerful and reliable brushless motor. Because it is battery-powered, you can work in remote jobsites or even in areas where you can’t bring an air compressor with you. No more tangled hoses, and you can say goodbye to lugging an air compressor around different jobsites thanks to its cordless design. It is compatible with DEWALT’s 20V Max batteries that you might already have. But keep in mind that the battery and charger are not yet included in this particular model.
It is rather bulky and heavy, but you’ll know even at first glance that it is made from high-quality and heavy-duty materials. The handle is covered in textured rubber overmold, and it comes with a belt hook for easy storage.
There are several things that I really like about this tool. One of the best features of this tool is the presence of the ultra-bright dual LED lights at the base. This is one of the features that you never thought you needed until you literally see how it has improved your line of sight.
You can switch from sequential to contact/bump firing and vice versa with its tool-less trigger actuation modes. Plus, a colored indicator inside the magazine warns you when it’s time to reload.
3. CRAFTSMAN CMCN618C1 Brad Nailer Kit Pros: The package includes the brad nailer itself, the battery pack, and 300 brad nails of different lengths. The tool-free depth adjustment wheels at the side and convenient depth adjustment window. It has a sequential trigger system that ensures a safer workplace. The rubber overmolded handle keeps it secure in your grip. The belt hook allows you to store and keep it within reach as you work. Cons: It is on the heavy side even without the battery attached. Sebring Tip:
If you’re looking for an affordable brad nailer, then you might want to check out the CRAFTSMAN CMCN618C1 Brad Nailer Kit. So, what’s inside the box? You’ll get the nailer (of course), a lithium-ion battery, a charger, and an assortment of brads.
This Craftsman brad nailer makes a good impression right off the bat. The housing looks solid and heavy-duty, while the motor’s performance was reliable even when used on a tough workpiece. It has a safety trigger right below the trigger. When activated, this ensures that you won’t be able to fire off brads and injure yourself or someone else in case you accidentally pull the trigger.
It has a safer sequential trigger system. Plus, the LED lights are only activated when you press the nose of the nailer to your workpiece.
It normally costs a little more than $200, which makes it one of the best and most affordable brad nailers on the list.
4. Paslode 918100 Cordless Brad Nailer Pros: This is great for precision nailing thanks to its ultra-slim nozzle. Its high-capacity lithium-ion battery can discharge as much as 12,000 nails every charge. It is difficult to accidentally press the trigger and misfire because the handle is longer and fits larger hands. The belt hook is reversible. The package includes a Paslode 7.4-volt lithium-ion battery, a carrying case, and safety glasses. Cons: The housing is rather bulky. It can be difficult to squeeze it into tight spaces if not for the ultra-slim nozzle. Sebring Tip:
The Paslode 918100 Cordless Brad Nailer is a great tool to have in your arsenal whether you’re a cabinetmaker or a carpenter. Driving brads into the toughest pieces of wood is not a problem with this nail gun Its longer ultra-slim nozzle ensures that you can drive brads into tight corners when toenailing.
It is longer and bulkier than the other brad nailers owing to its unique design. The motor is encased in a larger housing, while the battery is placed inside a compartment on the handle. The handle is larger, so you can hold comfortably without accidentally pressing the trigger.
5. Ryobi P320 Airstrike One+ Brad Nailer Pros: This is one of the most affordable brad nailers on the list. Its magazine can accommodate as many as 105 brads. It has a long-lasting battery that can drive as much as 1,700 brads per charge. It only weighs 5 lbs. which makes it one of the lightest nailers on the list. The colored low-nail indicator tells you when it’s time to reload. Cons: The Ryobi battery and charger are sold separately. Sebring Tip:
The Ryobi P320 Airstrike Brad Nailer is an affordable yet pretty basic nail gun. But that doesn’t mean it cannot deliver. It has a nice, solid casing which houses a heavy-duty and reliable motor. It can drive brads flush into the toughest workpieces easily.
This nailer has a built-in LED lighting to help you see your workpiece in poorly lit jobsites. It has a sequential trigger system, ensuring a safer operation at your workshop. It has a belt hook so you can have it within reach while you work.
It does lack some of the features of the other brad nailers (switch to contact actuation mode, depth adjustment window, etc.), hence the lower price tag. But it does the job — does it really well, in fact — and that’s what’s important.
6. BOSTITCH BCN680B Brad Nailer Pros: It has both sequential and contact trigger modes. The package includes a 20V Max lithium-ion battery, a charger, and a tool bag. It also has a couple of LED lights that illuminate the work area. You’ll know when it’s time to reload thanks to its low-nail lockout. Cons: Brad are not included in the package. Its weight can take its toll on your arms if you’re going to use it for several hours. Sebring Tip:
You’ve been using an air-powered brad nailer for years, but it can be a hassle sometimes. You’re tethered to an air compressor through a hose, not to mention that the tool is basically useless when your air compressor is busted. The BOSTITCH BCN680B Brad Nailer gets rid of all that.
It has all the features of a good brad nailer: the heavy-duty motor, the solid housing, and the non-slip rubber overmold. It can accommodate brads ranging from 5/8″ to 2-1/8″.
This 18-gauge brad nailer has built-in LED lights that provide illumination to your work surface and ensure accuracy. It also has a tool-less jam clearance and trigger system switch. This is a great brad nailer overall, but its price is on par with the Dewalt.
7. VonHaus 9100100 Cordless Nail Gun/Brad Nailer Pros: It has a slim profile and overall compact design. This is a 2-in-1 tool. It is designed to drive both brads and staples. It has a quick-charging battery that only takes 90 minutes to become fully charged. This is the most affordable 18-gauge brad nailers on the list. The depth adjustment dial is located at the rear of the gun. Cons: This is not designed for heavy use. Sebring Tip:
The VonHaus 9100100 Cordless Nail Gun/Brad Nailer is a good medium-duty nail gun. What sets it apart from the other brad nailers on the list is its design. It’s not just a brad nailer; it is also designed to accommodate a wide range of staples so you can use it for carpeting, crafts, and upholstery.
This is a relatively lightweight nail gun owing to its compact body. The handle is covered in rubber overmold, but be careful when carrying it around as the size of the trigger makes it easy to accidentally press and misfire.
It costs less than $100, making it perfect for crafters, upholsterers, and woodworkers who work on light materials.
Brad Nailer VS Finish Nailer
A brad nailer is a type of nail gun used to fasten thin and delicate workpieces, such as trims, crown molding, paneling, picture and mirror frames, or baseboard shoe molding.
Brad nailers look a lot like finish nailers, but there are some subtle differences between these two nail guns. Finish nailers are a little larger than brad nailers. Finish nailers use slightly thicker 15 and 16-gauge nails, while brad nailers use finer 18-gauge nails or brads (we’ve also covered 23-gauge micro pin nailers here if you’re interested in comparing these smaller nailers).
Slender 18-gauge brads are ideal for paneling or attaching wood trim. Because they are finer, they will not split or destroy the delicate trims and moldings you are working on.
Brads can sink flush to the surface of the workpiece, resulting in a cleaner finish. The head of 15 and 16-gauge nails discharged by finish nailers, on the other hand, will still be visible on the surface of the workpiece.
Brads are available in different lengths, ranging from 5/8″ up to as long as 2″.
Brad Nailer Buying Guide Power Source
18-gauge brad nailers are either powered by air compressors or batteries. (Note that this review is dedicated to battery-powered brad nailers).
Air-powered brad nailers are easy to use — just hook the compressor’s hose up to the nailer and you’re good to go. They are also lighter and cheaper than their battery-powered counterparts. The downside is that your mobility is limited when you use air-powered tools as you are always tethered to the compressor.
It makes sense to buy an air-powered brad nailer if you already have an air compressor. But if you don’t own one, then it’s best to purchase a cordless electric brad nailer instead. Battery-powered brad nailers are more mobile than air-powered ones. You can use them just about anywhere, from remote locations during home addition projects to basements where it can be difficult to lug an air compressor around.
Cordless electric brad nailers, however, are sometimes heavier than pneumatic nailers. You also have to stop and recharge the battery if you’re running low on juice and you don’t have a spare battery with you.
The majority of brad nailers have a depth control adjustment dial located at the side of the tool or near the trigger. This allows you to choose whether to sink the brad flush with the surface or drive it (for some reason) slightly shallower into the workpiece.
The depth control adjustment dial is sometimes supplemented with a depth adjustment window. This window lets you know if you have set the nailer to the right depth or if the tip of the brad is going to protrude from the wood.
Trigger Actuation Modes
Brad nailers have two types of trigger actuation modes: sequential and contact firing.
With sequential firing, you have to press the nose or safety tip of the nail gun against the surface, then press the trigger to fire the brad into the workpiece. Repeat the sequence to drive another nail into the wood. Although slower, sequential firing is preferred by most builders as this mode is safer and more precise than contact or bump firing.
Contractors and woodworkers who value speed can choose to use contact or bump firing. With contact firing, all you have to do is pull the trigger and press the nailer’s nose or safety tip against a surface to discharge the brad. But keep in mind that it is easier to misfire and cause injuries in the workplace using contact firing because all you have to do to discharge a brad is press the safety tip against a surface.
Some brad nailers are designed to offer both sequential and bump firing. Just press a button or switch, and you can automatically switch from one mode to another and vice versa.
Check out our favorite nail gun safety video to know why sequential firing is safer than contact firing.
Other Useful Features
Other useful brad nailer features that you should look into include LED lights, low battery indicator, and jam indicator. A good brad nailer should also have a stall release lever, tool-less jam clearance, and belt hook.
Factor in the tool’s weight when choosing the right brad nailer. The lightest brad nailers weigh around 4 lbs, while the heaviest can weigh as much as 8 lbs. Attach the unit’s lithium-ion battery, and it’s going to add another 1 to 3 pounds to the overall weight. The combined weight of the nailer and the battery will definitely take its toll on your arms especially if you’re going to use it all day.
We’ve come to the end of the review, but lest we forget, let’s check out the best electric brad nailer on the list.
The best electric brad nailer is the PORTER-CABLE PCC790LA Brad Nailer Kit. Here are some of the features that make it a highly rated and best-selling power tool.
Let’s talk about its performance first. Its powerful motor can discharge 18-gauge brads and penetrate even the toughest of pieces of wood and drywall. Because it is powered by a battery, there’s no need for you to constantly adjust the pressure to ensure that it can drive a brad into a tough surface.
It has a slim safety tip and a couple of LED lights that let you see your work surface for greater accuracy. Other useful features include the depth adjustment wheel and window, jam clearance lever, and durable magazine with low-nail indicator. Its default trigger actuation mode is sequential, making it one of the safer nail guns on the market.
It’s quite expensive, but you get more value for your money as the battery pack and charger are already included.
Other Great Articles to Read: 7 BEST AIR-POWERED MICRO PIN NAILERS 7 BEST DIGITAL MULTIMETERS 7 BEST CORDED CIRCULAR SAWS
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