There are many types of nail guns or nailers. There’s the framing nailer (which we’ve covered here) which, as the name suggests, is used to build house frames. Flooring nailers, roofing nailers, finish nailers, and brad nailers are also a mainstay in home remodeling projects.
But if you want a smoother finish or you’re working on a delicate workpiece, then the pin nailer, also known as micro pin nailer, is the tool you’re looking for. This tool, like its bigger siblings, is powered by an air compressor (pneumatic) or a battery. While it can’t help you in framing or flooring, it is still a must-have for woodworkers and hobbyists who work on delicate materials.
We’ve tested some of the best air-powered micro pin nailers you can buy online. Check out our review and buying guide below to help you get started.
1. Grex P645 1-3/4-Inch 23-Gauge Length Headless Pinner Powerful motor penetrates fasteners through the hardest materials Shoots fasteners up to 1-3/4-Inch length easily, even in hardwoods Patented magazine design eliminates need to adjust for different fastener lengths Double trigger safety prevents accidental firing of tool Narrow nose reaches tight areas and corners for detailed trim work Check Price Below Buy on Amazon 2. PORTER-CABLE PIN138 23-Gauge 1-3/8-Inch Pin Nailer Uses 23-gauge headless and slight head pin nails from 5/8-Inch to 1-3/8-Inch length Long life maintenance free motor to keep from staining the work surface Includes: nailer, 2000 pin nails of 3/4-Inch, 1/4-Inch plug with cap, wrench, and carrying case Consistent power and penetration to sink 1-3/8-Inch nail sub-flush into oak Tool automatically adjusts for different fastener lengths for easier loading Check Price Below Buy on Amazon 3. BOSTITCH HP118K 23-Gauge 1/2-Inch to 1-3/16-Inch Pin Nailer 1/2 Inch to 1 3/16 Inch 23 Gauge Pin Nailer, Low Profile Nose Piece Tapers for Clear Site Adjustable High/Lower Power Switch for Depth Control and Longer Life Lightweight and Durable Aluminum Housing Includes Nailer, 1/4 inch Air Fitting, Oil, Nail Selection, Carrying Case, and Belt Hook 7 Year Limited Warranty Check Price Below Buy on Amazon 4. Metabo HPT Pin Nailer Kit, 23 Gauge, Pin Nails - 5/8" to 1-3/8", No Mar Tip - 2, Depth Adjustment, 5-Year Warranty (NP35A) 23 Gauge Pin Nailer with depth adjustment Includes: NP35A Pin Nailer, Carrying Case, No Mar Tip (x2), Safety Glasses, 1/4" NPT Male Plug, Hex Bar Wrench Same tools. New name. Hitachi Power Tools has renamed to Metabo HPT Magazine automatically adjusts to 5/8", 3/4", 1", 1-3/16" and 1-3/8" fastener lengths for use on a wide variety of projects Depth adjustment for flush drives into a variety of surfaces Check Price Below Buy on Amazon 5. Arrow Fastener PT23G Arrow 23G Pin Nailer Easy quick load magaizine Adjustable exhaust cover directs air away from the user Overmold grip for comfort during extended use Check Price Below Buy on Amazon 6. Freeman PP123 Pneumatic 23-Gauge 1" Micro Pinner Ergonomic and Lightweight Nail Gun with Safety Trigger and Pin Size Selector for Crafts, Moulding, and Picture Frames Nailed It: This pneumatic pinner uses 23 gauge headless pin nails ranging from 1/2" to 1". It features a lightweight and durable aluminum body, ergonomic grip handle, reversible belt hook, and trigger with a safety mechanism that prevents accidental firing. Safety and Precision Design: This pinner is ideal for custom applications like crafts, tacking decorative trim, small picture frames, hobby work, jewelry cases, and molding. It features a pin size selector, air filter / anti-dust cap, and ergonomic comfort grip handle. The Right Tool for the Job: We're committed to providing outstanding value, top tier customer service and long lasting, high quality products. We make nailers and staplers for every purpose, from roofing to siding to flooring and everything in between. Quality and Durability: We manufacture tools with the most durable materials under strict quality control guidelines, suitable for professional contractors and do-it-yourselfers alike. Our tools are sold, distributed, serviced, and warrantied in the USA. Tough and Dependable: We make an array of durable construction tools and accessories, including staplers and nailers for siding, flooring, framing, finish, and roofing. Compare our products to similar items by Makita, Hitachi, Bostitch, Senco, Paslode, and Dewalt. Check Price Below Buy on Amazon 7. Sale NuMax SP123 Pneumatic 23 Gauge 1" Micro Pin Nailer Ergonomic and Lightweight Pin Nail Gun with Pin Size Selector and Safety Trigger Nailed It: This pneumatic pinner uses 23 gauge headless pin nails ranging from 1/2" to 1", and features a lightweight and durable aluminum body, ergonomic grip handle, reversible belt hook and trigger with a safety mechanism that prevents accidental firing. Safety and Precision Design: This micro pin nail gun is ideal for custom applications like crafts, tracking decorative trim, small picture frames, hobby work, jewelry cases, moulding and much more. It features a pin size selector, anti-dust cap, and ergonomic comfort grip. The Right Tool for the Job: We're committed to providing outstanding value, top tier customer service and long lasting, high quality products. We make nailers and staplers for every purpose, from roofing to siding to flooring and everything in between. Quality and Durability: We manufacture tools with the most durable materials under strict quality control guidelines, suitable for professional contractors and do-it-yourselfers alike. Our tools are sold, distributed, serviced, and warrantied in the USA. Tough and Dependable: We make an array of durable construction tools and accessories, including staplers and nailers for siding, flooring, framing, finish, and roofing. Compare our products to similar items by Makita, Hitachi, Bostitch, Senco, Paslode, and Dewalt. Check Price Below Buy on Amazon
1. Grex P645 23-Gauge Length Headless Pinner Pros: It can accommodate as much as 13 different lengths of pin nails. This Grex micro pin nailer has a dual trigger for safer operation. The triggers are positioned far from the handle, so there’s no need to worry about you accidentally touching them and discharging a pin. When it comes to pin nail length, the magazine is self-adjusting. This is a heavy-duty micro pin nailer that can drive pin nails flush into the surface even at low psi. The package includes 1,000 pin nails of different lengths. Cons: It is the most expensive micro pin nailer we have on the list. Sebring Tip:
The Grex P645 23-Gauge Length Headless Pinner is a professional’s micro pin nailer. Right out of the box, you’ll notice its heavy-duty construction and it has a nice heft to it. When it comes to taking on the toughest hardwoods, it definitely delivered even when the air compressor is set at low psi.
It has a larger than usual magazine that can accommodate as much as 1 3/4″ pins. This pin nailer has an ergonomically designed dual trigger that is positioned a little farther away from the handle. This prevents any accidental misfiring and injuries.
Another feature that I like about it is the swivel air coupler. There’s nothing more annoying than getting your air hose tangled each time you use the nailer, so this is a welcome and well-thought-out addition.
But keep in mind that this is more expensive than your ordinary micro pin nailers. It makes little sense to buy something as pricey as this if you’re not going to use it frequently and it’s just going to sit in your garage gathering dust.
2. PORTER-CABLE PIN138 23-Gauge Pin Nailer Pros: This Porter-Cable micro pin nailer already includes 2,000 pin nails (3/4″ size). The micro pin nailer comes with a durable plastic carrying case with lock. It also comes with safety glasses. Mounting the pin nails into the magazine is a breeze. It can accommodate headless and slight head pin nails. Cons: There are instances when the nail doesn’t sit flush on the surface. Sebring Tip:
The PORTER-CABLE PIN138 23-Gauge Pin Nailer is a good addition to your ever-growing collection of nail guns. Upon purchase, you’ll see that it comes in a durable plastic carrying case that can be locked for added security. But if you frequently use the tool, chances are you won’t find the box very useful. It is, however, good for protecting the device from impact and dust.
The body is made of lightweight aluminum, and its handle is covered in textured rubber overmold. The dual trigger system helps you avoid accidents and injuries in the workshop. It includes a no-mar tip and a 1/4″ air fitting.
This Porter-Cable micro pin nailer is one of the most affordable nailers on the list.
3. BOSTITCH HP118K 23-Gauge Pin Nailer Pros: The high-capacity magazine can accommodate a maximum of 200 headless pins. The tool has a built-in high and low power control that lets you adjust pin depth. There’s no need to change the compressor setting with its pin depth adjustment. The package includes 500 pieces of pin nails of assorted sizes. The pin nails discharged by the Bostitch pin nailers sits flush on the surface. Cons: Its dual triggers are too large. Sebring Tip:
The BOSTITCH HP118K 23-Gauge Pin Nailer is built for professional use with its heavy-duty construction. The body is made of aluminum that is both lightweight and corrosion-resistant. It has a rafter hook for easy storage whenever you want is within easy reach while you work.
Reloading headless pin nails into the magazine is a breeze. Plus, it can accommodate pin nails of different sizes (from 1/2″ to 1″).
The handle is covered in textured overmold to keep it securely in your grasp as you work. But the triggers are so uncomfortably large that it’s nearly impossible to wrap your hand around the handle without touching and accidentally pulling them.
4. Metabo HPT NP35A 23-Gauge Pin Nailer Kit Pros: This Metabo HPT micro pin nailer has a 5-year warranty. Its dual trigger prevents accidental discharge. This is a mid-priced micro pin nailer. It can accommodate fasteners ranging from 5/8″ to 1 3/8″ in length. Cons: It wouldn’t set pins below some very tough surfaces no matter how many times you adjust the depth. Sebring Tip:
Piecing together a cabinet or paneling can be easy with the Metabo HPT NP35A 23-Gauge Pin Nailer Kit. You’ll notice right away that it has a nice weight on it — not too heavy that your arms will be sore after working with it all day nor too light that you’ll suspect the components are made of cheap plastic and it will fall apart easily.
Its magazine can accommodate more fasteners, so you don’t have to stop and reload frequently throughout the day. Some 23-gauge nailers can only work with up to 1″, but this model can hold and work with fasteners ranging from as short as 5/8″ to 1 3/8″ in length. Plus, the magazine allows you to see when you’re running low on fasteners and when you need to reload.
The package includes a durable carrying case, safety glasses, and a hex bar wrench. You’ll also receive a couple of no-mar tips and a 1/4″ NPT male plug.
5. Arrow Fastener PT23G Pin Nailer Pros: This Arrow Fastener micro pin nailer is one of the most affordable in the list. Operating it is safer thanks to its dual trigger system. It has a textured rubber overmold that prevents it from slipping from your grasp. It has a color-coded system allowing you to choose the right pin nail for the material you’re working on. It is lightweight yet heavy-duty thanks to its cast aluminum construction. Cons: Nail jam is a common issue for some units. Sebring Tip:
If you’re looking for an affordable micro pin nailer, then why not check out the Arrow Fastener PT23G Pin Nailer? This is a heavy-duty yet lightweight 23-gauge pin nailer that is ideal for light or heavy use. It has a rear exhaust that directs debris away from you or the surface you’re working on.
The textured overmold ensures a comfortable and secure grip over the handle. If you’re worried that it will accidentally discharge a pin nail while you’re holding it, then don’t. It takes a lot of pressure before a pin nail can be released thanks to its safer dual trigger.
It can accommodate anywhere between 1/2″ to 1″ pin nails. Pin nails from other brands are also compatible with this nailer, but Arrow recommends that you use the pin nails it manufactures for optimum performance.
6. Freeman PP123 Pneumatic 23-Gauge Micro Pinner Pros: The body and the magazine are made of durable aluminum. The handle’s size is just right. Plus, it is covered in a textured overmold to keep it from slipping from your grasp. It can accommodate pin nails of different sizes (from 1/2″ to 1″). It is an affordable micro pin nailer. Cons: The pin nailer sometimes double fires. Sebring Tip:
Putting finishing touches on a cabinet or assembling a picture frame can be easy thanks to the Freeman PP123 Pneumatic 23-Gauge Micro Pinner. It has a rugged aluminum body that is corrosion-resistant and lightweight. The magazine, unlike other micro pin nailers, is made of heavy-duty and lightweight anodized aluminum.
The handle is neither too thick nor too slim. It is covered in textured rubber overmold to keep it safe in your grasp while you work.
This is one of the most affordable micro pin nailers on the list as it costs less than $50 at the time of writing.
7. NuMax SP123 Pneumatic 23 Gauge Micro Pin Nailer Pros: It can accommodate headless pin nails from 1/2″ to 1″. It has a good heft to it; not too heavy that your arms will be sore afterward nor too light that it feels cheap. This is a very affordable micro pin nailer. Cons: Its magazine can only accommodate up to 100 pieces of pin nails. There were instances when it wouldn’t sink the nail flush to the surface. Sebring Tip:
If you’re a hobbyist who wants a micro pin nailer but you don’t want to spend a lot of money on it, then the NuMax SP123 Pneumatic 23 Gauge Micro Pin Nailer just might be the perfect tool for you. Although it is affordable, you can see that the overall construction is impressive and it is built to last. It is equipped with a powerful motor that can penetrate even the toughest of hardwoods.
The magazine is designed to be loaded from the bottom. Reloading is a breeze, but my only gripe is that the magazine can only accommodate 100 pin nails. You might need to reload frequently especially if you work in a production environment.
The difference between framing nailers, flooring nailers, brad nailers, and micro pin nailers is their application and the nail gauge that they use. Finish nailers, for example, which are used for moldings and baseboards, use 14 to 16-gauge nails. Brad nailers, on the other hand, use 18-gauge brads and are used for precision work. Framing, flooring, and roofing nail guns also use nails of different gauges.
Micro pin nailers use very fine 23-gauge headless nails or pins to connect workpieces together (although some models can also use slight head pins). The shortest micro pin nail is 3/8″, while the longest is 1 3/8″. A few models can accommodate 2″ pin nails.
Because 23-gauge micro pins are finer, they usually leave a tiny and barely visible mark on the wood, making it ideal for pinning delicate workpieces. This makes micro pin nailers ideal for use in crown molding, picture frame assembly, and decorative trim work. It is also great for crafts, sign work, and mirror assembly.
The caveat? Because the pins are tinier, their holding power is also minuscule. These 23-gauge nails can only hold together small and/or delicate workpieces that larger nailers might damage.
Micro Pin Nailer Buying Guide Safety Features
Micro pin nailers use very fine metal pins to connect workpieces, but that doesn’t mean it can’t cause injuries. Although they are smaller than other nail guns and power tools, they are not toys and should be treated as such.
All pin nailer brands have some form of safety feature to prevent misfiring and injuries. This Metabo HPT NP35A Pin Nailer, for example, has a dual trigger system. The first trigger serves as the safety switch, and you need to pull it to disengage the switch. Then you need to pull the second trigger to fire the pin into the workpiece.
If you’ve set your sights on a pin nailer with this type of dual trigger system, choose one with triggers that are not so easy to pull or those that take a lot of force before you can fire a pin nail. You don’t want a nail gun that discharges a pin so easily and causes injuries after you accidentally squeeze the trigger. You also don’t want a tool with a very hard trigger that your index finger becomes sore by the end of your shift.
Other nail guns have a sequential firing system. With this type of trigger, you need to press the nozzle of the micro pin nailer to the workpiece then pull the trigger to release the pin nail. As long the nozzle does not come into contact with a hard surface, you will not be able to release the pin nail, thus preventing any misfires.
Some models have a dual-trigger system that is similar to the first one we mentioned but with a little variation. In this system, you have the front trigger that you pull to discharge the pin nail. But at the back of the first trigger, there’s a smaller second trigger which actually serves as the safety switch.
In this system, it’s impossible to discharge a pin nail when the second trigger or safety switch/lever is in the original position. But move the safety switch upward and you can now start using the micro pin nailer to discharge a nail.
So, which trigger system is better and safer? Take a look at this video to learn which trigger system lessens the likelihood of misfires and injuries. Although it uses a framing nailer in the illustration, the rules with regards to safety are still the same.
Performance and Depth Control
Whether you’re a hobbyist or a professional, chances are you’re going to work on a lot of different types of wood with varying thickness and density. So, when shopping for the right micro pin nailer, choose one that has a powerful motor that can easily discharge a nail and sink it flush on the surface even when your air compressor is set at a low psi. Look for nail guns with built-in depth control if you can’t be bothered to adjust your air compressor frequently.
The micro pin nailer’s magazine is where the rows of tiny pin nails are stored. Some models can accommodate anywhere between 3/8″ to as much as 1 3/8″. If possible, look for pin nailers with magazines that can accommodate a wider array of pin nail sizes, such as this Grex P645 23-Gauge Length Headless Pinner (it can store up to 13 different sizes of pin nails).
Frequent reloads can be a hassle, so get a micro pin nailer with a high-capacity magazine. Some pin nailers can only accommodate as much as 100 pins. But some tools hold as much as 200 pin nails, such as this BOSTITCH HP118K 23-Gauge Pin Nailer.
Consider the ergonomics before choosing the best air-powered micro pin nailer for your workshop. My recommendation is to choose one that is neither too light nor too heavy.
Get an ultra-lightweight pin nailer, and you’re going to start wondering if the manufacturer used cheap parts to build the power tool. Choose a heavy pin nailer, and your arm will be sore by the time you finish the workpiece.
Micro pin nailers’ handles have the same design and textured rubber overmold. But before taking the plunge, check if the triggers are as far away as possible from the handle so you can safely hold the tool without accidentally touching and pulling the triggers and misfiring.
Remodeling a home takes a lot of work. If you need some home remodeling ideas, price guides, and other information, then check out the Sebring Design Build website to get started.
We’ve taken a look at some of the best-selling and highly rated micro pin nailers. We’ve discussed their strengths and weaknesses, as well as whether they offer more bang for your buck or not. But what is the best micro pin nailer, and what are the features that make it stand out?
The Grex P645 23-Gauge Length Headless Pinner is our choice for the best micro pin nailer. What made it an excellent pin nailer is its powerful motor that can drive nails flush into the surface even at low or moderate psi. It can penetrate even the toughest, densest hardwood, making it a great tool for professional application.
Unlike other micro pin nailer magazines, Grex’s is designed to hold up to 13 different pin nail lengths. Plus, the magazine itself adjusts when you load a different fastener length, removing one less hassle for the user.
Its no-mar rubber tip ensures that any intricate trims and delicate workpieces you’re working on remain flawless. Other features that I love include its swivel air coupler, safe double trigger, and solid aluminum body.
It’s pricier than other micro pin nailers included in the review. But when it comes to power tools, it’s better to invest in something pricey yet reliable instead of being disappointed time and again by cheap yet crappy tools.
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