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What Is The Difference Between A Brad Nailer And A Straight Finish Nailer

Compare a brad nailer to a finish nailer; you might need help telling them apart. On the outside, brad nailers and finish nailers, which are also sometimes called finishing nailers, look very similar. These tools are precise electric nailers for detailed work rather than heavy-duty production.

We’ve compiled this handy guide to help you decide the Difference between a brad nailer and a straight finish nailer. It tells you everything you need to know about each one. But it also talks about situations where one nailer may become better. This article is for you if you’re ever at a loss as to whether you need a brad nailer or finish nailer when picking up your nailer. Now is the time to ask for our assistance with one of the possibilities that have recently shown itself.

Compared: Brad Nailer vs. Finish Nailer

Generally, a finish nailer uses 16- or 15-gauge nails, while a brad nail gun fires 18-gauge nails. You can use the small 18-gauge brad nail to attach thin trims without breaking them.

Finish nail guns, on the other hand, may drive thicker nails and so provide greater holding strength. In contrast, a finishing nailer is what you’ll use for the vast majority of carpentry and woodworking projects, even if you end up having to fill the hole with putty. Here, we’ll discuss what makes an adjustable metal brad nailer different from a 16-measure finish nail gun.

Brad Nailer

To keep things simple, a brad nailer is just a nail gun that uses smaller nails. A “nailer” for brads shoots brads. For those who don’t know what a brad nailer is, it’s basically a thin nail. Most of the time, 18 gauge nails are used with brad nailers. The size is shown as a fraction by the number.

A brad nailer is similar in appearance and operation to standard nail guns, however, it does not actually fire nails. It could cause the trim to crack or even break. Just because of that, you should secure the frame using a brad to prevent it from coming loose.

For the most part, brad nailers are a great addition to any tool chest. They are beneficial when you need to trim or mold something carefully. Or if you’re working on a wood or carpentry project and need to put the finishing touches on it.

Finish Nailer

Finish nailers are like brad nailers in that you won’t use them for most of a job or project. Instead, you only use it in certain situations. In contrast to a brad nailer, which operates 14-gauge nails, a finish nailer uses 15 or 16-gauge nails, so the hole it creates is larger.

The finish nailer is more of a “workhorse” because it can be used for a wide range of projects and gives woodworking projects that need more strength the hold they need to last. Because of the larger gauge, the fastening is even more secure than with a brad nailer.

Instead of a regular nail gun, you can use a finish nailer to keep putting up trim or molding. When it comes to power, a finish nailer is somewhere in the middle of a brad nailer and a full-on nail gun.

What Sets These Two Nailers Apart

It’s possible that you’ve already recognized some parallels between the two nail guns. Both are designed for highly specific tasks and not for general application.

Both are inferior to conventional nail guns in terms of output and nail size. I’ll compare and contrast the two nailers and highlight some of their most salient distinctions. 

Nails size

Different from the finish nail guns, which fire either 16- or 15-gauge nails, the brad nailer is made to fire 18-gauge nails. Compare the dimensions of 16 gauge and 18 gauge nails in the list below.

First, nail gun gauge 18 (Brad Nailer): 0.0475″

Second, nail gun gauge 16 (Finish): 0.0625″

Third, nail gun gauge 15 (Finish): 0.0720″

Power to Perform

To compare the two types of nailers, finishing nailers are the more potent option. You could use a brad nailer, but there might not be enough to hold the trim in place. Using a brad nailer incorrectly will cause the molding or trim to separate from the wall.

If you need a lot of power, the finish nailer is the clear winner. But if you’re trying to hammer nails into more delicate trim, the finish nailer’s force will just get in the way.

Hole Size

When used on wood, they make holes of different sizes. When working with wood, any carpenter or woodworker will tell you that you’ll frequently require putty to fill up the holes manufactured both by nail gun. Well, this is true if you have a finished nailer. Most of the time, finish nailers leave holes that need to be filled with putty, but not as frequently as with other nail guns.


How long should the brad nails be?

Most Brad nailers can hold nails of many different lengths. If you want to know how long your nails should be for your project. It’s three times as long as what it’s going through.

In what ways are the two different? Brad or finishing nailer?

A finish nailer can be used for more things than a brad nailer can. Finish nails are strong enough to hold in place large moldings or boards.

Final Take

When using a brad nailer, you’ll be filling a smaller hole with a smaller, less powerful nail. The finish nailer uses a bigger nail with a head. This makes the nail hole bigger, but the connection is stronger. As a matter of personal choice, we prefer to use a brad nailer instead of a finish nailer because the latter produces a cleaner finish and leaves smaller nail holes.

When comparing tools made by the same company, however, brad nailers are often between 10 and 20% cheaper. It’s no surprise that the prices of cheap tools and those from high-end brands are very different. It’s important to compare features carefully to make sure you’re getting the most for your money.

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