Best Framing Nail Guns

Will Barinas
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A framing nail gun is a type of power tool that is generally used for attaching lumber that is used for constructing structures such as homes, commercial buildings and decks. There are two common methods for using a framing nail gun, which include using a contact trip and firing nails on contact, as well as a sequential trip where all nails are discharged sequentially.

The latter method is also sometimes called a bump fire. While nail guns are typically used for framing, some of them are also used in specialized applications where an air nail gun would not be appropriate, such as crafts and upholstery work. Some models are used to affix items to hardwood surfaces that are typically considered difficult to attach to, such as glass and acrylic.

There are a number of things that you need to know about framing nail guns, including the differences between pneumatic framing nail guns and those that are electrically powered. Another important consideration is the fact that these types of nail guns use different nail sizes.

NameCategoryProduct
BOSTITCH Framing NailerBest OverallBOSTITCH Framing Nailer
NuMax SFR2190 Pneumatic 21 Degree 3-1/2" Full Round Head Framing Nailer Ergonomic and Lightweight Nail GunBudget PickNuMax SFR2190 Pneumatic 21 Degree 3-1/2" Full Round Head Framing Nailer Ergonomic and Lightweight Nail Gun
Paslode, Cordless XP Framing NailerUpgrade PickPaslode, Cordless XP Framing Nailer

1. BOSTITCH Framing Nailer

Our rating: 9 / 10

BOSTITCH Framing Nailer

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Pros:

  • Air-powered
  • Easy to use
  • Fits into tight spaces
  • Quiet and lightweight
  • Comes with a sturdy carrying case

Cons:

  • Hard to have set at zero without precise measurement
  • Very limited depth capacity

This Bostitch framing nailer model from the Max line is a great option for a framing nailer. It has a rear exhaust, which is helpful since you don’t want to blow debris into your face and it also comes with a convenient carry case.

It delivers up to 2150 nails on a single charge and it has a nail-to-nail reload time of 20 seconds. It’s also available in two extra-long lengths – 2 inches and 2-1/2 inches, which is great for DIY projects that involve framing and baseboards. It’s nice and lightweight, so carrying it around isn’t much of a problem.

Read more about the BOSTITCH Framing Nailer

2. BOSTITCH Metal Connector Nailer

Our rating: 9 / 10

BOSTITCH Metal Connector Nailer

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Pros:

  • Adjustable depth-of-drive
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Comes with a nice carrying case

Cons:

  • Trigger could feel flimsy
  • Nail depth view window could be hard to read

The BOSTITCH MCN150 is a compact and easy-to-use framing nailer that boasts an adjustable depth-of-drive feature that adjusts the nail depth to any type of carpentry job.

This framing nailer comes with a simple metal carrying case that is lightweight and offers great protection to the tool during storage. This framing nailer also comes equipped with dual exhaust points, which help in clearing away fumes.

This nailer weighs around 2.2 pounds, making it one of the lightest nailers in its class. So not only can you take it from one job-site to the next without straining your back, but you can also move it with one hand. It is also a fairly compact size, making it easy to maneuver in close areas.

Read more about the BOSTITCH Metal Connector Nailer

3. Paslode, Pneumatic Framing Nailer

Our rating: 9 / 10

Paslode, Pneumatic Framing Nailer

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Pros:

  • Decent number of nails per charge
  • Easy to reload nails
  • No gas needed or cords to drag
  • Powerful and efficient
  • Comes with a pair of safety glasses

Cons:

  • May cause vibrations in your hand
  • Higher-than-average price point

The Paslode is a pneumatic nail gun that is powered by air instead of gas. You’ll need an air compressor and hose, but save yourself the trouble of dealing with the fumes and engine noise that come with gas powered nailers. It is an ideal framing nail gun for larger projects that will save you time and effort.

In our opinion, this model is one of the best framing nailers with great power and efficiency. It is designed for efficient and powerful driving thanks to Paslode’s patented Cratering Technology. The nails are held in a ready-to-fire position in a magazine that extends out at a right angle to the gun. This allows for faster firing and reloading. While the large nails can make the Paslode feel a little heavy for some, it does come with a pair of safety glasses, which is always a nice bonus.

Bottom line: In our opinion, the Paslode is an excellent framing nailer that comes with a relatively good price point.

Read more about the Paslode, Pneumatic Framing Nailer

4. NuMax SFR2190 Pneumatic 21 Degree 3-1/2" Full Round Head Framing Nailer Ergonomic and Lightweight Nail Gun

Our rating: 9 / 10

NuMax SFR2190 Pneumatic 21 Degree 3-1/2" Full Round Head Framing Nailer Ergonomic and Lightweight Nail Gun

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Lightweight design
  • Ergonomic grip
  • Tool-free depth adjustment
  • 21-degree nails included
  • Different settings for different nail lengths
  • Adjustable exhaust

The NuMax SFR2190 Pneumatic Nailer is an ergonomic light weight nail gun with a 21 degree 3 1/2" full round head. It includes tool-free depth adjustments and No Mar tip that provides a durable long lasting life to your nails.

The NuMax SFR2190 uses a magazine that holds up to 100 nails and with their magnetic tip firing action you don't have to worry about jamming. Plus if something happens to go wrong you can easily fix it with the tool-free depth adjustment button. With the adjustable exhaust you can control the nail flow and not release it all in one go.

The trigger is easy to grip and the entire gun won't cause too much fatigue after extended use. It is a popular choice among many professional contractors.

Read more about the NuMax SFR2190 Pneumatic 21 Degree 3-1/2" Full Round Head Framing Nailer Ergonomic and Lightweight Nail Gun

5. Freeman PFR2190 Pneumatic 21 Degree 3-1/2" Full Round Head Framing Nailer

Our rating: 8 / 10

Freeman PFR2190 Pneumatic 21 Degree 3-1/2" Full Round Head Framing Nailer

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Pros:

  • Cheap price tag
  • Solid performance
  • Easy jam clearance
  • Swivel air inlet that helps cut down on jamming
  • Case included in the price

Cons:

  • Not super quiet
  • Won’t drive long nails

Framing nailers are an essential tool in a carpenter’s toolbox. It is a valuable choice for both professional and homeowner use. It is powered by air and it concentrates power in each nailer.

The Freeman framing nailer PFR2190 comes with a rigid magazine that holds up to 75 nails, tool-free depth adjustment to help you control your nailing penetration into wood while operating on angle. This Freeman is a lightweight at 7.2 lbs and it is designed ergonomically for one-handed firing operation. This nail gun is priced very cheap.

It comes with a rebuildable one-piece valve that is easy to handle. It does not take much to change the air filter filter to clean it out. You hit nails at a maximum of 1,800 nails per minute for efficient work. The Freeman PFR2190 also comes with a contact trip that helps you avoid jamming and misfiring.

Read more about the Freeman PFR2190 Pneumatic 21 Degree 3-1/2" Full Round Head Framing Nailer

6. Paslode, Cordless XP Framing Nailer

Our rating: 8 / 10

Paslode, Cordless XP Framing Nailer

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Pros:

  • Outstanding battery life
  • Lightweight to carry
  • Rapid fire trigger
  • Easy to operate
  • Battery fuel cell does not limit nails
  • Rapid reload feed
  • Consistent fire mechanism

Cons:

  • A bit slower than corded version
  • Trigger gets heavy with frequent use

Some home designers will tell you that the Paslode Cordless XP is the best framing nail gun. We got the chance to try one out and, no surprise here, this cordless framing nailer didn’t disappoint. This power tool is sold at a medium price. It is cordless, which is also a great feature of the Paslode.

Paslode is known for manufacturing quality power tools and accessories. As one of the few cordless nailers available, the Paslode Cordless XP is one of the best framing nail guns on the market in 2019.

It is lightweight and works great in framing. This framing nail gun is powered by a fuel cell so you’ll never need to drag a gas compressor with you on the jobsite.

Read more about the Paslode, Cordless XP Framing Nailer

7. Hitachi NR90AES1 Framing Nailer

Our rating: 6 / 10

Hitachi NR90AES1 Framing Nailer

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Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Compact design for storage
  • Accurate firing
  • Convenient portability and storage
  • One-touch telescopic magazine
  • Single action operation
  • Durable and strong

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • Adjustment problems

Hitachi is one of the leading names in power tools, and this framing nailer is one of the finest on the market. It’s super accurate, easy to adjust, and does the job it’s designed to do: drive nails straight into an 18” hardboard without lipping up.

This framing nailer is lightweight, weighing only 6.1 pounds. It’s easy to carry up the stairs and around the house with you wherever you go. No need to depend on just one nail gun anymore, as the Hitachi NR90AES1 framing nailer can do it all.

The Hitachi NR90AES1 is quieter than most nail guns on the market, so you don’t disturb those around you. You can still hear the compressor but not so much the nail gun itself.

Read more about the Hitachi NR90AES1 Framing Nailer

8. Metabo HPT Framing Nailer

Our rating: 6 / 10

Metabo HPT Framing Nailer

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Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Heavy-duty construction for longevity
  • Minimal spare parts
  • Fast reload times
  • Overtime delay functions
  • Low-kickback mechanism reduces injury risks

Cons:

  • Less accurate
  • Heavy to carry around
  • Operates with more noise

Read more about the Metabo HPT Framing Nailer

9. PORTER-CABLE Framing Nailer

Our rating: 5 / 10

PORTER-CABLE Framing Nailer

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Pros:

  • Attach to your belt and leave your hands free to do other work while you nail
  • Covers a lot of area quickly while minimizing fatigue
  • Performs like a pneumatic nail gun
  • Features a job site box of 900 nails
  • Well-assembled and comes with a 1-year warranty
  • Dry-fire lockout
  • Features a depth adjustment knob
  • Adjustable nose piece for crown molding

Cons:

  • Inconsistently fires nails
  • Output in nails per minute is less than comparable models
  • You have to push hard on the nails to get them to set
  • Can jam if nails are not hit squarely

The Porter-Cable FR350B 2-in-1 framing nailer can shoot nails up to 3-1/2 inches that are great for attaching boards for walls.

The Porter-Cable FR350B 2-in-1 has two modes, a straight mode and curved mode for the nose piece. The nailer can shoot nails with a diameter range of 0.113-inch to 0.131-inch. The air pressure rating is 100-140 PSI.

Read more about the PORTER-CABLE Framing Nailer

10. Surebonder 9772 Pneumatic 21 Degree Round Head 3-1/2" Framing Nailer

Our rating: 4 / 10

Surebonder 9772 Pneumatic 21 Degree Round Head 3-1/2" Framing Nailer

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Compact and light weight
  • Perfect for weekend trimmers
  • Quick operating mechanism
  • Easy to load and to clean; requires very little maintenance
  • Great for first-time DIYers

Cons:

  • Limited to smaller framing jobs
  • Fairly loud
  • Hard to track nails if you miss the mark

If you are a homeowner or a professional who wants the power and speed of a pneumatic nail gun but still want the light weight and ease of use, then the Surebonder 9772 model is just what you want. This is a dual mode finish gun which you can both set to a 21-degree for fastening crown molding or change it to a 15-degree angle to install baseboards.

The model also includes a carrying case and belt holster for increased portability and convenience. It is powered by high-capacity/high-pressure air compressor with 1.6HP and a max psi of 100. The tool operates at a speed of up to 2,300 nails per minute.

One of the best features of this tool is its compact size. With a length of 20 inches it is definitely one of the more compact pneumatic nailers on the market. Overall, this is an excellent nail gun that can help you complete your jobs faster and with increased accuracy.

Read more about the Surebonder 9772 Pneumatic 21 Degree Round Head 3-1/2" Framing Nailer

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best nail gun for framing?

There are two main types of nail guns used for framing, and each of them are used for different tasks. One is perfect for inlaying, and the other is for out-of-plumb applications.

The best angle nail gun for framing is an in and out nail gun. These come in 18 and 21 degrees, and they allow for two nails in each stud. This can be used to attach molding that comes only up to the second row of studs, as well as the first row. This prevents having to nail through studs to reach the next row in the same direction.

For areas that aren’t completely plumb, a Bostitch belt-fed brad nailer is the best choice. This allows for higher nail counts and removes the need for measuring, nailing, and testing. This will definitely save you time when working on a project.

What's better 21 or 30 degree framing nailer?

If you are looking for better balance and comfort, a 20 degree angle would be your best option. This would allow you more precision and control. However, if you just need something that’s quick to use with little control, you should get a tool with a 30 degree angle. These are easier to handle, which is why most starter nailers are of this variety. You get less range and precision, but you can also get things done faster.

What is the lightest framing nail gun?

This is difficult to answer as there are many framing nail guns to compare. For example, the Bostitch F21PL and the Porter Cable FR350B are two framing nail guns. However, they are different from one another. Before selecting a particular product, it is best to learn a little about it first to make the right choice.

The Porter cable FR350B weighs about 9.8 pounds while the Bostitch F21PL weighs about 6.9 pounds. This difference is very insignificant and has no difference on the value of framing nail guns.

They seem to be one of the lightest models if we take the weight into consideration, yet they are both heavy-duty enough to do the job.

Because various brands offer different framing nail guns, you will have no problem choosing one. Besides, the option of brands of the product is much better than the weight of the product itself.

What is the most common framing nailer?

That would be the 15-gauge pneumatic framing nailer. This type of nailer is commonly used for specific nail gun projects such as fence building. The downside of these nail guns is that they are very loud and quite heavy. They need to be used with oil, thus adding to the weight. The noise level increases hand fatigue, so lessening the fastening force.

21-gauge and 22-gauge are heavier and quieter than the 15-gauge nail guns. However, they are bulkier and do not carry as much air in the cylinder.

Conclusion

There’s a wide variety of framing nailer models, so take some time to familiarize yourself with the different types, styles, and nail types the guns shoot. Then do some research on which models are the best for the home improvement projects you have in mind. Check the warranty length and get a gun that you’ll be happy with, and that will last you a long time.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
BOSTITCH Framing NailerBest OverallBOSTITCH Framing Nailer
NuMax SFR2190 Pneumatic 21 Degree 3-1/2" Full Round Head Framing Nailer Ergonomic and Lightweight Nail GunBudget PickNuMax SFR2190 Pneumatic 21 Degree 3-1/2" Full Round Head Framing Nailer Ergonomic and Lightweight Nail Gun
Paslode, Cordless XP Framing NailerUpgrade PickPaslode, Cordless XP Framing Nailer