What Is A Brad Nailer: How To Select the Best And Usage Tips

When it comes to having a certain number of tools at your disposal, the basics are always a must. They make all the obligatory fixes possible. Unfortunately, if you choose to venture into the world of woodworking and craftsmanship, there are more specific and more specialized tools that are to be used.


Perhaps the most important part of woodworking is connecting the boards and planks together. Even the most experienced veterans of the trade often have a hard time pulling that off correctly.

Installing a wooden floor

Fortunately, there is a very useful and handy device that makes life much easier. Meet the brad nailer. It’s a tool that’s always near the top of the most useful tool lists and it always yields revolutionary results.

Man with gun nails

We’ve compiled all the necessary data to help you implement it, as a means to improve your woodworking. In this article, we’ll introduce the brad nailer in a thorough manner, so sit back and enjoy! Woodworking will never be the same!

What is a brad nailer?

The most accurate answer to that question would be – it’s the younger, more specialized brother of the finish nailer. While the finish nailer works with fairly thick wires to attach moldings and trim, the brad nailer turns it up a notch and uses an 18-gauge wire for increased precision.

Air brad nailer

It uses a special form of nails, called brads. They are very useful for smaller-scale operations because of their very thin heads and barely visible thickness. Woodworkers love the brad nailer because it leaves small holes in the surface of the stock you’re working on.

The smaller the hole – the bigger the aesthetic appeal. This means an increased quality of your project, something that is always a big positive.

Brad nailer tool

Therefore, you could say that the brad nailer is the ultimate tool for details. After all, the main portions of the project are done with, the brad nailer takes over and connects and attaches various types of smaller trim and moldings.

It’s a true weapon of the pros and it has the ability to potentially play the role of the game-changer in your projects, whatever they may be.

When to use a brad nailer?

Like we’ve said, the brad nailer isn’t going to see much work during the modification of the main woodwork or any chief portions of the so-called “skeleton” of the cabinet or shelf that you’re working on. Sure, you can do the finishing touches with a regular nail gun or even a finish nailer, but the results won’t be nearly as precise.

There Are Some Of The Possible Situations Where The Brad Nailer Might Come In Handy:

Installing a wooden floor
  • When the surface of the stock needs to be ruptured, but the looks of the project depend on the size of the whole. You should be amazed by the small size of the holes, as they won’t be visible from further than two or three feet.
  • When delicate pieces of trim need to be connected to the main frame. Since they are very fragile and difficult to maneuver with, the brad nailer should be the ideal tool for the job. It minimizes the risk of damaging the trim.
  • Another case where the brad nailer might come off as savior is when small moldings are in need of an attachment. They have always been notorious, even with experienced handymen and woodworkers.
  • If you’re in the mood for some experimentation, the brad nailer can also help you. We’ve seen some wonderful results of doing structural work with the nailer. It should only be done with smaller, more stable pieces. Sacrificing stability for beauty can sometimes really make the difference.
when to used a brad nailer

Different Brad Nailer Styles

Like with any tool or product, you can choose from a number of different types of brad nailers. That number is due both to the development of technology and the different needs in the ever-interesting woodworking business.

These are just some of the varieties of brad nailers, the most significant ones:

  • The pneumatic brad nailer is the granddaddy of them all. They are still perhaps the most widely spread model. When talking about characteristics, the main one here would be the requirement of a hose. This is because the pneumatic brad nailer uses an air compressor to eject the brads into the surface.
Pneumatic Brad Nailer
  • Next, we have a kind that is gaining popularity in recent years – the cordless brad nailer. It’s revolutionary because it includes the combination of a battery and a canister that houses compressed air. The electric energy and the air work together to push the brad to its destination.
  • Another popular choice is the straight clip brad nailer. It possesses a magazine that holds clips of brads that are placed squarely on the cylinder. This one might interest you, as it has the smallest chance of jamming or breaking. An ideal choice for beginners, if you will.
Straight Clip Brad Nailer
  • A newer version is the angled brad nailer, a real specialist amongst an already specialized sort of tools. For really tight spaces and tricky parts, it’s the real deal. You can maneuver it in all kinds of ways to connect even the trickiest trims and moldings.
Angled Brad Nailer

Benefits of the brad nailer

Keep in mind that the brad nailer can only truly benefit you and your project if it’s used both wisely and in combination with other tools, such as the finish nailer. No matter how dazzling the aesthetic appeal is, it'll be a problem if the construction is unstable. Be it a bed, a cabinet or a wardrobe, you need to test the construction first.

Framing Nailer

Then follow the benefits of the brad nailer:

  • A good connection between the main frame and the delicate trims and moldings. This means that the woodwork can withstand much longer than the average piece.
  • An improvement in the look department will really surprise you. Smaller nail holes may be deemed insignificant by some, but when they are almost nonexistent – it can do wonders. The whole project will look much tidier and cleaner.
  • You also won’t be in a situation to jeopardize your other tools by jamming them into spaces too tight. An angled brad nailer will both save your other equipment from unnecessary strain and speed up the process.
  • If you’re using a cordless version, it can further remove the mess around your workplace and allow you to work and maneuver much quicker than usual!

Purchasing Guide – Useful Tips And Information

There are many variables when it comes to selecting the ideal brad nailer for your tool collection. Some of them are more significant than the others, but it all boils down to preference and the type of projects that you most often work on.

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  • The first thing on your task list should be the power source.
  • Pneumatic options should come to mind, as they are always amongst the cream of the crop when it comes to quality. They can work with larger nails, but the precision is lesser in comparison to the other power options.
  • Combustion powered brad nailers can pretty much perform the same tasks as their pneumatic rivals, but with a bigger precision. You won’t have to rely on an air supply, as they will have an internal tank with gas ready to go. You might be looking at an additional expense when buying gas canisters, though.
  • Electric ones are the best if you ask us. In fact, the ideal option would be a cordless one, because of the fact that it can work both on and off a charger, regardless of the situation. In a business where speed is a priority, you will have the upper hand.
  • You have to assess the size of the nails that you will be using, as that can factor in a lot when it comes to making the purchase.
  • Countersinking nails are also an option, so you would want to pre-check that your brad nailer is able to use them properly.
  • The type of the nose and its sensitivity come to mind too, as they can determine the roughness and the speed of the work.

How To Use A Brad Nailer – Best Tips And Tricks

We haven’t mentioned the best thing about brad nailers until now – they’re almost as easy to use as they are impressive! That’s right; you shouldn’t have any difficulties when operating your nail gun. There are only a few steps to follow and respect every time.

They Never Change And They Are As Easy As Can Be:

  • Make sure you have the correct hose adaptor. Consult an expert at a hardware store before making any moves.
  • Cover the connector with Teflon tape. That will strengthen the connection and will minimize the risk of damage or breakage.
  • Lubricate the device thoroughly before use. Pneumatic tool oil should do the trick and will allow you optimum performance, all in all.
  • Load the device with nails and test in on an unimportant piece of wood. If everything is well, then you can safely proceed to the main event.
  • During the brad insertion, you should only make sure that you don’t push the brads from too close to the surface and that you pre-mark the places where you want them. Be patient and cautious and your work will soon flourish! Can’t be easier, really.

Safety Points For Your Tool

  • In comparison to other types of woodworking nailers, the brad nailer is considered a pretty safe tool to work with. This is mostly due to the smaller nail size and the less complex machinery that’s involved. Don’t underestimate them, however. Even the smallest of nails can puncture your skin and cause bleeding or sometimes even infections.
brad nailer is considered a pretty safe tool
  • Make sure you have all the protections needed. Since wood is involved, small splinters have a high chance of splinters or sawdust launching itself inside of your eyes and your respiratory system. A mask and goggles are a must and you shouldn’t even step into the workplace without them!
Safety for Brad Nailer
  • Loose clothing is a big no-no. You don’t want garments to get stuck within the machine and cause an unwanted accident during a project. Hearing protection can also be used, as you want to shield you hearing from any overly loud noises.

Usage Tips To Make The Best Use Of The Tool

We can’t stress this enough, so here it is again – only use the brad nailer with small detail work, don’t overestimate the small nails and don’t expect them to be a source of stability.

Tip for Brad Nailer
  • Be cautious about placing the brads. If they are too close to the end or an edge of the board, the material may split and cause your project to suddenly descend into oblivion.
  • Make sure you know which type of wood you are working with, so you can calibrate the strength of the thrusts and further action during the working hours.
  • Don’t be overly ambitious and force the brad nailer on industrial grade, strengthened wood. The results won’t be pleasing and you might end up with an injury as a trophy for your ignorance!
  • Brads are thinner than ordinary nails – keep this in mind. That’s why they get stuck only halfway sometimes. You should be careful when hammering the brad – it’s very fragile and it can break very easily, causing cosmetic damage to the project.
  • Avoid wood knots. They will prove to be a tricky barrier for the brad to bypass. Always assess the structure of the wood before getting down to business.
  • And last but not least – keep some tools ready in case of removal. Wrong insertions and crooked brads are a usual thing!


Now that the secrets of mastering the brad nailer have been bestowed upon you – use them wisely. Know your safety guidelines by heart and don’t hesitate to ask an expert if something is unclear.

Even the best of us have a hard time figuring something out, every new piece of info makes us better woodworkers.

While you start from scratch, you will soon find out about all the fun properties of the brad nailer and it will become an unavoidable part of your woodworking endeavors.

By adding a pinch of detail to your projects, you will gain respect from your peers and adopt a distinct style of aesthetics and refined looks. Good luck and safe nailing!

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David Deen

I am David Deen. I love spaces and home improvement is my passion. To me, every space in your home needs attention and manipulation. To unleash my creativity, I take ideas from many home improvement blogs. The step-by-step instructions explained by experts allows me to live my dreams.

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