Brad Nailer vs. Finish Nailer: Head to Head Comparison

A nailer is a necessary power tool in your everyday life whether you are a professional carpenter, a creative DIY-er or just a regular responsible household person.

Now, the common confusion that always occurs is what kind of a nailer you should get since there are so many options available in the market.

Usually, it always comes down to a Brad Nailer or a Finish Nailer. Both of these nailers have their fair share of productivity and usage when it comes to woodworking or molding.

So, the question here is, which one is the right for your activities and which one should you buy? 

Let us look at some facts about both nailers and decide that for ourselves.

When to Use a Brad Nailer?

In comparison to a regular nailer, a Brad nailer is quite thinner and offers a comparatively smaller head. It is more likely to be used in adjusting lightweight trims in a woodworking task or small moldings.

The fact that Brad nailer uses 18 gauge nails leaves fewer chances of splitting moldings as the nails make smaller holes. The holes are so tiny that even a pudding is not necessary to cover up the holes.

Nails from 2 inches to 5/8 inches can be used in Brad nailers. This is made for handling delicate wood projects and work that requires minimum nail visibility. This is an ideal tool for home renovation, DIY projects, nailing a flat piece of trim, cardboard or any kind of delicate nailing.

How to Use a Brad Nailer?

Although a Brad nailer is quite a safe tool, it is recommended to take proper safety measures before using a Brad Nailer. Like wearing safety goggles, thick gloves and hearing protectors are necessary safety measures just in case.

One thing you should not do is to place the Brad nailer too close to the edge or on the side of the board. Placing it on the edge might cause splitting. The distance that should be maintained while placing the nailer can be measured by the thickness of the wood surface.

Also Read: Framing Basics: 7 Simple Tips for Beginners

When to Use a Finish Nailer?

A Finish Nailer lives up to its name when it comes to finishing a job. The nails that Finish nailers use are usually headless and are meant to blend in with the wood. These nails are generally 14, 15 and 16 gauges and typically 1 to 2.5 inches long.

If you want to paint over the nailing and give your work a flat, nail-less look, then Finish nailer will be the ideal choice. Many carpenters and DIY-ers prefer Finish nailers because of the long-lasting results.

How to Use a Finish Nailer?

Finish Nailer is usually used when it comes to getting useful results out of forcing thick nails in the structure. Regular Safety measures like equipping yourself with safety goggles, hearing protectors and thick gloves are essential while using a Finish Nailer.

When being used, the nailer must be positioned perpendicularly to the surface. The nailer’s tip must be placed where the nail needs to be inserted.

Main Difference Between Finish Nailer and Brad Nailer

When it comes to buying a nailer that you can rely on for getting your day to day activities done, it is essential to take some time and compare the features and accessories that the nailer is offering and whether they meet your demand or not.

This will not only help you to get your work done but will also help you to save some money and reduce the hassle of buying extra accessories. Some of these factors about both the Brad Nailer and the Finish Nailer are discussed below.

Function and Usage

If you are not a professional woodworker or carpenter, then you will not need a Nailer to deal with heavy work like baseboards or door castings. If your regular nailer work is delicate like trims stops and small moldings, the ideal choice will be Brad Nailer.

However, if you feel like that you need to do all these along with work like door castings or simply just want to keep an option, then it is wise to buy a Finish Nailer.

Also Read: Our Recompensed Sand Paper for Woodworking

Wood Types

Brad Nailers are ideal for working on soft and thin woods. Since the nails are thin, this nailer is not very effective on thick woods. If the work or the project involves working with thick woods such as MDF woods, Plywood, Hardwood as well as softwood,seasoning wood then it is recommended to buy a Finish Nailer.

Nail Length

This might seem like a factor that does not matter, but when it comes to delicate woodwork, it most certainly does. If you do not want to leave nail marks on your work or structure, then you should go with a Brad Nailer.

Because of its thin nails starting from 5/8 to 2 inches which have nail heads of 1.22 mm, it creates smaller holes which are not very visible.

On the other hand, Finish Nailers use nails from 1 to 2.5 inches which have nail heads of 1.63 to 1.83 mm that leaves a mark on the wooden surface.


One of the most important factors regarding buying a nailer is the price. Although both Brad Nailers and Finish Nailers are equivalently popular in the market, the price varies depending on the usage of the nailers.

Brad Nailers usually cost from $40 - $100, where the price range of a Finish Nailer starts from $150. In most cases, there is a $100 difference between the price of a regular Brad Nailer and a regular Finish Nailer.


So, we can see that when it comes to buying a nailer, it is vital to be sure about the type of work that is going to be done by it. If your tasks do not include working with thick wood, then it is a wise choice to buy a Brad Nailer than a Finish Nailer.

It is important to remember that no matter what nailer you are buying, knowing the facts and making the right choice will help you to "nail" your work.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: