Is It Worth Buying a Nail Gun?


Nail guns allow professional and hobbyist carpenters to drive nails quickly and efficiently. With a nail gun, you’ll spend a lot less time hammering and get your project done faster, too. In fact, for many carpenters and woodworkers, it’s hard to imagine driving nails the old-fashioned way, especially with many projects requiring hundreds, or even thousands, of brads, pins, finish nails, framing nails, and staples.

But, is it worthwhile for you to buy a nail gun – or, let’s be realistic, nail guns, since they’re manufactured to fire different sizes of fasteners? Only you can answer that question, because it depends on how much carpentry work you do, or plan to do.

Different Nail Guns for Different Jobs

Nail guns come in a range of different sizes to handle different types of nails for different jobs. If you do a lot of precision work, like building furniture or cabinetry, upholstering, hanging trim around windows or doors, or installing chair rails or baseboards, you could make your work go faster with a brad, pin, staple, or finish nail gun. Each of these types of guns shoots a different size of small fastener, and is therefore used in a different way.

For example, many carpenters use pin nails as a quick clamp to hold two small, thin pieces of wood together while adhesive dries. Brads, finish nails, and staples are useful for hanging paneling or laying carpet underlayment. Small nail guns can even be useful for crafters who need a fast, easy way to fasten two pieces of a project together.

Larger nail guns, like roofing nailers and framing nailers, are obviously more suitable for heavy-duty projects. You might not re-shingle your roof, put an addition on your home, or add new interior walls every day, so buying one of these larger guns, and the air compressor typically needed to power it, may not be worth it to you. Instead, you may want to rent the equipment from your local hardware store.

Why You Might Want a Nail Gun

Of course, if you’re doing a large project that will require driving a lot of nails, you might decide it’s worth it to buy the equipment – especially because an air compressor can have a lot of other uses in the home, like powering a paint sprayer, filling up pool toys, or even building your own snowmaker.

But even if you’re looking at electric or battery-powered nail guns, you should know that just a nail gun alone has plenty of benefits for the hobbyist carpenter or DIY-minded homeowner. Perhaps the most obvious one is that they drive nails fast, so you can get your jobs done quicker. Building a deck or framing out a new screened porch? Your job could take hours instead of days when you have the speed of a nail gun on your side. Even an experienced carpenter can’t hammer nails as fast as a nail gun can drive them. The power of a nail gun means that you can drive a nail flush with or below the surface of the wood with a single pull of the trigger, rather than two, three, or more strikes of a hammer.

You’ll also enjoy greater accuracy in driving nails when you use a nail gun. That’s especially important if you do a lot of precision work, like building furniture or cabinetry, making your own picture frames, restoring antiques, reupholstering furniture, or other jobs that require brads, finish nails, staples, or pins. The right nail gun will let you move fast without missing your target or having to fix crooked nails. You won’t have to worry about smacking your fingers anymore, either, and your finished project will have fewer of the weird hammer marks that can come from missing your mark or having to hit the nail several times to drive it completely in.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether the speed and convenience of a nail gun makes this purchase worth it for you. But if you do a lot of carpentry work with nails, brads, pins, or staples, a nail gun, or set of nail guns, seems like the obvious choice. You’ll be surprised at how much smoother projects go when you don’t have to spend hours literally hammering away at them. You’ll get projects done faster, and that’ll leave more time for your other hobbies – if you have any.