How To Find The Best Framing Nailer – The Definitive Guide

Long very long ago, the human being used to live in caves or under the open sky. It was the time when mankind was not introduced to civilization. With the time humans felt unsafe and uncivilized living in caves or under the sky, they started building homes for their living. Since they started with home construction, wood became the essential home building material. They used hammers for nailing, which was really a hard and time-consuming job. Then a new era came, the era of new technologies; and manufacturing companies started making framing nailers to save the time and hassle of driving nails. Now there is a competition of manufacturing the best framing nailer between manufacturers from all over the world.

Before moving forward, we should know what a framing nailer is! How many types are there and how it works? A nail gun or framing nailer is an appliance used to drive nails into the wooden planks, aluminum, and other materials to make large frames out of small pieces. The first framing nailer was introduced in early 50’s and it was a boost in the construction world. With the time, manufacturers started making this fabulous tool more efficient and durable to speed up the construction job. This specific model of air gun is widely used by carpenters and DIY workers to easily confiscate the need of hammer. Framing nailer is the vital part of wood structure construction and you can accomplish the entire woodwork while constructing your home or doing some other home job, without breaking the muscles of your elbows.

Top 3 Best Framing Nailers Reviews 2016

Market is full of framing nailers having different specifications, prices, and features. It is very hard to select one to meet your needs. However, if you follow this guide, you’ll be able to select one best suit your requirements. Here we have made this job easier by narrowing down the long list by selecting best three framing nailers. Read the framing nailer review and get one best suit your needs:

Detail Reviews

1

Freeman Framing/Finishing Combo Kit 4-Piece Model: P4FRFNCB

The Freeman finishing/framing combo kit 4-piece is one of the best framing nailers in pneumatic class, I’ve ever experienced with. You can efficiently accomplish your framing job along with acquiring finishing needs with this magical product. As the name shows the Freeman P4FRFNCB model contains a 21° full head framing nailer that could be used in all types of constructions and woodworking jobs, 1-1/4 18-gauge brad nailer to fix any moulds, 34° angle finish nailer gauge 15 to nail down the corners of frames, and a 18-guage stapler to tie up the thin construction materials.

The package also holds other accessories, like oil, wrenches and operating and maintenance manuals. The manufacturers of this great product offer a 7-years limited warranty on this full 4-piece model that means the product is sturdy built and can bear years of wear and tear. All these nailing tools are enclosed in a canvas carrying bag, so no storage hassle.

It contains all the required things you were looking for to complete your framing job adequately and efficiently. This multitasking tool is apt for nailing in different situations and projects in an appropriate manner. You can drive different types of nails including plastic and glue coated framing and brad nails with the help of this fabulous product.

The entire measurement of the Freeman P4FRFNCB, when packed in carrying bag, is just 23 x 9.4 x 14.8 inches weighing just 25 lbs, which means it could be easily moved around at different places. You can perform the framing job at a fast rate with this model as the framing nailer magazine can carry up to 55 nails and the other three pieces up to 100 nails.

The magazine and cylinders are made from sturdy and lightweight anodized aluminum and the O-rings to fasten the other parts are made with Teflon. There is minimum chance of jamming of nails due to the quick release mechanism of finish nailer, brad nailer, and stapler. The model holds 7-years warranty that is the proof of its durability and high efficiency.

2

BOSTITCH F21PL Round Head 2-piece Nose Framing Nailer

You are a professional carpenter or a DIYer, you’ll ultimately choose the BOSTITCH F21PL framing nailer due to its powerful features, sturdy built, and quick and efficient response. This is one of the best framing nailers with portable size and ease of use. Being a pneumatic nailer, it will require an air compressor. It can drive the power up to 1050in/lbs, which shows its strength of driving different types of nails quickly. Operating pressure of this unit is 80 to 120 PSI, which is sufficient to drive nails even if you are doing a larger project.

The Bostitch F21PL framing nailer has a short dimension of 23 x 16 x 6in with 9.1 lbs weight, which make it convenient to carry hither and thither without any bothering. This product comes with dual nose pieces to conveniently switch between framing and metal connector appliance providing you a 2-in-1 operation. Moreover, the product includes a patent push button to adjust the depth easily and quickly.

The magazine of framing nailer can hold up to 60 nails whether these are metallic nails or plastic coated nails. An adjustable rafter helps hanging nailer on a hook during breaks. You can hold the nailer more comfortably with the rubber skid pads that provide a strong grip over the handle and your hands will not get soreness.

F21PL model has an ample design to fit in all required circumstances. Its magnesium housing makes this product light weighted and also prevents the nailer from overheating. It holds a 7-years limited warranty that means the product is worthwhile and worth its value. You are going to enjoy a great deal when making the BOSTITCH F21PL framing nailer as your basic tool.

A directional exhaust is also included to throw away the debris providing you friendly working environment. You can adjust the direction of exhaust as per requirement to get free from hot blows of air and dust. Although this model is not suitable for tight spaces, it is one of the best nail guns for both DIYers and professional contractors. This great tool is a nice addition to your home tools and a strong point in the favor of this product is its 7-years warranty. So stay away from any inconvenience.

3

Hitachi NR90AE(S) 3-1/2" Plastic Collated Full-Head Framing Nailer

The Hitachi NR90AE pneumatic framing nailer is an impressive tool for DIY lovers and professional carpenters alike. Being a light weighted and high efficiency, this appliance is more convenient than any other similar products. Hitachi is the most famous manufacturing company that stands out from the crowd due to its durable, efficient, and long-lasting products.

NR90AE model got a huge number of positive reviews on Amazon and brought into the first class category of pneumatic framing nailers. The dimension of this model is 20.8 x 4.9 x 7.5in weighing just 7.5 pounds means the Hitachi NR90AE could be easily maneuvered. It operates between 70 to 120 PSI powered by air compressor. Hard-bitten claw tip is a safeguard to nose preventing it from wearing away; moreover, it evades slippage while toe-nailing.

Depth of nails could be adjusted easily without using any tools. You can hold the machine easily with non-slippery grip without stressing you hands. This grip also provides appropriate trigger to avoid any accidental situation. Both sequential and contact nailing options could be used as required, whether you want to shoot single or a bunch of nails select one with the help of actuator switch. A toenail made of sturdy carbon steel is a wonderful feature that will stay longer than any other material.

The magazine can handle up to 70 nails that is a bit higher rate than the other products. Furthermore, the magazine could be easily replaced if found any damage due to any crash. Plastic collated nails of 2 to 3-1/2 inch length with 21-degree used to be driven. The manufacturers provide 5-years limited warranty which make it more trustworthy power tool.

The Hitachi NR90AE framing nailer is easy to operate. The depth adjustment could be carried out via an adjustment dial that is located near the trigger button. The machine is well précised and has high accuracy level so that stay tension free about the missing of shoot or even the jamming of nails.

Although some accessories are not included in the package like carrying bag or a rafter to hang the tool while breaks, but it’s not an issue with the performance. Lastly, the Hitachi NR90AE is the best framing nailer perfect for DIYers and contractors to accomplish their projects more conveniently and efficiently.

Types of Framing Nailers

Looking at the basic construction of a framing nailer, there are 3 main types of them: Pneumatic framing nailers, Cordless framing nailers, and Electric framing nailers.

Pneumatic framing nailers:

An air compressor is used to delivers air to the piston through a hose to drive a nail. It is one of the best framing nailer types, being faster and more efficient than the cordless framing nailer. You can perform a variety of jobs with a pneumatic framing nailer, from nailing down sub-flooring, fence building, tying up sheathing, or building trusses. If you’re going to complete a large project, a pneumatic framing nailer would be the best option.

Cordless framing nailers:

This type is similar to a pneumatic framing nailer, but the air compressor isn’t built-in. Instead, it contains a removable compressed air canister that gets power from a battery. Although you can’t drive as many nails as with a pneumatic nailer, you can frame-up your construction without using a hose or air compressor. If you don’t like dragging a weighty compressor, then a lightweight, cordless nailer is the best framing nailer to accomplish the job.

Electric Framing Nailer:

An electric framing nailer comes with two options: cordless and corded electric. Though these are portable tools, the size of the nailer limits the workflow in tight spaces. These nailers are useful for small projects as well as heavy framing jobs. A corded nailer is more powerful than a cordless one, but you’ll need an extension to move around the machine. You can usually complete the framing job more quickly with an electric nailer than with a pneumatic type.

Factors for Choosing the Best Framing Nailer

Each type of framing nailer is used for a specific job and carries some advantages and disadvantages. It’s up to you to figure out what you need to accomplish the project and match that to what the tool is capable of doing. If you are a professional, then you’ll want a nailer that is capable of completing larger projects without any limitations. If you are a DIY’er then a small, inexpensive, and portable nailer is a good fit for you. The purpose of this guide is to help you when you’re choosing the best framing nailer for your own needs.

Owning a framing nailer sounds good, but you need to understand what you are going to use it for before you buy it. If you are just hanging some paintings on the wall or you want to sling up some tools in your garage, you might not need a nailer. However, if you are a carpenter, a DIYer, or if you have a larger home project to complete, a framing nailer is a good choice.

  • Air Compressor

If you’re going to buy a pneumatic framing nailer, then you will also need a powerful compressor with ample pounds/inches (PSI) to support it. The nailer should show how much PSI is necessary. Types of working projects you want to accomplish and how much air pressure you want are directly related, and you should consider it before making a purchase.

Moreover, this tool requires a favorable air volume, which you measure in cubic feet per minute (CFM). To maintain this CFM you’ll need an appropriate air hose for your compressor. The hose needs to stay clean and dry so that the air flow is smooth and unobstructed. So, choose a framing nailer with an air compressor with appropriate PSI and CFM.

  • Cordless Framing Nailer

If you plan to get a cordless tool, then you are free from the hassle of selecting an air compressor to meet your nailing requirements. A cordless nailer uses gas from a fuel cartridge to create combustion. This tool gets its power through a rechargeable battery, and it uses a linear drive motor. When you switch the tool on, the battery provides ignition and the gas will combust. This creates energy to drive the piston, which will then shoot the nail shoot.

A cordless nailer is less powerful than a pneumatic model, but it could be the best framing nailer when you need more speed to drive the nails. Moreover, a cordless nailer is more portable, easier to start, and easier to operate in small spaces than a pneumatic nailer.

  • Electric Framing Nailer

There are two types of electric nail guns: corded and cordless. If you are a DIY’er and want to use this tool for small projects, then a cordless unit is better for you. However, if you are going to choose a corded nailer, keep in mind the required length of cord, as well as how much current it can draw during its operation to avoid overheating the tool. An electric nailer will eliminate the hassle of getting gas canisters and compressors.

  • Trigger

Another important factor is the nail gun’s triggering mechanism. Today, a number of triggering options are available for framing nailers. Some of them come with a single trigger and some with multiple options. For example, in some nail guns the user holds the trigger and strikes the nailer on the surface to release the nail. Other nail guns release the nails with a slight pressure on trigger. The better option while choosing a framing nailer is selecting a multiple-triggered tool, so that you can set your preferred trigger mechanism for each project.

  • Depth Adjustment

Some nailers allow you to adjust the force at which the nail is driven. At times the nailer needs a device to adjust the power; however, in some cases you can adjust the depth with your hands. Choose a framing nailer with adjustable depth settings. This feature helps you control the depth of the nailing surface, which will prevent the problems of nail outcropping or deep drives.

  • Weight

Take a look at the weight of a framing nailer when selecting a nailing gun. Cordless nailers are lighter than pneumatic nailing tools, so they are more portable and are useful in tight spaces. A tool that is made of magnesium and aluminum alloy could be the best choice, as these materials weigh less and will help prevent overheating.

  • Exhaust Plates

While using a nailer, exhaust and dust will be released from the nail gun. The exhaust plates in the nailer throw the dust and exhaust away from you, preventing any discomfort or injury. Some tools come with fixed exhaust plates and some with adjustable plates. You should pick one with adjustable exhaust plates to set the required incline and direction of exhaust.

  • Maintenance and Care

No matter how sturdy, heavy duty, and expensive of a framing nailer you buy, it will need some maintenance. No tool keeps giving excellent results if you don’t carry out its proper maintenance and care. Each nailer demands different maintenance.

For example, a pneumatic nailer needs regular lubrication to keep its operation smooth and efficient. If the air inlet gets rusty, then the nails will jam and they won’t get fired at a proper and accurate pace. Place your nail gun in a safe box to avoid corrosion, humidity, and dust. Otherwise, it will soon start malfunctioning.

  • Size

If your requirement is working in tight spaces, then a small and compact design should be your first choice. However, some jobs need more powerful tools. For those you should consider a bigger unit.

  • Power

Get a framing nailer with sufficient power to meet your requirements. If you are framing some large pieces with more depth, you’ll need a more powerful tool. Normally there is no need to spend extra cash on heavy powered machines for smaller projects.

  • Features

Today, a wide variety of framing nailers are available in the market with different added features. Trigger options, power options, depth adjustment, jam clearing, protective guards, and so on. The tools with maximum features cost more, but they usually make up for it by decreasing the stress of the work.

  • Types of Nails:

The nail type you are using in the framing nailer will affect what kind of work you can do. Some nailers come with long magazines which hold two sets of bonded nails. Other nailers use a coil of nails around a ring magazine. You can drive 6d, 8d, 10d, 12d, and 16d nails with a standard framing nailer.

Most of the building and remodeling codes approve round head nails instead of clipped-head nails. On the other side, a nailer that uses clipped-head nails can accommodate a larger quantity of nails than a round head nail tool. Be cautious of this little advantage if you are a professional, as it’s not worth it to break building codes.

How to Use a Framing Nailer

The framing nailer or nail gun is a powerful and efficient tool that gives a boost to the construction industry. A framing nailer will save you from tedious job of driving nails by hand with a hammer. If you have made up your mind about getting one, you should also know the proper use of this tool. Take all necessary precautions before getting started with any new project.

Here are some tips and details to teach you how to work with a framing nailer, as well as what might be the best framing nailer type for your project if you are using it as instructed.

Once you purchase a framing nailer for your job, set it up and use this new tool to make it easier for you to get better results on your project.

Be Safe: It’s very important to follow safety guidelines when you’re using a framing nailer. Refer to your owner’s manual and read through the detailed instructions on how to set up and use your tool.

Air Compressor: If you are using a pneumatic framing nailer, set the air pressure before getting started. The minimum air pressure should not be less than 70 PSI and it should not exceed 120 PSI for safety and better results. Try using air supply hoses with a minimum working pressure rate equal or greater than the pressure from the compressor. Use a ¼ inch hose for a distance up to 50 feet or less, for longer distance than 50 ft, 3/8 inch hose is the best.

Operational mode: If your nailer is a dual mode operated model, you can set the position of the switch on sequential (single-fire trigger) or bump mode (bump fire trigger). It’s better to choose sequential mode for precise nail placement, and if you are not a pro it’s better to use single-fire trigger even for rough jobs where precision is not essential. In this mode, you’ll pull the trigger each time you want to place a nail. Bump mode is useful when you don’t need precise nail placement. In this mode, you’ll continuously drive the nails without removing your finger from the trigger. The bump mode is best to save time.

Safety Lockout Mode: You can put the tool on safety mode by moving the switch to the middle position. This will ensure that the nailer is safe to lay down when you are on a break.

Depth Adjustment: This feature gives you the decision of how deep a nail will drives into the surface. To use this feature, adjust the operating pressure so it does not exceed 120PSI. Lift up the depth control knob to move the work element in or out to your required setting. Move in to increase the depth or move out to decrease the depth. Make sure the trigger and work contact element move freely up and down.

Adjustable exhaust: When using a framing nailer, dust and exhaust will blow from the exhaust vent. You can adjust the direction of the exhaust by twisting the deflector to any direction desired.

Pressure Regulator: In a pneumatic framing nailer, you’ll need a pressure regulator to adjust the operating pressure of the machine between 70 PSI and the maximum working pressure available in the model.

Plug in Compressor: When you are ready to start, hook up the nail gun to your compressor. Your compressor ON/OFF switch should be on OFF position. Turn the pressure regulator knob to the left before switching on the compressor. Plug in the compressor cord into an electrical outlet, then turn the regulator clockwise and adjust the pressure between 70 PSI and your maximum required level (120PSI).

Methods of Fastening: There are two typical nailing methods when you are going to drive the nails in a frame: toe-nailing and through nailing. When you are driving nails at the 90-degree angle into the face of one wooden piece and through another one, is called through nailing or face nailing. It is a simple and easy method, and you don’t need extra training while using this method.

There is another method of nailing where you will drive nails in at an angle instead of straight on. This type is toe-nailing. This method needs some practice before doing your real project, otherwise you’ll mash down your timber. Normally, the required angle is 45-degree when you are doing toe-nailing to get a better grip of both pieces.

Loading Nails: Always disconnect the tool from the air supply before loading up the nails. Load strips of fastening nails into the slots in the rear of the magazine. Press the bypass button and pull the overloaded nails, then release the button and to load the nails. Point your nailer into a safe direction while attaching it to the air hose again.

Position the Cylinder: A large cylinder rests right above the framing nailer’s tip. It contains the nails that you are going to use. Point the tip to the surface you want to drive the nails into before pressing the trigger. If the cylinder is misaligned with the surface of the wooden plank, or the tip is improperly pressed against that surface, you are going to misfire.

Unloading the Nailer: Disconnect the air compressor, pull the pusher back away from the nail clip, then press the pusher bypass button and pull out the remaining nails. Hold the nailer upright so that the nails will slide backwards from the magazine.

Jam Clearing: Sometimes the nailer becomes jammed and stops firing nails. Unplug the nailer, remove the nails from the magazine, then press the quick clear button. Remove any debris that comes out, then release the quick clear button and reload your nails to start working again. Don’t forget to oil the nails to avoid jamming.

Store in a Safe Place: After completing your task, you need to store the nail gun properly. Remove the power from the framing nailer, unload the remaining nails, carry out jam clearing, clean it with a cloth, and cover it in a bag before putting it away.

Nail Gun Safety

Nail guns are useful for a large variety of construction projects. However, these tools also cause numerous injuries every year. A survey shows that every 2 out of 5 carpenters faces an injury while driving nails with a nailer. Two factors play an important role in these injuries: improper training and trigger systems. The trigger can be especially dangerous when you are using the bump nail option.

  • Get Knowledge about Triggers

One way to stay safe is learning the appropriate knowledge of the trigger you are using in a nailer. You should know how the different triggers work. Basically, there are two controls available in each nailing gun: finger triggers and contact safety tips, located on the nose of nailer. The difference between the two is mainly whether it’s the sequential trigger or a bump trigger. In total, 4 types of trigger are available in framing nailers. While some have one option only, others come with multiple trigger options.

  • How can it Cause Injury?

Injury with nail gun can occur if you unintentionally fire double fire a nail. It could occur due to a contact trigger when you are aligning the nailer to the work piece.

If you are working in a tight space where you are unable to adjust yourself or the nailer, it can cause a severe injury.

The framing nailers that come with contact and single actuation triggers can be hazardous if the trigger remains pressed and the safety tip hits some surface accidentally. In this case, the nailer will fire the nail and may cause you an injury.

Resting your finger on the trigger is a common habit of nearly all carpenters, even when you are not actively using the nailer. Remove your finger from trigger quickly after you stop working, before you take the nailer away from the work piece.

If the wooden piece has a knot where you are working, there is some danger of misdirection if the nail ricochets off the hard knot. The same goes to solid laminated beams, because the nail sometimes shoots you or your co-worker if you’re not cautious.

Another cause of injury is inappropriate placement of the tip of the nailer on the surface. This occurs especially during toe-nailing when your tool doesn’t face a right angle.

Improper grip or a slippery handle is a hazard because you can drop the gun any time if the tool is slipping in your palms.

Many workers don’t understand the importance of safety, and they remove their gear or disable safety features because they see these features as inconvenient. Sometimes, people may remove the spring from the safety contact tip and face the painful results.

  • How to Stay Safe:

A fully sequential trigger is much safer than other trigger options. This option will allow the nail to discharge only when you press the trigger. It may reduce the work speed, but it is better being a few minutes late than taking a trip to the hospital.

Training is the backbone of any project you are going to do. If you don’t know the ABCs of your tool, how the different triggers work, what the standard operation procedures are, how to deal with jamming, etc., then you are going to have trouble with the nailer.

The manufacturers provide manuals for the operational and maintenance instructions. These instructions are not fluff. Experts who have more knowledge than any user have prepared them for your benefit. Follow the instructions and procedures whenever possible. Don’t rely on your memory alone; consult these manuals before working if you’re unsure of anything.

Don’t use the nailer near flammable material like petrol, ammunition, gas, and otherwise.

Wear safety glasses or goggles, ear protection, a hard hat or helmet, thick boots, and particular clothes. All this personal protective equipment is essential for co-workers or any person present at the workplace.

Conclusion:

Framing nailers are great tools that are useful for a large number of construction and home improvement projects. They have made things easier for woodworkers and carpenters, and have sped up the building process. If you want to buy a framing nailer for yourself, it’s a good idea to get as much knowledge about them as you can before you make your purchase.

This article gave you a brief introduction to framing nailers. I showed you how they work, what factors should be kept in mind while getting one, how to use framing nailers, and common types of framing nailers. We looked at the potential hazards while using a nail gun, as well as keeping yourself safe from these hazards. All of this information should come in handy when you’re now looking for a new nailer to get for yourself.