Best Nail Guns 2020 | Cordless Nail Gun Reviews
When it comes to fastening speed, precision and workmanship, nail guns are hard to beat. Cordless nailers (as they are technically known) are used to attach hardwood and softwood cladding to doors and windows. But they are also suitable for handicraft projects, furniture construction and other odd jobs with wood. Powered by a battery, they are remarkably fast tools, so nimble and light that they outperform conventional pneumatic nail guns for many jobs. Pull the trigger and you drive and sink a sleek nail with no fuss. And without being burdened by an air hose and a compressor connected to a socket, you can move around without any problems. No wonder professional carpenters love these things.
Check out the information below on five of the top five cordless nail guns from our review, and scroll down to learn more about our testing process, as well as in-depth reviews of these and other models.
The editor’s choice
Milwaukee 2746-20 M18 nailer
$ 269.00 (21% off)
The best cordless nailer we’ve ever used can handle oak, pine, and anything else you need for nailing.
DeWalt is a great all-round nailer with great ergonomics and sufficient performance for most hardwoods and softwoods.
If you’re already on the Craftsman V20 system, this model is almost ready to go and will hit all but the toughest hits.
Great all round
$ 330.21 (11% off)
The NT1865DMS is a good, sturdy weapon with a great work light on top, great ergonomics, no recoil, and good performance.
Ryobi’s weapon is light, small, and easy to use. If you are mainly working in softwood with thin hardwood, it will have enough strength.
How we tested
To put these nailers through their paces, we burned them into a variety of materials typically used for carpentry and craft projects. We wanted to make sure our test was tougher than what these guns would normally face one day at work. For example, when testing the ability to dip nails, we slowly and methodically burned red oak, both 3/4 inches thick and 1.5 inches thick. When we increased the length of the nail, we doubled the oak so that the gun would fire into either a 1.5 “thick or 3” thick oak (to make sure that guns designed for longer nails would catch the fastener when attaching actually counter was longer than two inches).
For rapid fire simulations, we have prepared strips of various materials such as white pine, radiata pine, birch and fir plywood and MDF (medium-density fibreboard). In these cases, we were more concerned with the precision and speed of the tool than with its raw performance. However, to be on the safe side, we always positioned our test materials (either as a single layer or as a sandwich of different materials) over Douglas fir when we simulated a test in cladding or built-in cabinet construction and tough frame material. This way we could be sure that the nailer could shoot not only through the test materials on the front of the wall, but also through the frame in the wall itself.
-THE EDITOR’S CHOICE-
Weight: 4.6 lb. | Battery: 2 Ah
- Effective in hardwood and softwood
After decades of testing Milwaukee Electric Tool products, we know the brand is not an exaggeration. However, we’ve looked askance at the claim that this 18-gauge nailer can reliably shoot into two-inch oak trees. Well, the 2746 doesn’t just do this, it sets each nail with a flawless and crisp cavity above the head that is perfect for holding fillers. And that’s where our brief career as a Milwaukee skeptic ends. Other notable features of this tool include the mechanism that opens the entire top of the nailer nose for full and easy access to clear, jammed nails (which, by the way, we didn’t experience). It also has a slim profile and well-shaped handle that help make it easy to use. The 2746 makes cutting nails a pleasure.
Weight:: 6 lb. | battery:: 2 Ah
- Effective all-round nailer
Eighteen gauge nails are fussy. The longer the nail gets, the more difficult it is for them to reliably sink the thin objects into hardwoods without misfiring and blocking the nose or the nail shooting into the material but not sitting properly below the surface. The DeWalt is different and easily fires one nail at a time into red oak. The slim handle, weight distribution and balance are all great and improve our productivity. This has also been improved by the tool’s robust drive mechanism and the lack of recoil. Place the gun, fire, and next nail. It’s that easy with the DeWalt.
– MOST IMPROVED-
Weight: 5.6 lb. | Battery: 1.5 Ah
- Some nails did not settle under the wood surface
Craftsman’s CMCN616C1 deserves the nickname “Most Improved” when looking at its predecessor, the C3 Speed Shot. Don’t get us wrong; That wasn’t a bad little product. But the new Craftsman has more nail power, better line of sight to the tip, and a more comfortable grip. We’ve reliably burned nails in softwood up to 2.5 inches thick and oak up to 1.5 inches thick. Be warned, when we were firing 2.5 inch nails into tougher red oak, most of the fasteners had their heads flush or almost flush with the surface rather than just below the surface as is ideal. Those nails, with their heads “proud” on the surface, required an old-fashioned nail kit and hammer so that we could finish them. Other than that, this is a good, sturdy, reliable nailer.
―GREAT ALL AROUND―
Weight: 6.2 lb. | Battery: 3 Ah
$ 330.21 (11% off)
- Built-in LED work light
- Easy to use in tight spaces
- Not all nails sunk properly
This Metabo and the above-mentioned Craftsman are almost identical in terms of performance, although this tool is slightly less capable of long-term nailing in both hardwood and Douglas fir. The NT1865DMS fired 1.5-inch nails reliably and quickly and also set them precisely in red oak. When we tried to fire the 2.5 inch nails we found some that weren’t properly countersunk, but we didn’t get any dropouts. Let’s put it this way: for most softwood siding, this nailer is a good choice. Given that you take up some pretty weird positions with a nail gun, from crouching low to clip the baseboard to using it overhead to attach moldings to a coffered ceiling, we got the slim handle and location of the with Nitrogen laden cylinder at the front of the cylinder prized tool that happens to make a good grip for many of those weird nail positions. We also like the quick-fire ability and good line of sight to the tip (especially for right-handers) which gets even better with the gun’s excellent working light.
– BEST VALUE
Weight:: 6.2 lb. | battery:: 1.5 Ah
- Luke for removing jammed nails in uncomfortably stiff
The Ryobi is a do-it-yourselfer. It lacks the long-lasting driving force of the top finishers in our test (Milwaukee, Craftsman and DeWalt). But it’s inexpensive and very effective for most of the jobs that a homeowner needs to have two pieces of softwood joined together – think about craft projects, nailing pin and window moldings, baseboards and small softwood crown moldings, and when to attach the shoe molding. Hobbyists and DIY enthusiasts will appreciate the tool’s lack of bulkiness. It’s a bit shorter and a bit slimmer than the professional nailers shown here. The adjustment wheel on the back of the tool is a quick and easy way to adjust the outlet air pressure to control nail depth. Turning the dial clockwise increases air pressure and drive power, while turning it counterclockwise has the opposite effect. Simple and intuitive.
Weight: 6.2 lb. | Battery: 1.5 Ah
The Senco and Milwaukee have very short cycle times (how long it takes for the gun to shoot one nail to the next); Both tools are so fast that they come close to the nail drive performance of a pneumatic nailer. However, the F18 has an innovative design in which the lower nose half is part of the magazine door. This enables jammed nails to be removed quickly and easily. However, we have two small complaints. One of them is that with the speed of this weapon comes a significant recoil that is arduous. Second, it was a little less capable than the DeWalt and Milwaukee of driving nails into 1.5-inch oak.
Weight:: 6.2 lb. | battery:: 1.5 Ah
- Rubber coating protects surfaces
- Slim design, ideal for tight spaces
- Big battery makes it hard in the back
The slenderness of the XNB02RJ helps it stand out in a small space and at awkward angles, such as when you nail the siding at floor level. Its thin profile is only surpassed by the Senco. Much of the surface – especially the base and sides – is covered in rubber, which protects both the tool and the surface you are placing it on. The kit version of the tool comes with two slim 2 Ah batteries. This is good because when we tried the tool with a larger battery, we noticed a back-weighted bias. This shouldn’t be a problem when purchasing the kit. The two batteries provide more than enough power for a working day. It’s more of a problem for people who buy the tool naked and put in a larger battery.