Finishing Nailers vs. Brad Nailers – Which is Better for You?

Finishing Nailers vs. Brad Nailers


We often get this question, what’s the big difference between Finish Nailers and Brad Nailers? Yes, they are almost identical in size, dimension and nails. Yes, we know confusion arises when it comes to this two Nailers, and why you’ll need both. So, in this article we will try to clear out your confusion. And, after reading this, you’ll have a more in-depth knowledge of what these two tools are expert of.

What is a Finish Nail Gun?

A Finish Nail Gun, or Finish Nailer uses bigger nails than a Brad Nailer. Unlike the Brad Nailer, it may not do well in nailing into delicate woods, and it is not supposed to. The bigger and thicker nails allows it to attach thicker and heavier woods together.

You will find both cordless and pneumatic version of Finish Nailer in the market. While both version works great, you might like the portability of the cordless one. But if you own an air compressor already, no point in buying a cordless nailer, as they can be a bit heavier than the Pneumatic Finish Nailers.

What is a Brad Nail Gun?

Brad Nail Guns are rather smaller than the Finish Nail Guns. They are specialized in delicate works. Smaller and thinners brads are great at attaching trim woods. Brads don’t have any pointy head, so they are not good holding. But the varied lengths ranging from 5/8 to 2 inches makes it versatile, so you will find many applications for it. Because of the small size, they don’t leave large holes, and you won’t need to worry about fill it with anything.

Differences between Finish Nailers and Brad Nailers:

Though they look almost same, the application of Finish Nailers and Brad Nailers are very different. Their price point too speak for their difference. Brad Nailers are usually much cheaper because of its limited usage, unlike the pricier but versatile Finish Nailer, which can be used in many different projects. That also means that the Finish Nailers are much more bulky than the Brad Nailers.

While the Brad Nailers expertise is mostly on fine surface like wood trim and small home furniture repairs like a bird box or a wooden photo frame, the Finish Nailers excels at creating a bond on substantial heavy woods.

The Brad Nailers does not use traditional Nails, but small and thin Brads. While the Finish Nailers uses long and sharp nails that can hold things really strong.

You can also find a difference if you compare Brad Nails vs Finish Nails. Brads are very fragile and can break easily if you put pressure to it. On the other hand, Nails used in Finish Nailers are long and strong.

When to use Brad Nailers vs Finish Nailers?

Brad Nailers come in handy when you’re doing DIY crafting or small scale furniture repair. You can even use it to add some baseboards and crown moldings to your cabinets and such. If you are working with narrow, frangible woods that can be broken easily, in which case it’s not wise to use Finish Nailers. Also if you plan to glue something together, you can use Brad Nailers to make the bond even stronger.

When to use Finishing Nailers vs. Brad Nailers?

Finishing Nailers use is huge. They can attach heavy and thick piece of molding together. No one wants to break things when working with it, and the power a Finishing Nailer generates, makes it impossible to work on delicate materials due to the possibility of damaging. So, we suggest you to use it on projects like Door Casings, Crown Molding, Chair Rails and Baseboards. All in all if you are looking to hold surfaces strong (you can even drive it through walls) a Finish Nailer is your go to tools.

How to Use Finish Nailers:

Learning to use a Finish Nailer is no rocket science. With time you will be expert in driving nails with it. But as you are still not at the expert level, here are some advice. Because of its strength, Finish Nailers tend to split the board that you are using it into. So it’s better not to operate them in the edge area. Also, you can face jamming problem while using a Finish Nailer. But thankfully you can override it just by removing the front of the nailer and getting the jammed nail out.

How to Use Brad Nailers:

The 18-gauge wire that is used to make Brads are much thinner than the one that is used on Finish Nailers. But like Finish Nailer you can experience the splitting of the surface if you place the brad too close to the end of the surface. So, stick the brad to your surface firmly when operating it. Additionally as they bend and break easily, drive them very carefully.


If you ask Finish Nailers or Brad Nailers, which one is better? There might not be any straightforward answer. They both do different things. If you ask brad nail vs finish nail, which is more precise, the answer is brad nails are more precise. If you ask which one is stronger, finish nails are. We hope, from now you will never confuse these two as the same tool anymore.

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