No matter whether you’re an avid DIYer, woodworker or professional contractor, the best framing nailer can save you both time and energy. By eliminating the need to hammer by hand, you can complete projects more efficiently and improve the quality of your work. Framing nailer reviews can help you choose the best model for your specific needs.
If you’ve never purchased or used a framing nailer before, you may be unsure of what to look for or how to buy one. In this guide, I’ll explain how to choose a framing nailer and review some of the best models on the market to help you find the right nail gun for your budget and needs.
What is a Framing Nailer?
A framing nailer is a type of air gun used for nailing large pieces of material together. They eliminate the need to hammer, saving you hours of project time. While smaller nail guns are designed for precision work, a framing nailer is really best suited for quick projects that require large nails.
Best Framing Nailer Reviews: Top 10 Comparison Table
|Framing Nailer||Weight (pounds)||Power Source||Magazine Capacity||Angle||My Rating|
|BOSTITCH F21PL |
|8.1 lbs||Pneumatic||60 Nails||21 Degree||4.9|
|PORTER-CABLE FR350B |
3.5 Inch Full Round
|7.3 lbs||Pneumatic||60 Nails||21 Degree||4.6|
|Hitachi NR90AE(S) |
3.5 Inch Full-Head
|7.5 lbs||Pneumatic||64 Nails||21 Degree||4.6|
|Paslode 902600 CF325Li |
Lithium Ion Cordless
|7.25 lbs||Cordless||48 Nails||30 Degree||4.7|
|Hitachi NR90GR2 |
3.5 Inch Gas Powered
|7.9 lbs ||Cordless||32 to 35 Nails||21 Degree||4.8|
|Freeman PFR2190 |
|8.5 lbs||Pneumatic||55 Nails||21 Degree||4.7|
|Hitachi NV75AG |
Round Head Coil
|5.5 lbs||Pneumatic||200 to 300 Nails||16 Degree||4.7|
|BOSTITCH F28WW |
Clipped Head 2 to 3.5 Inch
|7.6 lbs||Pneumatic||100 Nails||28 Degree||4.5|
|BOSTITCH N89C-1 Coil||8.1 lbs||Pneumatic||225 to 300 Nails||15 Degree||4.5|
|BOSTITCH F33PT 33-Degree ||7.9 lbs||Pneumatic||80 Nails||33 Degree||4.5|
Choosing the Best Framing Nail Gun
When choosing a framing nail gun, there are a few important things that you should keep in mind.
- Coil or Stick. There are two different types of nail guns: coil and stick. While both types use a magazine for nail storage, coil nailers have bigger magazine capacity than stick nailers. So the one that you choose ultimately comes down to personal preference.
- Fuel Powered or Pneumatic. Decide whether you want a cordless fuel-powered nail gun or a pneumatic. A pneumatic nailer is powered by an air compressor, while cordless models are typically fuel or battery powered. Cordless models are great for occasional projects, while pneumatic nailers are the better choice if you plan on using the nailer often.
- Air Compressor. If you purchase a pneumatic nail gun, you will need to invest in an air compressor. Look for one that offers at least a 2.5 gallon capacity tank.
- Nail Type. For versatility, look for a nail gun that accepts nails of various sizes and types.
- Protective Guards. Nail guns with protective guards will protect you and your nailer from flying debris. These protective guards are particularly important if you’re using metal nails as the kicked-back debris can damage your eyes or your tool.
My Top 5 Framing Nail Gun Reviews
Now that you understand what to look for in a framing nailer, let’s take a look at some of the best models on the market based on quality, affordability and customer satisfaction. Without further ado, here’s my top 5 framing nail gun reviews.
Best Cordless Framing Nailer
Hitachi NR90GR2 3.5 Inch Gas Powered.
- Adjustable drive nose depth to ensure proper nail down on a variety of materials.
- Powered by battery and fuel rod.
- Drives 2 nails per second and approximately 1,000 nails per hour.
- Dry-fire lockout prevents tool and work surface damage.
- One hour charger.
- Powerful. Has enough power to drive up to a 3.5” x .131” nail.
- Quick. Can drive up to 2 nails per second.
- Easy to use. Lightweight and cordless for convenient use. A balanced design makes it easy to operate with one hand and minimizes user fatigue.
- Accessories. Comes with a carrying case, degreaser/cleaner, fuel cell, 4mm hex bar wrench, nail lubricant and safety glasses.
- Warranty. Comes with a one year warranty.
- Powerful battery. Comes with a 7.2-Volt NiCd battery with a 1.4-Amp-hour rating.
The Hitachi NR90GR2 is a great all-around framing nailer that’s affordable, lightweight and easy to use. Powered by gas, this nailer eliminates the need to for an air compressor and hose. Replacement fuel rods are inexpensive and easy to find. At a rate of 1,000 nails per hour, this nailer can fire up to 4,000 nails in 4 hours and on one single charge. You would be hard-pressed to find a better framing nailer in this price range and from a more reputable brand name than Hitachi. Read full review here.
Paslode 902600 CF325Li Lithium Ion Cordless.
The Paslode 902600 CF325Li is a Lithium Ion cordless nailer that is portable, powerful and incredibly quick. Designed for both home and on-the-job use, this is a framing nailer that can take on any job – big or small.
- Drives up to 6,000 nails in one charge.
- One hour charge; quick 2 minute charge to drive up to 200 nails.
- A heavy-duty nosepiece for nailing at any angle.
- Durable and lightweight.
- 7.4-volt Lithium Ion battery; gas-powered.
- Heavy-duty. Built for professional use, this nailer can withstand jobsite abuse and has enough power to get the job done – no matter how big or small. One reviewer dropped this nailer from a roof and it still worked perfectly fine (I don’t recommend you try this at home!).
- Portable. Gas-powered and cordless, this fuel powered nailer eliminates the need for an air compressor and hose.
- Powerful. Can drive up to 6,000 nails in one single charge.
The Paslode 902600 CF325Li is a great choice for users who need a serious framing nailer. It’s heavy-duty, powerful, quick and highly accurate. This nailer is a bit higher priced than the Hitachi nailer I previously reviewed, but well worth the cost if you plan on using your nailer on the job. Read full review here.
Best Pneumatic Framing Nailer
Hitachi NR90AE(S) 3.5 Inch Full-Head.
Hitachi is one of the most trusted brands on the market, and the NR9oAE(S) is just another demonstration of the quality people have come to expect from the brand. Lightweight, ergonomically designed and perfectly balanced, this is a nailer that will save you hours on your next big project.
- Non-slip grip trigger.
- Ergonomically designed flip actuation switch for easy transition between contact and sequential nailing.
- Weighs just 7.5lbs.
- Well-balanced to minimize user fatigue and improved maneuverability.
- Tool-less depth adjustment.
- 5-year limited warranty.
- Easy to use. Light in weight with a non-slip grip trigger, this nailer is very easy to use. The aluminum magazine makes it easy and affordable to replace or repair parts.
- Balanced design. A balanced design minimizes fatigue and makes it easy to use the nailer with just one hand.
- Easy depth adjustment. A tool-less depth adjustment feature allows you to flush or countersink drive nails without having to make pressure adjustments to the air compressor.
- Hardened claw tip. The nailer’s hardened claw tip minimizes wear and tear and reduces slippage while toe-nailing.
The Hitachi NR9oAE(S) is a great framing nailer for the home and occasional user. It’s affordable, lightweight and made by a trusted brand. Just make sure that you purchase the correct nails. A thickness of 0.131” and 21 degree appears to work best with this nailer. Read full review here.
PORTER-CABLE FR350B 3.5 Inch Full Round.
- Weighs just 7.3lbs.
- Tool-free adjustable depth of drive.
- Trigger lockout and selectable trigger.
- Rafter hook.
- 21-degree magazine.
- Easy to use. The tool-free adjustable depth of drive makes it easy to choose the proper nail head setting. The selectable trigger comes with a trigger lockout feature to switch between contact and restrictive actuation modes.
- Powerful. Can drive a 3.5” x 0.131” nail into engineered lumber with ease.
- Convenient. The rafter hook is reversible, so the nailer can be hung on either the right or left side.
- Reliable. Even after years of use, reviewers note that their nailer has never jammed.
The Porter-Cable FR350B is an excellent all-around pneumatic nailer. It’s affordable, lightweight and powerful enough to drive nails through engineered lumber. The selectable trigger and tool-free adjustable depth of drive make this nailer convenient and easy to use. Read full review here.
Best Framing Nailer for the Money
BOSTITCH F21PL Round Head 1.5 to 3.5 Inch.
The BOSTITCH F21PL packs 1,050 in./lbs. of driving power into a lightweight and portable framing nailer that’s easy to use and surprisingly versatile. As a one of the best-selling model, this is one of the best framing nailers on the market today.
- Quick-change nosepieces.
- High-capacity magazine.
- Adjustable rafter hook.
- Lightweight magnesium construction.
- Pneumatic nailer.
- Works with 21-degree, 1.5” to 3.5” nails.
- Push-button depth of drive.
- Sequential and bump trigger.
- 7-year limited warranty.
- Powerful. 1,050in./lbs. of driving power.
- 2-in-1 Nailer. Quick-changing nose pieces allow you to switch between plastic-collated and metal connector nails.
- High-Capacity Magazine. Holds up to 20 plastic-collated nails and 60 metal connector nails.
- Convenient. An adjustable rafter hook allows you to hang the nailer on rafters or joists in between uses.
- Easy to use. Housed in lightweight magnesium, this nailer also features a rubber grip and rubber skid pads for easy and safe use.
The BOSTITCH F21PL is, hands down, the best framing nailer for the money. It comes packed with modern features that even some high-end nailers don’t have, such as the push-button depth of drive. No matter whether you’re looking for a nailer for home projects or professional use, the F21PL will give you the best bang for your buck. Read full review here.
Nail Gun Buying Guide
Buying a nail gun is not quite as simple as you might think. Before you go out spending your hard-earned money, you need to make sure that you’re purchasing a gun that will meet your needs and can handle the task at hand. Not all nailers are created equal, and some guns are better suited for certain jobs than others.
Types of Nail Guns: Stick-Style vs Coil-Style
I’ve briefly mentioned coil and stick nailers earlier, but never explained the difference between the two. While most people believe that the type you choose will depend on personal preference, it’s still important to know the difference between the two.
Coil nailers generally hold more nails than stick nailers. This is because these nailers use a coil of nails, which are held together with two wires. These nails come wrapped in a roll, which is why coil models typically hold more nails. If your project requires hundreds of nails, you may want to consider the coil-type as it will save you time.
Stick nailers uses a row of nails instead of a coil. The nails are stacked together in a series of plastic, thin wire or strips of paper which holds them together. You can find them in angled and straight guns, but angled is more common. Angled nailers can drive nails with thicker gauges more efficiently than a straight gun.
Other Types of Nailers
- Brad nailers. A brad nailer is similar to a finish nailer, but is smaller in size. It’s generally used to attach trim and molding in woodworking projects. For delicate or thin materials, the brad nailer is the best choice. However, they can be difficult to drive through manufactured wood and some hardwoods.
- Roofing nailers. As its name implies, roofing nailers are used to drive nails into roof shingles as quickly and efficiently as possible. During a roofing job, a large number of nails need to be shot as quickly as possible. This is why most roofing nailers use coil nails instead of stick nails.
- Finish nailers. A finish nailer is designed for smaller jobs, like nailing smaller trim or moldings. While not quite as large or powerful as a framing nailer, these guns are versatile and still powerful enough to drive thin nails through hardwoods and manufactured woods. These nailers eliminate the need to hammer finish nails by hand, saving carpenters hours of work.
Pneumatic vs Cordless Nail Guns
When reading my guide, you may have noticed the terms pneumatic and cordless. If you’ve never used a nail gun before, you may be confused about what these terms are and what the difference is between these two types of nail guns.
- Pneumatic nail guns. Powered by air and require an air compressor to use. Ideal for jobsites and major projects, these nailers allow for continuous use without having to recharge batteries or replace fuel cells. While powerful and efficient, the biggest drawback to these nail guns is that they require you to lug around an air compressor hose while you work.
- Cordless nail guns. May be powered by battery or fuel. They’re portable, lightweight and easy to use, but usually not the best choice for daily use. For the average home user, cordless models tend to be the best choice.
Nail Gun Safety
Safety is of the utmost importance. Keep these safety tips in mind when using your nail gun.
- Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions before using the nail gun. Consult the nailer’s user manual for information on other safety precautions and the gun’s appropriate maintenance schedule.
- Inspect your nail gun before each use.
- Always put on your safety glasses when using a nail gun.
- Do not alter the nailer for any reason.
The best framing nailer can save you hours of time on your home projects or on the jobsite, and are worth every penny spent. No matter what your reasons are for purchasing a nail gun, I’ve provided you with an extensive list of framing nailer reviews that can be used for home or commercial projects. These are the best models you can buy based on user satisfaction and affordability.