brad nailer

What Is A Brad Nailer Used For?

Are you tired of smacking your fingers every time you try to hit those small fine nails?  I, too, have lost count of the amount of times my fingers were smacked instead of the nail. The good thing is my nail gun and my fingers are broken, so I don’t have to worry about counting, but like you, I do need to buy myself a new nailer.  To avoid the unfortunate circumstances mentioned above, we’ll teach you how to nail it when getting yourself a new Brad Nailer as well as how and what they are used for, instead of getting nailed yourself – pun intended.

What exactly is a Brad Nailer?

A Brad Nailer is a specialized type of nail gun, designed specifically for detailed woodwork. Nail guns like a Brad Nailer have replaced conventional hammers as a builder’s choice of tool. This means that you don’t have to worry about getting a booboo on your thumb while trying to hammer a nail.

As the name suggests, Brad Nailer uses “Brads”, thin gauged nails that are used to bind light-weight wood trims. These 18 gauge, small nails are very difficult to drive manually into the wood trim. The force generated from electric power allows easy penetration of the thin nails. The best part about these small Brad nails is that they are almost invisible in the wood trim, which means that you will not have to hide big nails poking out of the wood with carpenter putty.

If you are looking to renovate some of your household’s wooden structures, such as the kitchen cabinets, drawers, and closets, 18 gauged brad nails give a cleaner and detailed look. So, the next time you go to a hardware store, you should consider getting yourself a brad nailer as it can be a very handy tool to keep around. From giving finishing touches to your carpentry projects, to molding and trim work, brad nailers can be your go-to gadget.

18 Gauge Brad Nailer Uses

I don’t know if you are a homeowner but since I am one, I am always trying to fix little things and do regular maintenance of the house. This ensures that my house is in good condition all the time.   18 gauged brads are very thin and less likely to crack light-weight wooden boards:  Unlike the conventional nail that can split wooden boards in to half if you hammer them in the trim, a brad nail leaves a smaller hole, and hence you don’t need to be bothered about messing up your wooden boards when building something.  Below are some of these other uses of an 18-gauge Brad Nailer:


Brad Nails, being so small, are the perfect way to attach baseboard to wall surfaces. This is mainly because brads drive into the wood quite easily. This way you can effortlessly attach thinner pieces of wood to larger ones.

You don’t need carpenter putty for hiding ugly holes and nails: I have been mentioning the slender-ness of the Brad nails for quite a while now, so you are most probably familiar that they don’t leave any visible holes in the wood surface. Since there are no visible holes, you don’t have to consider using wood putty for concealing such holes.

Crown Molding: 

Crown molding is the  baseboards but for the ceiling. If you look at a regular ceiling in a conventional American house, you will see there is a bordering on the lining between the ceiling and the wall surface. That is crown molding. These moldings are done by thin nails, not visible. A brad nailer can be used for such instances.

Other small home renovation projects as well as crafting: From building small wood furniture pieces to attaching coves, stops, and rails, all of which require the use of thin nails, a Brad Nailer is the most efficient solution. Home renovation can be a DIY process for some people, mainly because of its saves labor costs and also because it’s more fun. Easy-to-use Brad nailer helps to get small renovation projects done without the need to hire a carpenter. If you like crafting small wooden objects such as picture frames, Brad nailers can save you a lot of time and energy. At a responsible age, you can even teach it to your kids. Teaching your children how to use a tool at an early age can make them responsible kids in the long run.

Brad Nailer Sizes

Brad Nails can come in different sizes, depending on the use and the capacity of your nailer. Conventionally, there are 18- and 21-gauge Brad Nailers available in the market, both of them have different uses. People prefer to use 18-gauge brad nailers because they are generally stronger in attaching multiple wooden boards. Comparing it to the needle-like 21-gauge nailer, which are less capable in this regard, 18-gauge nailers provide a stronger bond. The next thing that needs you to look at is the size of your Brads or Nails. When choosing a Brad Nail, you should consider the thickness of the material you are nailing. Ideally, you want the length of your nail to be 3 times the thickness of the material. This makes sure that the nail penetrates the material completely and secures it to the object it is being attached to. 

Understanding Gauge

When buying nails, the seller always asks you what gauge are you looking to buy. The gauge defines the diameter or thickness of the nail you are using. The greater the gauge of the nail, the smaller its diameter. Finish Nails, which are made from thicker wire, are of 15-16 gauge. Brad Nails are of 18 gauge and are thinner than Finish Nails. Gauge can also define how effortlessly the nail is going to be driven into the material you are nailing. Smaller gauges are more easily driven then larger ones.

What is the difference Between Brad Nailers and Finish Nailers?

To the untrained eye, both a Brad Nailer and a Finish Nailer would appear the same, but you need to realize that these two machines have different purposes than what it seems.

A Brad Nailer is more of like a precision worker, as I mentioned before, it is designed to fire fine, pin-like nails called Brads. A Brad Nailer is smaller in size as well, if we compare it to a finish nailer. As they are smaller in size, with lesser binding power, Brad nailers are used mainly for detailed projects and mounting light-weight cabinet trims without splitting them.

On the other hand, Finish nailers provide heavier holds. A smaller gauge (almost 15-16) means the greater thickness of the nail itself. If you are looking to fix a bulkier, heavier wood trim, you will be looking to use a finish nailer. On average, a finish nailer has the capacity of 1-2.5-inch nails. With the 15-16-gauge nailer, you are offered with greater strength. You can use it for fixing furniture, large plywood, attaching large baseboards to walls. Finish nailers are more versatile and can be used for different purposes.

You can choose from both these gadgets depending on your use. Using a finish nailer on a thinner board will result in splitting, so you need to be very careful when choosing a nailer for your DIY projects. 

Airpower or Electric Powered? Which one do you need?

Brad Nailers can come in two different types, the pneumatic ones (air-powered) and the cordless ones (battery-powered). A pneumatic one uses a strong air compressor attached to the nailer with a pipe. The changes in air pressure exert extreme amounts of force on the nail allowing it to penetrate the material it is being aimed at. Electric Nailers use a 1.5 amp per hour battery that converts electrical energy into kinetic energy, allowing the nails to be shot with great force.

Battery-powered nailers are generally more expensive than pneumatic nailers – however you will need to purchase an air compressor and attachments for the pneumatic nailer, which can add up. Battrery powered nailers are nice because they are cord-less so you don’t have to worry about carrying this huge length of wire around the house while you are working.

Pneumatic Nailers are lighter in weight because there is no battery inside, even though you should consider the weight of the hose attached to it. Carrying around the compressor is also a nuisance for some people.

In terms of performance, pneumatic nailers are more abrupt as they fire a nail as soon as you press the button. Electric nailers take a moment to spin up before firing the nail. There have been some heat build-up issues as well with the electric one.

The bottom line is that it doesn’t depend on the machine itself. your application is what decides which nailer is perfect for you.

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