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Best Finish Nailer for Value and Durability + Cool Options

Either you are just getting your first nailgun (you’re in the right place) or you are switching from electric or pneumatic – We picked through the current market to offer you choices on the very best trim nailer.

We did a ton of comparisons to come up with this list for the best finish nailer in both the electric and pneumatic classes, picking the best in quality and value.

If you had this in mind as a gift, we have a list of recently invented new tool gift ideas for people that are good with their hands.

Short List: Best Overall

Electric: a lifetime warranty – nice

Pneumatic: the top-gun has a 5-year warranty

If you are not sure if you should buy a Brad nailer instead, read here our comparison of a brad nailer and finish nailer.

Tip: Most carpenters these days are giving up on pneumatic and going electric, but don’t boo and walk out, like they did to Bob Dylan when he went electric.

Best finish nailer recommendationsWorker using one of the best finish nailer

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We have other posts for our recommended brad nailer (just the 18 gauge guns), and one post for the top quality framing nailers (which of course includes the venerable gas canister Paslode—the one that started it all).

We reviewed the pin nailer (23 gauge pins) for different budgets too. Finally, we have a post just for the accessories and nail sets we all need, like pneumatic combos and nail sets, safety gear, etc.

All these finishing nail guns feature:

  • 15- or 16-gauge nails for trim (a.k.a. “finish nails”)
  • Min: 1-inch, max: 2½-inch nails
  • Uses: interior trim such as door frames, hardwoods, thick plywood, MDF
  • Length nails: min: 5/8-inch, max: 2-inch

    Hitachi is now called Metabo after the German company that bought it
    Hitachi is now called Metabo after the German company (short for metal boring, their name for a drill)
  • “Anti-dry-fire” feature (prevents accidental shots)
  • Tool-free jam release: all new models have this
  • 3-year warranty at least (others are noted)
  • Belt hook: a must have
  • A window showing nails left before re-load

 Best Finish Nailer (both 15 and 16-gauge)

Tied for 1st—Electrics15 gauge finish nail gun

Bostitch Finish Nail Gun: 20-Volt Max 15 (BCN650D1)

  • Angled magazine
  • Brushless motor
  • Price reduced from its early days: pricey, but worth it
  • Bump or sequential modes
  • LED for battery status
  • Comes with a bag

The charger has slots for 2 batteries at once – great idea—thanks, Stanley (parent of Bostitch). What sold us was the narrow nose: let you see what the bleep you’re doing, and the LED lamp helps in low light spots. This tool was designed in heaven…but made in the good ‘ole USA. (You had me at hello!)

Tied for 1st—Electrics15 gauge finish nail gun

Metabo HPT (Hitachi) 18-Volt Lifetime Warranty (NT1865DMA )

  •  Angled magazine
  • Brushless motor
  • Bump or sequential modes
  • Depth adjustment setting
  • Lifetime Warranty (not including battery)
  • LED lamp
  • LED battery indicator

Hitachi gives us a reversible belt hook (for us southpaws), which is nice, but what makes this tool great is the zero ramp-up time: rapid-fire comes in handy. When you shoot, it has a recoil like a pneumatic finishing nail gun (same air spring drive) and gets…wait for it…1,000 shots on a charge. Nice.

Best Finish Nailer—Electrics16 gauge nail gun

Dewalt 18-Volt Angled Finish Nailer (DC618K)

  • Angled magazine gives it the nod over the runner-up below
  • Bump or sequential modes
  • Designed for rapid shooting
  • 6-position depth settings
  • Can hold 120 nails (slightly more than average)
  • LED lamp
  • Reversible belt hook

Sometimes Dewalt tools can feel sort of like a toy compared to Hitachi, but this tool feels solid. It charges in an hour, but the battery is not lithium: it’s “XRP NiCad” — a high capacity NiCd. Hmm. It comes with safety glasses to compensate. Not sure about this old style batter: but the price is right in a very decent finishing nail gun.

Runner-up—Electrics16 gauge nail gun

Metabo/Hitachi 18-Volt (NT1865DM)

  • Only 7.3 lbs with a battery attached: very light
  • Can shoot nails as small as 1-inch: most are 1¼”
  • LED light for dark spaces
  • Bump or sequential modes
  • Lifetime warranty (not the battery)
  • Zero Ramp up time

For about 100 bucks more than the Dewalt above, you can have Cadillac quality. Like the 15-gauge Hitachi cousin above , this gun has a recoil like pneumatics because they use same air spring drive as in the pneumatics. It can shoot 2-3 nails PER SECOND – wow. For a finishing nail gun this is very good. We just wish it had an angled magazine…oh well. Comes with a bag and glasses.

Best Budget Finish Nailer—Electrics—16 gauge nail gun

The Porter Cable 20-Volt Finish Nail Gun (PCC792LA)

  • Lacks the bump mode
  • LED light blinks codes for low battery, jam, etc.
  • No case or bag

The least expensive finish nailer made by a high-quality manufacturer lacks the many features of the other finish nail guns. The big boys make this trim nailer seem pale by comparison. Porter Cable is a quality brand, but this gun is clearly made for a low-end market.

Best Finish Nailer—Pneumatics

Best All-Around—Pneumatic—15 gauge trim nailer

The hands-down best gun is on so many job sites… New name!

The Hitachi (now called Metabo HPT) Angled Finish Nailer (NT65MA4 – new version)

  • Angled magazine
  • Air duster
  • Bump and sequential modes
  • Depth adjustment dial
  • Adjustable direction exhaust vent – 360°
  • Comes with safety glasses
  • Hardshell case

This is the big dog on the street: it has all the features lacking nothing. Well, it’s a bit pricey, but should really last, so I was sold. The downside? Dragging the hose around, but still, this finishin nail gun is your new right hand.

Runner Up—Pneumatic—15 gauge trim nail gun

Makita 34° Angled Finish Nailer (AF635)

  • Angled magazine at 34°
  • Air duster
  • Bump and sequential modes
  • Depth adjustment settings
  • Adjustable direction exhaust
  • Comes with safety glasses
  • Requires 34° nails, available here

I used to only buy Makita and was not ever disappointed. They have a lot of competition, but this gun has a lot of ju-ju. The angle is the sharpest of any gun made anywhere, so that helps a lot in tight spots. Actually comes with a real hardshell case, like the old days.

Best Finish Nailer—Pneumatic—16 gauge nail gun

Hitachi 16-ga Finish Nailer (NT65M2S)

  • Bump or sequential modes
  • Shoot nails as small as 1-inch: most are 1¼”
  • Depth adjustment dial
  • Adjustable direction exhaust vent – 360°
  • Replaces the NT65MA4 16-gauge (same tool body as 15-ga above)

Again, the longer 5-year warranty of Hitachi a.k.a. Metabo is a winner for me. This finishing nail gun is light…only about 4 pounds, and like the electric cousins of the family (shown above), it shoots shorter nails than most (most start at 1¼-inches). Comes with a case.

Gas Canister—(16 gauge nailer):

There is only one name and you already know: the Paslode 16 gauge Angled Finish Nailer (902400)

  • Angled magazine
  • Only 4.5 lbs.
  • 6000 shots per charge, wow
  • Lightweight
  • Battery (for spark) can come from zero to 80% in 3 minutes: amazing
  • Case

Still the king. Probably on more job sites in history than any other. It’s light, fast, and this generation has upgrades that Paslode says makes it easier to use than the previous generation. We’ll be the judge of that, but the jury is not expected to be out for long: it’s the one.

How we chose the best finish nailer for each type

  • We only looked at reputable high-quality finish nailer brands. Of course, cost/value was a big consideration.
  • For the electrics, we lean toward the new style of brushless motors preferred on electrics (read about why on HowStuffWorks: easy read).
  • We don’t recommend any Ryobi finish nailer or anything else by Ryobi here: Why? Read what the pros say!
piston of trim nailer drives the nail
The internal parts of a finish nailer

shows how many trim nails fit into one inch
You can tell the gauge of a nail by seeing how many fit side by side in one inch–here it is “16 gauge”

We think our finish nailer reviews are what people are looking for…hope you can find the best finish nailer that works for you.

“Metabo HPT” is the new name for Hitachi since the Japanese sold to the Germans. The products listed do not have many reviews, but the old ones did and they were very good. On the builder chat rooms, nobody disrespects Hitachi. They make the best finish nailer on the market for sure.

We have other nail gun reviews for the highest quality brad nailer (just the 18 gauge nail guns).

For a quick non-commercial video of how to use a finish nailer, Bosch has come through. The Woodworkers Guild of America has a website too. Our look at staining the nail hole filler is below.

finish nailer used to work on trims

So that’s it for our finish nailer reviews. Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments. Thanks!

5 thoughts on “Best Finish Nailer for Value and Durability + Cool Options”

  1. Wonderful article! This is the best article about Finish Nailer that ever read before. I found a lot of information from your article.


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