Painting Tips by a Professional

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Best Framing Nailer (+Nailers for Flooring, Concrete, Roofing…)

You have to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, you found our picks for the very best framing nailer on the market…we chose the best quality…for the money.

Make. My. Day. Some people will say the best framing nailer is electric and others say pneumatic—we looked at both types and we added the very cool palm nailer as well, for those tight spots.

These all have free shipping: really nice. Thanks, Clint.

Also the review of some specialty guns: flooring, roofing, concrete guns too.

For Geeks…Read about brushless motors: a techy website.

Short List: Best Framing Nailer Overall

Japan sold Hitachi (back) to Germany. Metabo is short German for Metal Boring. Am I boring you?

Electric, with a lifetime warranty:

  • Best framing nailer is the Hitachi (Metabo) 18-Volt Angled. Hitachi wins again
  • Fast charging. 400 shots per charge
  • Recoil like a pneumatic (same air spring system)
  • Depth adjustment setting
  • Lifetime warranty is only on the tool (not battery)
  • Small enough to fit easily between 16″ centers
  • more details below

It’s called Metabo now. Hard to get used to, and hard to admit, they are top quality.

Pneumatic

  • Best framing nailer in class is the Big Dog: Metabo’s Angled Framing (NR83A5)
  • 21-degree angle makes many shots do-able that straight magazines can’t do
  • 2-inch up to 3.25″
  • Very quick response bump or trigger
  • Tool-less depth adjust
  • holds TWO, count ’em, 2 strips of nails
  • 5-year warranty

Read other reviews for:

Chatting in the contractor forums, I learned that most carpenters these days are giving up on pneumatic and going with the electric framing nailer. It’s more expensive but really worth it.

An excellent framing nailer used by a working man


All these recommended framing nail guns have

  • Min: 2-inch, max: 3½-inch nails
  • For hard, thick wood

    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, the name for a drill)

  • All these nailers here can handle up to 3.5-inch nails unless noted
  • “No-dry-fire” protection that prevents accidental shots (there are 37,000 nail gun injuries every year in the USA—126/day)
  • Release a jam tool-free: all newest models have this
  • 3-year warranty (others are noted)
  • Belt hook (many are reversible)
  • Framing nailers may call this a refer hook
  • A slot showing how many nails are left before you need to re-load

One must-have accessory

3M Earmuff: the best hearing protection. Highly recommended. Very reasonable price.


Best Framing Nailers – Electric


Top Gun: Best Electric Framing Nailer

The Hitachi 18-Volt Angled Lifetime Warranty Big Boy Hammer (NR1890DR)

  • Fast charging
  • 400 shots per charge
  • Recoil like a pneumatic (same air spring system)
  • Depth adjustment setting
  • Lifetime warranty is only on the tool (not battery)
  • Small enough to fit easily between 16″ centers
  • Download the full specs here
  • LED Battery indicator light
  • Comes with a bag, and safety glasses

This gun is the man, and only 10 pounds: how do they do it? The Hitachi (now Metabo) framing nail gun has the same feel as the other Hitachi nail guns in other classes (brad, etc). They feel like a pneumatic because they use the same spring and piston: same but different. Simply the top electric framing nail gun.

This is the one to have if you can afford it.

Here is the battery that also ships for free. Most of us have 2.


Best Budget Framing – Electric

The Dewalt 20-Volt Max XR Framing Nailer (DCN692B)

Fifty clams less than the above, but still good (made in USA) quality

  • Bump and sequential modes
  • 33° magazine (better than most)
  • Only 55 nails per rack – half of usual 🙁
  • For the price, it’s fine. The Metabo is a big step up for only 50 smackers more

Rather than offer a dial for depth adjustment they offer a dual speed motor that revs high or low for sinking different nails. I guess this is just a 2-position switch, but for the low price, you have to be happy. The links you have here are the best price I found. You won’t go wrong with a Dewalt framing nail gun.


Best Framing Nailer – Pneumatic

The Big Air Dog: Hitachi (Metabo) Angled Framing Nailer (NR83A5)

  • 3¼-inch nails max (see below for the 3½)
  • Rafter hook (left or right side mount)
  • Air duster, so cool
  • Bump or sequential modes switch right on the trigger
  • Depth adjuster dial

A 5-year warranty is nice, and it’s a little lighter than most guns (4 lbs.), but mostly it’s the price: for the top gun that will last a lifetime, it’s worth it. You will see these on every building site there is.

Metabo no longer offers the version without the depth adjust. Good move.


Budget Best Framing Nailer—Pneumatic

The Bostitch Angled Frame Nailer (BTF83WW)

  • 28° angle
  • Bump or sequential modes
  • Depth adjustment
  • 7-year warranty – nice

For about ninety dollars less than the above Hitachi framing nail gun, you can have a very high-quality tool in the Bostitch frame nailer. It’s light and only weighs 3 lbs., but it lacks the air duster. Seems like a good trade for the savings.


Best Industrial Pneumatic Coil Framing Nailer

The Metabo HPT (Hitachi) Coil Framing Nailer (NV90AGS)

  • Sideloading, tilt bottom magazine
  • Air duster
  • Bump or sequential modes (with switch right on trigger)
  • Depth adjuster dial

Like all of the best framing nail guns from Hitachi, (they excel in electric and pneumatic), this coil nailer is the one. The old tool had great reviews, but at the time of this publication, the new model (with the new name of Metabo) has only 1 review! But it’s 5*s!! Seriously, this is the one for pros who cannot afford to stop and re-load after only 100 nails.


Best Palm Nailer

The Metabo HPT (Hitachi) Palm Framing Nailer (NH90AB )

  • 2½-inch to 3½-inch nails
  • Many quick strikes to pound many strikes to drive long nails
  • For tight spots a big nailer or hammer cannot reach
  • No electrics: quality palm nailers are pneumatic only
  • Loud, but quick
  • Exhaust is away from user
  • Swivel plug (360°)
  • (Update: this model has been replaced by the NH90AB shown here.)
  • My necessary accessory for this tool is a wrist magnet: this one can hold a large wrench it’s so strong…or many, many nails

If you don’t know about palm nailers, they can replace your framing nail gun, but they are a bit slower. With a palm nailer, one nail is loaded at a time (with magnetic head), but they go in easily. Here is a video of this model in action. Not expensive and most builders have at least one in the toolbox, for when you cannot even use a hammer!


Speciality Nailers—Annie Get Your Gun

Below we have all the other types of nail guns with:

  1. Gas canister (a.k.a. impulse or  explosion) nailers
  2. Roofing nailer
  3. Flooring nailers (2)
  4. Gunpowder nailer
  5. Concrete nailer

Gas Canister Framing Nail Gun

The Paslode Cordless XP Framer (905600)

  • “It’s good to be the king”
  • Works in very low temp when air compressors stop
  • Range of 1¼-inch to 2½-inch nails
  • 9,000 shots per charge
  • Full battery recharge time is 1-1/2 hours, but a 2-minute quick charge will give you up to 200 extra shots!
  • Only 7 pounds, and fits between studs on 16-inch centers

This is the reigning king of the building site. First to the market with the idea, many workers still prefer it. It’s light and not more expensive than it’s electric cousins. The fuss with the gas and electric is not such a big deal to those who love it. Paslode claims that this updated model gives 15‰ more power than the last model.  Made in USA: that is worth a lot.


Roofing – Meet your new franchise

The Meatbo HTP (Hitachi) Roofer (NV45AB2)

  • Depth adjustment dial
  • Side-loading
  • Only 5.5lbs (they used to be much heavier)
  • From 7/8 up to 1+3/4 inch roofing nails

This is an angled magazine, but not a very sharp angle. But you will not be doing trim with this…right? Right? If you are doing a roof, the angle is fine. The Hitachi (Metabo) website says that it is designed for quick shooting, which for roofs is of course essential.


Flooring—Weekender’s and for the Big Boys

The Bostitch Hardwood 18-Gauge Flooring Stapler (EHF1838K)

  • Adjustable for different floor thicknesses
  • Rear exhaust (away from your face)
  • Oil-free
  • 7-year warranty
  • Awesome reviews
  • Up to 1.5-inch 18-gauge staples: fine for almost all flooring

You are not a pro, but doing a big job? You can certainly sell this used and get most of your money back. Or just keep it for the next time. At the relatively low price, and what you save on not paying a floor guy… you will be laughing every time you look at it.


Big Dog—Professional Flooring Nailer: Pneumatic Mallet

The Bostitch Mallet Flooring Pneumatic Nailer (MIIIFN)

  • 1½ to 2-inch flooring nails
  • Comes with the mallet
  • 16 gauge nail gun flooring cleats
  • 7-year warranty
  • Made in USA
  • Call me when you get going because I want to do all the nailing for you for free.

If you want the professional type that you hit with a hammer to drive the nail, you’ll pay about twice as much, but you’ll also have a business. Oh, how I have coveted the flooring guys work when they get this out. They always wear hearing protection (here is a link to our accessories.)


Gunpowder (ramset), for those concrete nails

The Ingersoll Rand Air Hammer (114GQC)

  • .22 caliber with decent reviews
  • Concrete, masonry, metals
  • Comes with 3 chisels and retainers
  • Muffled and re-directed exhaust is nice, still, of course, wear eye protection

Hearing protection is a must. Don’t be macho now and lose your hearing in 5 years! See our accessories page for some good protection equipment. Looks like something out of Star Trek. Fasers on stun Spock.


Best concrete nailer—pneumatic

The Freeman PSSCP Industrial Concrete Nailer (MIII812CNCT)

Freeman is located in Georgia, but this gun is made in China, breaking my rule, but I think this is the best of the lot, but I did not test it.

I trust Freeman though.

  • Hardened steel parts unlike most crap from China
  • Nails are on this page
  • 360 swivel exhaust
  • Min: 3/4″, max: 3″
  • 7-year warranty – very nice
  • Molded case

They trash talk Dewalt and Palode etc, so they seem confident about this gun and all the tools they make.

Like the ramset above, it’s loud. Wha? Not funny, sorry. Too many people have lost some hearing, so please check this ear protection—good enough for shooters (that’s you nail gun dude). if you don’t already have some ear muffs.

Here is the only place you don’t want the Hitachi – customers complain that they have to return it because they cannot find the proper nail for it! Come on Hitachi or Metabo, whatever your real name is… get with the bleedin’ program.


How we selected: Best Framing Nail Gun In Each Category

  • We only looked at brand names we trust in picking the best framing nail gun: no off-brands from questionable countries. The main quality of the tool is durability.
  • Cost and what features you get for the money was our second main issue.
  • Professionals shy away from the Ryobi framing nailer: Why? Read what the pros say: some bad language!
  • We also left out the Numax framing nailer and the Milwaukee framing nailer, just because they did not have the reputation we expect.
child uses a paslode framing nailer
That’s a big framing nail gun for such a small child…but she did it!

Check our other posts:


For a well-made video showing how to use the best cordless framing nailer, don’t watch this guy…except for a laugh. He incorrectly oils the rack of nails: a no-no. He’s funny though. But Hitachi has made a video for our top dog above: it’s a commercial, but worth watching, especially the graphics at 1:00.

We are not paid compensation from any manufacturer of any product we recommend: we just care about the tools, man. There are other cordless framing nailer reviews but we think we are different. We try to speak from experience.


* Hitachi (a Japanese company) was purchased by the German Metabo HPT. So that is why the product we think is the best framing nailer may not have a high number of reviews But even when they change the model number, the tool is the same and it is time tested. Whatever the name, they make the best framing nailer out there.


For a non-annoying video on the different types of framing nails have a quick view. It is only about 3 minutes long.


That’s the skinny. Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments. Thanks.

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