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.
We also review some specialty guns after that: flooring, roofing, concrete guns too. Read about brushless motors: a techy website.
Short List: Best Overall
- Best framing nailer is the Hitachi (Metabo) 18-Volt Angled. Hitachi wins again.
- Best framing nailer is the Big Dog: Angled Framing Nailer from Hitachi (Metabo HPT) (with or without depth adjust).
- If you already have a compressor, then consider keeping a small palm nailer in your box: often times there is no room to swing a hammer or put a gun.
Also, see our posts for: nail gun accessories like nail sets and combo kits (compressor and guns together are a really good deal for pneumatic fans), the best brad nailers (just the 18 gauge guns), our review on the top quality finish nailers, and which pin nailer we prefer.
Chatting in the contractor forums, we 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.
Best Framing Nailer Recommendations
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All these recommended framing nail guns have:
- Min: 2-inch, max: 3½-inch nails
- For hard, thick wood
- 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
Best Framing Nailer
- Min: 2″, max: 3½”
- For hard, thick wood
- Up to 3.5-inch nails unless noted
- Hearing protection highly recommended
- See all nail gun accessories here
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
- Read 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 framing nail gun has the same feel of 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, I highly recommend this one.
Best Budget Framing – Electric
The Dewalt 20-Volt Max XR Framing Nailer (DCN692B)
- Bump and sequential modes
- 33° magazine (better than most)
- Only 55 nails per rack – half of usual 🙁
- For the price, it’s not a bad deal
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. This tool goes on sale big time on black Friday, so watch for it every year. 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 HPT) Angled Framing Nailer (NR83A5, or NR83A5-S without depth adjust)
- 3¼-inch nails max (see below for the 3½)
- Rafter hook (left or right side mount)
- Air duster
- Bump or sequential modes (with switch right on the trigger)
- Depth adjuster dial (not in “S” model)
- A very complete YouTube video on this unit is convincing
- New model, so reviews are not many, but the last version of this gun had very good reviews
- You can save a little with the Model “S” without depth adjustment…but why? We need that, right?
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.
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
- 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 those tight spots a big nailer or hammer does not handle
- 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:
- Gas canister (a.k.a. impulse or explosion) nailers
- Roofing nailer
- Flooring nailers (2)
- Gunpowder nailer
- 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
- 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)
- 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 Bostitch Industrial Concrete Nailer (MIII812CNCT)
- Order concrete nails directly here
- Tank pressure: 60 to 100 p.s.i.g. (4.2 to 7.1 kg/cm2)
- Read about the required nails found here (BT fasteners)
- Min: 9/16, max: 2¼
- 7-year warranty – very nice
Like the ramset above, it’s loud. Wha? Not funny. 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, 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.
Check our other posts:
- The nailer accessories we all need, like pneumatic combos and nail sets, etc.
- The best brad nailers (just the 18 gauge guns),
- Our review on the top quality finish nailers
- The best pin nailer (23 gauge pins) for different budgets
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.