10 Best Brad Nailers of 2020 – (Electric, Cordless, 18 Gauge)

Now, if you’re looking for an effective yet cost-effective best brad nailer, then you are in luck. This brad nailer review takes you through ten of the best options, and honestly provides the information you need to know.

I know that different people have different thoughts on brad nailers, which makes it difficult to pick a nailer that’s perfect for your specific needs. And that’s where this review comes in. All ten nailer options are different from one another, particularly based on what various folks might prefer.

If you are into lightweight brad nailers, there is a tool for you. And if you’re into precision and accuracy, you’ve got a few options to choose from. At the same time, if you just want something that’s a low-budget, then you aren’t left out.

Nonetheless, if you are the kind of person who doesn’t like reading a long piece, and perhaps find this a TLDR, don’t worry. You can always go with our recommended product – the DeWalt (DCN6801), which comes with lots of features.

Let’s have a look at it…

Best Brad Nailers Reviews

1.  DEWALT DCN680 18 Gauge Brad Nailer

10 Best Brad Nailers of 2020 – (Electric, Cordless, 18 Gauge)10 Best Brad Nailers of 2020 – (Electric, Cordless, 18 Gauge)

The very first thing that caught my attention is how lightweight the nailer is. I mean, at only 5 lbs., this nailer is lighter than most brands out there.

Since cordless nailers are a little bit heavier (due to the battery), the 5-pound weight is much better. Most importantly, when you hold the DeWalt (DCN680D1), there is a very good balance to it, and you don’t have to worry about lugging or coils of hoses.

I thought the lightweight was its best feature. I was wrong! The 18-gauge brad nailer is so effective that it can sink nails at an angle. This is something most nailers cannot afford.

I also love the fact that the nailer is versatile in its usability. For instance, the unit can run nails ranging from 5/8 inches to 2-1/8 inches.  This means you can do all kinds of nailing – like attaching coves, installing detailed trims, shoe molding, and general cabinetry works.

As a cordless tool, the last thing you want is a battery that runs out quickly. With the DeWalt (DCN680D1) nailer, you get at least 4 hours of continuous firing the nails.

If you’re the kind of person that prefers working quietly, you’re in luck, coz this DeWalt brad nailer doesn’t make lots of vibrations, hence you can work even when the baby is fast asleep.

What We Loved

  • Easy to switch between Bump and Sequential firing, whereby the latter is meant for safety purposes as the Bump is for increasing speed
  • Features rubber strips on its side to protect it from damage in case it accidentally falls off
  • Boasts of a brushless motor, which maximizes runtime  and guarantees durability
  • Comes with a decent belt clip for hanging it from the sides, especially when you’re not using it
  • Its micro-nose feature helps improve your line of sight, which also improves on its accuracy
  • Comes with two LED lighting, which are bright enough to light your line of sight

What Could Be Better

  • Its depth adjustment indicator is somewhat difficult to read

2.  WEN 61720 3/4-Inch to 2-Inch 18-Gauge Brad Nailer

10 Best Brad Nailers of 2020 – (Electric, Cordless, 18 Gauge)10 Best Brad Nailers of 2020 – (Electric, Cordless, 18 Gauge)

Okay, I know the aforementioned DeWalt (DCN680D1) is lightweight at 5 lbs., but that’s nothing compared to WEN’s 3 lbs., which makes the nailer perfect for small DIY tasks.

That is, compared to the DeWalt, the WEN 61720 comes with tradeoffs, whereby a few features are lacking. For instance, this best brad nailer isn’t pneumatic, which means it doesn’t run on batteries and that you’ll have to use an air compressor.

Luckily, you can get its equivalent WEN Air Compressor  and add it to your cart.

Since it is a very lightweight tool, the WEN 18-Gauge nailer is so ergonomic that you can use it for long hours without feeling any wrist strain. Well, this is expected given that you’ll be using an air compressor, which can go for many hours on end.

When it comes to the brad nails it can shoot, the WEN nailer is capability of shooting nails from ¾ to 2-inch sizes. The best part? The magazine can load up to 100 brad nails.

Speaking of an effective magazine, you can actually clear jams without needing to stop your work. This is because of its Quick Release feature, which is a latch at the front of the nailer.

Another effective feature is the adjustable exhaust port that can rotate to 360-degrees. This lets you control the direction the exhaust air comes out from. This way, you protect your eyes from the dirty air.

Also, just when you think the nailer has all the features you need, you realize that its depth adjustment wheel is easily customizable. This makes things easier especially for home DIYers.

Basically, this tool is perfect for home users, and if you are an expert, you’d better find a powerful alternative.

What We Loved

  • Very simplistic design with no mechanical complexities
  • Fairly favorable price and costs way cheaper than most nailers
  • The nailer is extremely lightweight and allows you to work long hours without straining your hands
  • You get to clear the nailer’s jam quickly without necessarily slowing down your working process
  • Its depth adjustable wheel is easily customizable

What Could Be Better

  • You may experience occasional jamming, but it’s rare
  • It works only with an air compressor. And if you’re looking for a good one, you can get here

3.  Hitachi NT50AE2 18-Gauge 5/8-Inch to 2-Inch Brad Nailer

10 Best Brad Nailers of 2020 – (Electric, Cordless, 18 Gauge)10 Best Brad Nailers of 2020 – (Electric, Cordless, 18 Gauge)

Again, this is very lightweight. And it seems that if a brad nailer isn’t lightweight, then it has no business existing! Anyways, the Hitachi 18-Gauge nailer weighs only 2.2 lbs., which makes it easier to use for long hours.

The best thing about it is that it comes with the dual firing options – Bump and Sequential firing modes. This lets you choose whether you want a continuous nail firing or a safer firing. All you need to do is slide its switch to change from one mode to the other.

Its depth adjustment is simple and easy to use. For instance, the adjustability features a cap option, which further enables you to make correct changes, and without the need of a wrench or anything similar. It is completely tool-less.

The Hitachi NT50AE2 has been designed with an aluminum body, which makes the tool tough and ergonomic at the same time. The tool’s maneuverability is out of this world, and its soft elastomer facilitates a comfortable tool gripping while enhancing optimal control.

What We Loved

  • Features a dual firing option
  • Includes an exhaust vent that’s adjustable to 360-degrees
  • Very lightweight
  • Allows for tool-free changing of the nose for nail extraction
  • Boasts an aluminum  design

What Could Be Better

  • Doesn’t have the Dry-Fire Lockout

4.  PORTER-CABLE PCC790B Cordless Brad Nailer

10 Best Brad Nailers of 2020 – (Electric, Cordless, 18 Gauge)10 Best Brad Nailers of 2020 – (Electric, Cordless, 18 Gauge)

Unlike the likes of WEN 61720, this nailer doesn’t need an air compressor. Neither does it need any hose or gas cartridges. Rather, the brad nailer runs on a 20V lithium battery, which lasts about 4 hours of continuous runtime.

Compared to other nailers, the Porter-Cable comes first in simplicity. You don’t need any tutorials on how to use it. Everything is easy peasy and you get a hang of it within a short time.

What I personally love about the nailer is the over-molded exteriors, which ensure the tool remains undamaged in case it drops or falls off. This way, you don’t have to worry about durability.

More importantly though, the Porter-Cable PCC790B is a nailer that handles nails ranging from 5/8 to 2 inches in size. And its adjustable countersink depth settings allow for consistency in the shootings you’re doing.

You’ll love its Dual LED lights, which come in handy when you’re working in dimly lit rooms. This makes it a versatile tool that can be effective even during the night.

For further effectiveness, the Porter-Cable comes installed with a sequential firing mode, which also guarantees safety. That means the tool won’t fire any nails if you’ve pressed the trigger.

What We Loved

  • Tool-less releasing of the jams
  • Features a belt clip for hanging the tool
  • Nail depth adjustability is easy and consistent
  • The unit is over-molded for guaranteed safety in case of accidental fall offs

What Could Be Better

  • This is a “Tool Only” unit, meaning that it doesn't come with a case. But you can buy the Casematix Nailer Case, which is compatible with the Porter-Cable

5.  Makita AF505N Brad Nailer

10 Best Brad Nailers of 2020 – (Electric, Cordless, 18 Gauge)10 Best Brad Nailers of 2020 – (Electric, Cordless, 18 Gauge)

If you are looking for a tool that’s gonna provide nailing precision in confined areas, then the Makita brad nailer is exactly what you need. The tool has a narrow nose, which makes it easier to place the nails exactly where you want. This means you’ll be easily accessing tight and confined spaces.

With a weight of only 3 lbs., this nailer is suitable for working long hours. Better yet, the  nailer has some rubberized soft grips, which deliver amazing control while keeping fatigue in check.

The Makita (AF505N) operates between 60 and 115 psi, and can also drive nails ranging from 5/8 to 2-inches.  Its best feature is the non-marring rubber tip, whose function is to protect your workpiece from getting a dent when drilling in.

The other unique feature about the Makita 18-Gauge nailer is its cam-lock, which allows you to quickly clear any jammed nails. Also, the magazine can hold up to 100 nails.

When using the Makita AF505N, you don’t have to worry about the exhaust air. The tool features a 360-degree exhaust port, which allows you to work in any direction. This way, you won’t have dirty exhaust air blowing towards your eyes.

Although the Makita brad nailer doesn’t have the Anti-Dry Fire mechanism, the tool compensates this with a reload indicator, which lights up red whenever the nails in the magazine are running out.

What We Loved

  • Very lightweight (at just 3 lbs.)
  • Features a non-marring rubber tip, which protects your workpiece from dents and dentures
  • The exhaust port rotates at 360-degrees
  • A reload indicator lights up red when nails are running out on the magazine
  • Has a cam-lock, which quickly clears out jammed nails 

What Could Be Better

  • Not a perfect fit for toe-nailing
  • No bump firing option

6.  SENCO FinishPro® 18MG 2-1/8" 18-Gauge Brad Nailer

10 Best Brad Nailers of 2020 – (Electric, Cordless, 18 Gauge)10 Best Brad Nailers of 2020 – (Electric, Cordless, 18 Gauge)

Whenever you are looking for a best brad nailer, one feature you really need is the ability to maneuver around corners and tight spaces. Well, the SENCO 18-Gauge nailer offers just that.

The tool weighs 2.8 lbs., and that’s attributed to its magnesium body, which helps offer a less stressful workaround with the tool.  When adjusting the depth, you don’t gotta worry about needing a wrench or something like that – everything is tool-free.

You’ll definitely love the dual firing mechanisms; the Bump and Sequential firing modes. All you have to do is flip a switch that’s situated on the right side of the unit.

The tool can fire nails ranging from ¾ to 2½ inches. And the best thing is that the magazine gets to hold 110 brad nails.

If there is one feature that I personally love about the SENCO ProSeries nailer is that it works perfectly without need for oil. This minimizes the risk of any oil spills, which is something common with some other brad nailers.

Now, one very unique feature with the SENCO FinishPro is the EZ-Clear latch located at the front of the tool. This allows for easier and quicker release of the jammed nails.

The nailer comes installed with a swivel connector, which makes it an easy-peasy task connecting the tool to a hose.

What We Loved

  • Operating pressure is between 70 and 120 psi, as the air consumption is 2.2 SCFm
  • Very easy to remove its belt clip and attach it on any side of the nailer
  • Line of sight is amazingly clear
  • Built using magnesium for guaranteed of longevity
  • Exceptionally lightweight (2.8 lbs.) for better positioning and maneuverability
  • Offers both bump and sequential firing modes

What Could Be Better

  • The magazine isn’t great, and so prepare yourself for occasional replacements

7.  Dewalt DWFP12231 18-Gauge Brad Nailer

10 Best Brad Nailers of 2020 – (Electric, Cordless, 18 Gauge)10 Best Brad Nailers of 2020 – (Electric, Cordless, 18 Gauge)

If you’ve got a small budget, then you have to get this brad nailer. DeWalt is a highly regarded brand, and so, if its tool goes for less than the average cost, then you better jump in and grab one.

Despite being a small-sized tool, the Dewalt 18-gauge brad nailer offers enough power to execute all sorts of nailing tasks – from casing, cabinetry, shoe molding, to fastening decorative molding.

At 4.8 lbs, this DeWalt nailer is relatively portable, and has an integrated rubber handle that offers a perfect grip.

Personally, and as an expert, I love the fact that the Dewalt DWFP12231 comes installed with a removable nose tip that’s non-marring and features an onboard tool storage. 

The tool boasts of an adjustable belt hook, which comes in handy for safe storage. Its trigger is sequential and needs a 70 to 120 psi operating pressure. The gauge drives nails of sizes 5/8 to 2 inches.

When it comes to maintenance, this Dewalt 18-gauge nailer doesn’t require much attention, because the motor operates without the need for oiling.

What We Loved

  • Really affordable and best for buyers on a budget
  • Features a tool-free mechanism for releasing jammed nails
  • The nose tip is non-marring
  • Its body has been designed with magnesium, hence delivers power and lightweight operations
  • Comes with a flexible exhaust port for safe release of the exhaust air

What Could Be Better

  • Its magazine is angled in such a way that it’s difficult to work in tight spaces
  • Anti-Dry Fire mechanism not provided

8.  Dewalt dcn680b 20v max xr - Best 18 Gauge Brad Nailer

10 Best Brad Nailers of 2020 – (Electric, Cordless, 18 Gauge)10 Best Brad Nailers of 2020 – (Electric, Cordless, 18 Gauge)

The first thing to notice is its large magazine, which can hold up to 110 nails. And since it’s a DeWalt product, expectations of effectiveness are high. Luckily, the tool doesn’t disappoint.

For instance, the tool boasts of the dry-fire protection, which prevents accidental firing of the nailer once the nails have run out. So, once the magazine has about 11 nails remaining, the tool reminds you of the lack of nails.

The Dewalt (DCN680B) can shoot nails of up to 2 inches. And its 20V brushless motor lets you shoot nails into hardwoods without inconveniences.

I love the fact that the tool is well-balanced especially when you using it with 5 Amp batteries. I noticed that using a 2 Amp battery caused the tool to feel less balanced. So I’d advise you to get the 5 amp battery – which is compatible with the nailer.

Compared to other nailers, the Dewalt DCN680B is still lighter despite the addition of the battery.

In case you ever find yourself working in a dimly lit room, don’t worry, because this tool has LED lights installed on it. This helps brighten your workstation. Even though the LED isn’t as bright as the Hitabo and Makita nailers, the lighting works perfectly. You don’t need a very bright LED, anyways.

What We Loved

  • Jam release is easy-peasy, whereby you just need to flip the latch at the front of the tool’s nose
  • Easy to set up the nail head depth
  • Boasts of dual LED lighting
  • Anti-Dry Fire feature is the best thing about this tool

What Could Be Better

  • As a Tool-Only product, you’ll have to get accessories on your own. If this is a turnoff, you can always opt for Dewalt (DCN680D1), which comes as a complete kit

9.  BOSTITCH (BTFP12233) 18GA Smart Point Brad Nailer

10 Best Brad Nailers of 2020 – (Electric, Cordless, 18 Gauge)10 Best Brad Nailers of 2020 – (Electric, Cordless, 18 Gauge)

This is one tool every expert knows about, mainly because of its accuracy and precision. The tool boasts of a unique technique – the Smart Point Technology – whereby the nailer features a nose footprint that’s 60 percent smaller than most nailers.

This technology allows for a quick yet very accurate nail placement. It eliminates your need to push the tool against the workpiece just to actuate the nailer. Instead, the technology allows you to fit the nose tip into very narrow spaces.

At the same time, due to the Smart Point Technology, the Bostitch nailer has an overall nice and balanced feel.

As if that’s not enough, the unit experiences very minimal jams. And in case jammed nails occur, releasing the jam is tool-free and takes literally seconds.

I love the fact that the unit efficiently buries nails into hardwood.

Although most nailers come with no-marring nose pieces, the Bostitch goes a notch higher by including two extra no-marring pieces. Isn’t that amazing? Well, this is very cool.

What’s even better about the tool is that they considered your need to sharpen pencils, which is in-built to the tool.

What We Loved

  • Features the Smart Point Technology for better precision 
  • Oil-free operation eliminates risks of oil stains
  • It has an amazing balance
  • Both the Bump and Sequential firing modes available
  • Features a tool-free release of jammed nails

What Could Be Better

  • Unfortunately, the nailer is not cordless, hence you’ll be constantly connecting to a power source

10.  Ryobi P320 Airstrike 18 Volt One+ Lithium Ion Cordless Brad Nailer

10 Best Brad Nailers of 2020 – (Electric, Cordless, 18 Gauge)10 Best Brad Nailers of 2020 – (Electric, Cordless, 18 Gauge)

Now, if you are looking for a nailer that doesn’t cost an arm a leg, but still offers great performance, then the Ryobi p320 is exactly what you need. And even though it doesn’t come with a battery, you get its Ryobi 4 Amp battery at an extra cost. 

I love the fact it comes with a knob that’s easy to turn. This facilitates quick and easy depth adjustments. Also, it’s worth mentioning that the tool features Anti-Dry fire capability, whereby it locks itself when the nails are running out. This guarantees safety.

Working at night? Worry not, because the Ryobi P320 brad nailer has been installed with LED lights to help illuminate dim spaces.

When it jams up, the tool offers an easy release mechanism, which requires no wrenches or anything like that – basically, its jam release is tool-free.

What We Loved

  • Capable of firing up to 1700 nails on a single charge
  • Cordless tool so you don’t need any pricey gas cartridges or compressors
  • Adjusting the air pressure is simple and convenient
  • Features a low-nail indicator, which lets you know if the nails are running out

What Could Be Better

  • Tends to jam a lot

Best Brad Nailer - Buyer’s Guide on What to Look For

  • What’s The Nose Design Like?

Also known as the tip, a nailer’s nose is the part that comes into contact with the workpiece. How the nose is designed determines the precision when sinking the nails.

Typically, a narrow nose is more accurate because it allows the nailer to reach tight and inaccessible spaces.

From the aforementioned brad nailers, the Dewalt DCN680B features a micro-nose design, which makes it easier using the tool. The other tool that comes close is the Bostitch BTFP12233, whose Smart Point Technology helps you make really precise nailing.

  • Does the Nailer Feature Tool-Free Jam Release?

It is inevitable for nailers to jam , although it shouldn’t be common. Therefore, it is highly advisable to pick a nailer whose jam release is tool-free and doesn’t need a wrench.

If a brad nailer reviews requires the use of an Allen wrench to loosen the jamming, then that’s the cue to keep off and look for an alternative.

  • What’s The Depth Adjustment Mechanism Like?

It's a rule of thumb for all nailers to come with depth adjustment. However, check if the mechanism is easy to use and the scales easy to read.

For most nailers, the adjustments come in the form of either a wheel or a dial. You increase or decrease the depth by turning the dial (or wheel) either clockwise or anticlockwise. The difference comes in how these adjustment scales have been designed – are they easy to read or not?

  • How Does The Nailer Handle Dry Fire?

Well, dry fire in brad nailers is when the tool continues firing even when the nail magazine is out of nails. When this happens, you’re likely to damage the nailer, or even cause a dent to the piece you’re working on – which isn’t something you wanna tolerate.

Therefore, I think it’s really important you go with a best brad nailer that comes installed with such a feature. Otherwise, for nailers without the Anti-Dry Fire, they tend to have the feature whereby the tool warns you if the nails in the magazine are running out.

  • Does The Nailer Let You Control The Exhaust Air?

Since most brad nailers are pneumatic (rely on air to operate), you’ll be releasing used air. The nailer needs to be directed away from you, for safety.

Therefore, a good brad nailer should let you control the exhaust air. Effective nailers have the capability to rotate in 360-degrees such that you can release the exhaust air in any direction you prefer. This way, you keep the exhaust air away from your face.

  • What Are The Nailing Mode Control?

When it comes to brad nailers, there are two modes – the Bump and the Sequential firing modes. Some nailers come with either modes, while others come installed with both modes, whereby you get to interchange between either modes.

Now, what’s the difference between the Bump and Sequential modes? Well, the functionality of the bump mode is to increase productivity by speeding up your work. On the other hand, the sequential is geared towards safety.

When firing using the bump mode, you just need to pull or squeeze the trigger as each pull results in a nail fired.

As for the sequential mode, you first need to compress the nose then squeeze the trigger. That is, when the nose has been compressed, there is no continuous firing, which isn’t speedy enough, but very safe.

Now, when picking a brad nailer, you should consider which of the two modes can you tradeoff. Are you about safety? Or are you all about speed? Choose appropriately. But still, it is much better to get a brad nailer that gives you both options.

  • What Are The Ergonomics? Is The Brad Nailer Comfortable To Use?

It doesn't matter what your project may be, you need a nailer that’s comfortable to hold and one that grips perfectly in your hand. This way, you can work long hours without feeling fatigued.

This is particularly important for cordless brad nailers, which require you to hold and carry around for long periods of time.

Therefore, it’s vital that you check if the nailer comes rubberized or not. Rubberized options offer firm grips, and you don’t have to worry about sweaty palms.

This should also be applicable with the trigger, whereby some nailers tend to have a metallic one, with the argument of longevity. However, you’ll be using the trigger most of the time, and you don’t wanna be pressing a metallic trigger.

Conclusion

With the aforementioned brad nailers, I really hope you’ve found what’s perfect for you. I know that different folks have diverse opinions, and so it’s important that you go with a nailer that fits your daily needs.

Thus, if you are into precision, the Bostitch BTFP12233 and the Dewalt DCN680D1 are great options. However, if you are into budgeting and looking for something that’s affordable, then the Dewalt (DWFP12231) and the WEN (61720) are amazing options.

Anyways, no matter your preference, this best brad nailer reviews has listed different tools, which have been picked as per the different functionalities they offer. Happy shopping!

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