Reviews

The Best Cordless Nail Guns (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021

Drive nails anywhere with these cordless nail guns.

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BY Hank O'Hop / LAST UPDATED ON March 27, 2021

Cordless tools will always have a place among handymen. They are far easier to maneuver with no cords or hoses getting in the way. Due to modern technology, they can even compete with corded or pneumatic alternatives in many ways. There’s no way to produce the same amount of power as some others, which is why you need to determine whether or not a cordless tool is a viable option for the work you perform. Cordless nail guns are a prime example of when the balancing act comes into play. They don’t usually produce as much power as a pneumatic alternative. Still, the benefits of easy handling and the convenient setup combined with respectable performance make them worthy of your consideration. We provide a little guidance, including suggestions on which models to consider.

Best Overall
DeWalt 20V MAX Cordless Brad Nailer Kit
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Summary
Summary

High-quality brad nailer priced to meet the needs of professionals and hobbyists. This tool has many design implements that work to improve handling and protect the workpiece.

Pros
Pros
  • Excellent quality 
  • Range of features to improve operation and safety 
  • Include battery
Cons
Cons
  • Low-nail lockout can require a learning curve
Best Overall
DeWalt 20V MAX Cordless Brad Nailer Kit
Best Value
KIMO 20V 18 Gauge Cordless Brad Nailer/Stapler Kit
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Summary
Summary

Very affordable brad nailer that can also function as a stapler. The tool is sized perfectly to boost versatility, and it comes with everything you need to get working upon arrival.

Pros
Pros
  • Excellent price point
  • Combines two tools in one
  • Includes battery
Cons
Cons
  • Reliability is questionable
Best Value
KIMO 20V 18 Gauge Cordless Brad Nailer/Stapler Kit
Honorable Mention
Metabo HPT Cordless Framing Nailer Kit
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Summary
Summary

Professional-grade framing nailer designed to endure extensive projects. This tool can drive a range of different nail sizes and has enough battery life to drive 400 nails on a single charge.

Pros
Pros
  • Excellent quality 
  • Superior power 
  • Includes battery
Cons
Cons
  • Premium price point
Honorable Mention
Metabo HPT Cordless Framing Nailer Kit
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Why Trust Us


All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Benefits of Cordless Nail Guns

  • No cord. Electric power is a popular alternative to compressed air. The benefit of going with a battery does not have to work around the cord, or air hose, for that matter, making the tool far more maneuverable.
  • No air compressor required. Not having to invest in or haul around, an air compressor is a significant plus for cordless nail guns. Still, there are plenty of times where a pneumatic nail gun is necessary. You might want to review our guide to small air compressors for when the time comes.
  • Lightweight. While there are lighter pneumatic models, cordless nail guns are still very lightweight. That furthers your ability to handle these tools in any setting efficiently.

Types of Cordless Nail Guns

Pin Nailer

As the name implies, this type works with small 23-gauge headless nails that resemble pins. When considering a cordless nail gun, you don’t have to worry about whether or not it will deliver the same amount of power as a pneumatic tool because it doesn’t take much to drive these small nails through delicate trim work.

Brad Nailer

The brad nailers are a step up from a pin nailer. They work with slightly larger 18-gauge nails that offer better structural integrity. Because they can work with many of the same materials a pin nailer can, along with heavier trim pieces, these are considered a much more versatile option. However, when comparing the two for use with delicate trim, don’t forget about the nails' look once they are in place.

Finishing Nailer

Finishing nails are used to hang heavy materials like baseboards and cabinetry. Despite what the name may imply, these are not a good choice for hanging finishing touches like trim. These tools use larger nails than brad nailers and pin nailers, meaning they are likely to split the material and are far easier to notice.

Framing Nailer

As the name implies, these nail guns are made for framing. If structural integrity is your concern, this is the way to go. These types of nail guns can drive a wide range of nail sizes, and you’ll have to pay attention to what it will work with as you make your selection. For the most part, these do perform reasonably well compared to their pneumatic counterpart, but they aren’t usually as powerful, which is something to be aware of. For an in-depth look at these nailers, consider our guide to Framing Nailers.

Top Brands

DeWalt

DeWalt’s been in the business since 1924, so it’s safe to say it knows a thing or two about what’s essential to tradesfolk. Today, the company works out of Baltimore, Md., and is responsible for some of the industry's most recognizable tools. It’s a no-brainer to include something like the DeWalt 20V MAX Cordless Brad Nailer Kit on our list.

Makita

This Japanese-based company is also a veteran of the trades with experience ranging back to 1915. When it comes to cordless power tools, it’s hard to argue with the quality and performance of those offered by this company. That said, the Makita 18V LXT Cordless 1-3/8-Inch Pin Nailer is a fine example of Makita’s work.

Ryobi

While Ryobi is a favorite of those who lean on affordable tools, it isn’t exactly wet behind the ears. This Japanese brand has been hard at work since 1943. The focus is to provide quality tools at affordable prices, making something like the Ryobi P320 Airstrike 18 Volt One+ Cordless Brad Nailer an excellent option for weekend warriors and hobbyists.

Metabo

Everyone loves a German tool, which is part of why Metabo’s work dates back as far as 1924. This brand is known for producing high-quality power tools for professionals to rely on. In 2016, it purchased Hitachi, another reliable brand, and moved items like the Metabo HPT Cordless Framing Nailer Kit into its lineup.

Porter-Cable

Coming to you from Jackson, Tenn., Porter-Cable is one of the most popular brands to supply affordable tools. The company’s been around since 1906, which is a clear indication that, despite the low prices, its tools hit the mark. There’s almost no way to put a list of suggestions together without including the Porter-Cable 20V MAX Cordless Brad Nailer Kit.

Craftsman

Another Maryland-based company you’re likely familiar with is Craftsman. This company has been supplying industry pros and hobbyists with affordable quality tools since 1927 and is likely to be found in any shop in the nation. The Craftsman V20 Cordless Brad Nailer Kit is worthy of your consideration if you need a good tool without going broke.

Cordless Nail Gun Pricing

  • $100-$150: These are your entry-level cordless nail guns. Keep in mind that cordless options are generally more expensive than their pneumatic and corded counterparts, even if you’re leaning on budget-friendly options.
  • $150-$200: This price range includes a blend of options. You can expect to find those that are a step-up from entry-level contenders along with nail guns from premium manufacturers that come without batteries.
  • $200-$400: For the most part, this price range is reserved for premium offerings that include the batteries. Still, you are likely to find more inclusive kits from more affordable companies within it as well.

Key Features

Nail Gauge

As we know, cordless nail guns are designed to work with a range of different nail types and sizes. That is the most crucial detail to consider as it determines what kind of work the tool can perform. The good news is that it’s pretty easy to decide whether or not you need something for framing or trim and what kind of look is essential to the finishing work you may be performing.

Overall Quality

Nail guns are the kind of tool you might be using for hours on end every single day or once in a blue moon. A quality tool is always worth the money but isn’t always necessary. If you are using the device for a major project or to make a living, reach for the best one you could afford. Otherwise, you can certainly make the call to go with something less expensive. Just be aware of the “buy once, cry once” motto as less costly tools do generally have a shorter lifespan.

Other Considerations

  • Inclusion of Battery. Not all cordless nail guns come with a battery, and you need to be aware of this. Bare tools are always more affordable, but you will have to spend money on a battery to make it work unless you already have tools with batteries they can share with it. And if you do need to purchase the battery separately, be sure to pick one that comes with the charger, as not all do.

Best Cordless Nail Guns Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
DeWalt 20V MAX Cordless Brad Nailer Kit

If you need a quality brad nailer, this entry is tough to beat. For one, it comes from DeWalt, meaning you already know it's a quality tool you can rely on to make a living. But quality isn't all it has going for it. This nailer is part of the 20V Max line, meaning it's an excellent addition to a collection of those tools to share batteries with—and yes, this does come with the battery. As for the function, this nail gun has a few features to improve efficiency and safety. You have a selectable trigger that allows you to work with either sequential or contact actuation and a low nail lockout to prevent dry firing and leave marks on the workpiece. It also has a built-in LED light to help you see in rare cases where light is limited.


The low nail lockout is a great feature, but it does take some getting used to. It doesn't actuate when the magazine is empty. It stops when there are 10 nails left. You have to take that into account when loading up and be careful not to drop the remaining nails as you are.

Best Value
KIMO 20V 18 Gauge Cordless Brad Nailer/Stapler Kit

Your hunt for a bargain ends here. This nail gun price is similar to that of many others. Only it's not just a nail gun. This kit comes with the nail gun, the battery, a battery charger, and a storage bag. But that's not all. This nail gun also works like a stapler, making it an extremely versatile tool. And because it's a brad nailer, it's even more versatile than you might initially expect. The overall size complements the function of this tool. Even though it's loaded with features, it is relatively compact and easy to use in tight spaces.


It's hard to pick on this tool too much, considering it has an excellent price point and works relatively well. Does it compare to a premium tool? No. the fit and finish aren't perfect, and it does seem to struggle with driving nails perfectly. Still, it's an affordable tool that hobbyists can certainly rely on.

Best Premium
Metabo HPT Cordless Framing Nailer Kit

Framing is a physically demanding job for you and your tools to take on. When you do, you might as well have a nail gun that can stand up to the task at hand. This is a Metabo, and it's designed to serve professionals who rely on their tools to make a living. That said, it can work with 2-inch to 3.5-inch nails and can drive up to 400 nails on a single charge. It also offers a level of power similar to that of a pneumatic nailer, so you never have to worry about it being too weak to get the job done. We should also highlight the fact that this tool comes with the battery, battery charger, and a storage case allowing you to put it to work the second you buy it.


Of course, the price is something that is going to steer many in another direction. It is a professional-level tool, though, and you can expect to pay a premium price for something of this quality regardless of the manufacturer.

Best Pin Nailer
Makita 18V LXT Cordless 1-3/8-Inch Pin Nailer

There are a couple of reasons we consider this to be the best pin nailer. To state the obvious, it's a Makita. That tells us it's a high-quality option that you can rely on for any walk of life. Another detail that we like is the refined firing mechanism. It reduces recoil. Recoil might not seem like that big of a deal, but the less there is, the easier it is to use a tool. When dealing with putting the finishing touches on delicate trim, that's a big deal. It also has an anti-dry fire mechanism that helps to prevent leaving undesirable marks on your workpiece when you run through all 120 pin nails.


Unfortunately, this model does not come with a battery. If you already have other 18V LXT Makita tools, that's not a big deal. But it does mean those without will face a bigger expense.

Honorable Mention
Craftsman V20 Cordless Brad Nailer Kit

Craftsman is known for supplying a tool that hobbyists and professionals can put to use with ease of mind knowing they have a quality device. This brad nailer is no exception. This is a relatively large nail gun, but it is lightweight and has an optimal center of balance that makes it very easy to handle. Furthermore, there is no need for tools to make depth adjustments or clear jams. It's also part of a kit that comes with everything you need to get working, and you do have the option to bundle it together with other cordless tools from Craftsman.


What holds this tool back is the fact that it doesn't perform well for extended use. Having to let the device cool down and deal with jams are frequently reported problems.

Honorable Mention
Porter-Cable 20V MAX Cordless Brad Nailer Kit

Porter-Cable is yet another brand budget-oriented buyers are on the hunt for. This particular model is a brad nailer intended to work with 18-gauge nails and has a magazine that can hold up to 100 of them. This model also features a depth adjusting feature that allows you to make sure it's just right for any job. Also, no adjustments or troubleshooting processes rely on additional tools. Of course, this tool does come with the necessary battery charger and battery, but you do have the option to select the bare tool or bundle it together with additional tools from Porter-Cable.


There's nothing particularly bad about this tool. Reviews indicate very few issues with reliability and quality. However, the design isn't going to compare to something of a premium entry. Whether or not the feel of the tool holds it back comes down to your personal preference.

Honorable Mention
Ryobi P325 One+ 18V Cordless 16 Gauge Finish Nailer

Those on the hunt for an affordable tool are likely already on the lookout for Ryobi offerings. In particular, this model is a great option for hanging heavier materials during your weekend renovation. It's a finishing nailer that relies on 16-gauge nails that you can use to safely hang cabinetry and more. A nice detail is that this tool features an air pressure adjusting switch that allows you to set the depth of nail driving. Other features that improve its ease of use are the low nail indicator that prevents dry-firing, LED lighting in the head of the tool, and tool-free adjustments.


Of course, this is a very affordable option, but that's partly because it doesn't feature the battery or charger you need to get it running. That said, unless you have other Ryobi tools that it can share batteries with, you're going to need to spend more than the price of this tool.

Honorable Mention
Freeman 18 Volt 18 Gauge Cordless Nailer & Stapler

It's hard to go through a list like this and not talk about various budget-friendly options. This model does separate itself from many of the others in multiple ways, though. For one, it comes with a battery, charger, and a blow-molded case. Many will agree a rigid case has several advantages over a bad and might consider this solely because of it. Well, that and the features. This nailer uses 18-gauge nails for hanging trim and can double as a stapler for the specs. That means it's far more versatile than a simple brad nailer. It's also compact enough to use in tight spaces, and it also has built-in LED lighting, so your vision is never compromised.


At the end of the day, it is a budget-friendly tool that has its limitations. The reliability is somewhat questionable as many reviews state it's short-lived, and it does tend to leave marks on workpieces during operation.

Honorable Mention
Porter-Cable 20V MAX 16 Gauge Finish Nailer

We're going to close the list by taking another look at what Porter-Cable has to offer. This time around, we're talking about a finishing nail that uses 16-gauge nails to hang heavier pieces of material around the home or shop. It also has the benefit of making adjustments to the settings without having to rely on additional tools. That's always good news for someone who just needs to tackle a quick project without hauling around a tool belt. We can't leave out the fact that this model does come with the battery and the charger so that you don't have to worry about additional expenses.


Speaking of expenses, this does have a relatively high price tag, which you might not expect from Porter-Cable. The quality is there to justify the high cost, but it is enough to turn someone to an alternative brand for a price range they usually turn to Porter-Cable for.

Tips

  • Nail guns aren’t toys, and PPE is essential. Always make sure to wear hearing protection, eye protection, and hand protection while working. 
  • As great as cordless nailers are, specialty pneumatic models like roofing nailers are essential to the projects you need them for. 
  • Nails are great for when shear strength is essential, but the clamping force of a screw is superior in many cases. You might want to consider adding screw guns to your collection because of this. 
  • If you’re working on long projects, you’ll want to have at least one extra battery on the ready. 

FAQs

Q: What is the best cordless nail gun?

Our favorite is the DeWalt 20V MAX Cordless Brad Nailer Kit. But what is best for you depends on the type of work you are doing and what your budget allows for.

Q: Are cordless nail guns any good?

Cordless nail guns are great tools. While they might not be as powerful as pneumatic nailers, they certainly work well enough for many projects.

Q: What is the difference between a brad nailer and a finish nailer?

The primary difference is the types of nails they use. Brad nailers usually use smaller, 18-gauge nails and finishing nailers usually run larger 16-gauge nails. The brad nailer works better for trim while finishing nails are best for heavier applications like hanging baseboards and cabinetry.

Q: What is the best battery-powered Brad Nailer?

Our top pick, the DeWalt 20V MAX Cordless Brad Nailer Kit, happens to be a brad nailer. The balance of pricing, performance, and reliability makes it hard to beat in our eyes.

Final Thoughts

Again, our top pick is the DeWalt 20V MAX Cordless Brad Nailer Kit. It’s a high-quality tool with excellent versatility and a competitive price point. If you do need something more affordable, the Ryobi P320 Airstrike, 18 Volt One+ Cordless Brad Nailer is worthy of your consideration. That is, unless you need a finishing or framing nail gun. If that’s the case, we want you to let us know what you think the best option is!