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 April 5, 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.
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.
- Excellent quality
- Range of features to improve operation and safety
- Include battery
- Low-nail lockout can require a learning curve
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.
- Excellent price point
- Combines two tools in one
- Includes battery
- Reliability is questionable
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.
- Excellent quality
- Superior power
- Includes battery
- Premium price point
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Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
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
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
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.
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!