A close-up of a gas nailer power tool.

Brad Nailer

Originally contributed by • last updated 2/25/2021

Mark Hunter

If you don’t already have a tool box full of the things you need for your next project, getting started may first require a trip to the hardware store. Selecting the right power tools for the right job can be a daunting and expensive task for someone new to DIY or home improvement. Take, for example, the differences between a brad nailer and a finish nailer, and the projects for which they are best suited. Knowing a few key points will help you make an informed decision and save money.


The term brad nailer refers to a type of nail gun that shoots brads, sometimes called brad nails, which are thin nails made from 18 gauge wire. These specialized nail guns are typically used for smaller, more delicate woodworking projects such as fine trim and some model and furniture building. There are two main types available, an electric version and a pneumatic version, both with their own pros and cons. The electric versions are a type of cordless, battery powered nail gun. Pneumatic versions require pressurized air and attached hoses to operate. Brads are quite thin and can bend easily, and should not be used to support weight or provide stability. Brad nailers and finish nailers are often compared due to their similarities.

What Are The Differences Between A Brad Nailer And A Finish Nailer?

  • If you’re looking for the perfect nailer for small woodworking projects, you might be wondering what the main differences are between the brad nailer and the finish nailer. While they are similar in some ways, both have their own applications.
  • A finish nailer typically uses nails that are made from 15 or 16 gauge steel wire, capable of holding more weight. Finish nail guns are great for furniture building projects and heavier types of trim and crown molding. Overall, a finish nailer is considered to be more versatile than a brad nailer.