Ultimate Guide to Brad Nailers

A brad nailer is a common power equipment used for DIY and home improvement projects. It is used to secure 18 gauge brad nails in a variety of repair applications. It can be used to connect furniture, perform modest carpentry chores, or attach trims.

What is a Brad Nailer?

Brad nailers are nail guns used to attach little mouldings and woodcuts to woodwork.  It is essentially a battery-powered tool that fires 18-gauge brads. It is frequently the favored option because it employs very thin nail gauges that will not slit the wood surface regardless of how light it is.

Furthermore, brad nailers are quite adaptable in terms of nail accommodation. Most commonly, 18-gauge brad nails with lengths ranging from 5/8 to 2 1/8 inch are supported. These are the smallest nails and are nearly invisible on a wood surface. When utilizing these brad nails, you won’t even need to replace the nail holes. However, if you do, it will not be difficult.

Aside from ensuring that it works as intended, always purchase the correct one in terms of nail length accommodation, convenience of use, and upkeep. This produces better results and extends its usefulness. This book will teach you how to utilize brad nailers effectively and make the most of your operations.

Brad Nailer Types and Applications

Brad nailing guns are multipurpose instruments used for attaching materials together with nails or staples. There are two kinds of brad nailers. They are as follows:

Pneumatic Brad Nailer

While delivering 18 gauge nails, this brad nail gun often requires an air compressor or portable tank-style air source. A Pneumatic Brad nailer is a versatile tool that may be used to build a variety of woodworking projects.

Because of the large number of mishaps caused by pressured air, caution must be exercised when using this instrument. Otherwise, you may sustain an injury and require medical attention.

Electric Brad Nailer 

An electric brad nailer is ideal for anyone who wants to complete a task more quickly and efficiently. It can, as the name implies, be powered by an electric motor that runs on electricity rather than air, like a pneumatic motor does.

Although this electric brad nailer is not the most inexpensive option, it will save you money in the long term. Because this power tool is electric rather than pneumatic, it requires no gas or compressor and requires less maintenance over time.

On an electrical gadget with limited dust collection, there are only a few moving parts to maintain.

Parts of a Brad Nailer

If you’re new to using a brad nailer, it’s a good idea to get acquainted with its components: • The body is a D-shaped structure that contains or connects all other sections.

  • The handle is made up of the top of the body and is proportioned and designed to allow the tool to be grabbed
  • The battery, which is only found on battery-powered models, is usually located on the bottom or back of the body.
  • The trigger is located at the front of the handle and is designed to be squeezed with the fingertip of the hand gripping the handle. The tool is designed to shoot when both the trigger and the power tip are depressed.
  • The magazine is a metal cartridge attached on the tool’s bottom, opposite the hand grip. It includes a sliding component that opens to allow brads to be loaded into the nailer.
  • The power tip and nail discharge aperture are positioned in the magazine’s front. The power tip keeps the nailer from firing mistakenly until it is pressed against the workpiece.
  • The nailer’s front body is a sealed device that houses a pressure chamber and a cylinder with a piston. When both the trigger on the handle and the power tip are depressed, pressurized air enters the chamber and pulls the piston down the cylinder, where its blade-shaped head propels the nail out the tip and into the workpiece. All of this happens in a fraction of a second.
  • Controls on the tool’s front body may include an air-pressure dial that changes the quantity of air expelled when you push the trigger, as well as a depth gauge that adjusts the distance between the nailer and the work material. Both controls work together to accurately control the depth to which the brads penetrate the workpiece.
  • If a nail becomes trapped in the tip, a jam-clear lever on the front of the tool is utilized to clear it.

A brad nailer may also include various functions, depending on the brand and design, such as:

  • A work light that illuminates the area around the tip.
  • A belt hook to attach the tool to your belt.
  • A low-nail indicator window that indicates when the magazine is running low and has to be replenished.

How to Choose Brad Nails

A visit to any hardware store during home renovation might be pretty confusing if you don’t know exactly what brad nails you’re looking for and what your job necessitates. The truth is that we have a bewildering assortment of brad nails at our disposal. As a result, you should perform your research first to prevent the difficult chore of finding the proper nail to attach your project.

The first thing to consider when selecting the correct brad nail is the type of jobs you’ll be doing. Brad nails come in a range of shapes and sizes, but they all serve the same purpose. Here are some things to think about:

1. Length

What length brad nail do I require? Because different building regulations mandate varying nail lengths, this is the most often asked question in brad nail selection. Given this, there are two general guidelines for selecting the proper brad nail size.

Rule of Thumb 1: Make sure the length of the brad nail is at least three times the length of the material that is being nailed through.

Rule of Thumb 2: Use a nail that doesn’t penetrate the material being fastened but extends at least 3/4 of the way through.

2. Sizing

Brad nails are marketed in penny sizes, such as 8d, 12d, 16d, and so on, where ‘d’ stands for the penny on the British monetary unit. Penny sizing simply relates to nail length; the greater the penny number, the longer the nail, and vice versa.

The gauge of a brad nail relates to its thickness rather than its length. You can have varied lengths in each gauge size. If you’re searching for an excellent all-purpose brad nail, I recommend the 18-gauge. because of its adaptability.

3. Interior or Exterior

If the brad nails are to be exposed, they must be strong enough. Using interior nails on the outside causes them to corrode and, eventually, bleed through the paint and fail. As external brad nails, the following would suffice:

  • Electro-Galvanized. Thinly coated with zinc to increase rust resistance.
  • Hot-Dipped-Galvanized. During the manufacturing process, they are immersed in molten zinc. They are rust-resistant and ideal for pressure-treated wood, where ordinary brad nails typically corrode.
  • Stainless Steel. They are a superb alloy blend in steel and are guaranteed not to rust. For example, if your project is on the seaside where there is saltwater spray, you will require nails.

4. Shank Patterns

There is a different shank pattern for each task, just as there is a different brad nail for each project. Here are some popular patterns and instructions on how to utilize them.

  • A conventional all-purpose brad nail with a smooth shank and no frills.
  • Ring. They provide additional holding force to keep the nails in place. Roof decking is a popular choice.
  • Spiral. Typically applied to hardwoods. They frequently rotate when they are blasted in, providing more gripping force than a standard nail and preventing breaking wood.

Brad Nail Features

Consider the attributes of a brad nail to help you make an informed selection when purchasing them. Nail features, depending on size and model, play a role in increasing the characteristics of the nails. There are three major factors to consider:

  • The Nail Head. Flathead, checkered flat head, countersunk head, and cupped head are the many varieties.
  • A nail shank. The many nail shanks used for various applications include smooth shark, barbed shank, and screw shank.
  • Nail point: This determines how easy the nail will be to drive during operation. Long diamond, diamond, and blunt are the many varieties. The most common are diamond point nails.

Buying The Right Brad for Your Project

Buying The Right Brad for Your Project

If you now have all of the information you need on brad nails, you’re ready to go ahead and buy the correct nails for your project. You can now select the sizes, heads, shanks, and points that are most suited to your project. This will not only assist you with your budget, but it will also ensure that you spend wisely.

If you have a lot of projects that require different types of brad nails, get an array of nails to assist you accomplish them on time.

An assortment is a terrific advantage because you never know when you might need to undertake some home repairs. Brad nails can be found in almost any store, including hardware and bargain stores. They will serve their purpose for as long as you have them because they do not expire.

How to Load a Brad Nailer

Loading brad nails into a nail gun is a valuable lesson to learn.

While a brad nailer has various applications, the brads may be difficult to drive through some hardwood and manufactured wood products, such as plywood.

This reminds us of the importance of properly loading the brad nailer with the appropriate number of brads and closing the magazine.

Brad nailers are mostly used for trimming around interior windows and doors, crown molding, and cabinet and furniture construction. When working on a project that calls for the usage of brads, an electric or pneumatic nail gun will be required.

Key Elements of Loading a Brad Nailer

  • Air Pressure Dial: Controls how much air is expelled when the trigger is pressed. The deeper the brads, the greater the air pressure; less pressure equals higher brads.
  • Depth Gauge: Used to control the distance between the nailer and the work material.
  • Magazine: This is where brad strips are stored.
  • Magazine Lock: This button is used to load the gun. Another lock on the opposite end of the magazine is used to clear the magazine of stuck brads.

Different brad nailers load differently, as predicted. However, several characteristics are shared by almost all nailers. 

These are:

Brad length: Check that your brads are the correct length. What about brads that are shorter than the bottom end of the range? They might fit in the magazine, but chances are they won’t fire in the desired manner and will instead jam at the end. The gauge of the brads is also critical.

Continuous Strips: Handle the brad strip with care to avoid it breaking apart. Shorter lengths can be pieced together.

Push Forward: You’ll advance the brad strip all the way to the nailer’s firing end.

Slide Magazine Shut with Care: As much as you may need to slam the magazine close, using too much effort may cause the nailer to jam or the brad strip to fall out of place.

As you can see, you’ll need these supplies before you can even think about loading a brad nailer.

  • Goggles for safety
  • Properly sized brads
  • Power source
  • A nail gun

After taking all of this into account, here’s how to load a brad nailer.

1. Preparation

Before using any tool, you should carefully read all of the warning labels that come with it. Some models, as you’ll see, require the air hose to be connected, while others require it to be unplugged. Make sure to follow the various instructions and requirements on the tool’s warning labels for the sort of brad nailer you’re using.

2. Hook up the Airholes

This can be accomplished by wrapping the fittings in Teflon tape. The airhole is tightened to prevent air from leaking during operation.

3. Open the Brad Magazine

You do this by depressing the cartage. Pull it back all the way to have access to the magazine. That’s where you basically put different types of brad nails.

4. Loading the Brads

Fill the magazine with brads. Check that the brad head fits perfectly into each of the given slots. You’ll see that there are multiple distinct slots to accommodate various brad sizes. It may move slightly in the groove but will not be able to pull out. Insert multiple brads, but make sure they all fit comfortably in the magazine.

However, you should avoid stuffing the magazine. You can add 110 nails at a time, depending on the specifications; it is not required to count them. Just make sure there is a sufficient amount.

5. Close the Magazine

Eventually, slide the magazine until it clicks into place.

6. Loading Mechanism

This is solely determined by the type of brad nailer used. Some brad nailers load brads from the side, while others, like a normal office staple gun, load from the top. Whatever the loading mechanism, make sure the brads are properly fitted to the loading device for safety.

Usage Tips

Once you’ve loaded your brad nailer and are confident that it’s ready to use, it’s important to remember that different types of wood have different splitting properties. However, a little practice with each type of wood you choose will give you an idea of how close you can work to the end grain of the stock without necessarily splitting it.

Additionally, because brads are so thin, some nails may not sink all the way into the stock. This is especially problematic with brads because hammering the brad all the way into the stock is much more difficult.

As you’ll quickly discover, brads bend quite easily under the head of a hammer. Instead of trying to nail in the protruding brad, it is probably wiser to remove it. With a brad to remove, instead of using a hammer to pull it out, brad nailers are undoubtedly handier in removing the nails with ease, especially with the lightweight brads.

How to Maintain Brad Nailers

Most people take it for granted when they are informed that machines must be properly maintained in order to function and endure for a certain amount of time. The same is true with brad nailers; without proper care and storage, they will deteriorate.

Here are some pointers to maintain them as functional as the day they were purchased.

1. Lubricate while using

To avoid jams or clogging, always lubricate all metallic moving parts in a brad nailer. It only takes a few drops most of the time.

Before using, lube the air hose and blank-fire the nailer at least three times to allow the oil to disperse and work on it. If you plan on using it all day, you can oil it while you work to ensure proper nail firing.

Furthermore, always use pneumatic tool oil because other lubricants can eat away at the brad nailer’s rubber parts.

Furthermore, always lubricate before and after use to reduce wear and tear caused by continuous use.

2. Exposure to the environment and storage

Always take care not to expose them for an extended period of time in locations with significant moisture and salt content. This is especially frequent in coastal areas, where salt can cause the machine to corrode and stop working. The same approach applies while operating in sandy or dusty environments.

Furthermore, the airborne particle might clog and wear out the brad nailer. As a result, when not in use, invest in an airtight case for storage.

Furthermore, when storing it, keep it away from chilly regions. If it gets cold, you can blank-fire it a few times to warm it up.

3. Use it correctly.

The more skillfully you manage it, the longer it will last. As a result, follow the instructions in the user handbook.

Use the proper nails and operating pressure, especially if utilizing pneumatic brad nailers, as incorrect pressure might harm them. You should also use the appropriate size air compressor for the woodwork. To know more about air compressors and the right one to use, read our Guide to Using the Right Air Compressor.

When using a corded device, double-check the battery’s expiry date.

4. Bolts and screws should be tightened.

Tighten its bolts and screws once a month to ensure that all of its piece’s function properly. This is because they frequently relax as a result of the machine’s continual vibration and firing.

You should always double-check this because if any portion breaks, you will lose control of the entire brad nailer, which can result in injury.

For a brad nailer to work correctly, it must be maintained and used as directed. You’ll be buying brad nailers for the rest of your life if you don’t. As a result, when purchasing any type of tool, you should constantly consider maintenance costs and time.


This brings us to the end of this extensive guide on brad nailers. We attempted to cover everything from the ground up, including the definition, usage, safety tips, and correct maintenance practices.

If you are a professional woodworker and would want to contribute, please leave a comment below.

And, if you believe this is a valuable resource, please share it with the community as it will benefit many people who are just starting out in woodworking or are stuck somewhere.

And, if you believe this is a valuable resource, please share it with the community as it will benefit many people who are just starting out in woodworking or are stuck somewhere.