I do wood projects from time to time around my house. I can see there are many Pneumatic based brad nailers available. I am thinking to avoid buying and adding a compressor to my Garage.

I prefer to buy an electrical brad nailer such as this one:

Stanley TRE550 Electric Staple/Brad Nail Gun http://amzn.com/B000BPSUTM

Or this one:

Ryobi 18-Volt ONE+ AirStrike Brad Nailer Kit http://www.homedepot.com/p/Ryobi-18-Volt-ONE-AirStrike-Brad-Nailer-Kit-P854/205337057

The electrical nailers have lower overall cost and seem to be easier to handle.

What are the disadvantages to having a non-compressor Brad Nailer?

  • 1
    Well, the stanley maxes out at 5/8" fasteners, so I don't think that'll be useful for much. The Ryobi is at least a contender, as it'll shoot 2" nails. As a general statement, (not necessarily accurate in this case), Ryobi is more consumer oriented, compared to the likes of Dewalt/ Paslode/ Makita, so you shouldn't expect a ton of use out of it. The only other major disadvantage I can point to is that the cordless nailers are heavier and the front is bigger, which makes it hard to get into corners sometimes. That said, I have both, and my dewalt cordless comes out very frequently. Dec 21 '15 at 2:56
  • 1
    I don't know the technical differences but cost wise, the pneumatic tools tend to be much cheaper. So you invest in a compressor then pneumatic tools pay for it in the long run. But if you never plan on buying another pneumatic tool then cost wise it might not make sense. The tradeoff for the cheaper tools is you have to lug the compressor around with you, compressor noise, etc. Of course you never know, once you have a compressor you might find your eyes wandering to more pneumatic tools! There are also gas powered compressors for field use although generators exist too of course.
    – Jason C
    Dec 21 '15 at 16:34

Having used both, I can definitively say this. An air brand nailer/pinner, is quick, powerful and often just the right tool. Sometimes it does suffer from being corded.

My electric brad nailer is a bit slow between shots compared to an air variety, but is not hindered in angle or length to the compressor, but it is a fair bit heavier and bulkier (in most cases).

However, when quarters are not too tight at the face (not like a small box or wooden toy) and you have a lot of ground to cover, like installing floor or ceiling trim, the electric brad nailer wins hands down.

I highly suggest put one of each in your hand, and ask yourself, for my projects, would any of these cons be a hindrance to my project, or the pro's offset them.

  • What type and brand of electric brad nailer do you have?
    – Allan Xu
    Dec 21 '15 at 23:12
  • I have the Ryobi One+ that shoots 18ga. I actually received it as a gift, and use it almost weekly (to my wife's dismay sometimes) But there is not a loose piece of trim, fascia, etc in my whole house. I admit, you can get carried away with it. Dec 22 '15 at 17:24

I wasn't satisfied with the electric nailer I bought, which barely worked on soft pine. A better alternative for me was a gas nailer. Paslode, Hitachi and other gas nailers ignite a small charge of fuel to drive the nail and have vastly greater impact than an electric nailer, plus no hose to struggle with. However, gas nailers use a proprietary rechargeable battery to ignite the gas and a proprietary replaceable fuel source to supply the gas; so these must be available in your area for the tool to be of any use to you. If they are, if your budget can handle it, and you are looking at projects with more than a few hours of nailing to do, it might serve you well.

Conversely, if you use non-woodworking tools much, especially on cars, investing in a pneumatic system might be worthwhile.

Wear ear protection.

  • Good points all around. The downside to gas nailers is that the fuel often doesn't work below 32°F, which only really becomes an issue in colder climates. Altitudes above 5,000 ft can also cause issues.
    – Doresoom
    Dec 22 '15 at 18:59
  • I think it highly depends on the electric nailer. Ryobi One+ that BrownRedHawk mentioned should not be something can be dismissed easily. What electric nailer did you have?
    – Allan Xu
    Dec 22 '15 at 23:48

Before buying a pneumatic or an electric brad nailer you should consider the following:

Pneumatics are lighter and smaller than cordless electric brad nailers and more or less same size and weight than corded electric. Also cheaper than electric ones (at least cheaper than cordless electric).

When choosing an electric brad nail gun, there are corded electric brad nailer and cordless electric brad nailer.

A corded nailer is more convenient because it does not have to be charged before starting the job. However, a cordless nailer does not require you to tether yourself to a socket.

For a roofer, the cordless one is probably the better choice. Becoming tangled in the cord could be a serious safety hazard when roofing.

However, the corded model tends to be more powerful and fire faster. A battery powered nailer has to use a mechanism to amplify the battery power. This creates a slight delay.

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