What Is The Best Framing Nailer Available On The Market? All You Need To Know

The seasoned and age-old craft of carpentry has been for years been defined by the use of simple hand operated implements such as hammers and saws. Wood has been mankind’s oldest and most versatile building material remarkably through the Stone Age to the bronze and iron ages. The skills learned in carpentry and woodwork were passed on from person to person mostly through apprenticeships. The 19th century saw the discovery of electricity and the subsequent mechanization of most tasks accomplished by hand. In carpentry and woodwork, the circular saw was a game changer.

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Today, the air operated nail gun is a masterpiece of ingenuity and advances in engineering. Various models and brands have existed in the market for a while now but what is the best framing nailer available on the market? This article is aimed at exploring the mechanism of action of the modern nail gun while sampling a few select pieces in a bid to formulate an opinion on what the best nail gun is.

** Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.


How Nail Gun Work

The first nail gun was designed and built by Morris Pynoos, a civil engineer in 1950. The first generation of nail guns was air operated and was used to speed up construction of housing floors. It held a capacity of 400 to 600 nails from which it delivered up to 60 nails a minute. Nail guns basically performs two important functions;

  • Deliver a good deal of concentrated mechanized force in a single blow, repeatedly.
  • Effectively load a new nail after the ejection of the previous one.
best framing nailer

Most nail guns have a similar firing mechanism where a piston hammers a blade mechanism that propels a nail into the wood. There are several types of nail guns set apart by their methods of propulsion.

1. Electric Nail Guns:

This class of nail guns utilizes ordinary springs to provide the propelling force. These guns feature a rotating motor that compresses a spring. The spring’s sudden release provides kinetic energy that drives the nail into the wood. Electric guns are useful for light to medium weight uses.

2. Pneumatic Nail Guns

Via Buckylab.blogspot.com

Arguably the heavyweights of nail guns, this class is dependent on compressed air to provide the hammering force. This means that a standard pneumatic nail gun will come equipped with an air compressor. Pneumatic nail guns feature a trigger valve system that controls the flow of air to the plunger. When the trigger is squeezed, the valve opens allowing pressurized air to flow through driving the piston down and firing the nail. Pneumatic nail guns are the most popular carpentry implements.

3. Combustion Powered Nail Guns:

Via www.electron.rmutphysics.com

These classes of guns rely on internal combustion to propel the nails. The combustion chamber is located above the piston. This class is fueled by flammable gas fed into the combustion chamber. An ignition spark plug triggers a mini-explosion that delivers the hammering force driving nails into wood.


How To Choose A Framing Nail Gun

Framing carpenters build and make repairs to a building project using wood. Framing carpentry entails essentially putting together the framework or the skeleton of the house. The frame needs to be strong enough to maintain structural integrity and support the additional planks. Framing uses thicker lumber compared to ordinary carpentry projects. The choice of nail guns in this case, therefore, should provide a blend of power and efficiency.

best framing nailer for woodworker

Framing projects call for nailing large pieces of wood together in a short time and in the best possible way in terms of strength. When choosing a nail gun for framing projects consider the following points;

1. Power: Pneumatic nail guns are the way to go, hands down. The power of compressed air outperforms either electric or explosive gas models.

2. Types of nails fired: Most local authority bodies dictate that building projects should use round-head nails and not clipped head nails. Most manufacturers prefer clipped head nail cartridges because they hold a larger capacity compared to round heads. Their use, however, is a violation of building codes.

A Capenter is inserting a clipped head nail cartridges (Via Toolmonger.com)

3. Nail magazine type: Nail guns all use magazines to hold the nails. However, there are two distinct types of magazines namely coil style and stick style. Coil style magazines hold a larger volume of nails and will come in handy in projects that need hundreds of nails. Projects requiring fewer nails are better suited for stick style magazines. It’s all about the preference.

best framing nailer

Stick Band Faming Nailer

A Coil Framing nailer( Via Medium.com)


Framing Nail Gun Safety

As a rule regarding the use of power tools, you are advised to observe all safety precautions when handling framing nail guns. Injuries to the feet, hands, and fingers are the most commonly reported nail gun injuries. Injuries on other body parts such as the arms, legs and also internal organs have been reported. Injuries to internal organs are almost always fatal. All types of nail guns and power tools, in general, are dangerous and pose a risk to the user’s safety if not properly used.

Framing nail guns feature safety muzzles. This ingenious feature is designed to only release the nails when the muzzle is in contact with the wood surface. There are also policies in place that ensure nail guns cannot be used as projectile weapons unless otherwise modified to do so.


Which The Best Framing Nailer Available On The Current Market You Should Get

1. NuMax SFR2190 21 Degree Framing Nailer

best framing nailer Numax SFR2190

Via Amazon.com

This product features a lightweight magnesium body that delivers dependability in less than ideal situations. The dimensions of this product are 5.8 by 15 by 20.8 inches. It weighs at roughly 10 pounds.

This particular model is pneumatic and has an ingenious empty magazine warning feature. The gun will not fire with less than 4 nails in the magazine. This eliminates the risk of damaging wood by pounding when empty.

The NuMax SFR2190 is a great DIY tool and performs quite well in its class. The pricing on this model is also favorable.


Pros

  • The NuMax SFR 2190 comes with a year’s worth of warranty. Any complications or technical issues are efficiently addressed.
  • This model features interchangeable triggers that toggle the different firing methods. The interchangeable triggers allow the user to change between contact firing and single firing.
  • The driver blade is built from a single strip of steel. This feature enhances its durability and ensures a long service life.
  • This product has an air filter that ensures no particles enter the gun which can cause it to break down.

Cons

  • There have been numerous concerns that the NuMax SFR2190 doesn’t particular do a great job where wet wood is involved. The gun has been known to show some degree of bounce back.
  • 9.8 pounds is rather heavy for a framing nail gun. Framing jobs require the carpenter to operate the nail gun by hand and this product can cause some discomfort during use thanks to its weight.

2. BOSTITCH F21PL Round Head 1-1/2-Inch To 3-1/2-Inch Framing Nailer

Via Amazon.com

This is a pneumatic framing nail gun that delivers up to 1050 pounds of force per square inch. The Bostitch F21PL has the best weight to power ratio in the market owing to its lightweight and durable magnesium construction.

Being a pneumatic nail gun, the Bostitch F21PL will require an optimally powered air compressor to deliver results in the shortest time possible.

This product is designed and built to handle professional framing jobs and projects. This model can also be used for home DIY framing uses. The Bostitch brand is known for the quality and reliability of its products and this particular one is assured to last a lifetime of use from the moment it is unpacked from the box.

Bostistich  F21PL Roundup

Via Amazon.com

2.0" to 3.5" 21-degree nailsare ideal for framing jobs.


Pros

  • The Bostitch F21PL has a unique depth changing feature. Unlike most other brands that will require the manual changing of some components to toggle depth change, this product has a dedicated button design specifically for this purpose.
  • This model is accompanied by a whopping 7 year warranty period in which any malfunctions are addressed and the gun can be put to work in what it does best, framing.
  • This model is built to accommodate round head nails. Some regions ban the use of clipped head nails. The Bostitch F21PL efficiently delivers round head nails that are considered by most as offering better structural integrity. This product also operates on a variety of other nail types that most nail guns wouldn’t. An example is the hurriquake nails that this model comfortably handles.

Cons

  • The large size of the piston makes the use of this model unsuitable for narrow lumber pieces in framing projects.
  • The spring in the nose tip has been noted to get caught and fly off.

3. Freeman P4FRFNCB Framing/Finishing Combo Kit With Canvas Bag, 4-Piece

Via Amazon.com

This model comes in a framing/finish kit that gets the job done. The dimensions of this product (inclusive the pack and accessories) is 23 by 9.4 by 14.8 inches. The whole pack weighs about 25.4 pounds.

This product features a quick release mechanism which eliminates nail jamming minimizing any downtime. The nail gun has a beautiful design and is made of durable anodized aluminum. It is, therefore, lightweight and suitable for use on demanding tasks. This product’s tools are fitted with Teflon made O-rings reducing wear and tear over time.


Pros

  • The quality of build on this product is uncompromising. This is backed up by a seven-year warranty upon purchase.
  • The accompanying kit allows the user to toggle between pro use and light DIY home use.
  • The finish nailer on this product has an impressive standard angle of 34 degrees. This feature scores heavily for the Freeman P4FRFNCB as a precision nail gun.
  • This model delivers up to 120 PSI. Average framing guns peak at about 70PSI. This goes on to prove the power this model is capable of delivering.

PFR2190 21-Degree 3-1/2-Inch Framing Nailer

PFN1564 15-Gauge 2-1/2-Inch 34-Degree Finish Nailer


Cons

  • The Freeman P4FRFNCB has black rubber tips which are in itself not a bad thing since damage to the wood is avoided. However, the rubber stains and leaves markings on the wood.
  • The depth dialer on this product is a little off. Getting precision settings on this model is, therefore, a little hard.

4. Hitachi NR90AES1 2-Inch to 3-1/2-Inch Plastic Collated Framing Nailer

The Hitachi NR90AES1 is among the lightest framing nail guns available on the market right now. This nail gun model is of the pneumatic variety. The light weight on this model means that it doesn’t have any fancy features.

This product is easy to operate and is popular with home DIY carpenters.

The product features a hardened claw tip which protects the nose of the framing gun and a carbon steel toenail which enhance precision and minimizes damage.

Hitachi NR90AES1 best framing nailer

Via Amazon.com


Pros

  • The Hitachi NR90AES1 features a handy depth control feature. In most framing nail guns, depth control is achieved by changing a part or dialing the air compressor. This model has a depth alteration feature that ensures downtime when making depth changes is eliminated.
  • This product features a plastic collated finish which renders the nail gun light enough for lengthy tasks. The nail gun weighs an approximate 7.5 pounds.
  • This model is comfortable to hold thanks to its ergonomic handle design that incorporates a non-slip elastomer grip trigger.
  • The Hitachi NR90AES1has two firing methods. The user can toggle between sequential firing and contact nailing with a simple switch flick.

Cons

  • This framing nail gun model isn’t oil free. This adds a little bit more of work.
  • The product has plastic material incorporated in its design. The user is required to wear protective eyewear as the gun tends to spit back bits of plastic during operation.

5. Paslode 902600 CF325Li Lithium Ion Cordless Framing Nailer

Via Amazon.com

Normally, cordless framing nail guns aren’t as popular as their pneumatic competitors but are quite handy in cases where access to an air compressor is limited.

The Paslode 902600 CF325 uses a lithium ion fuel cell to power and drives nails into wood. The price range of this product is higher compared to pneumatic nail guns. The battery lasts an extended 5 hours which is enough for a professional to deliver a copious amount of nails into wood.


Pros

  • The Lithium-ion cell on the Paslode 902600 has a quick charge feature which allows the user to drive up to 200 nails in two minutes of charge.
  • This model features a tool-less depth adjustment feature on the nosepiece. The tip design also allows nails to be fired at any angle.
  • This model weighs 7.25 pounds which are quite light for a nail gun of its caliber. Its operation is, therefore, easy and comfortable.

Cons

  • The Paslode 902600 is very noisy. You’ll likely get started when you first fire up this framing nail gun.
  • This model only holds one clip at a time. Most framing nail guns are designed to hold two nail clips at a time. You will, therefore, need to change clips every now and then which aren’t as time economical.

Conclusion

Via Amazon.com

Finding a framing nail gun is ultimately a matter of assessing the project’s needs and specifications. Consulting a number of power tool dealers will help you reach a consensus on the best framing nail gun. On the question of what is the best framing nailer available on the market, the Bostitch F21PL Framing nail gun scores top marks.

This nail gun beautifully blends the aspects of power and design delivering “A” grade results. It is popular with most contractors and carpentry experts. The quality and customizability of this Bostitch product make it suitable for use by a varied demographic of users spread between professionals and home DIY carpenters. This model fulfills some basic framing project needs that include the ability to fire round head nails and provide consistently reliable power.

I hope you found this article enlightening and fun as much as I did research and writing it. Feel free to share any thoughts, suggestions, and comments in the section provided below. Share with a friend and spread the word.

Jose A. Brown
 

Jose A. Brown is a mechanic engineer and an enthusiastic blogger whose mission is to provide the readers with the best tips, guides in the Home Improvement, DIY Project, and Industry.

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