Framing is often a tough job, so naturally, you should invest in the best pneumatic framing nailer to help you finish faster and safer. Pneumatic nailers are a step up to the good old hammer, and a lot of DIYers consider them superior to electric ones.
If you want to know more about these, this article will also include a pneumatic framing nailer reviews section, as well as a buying guide. An informed decision is the best decision, and that is why we offer you practical knowledge before everything else.
Benefits of Pneumatic Framing Nailers
There are a lot of benefits to owning a pneumatic framing nailer. Unlike the traditional hammer that can ruin the nails in some cases, a pneumatic tool is more efficient. Let’s take a look at some of its advantages.
1. It Can Hold Nails
Let’s be honest, it would be annoying to carry your nails around separately all the time. But the good news is that if you have a pneumatic framing nailer, you can keep the nails in the magazine of the unit – this way, you can have a lighter belt.
2. Your Fingers Will Be Safe
When using a hammer, you would have to keep the nail with your thumb. Thus, you must be very careful when you hit the nail because you could harm your fingers. With a pneumatic framing nailer, this risk is eliminated.
3. You Can Finish Your Tasks Faster
Given a pneumatic framing nailer has so much power, it can get the job done very quickly. Therefore, you won’t struggle, and you will save a lot of time, which is an instant advantage. If you want a job done quickly, this unit is the answer to your prayers.
Best Pneumatic Framing Nailers Comparison Chart
Freeman PFR2190 Pneumatic Full Round Head Framing Nailer
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BOSTITCH F21PL Air Framing Nailer Round Head
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Hitachi NR90AES1 Air-Powered Framing Nailer
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PORTER-CABLE FR350B Air-Powered Framing Nailer Full Round
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BOSTITCH LPF21PL Pneumatic Framing Nailer
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3PLUS HFN90SP 3-in-1 Air Framing Nailer
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WEN 61798 Pneumatic 34-Degree Clipped Head Framing Nailer
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Best Pneumatic Framing Nailer Reviews (Updated List)
1. Freeman PFR2190 Pneumatic Full Round Head Framing Nailer
A pneumatic framing nailer has to be tough, and this product is no exception. It was made from durable magnesium to make sure it lasts. The body is sturdy enough and able to deal even with tougher jobs.
What we appreciated about this product was the tool-free finger depth adjustment and no-mar tip. Because of this, it is able to adapt to various surfaces, as it provides no damage to them. You can use it for a range of things, such as pallet building, fencing, framing, wood box assembly, subfloors, and wall sheathing.
Although it’s meant to work with nails, this unit is actually pretty lightweight, which makes it comfortable to use and you won’t feel any strain on your hand. Also, it’s powerful, and your nails will be pushed into the wood with ease.
Another useful thing that we liked is the interchangeable trigger. Whether you need a single shot or a quickfire, the unit will be able to achieve both.
- It’s a very versatile tool
- Has a sturdy construction
- It is very powerful
- Has an ergonomic grip for your own comfort
- The trigger seal might leak after a while
2. BOSTITCH F21PL Air Framing Nailer Round Head
Everybody wants a tool with durable construction. Well then, if you want a product that lasts, maybe you should try this BOSTITCH pneumatic framing nailer. Made of sturdy magnesium, it can last even if it deals with harsher impact. Even though the housing is lightweight, it has rubber skid pads for a comfortable grip. Your hands will not suffer while you do your work.
Another nice thing is represented by the two quick-change nosepieces. Basically, you can use whichever works best for your task and change them quickly too. The unit can convert to both metal connectors and framing applications.
Besides, it’s easy to use, even if you have never used a pneumatic framing nailer before. Even if you need to work with nails in a tighter space, you can rest assured that this product will do the trick. However, you have to be careful while using it by wearing some safety goggles. In some instances, it may cause nailing strips to hit you in the face.
- It’s easy to use
- The construction is sturdy and durable
- It comes with two quick-change nosepieces
- It feels comfortable in your hand
- May send nailing strips flying at you
3. Hitachi NR90AES1 Air-Powered Framing Nailer
This pneumatic framing nailer can do a great job if you are looking for something to effectively insert nails into wood. It’s powerful, yet balanced and lightweight. But there was another thing that caught our attention.
The unit has selective automation, meaning that you can quickly switch between contact and sequential nailing – all you have to do is flip a switch. We liked how easy it is to use in this regard.
Also, it has a new head guard design that makes it easy to disassemble whenever the tool needs maintenance. It can be disassembled quickly and this way, you will not waste any time during the maintenance. It shoots straight, and you can’t really go wrong with it.
And don’t worry about it being uncomfortable to hold – the rubber grip will feel good enough, and you will be able to hold the unit securely. Last, but not least, it can go into tighter places with no problem.
- Can be used in tight places
- Quick to disassemble for maintenance
- Easy to operate
- It’s lightweight and balanced
- Can feel very comfortable in your hand
- It needs to be reloaded more often
- It doesn’t have a hook
4. PORTER-CABLE FR350B Air-Powered Framing Nailer Full Round
At just 7.3 pounds, this Porter-Cable pneumatic framing nailer can be a nice addition to your tool collection. It is lightweight and easy to use, as it will not cause any strain to your hands.
You can choose the drive depth so you can properly set nail heads too. It’s a very useful feature. Meanwhile, there’s also a selectable trigger – it has a trigger lockout to make contact actuation mode or restrictive mode possible.
And another great thing is the over-molded grip. To prevent your hand from hurting after using the pneumatic framing nailer for a while, the grip is comfortable and offers you amazing control.
In case you deal with a lot of DIY projects, this unit can be just what you need. But we managed to find some faults to it, such as sensitive safety. You have to engage the safety mechanism to make it fire, and even though you can adjust it, you may not reach the setting that feels comfortable. It also tends to send nail clips flying, and they can be painful if they hit you.
- It has a selectable trigger to help you use two different modes
- Has an over-molded grip to ensure comfort
- It’s easy to use
- Will throw nail clips everywhere, which can be a little dangerous
5. BOSTITCH LPF21PL Pneumatic Framing Nailer
This Bostitch product is a good choice if you want something with multiple modes. Basically, it has a multi-drive mode and a single-drive one, and all you have to do is flip the switch. It’s a good feature to have in case you need to work with various types of projects.
A feature we liked about it and made us appreciate the unit, even more, was the internal air filter. It doesn’t allow any contaminants to enter the engine. This way, it will last much longer and does not require a lot of maintenance.
Since you don’t want your wrist and hand to be in pain after you use the pneumatic framing nailer for a long time, you should know this model is lightweight and has an over-molded grip. The grip will ensure that your hand feels comfortable while you do your work.
We also liked the powerful and smooth operation of the nailer. It can drive nails very deep, enough to match the requirements of the particular task you’re involved in.
- Very powerful and easy to use
- Doesn’t require a lot of maintenance
- The internal air filter will keep contaminants away from the engine
- The grip is comfortable
- It has no exhaust direction adjustment
6. 3PLUS HFN90SP 3-in-1 Air Framing Nailer
This pneumatic framing nailer from 3Plus comes for a rather pocket-friendly price, but it’s also high quality. It has a hardened claw tip, which reduces wear and doesn’t allow anything to slip when you’re toe-nailing. The cool thing is that you can also protect your work surface by fitting the unit on a no-mar tip.
Another thing that grabbed our attention was the rotating cover. The multi-directional exhaust cover is able to go as far as 360 degrees, being a great way to prevent air from blowing on you.
It also has an anti-dry fire mechanism. This will make sure that your motor will last longer since this feature increases its lifespan. Not to mention that it doesn’t allow you to miss any nails either.
Also, it has an adjustable depth control mechanism. This makes room for countersink nailing and offers a more accurate flush.
- It has a rotating cover that doesn’t let the air blow on you
- Great quality for the price
- Comes with an adjustable depth control mechanism
- Can increase the life of the motor thanks to the anti-dry fire mechanism
- The safety mechanism doesn’t let you fire after you use it when you only have four nails in the magazine
7. WEN 61798 Pneumatic 34-Degree Clipped Head Framing Nailer
This unit can be quite decent. One of the things that we liked is its nail holding capacity. Its magazine can hold as much as 100 nails, so you can work uninterrupted in case your task requires more nails.
To make sure you can work properly, the model comes with various additional things. These include adjustment wrenches, a custom carrying case, safety glasses, and oil. Not only that you’ll be able to use it more efficiently, but you’ll also be able to maintain it properly.
For DIY projects, this product can be a nice tool. But despite being good in this regard, it won’t perform very well if you want to toenail. Basically, it won’t completely shoot nails in, so you will only do an effort to no avail.
If you want it to work better, you must use it with a larger compressor as well. Removing the piece at the end of it may help set the nails more efficiently. The unit is pretty big in size and can take 30-degree nails with no problem.
- Great for DIY projects
- It can hold up to 100 nails
- Comes with additional accessories
- Not suitable for toenailing
- Might require a large compressor
Framing Nailer Types
Framing nailers can be of multiple types. Each particular type works in a certain way, and each has its own efficiency. Here are the types of framing nailers that you may come across:
1. Cordless and Electric
Electric and cordless framing nailers work without an air compressor. Basically, they require electricity to function. Electric units will work while plugged in, while cordless devices only need a charged battery.
Cordless framing nailers are usually more convenient because you are not limited by cord length. You can use them wherever you please. Also, they work once they’re being pulled by the trigger, after which some of the fuel mixes with some air, and the igniting spark causes the effect you need for nail propelling.
What makes brushless framing nailers a different category is a motor they use. The motor is brushless. They work with batteries, and they use different types of fuel cartridges compared to other similar framing nailers.
Pneumatic framing nailers/nail guns use an air compressor as their power source. Basically, these nailers have an air valve, and you need an air hose so you can connect it to the air compressor. You have to pull the trigger, after which the air will push a piston inside the unit, and with a process known as hammering, it pushes the nail into the surface. You can check this link to see details of the relation between air compressors and nailers.
What Is a Pneumatic Framing Nailer?
A pneumatic framing nailer is a tool that helps you put two wood pieces together through the use of nails. Since nails need to penetrate the wood properly in order to keep the wood pieces together, a powerful and proper tool is needed. A pneumatic framer nailer is not only powerful, but it also uses a special system to get the job done. It’s air-powered – meaning it uses an air compressor to function.
It uses a pressurized force to drive nails, and it is able to complete the task quickly and efficiently.
How Do Pneumatic Framing Nailers Work?
It’s easy to understand the way pneumatic framing nailers work. Basically, they use an air hose, which has to be connected to the air compressor. The air will be moved thanks to the pressure, in order to provide enough power for the nailer to work when you press the trigger.
As this power is being created, the unit has the ability to push nails into wood or other surfaces, depending on your particular project.
Pneumatic Framing Nailer Buying Guide
Air Tools Guy was specifically made to help you choose your best air-powered units. So, to make sure you are properly informed, we must also tell you what goes into choosing the best pneumatic framing nailer. That being said, here are some of the features you should consider when you’re about to purchase a new air-powered framing nailer.
1. Nail Type
You should know that different pneumatic framing nailers use particular types of nails. Even nails come in various sizes, so don’t expect them to work with all units. Some pneumatic framing nailers have more spacious magazines, so they are able to use bigger and longer nails. But the smaller the magazine, the smaller the nails you need to use.
You can choose based on your own preferences and the projects you’re working on.
2. Depth of Drive
A very important aspect to keep in mind is that each pneumatic framing nailer has its own depth of drive. The depth of drive refers to how far a nail goes into the material you are working with.
Bear in mind that these pneumatic framing nailers will also use different methods to manipulate nails. Some will use buttons, while others will use switches, dials or manual controls. You can pick a nailer with a specific mechanism depending on your projects since these methods all have different efficiency levels.
3. Magazine Type
Magazines for pneumatic framing nailers are different too. Stick magazines are probably the most common ones that you are going to find. But there are also coil magazines, which have the advantage of carrying a higher number of nails.
At the same time, stick magazines are better from an accessibility point of view, because they won’t get in your way when working at an angle. In case this is a concern for you, maybe you should go with a stick one, but otherwise, you can easily settle for the coil magazine.
4. Tool-less Jam Clearing
One of the most annoying things that could happen when using a pneumatic framing nailer is getting a nail out of alignment. This can jam the nailer – consequently, clearing it is a must.
But it’s not pleasant when you need additional tools to clear it. To avoid this from happening, you should look for pneumatic framing nailers that have tool-less jam clearing, for your own convenience.
5. Rafter Hooks
In some instances, you may want to hang the nailer on rafters, but that won’t really be possible without hooks. Not all models come with a hook, but you should look for one that has this feature – this will prevent you from going up and down the ladder whenever you need to get the machine.
But even with hooks, you have to be careful to not pick one of low quality. Not all hooks are created equally. Some of them are made of sturdier materials, although you will mostly see those made of plastic. Just make sure that you end up with one that lasts and is easy to position, and you’re good to go.
The best pneumatic framing nailer is one that you can hold without too much strain, while also preserving its power. Don’t forget that, for some of your tasks, you may have to work with an air-powered framing nailer for a longer period – so, you must ensure the weight of the unit is comfortable for you.
Even though some features – like a padded grip – can make the unit easier to use for extended periods, you still need a decent weight, so you aren’t exhausted at the end. Also, don’t think that just because the nailer may be smaller, the weight automatically decreases too. Some smaller units may be heavier, while some bigger ones may surprise you and feel lighter than expected.
7. Anti Dry-Fire
Dry fire is something that happens when there are no nails in the magazine of the nailer, yet the unit fires. Despite sounding harmless, dry fires can actually cause damage to the unit as time goes by, and you will end up having to buy a new one after a while.
Since you surely don’t want this to happen, make sure to pick a pneumatic framing nailer with anti-dry fire. This feature won’t allow the machine to fire when there are no nails in the magazine.
8. Contact Tips
The cool thing about some pneumatic framing nailers is that they come with multiple contact tips with various benefits. For example, positive placement tips can help you to properly nail a metal piece, whereas a no-mar tip will make sure you leave no marks on the material you’re working with.
In this regard, a pneumatic brad nailer is useful too, as it uses thin nails to work with smaller, detailed wood without ruining it.
How to Use Pneumatic Framing Nailer?
Here are the steps you should follow when you want to use your new pneumatic framing nailer safely and efficiently:
1. Protect Yourself
If you haven’t used one of these units before, it’s important to keep yourself safe. First of all, you should wear some eye protection because some nail tips may be thrown at you by the power of the nailer. You should also consider a sturdy hat to keep your head safe.
Also, always disconnect it from the air compressor when you’re not using it.
2. Pick a Firing Method
You can fire the nail in various ways with a pneumatic framing nailer. One of your options is bump firing. This one works by firing a nail every time the nozzle is compressed to the surface you’re working on. But it’s not as easy to control, so you need some practice to master it.
The other method is known as a trigger fire. It is the most commonly used method, which shoots a nail whenever you pull the trigger. Therefore, you can control your tool better and do the job properly.
3. Perform Through Nailing
When you’re working on framing, you need a lot of power. The pneumatic framing nailer gives you some power, but more power can be achieved if you through nail the materials by lying them down. You can just line the stud up on the end, after which you can go under the plate and shoot a nail into the stud from there.
4. Perform Toenailing
Some projects don’t require through nailing – in fact, toenailing can be enough for many of them. This method works by placing the nail at a 45-degree angle between two wood pieces. Once you put studs on the layout marks, you can make the nail gun’s nozzle dig into the stud at that angle, after which you pull the trigger and nail it.
Basically, you have to line up both the stud and the plate, thus making the nail penetrate them without having the nail shaft going through at an angle. You can then use a hammer to kick the nail back, after which you add another one on the other side.
FAQ about Pneumatic Framing Nail Guns
We want our guide to be as comprehensive as possible. So, here are a couple of frequently asked questions about pneumatic framing nailers and their answers:
1. How Can I Maintain My Pneumatic Framing Nailer?
Maintaining your air-powered framing nailer can be done by disassembling it once in a while and cleaning the parts to remove any dust and debris you find. This can also prevent overheating. Also, don’t forget to clean up blockages in the magazine and nailhead.
2. Can I Take Off The Nailer’s Belt Hook?
As long as you are an expert, you can, but if you’re an inexperienced user, you shouldn’t. Belt hooks are there for your own safety. If they get too stiff, though, you can remove them for a while.
The best pneumatic framing nailer can change your life for the better by firing nails quickly and efficiently. You can toss away the hammer and embrace the best technology has to offer.
Take our pneumatic framing nailer reviews and buying guide into consideration, and you’ll be able to choose a suitable unit.