Brad Nailer vs Finish Nailer: An Elaborate Explanation

brad nailer vs finish nailer

An elaborate explanation of brad nailer vs finish nailer

Brad and finish nailers are popularly called “finishing nailers.” They are very similar in terms of their exterior appearance. They are perfect and efficient, and they are excellent in specific nailing tasks, unlike the bulk nailing. Use Finish nailers, mainly at the end of your responsibility. Regardless of what their names indicate, these nailers play different roles as well as uses. That is why we compare these two perfect nail guns:

Difference between a brad nailer and finish nailer

The main difference between the braid nailer vs. finish nailer is that braid nailer shoots up to 18-gauge nails while its counterpart, finish nail gun, shoots only 16-gauge nails. Brad nails guns attach’ delicate trims without destroying it. On the other hand, the end nailer drives thicker nails. They also offer a good grip. When using a brail nail gun to attach the delicate trims, you will not require putty. On the other hand, you will always use the finish nail in all the carpentry and woodworking projects, but you will need putty. 

The difference between an 18-gauge brad nailer vs. 16-gauge finish nailer

 Brad nailerFinish nailer
Type of nail18-gauge16-gauge
Hole sizeApproximately 0.0475 inchesApproximately 0.0720 inches
CapacityA weaker holding powerWithstands higher payload
UsesAttaches delicate trims without splitting Recommended for lightweight boards as well as moldings.Suitable carpentry and woodworks Use on MDF, plywood as well as baseboards
Brad Nailer vs Finish Nailer

What is a brad nailer?

Best brad nailer resembles and functions like a nail gun, but it does not shoot the nails. 

brad nailer
Brad Nailer

It shoots brads instead. It is worth mentioning that brads are thin and delicate nails. It is only 18-gauge and has a length of 0.045 inches. This is such a small nail to begin with. Did you know that most people have never used such a short and thin nails, especially the amateur carpenters? What are these small nails for? Brads fix extremely thin finishing, such as a fragile piece of trim. Brads prevent delicate trims against damages. There is no doubt that brands are necessities in every tool shed. They are quite useful in applying to mold as well as trimming. You can also use them to enforce finishing touches to woodworking as well as carpentry. 

A point to note:

Do not hammer the brads in case they do not finish because they are delicate, and this will destroy them. Instead, pull it out and do it once more to drive the brad nail in. 


  • The 18-gauge nail cannot split the trim
  • Use it on smaller baseboards as well as plywood of up to ½ inch
  • Suitable for attaching sensitive moldings as well as trims
  • You do not need to fill the resulting holes since they are tiny. 


  • Not a suitable tool for nailing challenging to reach corners as well as tight spaces
  • A smaller brad nail is unable to hold large boards, moldings as well as dense wood. 

One of Top Rated Brad Nailer Detail Review

BOSTITCH BCN680D1 MAX Cordless Brad Nailer Kit

BOSTITCH 18 Gauge Brad Nailer BCN680D1 20V MAX Cordless
BOSTITCH 18 Gauge Brad Nailer BCN680D1 20V MAX Cordless
  • Power Source: Battery Powered
  • Weight: 5.4 lbs
  • Product Dimensions: 12 x 10.7 x 3.7 inches

This cordless brad nailer kit by BOSTITCH features a narrow nose design that allows you to place nails accurately and with quick succession without having to use a separate contact trip. The small nose design saves you from the hassle of having to push against your work surface so as to actuate the nailer. This allows you to place nails, even in narrow spaces.

This unit saves you time as it is highly effective and efficient at driving brad nails. Operated by a cordless brushless motor as well as an exclusive engine that drives brad nails of 18ga into any material from 5/8 inches to 2-1/8 inches length, you can rest assured that this device can handle different carpentry tasks.

Another feature worth a mention is the LED lights that enable it to see your working space clearly and also operating the tool when working. The LED lights allow you to work in dimly lighted areas making this unit one of the best cordless brad nailer models.

Overall, this tool offers excellent performance when working thanks to the quick jam release tool that allows you to quickly and accurately release brad nails and clear nail jams.

Key Features We Like:

  • It is cordless and thus no compressor needed
  • Has a brushless motor
  • The engine drives 18ga brad nails of length between 5/8 inches to 2-1/8 inches
  • Multifunctional LED lights to allow workspace illumination and diagnosing the tool
  • Has quick jam release to easily and quickly clear nail jams

What is a finish nailer?

Brad Nailer vs Finish Nailer: An Elaborate Explanation 1
Finish Nailer

Finish nailer almost plays the same role as a brad nailer. Keep in mind that you will not be using this tool for a better part of the project. You only use this for specific reasons. Use this tool to put up a delicate trim as well as molding. It is less potent in strength than brad nailers as well as heavy-duty nail guns such as framing nailers. Did you know that finish nailers are durable, unlike the brad nailers are? Well, framing nailers are stronger than finish nailers. 

It is f medium size as it can accommodate either one or 2-inches in length. They are headless hence blending perfectly with different surfaces of wood. However, it is quite challenging to remove the headless nails if need be. 


  • Finish nailers are more flexible compared to others and are quite handy in different types of work.
  • 15-16-gauge nails are the right size and offer a considerable holding strength.
  • The nails guns collate at an angle, making this 15-gauge nailer easy to use on hard to reach corners.
  • This nailer is perfect for building furniture and woodworking, as well as fixing large baseboards and attaching extensive crown molding. 


  • Not recommended for fixing thin trims as well as narrow boards
  • The nails are significant, thus leaving big holes that require filling. 

What is the difference between brad nailers and finish nailers?

There is no doubt that these two nailers have many similarities. They are not perfect for general use but specific projects instead. 

They are less powerful and employ smaller nails compared to other nailers in the market. In simple reality, do not use these two nailers interchangeably. 

Let us look into the critical difference between finish nailer vs. brad nailer as discussed below:

The size of the hole

When used, both the two lead to different sizes of holesacc. According to carpenters as well as woodworkers, after using a nail gun, you will require putty to fill the spaces left by the hole gun. This only applies to finish nailer and not brad nailers, as they do not leave spaces. Brad nailers can alone leave spaces if the material is weak as well as thin. 


Finishing nailers are more potent than brad nailers are. If you have a thick trim, use finish nailer and not brad as brad will not keep the trim secure. If you are driving nails into thinner trim, then brad nailer is the best


As mentioned earlier, brad nailers shoot 18-gage nails while the finish nailers employ either 16-15-gauge nail guns. It is worth mentioning that the higher the gauge number, the smaller the diameter and its cross-sectional size. 

When to go for brad or a finish nailer

It is not easy to determine when to go for brad or finish nailer. It all depends on the weight as well as the thickness of your project. If your project involves plywood as well as hardwood, then a finish nailer is perfect. 

If you are dealing with thin pieces, then a brad nailer is a perfect option. 

It is worth mentioning that many people find finish nailer more useful than brad nailer. 

In case you do not what to buy both of them for your tool shed, then I would recommend the finish nailer. 


After reading our guide, you should now be in a position to choose between the best finish nailer and best brad nailer. It all depends on your project, strength for holding, specific functions of the nailer, and your requirements. 

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