pin nailer vs brad nailer

Useful Difference Between Pin and Brad Nailer

More effort and attention are always needed for the finishing of every woodworking project. And the reason is that everyone wants to finish their project with the best possible look.

If your project is to make cabinets, working on trims, or renovating any area, you will always require a finish nailer. But in many cases, you have to choose between pin nailer or brad nailer.

While it is a good idea to keep both in the workshop, most woodworkers prefer to purchase one. Which finish nailer to pick – this decision will be much precise if you know the capabilities of each nailer.

This write-up will give you a clear idea of pin nailer vs. brad nailer since we made this article after taking an interview with many experienced woodworkers.

What is a Pin Nailer?

Arrow PT23G Pneumatic 23 Gauge Pin NailerFilling holes after finishing any woodworking project is frustrating. But you can’t avoid filling nail holes because it enhances the appeal of a wood piece.

However, finishing a woodworking project will become easier and comfortable with a pin nailer. It uses thin headless nails, which are 23-gauge. The great thing about a pin nailer is, it doesn’t leave any visible holes on a wood piece.

Most pin nailers use 1-inch long pins, and some high-end models are also available, which are eligible for using 2-inch long pins.

A pin nail is a handy tool in different projects like joining intricate trim pieces, working on small furniture trim, etc.

Also, read 23-Gauge Pin Nail Gun reviews from here.

Key feature:

  • Secure nailer holes.
  • Little in size, louder in bonding.
  • Easy opening.

What is Brad Nailer?

NuMax SBR50 Pneumatic 18-Gauge 2There is always a tool you want to have in your hand when working with some finished woodworking project. The tool is a brad nailer that is preferred by both professionals and beginners.

The brad nailer is one of the dominant tools that you will use for almost any project. The holding power of an 18-gauge brad nailer is extensive.

Brad’s nails are available in different lengths, and the nail length range is between 3/8 – 2 inches. This feature makes it one of the most versatile tools among many different nailers.

It is best-suited for base-boarding; most of the woodworkers prefer brad nailers because of their smooth carpentry.

Also, read Cordless 18 Gauge Brad Nailer from here.

Key feature:

  • Massive holding power.
  • Versatility in use.
  • Smooth carpentry.

Comparison Chart – 23-gauge pin nailer vs. 18-gauge brad nailer

Features Pin Nailer Brad Nailer
Best-suited for Thinner wood pieces Thin and thick trim work
Holding power Temporary Permanent
Nail size Smaller 23-gauge Larger 18-gauge
Nail type Tiny, headless pin Large pin.

Difference Between Headless Pin Nailer vs. Brad Nailer

Through this section, let’s examine the difference between a pin nailer or a brad nailer for crown molding

Nail Type

Brad nailers are using small nails, and these nails are somewhat glued together. The nails are known as Brad, which comes with small heads. When used in any project, this head is somewhat visible. Sometimes, nail holes are not visible terribly, and covering is unnecessary using wood putty.

While a pin nailer uses a tiny headless nail and they are also glued together. You will need to use color or fabric to disguise them. Besides, the headless pins are too thin that they don’t leave any noticeable holes in the material. However, if you use paint or varnish, applying any filling to hide the holes is not mandatory.

Nail Size

The nail size of a brad nailer is 18-gauge, which is generally 5/8-inch in length. But brad nailers can accommodate nails up to 2”. As a result, they become more versatile since you can use them in thinner and thicker hardwood.

On the other hand, the size and length of a pin nailer are 23-gauge and 1” respectively. Some models also accept longer pins up to 2.5”.

Material Type

A pin nailer is best-suited for soft materials and projects where an aesthetically appealing look is necessary. Moreover, pain nailer pins are too thin that it becomes difficult for them to cut into pieces, and thus they become ideal for delicate workpieces. While using on nailing hardwood, the pins bend without any trouble.

Compared to pin nailers, brad nailers use stronger and robust nails that hold materials together in their position. However, their small head is visible on a working surface, which means they don’t provide a perfect finish. They are suitable for different thicker workpieces because of their larger gauge nails.


Can you use pin nails in a brad nailer?

No, pin nails are made of 23-gauge wire. This means pin nails are too thin to shoot using a brad nailer. It is advisable to always check the gauge of the gun before ordering the nail.

Which is a better brad nail or finish nailer?

A brad nailer is compatible with driving nails on both thick and thin wood pieces. In comparison, a pin nailer is eligible for driving pins on thin wood pieces. So, you should pick any of the tools, depending on your project requirement.

What is a 23-gauge pin nailer used for?

23-gauge pin nailer used for:

  • Accomplishing fragile finishing projects.
  • Making small furniture trim.

What is an 18-gauge brad nailer used for?

18-gauge brad nailer used for:

  • Molding.
  • Baseboards.
  • Trim work.
  • Paneling.

You Should Pick

Brad nailer if your project requirement is to drive nails into thick wood trim. When driving the brad nailer’s pin into a thicker wood piece, the pin doesn’t split out. So, a brad nailer is suitable for both thick and thin wood pieces. Moreover, a brad nailer is a versatile tool, and any cosmetic coverage is unnecessary to hide the brad nailer’s pinhole.

A pin nailer holds two wooden pieces temporarily when a pain nailer pin is used. Since pin nailer pins are thin, they are designed only to work with thinner wood pieces. It means a pin nailer is the best pick to work with delicate wood pieces.

Though, if you need to purchase only one, choose the one you require more frequently and meet your project requirement along with the budget.