Brad Nailer vs Finish Nailer | Which To Choose?

Brad Nailer vs. Finish NailerBrad and finish nailers may look the same on the surface but have very different uses.

This is exactly why you need to choose the right tool for your specific needs, as it can determine the success of your project.

This can be especially tricky for beginners who are just figuring out using a nail gun; couple it with the wide variety of different types of nailers present in the market, and you’ve got some serious decision-making to do.

However, there is no need to worry because, in this article, I will be talking in detail about both brad and finish nailers, their uses, pros, and cons so you can select the most suitable option with ease.

What is Brad Nailer?

TBest-Brad-Nailershese nail guns look and work the same way as your average nail gun, with one slight difference.

Unlike most nail guns, as their name also suggests, brad nailers shoot brads instead of nails.

Yes, you read correctly; brads are a special kind of nail which is very thin.

On average, a brad nail has an 18’ gauge with 0.0475 inches cross-section.

This means that they are smaller in diameter and have less holding strength; therefore, they can’t exactly be categorized as your regular nail.

They are easier to conceal in small pieces of wood trim and prevent surface splitting.


  • Ideal for installing delicate fittings and trims
  • It does not cause wood splitting
  • It does not require filling in holes as they are very small
  • Better precision


  • As the nails are very small, it does not provide the strength to hold heavy wood, trims, and moldings.
  • Difficult to reach corners and tight spaces

What is a Brad nailer used for?

Brad nailers are also known as framing nailers and can come in handy for finishing touches to a carpentry or woodworking project.

They can be used for holding together two surfaces for gluing. This is because they are easy to remove, so they can hold the surface together while the glue dries.

Small-scale crafting projects can be completed effortlessly with the help of brad nailers as they are very useful in putting together picture frames, birdhouses, etc.

They are the tool of choice for many professionals when installing delicate framings or moldings.

What is Finish Nailer?

Best Cordless Finish NailersThis type of nailer plays a similar role to the brad nailer.

Like the latter, the finish nailer can be used for specific needs. They can be used for bulkier wood trim as an average finish nailer can be used with nails that have a length of 1 to 2 ½ inches.

Finish Nail guns are compatible with 15’ to 16’ gauge finish nails which are larger than a brad nail; consequently, this means there’s an increased probability of wood splitting.

You can think of them as a hybrid of heavy-duty nail guns and brad nailers.

While they are stronger than brad nailers, they can’t be compared with framing nail guns in terms of strength.

The nails used with finish nailers are mostly headless, so they are almost invisible once put in; this also makes them difficult to remove.

In addition, you may feel the need to cover nail openings due to their large fastener diameter.


  • Stronger and better holding power
  • Versatile
  • It can be used for tight spaces and corners


  • Larger holes might require filling
  • Not for delicate trimmings and moldings
  • Irremovable Nails

What is a Finish Nailer used for?

You can use finish nailers to install baseboards and crown moldings.

They are better for finishing projects; however, you can’t use them for temporary attachment as the nails cannot be removed.

They are very versatile and can be the perfect tool for attaching wide crown molding and baseboard to drywall.

If you require greater strength and holding power in your carpentry projects, the finish nailer will work like a charm.

Related: Best Nail Gun For Baseboards

What is the difference between a Brad and a Finish nailer?

Both the brad and finish nailers will produce different hole sizes on the work surface in terms of differences.

The finish nailer produces more noticeable holes as compared to the brad nailer.

The power and holding strength are also different for both nailers.

The finish nailer has a higher holding strength as compared to the brad nailer. They are also compatible with different nails in terms of size; the finish nail has slightly bigger nails than the brad nail.

Which option is right for you?

Choosing which option you should be going for depends on the size and the thickness of the surface you intend to use the nailers on.

Stick to the finish nailer if you plan on working on hardwood; however, for thinner pieces of wood, a brad nailer is the best choice.

If you are looking to get more use out of the tool, then I would recommend using the finish nailer as it is far more versatile than the brad nailer.

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